To Mattie on her 2nd birthday

To my dear sweet Matilda,

You are two years old today. Two whole years you’ve been earthside. It feels like you were just placed in my arms to be wheeled to recovery yesterday, but also like you’ve been apart of our lives forever. I cannot imagine our lives without you, and I don’t know how we ever lived without your sweet face. You are always a ray of sunshine. Every morning, daddy gets you out of bed and you come toddling through the house and down the hallway making a beeline to mommy. You want to be picked up and snuggled before you’re ready to start your day. And if I happen to get you up, you always snuggle right back into me. You are a mama’s girl and I ain’t mad about it.

You are just a big ball of energy. You make the silliest faces. You are constantly dancing even when there’s no music. 

You love being a little girly girl – putting on every necklace, bracelet, ring, and hat you can find. You do a little shoulder shrug when you’re feeling pretty. You’ve always been in love with your reflection. I always hold you up in front of the bathroom mirror after bath and ask “who is that?” You’ve always smiled and giggled. Recently, you’ve discovered the full length mirror on our bedroom door. You love to look at, dance, and kiss your reflection. 

You have found your little voice and your vocabulary grows by the day. All we have say is “I smell baby feet,” and you yell, “Mah feet!” and hide your toes cause you know we’re about to cover those little piggys in kisses. You’re so polite and say “thank you” and “bless you” all the time. You just learned to say “Ellabelle” and it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard. But your favorite thing to say is “I walk!” because you refuse to be held back anymore.

I love that you’re still waiting for those teeth on each side of your front bottom four to come in. They’ve finally started poking through, but I love your little grin with the spots missing.

 

You occasionally you cross your fingers for some reason, and it freaks your daddy out. You hate when there’s anything on your hands, and insist on having a napkin or having me wipe it off.

 

You hate wearing shoes and tear them off your feet as soon as you get in the car or at home. You also the do the strangest thing with your shoes and socks. You like the take just one shoe and/or sock off and leave the other one on. You just walk around like that.

 

Every time I’m eating, you wander over from your table and slyly ask “Want bite” in hopes that i’ll share whatever I’m eating. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same exact thing you have on your plate, you still want mama’s.

 

You always wanna see what I’m doing in the kitchen. You love throwing stuff in the trash. You love getting things out of the fridge especially your cup. You get so excited and yell “milk!” when you see it.

 

Your true love is still your “pay-pay.” You get mad when daddy pretends to use it. If you come across a different one, you’ll take the one in your mouth out and switch them. If you see food, however, you take it out of your mouth and you throw it. Like throw it. We lose a lot of them because of this.

 

You are such a sweet happy baby, but you seem to live in extremes because when you aren’t happy. You really aren’t happy. You have monumental tantrums. You throw yourself down on the spot and kick and thrash and scream. You did this at Ellabelle’s soccer game this past Monday. You wanted to walk across the bridge, but it was a bit of a downward slope so I helped you down it. And you LOST it. You literally threw yourself face forward on the grass and screamed and kicked. It’s ridiculous and hilarious and we have to try to not to laugh at you.
You are easy going and a handful all at the same time. I love your kisses, your hugs, and smooching those big squishy cheeks. I didn’t know I needed you until you got here, but I’m so grateful to you for picking me to be your mommy. I love you, my Mattie Monster. Happy Birthday! 

Love,

Mommy 

☘️ March 🌈

3/1 It was Dr. Seuss week at school, and Wednesday was dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character. That was a no brainer for Ellabelle. She has been obsessed with a very specific Dr. Seuss based movie since before she could walk. When I asked her, she immediately requested to be the “Lor-lax.” So, I threw together a little outfit for her.


I mean, what would a Lorax be without his Truffula trees? Mattie was obsessed with all of it, and I had to keep it up out of the way off little hands the night before.

3/2 I went to the doctor for what ended up being a sinus/ear infection. I had two swollen lymph nodes behind my ear, and that really freaked me out. Thankfully, with the help of the antibiotics, I felt better fairly quickly.

3/3 The first fish fry of the year arrived with the beginning of the month. The girls were with Oma and Opa all day. The morning started with snow. We ended up passing two wrecks in the 15 minute drive to my parent’s house. The girls had a blast being spoiled all day, and, as always, the fish fry food was great.

We signed Ellabelle up for spring soccer because she’s been asking when she gets to play again since fall soccer ended. It started on the 6th, but there’s only been 1 practice so far. Mother Nature is not cooperating with us, and it’s been freezing or wet on practice nights. The only practice that happened was on a Monday at 5:15, and we couldn’t make it in time after work plus it was snowing during it. No thanks.

Now, we didn’t know soccer was cancelled on the 8th, and we were already there when we got word. Josh tried to take Ellabelle out to practice with just him because she crying in the backseat, but the fields were so swampy it just wasn’t plausible. (He’s such a good daddy. Willing to do anything to make his girl happy)


So we convinced EB that she wanted to go to Kroger instead. She’s been carrying around her Hello Kitty wallet she got for Christmas, and she kept telling me she had money to spend. I didn’t believe her, but turns out she had accumulated $5 from Opa. So we let her go buy whatever she wanted, with her own money, at Kroger. She picked popsicles. She was very excited about it until she put the dollar in the self check out machine and got coins in return. It makes me sad too when that happens! She’s still learning how money works obviously.

3/10 We went to another fish fry. A local radio station was there, and they had a giant catfish with them. Shockingly, both girls were excited about going to see him. They’re both terrified of Wooly Bully at the CRG games, and Mattie cries around the giant singing Elvis at Jungle Jims, but the giant catfish – he was cool.


In fact, Mattie kept running away from our table to go see him and wave and dance near him. He was thankfully only there an hour because I was tired of chasing Mattie around.


Lisa was there that week which means the girls got spoiled. And by spoiled, I mean, cake and cupcakes for dinner.

3/11 Angie and I have been pestering our mom to get a tattoo for a while now. It was mostly as a joke because never in a million years did I think she’d ever commit. But she did. And so we booked the appointment and off we went to Northside. We made mom go first so she couldn’t chicken out. She was a champ even though we picked the most painful place to get a tattoo. She didn’t twitch or bleed like Angie and I did.


And holy moly! I forgot how painful tattoos are! Still totally worth it though. Mom got a light and dark purple shell. Mine is pink and purple. Angie’s is white and light purple. I think the different colors ending up being perfect because even though we’re the same (family, bloodline) we each have our own unique personality, and the shells reflect that.

3/12 We went out for Josh’s birthday dinner with his mom and his sisters family (even though his birthday was in January.) Ellabelle loves spending time with her cousin, Alex, and she got to sit between Alex and her other cousin Rebeccah at dinner. Mattie loves stealing food off my plate, and she was very successful.

Afterwards, we FINALLY brought our table inside. I refinished it last year on the back porch, but it had started getting so cold that we never got it inside. Thankfully it was warm enough that Josh was able to bring it. We had to clean off the dirt it collected over the winter, but it’s in and it’s perfect. Now, we just have to keep the cats off it.

It was also daylight savings time. And that means, we were all screwed! Up that is. Our internal clocks never adjust well to the change especially the girls. They were tired and more cranky than usual. It takes almost a whole week to adjust for them.

3/14 We took an hour off work in the morning because . . . we registered EB for kindergarten 😭 Of course, I’m a freak and had the papers printed out the first day they posted them online and ended up printing out 3 different copies so I wouldn’t lose or forget it. It was quick and easy since I was super prepared. It still made me so sad. Like how did my baby get so big?! I want my little baby bee back. She’s beyond excited though. She talks about starting kindergarten all the time.

It was also Pi Day so a pie had to be made. So, with the girls help, I made peanut butter silk pie.

3/17 Our St. Patrick’s Day was low key. I had a work party and got lots of green food, and we went and had Green Ways at Skyline. Nothing to exciting. Just the way I like it.

3/18 We missed CRG, but we weren’t feeling well, but Ellabelle had a melt down because she had been promised going somewhere so we went to the Disney store instead. She loves the Disney store because it has a magic mirror that comes to life and a giant projection screen where you can pick the songs it plays. We don’t have to buy a single thing, and the girls still have a ball.

Afterwards, we stopped at party at our clubhouse for Josh’s uncle. The girls got to run around and play with their cousin Elizabeth.

Alex was there and Ellabelle got to go home with her and spend the night which she was over the moon about.

3/19 Sunday morning, Josh woke up with an awful migraine. So, Mattie and I let him sleep. We went to target and smashburger and got some quality Mommy-Materz time in.

We also went to Kroger and Horrorhound with Josh once he got up and started to feel better. Josh got some of his Zombie Tramp comics signed, and we found a pink Cthulhu for Mattie. I had searched high and low for one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg at Christmas, and never found one. Who knew all we had to do was go to a convention?

We met Josh’s sister about half way between their house and ours to get Ellabelle. She had fallen asleep in the car, but started asking when she could spend the night at Alex’s before we even moved her to our car. We grabbed dinner at BW3s, and Mattie was angry the whole time. Poor thing had missed her nap so she was just mad at the world (not that I can say I blame her). Josh had to take her outside once before we even got our food. The waitress was so nice and kept trying to help us keep her calm. A little boy brought her a ball he had won out of the crane game to make her happy. Some rude people next to us demanded another table.
Look, I know it’s irritating to hear kids crying in a restaurant. I’ve been there. I still get there sometimes. But we weren’t ignoring her, and we were clearly trying to keep her calm. There was no need to be that rude about an upset kid in a sports bar. Maybe if it was some high end restaurant, but certainly not in a place where the tvs are so loud you can hardly hear the person across the table from you.
Anyways, as soon as I finished eating, I scooped her up and we went outside. I held her and sang to her and rocked her in the parking lot while she tried to calm down. She was settled into my arms until she heard Ellabelle come out of the restaurant. It was an early bed night for the girls.
3/20 was the first day of spring! And we didn’t get to really celebrate the arrival of my favorite season because it rained all day. Like really really rained. So soccer practice was cancelled. Again.

Over the next weekend, Josh worked overtime in the morning. Our friends were down in our neck of the woods so we met them at a playground. I love watching the kids all play together. It’s so crazy to think Josh was hardly done being a kid when him and Jeremy met and now we all stand around and watch our kids play together.
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3/29 Soccer practice was cancelled again. Ellabelle cried. Again. Thankfully, April started with a soccer game and some clearer skies.
So our March came in very busy (🦁) and out, like a lamb, it strolled. The weather was a bit wet and cold. So we spent a lot of time inside the house just hanging out.


Mattie had become attached to me and loves being in the kitchen with me while I cook. And when I find something she can help me with she will literally squeak with excitement.

April has already brought warmer weather so I’m so pumped for what the rest of the month has in store 🌷🐰🌷

Preschool drama & my poor mama heart 

Ellabelle has this friend at school. She always talks about her.

“What’d you do today?”
“Played with Willow.”
Repeat daily.

She’s even asked if Willow can come to her birthday party in July. This kid seemed like BFF status the past few weeks.

I took Ellabelle into school one Monday, and Willow was already there. It makes my mornings so much easier cause I can get her to let me leave quickly and without incident cause she wants to go play with Willow. So I sent her off and had a mommy moment of watching my girl run off to play with her friend. Too my dismay, Willow yelled, “No! Get away! I don’t want to play with you!” and then pushed Ellabelle.

Ellabelle, realizing I was still standing there, came running over to me crying. My heart was shattered. All I wanted to do was scoop up my girl and run out of there and take her to get ice cream because I love her and she’s one of my favorite people in the whole world and no one should ever treat her like that. My mind was in hyperdrive. Thankfully, the teacher stepped in and took both girls and talked to them. And I fled.

I was shook up in the car. This little girl is the sun in the middle of my universe (along with her sister). She made me a mama. She is smart and funny and kind. I couldn’t wrap my head around what I saw. Josh thankfully talked me through my moment of mommy panic because he’s more level headed than I am.
I hate that my sweet innocent girl experienced something so, shall we say, “grown up.” Her sweet soul doesn’t understand these things. It’s clean and pure and free of this sort of nastiness from other people. Eventually, the world is going to break her down and tarnish her with the ugly truths. But she’s only 4. I didn’t think these things start this early. I’m sure they do and, rationally, I know this is normal. I’m just not ready to have people be mean to my kid.

The next day after school, Ellabelle complained in the car that Willow wouldn’t play with her again. So we advised her to play with someone else instead. And she did on Wednesday, and she seemed fine. Then the next day, when I dropped her off, she ran into the classroom and joined a boy playing a game and he yelled, “We don’t want you playing!”

It’s a rough time for a delicate momma heart. She seems like such a little baby to me still. This mama bird wants to keep her baby in the nest and protect her. Josh swears this will be how she learns social norms and how to act around people. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I was picked on and made fun of and felt like an outcast for all of grade school. I don’t want Ellabelle (or Matilda) to grow up with insecurities and self doubt simply because of other kids. And I know the most important thing is to make sure they both know they have a safe place at home with accepting and open arms.

We all want the best for our kids. We all want people to love or at least be nice to our kids. Unfortunately, that’s not how life always goes. I will teach my girls to be kind to everyone. I will also teach them how to properly handle when someone isn’t nice to them. I have to let my little birds leave the nest and test their wings. I’m just gonna have to to grow a tougher skin on this mama heart of mine.

 

Brought to you by the letter “F”

Fascinating.
Fickle.
Firstborn.
Feminine.
Fierce.
Finicky.
Fun.
Fashionable.
Foolish.
Free-spirited.
Fabulous.
Funny.
Feisty.
Fearless.
Four. IMG_4242

How far we’ve come in 4 short years. It seems like it’s flown by and yet like you’ve been a part of our lives forever. There are more words than I have the time to say to describe the fascinating little person you are. Four years ago, you were ushered into this world in quite an over the top fashion – a 12 minute c-section is far from ordinary. Then for 2 hours you cleared your lungs but you didn’t make a peep. There’s an idea that you enter the world crying from your past life. I’ve said from the start that that means you’re a fresh little soul. Maybe that’s why everything seems like a learning experience with you. You barrel through life wanting to see and experience everything. You’re fast and opinioned and ready to take everything head on, and everyone better get out of your way.
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You are my mini-me which means we butt heads – A LOT. It also means I understand you and the way your mind works. You are a true joy when you aren’t being a pain. You dance and giggle and chase bubbles and butterflies. You love to make your sister laugh and snuggle with me and your daddy. You are so smart and clever. You say little things that just make my heart smile. You are really just the most wonderful little person. I love the free spirit you continue to develop as you grow. IMG_0052

You are also extremely ornery and strong willed, and you make being a parent very, very hard sometimes. You fight and push, and I know that you will be able to harness and use these traits to your advantage someday, but for now, it makes our lives hard sometimes. Some days I wish I had a receipt so I could return you. Then, you lay on the couch and tell me about the pokemon you found and have stuck in your pocket or who your new Tsum Tsum is on your game, and I remember why I keep you around. You really are the gentlest soul inside a sometimes rugged exterior. I know all too well how it feels to have too many emotions to handle, and I’m sure it’s even harder when your four and can’t properly deal with them. I know that’s why you scream and cry and cause a scene in a grocery store. There’s just too much for you to deal with all at once. It will get easier. I promise. I’ve been there. IMG_4105

You are a true balancing act to deal with every single day. It also the greatest privilege to be your mommy. I love you and look forward to watching you and your mind grow as you learn and experience more of the world. I promise to protect you from all the evils in every way that I can, and to teach you love and compassion towards everyone. Be you. Be(You)tiful. I’m sure you’ll tire of hearing it, but thank you for picking me to be your mommy. It was what I was born to do. I wished and hoped and longed for my own baby, and I was lucky enough to get you. Thank you for being my dreams come true. Happy fourth birthday to my sweet baby bee. IMG_4262

 

Super Bee is Three!

Dear Super Bee,

I can hardly believe that today marks the third anniversary of your birth. It’s been an amazing ride so far – exhausting but amazing. You have grown into the most inquisitive and funny little person. You keep us all so entertained and constantly on our toes. 11760094_10100982091088890_4911672204150809867_n

You can play by yourself so well and then be climbing all over us. You love wrestling with daddy, and watching “Girls” with mommy. You’re speaking so much more clearly and can tell us exactly what you want for the most part. You love shoes and hats and dresses. You are obsessed with the twinkle lights that come on in your room every day, and you have to have your fan on whenever you’re in bed. You love to go look at toys at Walmart/Target, and you know immediately that the blue oval sign means that we’re at the grocery store and that you have make sure we know that you “need” to walk.

There is so much I see of myself in you. Your love of books. Your need to do things your way. Your need to do things on your schedule. The ridiculous crinkle nerdy face you make. The look you give when someone tells you not to do something and you know you’re going to do it anyways. But all of those things are still so uniquely you. You are such a lively little character. From singing and dancing in public and putting on a show for anyone who will watch to throwing a fit when we drive past Oma and Opa’s exit on the highway and not stopping to yelling, “I happy!” and jumping up and down when you are, well, really happy about something.

Every day comes with new challenges as you get bigger and braver and smarter. You are stubborn and ornery at all the wrong times. It drives me crazy in the moment, but I know it’ll make you unstoppable when you’re older. You are so curious about the world. You love to mimic us in every way. Just the other day you told me that you had to cook in your kitchen and showed me the toy croissant in your frying pan. After we read your bedtime story to you, you read it to us, trying to repeat each page that was just read to you. You told me just today that you need to take your bus to school and that you need books for school. It amazes me the things you are able to link together.

As a mom, I feel like it’s my job to teach you all kinds of things. You can identify almost all of the letters of the alphabet and can count to 10. What amazes me though is that you are constantly teaching me new things. Like patience. Not because you show me patience, but because I need more and more of it when dealing with your stubbornness on a daily basis. You’ve also been teaching me to be carefree. Like this past weekend and today, things didn’t go as planned for your birthday, and you didn’t even notice. You just just roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation. There’s fun no matter what the circumstances, and I hope that you stay that way forever. I am so not like that. I like order and I like plans and I like things to go the way I want. But motherhood (and life) isn’t like that. Things change in a matter of seconds from chasing bubbles to a scrapped knee. I don’t handle it as well as I’d like, but I watch you with your casual shoulder shrug and a soft mumble of gibberish and you’re off to the next adventure. I will continue to work on being looser in that respect. I never want to be a reason you hold back from doing something fun just because it’s challenging for me.

Something that amazes me on a daily basis is the how you’ve shown me a love that I didn’t honestly expect to see from you. At least not in the way and amount you’ve given. You became a big sister this year, and your love for your MattieG is amazing. You are a wild child – running around and singing at the top of your lungs – but you are so sweet and gentle with her. You wait for things you want while we feed her. You are always so concerned about getting her her pacifier. You tuck her in and give her kisses. She’s the first person you look for in the morning. It is so much more than I could’ve ever hoped and I hope you’re relationship with her only continues down this path.

You made me a mom, kid. And my gratitude to you for that will never waiver. Not even when I’m 90 and you’re 66. I will still be thanking you for picking me to be your momma. You changed everything and made the world so much brighter. I just know you’ll keep spreading your personal sunshine with everyone you meet, and I am so lucky I get to call you mine.

I love you, my sweet EllieBee. 11403010_10100981807966270_3565912143956527127_n

Yo! Ellabelle’s two!

I went back and forth on if a 2nd birthday party was necessary for Ellabelle. I kept being told that the 2nd birthday isn’t important enough for a whole party. I agreed for a moment and decided to do something special with just the three of us. After looking into ideas, I realized what I wanted to do (stay at one of those indoor waterpark resorts) was going to cost as much as a party would. And then I asked myself, “Do I think two is important enough for a party?” The answer in my head was a resounding “Yes!” She’s still an only child so we have the time, energy, and money to do another birthday party. And when I look back on her birthday and reminisce about my tiny baby and how far we come, I have to just be thankful we are both here to celebrate a 2nd birthday. Plus, she’s my baby so if I want to through her a second then I’m gonna do it. Like Josh will tell you, I do what I want.

So once I had made up my mind to do a birthday party, I knew immediately what the theme was going to be: Yo Gabba Gabba. 10463745_10100629062895220_8096906739365271840_o

There really wasn’t any other option. Up until Mother’s Days (which is when I got Frozen on blu-ray), it was the only thing she’d watch. Now, it’s Gabba and Frozen. So, I started planning. I love planning things. It means I get to craft. And craft I did. I’ve seen every Gabba episode as many times as she has so I knew every little detail that had to be made to be included in her big Gabbabration! 10572263_10100629060390240_9089317800456349_o

The tiny yucky germs and Super Soapy Pal in the bathroom reminding people to wash their hands (because that’s what Super Soapy Pal does!) 10514439_10100629062491030_2230568345789437036_o

The flying toast (Josh’s personal favorite. He even requested to have him after the party to put on his locker at work). 10553849_10100629060385250_3618171323616034556_o

The whole Gabba gang in banner form 10443225_10100629060395230_4874973589414458502_o

She was obsessed with the banner and kept trying the steal it for the two months it sat at our house before the party.

And of course, mommy and daddy had to get in the Gabba spirit! 10245551_10100629077166620_3678528003833062292_n(1)

For her invitations, I knew I was going to make DJ Lance’s boombox. I looked everywhere for gray card stock that was big enough to be folded and couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I had to get super crafty. Enter $1 gray spray paint from Walmart. I got 12×12 white card stock and spray painted both sides of it to make it boombox gray. 3 cans of spray paint and one gray foot later, they looked pretty darn good.

I then had to measure and cut the 12×12 sheets into 3 4×12 strips. After those were all done I traced and cut out red circles for the speakers and little tiny colored rectangles to make the buttons. I then hot glues all four colors together and then put them all on the cardstock. It was quite a process, but I was really happy with how they turned out. I had to keep them hidden because every time EB would see one she’d scream and steal it. 10309209_10100572613610040_5113658188167127734_n

We had her two year pictures taken at Cox Arboritum in Miamisburg, OH at the end of May. I always do them early so I can have the picture for her invitations and party. She had an adorable outfit to wear for the family pictures we wanted, and, of course, she wasn’t having anything to do with the pictures. So, I finally gave up and changed her into her Yo Gabba Gabba outfit and pulled out the Gabba items I had brought. She lost her mind and was suddenly much more corporative with us.

I took the banner and found the perfect place to hang it.

After a little mommy magic, here’s what the inside of the invite ended up looking like. imgsvr.ashx2

Not to toot my own horn (ok maybe a little tooting cause, hey, I worked hard on them), but I’m very proud of them.

I also made signs shaped like the Gabba logo and hung them up all over the place. 10465262_10100629061852310_1750587686032609934_o
As well as labeled the food. 10470883_10100629061847320_5766308935165548744_o 10480982_10100629074921120_6880038183140474031_n

And I made Muno pretzels because he’s her fravorite. 10557284_10100627677361840_1433868899449810643_n

And what’s a Gabba party without some Dazzleberry Lemonade? 10519692_10100629061832350_6833512264533987340_o

I got the cupcakes from Kroger and made the stand myself. When I was showing Josh the boxes I was going to use to make the cupcake stand he kinda made a weird face at me. I asked him what was wrong and his response? “You do too much.” Like that’s a bad thing! I wish he’d embrace my need to go overboard instead of trying to fight it. And you know what, I’m really glad I put in the effort cause I think it looked amazing. 10295423_10100629060779460_1579643056708230498_o

I got regular decorations at Party City and made sure every inch of Oma and Opa’s house had been Gabbafied. A girl only turns 2 once. 1965477_10100629061837340_2532077465061462764_o 10494921_10100629060774470_2494508798152817354_o

The party went well. I made way too much food, but you can never really anticipate how many people are going to actually show up. And, EB had fun, and that’s all that really mattered. She was very happy and loved the attention. 10568857_10100629075589780_4854521169466762115_n

Olaf selfie!
Olaf selfie!

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She’s very blessed to have so many people who love her. I know she had a great time and I’m glad I decided to go ahead and do it. Years from now, when I look back, I’ll remember how happy it made her to be surrounded by so much Gabba and so many people who laughed all her goofiness.10406807_10100629076707540_7583352158532180786_n 10487426_10100629076917120_7037311751274202740_n

And needless to say, she partied hard and passed out harder.10371682_10100629077001950_4517260868599519595_n

Happy Birthday (again) to my wonderful Baby Bee! We love you and think you’re AWESOME! imgsvr.ashx

Goodbye, Whitewood

Home. The word by very definition means, “One’s place of residence.” It’s not nearly as romantic as one would hope. It’s pretty simple. It’s the house, the four walls and a roof, that you live in – that is your home. There is one thing about the definition that I love – how open ended it is. And this girl loves the space for an intelligent discussion. What does residence mean? And to throw another definition at you, “the act or fact of dwelling in a place for some time.”

Ok, on with my point – lately I’ve been trying to figure out what home is, where I can find it. And it gets a little confusing. Sometimes I feel like I have too many homes, and, by definition, all my homes qualify as homes.

Every little kid draws a house fairly similar. It’s always a square with a roof, a door, maybe windows of varying shapes, and maybe some sort of plants. When I was little, this was a home.

And it’s kinda funny. Besides that chimney being on the wrong side and the lack of accurate window placement and other exterior adds such as porches, garages, and car ports, it’s my house. It has the bushes that were always out front on both sides of the door, the giant tree to the left, and the curved sidewalk. It looks like a very simple version of the building where my bright yellow room resided (granted it was probably seafoam green with rainbow ducky wallpaper at the time I drew most of these). That is home. For 19 years, it was my place.

NKU is my home. I lived there for three years. I lived, ate, and breathed the Residential Village my last year. That place – it just got under my skin and sunk into my heart. It’s special for lots of reasons. I learned new things everyday. Somedays it was simply not to ever eat anything from Commons “salad” bar. Other days I learned things much more valuable like how strong I could be and just how much I could handle. I found myself there. I found friends there. I found Josh there. NKU will always hold a special place in both our hearts. To this day, making the turn of Alexandria Pike and coming down the hill, it still causes my heart to skip a beat when the school comes into view. NKU is definitely our home.

Columbus became my home. I lived there for 10 months all by my lonesome. I became a “grown up” in Cbus. I paid my own bills. I did my own grocery shopping. I did my own dishes (when I had to). I loved my tiny apartment with my two little kittens who terrorized me at every turn causing many call to Josh, who was still at NKU, “Josh, Bellini won’t leave me alone!” or “Josh! That freakin cat is on top of the cabinet! What do I do?!” That tiny apartment became too tiny when the big boy moved in and we added a small dog to the mix.

We moved into a 2 bedroom townhouse literally right up the street. I loved that townhouse. I keep wishing we still had it. I think part of the emotional attachment to that place has to do with the fact that it was our first home as an engaged couple and then as a married couple. I planned our wedding in that townhouse. We started planning our life in that townhouse. It was where our roadmap started. I planned on eventually decorating the spare bedroom in pink or blue. We only lived there a year, but the attachment we both still feel to that place makes it seem longer. Well, Josh and the cats lived there a year. I lived there only 8 months before I got a job in Cincinnati. I lived with my parents for the first months of my marriage while Josh remained behind.

I miss the front patio with the sliding glass door that the cats used to meet me at when I got home from work. I miss our little kitchen with all it’s storage space. I miss the closet under the stairs filled with crap. I miss our pretty little bathroom and my walk in closet I didn’t have to share. I miss having stairs! I miss our tiny yard, and my flowerbed. I miss the lake being right around the side of the building and watching Maisy constantly try to chase the geese. I miss the stop sign where Maisy always went to the bathroom. I miss how pretty and green it all was. I miss the feeling it gave to me, that townhouse just breathed in and breathed out, “Home.”

Columbus is our home. I think it’s so special because it brought so many new things to our lives. I went to law school there. I found my puppylove there. I got engaged there. We explored a city foreign to both of us, so completely different where we both came from. Columbus is magical. It’s electric. It’s alive. It’s clean and gorgeous. We never got to go to a Crew game. We didn’t get to go to half the restaurants I wanted to go to. We never did a gallery hop. I miss walking around downtown, exploring the different foods at North Market, visiting Tuttle, and so on and so forth.  (I don’t miss the Buckeye fans though).

And then, home became West Chester. I love our little “manufactured home.” It needs a lot of upgrading, but it’s our home. I like that we don’t have to worry about maintenance people wondering into our house randomly. I like that we live in a quiet neighborhood. I love our bigger living room and kitchen and having two bathrooms. It’s where I brought a baby home. It’s Ellabelle’s 1st home. It’s where all her big baby firsts took and will take place.

One thing I don’t like: West Chester. I hate the way most people in West Chester act. They walk around with their noses in the air and act like their entitled to something because they spent a fortune on their cars and their homes. I hate little women in big SUVs who can’t pull in or out of parking spaces at the grocery store. I hate the politics and the entitled brats that run around. I hate the traffic. And, oh god, I hate that effin train. I hate trains. This city has made me hate trains.  But I love my little home on Basin Street.

So, my point, saying good bye to the physical building that was my home for 22 years (the phone number is still listed as “Home” in my contacts) is hard. All my childhood memories are in the building – putting on shows in the living room while my dad turned the tv up over our music, playing hopscotch on the tiles in the front hall, being a band under the carport with brooms, refusing to go into the basement for any reason, having to go out in the backyard to paint my nails, being scared that demon from The Exorcist was living in the attic after I watched the movie freshman year. It’s where I learned the importance of family. It’s where I got my heartbroken on many different occasions. It’s where I realized my daddy and I love each other better if we aren’t under the same roof. It’s where I had my birthdays and Ellabelle’s first christmas. It’s where Angie learned to walk, and we both rode our bikes. It’s also where I fell off my bike and refused to ride it ever again. It’s where I was when I found that both of my paternal grandparents had died. It’s where I learned and loved and became a person. It’s where I grew up.

Thankfully, I’ve realized something as I’ve gotten older. This is a pretty obvious observation, but it’s one that takes time to really understand. Your home isn’t a building. Yes, there are memories and marks inside a building that has been your house that draw out those warm fuzzy feelings from inside you, but those memories are yours forever. I’ve also learned something about my home that I never imagined could be a conclusion about a home: your home can be a person. I didn’t realize this until just recently. It makes sense my home was with my parents and with my sister. It wasn’t the brick house on the first side street to the left. It was them. And now, my home is Josh and Ellabelle. Josh has always said that I live in his heart, that I had to clear out a bunch of mayonnaise to make room for me. And as weird as it seems, I think that’s true. I live in him just as much as he lives in me. If we’re together, that’s all that matter.

When someone becomes your home, it’s scary. It’s a huge risk just like when you buy a new house. There’s just no inspector for this type of home. You have to trust your instinct because when someone becomes your home it’s like your soul stretches and contorts and connects to their soul. You’re fused together in a way that seems to be un severable. That’s why break ups (both between friends, family, and significant others) hurt so bad. It’s like the stitching has been ripped open and the wound that is left from that person absence is just left open to bleed and fester. Ultimately, you sew yourself back up, and you find someone else to attach onto. That doesn’t mean the other person is just forgotten about. There is still a scar left from where the stitches didn’t heal right. And that’s how I like to think of my soul: covered in scars and battered with Josh attached to one side, Ellabelle on the other, my parents attached to the bottom as my foundation, and Maisy’s little bitty piece snuggled up close to the middle.

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So, thank you, Whitewood, for being the place where my family could build memories. Thank you for being home to two messy little girls and loud (still messy) teenagers. Thanks for the slumber parties you held and parties you hosted. Thank you for letting Maisy hide bones all around you. Thank you for being the place where Josh experienced his first “real” Christmas. Thank you for being the staging area for so many big things – dance recitals, first and last days of school, graduations, a wedding. Thank you for all the good memories you contain. Thank you for being our home.