Archives for posts with tag: moving

What are you grateful for?

The last two years have been a whirlwind for my family. A lot of change, new experiences, opportunities, adjustments, and relationships. 2017 has carried a lot of that. I am still in disbelief that this year is coming to a close. We have had so much happen, good and bad, in these last 11 months. It feels like New Year’s Eve was just yesterday. Today is Thanksgiving, a day in which we are supposed to pause and be thankful for what we have experienced over the course of a year. It is not my favorite holiday, mostly because it has become centered around overindulgence during a moment when we are supposed to be thankful. I find it a little counterintuitive. I love the thankful portion of the moment, so I am going to break down the things I am thankful for this year. They are not in an order of thankfulness, more of a stream of consciousness. Taking time to pause and reflect on the good in my life.

  1. We met many great people in the six years living in the ‘burbs. I made friendships that I cherish with people that inspire me. That said, there was always something missing from me personally. I fell madly in love with the city and moving away from it proved that to me. I’m thankful we made the fast, and slightly impulsive, decision to pack up and go back to where our hearts remained.
  2. My work at Carry the Future. I truly love being a part of the work being done. I’ve spent the last six months under the leadership of a very smart, funny, strong, capable woman. For whom I have immense respect and admiration. When people ask me what I do and I reply, “I’m a writer.” The next question is usually what for or where. My favorite part of that moment is when I tell them I write for a refugee organization.
  3. The path my career is on in general. I am so thankful I made the decision to go back to working outside of solely caring for the boys I love so much. Being a stay at home mom for 6 years was a wild ride. I reached a point where I was ready to do something for me. I am immensely thankful for the opportunities I have found. And for the people who have taken a chance on me.
  4. The women in my life that encouraged me to “run for something.” That turned into running for a co-chair position on the PTO. My first experience in running for something. I was so hesitant and nervous, but I did it and I am eternally thankful to the women who, post-Election 2106, looked at me and said that they thought I should run for something, anything, out there.
  5. The dear friend and woman who approached me to run for Secretary of the PTO. I hadn’t set my eyes on that at all. I was doing my co-chair work. She came to me and said she thought I was more than capable to make something with this position. That my talents were needed there. I was again, hesitant (something I am getting better at). I took my time to think it over. Ultimately, I said let’s do this. I have been enjoying my time SO much as PTO Secretary. I love the role and the frequent work that comes with it. The other day I was finishing up a task and just paused to think how happy I am that I have taken the role and made it my own.
  6. On that note, all the women I’ve been working with in general. I wear a few hats these days and under every single one is a strong team of women. Sometimes I sit back and think, “wow! We really do and can run the world.” I am so thankful to be working with and learning from them.
  7. That Jackson has done so well adjusting to a new school and a new home. Being older, he takes note of things a little more than Alexander does. The nuances of change have more of an impact on him. He has done it all with such courage, humor, and confidence. I am so proud that he is my son.
  8. Alexander’s conquering of his medical issues and his amazing speech improvement. He doesn’t stop talking. I can close my eyes and remember how I longed to hear his opinions and now he never ever stops talking. He is shaping up to be as chatty as Jackson! I am so excited for him and so proud of him.
  9. We are entering year 10 of marriage! Which is crazy to think because I am only 32, but here we are. Almost 13 years together and almost 10 years married. Ups, downs, and all arounds. He stills grabs my butt like we just started dating, so something is working! HA!
  10. That I am in a place in life where I can give back to my community and world. I feel so thankful that I can be charitable and volunteer my time and instill these values in my children. Being a generous helper is something I want them to grow up knowing, doing, and loving.

Happy Thanksgiving. May your servings be calorically appropriate. May you take a moment to reflect on your year and focus in on the reasons to smile and say, “that was good.”



Last week I was lucky enough to be accepted as a RedTri Spoke Contributor! I am so excited about this opportunity to share my voice in their community.

In Defense of Downsizing takes a look at what happens when you look into your heart and family and make choices based on the answers you find. I explain our journey to living with less space and more time together.

I hope to remain active in this contributor community. I will always share with you whatever work I am fortunate enough to submit and have published.

Do you have any pieces that have been published on different sites, blogs, communities? Share your links below!

Yesterday we spent the day packing. Packing up our downtown Chicago condo. We are set to close on Wednesday. Meaning in TWO days we will, in all likelihood, no longer own a piece of real estate downtown.We have been trying to sell this on and off since Fall 2010. We had some renters that ended in disaster and eviction. It has been a long journey.

It is more than that though. It isn’t so much about the details of a piece of real estate that I am writing about. That was our first home together. Jason already owned it when we met, but together we made it a home in many ways. It wasn’t quite the home we have now. The home we have now is so family oriented, a bit more mature, and much more responsible. Filled with a different kind of love, care, and understanding. We moved here when I was pregnant.

But the condo was the home of our early-mid 20’s. Part of our first date was there, our first kiss was on the balcony. I can remember it clearly. That is where we had many get togethers with good friends. That is where Jason proposed! I know the exact spot in the living room. It is where we grew together as a couple. Where we had time to be young and ridiculous. Messy and lazy. Staying up until 4 am catching up on seasons of Lost, 24, and other shows. We were carefree in many ways. I was in school. I received my degree while living there. I spent many nights up scrambling to finish a paper before the next morning.

We had a lot and I mean  A LOT of fun while living there. I can recall one particular New Year’s Day hangover. I was miserable. The night before in the condo was a blast. I laid on the couch all day, drifting in and out of sleep. Jason watched a day long marathon of the Planets of the Apes movies. We ordered burgers through DiningIn. I can recall that day perfectly. That is just one example. We loved (and still do but with responsibility like a babysitter) having a good time.

That is where we made Jackson. That is where we started trying to grow our family. It is where we brought home our 3rd kitten. We fell in love there. We had fights there. We planned a wedding while living there. We had more fights there. We came home from a 2 week honeymoon to start the rest of our married life together there. It was such a huge part of us and our relationship. I didn’t really notice it at the time. Sometimes I said I hated that condo. It felt small to me at times. I wanted a little more room. As you grow sometimes the amount of things you have grow as well. Things get tight.

I love our doorman Thomas. And now I might start crying. I haven’t been able to say good bye. He doesn’t work weekends. Yup, here come the tears. Once I thought about him my emotions lost it. He is a wonderful man. So friendly. I have spent HOURS and HOURS talking to him. There were a few other doormen that came and went. I always liked them all but none of them were Thomas. I have never gotten sad or cried when thinking we wouldn’t see any of them again. My family and Jason’s family loved Thomas too. He is just a warm spirit. He has met Jack. We even have a photo together. The 3 of us. When Jack was 4 months old. Yeah this paragraph and trip down memory lane just made me lose it.

I know we didn’t want to live the rest of our life in that particular unit. It is hard to grow as a family there. It was a great bachelor/young adult pad. It was gorgeous. It was perfect for that. It was perfect for that part of our life. Jack loves playing there the times we have taken him. But it just wasn’t right for the rest of our family life together. I keep telling myself that. Maybe one day I will actually believe it.

I miss the city in so many ways. Often too. I am not miserable in the suburbs. There are wonderful things about living out here. Seeing Jack play in our yard is one of them. Walking to a huge park that is on a quiet lake is another. Running around the lake like I do. There are good things about the Burbs. I just really loved the city. Living in the heart of downtown Chicago is a way of life. If you do it you have to love it. We loved it. I miss our restaurants and how it was empty on weekends. We lived in the business/theater district. So literally a couple blocks over from Sears (Willis) Tower and right down the street from Daley Plaza. I miss just going for a walk through the city for the heck of it together. We go on walks out here. But the people watching isn’t as great. Ha!

I am sad today. I could write on and on about nostalgic things. I could write every happy memory, every fight, every moment. I won’t keep going though. It will only make it tougher in the long run. Yesterday was much easier because Jackson kept me so distracted. He went to bed after 10. I doubt he will be up any time soon. It is going to be a long sad morning! Ha! We have to do something fun today. The weather has cooled. So I want to go do something distracting.

Good bye old faithful friend. Thank you for being such a huge part of my 20’s. Thank you for being such a big part of my relationship and marriage. Thank you for all the fun crazy times we had there. Thank you for nursing my hangovers. Thank you for giving the me experience of living in downtown Chicago. Thank you. I will miss you. I half hope the deal falls apart on Wednesday. There I said it. Honesty and all…..