Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mike

When I was a young girl growing up in the 70's I knew a few things for certain. I knew that I was going to marry this guy-

I knew that no matter how hard I tried I was never going to be as good a roller skater as my friend Maren. I knew that the best jeans were Jordache and I knew how to tell the real ones from the fakes.
I also knew that my brother Mike Sabella was the coolest guy around.
I think I started idolizing him from the time I was very small. He was six years older than me and seemed to be all knowing all the time. I trusted him and believed in him like every good little sister does with their older brother.

Because of the age difference we never really argued, there wasn't a sibling rivalry between us. I mean don't get me wrong, he teased me for sure. He started calling me 'chubby' when I was a kid, I don't mean like "Nina, you shouldn't eat that you are getting chubby" I mean like "hey Chubby can you hand me the phone?". It was my name. I didn't like it, it drove me crazy but at the same time it was kind of endearing.
As the years went on and Mike moved out (I have written about that devastating event before, it was awful) he became more and more protective of me. He started to worry that I might make the wrong choices in middle school and high school. He was always sure to give me pep talks and was constantly telling me to 'stay sweet and innocent' those were the words he would write to me all the time on birthday cards and notes.

Here is a card he got me for my birthday one year and inside it says- Nina, Make these high school years pass the way they're supposed to, fun and exciting, But please stay as sweet and innocent as you are. Love, Mike.

He was 21 or 22 years old when he wrote that. I love that at age he was worried about me.

I love this picture. My hair is horrible, my dress is silly and Mike's chest hair is out of control but the picture is awesome. We look alike, and that always makes me smile.
When I was a Junior in High School I had an accident on Mike's scooter. I flew off the scooter while I was riding it and went over the handle bars, I broke the fall with my face. It was ugly. I broke my nose and my eye socket. I was in bad shape. That was the card that Mike had written and put on the flowers he brought me. I am not one that saved things like this, but when it was from him I did.
These pictures were from my high school graduation. The roses were from Mike. I lost that card. I wish I could remember what it said.
Mike was the kind of brother that when he got his license and I was 10 years old he would let me go places with him. Not always, but sometimes I was able to go to the beach with him, go to the store. Those were my favorite times when it was just the two of us. He taught me how to drive when I turned 15. He let me take my driver's test in his BMW. After I had my license sometimes we would trade cars. I drove a 66 Mustang. I would make sure that my car was always clean and full of gas for him, he would hand over his car filthy dirty and on empty. I would get mad and tell him that it wasn't fair. He would say "Nina, just because it says empty doesn't mean it really is empty, you have miles and miles to go" that little piece of advice got me into trouble several times...

One time in late 1988 he had been living in Hollywood and he wanted to show me around. We went to the movies at The Beverly Center and then we went to dinner at Ed Debevic's. I remeber that night like it was yesterday. In December of 1988 on his birthday he and I went and picked out the family Christmas tree together, it was awesome. I didn't have any idea at the time that it would be his last birthday, his last Christmas. I didn't know how heartbroken I would be the following year. I had no idea that I could ever feel that much pain.
Mike has been gone for 23 years. For the first five years after he died I had a dream about him every single night. Every night. Sometimes they were sad, sometimes they were happy. But every night when I went to sleep I knew I would have a dream about him. He truly was the best brother any girl could ever ask for. He loved me so much and he made sure I knew it. It breaks my heart to think that he never got a chance to be a dad, to be a husband, to see the success that I was sure would one day be his. He had many friends and there are so many others that miss him as I do. None as much as my parents did of course. After Mike died both my parents walked around with a little piece of their hearts gone forever. They were never the same. My dad became more sentimental, more emotional. My mom became harder, more abbrasive and more distant. She didn't want to let anyone too close. I can't imagine what it was like for them. I am just so glad that now they are all together. Sometimes I resent the fact that they all left. Sometimes I hate that I feel like my Dad gave up. I want to scream 'WHAT ABOUT ME!' but I know in my heart that everything happens for a reason and there is a plan for me.
This is Mike and his best friend Kevin a few weeks before Mike passed away.

My kids and my niece and nephew never got to meet Mike. It is so important to me that they get to know him through me and through our brother Danny. I want them to know how funny Mike was, how he loved Danny and I both so much. His famiy was very important to him. He was good to his mother and respected his father. He liked the ladies and he had tons of friends. He partied a little too much but he worked very hard. He was talented and loved music more than anything.

I have no idea what he would be like now at 49 years old. I imagine he would mostly be the same. I guess he would probably still be calling me Chubby. I do know that if he was here we would be celebrating his birthday together.

I miss you Mike Sabella. Happy Birthday.
Love,
Chubby

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

home.

I have been thinking about posting on here lately. I just haven't known where to start or what to write. Then about 10 minutes ago one of my lifelong best friends and her sister drove by my childhood home and snapped a picture and posted it to my facebook wall. It rocked my world. It instantly had me sobbing.

It's not as if I haven't seen it or driven by it myself since we moved out 22 years ago, but now it's different. I live 3,000 miles away. I have no idea when I will ever see it again.
The memories in this home are countless. It is the very last place that my family was whole. It is the last place I saw my brother Mike. It is the last place I lived before we moved to the desert, 110 miles away. I lived here from the time I was five years old until I was 21. It's not a fancy home, it's not bad either. It's a simple home that a wonderful family lived in.

I learned how to ride my bike right there on that sidewalk. I sat in the living room looking out that front window waiting for my friends to pick me up as a teenager. That window is also where our Christmas tree sat year after year. Those high tension wires behind the house were where my brother, his friends and sometimes my cousin would climb. My girlfriend, (the one who took the picture) and I would sit in that front yard and wait for pizza to be delivered from the cute pizza delivery boys.

I could go on and on, the memories are countless. I love that I lived in the same house for so long. I love that so many of my friends can still drive by that house and remember being there with me. It was the only home they only knew for me. Moving to the other side of the country has made me appreciate the familiarity of home. It has made me realize what I had. I had a comfort zone. Sometimes it makes me sad that my kids won't have that. That we have owned and lived in so many different homes. Now we are renting and we know this more than likely won't be home forever. I hope that my kids remember all the places we have lived. The heart and soul that were in those houses. I hope that they can look at pictures of those homes and get the same feeling I get when I look at this one.
Home. It's a wonderful place, isn't it?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Catching Up

So, wow it's been a while. Over a month since I wrote anything on here or anywhere else really. I think it's just been a really busy month!

At the end of June we went to California (notice that I didn't way we went 'home' even though I still tend to call CA home sometimes I am working on letting go). Chris and I had to go tie up some loose ends and take care of a few things. Allison went with us. Gianna decided she wanted to stay in North Carolina with her cousins since she doesn't like to fly. Leaving her was excruciating, I felt so bad. She cried the morning we flew out and I cried all the way to California basically. By the second day things were much better and we were all good. We were very generously loaned a car by a friend for the week and we stayed with our friends that have also been storing half of our stuff for 7 months... that was one of the 'loose ends' we had to tie up, go through our stuff that was left there and decide what would eventually come to South Carolina, what could be sold and what could be tossed. It was a daunting task but we did it and we both feel so much better now that we have seen our stuff, know whats coming and were able to get rid of ALOT of it!

I had mixed feelings about going. I for sure wasn't ready. For one, we are loving it here so much and I have so been looking forward to summer here that I didn't want to miss any of it. I certainly didn't want to miss any of it to go spend time in the hot desert of Southern California. I hate the heat of the desert. I lived there for the better part of 20 years and never got used to it, never enjoyed it.
I also didn't know how I felt about going back to the place that I couldn't wait to get out of. Not California, but the desert. As we flew over the desert I could look out the window and see everything, I saw Allison's high school (man, that kid loves and misses that school soo much), I could see the streets, the country clubs, all the familiar things that were part of my life for so very long. I knew how happy Allison was to be going there, how she couldn't wait to see Blake, her friends and to go to all of her favorite places. I got it, until almost 8 months ago this was all my kids had ever known. It was their world. I took them from it. We made them give it all up and move all the way across the country to start all over. That's hard. I did my best to keep a stiff upper lip and not think about all the awful things that make me hate the desert so much and to concentrate on the things that happened there that were good. It's hard, I won't lie. I am still resentful and emotional, still not ready to say 'oh man I miss this place'.
The trip ended up going very well. My brother Danny and my niece Sarah picked us up from the airport. That was perfect. We are all very close and being away from them for this long has been hard. Danny and I usually talk at least weekly, sometimes two or three times a week but to see him, to hang out with him and Sarah was so much better than just being on the phone with them.
We spent time with people that we missed so much. Oh, I forgot! One of the highlights of the trip was surprising Chris's parents by having Allison with us! My mother in law's face when she saw her oldest granddaughter get out of the car with me was priceless! I love that she got to see them, but we were all a little sad that Gianna wasn't there too for the surprise.
Allison has had the same two best friends for almost her whole life. Chandler and Miranda. She got to see both of them and Chandler actually flew home with us. It was perfect. She has now been here two weeks and they have had so much fun together.
Aren't they cute? They have been line dancin, gone to our little water park a couple times, been to downtown Greenville a couple times, been to the movies a couple times, church, the Waffle House, they have been knitting things, well shoot I reckon they have just had all sorts of southern fun! Allison has been dying to show her friends her new home, not just the house but the area and Chandler has loved every minute of it.
A week after Chandler got here Gianna's best friend Ashton came with her big sister! It was perfect, both my girls getting to spend time in South Carolina with their two best friends!
They are so cute together too! These two have been friends literally since the day Gianna was born. Ashton is 5 months older and when I was still in the hospital after giving birth to Gianna, Ashton and her parents (who happen to be our really good friends) came to see us. We have a picture of them together in Gianna's little hospital crib. Love that they are still so close.
We had a really good time with the girls. They played games, crafted, baked, we went to a baseball game, drove around and looked at all the beautiful sights of Greenville (oh and there are so many!).

The week flew by and then on Friday the rest of the Mudry family joined the party. We had 12 people staying at our house!! It was like a giant slumber party. It was so unbelievably fun to show them around this town that we have fallen so in love with. We have been waiting to share it with some of our friends and it was just perfect. They loved it, they appreciated it and we all had a great time. 
There we all are, in Downtown Greenville at Falls Park on the Reedy River. Beautiful place, perfect weather, perfect company. What a great day.
In a few days we will have to drive Chandler back to the airport so she can fly back home to her mom and dad who were so awesome and generous to send her to us for two and a half weeks. It will be sad, and I am sure there will be some tears shed. We are all so grateful for the time we have had this summer with people that we have missed so much. The good thing is summer isn't over yet and round two of visitors begins 5 days after Chandler leaves. Allison's other best friend Miranda is coming!! We can't wait to show her around and make her a bonafide southerner!
Have I mentioned how much I love living here? :) Shoot, well just in case you haven't heard... I sure do!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For the love of facebook.

As most people know I am a big fan of facebook. I have gone through periods of being just short of obsessed. Looking back I can honestly say that during the periods of obsession it has mostly been because those were times in my life when I was looking for a distraction and facebook provided it. I don't play computer games, I don't watch much tv, and I certainly don't watch movies... so facebook was where I turned.
Facebook has been good to me. Not facebook itself but my friends on facebook. What an amazing thing that these young guys came up with. The whole social networking idea is genius. The idea that we can become 'friends' with people that we haven't seen or spoken to in ages is wonderful. Or become 'friends' with people you have never even met in person but maybe meet through a friend of a friend or a blog or whatever the case may be... Some people aren't into it, I personally know people that want none of it, they do not want to be in touch with those people. They can't figure out what the big deal is. Why would you want to re-connect with people you obviously didn't find important enough to stay connected with. You know why? Because people change, we grow up. We end up going through similar life journey's and find support in one another along the way.
During the last two years my family has been on a tremendous journey. We have had some major struggles and some serious life changing situations... through it all I had the support of so many. So many amazing friends. I can't even tell you how many people along the way have said to me 'wow, I really wish I would have gotten to know you better in high school, I think we could have been great friends'. In high school we are kids. We are judgemental, we stick with what we know. We don't venture outside our comfort zone. As adults we open ourselves up to 'different' we let our guards down and we hopefully let our insecurities go by the wayside. People that may have intimidated us at 16 are no longer quite as intimidating.
I have a friend on facebook who is going through a very stressful breakup of an abusive relationship. I can imagine she is stressed, sad and lonely. But every day she has been able to log on, post a status and get immediate response/support/love from her 'friends'. People have reached out to her and want to help. How awesome is that?
I know for me personally when things were bad, real bad some of the people that I really thought I could count on, the support that I always thought for sure I would have, it was gone. Several people in my circle didn't get what we were going through. Didn't understand that just getting out of bed in the morning was hard for me most days. Knowing that every day was going to suck was so hard to take. I have never ever said this on here or out loud to anyone but my husband and a couple of really close friends but there were times when I was on the verge of a breakdown and would consider taking my own life. It was bad. It was really bad. I shut down. I lost it. But at the end of the day I would sit down in front of my computer and see all the support and love from these people and things would be a little better. I saw that other people were going through similar situations and I was able to talk to people who didn't judge, who just seemed to 'get' me.
I didn't mean for this post to get so deep, my intentions were to keep it light and upbeat, just make it about sharing the facebook love... but sometimes I start writing and my emotions get the best of me.
I have to also mention how awesome facebook is for business networking. For spreading the word when you are trying to promote something. If it wasn't for facebook I would have only had two sales on etsy! lol. My friends support me and I so appreciate it. I hope that they think the same thing about me. I really hope that I have provided some of the same love and support to some of these people that they have to me.
The bottom line, the moral to this story is.. facebook rocks.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Revelations... and no, not like the book in the Bible, just things I have been thinking about.


************Disclaimer************
To all my friends/family in Southern California please do not take anything in this post personally. Do NOT assume that I am ever speaking of you. This is a post about ME and the way I see things and the way they relate to me. I love each and every one of you and am so unbelievably grateful you are in my life. I do NOT want another situation like I had when I wrote the post 'unsolicited advice' in other words... I don't want to piss you people off. Thanks

I am so happy here. Like stupid happy. Like even if something kind of bad happens I am smiling and happy anyway. I have been trying to put my finger on it. Trying to figure out how one state can be that different from the last and change my whole way of thinking and make me feel so incredibly happy. I think I finally got it.

OK, so this is going to sound crazy but today when I was thinking about all of this Chastity Bono jumped in my head... bear with me here... So you know how Chastity Chaz Bono is all "I was totally born in the wrong body, I was meant to be a man" Well today I related to that. NO, I DO NOT WANT TO BE A MAN. I do, however relate to the whole 'born wrong' situation. See I was born in Southern California. Born, raised and never exposed to anything else. Every single one of my relatives had been from So. Cal so I was never even exposed to other lifestyles/ways of life. All I knew was the way we did things in So. Cal.

Ever since I was a young girl I have never felt like I fit in. When I was in elementary school my friends were all super athletic and active, while I was super uncoordinated and kind of well.. lazy. In middle school my specific group of friends began rebelling a big and doing things that I wasn't interested in. Not to mention the fact that middle school just basically sucks anyway. Then in High School I found a new group of friends and they were all in student council, cheer, or took all honors classes... oh boy NONE of those were me. I loved these girls, I loved all my friends from elementary school and middle school too. No matter how much I loved them or how much time we spent together I never felt like I 'belonged'.

Fast forward to when I was 22 and moved to the desert. I never, ever felt like I belonged there. It was a whole different world. Especially when I first moved there and it was a total retirement community and everyone I met that was my age was a recovering alcoholic/addict. They were all super nice people and I enjoyed hanging out with them, however we didn't have a ton in common.

It's no secret that the last couple years have been hard for me. I have been nothing but candid and honest when telling about our struggles. Not just financial but also how alone I felt and how hard it was to lose my mom. After my mom died last year I really couldn't get out of the desert fast enough. When I look back now I realize that so many bad things happened to me while I lived in the desert that no matter how many great friends I made that the place was always and forever going to hold sad memories for me. Both my parents died there, my dad's twin brother died there and loads of other family things that I choose not to talk about on here happened while I lived there. It really is just a depressing place for me. As a matter of fact when my mom was dying, during her last couple of weeks we talked about where we were going to bury her. She said she wanted to be buried in the desert, I told her absolutely not. I had no intentions of staying there and I didn't want her somewhere I didn't want to be. Unfortunately hind sight is 20/20 because if I would have know then what I know now I would have gone the creepy route and brought her ashes with me across the country. You know why? Because I have decided that I don't think I ever want to go back to California. I have decided that I was born on the wrong coast. I really, truly should have always been a country girl. Not a horse riding/mud slinging/chicken feeding country girl. But a Carolina girl. I was meant to be here. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have ended up exactly where we belong. I am NOT a California girl. I just happened to be born to two people who lived in California. This kind of hit me yesterday when I was on the phone with my nephew (who is the most amazing 17 year old boy I know, just sayin) and I told him that I was trying to win the lottery so I could buy them all plane tickets to come out to visit and he said "well if you won the lottery you could just come home" and in the beginning I would have said the same thing but now, now I say "I AM HOME". My heart belongs here. My family belongs here. I want my brother and his family to move here too... I think this is where they belong too!

The reason I wrote the disclaimer at the beginning of the post is because I don't want anyone to ever feel like I am bad mouthing California... it's a great place, it really is. Ninety five percent of the people I know and love happen to live there and are very happy there. I just wasn't. Either was my husband. My kids were, but I think that is because that was all they knew. The other night we were with our friends at their pool and when we were leaving we got in the truck and Gianna said "this is it, this is home" she went on to tell us that she had just had the best night in her life, that for the first time she felt like she belonged. She was the happiest I have ever seen her. That? well that right there is what I call stupid happy. Even Allison has said to me "mama, well shoot I think I was just born to be a country girl". She has been planning her wedding... yes you read that correct,  my 15 year old daughter who doesn't even have a boyfriend has been planning her wedding... anyway, the whole thing is going to be a regular old country shin dig. She wants it to be in a barn and she wants to wear cowboy boots. Shoot. Y'all have no idea how happy that makes me (not the planning the wedding part, I mean honestly the kid needs to get a life, who plans their wedding at 15).

I just wanted to share my revelation with y'all and explain why I now have a kinship with Chaz Bono... the good news is, I don't have to have any kind of surgery to make my wrong right, I just had to move to South Carolina.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For my Dad.

Over the last year I have written so much about my mom, I have written her letters on here. Talked about her death. Written posts about how much I miss her. Somebody reading might think I didn't have a dad. Oh I did have a dad. The BEST dad in the whole world. A dad who called me 'baby' until he died when I was 23 years old. A dad who loved his kids so much. He was an awesome man who loved his family and his culture with a passion. To look at him one would think he was a 'made' man in some east coast Italian mafia. He wasn't, he just liked to look the part. He had a temper, don't get me wrong but mostly he was a pushover who just wanted things around him to be peaceful. He hated confrontation but admired people who could say something when they felt they had been wronged. He also loved music. Oh how he loved jazz music imparticular. He would listen to a song that he really liked with his eyes closed. He would just get lost in the saxaphone. He could put headphones on and tune the rest of the world out. He passed on his love of music to all of his kids. Mike was the only one that played an instrument but our love of music is still a huge part of our lives. I am so glad that he taught me to appreciate music. I love listening to music that reminds me of my dad. There are so many songs that make me think of him.

Here are some interesting facts about my dad: He was an identical twin and although both his parents came from really big families (20 siblings between them) they only had the twins, some speculate because those two were enough for anyone. I guess they were a handful when they were young. I mean I know my dad was, he himself became a father at 16... yes at the tender age of 16 he and his girlfriend had a baby... my brother Danny.
Have you ever seen the movie 'Hope Floats'? You know the part when Sandra Bullock says 'the daddy did all the hugging' when she is talking about her childhood... well that is my story too. My dad was the nurturer. He was the one who held my hair back when I was getting sick. He rubbed Vick's vapor rub on my chest when I had a cold and couldn't breathe. He was the one I went to when my boyfriend and I broke up and I was heartbroken. My mom wasn't that person at that time in my life, she wanted me to 'get over' things. My dad understood. He took care of me. He was the taxi for me and my friends, driving us to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the mall... where ever. I was his youngest, his baby.

 By the time he had died he had buried four of his own children and both his parents, his heart was broken and no matter how much he loved me, Danny and my mom he couldn't be here with us anymore. He had to go be with those he lost. The children he lost and missed so much. The parents that were his world for so long. It was a difficult time for so many of us. It hadn't been that long since we had lost my brother Mike and we were all still reeling from that pain. Looking back I wonder if that took some of the focus off of losing my dad. It was still part of our every day conversation, we were still mourning the tragic, sudden loss of my 26 year old brother. We weren't ready to start mourning somebody else... not even my dad.

Tomorrow would be his birthday. He and my Uncle Don would be 76 tomorrow. It's hard to believe. Hard to imagine what they would even look like at that age. My dad died young, we lost him when he was just 57 years old. He only ever met two of his grandchildren, their are three more now. Three more grandchildren that are being taught about their grandpa through pictures and memories. My brother and I are both so good about telling our kids about our father. We both miss him and we both have great memories of him. We are so far apart in age that our own memories of him are so different, he was a different dad to me than he was to Danny, and in a way it's kind of a good thing because we each learn something different about him when we share our stories.

I miss my dad every single day. I think about him every day and sometimes can hear his voice. I look in the mirror and I see him. I look at my brother, and my nephew and I see him. I hope that I do him justice when I tell my kids about him, I hope that they get it, that they know what a truly amazing man he was. I know my two oldest nieces get it, they have memories of him and pictures of him with them when they were young. Those are precious memories that those girls are so glad to have. I can only hope that the rest of the kids get it. Ron Sabella was an awesome father, grandfather, brother, friend, son and husband. Those who knew him loved him.

Happy Birthday Dad. I love you and miss you very much.
Love,
Nina

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I can't believe it's been one year since you have been gone. One year ago today you took your last breath. After struggling to breathe for so long. There are so many images from the last couple weeks of your life that will forever be embedded in my brain. I spent the last several weeks that you were alive sleeping on the couch in your room. Those nights are precious memories to me that I will never forget. Time that I will always cherish that we spent together. We laughed, we cried, we bonded. I got the chance to say things to you that I had never said before. I am so glad that the end of your life was spent with me and my family in my home and not in some hospital, you know how much I hate hospitals.

My whole family misses you so much Mom. There is not a day that we don't all make some 'grandma' reference. It is like you are with us all the time. Sometimes I am convinced that you are. Even now, since we moved 3,000 miles away from home and all the sights and sounds are unfamiliar to us we still see, feel and hear you every day. The girls miss their grandma so much. Allison has taken so many of your things and put them in your room. She loves to have your stuff with her, it gives her comfort. Gianna wears your nightgown to bed and talks about you every day. She has also made friends with the 'grandma' that lives behind us, I know she likes to spend time with her because it reminds her of all the time she spent with you alone in your little house. She misses you so much.

The only people in the world that will ever understand what our relationship was like are the four people in my house. The times we had together as a family, as an extended family were/are so precious to me and I will cherish them always.

I don't think I ever said it to you mom, but you were a great mother. You and I had our differences but at the end of the day we always had each other. We went through so much together and lost so many we loved and through it all we were a strong mother/daughter team with a strong bond.

I love you mom and I sure hope that you, Dad and Mike are all together somewhere and enjoying being back together.  (I am almost sure you are and the three of you played a key role in getting my family to this new wonderful place we call home)

Love,
Nina

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Couldn't ask for a better situation.

Tomorrow will be one week since we moved to South Carolina. It has been the best week I have had in at least 2, if not 3 years. I have not smiled this much in ages. This is it. This is where we were meant to be.


 When we moved to Virginia 6 months ago we thought we were doing the right thing, we thought it was the right move, we realized fairly early on that it wasn't, but we tried to make the best of it. Little did we know that things could be so much better for us. We struggled making friends and finding our "place" in Virginia. Here, we are already well on our way. We have met so many of our neighbors, I had coffee with my new friend (who also happens to be our awesome real estate agent), we went to dinner with three other couples/families last night... we didn't even do ONE of those things in 5 months in Warrenton.


The girls have started school. That was the only part that hasn't gone as well as we hoped. For Gianna, it wasn't bad but Allison had a little bit of a bumpy start but we are going to see what we can do to make that a better situation.

I have spent the better part of the last week unpacking and getting settled in this house that we are really liking ALOT. We never felt comfortable in the house in Virginia, again we just did we could to make it work. Here are stuff is fitting better and it just feels like home. I took a few pictures, nothing is 100% done but I was too excited so I went ahead and took pictures anyway. I want all of our friends and family in other places (mostly California) to see the place.
Before I post the pictures I have to say that we had no idea that we signed the lease on this house before we ever saw it, we had only seen the pictures that were online, which of course there are never that many. When we got here last Sunday night we were surprised to find so many rooms and closets upstairs. It's great! I didn't take a picture of the living room yet or the master bedroom.... they aren't as finished as I would like, although none of the rooms are!
Oh well here it goes, the 'virtual tour' of our new home...
 

kitchen looking toward the front of the house
 

 

Gianna's room (she just got all of Allison's old bedding and decor, she's thrilled!)
Allison's ridiculously large room... we will be adding wall art and knick knacks soon.


What will be my scrapbook room (very soon)



Office upstairs, it's a mess but you will notice that Chris does have his computer hooked up!
I have been trying to add more photos, but it isn't working so well... so I will leave it at that for now and will add more in my next post. The next time I post pictures I will be sure that things are a little tidier around here!

I really just want to say that change is indeed good. We needed this. Our lives in California were not good. We miss our family and friends so very much but this is going to be a much better place for us. Our time in Virginia was tough at best and I am pretty sure there were a few times where I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown but while we were there we did meet some really great teenagers that were so wonderful to my girl and some great 5th graders that made Gianna feel so welcome. For those things I will always be grateful. Chris and I also each had the opportunity to live closer to one of our best friends from high school. Each of our friends lived about an hour away from us but we still got to see them and got the chance to get to know their families better and spend some much needed time with old friends. Those are the things I will always be grateful for when I think back of our time in Virginia. I will also be thankful for how close it brought our little family. Moving that far and not knowing anyone definitely made for lots of 'family' nights for the Brittons and we are closer than ever.

For those of you who follow/read my other blog (Laughter at the end of the tunnel) I will be updating it soon with pictures of my new scrapbook room and I will share my plans of expanding my little etsy business to selling stuff here in South Carolina.

Thanks for reading!




Saturday, May 7, 2011

This time we are really going country!

I don't have a lot of time to write a long post... mostly because I am tired and also because I have so many things going through my mind that I can't possibly get them all out.

Yesterday morning movers showed up at our house in Virginia. Four men got out of one truck and at 9 am they got to work on those boxes and that furniture as if it was nothing. They loaded and got out of there so fast I couldn't believe it. When we moved to VA from California it took 6 guys 11 hours to pack the same amount of stuff so we were expecting a similar experience... not so much. They were done by 3 pm. Leaving us with all the dust, trash and the extra 'where do I pack this?' stuff and an empty house. We finished cleaning the house and we stuffed and shoved all of that extra stuff into Chris's truck and my 4 Runner and we headed out.

I wanted to write this tonight before my memory of the whole experience isn't as clear as it is right now. The feeling of 'it's over' was overwhelming. Knowing that we were moving on and really moving further south, which was what we had hoped for in he first place, felt so awesome. We looked like what my mom liked to call the "Farkle Family". Two cars packed with so much random stuff it was hysterical. I had a shoe rack, clean laundry, dog pillows, about 7 pieces of luggage... the list goes on and on. Oh and a dog and a kid. Chris had Lucky and Gianna and I had Allison and Patches.

We had Kid Rock playing in the cd player in my car and Chris had Garth Brooks playing in his truck. Our caravan began.

We drove and we drove and we drove... from 5:30 to midnight. We didn't stop until we got to Mooresville NC. We found a pet friendly hotel and crashed. I have never been so happy to stay in a cheap hotel in my life. It was great. The beds were comfortable and for the first time in a long time I didn't even worry about hotel cooties or bed bugs. I didn't care. I was moving to South Carolina.

Today we spent the day with Chris's cousin and her family. We are only going to live 107 miles from them when we move. The 6 months we lived in Virginia we didn't have any family nearby. We are so excited to live close to them.

Tomorrow we will drive to our new home in Simpsonville. We haven't seen it yet. Only pictures on the real estate web sites. I have found a real estate agent sent down from the heavens above. She has been so helpful. She has gone above and beyond. We are meeting her tomorrow to get the keys and see the house. I am so excited. I can't stand it. The last two years have been a crazy, stressful time in our lives. It's over, I know it is. I have said it before, but I didn't feel it. This time I feel it. I know it's going to work this tme. I am ready to get my drawl on and become a bonafide southerner.

I will take pictures tomorrow and post them soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

whirlwind.

I said not too long ago that I didn't plan on blogging here until I had something exciting to write about.

I do!

We are moving.... (I know we just moved 3,000 miles from CA to VA and it sounds crazy but I will explain)

We moved here with every hope and expectation for it to work. We knew that we had to make it work. We did everything we could to make it work.... but sometimes that just isn't enough. I am not going into details... it isn't my place, and after writing this blog for a year I have learned that it isn't always my story to tell and sometimes ALL the details don't need to be shared. All I can say is I am happy, relieved and completely certain that THIS move that we are about to make is a much, much better plan and definitely what we need to be doing.

We found out for sure the move was going to happen on Thursday so we decided on Friday we would take a road trip to South Carolina so that we could see this new area we were going to call home and get an idea of what kind of neighborhood we wanted to be in and check out the area in general. It was a long trip so we made a stop in Mooresville NC to visit Chris's family. He has two Uncles, a cousin (and her big family of 5 kids, herself and her husband) that live there. I have been married for 17 years and I had never met his two cousins in person. It was great. It was all we could have ever hoped for. The kids all hit it off. We were so happy to see them all together finally after all these years. They have all been on facebook together and they have had some communication but this was the first face to face meeting. Boy do my kids love family. They are always so happy to meet any new relatives and when those relatives are close to their age... well then even better!



We stayed the night in NC on Friday night in a hotel... with the dogs. Shut the front door what is this world coming to when the Britton family starts traveling like Paris Hilton. It was all good and with enough doggie xanax they were just wonderful.
Saturday morning we woke up and drove to Greenville, South Carolina. It is only a 2 hour drive from Mooresville NC, which is just a hop skip and jump and it made us all so happy because that means that we can spend holidays and weekends once in a while with Chris's family! I swear my girls were so happy about this part of it that it will make the entire move worth it!
When we pulled into South Carolina our expectations were high, it was almost like we sighed a collective sigh once we crossed over the state line. We loved everything we saw. It felt so different than Virginia and even so different from California. I think it felt exactly like what we were hoping this would feel like when we pulled into Warrenton and it just never has.
After spending the day driving around Greenville, meeting some really nice people, checking out houses and schools we knew for sure that we loved it. So we decided to drive back to Mooresville so that we would be there in the morning to get ready for Easter with the family!
It was a great day. We had so much fun. The dogs even really enjoyed it! The kids had an Easter egg hunt with their cousins, they tossed around a football and spent the day getting to know each other.

Today was also my birthday. A day I always look forward to and always make way too big of a deal out of and then am disappointed when it doesn't turn out great. Their was none of that today. It was a day filled with family, love, hope and excitement.

I look forward to once again sharing my journey. I just know that this time I won't have to hope, pray, and wish at 11:11. This is GOING to be the right move for the Britton family. We are going to make friends, love our jobs and have a great new life!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Missing my mom.

The plan was that I was going to start this new blog and it was going to be happy and we weren't going to talk about death and we weren't going to talk about financial meltdowns... that plan is good, but it's just not realistic all the time. Death is part of life, it's a huge part of my life unfortunately and a very obvious reality. This blog is for those of us who know that as much as I like to have fun, cook, and make things my reality is still here. Every single day (more than ever lately) I wake up and think 'holy crap why is my whole family gone?'. I didn't know it was going to be like this. My dad and my brother have been gone for years. More than enough time for me to come to terms with it and to get used to living without them. Losing my mom has brought it all back. I know right now it's harder because I am so far from "home" so far from where they all were the last time I saw them, the last time we were all together. It's also harder right now because Gianna has been missing her grandma so much.She has come to me almost every day and said something or asked me something about her grandma. I am very lucky that my girls were so close to my mom. So glad that she lived with us for 5 years so she was such an important part of our family. They will both have such great memories of her because of it.
My birthday is in a few weeks and last year on my birthday is when my mom got sick. I wrote about it here. That weekend was the beginning of the end. The end of everything we knew as normal. I spent the next 5 weeks taking care of my mom and healing our relationship too. My mom and I always struggled with our relationship. Now looking back I regret not trying harder. I talked to her best friend the other night and she told me that I have nothing to regret, she tells me that my mom always talked about how good I was to her and how much she loved me. She did, she really did. When I walked into her casita and she saw me she lit up. She was so happy to see me. Nobody will ever love me like that, Nobody will ever light up like that again. My kids and Chris love me but as us mothers know there truly is nothing like the love we have for our children. I was all my mom had. She had buried 3 children and given another one up. I was it. Sometimes the pressure of that was too much for me. Knowing that she depended on me so much for everything was difficult. Trying to raise my children, take care of the house, work full time and be a good wife was more than I could handle. Being there for my mom sometimes took it over the top. I hated the pressure. I resented it. I didn't understand (still don't) why I was the one that was left. How come they all died and I didn't? I will never know. I should be grateful, I know but sometimes it's hard to be grateful without feeling a little guilt too.
It's been almost a year since we lost her and in that year my entire life was turned upside down, It has been the absolute hardest time of my life. The enormity of it all sometimes gets to be too much. Sometimes I want to crawl in a hole and shut everyone out... sometimes I do. The rest of the time I spend with my girls and my husband. I try to enjoy every minute I have with them. Try to make sure that my kids know how much I love them so that when the day comes that I am not here they can look back and know that nobody loves them like their mom.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

come on over to my new place...

I have started writing a new blog... I still will update this one occasionally (but only when I have something really exciting to talk about) but the new blog is for sharing recipes, ideas, and if I am being honest to generate some interest in my new etsy store! Hope to see you over there soon.. and while your there, why not become a follower?
Thanks!
Nina

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thank you.

I have done some major self reflection lately. Mostly because I spend 90 % of my time alone so it gives me a lot of time to reflect. When I started this blog I had no idea that I had another brother, I didn't know that within months of starting the blog my mom would die or that in the following months we would lose everything we owned. I have written about all of it. I have shared and aired most of our dirty laundry on here. We have made a very stressful cross country move and I brought anyone reading my blog right along with us. Now I am done. I have come to a decision that I need to start keeping some of the private stuff private and maybe better things will happen for us if I keep my big mouth shut and just let it happen and stop writing/worrying/talking about it.
So many people have been so supportive and have said so many incredible things to me after reading my story, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you for reading/following/commenting.
I hope that next time I am blogging it will be because we have had some wonderful, major life change and things have completely turned around for us. Until then these lips are sealed.
Thanks again.
xoxo
Nina

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Not much going on...

So I felt like I should write a post but I don't really have a whole lot to say! Umm.. Oh, I know! I only have one more class until I am done and am able to test to get my real estate license. That is kind of exciting. Kind of nerve wracking at the same time. The whole test thing totally freaks me out but I am trying to get through it.
Things have been much better for me in Virginia lately. I am appreciating our little town much more. Enjoying the quaint, hill-y roads, the beautiful scenery as the weather has been nicer. It is not nearly as bad as I thought it was when we first got here. I still have yet to make any friends. I swear, I am not kidding not one neighbor has introduced themselves STILL and it has been over 4 months. Whatever. They are dumb. I really do wish I could make friends with some stay at home mom that I could meet at Starbucks and sit and talk to. Oh what I would give to say "hey, what are you guys doing tonight, do you want to come over and have dinner?" I love to entertain and I have been trying so many great new recipes since we have been here and I can't wait for the opportunity to have friends over to try them out. Although, I still hate this house. This house is dumb like the neighbors. That's OK though, it's short term and the term is getting shorter every day! Only 14 months left!
The kids are both doing well in school. I went to Gianna's parent/teacher conference the other day and all of her teachers (except social studies) say she is excelling and doing very well. She has made lots of friends and is really involved. Allison had an awesome report card and has been spending more and more time with friends. All of that makes me happy and so proud of how unbelievably well my girls have adjusted to this whole situation.
None of us feel like we will be here forever or even for too terribly long. Maybe that is what has made it so much more tolerable lately. Knowing that someday we will be somewhere else. I do miss my friends and family from home but we know that we will be visiting in the next month or so and that has helped make it easier too.
My girls and I are renting a booth at the Warrenton Spring Festival. It is a food/crafts/music festival here on our Main St. I am really looking forward to it. All 3 of us have been busy making things to sell. It should be fun. I will post pictures soon of some of the things we have made.
I am also considering posting a few step by step recipes of some of the new things I have been making. I love sharing recipes!
Warrenton Courthouse... where btw Clint Eastwood will be directing a movie this month, starring... Leonardo DiCaprio!
Oh my gosh, I went to court for the two speeding tickets that I got on the same day! Holy cow court here in Warrenton is quite an event. I swear I thought their were hidden cameras somewhere. The people were killing me, the police officers with their super strong southern accent were killing me and the way that they handled things was absolutely hysterical. I wanted to take pictures so bad but any kind of electronic device was strictly prohibited. The funniest part was when the court guy (swear, he didn't have a title... he wasn't a judge, he just kind of decided what you were going to be "charged" with) called a name of some guy that wasn't there and some girl who was waiting to see the "real" judge says out loud and I quote "Oh my gosh, is that Tyler?" to which the non judge guy says "Yep, Jessica, your brother had two tickets and didn't show up today" (mind you this is all going on in a court room filled with about 200 people) and she says "well what should I do?" and he says "well come on down and I will give you his paperwork, I will go ahead and lessen his charges." Hello Mayberry. How unofficial is that? Turns out that the non-judge dude was her daddy's best friend and he is real used to her and her brother coming in the courthouse with traffic issues. The non-judge guy ended up being named Wit. Seriously. Wit. the good news is that Wit was totally cool and knocked my ticket down from going 53 in a 35 to going 43 in a 35. That was nice. Southern charm.
So I think that's about it. Oh Allison is over at a friends house tonight. I think tomorrow they are going mud sledding and fishing. Shut up. For those of you who know Allison you know how funny that is. She is not a tomboy but she is super excited about the whole situation. I am super excited because she does her own laundry... bring on the mud!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Crew.

When I was a sophmore in high school I was lost. I was kind of a mess. I had struggled through my freshman year significantly and was trying my best to maintain a passing GPA in 10th grade. The summer before my sophmore year I started dating a boy that I had met in school in 9th grade. He had gone to a different middle school than me and had a whole different group of friends than I did. My friends that I had come to high school with from middle school were starting to veer off in different groups, some had dropped out, some were partying a lot and others had just made new friends. I needed a new group. Dating this boy was the best thing that could have happened to me because it introduced me to a whole new group of people. I don't remember how or when it happened but out of the new people that he introduced me to seven of us girls were drawn together. I think in the beginning it was just two or three of us and then as the school year went on it grew into the seven of us. These girls were my saving grace. They were exactly what I needed. They all knew each other from middle school. I was the only one that went to another middle school. I was kind of the out cast but they never made me feel that way. I connected with these girls immediately. All six of them in different ways.
Over the next 2 years of high school we became even closer. We got our drivers licenses, spent our weekends at the beach and drove inconspicuosly by boys homes. We were coming of age together. We went to our first concerts together, we had sleep over at each others houses and got to know each others families. Our junior year was so much fun and they made me want to be at school. Our senior year was everything high school should be. We went to Palm Springs together for spring break, we double/triple dated at dances, we celebrated holidays together and for graduation we went to Hawaii together. All seven of us in Hawaii. It was great.
When high school ended some of us went our seperate ways. Some of us have stayed in touch the entire time, never letting go of what we had 25 years ago. For whatever reason I am the only one that has stayed in touch with all of the rest of them. There have been hard feelings for various reason within the group over the years, I think that might be inevitable when you have seven girls all together. It makes me sad that some of the girls haven't spoken in so many years.
Yesterday I was chatting with one of them on facebook and she is in a similar situation to mine. She lives out of state, has lost most of her family since high school, married someone not connected in any way to our hometown. She and I have always been very close. I love her like nobody's business and would do anything for her. We were talking about how awesome what we had was. How when you move away and make new friends it is nice, but it's never the same. No matter how many friends I made in the desert, or how many friends I will eventually make here it will never be the same as the friends that knew you when you were young. I can talk about my parents, my brother, my family dynamics all day long but nobody will ever know but those girls that I grew up with. They were there. They loved my parents, they knew my brother and some of them had a crush on him, they were there for me when I broke my face on Mike's scooter. They remember what it was like to walk into my house and see my dad on the loveseat and my mom on the couch watching tv. They were there when Mike died. They saw the heartbreak on my parents faces. They knew how big of a loss it was. There is nothing like that.
Many of us went on to be bridesmaids in each others weddings. Our kids have met or if they haven't met they know about each other. They see pictures and hear the stories. Some of us are growing old together as old friends do.
I don't know how they all feel now, if they share my sentiments and if they realize how special what we had was but I know that even if I don't speak to each of them all the time each and every one of them has a special place in my heart. I will never forget my time with them. I will always be forever grateful for how they helped change my path.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

overwhelmed.

Learning is hard. Learning new things when you are my age and when you have a learning disability is so hard. I am trying so hard to do this but it is killing me. I won't give up. I promised myself I will see it through. In the past my m.o. was to always give up. In high school I would just leave. I literally would just leave class or school when I felt this way. I didn't understand back then why but I just couldn't be there. I now understand what my struggle is and I need to learn to just deal with it.
I wish I could find the words to explain what it's like inside my brain. As I sit in this classroom and the other students ask questions and engage in conversation with the teacher it is like words swirling around my head. I only hear bits and pieces. Not only are these words swirling around, but half of the time they are words that I do not even understand. They are a whole new vocabulary that is so new to me. I look around at the other people in the class and I think 'huh, I wonder why they get it, are they just super smart?'  That is about as close as I can come to describing what it's like. I know that I am not stupid. I know that if selling real estate was just about the practice of selling and making a deal happen I could rock it all night long. Unfortunately it's not.
I want this. I want this for so many reasons. I want to prove to myself and my family that I can do this, especially to Gianna because she has these same issues and I want her to know that we can do something if we really set our minds to it. I also want this because I really, truly want to find something that I love to do and can succeed doing.
Last week we had a quiz. I froze. I swear it was like I was reading things for the first time. Sometimes I am sure that what I am reading is Japanese. There is no way that these words are english because I am an excellent reader and for some reason these words in this text book are a whole new language to me. I missed 7 out of 25. This week we have our mid-term. It's a hundred questions. Shut up. A hundred questions. It makes me sick to my stomach. Not because the mid-term matters, it doesn't, this isn't a college course, I am not being graded. This is a class to teach me the content that will be on the exam that when/if I pass will give me my real estate license. So here's the thing, I just explained how badly the tests are freaking me out, this entire freaking license is dependent on how well I do on a test. That makes me want to throw up. I knew that when I took this whole thing on it was going to be hard. I had a feeling I might feel this way. I just didn't know it would be this bad. Oh and I forgot to mention that it probably would have been a much better idea for me to do this when I was living in California. My home state, the place where I was born and raised and knew like the back of my hand. Oh no, instead I waited until I moved all the way across the flippin country and then started a whole new career. Genius. Especially when this career is all about the area and your knowledge of it and of the kinds of properties that cover the area. It is a whole different ballgame here in Virginia. We are talking farms and historical properties. I know nothing about these things. Where I lived a historical property was a mid century modern built in the late 50's that all the gay guys in town loved to re-do. Here a historical property is a home that James Madison hung out in during the civil war. Totally different situation. Oh man. Totally different. Totally outside my realm of knowledge. I got nothing. I wasn't even sure who James Madison was until we went to his lifelong home a couple months ago. It's a big tourist attraction out here. Huh, where I am from driving by Frank Sinatra's house was a big tourist attraction. I am like an alien on this planet they call Virginia.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pieces of them...


There we are. The four of us. Me, my mom, my dad and my brother Mike. I made this photo collage because lately when I look in the mirror I see all of them. At different times I see different things. For many, many years I have looked in the mirror and seen so many traces of Mike. Growing up I always thought we looked alike but after he died I saw it even more. When my dad died I started noticing how much my mouth looked like his and how I was getting dark circles and bags under my eyes like him. Now that my mom is gone I see her too. I have always been fascinated by genetics. Maybe it was because my dad was an identical twin and being raised by someone that had another person that looked and really sounded just like him was kind of weird. Cool but weird. Maybe it was because the Sabella family in general all kind of resemble each other a lot and I have kind of always thought that was cool too.

I didn't just want to write about family resemblances today. I also wanted to write about loss. I know that I have several readers who come here because they are comforted by the fact that I have been through what they are going through, they know that I understand where they are coming from. My brother has been gone for 21 years, my dad for 18 and my mom for just 8 months. I miss them all. Every single day. Some days hit me way harder than others and some days I just think of them and smile or I will be with my kids or Chris and tell them a funny story about them and we will laugh. Grieving is a long process. It is a difficult, painful process but we have to go through it. I know some people who never truly grieve. They simply get back to life as normal and keep functioning as if nothing even happened. They might seem like everything is OK, but their grief will manifest itself somewhere else, they might say they are upset about something else, but really it's their grief. It's the uncontrollable pain of losing someone you love so much. I have been there, I have done that. When Mike died and when my dad died I was an awful griever. I didn't know what to do, I was young and felt responsible to be strong for my parents. Losing my mom has been different. I have grieved hard. I have missed her and cried openly about it. I talk about it to my husband and my kids. I have written about it on here. I call her friends. I do what I need to do. I don't know that it has made me stronger, It's just the way I am doing it this time. I am older. I no longer have to be strong for my parents. I don't have to hide my sadness.
I am so lucky that I loved them. I am so fortunate that they loved me. I thank God all the time that I had the time with them that I did. I became an orphan at 41, some people are born that way. I had a great childhood. I had two parents that loved me and loved each other. I had a big brother that hung the moon. What more could a girl ask for?
For all of you that still have your parents, that still have your siblings, hug them today. Tell them you love them. If there is family rift, fix it. Do what you have to do. Life is so short. If there would have been tension/strife/bad feelings with any of my loved ones I don't know what I would have done. Never take for granted the people you love.
xoxo

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For My Girls.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that the whole reason I started writing was for my girls, (and my niece and nephew). Quite some time ago it became apparent to me how our memories can play tricks on us. You can take two people from the same family, sit them down and ask them to relay a specific family memory to you and you will get two completely different stories. Two people that were at the same place at the same time and suddenly it's as though they weren't there together at all. It used to happen to me and my mom all the time. It still happens with me and my broher Danny from time to time. It's human nature. We all walk away from a situation having learned/felt/seen something different than the person right next to us.
The other thing our memories can do is be selective. Sometimes we remember a time in our lives where perhaps things were tough and even though during this time we might have experienced a lot of joy and laughter it's hard to remember those times when the sad/stressful times so easily overshadow those happy days.
While I can't change how my girls will remember specific incidences or situations I can help them remember the good times. It is my job to help them remember the good times.
As most of you know the last year or two has been pretty difficult for our family, as it has been for so many countless Americans living through this recession. Sometimes I worry that Allison and Gianna are going to look back on all of it and only remember the tears. Only remember the struggle. I hate that. So I am here today to write to them specifically and give them a place to come back to so that they know that underneath all of this we have had some really good times together. So here it goes, a letter to my sweet daughters.

Dear Allison and Gianna,
Here it is February 15th. Almost exactly 3 months since we made this huge move to the complete other side of the country. I know that it has been hard for both of you. I know that some days the pain of missing your "home" is unbearable. I see it in your faces. I hear it in your voices when you talk to your friends from home. I also know that sometimes I feel the same way. But in spite of all of that pain and sorrow we are getting through this together. Every day that we have spent in Virginia has brought us so much closer together as a family. It has brought the two of you so much closer as sisters. You hang out together more, you are getting along better. It makes me so happy to see it. A while back I wrote a blog post about how I wanted people to see the other side of this, that even though I mostly write about the difficult parts we have so much fun. We are one of the silliest, funniest families I know. We are constantly making up crazy dances for each other and using our country accents on each other.
I keep telling both of you that this time in our life is a great experience. It is difficult at times, their is no doubt about that but at the same time we are getting to experience what it is like to live on the other side of the country, what it's like to live where it snows, to get to know new people, and to live so close to Washington DC and to also be surrounded by so much American History. While these things might not seem like a big deal to you now someday you are going to look back on this and be so glad we did it. Whether we move back to California in a couple years or we move somewhere else, this will have been an experience that we had together. It has made us stronger as individuals and as a family too.
All I want is for you two to look back on this time in our lives not as a sad, or depressing time because you miss your "home" and your friends but as an opportunity. An opportunity to make a new "home" and new friends. Most importantly I want you to remember it as the time in our lives that we took a really bad situation and we made it better. Together as a family. I love you both so much and I am so lucky to have you as my daughters. Between losing grandma and not having made any friends here yet you two have been here to fill in those gaps for me and I will be forever grateful. I have the best two daughters in the world.
Love,
Mom

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not just accepting... embracing.

This has been a good week. It is getting easier to be here. I am starting to feel like we can make it work. The week started off a little rough on Monday, I was missing my mom something awful. Allison was missing her friends horribly. We both shed some tears and we got through it.
Chris and I went on a date one night in DC. It was only the second time since we moved here that I have been there, it's amazing. I think that was actually the night that it hit me. This is an opportunity. This is a chance for me, Chris and the kids to experience new things. For us to learn how to live outside of our comfort zone. While we were in the city we drove by the White House. I wasn't there on vacation, I wasn't on a field trip from California. I was out to dinner with my husband and we were cruising by the White House. That? is really cool. I love that we live in this little Mayberry-esque town and one short(ish) trip on the freeway and we are in the Nation's Capitol! I grew up very close to Los Angeles so the big city part is not a huge deal but the fact that this is where the President of the United States lives, no matter what your political feelings/beliefs are is pretty stinkin cool.
Friday during the day I met my friend Debi at a shopping mall and we spent the afternoon walking around talking and we went to lunch. It was great to see her. Debi is one of my best friends from high school. When we knew we were moving here it brought me great comfort knowing she wouldn't be too far away. She unfortunately lives about 45 minutes to an hour away, she works full time and she has three very busy boys so our time together isn't as often as I would like but it's great when we are able to spend some time together. We go back 25 years, there truly is nothing like history like that. The funny thing is as far as Debi lives from me it's still closer than I have lived to any of my high school friends in 19 years. Isn't that funny, I lived in California all that time and so did most of my friends but by living in the desert I was about 2 hours away from everyone. I never thought of it that way.
Friday night Gianna and I went to Family Bingo Night at her school. It was a fundraiser and it was awesome. I am so glad we went. We had a great time together and she kept saying how much fun it was when we left. I didn't make any friends or meet any new parents but we sat with her friend's parents that I already know and spent some time getting to know them better.
Saturday during the day we went to a wrestling tournament for Debi's son. I can honestly say that we truly enjoyed ourselves. I love getting to know Debi's kids after all these years so when we spend time together with our families it's always fun.
Saturday night we were invited to dinner at one of Chris's co-worker's homes. It was nice. The home was beautiful, the food was good and the company was really nice. It was nice to talk to his wife because she moved here from Florida a few years ago so she can relate to so much that I (we) are going through.
Today was Superbowl Sunday. I am not a huge football fan, but who doesn't like Superbowl Sunday? I cooked as if we were having a few people over and we pretended like it was a party. Chicken wings, sliders and a few different dips.... it was perfect.

With all of that being said I know that I am not completely "cured" of my homesickness. I know that there are going to be days when I so desperately want to go home, but for now I am ok. I still can't wait to get out of this house and I am counting down the days until our lease is up. I spend a little bit of time on the computer every day looking for a different house, but that's ok, it gives me something to do.
This whole experience is a life lesson. There is not one day that goes by that I am not 100% aware of that. I know that we are here for a reason and I know that we are growing and learning every day. No matter what happens I will always be grateful for our time in Virginia. It has brought us closer together as a family, it is bringing my girls closer together every day and it is making me appreciate my husband more and more every day. I am a happy girl.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Acceptance...

A week ago or so I came on here and wrote a post. I was angry. I was irritated. I was sad. I hated it here. I wanted to change it. I wanted to leave so badly. I wanted to go back to California right then. Here is the thing. I hated it in California. I was miserable there. I couldn't wait to get out, counted the days to our new life. I had high hopes and set my expectations way too high. Now I am here and I need to learn to accept it. It is something I have always struggled with. I used to drive my parents crazy. I couldn't ever be happy with what I was doing, the job I had, the boy I was dating... whatever it was I wanted to change it. It's how I roll. I don't know why it is so hard for me to accept things the way they are. It is something I am very aware of in my own personality and try sometimes to change it and at other times hold steadfast to my decisions to change things, justify them and do everything I can to make everyone around me understand why it needs to be changed. That is the other thing about me. I want validation in everything I do. I want everyone that I love and care about to climb on the Nina bandwagon. I love it when people agree with me. I get totally irritated when they don't. I know it's irrational. I know it sounds childish and ridiculous. I didn't say it's something I like about myself I just said it's something about me.

 Moving to Virginia was kind of an irrational leap of faith. It wasn't my decision alone, I swear I did not "talk" my family into this. I didn't have to. Our situation in California was getting ugly. The kids even knew something had to change. I just don't think that any of us realized how big of a change this would be until we got here. I think we were all so desperate for change and something better that we just jumped in with both feet and then we got here and were like "hmm, this is harder than we thought." I also think that in our minds Chris and I thought moving would make so many other things better. Financially I just thought we would be right on track. I didn't realize a cross country move was going to be so expensive that it would take us 3 or 4 months to even get on our feet.

After I wrote my last post I have done a lot of thinking. The first day I sat around and cried. ALOT. Cried for all the things I missed about home. Cried for my mom. Cried for my kids missing their friends. Cried for my husband and how stressed he is at his new job and all the pressure he feels to make this work.
The next few days after that I made mad plans to move back to California. I got on my own bandwagon and schemed a way for us to get back in 18 months. Seriously 18 months. Who does that? Who moves their whole lives across the country and then 2 months into says "we are going back." I do. Again, I know it's crazy but it is how I roll always. Then I thought some more and I realized I need to do things different this time. This time I need to accept my (our) decision to move here and I need to STOP trying to get my family on the Nina bandwagon and I need to make the best of this. We are here. It is our new home. Like it or not. I believe that everything happens for a reason and we are here for a reason. We just don't know what that is yet. It might take a year before we know what it is. It might be 20 years from now that we look back on this and say "thank God we moved to Virginia otherwise we would have never (fill in the blank). I am learning to be ok with that. I am learning to accept this decision. I am doing my best to embrace our new state and all that it has to offer. I can't wait to start working in real estate and learn more about that aspect of Virginia as well. There is so much to learn and see. I am not saying that we are never moving back to California or moving anywhere else for that matter I am just saying that for now this is where we are and we are here together and I am going to be the best wife and mom I can be while I am here and I will promise to teach my kids that we need to see all the good in what has happened to us and not focus on the negative.

Yesterday we had our first big snow since we have been here. It was awesome. It is beautiful and peaceful and fun. We took a ton of pictures and we shoveled and we played in it and we truly enjoyed the new experience of it. I am so glad that my kids are getting the chance to experience new things. I love that they can add this to their life list of things they have done. They are actually spending more time together and I love that too. My girls are 5 years apart so they have never really been "friends" just sisters. Gianna looks up to her big sister so much that sometimes it makes my heart ache to see it. I worry about how she loves her so much and wants to be her so much. I so want her to have her own identity and learn to love herself that much. It reminds me of how I was with my brother Mike and I just hope that Allison realizes someday how much everything she does and says effects Gianna. I think that moving here has helped their relationship so much and I am so grateful for that.

 I am closing with pictures from the last two days. Get a blanket out before you look at them, they might make you want to snuggle up!
that is me getting to know the snow shovel.