Refresh

Let’s talk about how long it’s been since I posted.  I had to reset my password on my WordPress account because I couldn’t remember my login.

Yikes, guys.  It’s been a while.

Here I am, 6 months after my most recent post, wondering where time has gone and how I’ve gone so long without posting.

So what have I been up to? Traveling to visit family and friends. Enjoying my summer. Enjoying my new house. Recovering from traveling and my summer and the move into the new house. Avoiding the internet and the trolls who post hateful, hurtful things about our LEOs. Spending my evenings in survival mode as I continue to muster through a very stressful year at work- opting to completely check out with a glass of wine (oh, so much wine).

I miss the blog, I really do. The thing is, I just truly haven’t had the energy or the inspiration in months. All of that energy was being consumed by other things, and I had to reserve what little I had left for my daughter, for my family, and even sometimes, just for myself.

Part of me feels like this was the time I should have been stepping up and posting. This was the time that we as LEO supporters needed to come together, to speak out, to know that we’re not alone. We needed people to voice positives instead of the negatives. We needed people to speak truths instead of rhetoric and lies.

I’ll admit, there were times I wanted to tell JD to quit. To let someone else take on that burden. Our officers are being attacked, hunted, and gunned down simply for wearing a uniform and a badge, not just on the job, but sometimes in their own homes. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, this happened and I felt broken on a whole new level. She wasn’t just a member of the LEO community. She was a mother– a mother who didn’t get to take her baby home from the hospital. Every time I think about it, my heart breaks all over again.

But, we are not a community of quitters. We are passionate about what our partners do; we recognize their calling. We agreed to this knowing the sacrifice, the struggles, and the worry that would come with it. We acknowledge the need for our good men and women to stand strong and represent our community, even when it seems the good stories aren’t the ones being shared. Even when it feels like the tides have shifted and we’re viewed as the enemy.

We’re still here and I’m still here. So now feels like a good time to hit refresh- on the blog and on life. For now, I look forward to life getting back to the mundane, for a quiet holiday season spent at home, and hopefully a blog post once in a while.

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Moving Up and Moving On

Quick update: we sold our house.  (I know, I know.  Once little sentence, yet such huge implications.)  To some, it might seem like it came out of the blue, but it’s an idea we’ve toyed with for the last year.  Then, one day, we found a house we loved online and just like that, we we decided it was the right time.

To say the process has been a roller coaster would be an understatement.  There was the initial high of finding a house we were excited about, the tedious work of getting our house market-ready,   the pressure of showings and getting feedback (some good, some bad), the relief of going under contract, the excitement when our offer was accepted on the new house, the frustration of repair negotiations (for both houses), the stress of our timeline and for everything needing to fall exactly in place with both our buyers and sellers for it to all work out.

When we bought this house, it all seemed so easy.  We found something we liked, put in an offer, asked for a few repairs, and closed a month and half later.  But the process of buying and selling a house at the same time is…. well… awful, quite honestly.

When we found the house we wanted, we were NOT ready to put ours on the market, nor were we prepared to carry two mortgages, but houses where we live are selling quickly, and in order to get an offer in on the house we wanted before someone else snatched it up, we needed ours on the market ASAP.  It took 3 weeks for us to get new carpet installed, get the house power washed, have someone come in and paint upstairs (the dogs had scuffed up the walls and with our vaulted ceilings we couldn’t do it ourselves), and get half of our belongings moved out of the house and into a storage pod.  This meant daily work for both JD and I- cosmetic work around the house, packing, and cleaning.  If we weren’t at work, we were working on the house.  We were afraid that after all the work and decluttering, it would make us want to stay and not even move at all.  But the funny thing is that once we made all of the changes, it didn’t feel like our home anymore.  It was time to get the thing sold.

Our realtor suggested we list the house on a Thursday so we could get a lot of showings in the first weekend.  Of course it worked out that JD was on night shift on our list weekend; luckily, we arranged for him to sleep at a friend’s house, a LEO on the opposite schedule.  That left me on my own to deal with the showings.  To save myself a lot of extra work cleaning up after and wrestling 3 dogs (+ a toddler) in and out of the house, we boarded 2 of the pups for the weekend (probably some of the best money we’ve spent in the home selling process).

We had 2 showings Friday night, and neither of them went very well.  Your home is very personal, and when you put it out there for the world, it’s hard not to take some of the feedback harshly.  It sounds ridiculous to say we were discouraged after only 2 showings, but every minute we couldn’t put an offer on the new house was a minute we felt someone could snatch it away from us.  People tried to tell us “there are plenty of other houses out there” but we just knew that this was the house for us.  Besides our expected needs (an extra bedroom, more storage, a fenced in yard for the dogs), we were adamant about getting a nice lot, while not moving too far from our current location.  We live in suburbia, so finding a spacious lot is hard, and the house we found has over an acre that backs up to protected woodlands.  This house was a rare find and we knew we wouldn’t find another like it.

Saturday, we had 4 showings.  I woke up, did the last minute prep work, vacated the house for the day, and crossed my fingers.  The feedback Saturday was more positive, though by the end of the day, we had no future showings scheduled and were getting worried again.  But Sunday morning, we received an offer, and were able to negotiate and go under contract.  Though it felt like an eternity, it only took 2.5 days; I wasn’t kidding when I said houses in our area are selling quickly.  And by some miracle, the house we wanted was still Active, so we were able to put in an offer and we reached an agreement with the sellers on Monday.

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We breathed a sigh of relief thinking the worst of the process was over, but we didn’t anticipate how frustrating repair negotiations would be.  I won’t get into the gritty details, but I’ll just say that our buyers were asking for more than we thought was reasonable and our sellers were pushing back on what we thought were reasonable requests.  We probably would have gotten screwed by both sides if it weren’t for our awesome realtor.  It took a lot of stress and a few tears to get there, but we finally landed in a spot we were comfortable with for both the buyers and sellers.

So that’s where we are today.  Repairs are finalized, the Due Diligence period is over, and as long as there aren’t any unexpected catastrophes, we should be closing on both houses in 4 weeks.

Of course, the light at the end of the tunnel has always been the house we call our dream home, the house we plan to call home long-term.  Meanwhile, though we always knew our current house was a starter home, there has been the surprising sadness of knowing we’ll have to say goodbye.

There were a lot of firsts here.  It was the first home we lived in as a married couple, the place we found out we were going to have our first baby, the first place we brought her home to, first smiles, first steps, first holidays, first birthdays, first bike rides.

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It was the little house that survived a (small) tornado.  It was the house that brought us some of the greatest neighbors ever, who we could always count on for a fun evening of drinks and grilling, or to keep a key handy for lockouts, or to come over and mow the lawn, unsolicited, when JD was post-surgery and out of commission.

It was also the place where my mom lovingly painted the mural in L’s room- the one thing I’m really struggling to let go of.  I remember when we came to look at the house and we walked into that bedroom.  The late afternoon sun was shining through the windows, and I said “this would be a great nursery.”  It was a great nursery.  It became my favorite room in the house by far, and I have to say goodbye (with a secret prayer that the mural gets to stay).

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Most importantly, it was a place of love.  It was the place that busted at the seams when we had family visiting from up North (though no one seemed to mind since we were all together), the place where a young couple made memories, and the place that same young couple became a family.

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Love.  So much love.  We’ll carry the love and memories with us and hope that we’re passing it on to another family who will create their own loving memories here.

Dear Loralai- 2 Years

Happy Birthday, Loralai.  This time 2 years ago, I was sitting in the hospital room holding you.  I had gotten very little sleep and was completely exhausted, but the sun had risen and was shining through the blinds and I was so content to sit there and stare at your little face.  I had never seen something so amazing in my life.  So glad you found your way to us.  Here’s your 2 year letter.

 

Dear Loralai-

It’s hard to sum up this year concisely, since it was so full of changes.  You went from a quiet, happy baby, to an on-the-move, bubbly toddler.  This was the year you took off, literally.  Right around your 1st birthday something seemed to trigger inside you, and you quickly transitioned from an occasional step or two to a full-fledged walker.  It’s been exciting, fun, and exhausting all at the same time.  I must have spent the majority of the last year chasing you, but it’s been worth every hurried step.

I’ve loved watching you explore and learn.  Being with you reminds me to find joy in the little things in life- from a plane flying overhead to puppy kisses to a pile of leaves.  You remind me that some of the most mundane things in life can be exciting when you stop to take them in.  I love seeing the world through your eyes, because it gives me a fresh perspective on everything.  It’s all beautiful and new.  You know that house near grandma’s house with all the holiday lawn ornaments?  I used to hate it- I thought it was hideously tacky and created a traffic hazard.  This year?  I was glad every time we drove by it, because it delighted you so much.  Perspective.  You’ve given me perspective.

It’s funny, there were times where we were just a mama and toddler.  You whined about snacks and cried when you were tired and sometimes I got frustrated along with you.  All the while, I tried to keep you healthy and cheerful and start to build a foundation for the things I need to teach you, from nutrition to manners to how to brush your teeth.  But there were other times where we were transcended all that.  You were my little buddy, my weekend companion when daddy had to work and my snuggle buddy on lazy evenings.  This year, we laughed, played, danced, sang, and cuddled.  This year we bonded as mama and daughter, not just baby and parent.  That was this year’s greatest gift.

Can’t wait for another year of fun.

Lots of love,

Mommy

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Worst Show Ever

It was a rough weekend on our household. L came home with a stomach bug Thursday that JD contracted on Sunday. So far I’m feeling fine and praying that by some miracle I’m able to avoid the nastiness. I spent the majority of the weekend disinfecting, obsessively washing my hands and running constant cycles of bedding, towels and blankets through the wash.

Because of this, the weekend was what I’d call a “lazy parenting weekend.” Translation: L watched a lot of TV. I know it’s not good and I really do try to limit it, but sometimes you do what you gotta do. #momlife

When L does watch TV, we generally put on Sprout, an all-preschool channel that has good, surprisingly tolerable programming. Well, tolerable except for one. Caillou.

F*#%$@ Caillou.

JD and I both loathe this show with passion. Naturally, L loves it (seriously, it’s like toddlers have a 6th sense for doing exactly what you don’t want them to do).  I can summarize every single episode like this- Caillou does something mean to his younger sister/friend/classmate. He then proceeds to whine for the majority of the episode. Finally, his parents/teacher teach him a valuable lesson and he apologizes, while still managing to sound whiny.  The end.  Not only is this kid miserably rude, but his voice is like nails on a chalkboard.

Seriously, who put this show on TV?

Stay Strong, Blue Families

One night recently, JD arrived home from a shift, walked in the door, and the first words out of his mouth were to announce that the blue line stickers were coming off our cars.  He immediately grabbed a razor blade and headed back out to the driveway to remove the stickers before he’d even changed out of his uniform or eaten.  The threat to LEO’s and their families is very real and growing, unfortunately.  There’s intelligence that some plan to use these stickers to follow LEO families back to their homes.  I had a feeling this day was coming given the current view of Law Enforcement, but it doesn’t make it any less scary or sad.  Removing the stickers feels like giving in, like we’re letting the hatred win.  I always have been and always will be a proud police wife, but I hate feeling like I have to hide it, like I’m supposed to be ashamed of it.  If I meet someone who asks what my husband does, I’m not even sure I should tell them anymore.  Maybe it’s safer to go with the generic “he works for the city,” not because I’m truly ashamed, but because I have a family, and my number one priority is my daughter’s safety.  You just never know.

I have never had a lot of anxiety about the type of work JD does all day.  Sure, I worry, but I don’t let that worry consume me.  When people ask how I deal the stress of sending my husband off to such a dangerous job, I tell them that it’s equal parts faith and denial.  I am confident in his abilities as a Law Enforcement Officer and trust that those abilities will bring him home, but quite honestly, I know I can’t let myself think about the realities of his job because it would start to take me to that place of extreme anxiety.  Now that the atmosphere is changing, worry is becoming a greater part of my daily life.  There’s a heaviness on my heart, a fear that comes with sending him off to every shift that I’m not used to.  Officers are being targeted.  I trust in JD’s abilities when the fight is fair, but now that our officers are being executed and shot at while performing everyday duties, putting on that uniform has become more dangerous than ever.

The voices of hatred and violence have been louder than the voices of support.  Sometimes, it feels like LEO’s and their families are on their own, that no one is standing behind us anymore, but every once in a while, someone takes time to tell JD thank you or posts something kind on social media.  I think all of us in this community need to be reminded that there are people out there who recognize how hard this is.  That we’re not forgotten about.  That we’re still appreciated.  That all of this is still worth it.

My 2 Year Old, The Insomniac

So, Loralai stopped sleeping.

Okay, not really stopped, but these past few weeks have been a little rough (at times, a lot rough).  Previously, night after night, we’d been able to  put her to bed in her crib at 8pm and she’d fall asleep quietly without complaint.  Then one night, everything changed.  She threw a fit, crawled out of her crib, and it was game over.  Since that night, she’s practically refused to nap during the day (previously, we were still getting a good 3 hours out of her), and every night we wait for her to get sleepy, but she’s literally bouncing off the walls till 11.  JD and I have barely had a moment to ourselves in weeks, and I’m clinging to my last shred of sanity.

My biggest frustration with this is that it’s a problem seemingly without a resolution.  I’m not really sure what the cause of all of this is… 2 year molars/teething?  2 year sleep regression?  Separation anxiety?  Some hellish combination of those 3?  And without an explanation, I don’t know how to resolve it.  It’s killin’ me.

The weird thing is, she wasn’t cutting back on sleep before this happened.  She wasn’t showing signs that she needed shorter naps or less nighttime sleep, but since cutting back so drastically, she hasn’t been acting tired either.  She is full of energy and literally bouncing off the walls till 11pm, even if she skips her daytime nap altogether.  Plus, even after she goes to bed so late, she’s not really sleeping in a whole lot.

We did end up taking down her crib and moving the toddler bed into her room, because she continued to crawl out of her crib after that first time, but she doesn’t seem to be upset about the bed or having trouble with that transition.  She actually loves the bed;  she’ll sit in it and look at books during the day, and once she does fall asleep, she’ll sleep soundly in it throughout the night.

Most nights, the only way to get her to fall asleep is to let her lay in our bed with us.  She doesn’t want to be left in her own room by herself (we’re talking screaming her head off without any sign of relenting… “crying it out” isn’t an option with this kid).  It hasn’t really mattered what time we brought her to bed with us, she still won’t fall asleep till 11, but when she is finally sleepy, she’ll curl up next to me and ask me to hold her hand (in a lot of ways, this has been very sweet, but after a few weeks of this, also somewhat irritating).  After she was sound asleep, we could move her to her own room and she’d sleep fine in there, but her clingy-ness is what’s making me wonder if this is a separation anxiety thing.

Last night, at 11:30, I’d lost all patience and stuck her in her own bed.  She cried for a few minutes, then fell asleep.  Not sure if this is a small victory, or if she was just too exhausted to fight it anymore.

My office has been closed for the last week for a “winter break,” so we’re back to our normal routine starting Monday.  I’m hoping that getting back into our usual work/daycare routine will kind of force her back into her usual schedule.  She can’t be staying up till 11 if I have to wake her up at 6:30…. Or at least I hope she can’t continue staying up till 11.

Lord, help me.

Dear Officer’s Wife – I See You Too.

Humanizing The Badge

Dear Officer’s Wife,

I recently wrote a blog that was intended to touch the lives of our police force.  It was intended to make them realize that they weren’t alone and forgotten by the very people that they protect.  I wanted them to know that we see them.  I have spent many of nights thinking about my fellow Law Enforcement families and I have to be honest.  It has been a wide range of emotions.  Some of those nights consisted of me falling asleep with an immeasurable amount of pride in our men and women in uniform.  The other nights consisted of sleepless moments of anxiety and uncertainty.  Last night, as I waded through the responses to “Dear Officer, I See You”, I found myself thinking about you.  I found myself thinking about what it really means to be a police officer’s wife or husband.  And, I think it’s fair…

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