Friday, September 11, 2020

Homeward Bound

It has been a long time since I've written here. I'm not a blogger. I just happen to have a public diary. I only write when I really need it. This is one of those times.

We are moving back to New Jersey.

Mid October.

When we visited Kristin shortly after we got engaged, Eric came back with a dream job offer instead of a souvenir. So I quit my job as a counselor. We came here with nothing but a car, a couple suitcases, and a bunch of music and tech equipment that took up a room in Kristin's house (sorry lol). It was the best decision of our lives to come here. Eric had the opportunity to truly change his life with this job. I thought I was just getting lucky, finally moving to paradise with my best friend (Kristin. Not Eric. I know, our relationship gets confusing 😂). I had no idea that my life would veer so far off course, in the best way possible.

I started this blog seven years ago as a way to process moving to Florida and keep family and friends updated on our life here. I documented our fun times, our wedding, changing careers, buying a house, my pregnancy, and life as a new mom. Almost none of this was part of our plan.

But the fact is: We have been parenting for over 4 years now with almost no family support. That is hard. It is hard when you are trying to do a job you are so passionate about, but it requires you to be on call 24/7 at a moment's notice, and there is no one to help. It is hard to rarely go on dates. It is really hard to feel like you are keeping your kid separated from his grandparents, and to see the heartbreak when they leave each other, especially when you grew up not knowing most of your own grandparents. I am not at peace with living here when I know how it feels to miss out on that relationship. They all deserve to have the chance.

Oh, and it is especially difficult to live far away from your family during a pandemic, where you want to help but can't. And you worry. And you are made hyper aware of how short life really is.

But family isn't just blood. Family is chosen. Kristin is my family, and it makes me sick thinking about living far away from her, again. And Atlas not having his only cousins his age. I also feel sick leaving all my friends, my amazing job, and the beautiful paradise we live in. When I got here, I looked out the car window and said I was never going to take the palm trees for granted. I still haven't. I look out the window every day and feel happy. But at this time in our life, we feel like the pros of NJ outweigh the cons.

We will be visiting often. It was a condition of mine, when we made this decision, that we must have a least one big trip each winter, and I can come for long weekends whenever I feel the need 😂. So you are not all rid of me forever. It is home to me now, too. I will always be torn between two places. I am just going to keep telling myself that we will have a second home here eventually. I am determined to have the best of everywhere.

It is going to take me a long time to adjust. I am very, very sad. But I am so excited to experience the changing colors of Fall, put pumpkins out for weeks without rotting, wear leather jackets and beanies, have bonfires, go hiking, go sledding and have snowball fights with Atlas. I have missed everything about Philly: the skyline, shows, art, museums, history, attitude, food, bars, sports, taking Jager shots every time a Philly team scores. Even the dirt and grit. I miss my people. I miss my family and friends in the northeast.

I know I can find the positives. I know what I am walking into. I signed up for it this time. It might be hard during the Three Months of Gloom, but I will adjust.

Eric better get a snowblower though...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NJ Roadtrip

I'm not much of a blogger these days. I am sure I will be again one day, when I need it. I only really write when I need it. But I wanted to document our recent trip to NJ for the 4th of July, and I had too many photos to post on Instagram, so here I am.

We decided to drive up, again, only this time we didn't leave spur of the moment fleeing a Cat 5 hurricane with our life's belongings in a tiny Mazda. It was a lot easier this time around. Atlas and Nym were champs in the car, as usual, and driving made it an experience that is extra special and hard to forget.

The trip was a whirlwind 8 days of seeing as many people as we could and doing as many NJ things as possible. We had to miss going to the Franklin Institute, the shore, and Longwood Gardens, which was a huge bummer, but we got to show Atlas the Philly Zoo, Adventure Aquarium, go to a couple of our favorite restaurants, eat tons of pizza, and spend time with lots of family and friends in our hometowns, which is the most important thing. I wish I had taken more pictures of Atlas with all the people we saw, but we were too busy living in the moment. Tons of home friends, college friends from all around the northeast, family all the way from Utah who met him for the first time, and everywhere in between. Friends and family who just had babies, are pregnant, are traveling, playing music, getting married, working hard at their jobs, making the world a better place. We show Atlas pictures and talk about people all the time, and he was super excited to see everyone. We are sad that we didn't see absolutely EVERYONE we wanted to see. I guess we will just have to come back soon, or you can take us up on our invitation to visit us in paradise!

It is difficult for me to find the words to describe how I feel about this trip, so I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

6am wakeup cuddles in NC. Atlas slept well! He woke up at stops along the way, got out to go potty and stretch, and thought it was hilarious that he was outside with the moon and stars at 3am. He said the moon was going to come down and play with him. Then he went back to sleep!

Red Velvet cupcake from Aunt Linny upon arrival

Soccer with Poppop Deeg

Bedtime stories before his first time sleeping in a BIG bed. He did amazing in it!

Early morning Playdoh
Nym love
Two of the next gen Mint kids, Colin (5 months) and Brayden (4 months). Not pictured: Luca (1 month, being snuggled) and Atlas (a whopping almost 3 years, being crazy). And Katherine, Minty babysitter! And baby toys, feeding gear, and diaper bags. And the lone man, Eric, who is literally not phased at all anymore by postpartum talk and issues! Times sure have changed, but one day we will teach them drinking games so they can go to college together, prepared to work hard and play hard, just like we did! Hahahah.

Ice cream in Pitman
More soccer with the Poppops and Dad.

Petting stingrays at the aquarium! He wanted nothing to do with petting the sharks 😂
He thought they were slimy!

We love penguins. Especially the old, grumpy ones.

Pointing at the playground that was closed... Which made him grumpier than the old grumpy penguins 😑

Shark tunnel! He was a little wary...

Eating a giant braid pretzel I bought from a street vendor in Camden. Oh how I miss getting delicious food on street corners from random dudes in the Northeast. 😂

So happy to see our friends! Uncle Murph brought him ANOTHER Pokemon stuffed animal

Atlas was very concerned that the guitar was too heavy for Uncle Speak to carry alone. He insisted on helping.

Obsessed with Speak's guitar playing abilities, like the rest of us 😂

Jam sesh 💚

Pop Shop pancakes! He ate almost all of them!

Can't leave without getting a sundae!

Atlas loves Emily and Matt

Love driving into that Philly skyline
Philadelphia Zoo
First stop: Fruit bats! I love bats.

He was a bit cranky the whole time, until we saw otters. They are his favorite animal to see at the Palm Beach Zoo and Busch Wildlife as well. They are silly, like him!

Walking with his faves

He finally got happy at the Beer Garden 😂 See those adirondack chairs? It's basically like being at Guanabanas 😂
Atlas made friends and played tag with them while we all drank and ate.

It was the highlight of the zoo trip. He had so much fun.
These little girls were so kind to him. They let him get a head start running away and slowed down to let him tag them.

Playing with my build-your-own knight. My mom got it for me in middle school, but I was always the kind of kid that saved the cool things instead of played with them, because I didn't want them to be done with. Like holographic stickers and Lisa Frank pencils. Never stuck, never sharpened. Anyway, Atlas found this and I let him open it. He decorated his coat of arms and everything. I also let him play with my build-your-own mummy, which in hindsight was not a great idea for a 2 year old, but at least he knows where all the organs in the human body belong now. 🤷

He loves the soft NJ grass and cooler air

Playdoh eyeballs

Seasonal lavender latte and some canned cold brew for Eric. Love Endgrain.

DATE NIGHT AT A REAL ITALIAN RESTAURANT!!! Bistro di Marino, I have missed you and your courtyard oasis and your warm bread and fresh herb olive oil dip.



Did we go overboard with the homemade gelato flight? Nahhh. Pistachio, salted caramel, chocolate, vanilla.

Bonesaw Brewery flight and creamsicle ale with an orange sugar rim. NJ has stepped up the brewery game since we moved.

Arya and Atlas are simultaneously the nerdiest and coolest kids ever... just like their parents. Atlas remembers Arya, Dave, and Sunny and everything that has happened during our previous visits with each other in the past couple years, which blows my mind since he isn't even 3 yet. Some friendships just stand the test of time from the very beginning I guess!

4th of July! Almost like the good old days, only all the kids are taller than me now, bringing their boyfriends over, and I am forced to call myself a grown-up, because I need to tell my kid he can only go in the pool with a grown-up, and then he asks if I AM a grown-up, and I have to say YES. The horror 😭

The prettiest house and yard. I love going to Eric's grandmom Mazz's house. This is the side of the pool house.

Not the most flattering picture but he was super excited about his gifts from Mrs. Speak! Thank you 💚 And thanks for cutting Eric's hair, too 😂

Hide and seek with Binx, who finally warmed up to Atlas and Nym just as we were leaving.

My mom does such a nice job with her garden. I miss it.

So happy to be playing with Kadie and Hannah!

The newest chalkboard design by Kelly. Yes, there is a picture of Oscar the Grouch. Friends can call friends trash. 😂

Bakery goodies from Linny

Eating a Jersey tomato like an apple. I do not approve.

Saying goodbye 😢

You know we made a Wawa stop on our way out.

If anyone is wondering how Nym did... This is it. She wasn't knocked out with meds. Just straight chillin' like a good dog, using the door as a headrest 😂 She had a great trip, loved all the attention, and even came with us to the 4th of July party!

Atlas had the best time. He was sad to leave but happy to be back in his own (small) bed with his giant Baymax from Aunt Kelly!