Home Tour - The Bedrooms

So I think we're about to wrap up this whole house tour of our first home. We've already covered the kitchen & dining area, the bathrooms, and...nope, just kidding. I forgot about the living room. We'll see if it's worthy of its own post.

But today I'm showing you the bedrooms. This is kind of funny, because these pictures totally represent where we were at that time in our lives. The time of early parenthood. The time when our baby's crib was in our room, and our nursery was converted into an office of sorts. You'll see. And yes, we left it that way when we were showing the house. 

Oh, and again, picture quality is less than stellar. Please forgive me. 

Master Bedroom
The good thing about our room is that it had enough room for a king size bed, all of our furniture, and a crib to fit nicely. When we very first moved in to this house the first thing I did was paint our bedroom and our bathroom, and I really loved the gray walls in there. There's just something about gray walls and white trim that makes me happy...I'm slowly painting walls in our new house, and 100% of it has been gray. 

Wanna know a secret? I made A move the crib downstairs because I couldn't handle the thought of Grayson sleeping upstairs in his room. He slept approximately half of one evening in that thing. The rest of the time he was snuggled right up between us. Oh well :) 

It also looks like I did a really terrible job of making the bed when I took these photos...I must have been rushed or something. I'll blame it on the baby.

Grayson's Room
Oh, the nursery. The room that I spent so much time stressing over, trying to make perfect, so that when my tiny baby arrived home he would have a place to go. We painted the walls (yep, gray), painted the trim, and replaced the carpet with (laminate) wood floors. Yeah. That was kinda pointless. 

Here's a little backstory on why this room was the way it was. A started working from home a month before Grayson was born. We didn't have an office in our house, so we just put the desk in our bedroom. It was fine when I was working, because I was gone before he started working. Then, after Grayson was born, I would just get up and out of the room before 8 so he could hop on calls. If he didn't have a call, he would leave us sleeping in there while he worked. I would take Grayson and move him to the basinet thing we had in the living room, come grab Addie and move her out there, come back and grab a little basket that I had full of my pain pills (for my c-section), lanolin (hello, breastfeeding), glasses and contact case, tissues, chapstick, and who knows what else. Then I would camp out on the couch for the day. Looking back that was insane and I don't know why we did it, but we were sleep deprived and not thinking clearly. 

After awhile it dawned on us that we had an empty room upstairs that would be perfect for an office since it was clearly not being used as a nursery, and that was that. A could have his office and I could continue sleeping in a comfy bed. I mean, really. I can't believe we spent like two months or so doing it the way we originally were. But it sure didn't make for a very cute room! 

Guest Room
 Really the only thing I did in the guest room was paint the walls a deeper tan than they originally were. I have a hard time with plain white walls, so I paint whenever possible. This wasn't a huge room, but it was a great size for a guest bedroom. I've kind of done away with red in our new place because I had it for so long. Seriously, I had red everything for yeeeaaaarrrrrsssss. I still think it's pretty, I'm just over it.

 There ya have it! Our (old) bedrooms. It's funny how much my style has changed over the years. None of our rooms even resemble these in any way now. I kind of wish A would allow me to change our house with the seasons...have you ever seen people who do that? I feel like I'll know we've really made it when I can have a "fall" look, then my "winter", or "holiday" decor, then brighten it up for spring, then maybe do something almost nautical or beach-y for summer. This is what I daydream about, people. Home decor.

BTW, how proud are you feeling right now? I've blogged somewhat consistently for a couple of weeks now! I feel like you should be proud of me. And by you, I mean you, Mom. I'm somewhat sure you're the only one still reading. If anyone else is still out there, thanks! And hi ;)

I'll Be There For You.

Oh, I went there. I'm doing it. I'm posting about Friends. I mean, I have to. Friends is my all time, hands down, 100%, no doubt about it, FAVORITE show Of. All. Time. So since everyone is commemorating the fact that the show first aired 20 years ago this week, I have to jump on the bandwagon. Sorry not sorry.

Friends is one of those shows that relates to literally everything that happens in life. I'm not kidding. Almost every day something happens where I want to say "Hey, do you remember the episode where blah blah blah....". I say I want to say, because I learned awhile ago that no, my husband doesn't remember that episode, and no, he doesn't think it's hilarious, nor does he care. I made him watch all 10 seasons of Friends on DVD with me not long after we got together. I was smart, because only in the beginning of a relationship would a guy willingly watch 10 seasons of any show that isn't violent and/or extremely sexual. But even though he watched it and did in fact think that it was a good show, he somehow doesn't think it's hilarious to constantly reminisce about it.

I do.

Friends is one of the only consistent things that has been in my life for the past 20 years. And no, I don't think that's sad. It's one of the only shows that I will watch any time it comes on, no matter how many times I've seen that particular episode. I would say it's a safe bet that I've seen every single episode at least 10 times at this point. Again, not sad. Awesome.

Friends has been there for me through good times and bad. It taught me so much. Yes it did, shut up.

It taught me about true friendship. It taught me that sometimes friends can be more like family, and sometimes even more important in your life than your own family. It taught me that everyone goes through an awkward phase, even if they end up as gorgeous as Rachel Green someday. It taught me that sometimes two people belong together and that no matter what, they will end up together...because they are each others lobster, obviously. It taught me that living in New York as a struggling actor with no actual job is not only doable, but that you can live in a spacious apartment in a safe area, too!

Wait, that one wasn't true?

But seriously. I have so many ridiculous memories that include this show. I remember the first time I ever saw it, which was a few episodes into the first season. I saw them all jumping around in the water fountain and was instantly intrigued. I was 9 years old, but for some reason I was totally hooked. And as crazy strict as my parents were, they never told me I couldn't watch it.

I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, watching my little TV in my bedroom, and jumping up and down with tears in my eyes the first time Ross and Rachel kissed. I was like 10 years old, don't judge.

I remember gathering at my friend's apartment the night the final episode aired, feeling like one of my best friends was leaving forever. I'm pretty sure I cried then, too.

I remember forcing a guy I was dating to watch episodes with me, and the look of amusement he had on his face when he said, "You know, you don't have to laugh at every single joke. It's not THAT funny." That should have been my first sign to GET OUT of that relationship.

I will forever be grateful to this amazing show, and the amazing actors who played their roles so well. Knowing that every Thursday night I could tune in and forget about everything for 30 minutes got me through some seriously dark times in high school. It's amazing what an escape like television can do for the soul. I am forever a TV junkie, thanks in no small part to Friends.

So today I remember the best show of all time, and everything that it's meant to me over the years. Friends has stuck around a lot longer than most of the actual friends I had when I was nine, so maybe that's why it holds such a special place in my heart. I heart Friends. Forever. The end.

Our Trip to Orange Beach

As I mentioned in my post last week (Six Tips for Road Tripping With Young Kids) we recently went on our very first family vacation. We drove out to Orange Beach, Alabama for a five night stay at a cute little resort right on the beach. Even though we always say we're going to plan out our days beforehand whenever we take a trip, it never fails that we just kind of wing it once we get there. And that's exactly what we did.

A and I are the worst about weighing our options and finally picking a place to stay , so it took us awhile to decide on Perdido Beach Resort, but I'm glad we did. It literally was like a two minute walk to the water. The interior decor could use a little updating, but it was clean and well taken care of, and the staff was all super nice. Definitely recommend it if you ever happen to visit the Alabama coast.

I also mentioned in my last post how we came about visiting Orange Beach, since Alabama seems like a random vacation. If you didn't read it, a few months ago when we were trying to figure out where to take our trip, I came up with the brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea of making it a goal to see all 50 states as a family. I've always said it's a goal of mine, so why not rope everyone else into it with me? A said sure, whatever you say (he was probably watching sports and half listening)...so then I decided to make it even more interesting. I said something to the effect of "Babe, wouldn't it be fun if we saw all of the states in alphabetical order? Wouldn't that be such a fun and random way to see everything? Oh my gosh, yes! Let's do that! OK, so we'll go to Alabama this summer! I love it!". And he said something to the effect of "Alabama? What the hell are we going to do in Alabama?", and I said "They have beaches.", and he said "Oh. Ok.". So that was that.
So that's how we ended up in Orange Beach. And no, we won't be going to Alaska next year because someone doesn't like the cold and someone doesn't understand why anyone would ever want to go to Alaska and someone said they are vetoing that idea and we will skip to the next one, thankyouverymuch.

But I'm so glad I came up with my random plan, because Orange Beach was awesome. It was the perfect beach to have a kiddo in tow. Very low key, quiet, lots of older couples and families and basically zero people who were there for a party. Grayson was a little hesitant with the water the first day, but by day two he was running into the waves as fast as he could and causing mini heart attacks in his mama.
We basically spent our time on the beach, at the pool, and eating. On our third day we went to Pensacola Beach in Florida, which was about an hour drive, and I think that may have actually been our favorite day. The beach there was beautiful, the water was a clearer blue, and we found a fun little outdoor boardwalk area to walk around for awhile. The time passes so fast while you're on vacation, I can't believe we were actually there for four full days. But it was an absolute blast, and Grayson was seriously amazing. With a 16 month old it's kind of a gamble, and we were so pleasantly surprised.
A decided that he wanted to extend the trip by a day, so we debated on staying an extra night or stopping in New Orleans on the way home for a night. When we woke up our last day it was dark and gloomy with a high chance of rain all day, so that made the decision for us. New Orleans was only about three hours away, so we were there early in the afternoon and got to spend several hours exploring the French Quarter and Jackson Square.

I had been to New Orleans years ago, I believe the summer after I graduated high school, and I remembered it vaguely as being a very cool city. It was fun to be there again though, and I'm glad A got a chance to see it. His verdict was awesome city, would love to go back, but definitely not with a kid. Surprisingly, we saw several other people with little ones, but it's definitely not a super kid-friendly area. I never felt uncomfortable or like Grayson was unsafe in any way - but we did take a maybe five minute stroll down Bourbon Street and I can safely say that it is NO place for a baby. It was like we were on a casual little stroll, we turned onto Bourbon and everyone was NUTS. It was loud, people were screaming and dancing and literally 90% of the people looked wasted. Luckily G was napping in his stroller, and I have no idea how, but he slept through that entire debacle. The minute we turned down the street we looked at each other and started laughing and were like we have to get out of here!

The cutest part of the New Orleans stay was watching Grayson. That kid loves to dance, and the minute he hears music he starts moving. In stores, in the car, while he's eating, no matter what he's doing. There are street performers everywhere and music on every corner, so he literally danced his way through the entire French Quarter. He drew in quite a crowd at one point and some drunk guy came and gave me a hug and thanked me over and over again, telling me how amazing and wonderful Grayson was. It was hilarious. I swear this kid has a future in entertainment.

Overall the trip was pretty amazing. There were obviously some tantrums here and there (mostly from G), some bickering over where we should eat or what we should do, but for the most part it was wonderful. It made me want to take a vacation at least once a month. I mean, that seems totally reasonable. Can't wait for our next trip!

My Pinterest Life

This is where I live on Pinterest. Won't you come in?

Do you ever want to live inside your Pinterest? Like, just crawl up inside your Pinterest boards? They are so beautiful, and organized, and full of creativity and deliciousness and happiness. There's just so much goodness there. It's delightful.

Luckily, I'm pretty fond of my actual life, so it's not sad or anything. Really, it's not....I'm afraid I made it sound sad somehow. Anyhow, in an attempt to bring a little bit of that Pinterest wonder into my every day life, I did something crazy and made a board for pins I actually plan on doing. Like, within the near future. Because, I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but my "crafty" board alone has like a billion pins. It gets a little overwhelming after awhile. So I needed an official "to-do" list of sorts. And I named this board "My Official To-Do List". I'm nothing if not creative.

Now, I kept my board private, because...I'm not sure. Maybe I thought it would be embarrassing for everyone to see all of the things I actually plan on doing if it takes me forever to do them. Or maybe the thrill of a secret board is just too great. Secrets are fun, I don't care what that rhyme says.

So, that being said, I plan on sharing with you all what I accomplish. I'm already on a role with the cooking, which is really saying something. I've started doing a weekly meal planning kind of thing (yet again...I haven't been great at sticking with this) and I've tried several recipes just in the last couple of weeks, and we've only had one absolute disaster. Like, I chunked it in the trash and had leftovers for dinner disaster.

Until then, wander on over to my Pinterest boards and join me in my lavish lifestyle. It's so great there. No tantrum throwing toddlers, no toilets that need cleaning, no zillions of toys on the living room floor...and there's an entire board full of mostly alcohol infused beverages, if you're into that kind of thing.

Six Tips for Road Tripping With Young Kids

A few weeks ago we took our first family vacation with Grayson. Growing up, my family took a vacation every single year, and it's something I have always told A I would love to do with ours. I think time away to relax and forget about the day-to-day grind is so important, and I love seeing new things along the way. Our family was big on road trips - my first flight was actually at 17 because my dad drove us everywhere - and I still love a good road trip when possible.

When we were trying to decide where we wanted to go I had a genius idea that was helped along by my mild OCD tendencies. As eclectic and random as I am, I still like to do things in a certain order...so I decided that we should make it a goal to see all 50 states as a family, and we should do so alphabetically. Soooo, Alabama was the winner for family trip numero uno! I know Alabama may not seem all that exciting, but it has literally the only thing the husband cares about, and that is BEACH. I did a little Googling and found lovely little Orange Beach. Family friendly and a mere 11 hour drive. Easy peasy.

But oh. Keep in mind, friends, that we had a 16 month old child in tow. I knew that with Grayson's lack of patience and tantrum throwing and whining (aka, being a toddler) that we would have to plan well to make this trip enjoyable. We discussed several options beforehand, and I really think that what we came up with worked out super well. In case you're traveling soon and need some help, here are the things that worked for us.

1.  Leave Early

We debated driving overnight and getting to Alabama early in the day, but after a lot of debate we decided early was the best option. If we drove overnight Grayson would sleep the entire way, and then we would be exhausted when we got there and he would be ready to start the day. This way we would get to the room right around bedtime and we could wake up bright and early, well-rested and ready to hit the beach.

We planned on leaving by 6 AM, and made it out of the house right around 7. To be honest that was better than I expected knowing how much last minute stuff always seems to come up. It worked out well because we had breakfast in the car, put on a movie, and Grayson ended up falling asleep around 8 since he woke up so early. That made for a long morning nap that lasted nearly until our first planned stop. Even with all of the stops along the way, we were checking into our hotel right around 10 PM. So a total of about 13 hours travel. Not too shabby for an 11 hour drive!

2. DVD Player/iPad = Your Best Friend

We have an iPad and talked about downloading a few movies for G to watch, but decided that we'd rather go for a portable DVD player. He got a few movies for his birthday that he hadn't ever watched, so we thought that would entertain him for a while. The player that we got actually came with two screens (not needed now, but helpful when we have more kiddos) and was something like $75. Not bad for an investment that probably saved us hours worth of screaming child.

He's still rear-facing, so we strapped the player onto the middle seat and he just zoned out. I'm not huge on lots of TV watching for him, but to be honest he can usually take it or leave it at this point so it's never an issue. But for some reason he was totally into it in the car. Randomly, The Jetsons was his favorite movie. Thank you, Target $5 DVD sale.


This was key. KEY. I packed a big duffel bag full of snacks for all of us. Convenience stores used to reel me and A in like crazy when we would drive back and forth from Oklahoma, and we probably spent like $50 a trip in junk food that we shouldn't be eating anyway. Live and learn. This time I had granola bars for G and for the two of us, candied almonds for myself, two ziplock baggies of cheerios, veggie straws, yogurt pretzels, and those little organic puff things for toddlers. I also took a little cooler full of bottled water and pouches full of some coconut water berry smoothie thing for babies that I found at Target.

Every single time he would start to fuss, I would reach into my magic bag and pull out something that I could hand him. It worked like a charm. The only downside is that I almost lost my mind from hearing "mo! mo! moooooohhhhh!" a billion times. Mo = "more" in Grayson speak. We're currently working on "Mo Peeez!", which is much more polite :)

4. ToysToysToys

I took yet another bag full of some of his favorite toys and probably five books. If the movies and the snacks failed me, I had something else up my sleeve. He was surprisingly into the books, and I definitely figured out what toys are his favorites. Anything that plays music was a clear winner, and his little stuffed animals were big, too. I would say I maybe overdid it in this area, though. Probably would have been good with like a handful of toys, because if he wasn't in the mood for one, he wasn't in the mood for any. He would just toss them to the side, one after the other, until I was out of options.

Then I'd just try to give him another snack.

5.  Frequent Breaks

We planned our breaks out in advance. We knew Shreveport, Louisiana was about a 3 1/2 hour drive from home, so we planned to get out, stretch our legs, and have an early lunch. We found an outdoor shopping mall and just walked around for maybe 30-45 minutes. To a one-year-old, this was plenty of fun. We went to Bass Pro Shop, which was a new experience for all of us, and made it painfully aware how much we don't know about country living. But Grayson did find a stuffed horse he simply couldn't live without, so there's that.

From there, it was around a four hour drive to Jackson, Mississippi. If you have never used the Roadtrippers app, I highly recommend it. If you enter in your starting point and destination, it tells you everything that you can find along your route. Kind of a lifesaver. We actually found this amazing children's museum where Grayson had the time of his life for over an hour. From there we had a quick dinner, and were ready for the last leg. It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Jackson to Orange Beach, and it was by far the toughest stretch. We didn't get there until about 10, which was two hours past normal bedtime. For some reason he wouldn't sleep, so it was meltdown city for the last hour. But I mean, not terrible for a 16 month old child who had spent eleven hours in a car.

6. Arrive at Your Destination BEFORE Bedtime

Lesson. Learned. This would be my only change. Leave two hours earlier, avoid the late night meltdown. Even if he would have fallen asleep, we were running the risk of him waking up and then being up for hours. We're past the point of being able to transfer him from the car without waking him, so if he would have slept from 8-10, chances are he would have seen that as a nice little two hour nap and stayed up until well after midnight. So yes, plan to get to your destination right around bedtime. If You can't do that in a day, consider making it a two-day trip with an overnight stay along the way. I guarantee that's what we will do next time.

So there you have it! My words of wisdom. I was oh-so incredibly surprised by how well our trip went, and I like to think it had a little something to do with my planning ahead. Totally could have been luck.

I'll be back with a recap of our trip, which will probably mainly be pictures of Grayson on the beach and me ranting and raving about food. Actually, that pretty much sums it all up, so not sure I even need the recap post...

Happy travels, y'all!

Three Years of Wedded Bliss

Today we celebrate three years of marriage. Friday we celebrate six years of dating. In some ways it seems like we've been together forever (and some days it feels like foooorrrreeeeevvvvveeeerrrrr. Ha, mostly kidding!), and in others it seems like I'm still getting to know him.

In six years I've learned so much about who I am, what kind of wife I want to be, and what kind of marriage I hope to have. I've learned that I have basically zero patience, a short fuse, and a tendency to yell. I've learned that he won't fight back, likes time to cool off, and is probably just as impatient as me. I've also learned that we are excellent communicators, that we love to make each other laugh, and that date night is absolutely essential in a healthy marriage. I've learned that being new parents together is hard, but that it's wonderful, and that it's the best thing we could have done for our marriage and our relationship. I've watched him grow and mature from a crazy, hilarious college guy who I first saw dancing on a stage with a faux hawk, into a handsome, hard-working, responsible father. And an amazing father, at that.

Three years of marriage, and six years together. We are so still newlyweds, really. We so don't have it figured out. But it is so great, and so fun, and so wonderful, and there is so no one else I would ever want to do this thing with. He is my best friend, and I am his, and even if we drive each other nuts some days, we always come back to this place of being so happy to be here. In this amazing little life that we've created, with this amazing little baby that we made. I can't wait to see where we'll be after thirty years of marriage, or sixty years together. I bet it will be a beautiful life.

Home Tour - The Bathrooms

Oh my gosh. So I haven't been blogging lately (obviously), but I've been wanting to find time to get back into it. Since it's been so long and I'm feeling a little out of practice, I've just been going through old drafts that I never finished, just to see what I had going on. So that's how I found all of these photos - these admittedly terrible quality photos - of our old house. Even though we no longer live there, I thought I'd still post them. I feel a little nostalgic for our first home now, so why not go with it? 

Guest Bath

My number one issue with this bathroom, and the half bath downstairs, was the awful linoleum floors. Installing tile was high on my list of priorities. If we wouldn't have moved I'm quite sure we would have ended up doing it at some point. Oh, and those seashell sinks. Shudder. Those things just scream early 90s to me. 

Half Bath

Same unfortunate linoleum flooring, same unfortunate sink. This half bath was right off of our living room, so it's the one that our guests used the most often. The only thing I did in here was paint the walls tan (they were originally white), and it made such a huge difference in such a tiny space. 

Master Bath

When we moved in this bathroom was so blah. All white walls, aside from the back wall, which was this navy and white vertical striped wallpaper. The ultra-90s-wallpapered wall also showcased a huge solid mirror. Everything was just so very white. So the minute we moved in I painted and ripped that mirror down (this is a lie, other people did these things for me) in order to spice things up a bit. I didn't mind the tile since it went with my whole gray and black scheme. But those freaking sinks! Ugh. I actually really liked our bathroom, it was a decent size for the two of us to share, and aside from the fact that we had literally not a single drawer, it covered our needs. 

So there you have it. Our first home...our first bathrooms. So fun to reminisce. Eventually I want to do a house tour of our new house, which will include photos from my new fancy pants camera, yay! But at the rate this blogging thing is going it will most likely be around 2017 when I get those up. I'm sure you're just on the edge of your seat waiting for them, yeah?

Where I'm From.

I lived in the same small town from the age of two until I went to college at 18. Less than 3,000 people made up the entire population, and I graduated with a class of around 60. My dad was the banker in town...the president of literally the only bank there. This meant that basically everyone knew him...and by default, knew who I was.

I was watched, constantly. Not only by my overprotective parents, but by everyone else as well. My parents knew everything I'd done before I even walked through the door five minutes later. It was a strange way to grow up, but it was all I knew. It gave me a false sense of security, and probably of entitlement. I was one of the "rich girls" in town with a nice car and a big house. There wasn't a lot of that in my hometown.

But one thing that my parents always made sure I knew is that I was no better than anyone else. Because I wasn't. If I would have lived just 30 minutes away in Tulsa, we would have been your average upper middle class family. We may have been more fortunate than others, and I was well aware of that, but I hope and pray that I never, ever came across as snobby or stuck up.

In a small school there aren't a whole lot of "cliques". There typically are just "the popular kids"...no jocks or skaters or potheads or cheerleaders. Sure, we had all of those things, but none of that determined who was popular and who wasn't. I'm really not sure what did. Even though I fell in line with the more popular group, I truly believed I was a friend to everyone. I've always been on the quieter side, a little more shy especially at a young age, and I'm afraid that may have come across as something that it wasn't. But I do know that I had several kids write in my yearbook that last year and thank me for always being so nice to them...and that meant more to me than being "popular" ever could have.

Life in that town was so easy for me in so many ways, and so hard in others. From the outside it must have looked like I really had it all going for me. "Rich" parents, a "huge" house, a nice car, I was a cheerleader, I had a lot of friends...I'm sure some people were envious, and I know others hated me for it. But in my actual life, on the inside where no one could see, it wasn't so wonderful. My parents didn't get along. At all. We lacked a real family unit. At that point, it was basically me and my mom, and then my dad. We rarely ever did anything as a family....I even remember thinking it was strange if the three of us went somewhere together or spent any amount of time together, and inevitably things would end unpleasantly.

From the end of my freshman year until just after graduation, I dated an older guy who treated me terribly. So terribly. I have never been so disrespected in my life, and after that relationship I knew I would never let it happen again. He constantly cheated on me, lied to me, put me down...he would promise to come see me, then never show up. Days later he would call and turn it into my fault somehow. He did a lot of drugs, and he took me into some really sketchy situations that looking back on I cannot believe I allowed myself to be in as such a young girl. I never, ever tried one drug or took one sip of alcohol when I was with him, and I'm sure I have my parents influence to thank for that. I repeatedly found out about girls that he slept with...a friend of a friend, a girl we went to church with, a younger girl at school. It was miserable. I was horribly depressed, not only because of him, but because I truly suffered from depression. I contemplated suicide. I hated my life. I thought things would never get better.

And yet, I had it all...in the eyes of all the people surrounding me in that tiny little town, I really had it all going for me. Sure, people knew about the crazy boyfriend, but I'm positive no one really knew what was going on, aside from friends of his who had little sympathy for me. People just knew I was dating this guy who went to our school a few years before and had a not-so-great reputation. I'm sure people wondered why on earth we were together, but while I was at school he rarely came up.

I think growing up in that type of place really makes me appreciate the anonymity that comes with living in a bigger city. I rarely run into people I know. I'm just another face in the crowd. I don't have to worry about constantly being judged. I don't have any type of image to uphold, because no one knows me here. Sure, I miss the slower pace, the friendly faces, the sense of community...there are some really amazing advantages to growing up in a small town, and I'll forever be grateful that I had that experience. But thank God I married a man who would never survive in a small town...because I'm positive I could never go back.

I haven't been to my hometown, other than a quick drive through, in several years. My parents got divorced and they both moved. Very few of my friends still live there. I have no reason to go. It makes me nervous just thinking about it...all the people I'd see, the questions I'd be asked...people's surprise at seeing me there. I don't feel like I have any enemies by any means, in fact, I mostly have warm feelings for the people from that phase in my life. Sometimes I feel a little homesick...not so much for the actual physical place, but just for that time in my life. Although it was far from perfect, especially in my later years there, it was home. I felt safe, loved, protected...there's just something about living with your mom and your dad that can never be replaced. I'm just so far removed from that now, it feels so foreign. Even though growing up there is so much a part of who I am, it seems like another life. I'm so thankful for everything I experienced, even the less than pleasant side of things, because I'm sure I wouldn't be who I am today without it.