I can’t believe today you turn six. What’s even harder to believe is you were diagnosed with a heart defect when you were only in my belly for six months.
This day six years ago we couldn’t wait to meet you. We were excited to see if you would look like daddy or if you would resemble more of me. We hoped we’d be able to hold you and kiss you but we knew those hopes were uncertain to take place. My greatest hope though was that you would be breathing, thankfully you were! Hearing you cry from across the room while your team of doctors worked on you was the greatest gift.
Fast forward to now, here I sit six years later at your tackle football practice!! How amazing!!! At one point we didn’t know if you would be able to play contact sports but just as you’ve done this whole journey you proved everyone that you’re a strong fighter who will never give up.
I have to tell you what I’m most proud of and it’s your academic accomplishments. We moved to Arizona not knowing much about the schools and hoping you would adjust well and then there you go the first month of school getting student of the month! Like who are you?! It is so amazing to watch you come home excited about what you’re learning and then watching you practice those skills all on your own. Daddy might tell you sports is most important but know mommy thinks academics comes first!
The world around us has been crazy lately and I want you to know that daddy and I will continue to do everything we can to protect you. We will not teach you to live in a world of fear so know that if you look back and realize there are things we didn’t tell you it’s because we wanted you to be a kid and enjoy your life free of fear.
I hope that when you read this when your older you are still thriving. I have the highest hopes for your future and I can’t wait to see all that you will accomplish but for now I look forward to what this next year brings because I know it’s going to be awesome😃
Always remember you’re my warrior, my fighter, and my hero.
So there’s all these weird superstitions revolving the number 13, the most common one being when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, you know the dreaded Friday the 13th? The 13th of the month has a whole new meaning to our family significant to our new journey in Arizona. Yesterday being the 13th marked one month since the kids and I got on a plane and arrived in our new home but it also marked four months since my husband started his job here. It’s hard to believe we’ve only been together again as a family for a month but I guess no matter how long you are apart if you really are family it will always automatically be right again. Don’t mistake that for its been easy because transitions like this with young children are hard. It has been and is still at times hard for them to accept that I am not the only one that can help them. They relied soley on me for 95 days, give or take the few days daddy was home here and there, so the adjustment back to having two parents being able to do things for them is hard. The most difficult time for this is bedtime. We had such a routine about how shower, pjs, teeth brushing, story time, and getting tucked in went that trying to add in the second parent was something neither of them were willing to accept, if it wasn’t mommy doing it then it wasn’t happening. It seems that having daddy help certain nights doing certain things works for them so if thats what makes nighttime not so stressful we will go with it plus I love reading to them at night even if I know the books by heart.
For the first time on Wednesday I actually felt like this was home. Dying to know why? My daughter had dance class. Its kind of crazy right that after a month its taken a simple dance class to make Arizona feel even remotely close to home. Even after registering my son for kindergarten and my daughter for preschool and doing dance and football registration, having my grocery store and don’t forget Starbucks of choice and the Walmart I favor and I of course had to find the closest Michael’s which is conveniently smack dab between a Target and a Starbucks (thank you shopping Gods) it still just didn’t feel like home. Maybe because the last month has been filled with unpacking, having no schedule and not knowing anyone that the lack of emotional attachment to this new place we call home just wasn’t there. But Wednesday when I got her dressed for dance class and we got in the car and pulled into the studio parking lot and I put her ballet shoes on and she went into class like she knew exactly what she was doing did it finally seem real. She walked in with such confidence like this new studio and teacher and classmates weren’t going to stop her from doing what she loves and this is why having kids is so amazing. It took my 3 year old to show me that this new place doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the things we love or our ability to do them we just have to be open and adjust to this new adventure. Boy was she open, she kicked butt in class and I’m so proud and thankful for the confidence she is able to radiate, my star in the making. Of course the no family thing is hard but as we start planning our first trip home and we continue to FaceTime with those who are making the effort to stay active in our lives I know that we will see eachother again and be able to embrace the time we have together.
As we put this first month behind us we have so many things to look forward to. Football practice starts in nearly two weeks followed by school starting just a week later. We get to do fun things like school shop and open house night at school and get the family pictures taken I’ve been secretly dying for since we made the decision to move. I know as time goes on things will get easier and hopefully this new place we consider home will truly start to feel like it.
You were thinking 4th of July – let’s party – while I was thinking first holiday without- home, family, friends, and baseball. The morning was hard, I woke up to an almost empty house since Jay was off being an awesome boss and taking breakfast to his employees who had to work and he took Bray along since he was up before us and is always asking about the new plant. Makayla was still sleeping so I picked up my phone like I do every morning to check my messages and emails and then I opened my Facebook app and up pops the On This Day. I of course have to click to see what comes up and it’s all of our great pictures from the last few 4th of Julys at the baseball field and the park and pictures of my brothers and I together.
[ It’s not easy being away from family especially on the days where you typically have a tradition. I know that once we meet people that these things may get easier but probably never fully be okay.]
So after going through the pictures I chalked the day up to be a loss in my head and half shut down. Jay called and asked what I wanted him to get me for breakfast and unlike myself I said nothing just come home. By the time him and Bray arrived Makayla was in bed with me and we were watching Paw Patrol together. Bray comes upstairs and handed me my Starbucks drink of choice which I didn’t ask for but the gesture from my husband was nice. After talking about his visit to daddy’s work everyone left and I decided I needed to start the day. I ended up taking my sadness, anger and annoyance on cleaning my car and I have to say nothing makes me happier then a vacuumed, wiped down Pilot😍
Jay and I had a nice conversation about our plans for the next few weeks and where we want to visit followed by our plans for the day. I made fresh burgers which we grilled for lunch and then we all got to relax and take naps before we headed over to the entertainment area not far from our house. Side note- events don’t start around here until 4-5pm because it’s just to hot.
We decided our first piece of business at Westgate was to get dinner so we went to Mama Gina’s Pizzeria and got a delicious pizza…
We did have to wait a few minutes for a table so the kids took in the sites and checked out the fire trucks shooting water on daddy’s shoulders
After dinner we joined the crowd and walked around the plaza ending up at these really neat fountains…
We hung out for a little while and listened to the DJ before we trekked back to the car to set up for the fireworks and boy were we in a good spot. We happened to park right in front of where they were setting them off the downside to this was the hour wait getting out of the parking lot😐 Needless to say our attempts in not letting today go to waste were successful. We had a nice night as a family celebrating and experiencing new things together and that’s what makes this crazy journey we’re on so special.
From my family to yours we hope you all had a great 4th of July too,
Two weeks ago the kids and I boarded a plane unsure of what life was going to hold. Now two weeks in I can tell you we are surviving and making great strides in becoming settled and also preparing for the looming school year. Don’t let my “were surviving” fool you, a lot of things are different in Arizona then back in Pennsylvania.
Let’s just get it out in the open – the H.E.A.T. – yes it is Arizona and it is hot. Temperatures have been anywhere from 110-120 and yes it’s HOT! The heat is totally different though, in PA as soon as you walk out of the house you get drenched with sweat from the humidity but here instead of getting sweaty you can feel the sun on your skin hence why on the 100+ degree days you stay inside, go to a park under a canopy or stay in a pool and don’t get out.
Grocery shopping is different too, they don’t believe taco kits should come with soft shells so now I have to buy a shaker of taco seasoning and a package of shells separately. Grocery stores also don’t carry Italian sandwich bread in their bread aisles which is all we use in our house so this was a major issue but finally I found some at Walmart and all is good on the bread front again.
Street signs. In Pennsylvania we were used to seeing signs for Bethlehem, Allentown, Harrisburg, Quakertown and Philadelphia. In Arizona we see signs for Phoenix, Tucson and the one I still can’t believe I see is Los Angeles! It’s so unreal to me because I just never imagined I’d ever see a sign for L.A.
You also have to be conscious of things like – will my electric bill skyrocket if I do laundry between 12pm and 7pm on a weekday? The answer to that question is yes since electricity is triple the price during those hours (in the summer months). So you adjust and do laundry first thing in the morning, late at night or save it for the weekend!
I don’t want this to be seen as one big complaint because it’s not. So far I have loved being in Arizona, heat and all. I of course wish my family was here but thanks to technology texting, Facebook and FaceTime is making it easy to communicate with our family and friends. One of my favorite things is the amazing mountain views when I’m driving. They are so spectacular I don’t think looking down the palm tree lined road to the mountains in the distance will ever get old.
In two weeks I’ve accomplished a lot. My Arizona drivers license is on its way, Brayden is registered for kindergarten, Makayla is registered for preschool, we took care of finding a new bank and the boxes are starting to disappear from our house. There is still a lot to do especially with the school year only starting in a mere 40 days. This life change hasn’t been easy but taking it one day at a time seems to work best.
If you can’t tell I’m sitting in the corner of my sons room with my Starbucks with only one sip left sitting to my right. This is just a very tiny glimpse of my life, my disaster, my stress. I’ve got an overflowing laundry basket full of stuffed animals (we’ve already filled two trash bags and donated them), I have another (my 4th) bag from ThredUP that I’m packing and will ship off next week, Bray has trains (which he hasn’t touched in months) scattered on the floor, I have clean laundry in piles from vacation I can’t bring myself to put away because I need to be packed for an unknown amount of days in just 5 short days and well I’m done. I don’t want to sort anymore. I don’t want to take things out to put them back because I can’t pack myself. I don’t want piles of – donate – sell – trash – laying around. I don’t want to finish going through boxes in the basement. I don’t want to coordinate roofers, drywallers and property management companies. I don’t want to go through Toys for the fourth time and I definitely don’t want to be in this move any longer.
It’s coming quick with only 11 days and 56 minutes until the kids and I arrive at the airport to start a new chapter, one I’m not sure the three of us are ready for. Regardless it’s coming and I try to remind myself at some point these trash bags and boxes won’t be my life. Until then it will be Starbucks, take out and plenty more trash bags for me. I never expected this move to be easy but I definitely didn’t expect it to be this hard but when you’re alone in a situation like this how can it be anything but hard? My exhaustion and lack of motivation will have to step aside because time keeps ticking and these things don’t take care of themselves.