The Day I Almost Stopped Blogging

Yesterday was the day I almost stopped blogging. I hate to admit that it’s happened, but it did. And maybe now it’s time to talk about it.

Last night was a bad night. Admittedly, I’ve been exhausted the past few weeks and have been hiding a few health issues that I think have attributed to the combination of month end reports and BlogHer “hangover”. It lead to me stacking up my mail for about two weeks and forgetting that it’s August. (Which means our AAA and car registrations expired, as well as several coupons I had for free items.)

This escalated into a conversation that Greg and I often have–is the Stay At Home Dad / Working Mom balance working? He brought up a good point–maybe the blog has been taking up too much of my time. Twice, I put my “blogging to do” basket to the trash. Twice, Greg put them back. I figured if I just set it all aside, it would be admitting that I have to learn to balance better. I even tried to delete the WordPress app from Greg’s iPad, but he didn’t realize that deleting that would only delete the app, not the blog.

My emotions were high, and I just needed to level set and come back to reality. His words hurt and made me think about the balance. I have to go back to why I started blogging–to chronicle our lives and get my feelings out. (Does anyone else have the issue of holding everything inside?) In the time since our argument, Greg brought up a good point, blogging for the reasons I love are worth it. Blogging for sponsored posts that help our finances and support things I believe in are worth it. Blogging 24/7 is not worth it.

But it went beyond that. You see, I hadn’t actually blogged in days. I spent some time over the weekend working on some scheduled posts and pulled some “oldie but goody” ones out of my pocket. Following a phone upgrade, I haven’t read other blogs for days (sorry, BlackBerry and Feedly don’t get along). I hadn’t actually blogged, but there we were, fighting about blogging’s impact on our lives (like me forgetting to pay those “bills”), and I hadn’t blogged. It was more than that. It was my ability to be present and balance it all, which includes ask the SAHD for HELP, something really hard for me to do. I tend to micromanage, and that never ends well.

After a good sleep and some sweet texts in the morning, we both came out of the fog. I started my day with yoga and am going to continue to find balance. Before settling into the couch to write this after supper, I asked him if it was okay that I did so. (He was fine–watching baseball and then kids were playing contently in the toy room, for once.)

Communication is going to be key, as it is in any relationship, including bloggers and readers. I hope my words either inspire you or connect you to my family. There are enough people reading this blog that I know some of you like my stuff, so I’ll keep blogging. But not just for you. For me. To be open and honest, to help me pursue some of my dreams. But I’m going to do it with a balance, and learn that I don’t have to do it all.

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So glad my Mister keeps me centered!

With that said, I invite you to check out the sponsored offer below for 2 free 8×10 prints. If writing isn’t your thing, maybe preserving memories via photos is. I know it’s a thing we love! Enjoy. 

NaBloPoMo: All Things Connected

BlogHer July NaBloPoMo

BlogHer.com July NaBloPoMo

This post is brought to you by the NaBloPoMo July prompts from BlogHer. This month, I am writing about connections. 

Today’s Prompt:  Do you think all things are connected?

I absolutely believe all things are connected. Have I ever shared with you the story of how Greg and I fell in love? Well, I think it’s up there with some of the best connection stories ever. If you’ve heard it, I apologize for the repeat; however, it’s proof that all things are connected.

In 1999, I was preparing to perform in my high school musical. My friend Wendy (who had cancer) was granted her wish, and with that wish, she went to Myrtle Beach. My grandparents lived there, so I was always connected to the area; however, after she passed away, I felt drawn even more to the beach just because of that one visit.

Almost seven years later, I moved to Myrtle Beach to join my (then) boyfriend who had started school at Coastal. I had just earned my Master’s in Teaching and had a dream to work in a school there. Within two months, I had a long term sub position, a ring on my hand, and a teeny apartment. Money was tight, so I kept up my “night job” of training at a call center. Soon, stress, age difference, and life paths got in the way. I found myself in a less than ideal situation, and all alone far from family.

When the evil started, I hid in fear. I lied to so many people about what was happening to me, and covered bruises. I couldn’t hide the broken finger, so instead, I told people I was playing with the dog and fell. Luckily, through it all, a dear friend (who I hope didn’t believe me lies, but was just waiting for me to have the courage to be as smart as I should have been) stuck by my side.

That friend, Elizabeth, introduced me to her co-worker, Mallory, after about a year of living in Myrtle. We met at the (infamous) Beach Wagon one weekend and then soon after had a gathering at Elizabeth’s house following Mallory’s move. It was at that gathering that I met Greg and Nurin, even though I don’t really remember too much about the meeting other than Nurin was in on our shenanigans of mentos rockets and she still had long hair then. I was too busy drinking a fight off.

Mallory, Elizabeth, and Me
Mallory, Elizabeth, and Me

I was enjoying time with “my girls”, but inwardly oh, so broken from almost two years of living lies and hiding my pain. After going home for Christmas that year and spending a lot of time with my best friend, it was clear that I needed to break off the engagement, the relationship, and get a new place to live. I felt like I had the courage and was ready to make moves happen.

The worst night of my life behind me, my relationship was done. The ex was moving out, and not just out and down the street, but back to live with his parents. Mallory  and I had formed a bond over line dancing and bad beer, and she just so happened to need a new place to live, so she moved in with me to ease the burden and help heal my heart.

It wasn’t long before I jumped into someone else’s life, as was pretty much my “love life story”, and was trying to blur the physical and emotional pain by finding someone I thought cared about me. A month later, I found out I was pregnant with Arianna. Mallory talked to Nurin talk about options. It’s so weird to think that she had no idea she was providing “medical” information that would have meant a certain beauty wouldn’t sing her a song about being her “Aunt Rin”, but it’s just another connection. The things Nurin told Mallory scared me to death, worse than I was afraid of being a single mom. So, I decided to again hide and Mallory and I kept a big secret for many months.

One down and out day, Greg popped back into my life. He came to the rescue on one of the hottest days of the summer and picked Mallory and I up when her car had broken down. Although he had no idea I was pregnant, something clicked that he really needed to rescue these girls and help them get home. He’s the only person (of oh, so many) that answered our call. Later that same weekend, we spilled the beans that I was pregnant. He started hanging around more, but never really got close with me. I didn’t feel like he didn’t like me, I just felt like he had no real desire to get to know me.

What I didn’t know is that he did, but just didn’t want to get in the way of “what I had going on”. Hmmpfh. He eventually found himself a someone. A few nights before I had Arianna, he needed a friend, and I was the one he called to talk.

The morning I went into labor, Greg happened to be crashed on our couch, only because of the chance instance that he’d been “on a break” from his someone. First, he got mad at me for walking up the stairs to wake Mallory instead of waking him up to get her. Then, he demanded he come along with us to the hospital and await Arianna’s birth.

Greg carrying Mallory’s purse so she could capture the moment of me in a wheelchair in labor.

Greg stuck it out with us through all 15 hours of “labor”, and met my parents just moments before I was whisked to the delivery room. (He’s lucky I didn’t kick him out after he brought orange soda in earlier.) He was the second non-medical staff man to hold Arianna, and I think that’s when and where he fell in love.

Early the next day, he showed up. He walked me down the hall to the nursery, gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “Good job, Mama” as we watched (our) baby girl get swaddled up after a bake in the jaundice light. He held her, talked to her, and loved her.

Greg and Arianna, love at first sight

And the next day he was at the house, helping my dad with random man tasks like putting a grill up and avoiding the pumped milk in the fridge like it was the plague. In the weeks and months that followed, he was there as much as he could be, one of the only things that would calm ‘lil Miss’ fussy butt down.

His relationship fizzled, but he went to a conference with his parents, telling Mallory and I he was going to find his soul mate. I was not happy. Didn’t he realize his soul mate was  right here? Not that I was giving him much help or hint.

Just before I moved back home to PA, our dear friend Ash (who I should give a shout-out to for helping me lose the broken) decided we should do a BBQ. Greg came and next thing I knew, everyone had gone home (or in Mallory’s case to bed) besides Kendall, him, and me. Tired and emotionally drained, I slid to the floor on the kitchen and next thing I knew, Greg was by my side. He put his arms around me, gave me a “thank God I wasn’t standing or I would have fallen over” kiss, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Greg & Me, First Photo Alone

If that doesn’t tell you how I believe in connections, I don’t know what else could. Greg, I thank you for taking a chance on me and for never putting me in the “friend zone”. You’re an amazing man, and (sorry, besides the kids) the best thing that’s happened to me.

Do YOU believe in connections? 

Four Years of Willis

Today marks four years of being a Willis. The man who has made a big smile shine across my face took me as his four years ago today. On our fourth anniversary, I feel 400 times more in love with him than I did that day…and let me tell you, I loved him so much then.

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Greg was one of my constants in Myrtle Beach, a good friend who came to the rescue many times. He was quiet, albeit distanced from me, but I hear it’s because he didn’t want to put us in the Friend Zone. Although he sort of tried to go there two weeks after we started dating, he quickly changed his tune when I refused to talk to him for a few days (or was it only hours?).

Within weeks we were visiting long distance. Within four months we were engaged. And 90 short days later, as per his faith gives the minimum engagement, he had moved his whole life to Pennsylvania to be my husband and Arianna’s dad.

I only hope I’ve made every day, even the bad ones, the best of his life in the way that he’s done for me. And one day, hopefully many years down the road, July 11 will not just be four years together but 40 or 50 or 60. We’ll have beautiful grandchildren and our dream house (you know, when Pittsburgh and Myrtle Beach collide). It’s been a beautiful ride, and I look forward to many more years with him by my side.

Happy Anniversary, Greg!

Niagara Falls Honeymood
Honeymoon July 2009

If We Dated

 

It’s been a few weeks since the kids got to spend time with my parents, so after the Fish Fry and our visit with Grandma, up to EB they went. These weekends away have allowed the kids to bond with their grandparents and given Greg and I time to learn more about each other…to date as married people.

You see, we didn’t really date before we got married. As friends, we had plenty of funny nights together. Our relationship began 6 days before I moved home to Pittsburgh, so we had to learn to love each other via the phone and internet and over three visits before he decided to put a ring on it and move up to PA. A month after his move, our wedding day was here and Arianna and I became a family of three. When the kids are away, we miss them tons, but get a chance to date.

Greg and I did not have plans, but my body was ready for a nice sleep on Friday night. After a nice sleep, I was wide awake early and needed a 6 mile walk/run/walk in, but I decided to clean the fridge and let Greg sleep so he could join me. After our run, we melted to the couch for two hours and decided we needed to make plans, something active. The answer was easy, we wanted to enjoy one more tube experience before the winter is over.

In the car we went, getting an hour drive just to talk. We talked about work and the kids, about things we want to do when we go to Las Vegas for our birthdays. It’s nice to have adult conversations without interruption once in awhile. 😉

Upon arriving at Seven Springs, we were able to register for the 6-8 tubing session. The hills were icy and boy, did we go fast! It’s a good thing we weren’t just dating…because someone decided to try to protect me from a run in with the fence and both of us ended up getting a few bruises from the miscommunicated bail and collision. If we were just dating…who knows how we would have handled that run in!

On our ride home, we got to talking about our hopes for the future–Greg’s return to work in a few years, Arianna’s schooling, the kids becoming (gasp!) teenagers. It was nice to not have to fake feelings or give the small talk that often accompanies dating.

After almost four years of marriage, it’s nice to still have moments to enjoy each other in a dating setting. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Four Years

Last night Greg and I celebrated a joyous four years of togetherness (let’s forget that one night he said he wanted to “just be friends and let’s slow down” followed by my not talking to him for 3 days, ahem). The hallowed BBQ night followed by a week of realizing I was moving away and these feelings were real.

Four years later, we are so glad we took that chance on each other and look forward to many more beautiful years together. Time sure does fly when you are in love.

(If you’re wondering where we celebrated, we took the kids to Subway…the place we first ate together as a couple. Corny, but oh so sweet.)

The last photo of us as (just) friends

Couple Memories

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Last night, we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and shivers at Kennywood. We avoided a crowded chain in exchange for some burgers. Together, we found last minute additions to the kids’ piles. A misread GPS took us through memory lane. Our travels took us to an Italian bakery. + Life us going to give us ups and downs, but every night I thank God he gave me you to experience them with. True story.

All You Can Eat

Last night we watched the hometown Pirates take on Greg’s Braves. While my team won, it was still a fun game. We had All You Can Eat seats and I figured I’d share our experience.

First, the tickets were the first row in 145. We were 3 and 4, but 1 and 2 never showed. Good thing, cause those seats are not built for the big people chowing on food (myself included!). They are close together, not a lot of leg room, and not angled. Imagine balancing a tray of three hot dogs, a burger, and peanuts (ahem, Greg) and then having to stand up to let people through. Oy! Also, our row was a dead end, so only one way in and out.

You can do this semi-healthy. I got a salad and bunless dog.

Eat early. Somethings ran out in the third inning and it was too bad, so sad, no popcorn for you!

Don’t be that guy. You know, you pay the $13 extra and then take orders for your friend in 144 (see eat early, above).

Do eat your money’s worth, not a hard feat at the ballpark!

Kids would be iffy, atleast ours. Allergy friendly for the most part, but see seating above. Do you want to handle that with toddlers?

Logistically, that sounds like no fun, but really we had a great time, a great view, and full tummies. Ice cream in the 5th was a good idea…fall games are cold, so we ate it early. If I weren’t eating healthier, we might do it again. Ok, I don’t feel like I pigged out and we walked to/from the casino to enjoy the game. All in all, when you have a skinny guy to go beside you and he eats his weight in hot dogs, you can more than get your money’s worth. 😉

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Relationship Strength

We don’t like to do it, but it happens. The other night, Greg and I had a small fight in front of the kids. Essentially, I lost my mind for a moment and just needed a good scream or two or ten. The reason for the fight wasn’t even something I can remember, but the fact that it happened will stick out in my mind. Nope, I am not going to keep score, that’s not how we roll. I’ll remember it because I think moment like this are what make us stronger–if all we did was hug and kiss and flirt, THIS wouldn’t be real. And for that, I am thankful.

Today, I was reminded of how the “good fights”–ones that make you stronger–are just part of the ebb and flow of relationships. (Thanks to the email from Smart Relationships for this reminder.)

To Be Best Friends Forever

Just about four years ago, I fell in love with my best friend.

It was sort of unexpected, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was a single mother, leaving the city that I loved for another city that I loved to start fresh.

Last night, Greg and I were watching “The Vow” and I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like if one day one of us woke up, not remembering the other. My heart says we’d fight to remember, but it’s hard to know at what point our “missing years” would take us back to.

Hopefully, we’ll never have to find out. Until then, Greg, I’d like to add something to my vows to you. remind you of a part of my vow to you…“I Becky, take you, Greg, as my best friend for life, my soulmate, and my companion”.

Thank you for lifting me up when I am down, for making me smile, and understanding my dreams.

(See, sometimes memory loss happens quicker than you’d think. As we watched the movie, I kept saying I wished we had Dad say, “I now pronounce you man and wife, and best friends forever”…but that sort of was taken care of in the vows.)