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“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”

Eleanor Roosevelt
@phoenixfeatherscalligraphy for C+C, 2019

It’s blog hop time again! This time we have been asked to reflect on the past year and I feel like I can’t do 2019 justice without some snippets of what got me here since 2010.

I started this decade measuring the passing time in credit hours and formal dresses and I am ending it measuring developmental milestones and diaper size changes. If you would have told me this is where I would end up in 10 years, I wouldn’t have believed you. College life when you can’t commute is all consuming. Sorority formals and recruitment, taking every psychology class I could get my hands on, and learning to balance work with fun is all that was in my sights.

The end of 2011 was the start of my senior year of college, I was taking the GRE and applying to graduate schools. Spring 2012 I was interviewing and getting accepted, and so was Ian. My crazy smart husband got accepted to 3 of the top 5 physical therapy schools in the country, but that also meant we were likely going to be living the long-distance life. Cinco De Mayo 2012 we graduated college and started a whirlwind summer. Ian moved to Boston to attend Massachusetts General Hospitals Instititue of Health Professions and I was headed to Pittsburgh to get my Masters in Counseling Psychology at Chatham University. For the first time in 4 years we would have to go without seeing each other for more than a month- crazy to think we did that for 2 and a half years. Ian came home for holidays, and I got comfy on many JetBlue planes to go visit him on my fall and spring breaks. On spring break 2013 Ian came home and we went back to Buckhannon where we met and he proposed! That whole story will be for another post (read: I threw the ring box in the street on accident… not my finest moment) April 2013 Ian was in Boston in class and I was also at work and then in class until early afternoon. I began getting texts and questions of family and friends asking if Ian was okay as I walked back to my apartment for lunch. I had no idea what anyone was referring to until someone had sent me a link about the Boston Marathon bombing. While I knew that Ian was not at the race, I couldn’t help but be concerned as I had not heard from him and was unsure where he was in the city at that moment. A short while later I got a text saying he was okay and that I could spread the word to family- I also got a call to verify, but his school was on lock down. MGH was getting the bombing victims and while they weren’t at the main hospital campus, it was protocol. After many hours I got word that he was headed back to his apartment and he talked to me on the phone as he walked through an eerily silent Charlestown explaining the events of the day. Yes, it seems like a weird thing to remember- but the fear surrounding that day has thus far been unmatched in my life.

With graduate courses, work, clinical rotations and wedding planning the rest of 2013 was a blur into 2014. In 2014 I graduated with my master’s degree, Ian finished up didactic coursework and was headed to ??? for his year long internship. The summer was filled with interviews in Boston, Cape Cod, and Boise, as we anxiously awaited to hear where we would be moving mere days after our wedding at the end of August. The most popular questions of the summer… is the wedding planning done? immediately followed by, do you know where you are moving yet? About 3 weeks before our wedding we found out we would be making the cross-country trip to Boise, Idaho for Ian’s doctoral residency. We packed up a UHaul storage pod and sent our gifts from the bridal shower and anything we could live without for the next month in preparation. Ian finally moved home from Boston with help from his brother and it was full-blown wedding time!

The wedding was the hottest day of the summer in Buckhannon, while it was enjoyable to celebrate our love… our buttercream icing melted on our cake and the reception was unbearably hot because the AC couldn’t combat everyone walking in and the heat! Despite all this, only 2 days later we were packing all the rest of our stuff and starting the 3 day drive to our newly rented townhouse. Yes, we did the most sketchy thing ever and rented it on craigslist without seeing it. But it all worked out and we loved it! We spent 3 days driving in separate cars and if you ask Ian, he will tell you he wanted to annul our marriage on the third day because I decided to race him through the desert– when we needed gas and there was no way to know if there was another gas station within range. Oops… I think we have moved on past it, but don’t bring it up to Ian, I’ll never hear the end of it!

2014 and 2015 were so fun. We learned to live without the help of our families, made friends, started new activities (everyone learns to Irish dance as an adult, right??), and had a wonderful first year of marriage. Ian officially graduated in 2015 and we took a trip home to see family, see Ian’s brother, Cameron, graduate, and go to Boston for Ian’s graduation. We returned to Boise to pick up our puppy, Clark! Yes, we got a Siberian Husky from the desert. Ian’s residency comes to an end and we realize that while we love Boise and will be visiting again soon, it is important for us to be closer than 2 plane rides from our family. Boise has no direct flights to the east coast, making travel a whole day no matter what you do. So August 2015 my grandfather and brother flew out to Boise to help us bring a UHaul truck back to Washington with all of our stuff. Ian’s parents graciously let us stay with them until we decided where we wanted to live, if we wanted to buy a house… all those important adult questions. For the first time since graduating, I got a job in my degree field and was working a 2-11 shift that wasn’t quite right for me.

In 2016 we bought our apple house! I had started a new job in Washington and instead of driving in and out of Pittsburgh as I had been doing from our apartment, it was nice to just drive 15 minutes! Here starts all the remodeling, renovations, and fun. 2017 we get a lovely surprise… we are pregnant! We found out around Father’s Day that we would be expected Isabelle and I was excited- if you read this post, you will see that I would be pregnant with my 3 coworkers and we would have babies in November, December, January, and February. I was plagued with morning sickness with Isabelle, I tried all the ginger, all the sour things, and eventually ended up on a mix of b6 and unisom that helped me function, though definitely not at 100%. January 2018 we had a wonderful book themed baby shower for our little girl where we got to celebrate with friends and family.

Cut to February 16… A Saturday and little miss had decided her due date was not good enough for her. I went to my appointment did all the things they make you do if your baby doesn’t come on their own (another ultrasound, non-stress test, blah blah blah) and finally got an induction date for 11!!!! days past my due date. To say I was very pregnant and very crabby is an understatement. We were due at the hospital at midnight to start the induction and Izzy’s labor, while not physically painful, also wasn’t easy. She decided that she wanted to hold on to her umbilical cord making delivery unfavorable. So after stopping and starting the pitocin and plenty of position changes, emergency c-section it was. Everyone was safe and healthy and here starts our last two years of the decade- learning to be parents

2018 is a blur. I feel like I watched on the sideline as Isabelle grew from a little baby to a strong independent toddler. She met all her milestones on time and constantly surprised us with how smart she was. She got to take her first plane ride and her first trip to Disney and we ended the year celebrating her first Christmas.

2019 came in like a wrecking ball. Seriously. Late December 2018 we found out we were expecting again! While not planned, we were excited to be growing our family. Grateful for not experiencing as much morning sickness, I spent my time preparing for Isabelle’s first birthday in February. Our super girl had a Wonder Woman themed party and loved every minute of it. We spent the rest of 2019 trying to fill it with memories and laughs as we prepared for Oliver’s arrival in August. We went to festivals, amusement parks, the Sesame Street Road Trip… literally anything we could find to spend time with Isabelle as she soon would not be an only child. A hot hot summer came and went and soon it was time to head to the hospital for Oliver. This time there was no midnight wake up call.. even worse, I didn’t need to be there until 10, and I couldn’t eat breakfast! Those around me have come to learn, breakfast is the most important meal for me, but it was unsafe to have surgery on a full stomach.

If you try to tell me it has been 4 months since Oliver was born I will laugh with tears in my eyes. Time is moving faster than I ever thought possible. Isabelle is learning and developing her own sense of self and surprising us daily with how much she loves her brother. She loves him so hard I’m afraid sometimes he may lose an eye… but she loves him! Oliver started rolling about two weeks ago and now he won’t stop! People always say time speeds up after you have kids, and I absolutely believe it. The changes that happened in 2019 I am forever grateful for, they helped shape me into the woman and mom that I am now. They have made me stronger than I ever thought possible and I know that strength will grow with every passing day.

I will continue to spend December reflecting on years past and understanding how they influenced my life, but for now, I will cuddle my babies and read bed time stories by the light of the Christmas tree and dream of their futures while simultaneously trying to slow down time.

This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series “2019.”


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