It's been awhile, huh?!
Well, it sure feels good to be here -- back on my blog! It's been more than 2 years since I wrote here regularly. I miss it! I miss you! How the heck of have you been?
Spring is in full bloom around DC and I've declared this my new favorite time of year. Spring not only reminds me of our garden wedding, which took place on a warm and sunny day just like the ones we've been having, but it also marks a turning point our family. It was around this time last year when we started to transition out of a really tough chapter -- our son's early arrival, a harrowing hospital stay and then winter "in isolation" per doctor's orders.
We received the OK to take JR off daytime oxygen last May, and it was like the world opened up to us. The weather was warm and we were able to take JR outside without the hassle of an oxygen tank and long cords! I'll never forget the first walk we took -- that same day I threw some shades on him and ran errands all over town, totally embracing the new-found freedom.
We've had so many beautiful memories since then, too -- I compiled a post awhile back (best of 2016), which I hope to share at some point. I summarized all the big "firsts" like our first family vacation, first playdate, JR's first birthday celebration and our first family halloween costume -- all of which have brought about tremendous healing from a tumultuous 2015.
Needless to say it's been a great year, but holy moly, it's been busy too!
When JR came home from the hospital, there wasn't an army of doctors and nurses to look after him: just me and Aaron! It was all consuming, as most kids are and it's taken every bit of the last year and a half to adjust to being a full-time mom.
There was a time - there for awhile - I didn't recognize myself at all. Even after JR came home from the hospital, it was like I was living in some strange place. I was in the wrong neighborhood with the wrong career, in some awful body, and had married the wrong guy (haha, thankfully all not true). It just felt like my world was turned upside down and there was this drastic difference between the "old me" and "new me," and I didn't know this "new me" at all... I was just a mom - that's it! - and that was enough for awhile there.
We had to survive. We had to thrive. We had to get through this! I put everything into THAT and there wasn't room left for anything else.
It took at least a year to finally feel some of that fog and confusion lift. There was a big "ah ha" moment in therapy when Aaron and me realized we didn't have to live our old life -- we couldn't and we didn't have to feel bad about that. We were new and that was understandable. That was OK. We'd been through a lot. We'd changed and we needed to accept that.
Slowly, eventually we'd start to feel more like ourselves. Slowly, eventually managing JR's care would get easier or at least, we'd get more used to it. Slowly, eventually, the old and new would mesh and perhaps, something better would evolve.
That doesn't happen by chance though, guys! It's been real work to get there and, honest moment, I STILL don't feel like I'm 100 percent there. (Will I ever? Probably not!) That said, we've made tremendous strides this year. Little by little, I've squeezed in more of the stuff I used to love like cooking, working out and writing. I've made a lot of adjustments to our day-to-day to try to find balance. I transitioned jobs earlier this year to help with this: eliminating a long commute and a lot of work stress. I also started counseling (mentioned above) and finally broke down and asked my mom and in-laws for help with day-time coverage (JR can't do daycare).
And... well, guess what? I'm so proud of where we are today.
The baby steps are working. The smallest victories are big. And best of all, I feel good about me. The NEW me.
So, here I am. :)
Yes, I'm blonde now. Haha. :)
This may have something to do with the whole identity crisis I mentioned above, but the way I see it: this is part of those baby steps -- this is me taking time to go to a hair salon (alone) and spend a few hours reading and getting pampered, which is so good for my soul! After months of isolation, putting a little time and effort into my appearance has been a real confidence booster. I still have a long way (with regard to confidence in my appearance!) but it's a step in the right direction.
You might notice Aaron's changed some too! He's really thrown himself into CrossFit and I'm honestly floored you guys. He's gotten SO strong and fast and competitive! It's not unusual for someone to comment on "his arms" -- which can drives me nuts (don't egg him on!) but deep down I'm really proud of him because I know his commitment to CrossFit and his other outlets have been a big part of his healing and recovery from everything we went through. Also because he goes to CrossFit at 5:30 AM! I can't even. I don't know how he does it!
Anyway, Aaron and I were were so lucky to get to catch up with Katie Nesbitt over Easter. Katie took our CrossFit date night images a few years back - the majority of which you also see on the blog homepage! (I love her work!) We were in Williamsburg for the weekend and met up with her at Sandy Bottom, a beautiful scenic park overlooking the water for a little fun with JR.
If you can't tell from the photos, Aaron has a real way with him; he's so good at making him laugh!
I have so much to share about JR.
SO, SO much.
But, I didn't want to wait to get back to blogging to share his story because, well, if I did, I'd probably never get back here. I started writing it the day he was born and as you can imagine, I've been editing and refining it as we go -- adding to it every day -- always amazed; always in awe of him.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in these lovely photos and reading about these last two years of big transition and change.
This is only the beginning friends - I'm back! Or at least, I plan to be. I have a lot more to share, including JR's birth story and his health today. I have a special "be strong mom" project I hope to blog/launch soon as well as a new series: getting fit again, bit by bit starting this Friday!
Did I mention we're getting back to the root of this blog with weekly fit couple features? Yay!
I hope you'll stop back by!
In the meantime, leave a comment below and tell me about you!
Are you a new mom?
Did you struggle with a similar identity struggle?
Images from Katie Nesbitt Photography.