8/8/18

Welcome NIkki! Our Very First Guest Blogger!

So I mentioned a new feature that I would be adding to my blog...guest bloggers or featured bloggers that resonate with me or who have an important message to share.  I'm also working on collecting my weird photos for my wacky DC photo of the week, but that will have to come later .

I am realizing that my blogging is much more sporadic than I'd like, so my guest blogs may not be every week. I will only highlight blogs that have an important message, that highlight problems that so many we know are facing, and I will only invite bloggers on my page who I believe in 100%.  This has been my family's blog for years, and it isn't lightly that I make this addition of a guest blogger.

I want you to know a few things about my reason for doing the guest blogger, and the specific reason I chose Nikki to do this very first one.  A lot of people have guest bloggers.  They want to introduce new issues, get a conversation going on topics they may not know much about...but I have a different reason.  I want to highlight the things that people keep silent.  I want to shine a light on uncomfortable topics.  I want to help raise awareness, and yes, for some situations, I want to even help raise funds. Am I taking up an offering and gonna make you feel like you need to donate or you are a horrible person.  Ummm...no.  Most of us are doing our dead level best to just tread water.  But what I want to bring to everyone's attention is that for those of us who have an extra $20 in the bank...think for a minute about the people who would literally be so grateful if you helped them out with $5.  How many of us find a $10 or $20 in our pants pockets when we are doing laundry...it's happened to most of us.  What if that was literally the difference between eating and not.  Or think a little deeper...what if it made the difference of whether or not our children ate dinner...or not.  Can we even fathom that?  If you have never had to worry about anything like that...then think for just one minute what a blessing you could be to someone who has had...who is worrying about that very thing right now.

So now that I have dragged this out, I would like to introduce to you my friend Nikki.  She lives in Louisiana, and I'll tell you guys, I have known her since we were pregnant with our first babies...both boys.  We have been friends for more than 14 years, and this woman...every time she is faced with tragedy, she somehow rises above it.  When she has faced unimaginable trials and pain, she has somehow found the strength to fight back for her family.  And she will tell you in her intro...but she made the most selfless decision that a loving mother could ever make for the sake of her children.  She has put everyone in her life first, and the reason I am featuring Nikki first in my guest blogging series, is because it's her turn to be first.  She deserves some good.  She deserves some positive support, and I hope and pray that she can receive that from this feature.  So please welcome, Nikki, with Nikki's Nameless Niche. Please read her introduction and take the time to read her very thought provoking, very touching blog post, and if you feel so led, I have attached a PayPal link below her blog link.  Know that every dollar that you could do without right now...that is not an absolute necessity, could change her life in the most amazing of ways.  And if anyone deserves it....she does.  I don't ask much of my followers, but please click the link to read her blog post and follow her blog. You will be incredibly blessed by it.

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Nikki’s Nameless Niche

I wish I could tell you that I am going to teach you how to make millions blogging like I did.  I wish I could tell you that I’m going to teach you how to be an even more amazing parent.  I wish I could tell you that I live in a wonderful neighborhood with all 4 of my children, my amazing husband, our perfect family pets.
I’ve played that life over in my head so many times, that when I close my eyes it starts to become real.  Unfortunately, none of that is my reality.  I’ve never felt that kind of security or comfort.  I‘ve never had all 4 of my kids together for over 2 months, and a lot of those times I had to be under supervision. No,  I’m not a violent serial killer. I’m a good person who was degraded and beaten down to the point of zero self esteem,  zero faith,  zero hope,  and absolutely zero impulse control.  I longed to be numb. And for 5 years I was.
I hold my head up a little higher now because I have pulled myself out of 4 “rock bottoms”. I have an amazing husband who supports me in chasing this dream 99% of the time….the other 1% of the time he is so stressed out because of the financial situation, he sees no happy ending.  My two older children are 14 and 11, and my relationship with them is finally getting back to where it should be.  My two younger children are 7 and 6, and they live in California with their father.  You’re probably thinking how horrible it is that I have two children so far away.  Yes,  it is extremely difficult,  and I haven’t seen them in 3 years because I can’t afford to go there or get them here.   I made the decision to let them leave because the life that they have there is so amazing, and they are so blessed,  I could never take that away from them. 
I’ve never been able to find my place...to find my ”niche”...to find what I was put on this earth to do, until I started writing as an outlet.  Then I began posting what I wrote on Facebook because I feel so strongly that someone else might need the same hope that I needed.  I want to help other mothers who are struggling with addiction or mental illness, to let them know that they aren’t alone.  We all need to know that we aren’t alone in the world, and that there is someone who understands.
I am desperate to become a productive member of society.  I managed to graduate from college as an honor graduate with a 3.9 GPA at the age of 38, I finally elevated my credit score up to a 700 and was able to purchase my very first vehicle with no cosigner, and my husband and I were able to purchase a home together to live happily ever after, right? 

A little over a year ago, my husband had to have a double fusion in his neck and had to take an 8 month leave of absence from work.  He returned to work in January of 2018, and I was laid off the following month.  I have been unsuccessful in finding another job. 
Around the same time,  my oldest daughter was hospitalized 3 times in 3 months for “dehydration”.  She became sicker, catching viruses at least once a month until I had enough and took her to the hospital and demanded testing.  It was then that she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease,  which is fatal if not properly cared for.  She’s now on 3 medications,  3 times a day for the rest of her life, but she’s finally happy and knows what it feels like to be healthy.
It gets worse.   Also around this time,  my husband’s little brother was shot and killed by his girlfriend’s ex,  who then killed himself.  My husband’s brother was a quiet introvert who had never had a girlfriend, but his wake was packed with students of his whose lives he had touched.   An amazing man caught up in a very unnecessary situation.
Recently I discovered blogging, and it’s been amazing so far.   I love sharing my thoughts with others, and I love getting messages from my readers saying how inspired they are by the raw emotion of my posts.    The problem is, making money blogging is not easy, and so far I haven’t been able to monetize.  My goal is to make this my career, but I can’t seem to get my head above water.  We are currently 3 months behind on our mortage, 4 months behind on my vehicle.  I imagine they’ll pick it up any day now, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do.  These are material things that can eventually be replaced, but they are also things that I was proud of.
My husband and I are constantly arguing, with maybe one good day out of seven. That man is my strength, he is the air I breath, he is my heart.  Giving up on us isn’t an option, but right now it's so hard.  We’ve never even yelled at each other, now we’re constantly at each other’s throats, full of blame and resentment.

I’ve opened up a paypal money pool, in the hopes that people read my blog and see that this could go so far in helping others.  For the first time in my life I believe in something that I’m doing.  I am passionate about it, and I’m not giving up. 

So, that’s a little about me...probably more than you wanted to know!  I’m going to put the link to my PayPal account, and if you are able to, please consider donating.  The money will go towards promoting my blog and writing.  I’m attempting to put a porfolio together of my best posts, and I’m hoping to get some freelance work.  I’ve also begun to write a series of ebooks which will also need to be promoted.  I need a more professional looking theme...I need food.  I wish that were a joke.
If you aren’t able to donate, please consider sharing my story with others.  Maybe it’ll save someone from making the mistakes that I did.  Please subscribe to my blog, and follow me on my journey, because I am not close to giving up.  That will never be an option.

Peace, love, hope, and blogs

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Please Click HERE to read Nikki's incredibly insightful post called Waiting on Nikki's Nameless Niche



I would encourage all of you to leave comments and leave words of encouragement for Nikki, but for those of you who donate...even a dollar...as an added gift to your generous heart, please leave a comment letting us know you have donated, and you will be entered into a drawing for a gift :).  Just a little way to encourage those of you who are encouraging Nikki on her journey. For the first commenter, click on the "No Comments" link to start the comments.  

7/31/18

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

I think since my last post we have unpacked about ohhhhh...6 boxes maybe? No, I'm not kidding.  Am I frustrated that it's going to take awhile to get settled? Yep.  But I'm trying to just go with the flow, do what I can, and not worry about it. My sister (in-law, but I hate the whole in-law thing...so...sister) would laugh at me for saying we will never move again, but literally, I don't think I CAN move again.  I just started physical therapy for my back today, and that did NOT leave me feeling better at all.  We will see how this progresses, but I'm not too optimistic.  I have discs in my back that are literally worn down to nothing.  Only surgical replacement will help, so I'm a bit miffed they are putting me through PT as a prereq for surgery.  Jumping thru hoops is all it is.  One session down, 11 to go.  

This week we are finally...FINALLY going to start taking advantage of where we live.  Thursday I am starting the boys' school year with a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum to hear a survivor give his account of what it was like living through it.  What a monumental way to kick off their year!  Then Friday we have a tour we are doing as a family (it's a walking tour) about Alexander Hamilton's life, and they actually have on display the pistols used in the duel.  Eli's creative writing course at the academy that I enrolled him in doesn't start until September, and same goes for Chase's theatre program that I enrolled him in at the Metropolitan School of the Arts.  (Shout out to Sam (Jennie & Dave too!) for Chase seeing Sam and being willing and excited to get involved with this program!). He will be doing singing, acting, and jazz dancing, which, for those of you who know him, know he sings all the time, he is constantly making up dance moves, and he is so melodramatic.  This will be the perfect outlet for him.  Their classes are on Tuesdays, most of the co-op homeschooling tours are on Thursdays or Fridays, and that leaves time for additional museum exhibits and embassy events in addition to church group and...oh yeah...some actual school curriculum work 😊.  I am truly, truly looking forward to it!

I had to fly back to Dallas for a super quick trip last week to sign out of our apartment.  Even though we bought a house here in July, and we paid rent for the 60 days required for the apartment lease break, they would not let us do a walk thru or hand in keys before we left.  So that left me needing to make a quick run out there, but I'll tell you what...I needed that walk through for closure more than I realized.  I was able to feel like I truly could start my life here in DC now that I am not paying rent and holding on to keys for an apartment in Texas.  

I didn't tell anyone except my two closest girlfriends that I was coming back...well...3...but, I have learned a lot about people and human nature in general when it came to us leaving Frisco.  The phrase "Out of sight out of mind" is so accurate in this situation, and it just reemphasized what I already knew to be true.  1.  There are friends you make in life along the way that you connect with so deeply, it literally does not matter where you go, the bond does not waver.  And 2. There are people whom you become friends with that once you leave, that's it.  The worst part is when you think you have met someone who will be the friend mentioned in #1, but ends up being in category 2, and that is sad, and painful, but nevertheless...it is a learning experience and that is what life is about.  We did leave Frisco having made some precious friendships and real connections, and for that I am truly thankful.

The best part about my trip was getting to spend time with two women who are family to me...one of them has been in my life since elementary school, and we have literally grown up together...and the second has been a friend for going on 12 years, and I cannot imagine my life without either of these women and their families as a part of mine.  We went to Pete's Dueling Pianos for my birthday on Friday, and I'll post a couple of photos.  I will only post photos of one of my friends...the other wishes to remain off of social media.  I love you sweet friends!!! Thank you for being our cheering squad, our supporters, our shoulder to lean on, and never letting distance be an issue. I am so blessed by you!!! ♥️



So that's about all I have! In my next post I should have some really cool photos of the speaker series at the Holocaust museum, then of the Alexander Hamilton tour, and oh my goodness, be prepared for an overload of photos when we go to the Maryland Rennaissance Festival!!!  And eventually the house.  We will get settled at some point 😊. XOXO guys!!!

OH! And I almost forgot...I am going to start doing two weekly posts unrelated to my typical blog posts.  One will be a Featured Blogger post (My friend Nikki will be up first!) And the second will be sort of like what I did before where I posted the weirdest thing of the week.  I need to come up with a name/hashtag.  Usually I get these photos on the metro, but in this town, you never know.  The one thing I do know is that it's entertaining!  I will start doing giveaways again too...I miss the interaction I had on my blog before!! Keep an eye out for the first giveaway.  Rules will be simple...really, all that's needed is a comment or a share on FB.  Pretty simple!  Follow my blog guys!! I will be posting about events you may want to make the trip out for...like taking a White House Tour after it's decorated for Christmas!!! That will be neat!  Sign-ups for that begin in September, in case you are interested! Embassy events, balls, etc...if you want to go, just holler! I'll be posting about my first giveaway soon.

So that's what I have coming up!  I hope you guys have a wonderful week!  Hugs!!


7/18/18

Little by Little...

So Chase is happy and comfortable in his gray room now...and even happier to have a fan.  We got rid of the pink walls and princess chandelier, and we got a light and a fan put in Eli's room.  It still boggles my mind that his room was only set up for the light switch to operate an outlet that would operate a LAMP! It's crazy to me that nobody had updated it to put a freaking light in the ceiling...but...well, it's all set up now.  Cool ceiling light and fan, and when his stuff is set up more I'll post photos, but so far we haven't found his bedding.  Poor kiddo is using a comforter from an old bedding set, which works, but it will be nice to have him set up better.  Here is a little collage of the transformation of Chase's room.  And the light change we did in our closet.  We did some other things, but that's all the renovation talk I have in me.



We have several events we are super excited about.  We welcome guests, so if you'd like to attend something, just let us know!  Here's a rundown of what we have scheduled so far.

August

*First Person - Conversations with Holocaust Survivors at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
*Hamilton! The Tour!! - Downtown D.C.
*Hamilton and Jefferson Debate at the Postal Museum
*International Food Festival

September
*Red Carpet Mission Ball
*Fort Belvoir Co-op Fall Session

October
*Venetian Ball at the Italian Embassy

And our list keeps growing!!!

But in the meantime, we will continue to work on this...

Don't mind the dog...I'm referring to the boxes still residing in my bedroom 😝.

Ciao peeps!

7/11/18

Let the Renovations Begin!!!


Yay!!! The first of the changes in the house are officially underway!  First room to be overhauled is Chase's room.  It is being painted gray from that horrible pink, and we are removing the chandelier, reinforcing the ceiling and putting in a remote controlled fan.  Here is the before...


Chase is SUPER happy about not living in a princess room lol.  

Next up is Eli's room.  His room was a mess.  The light switch on the wall controlled an outlet that would turn on a lamp.  He had no ceiling light whatsoever, so they are tearing into the wall, running electrical wiring to get him set up with a ceiling light and fan.  Who doesn't put at least a light in the ceiling??!! Crazy.  

After that, we are replacing our master bedroom ceiling fan because the extension pole is so long, it is a hazard for tall people.  Both Norman and I, and even Eli has nearly stuck his hand up in it while it was moving.  Plus, it's just an ugly fan so we got a pretty, remote controlled decorative one that has a much shorter extension rod.  

And then last up for today...we are getting rid of this hideous closet light in our master closet.  I mean, I know everyone has different tastes, but really? The kids call this thing Ursela from The Little Mermaid because of all the tentacle like glass things.  It's pretty hideous.  Do any of you guys actually LIKE this light? Surely I'm not the only one...


After we get these things done upstairs, we will begin the demo of the kitchen.  Fun times.  But the bedrooms were a priority...we especially want the kids to feel settled in their rooms.  I'll keep you posted!! 

Ciao Peeps

7/9/18

We Are In!

Well, we are in!  Last night was our first night in the house, and today we went to pick up Fred, Max, and Luna from the kennel.  So now we have two sleeping pups on the bed and Luna playing with her new catnip toy, and all is right with the world. 😁

We have found a fantastic contractor who will be doing renovations on the house, starting this week, and we will probably be working with him until we die.  This week we are wiring and installing ceiling fans in the boys' rooms, replacing our fan, and replacing a light in the master closet.  Oh...and the boys rooms are being repainted.  In a couple of weeks to a month we hope to begin a complete overhaul of the kitchen.  All of it.  Bigger pantry, updated, pretty cabinets, room for a big fridge...from there we will redo the flooring, then a complete demolition of our master bath.  It is stressful, but exciting to finally be in a place where we see ourselves for a long time. 

Tomorrow starts Norman's third week at work, and he's getting settled in.  I'm not unpacking much until we get the top floor repainted (it's easier to move boxes around than to have to unpack and then move out clothes and stuff for the painters). 

And we aren't unpacking kitchen stuff because if we start the demo in a couple of weeks, I don't want to pack up and move what I've unpacked.  So it's paper plates for just a little while longer until we figure everything out.  It'll be worth it. 

I have to fly back to Texas soon to do the walk through of our apartment and close out of that with them.  I will be so happy to have that behind us!  It is all coming together though...We are constantly amazed at God's protection and guidance over all of this.  He has already protected us from some things and made it clear He is with us through this entire process.  He continually answers our prayers, and we are so thankful and feel so blessed.  Our neighbors have brought brownies over, and getting plugged back into a community that has so many active duty and retired military feels so much more like home. 

Alright, time for bed.  I will be sure and take lots of before and after photos to post! I can't wait to see the transformation!

Night peeps!


6/29/18

Packed and Loaded

Of all the times I need to be sleeping...right now is it.  We leave tomorrow to head to our new home, and the plan is to drive overnight. I reallllly need to rest.  But I'm wide awake.

The packing and loading of things took so unbelievably long.  I think I'm over-exhausted, plus, combine that with an emotional goodbye from a best friend, and I'm wiped out.  I decided to spend the night at the apartment one last night.  My miracle cleaning lady is coming in the morning, so since all my stuff was unpacked in the bathroom, it made more sense to stay.  This comforter, however, that I'm wrapped up here in the floor, is not much protection from the hardwood floor. Oh well...it's one night.  All right...I leave you with some photos of the Packers/movers.  I am so thankful they paid to move us.  We are already so drained.  I don't know how we would have managed.

All I have to do tomorrow is run a couple errands, pick up the pets, get the kids from camp, and we will be on our way!  I am so thankful that it is finally time.  We have hoped and prayed for this for about 9 years, and this is such a dream come true.  We are so unbelievably blessed and thankful.  Thank you to all our friends and family along the way who believed in us, prayed for us, and who are rejoicing with us over Norman's promotion back to the city our hearts feel most at home.

Ok, I'm gonna try to sleep again.  XOXO!!!

6/27/18

We are Packed!!!!

I can't believe Norman has been gone nearly a week already, and I am so happy that I can say we are officially packed up!!!!  They got both the storage unit and the apartment done, so tomorrow they will be loading our stuff on the truck!


I've received all the important documents from the mail like my registration sticker for my car (bc THAT'S a ticket just waiting to happen - driving halfway across the country with an expired tag). Shoes came for my nephew that I had ordered, and a prescription came through that we had been fighting with insurance over for 2 months.  So we are pretty much ready to go!

I am so tired.  I am sooooo ready to get my kids from camp and start heading toward Norman.  This is getting old.  I am so thankful they got to go though, even though logistically it was a bit tough.

I did buy all our patriotic gear for the Capitol 4th concert that we are going to.  It's held on the west lawn of the Capitol, and we will be decked out in red, white, and blue with light up blinking necklaces and Mardi Gras beads.  It's gonna be super neat. It is televised on your local PBS station...I think at 8 eastern time, so watch for us!!!  If only we we're out there now...it'll happen.  Alright, that's all for now.  I'm beat, and I need to be up early for the movers. We are halfway done with this part of it!!! Thankfully!!
Ciao Peeps!