Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day #8: A picture of you in one of your favorite outfits

Ah yes. Every girl's wedding dress should be her favorite outfit. Mine was no exception.

Allen and I were broke ... and not broke in a funny, "Oh, we only have a few hundred in savings" broke. We were BROKE, and we didnt have shit. Thats why we decided to just get married already .... I had just drove a million hours from GA to Arizona, and I figured once I had put in that sort of legwork I deserved a little BAH.

So, with my roommates by our side (oh - Mr. Atlanta Recruiter that told us we could 'totally live off base together in AIT once we were married'? You are on my eat shit and die list), we set off to the Sierra Vista, AZ courthouse for a little quick hitchin'. 

 We showed up at the courthouse, they didnt even ask for ID, and gave us our license (apparently we looked trustworthy?).  The judge told us that the "people before didn't show up" (I told Allen that on the way the guy must have told the girl that his life insurance wouldn't be going in her name .... so she called it off ....) and we proceeded to get married in the quickest ceremony EVER. And then I took my new husband back to the barracks. We, in fact, did not spend the night together until the next Saturday.

I know so many people shake their heads at this story. With the way weddings are today, there are plenty of folks who cant fathom a union that begins with no family, people you've only known for a few days, no cake, no DJ, and no family tiffs over place card settings.

There are times when I wish we would have done the whole shebang, and had the big dress, the first dance, the grand honeymoon. But more over I see how fitting our ceremony really was. It was the two of us, scared to death, in a new place, vowing to lean on only each other. And through the years thats exactly what we've had to do, over and over and over again. 

Some marriages fall apart when the bottom falls out and there's nothing left. As for us .... we started with nothing, so there's no real precedence set for anything else. I loved my husband when it was him and I in a rented room with a borrowed bed. And I love him now, when weve gained a whole lot of shit. I see how far weve come in four years, how hard weve worked, and what the payoff from that has been. 

To get back to the dress, it was found on sale .... I couldnt afford much, but I was all alone in a new place, and didnt have shit to do anyways. I wandered into the little hallway of a mall, and wished my mom or my best friend was with me to find something suitable to commit my life in that was under $30. I found this dress, on a serious clearance for $18. It was the only one left, fit perfectly (oh .... those were the days. Look how young and thin ....), and was everything I wanted. Although white was a bit of a stretch ....(clearly) it was perfect. I would have chosen the exact same thing, even if I had a budget of a million dollars.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day #7: A picture of you from your younger years.

Dont act like you wouldnt have wanted to be friends with me AND my mullet. 

Day #6: A picture of you on your birthday.

Birthday 2009 - 26 years old  (but actually feel 21).

Spent the day with some of my favorite people in the great state of Michigan. I always miss MI this time of year. 

Also, this was my favorite birthday present of all time. It came in an email, and was the only way I saw my husband on my birthday. Sure puts this birthday in perspective. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm obligated to post at least one blog with the subject of Kanye West.

Please to enjoy the recap of Kanye West's latest faux pas ..... his outfit.

The article states that: "Clad in a black peacoat, fur vest, shiny gold shirt, gold chains, and headband, the rapper lipsynched (as most do) the words to his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album closer “Lost in the World.” 

Negro, you just appeared on national television in a SEQUINS and a HEADBAND. If I can offer you one piece of advice, its dont ever, ever, EVER roll up in the hood again.

Here's the full video, in case you missed it. I could not give a damn less what he said about GWB or to Matt Lauer .... but my eyes about fell out of my head when I saw what he had the nads to put on this morning. All I could do was watch and hope that 'Lil Stomachache and Pistolstarter dont get the Macy's parade on their rabbit ears, lest Kanye get killed. 

In fabulous quotient, Im going to give Kanye a 7.5 (the point 5 being for not only wearing a gold shirt, but a SHINY one). 

For street cred Im giving Kanye a 2, and thats only because he might be able to use his fur coat to barter with a homeboy (generosity added for the giving season ...).

To wrap this up, Ill just say that Kanye should now join hands with Ice Cube and walk off into the suburban sunset.

PS: Yes, Ice Cube. Because he went from:

Being a Nigga Wit Attitude, who was Straight Outta Compton, hanging out with Smokey, and trying not to use his AK ....
Taking a road trip in his mini van with his pesky upper middle class kiddos. Such adventures he meets along the way!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day #5: A picture of you with a parent or two

A picture of me and my momma. Theres nothing really funny to report on this one. My mom taught me that its okay to be myself - even though that means some people may not like who I really am, at least they wont love me for someone Im not. She taught me to never judge people until I've "walked a moon in their moccasins" (I think that means that I dont need to be all up in their Kool-Aid if I dont know the flavor). She taught me that its never too late to have a fresh start, that family is something you can always count on, and that I should really stop smoking, swearing, and generally feeling like I could bulldoze my way through life (I have stopped the first ... still working on the other two ...).

Most important, my mother has never, ever, ever ... no matter how many times I may have deserved it, or how many times she may have felt it .... told me that I disappointed her.  Theres something to be said for a person who is successful (which I suppose is debatable in my case .....), or moreover a person who is confident, when they were never told that they couldnt do something. I owe that to her, and I appreciate her helping to shape me as the raging narcissist that I am. Love you mom!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Im not supposed to be posting if Im not "photo challenging" right?

Well, whatever. I've grown endlessly restless since this is day one (solid) that Ive been out of work.

To recap: Friday - full day. Saturday - off. Sunday - Off. Monday - Left office at noon. Tuesday - Closed Court, no work.

That brings us to almost Wednesday, in which I may have to take a fucking sled and a roller skate and take my ass to work.

 Its not that I mind VACATION, but I do mind watching my hourly rate extract itself from my checking account every single  hour I'm not working. The point of going in for the ONE day in between the "Arctic Freeze" and the Thanksgiving Holiday is pretty much none ... but I keep thinking of the hundreds of lost dollars that Ill be facing on my December check.

This is the sort of shit we never worried about during school snow days.

We're a little bored in here (but not bored enough to clean, I must add), so we put up the Christmas tree. We watched some Dr. Phil (on bullying. Allen keeps saying things that end with "and then Id reach over there and beat her ass"). One of us has used socks for a purpose they werent made for (dont ask. Ever.).

Clearly Allen also had the day off. And I think hes going nuttier than I am. Maybe because I have an office that is empty most of the day, besides Meg. And I talk to clients, on my own time. But Allen has to be up people's butts all day long as part of the Army gig (not in a Dont Ask, Dont Tell way), so I think this staying home thing is harder on him than on me. Actually, its harder on me because I have to answer the 650 million questions, comments, ect that have come from him today.

All you stay at home moms who have kiddos that are in the question asking phase? Major, major props.

At this point, Im hoping for some sort of solar flare that will bring just enough heat to melt my path to the office in the morning (isnt the solar activity supposed to be out of control right now? Hey yo' .... lets make this happen Mr. Sun! I-5 to HWY 16, thatll do just fine). In related news, Ive decided to quit bitching about being tired, working, ect. Because the alternative (Watching ANOTHER episode of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Divorce Court, ect) is something I cannot bear.

Day #4: A picture of you very drunk

Ah ... finally. A day where I have eons of pictures to choose from. Because I fall into the category of "drinking my life away" (an actual accusation from someone who is infinitely better and more sober than I), there is no small selection of "pictures of me very drunk". 

Finally .... its paid off.

Anyhow. I dont know why I enjoy spirits the way I do. Its not as if I've missed out on them throughout my life. I drank at a decently young age, though it wasnt until I was 19ish and went away to college that I actually got to do it with any frequency - up until that point I was putting in as many hours as a student and mom as any human could. So, with the send off of "you should be able to have a young adulthood while we help", I strapped a Smirnoff in one hand and a Marlboro in the other to diversify my options.

At any rate, this is one of my all time favorite drunk pictures (and I know drunk pics, believe you me). This is me and my bestest almost four years ago at my going away celebration. Allen was "fixin" to graduate from basic training, and we were off to the land of Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Cinco de Mayo was a perfect day for all of us to hit up the La Parilla parking lot for the annual celebration. And yes, that cup in my hand that looks like a Big Gulp ABSOLUTELY was a margarita. Thats whats up.

Anyhow, its one of my favorites for many reasons:

  1. I was skinny
  2. I was with my favorite person in the world, probably the only one on Gods earth that knows every single thing about me .... and she loves me anyways. 
  3. I was skinny
  4. That was before I ruined tequila, and likely drinking in general, for the rest of my life by ingesting the better part of a bottle
  5. That was also before the Army made me super jaded to trusting that anything would go properly
  6. That was when I lived in GA. I loved Georgia, and will always call it home in spirit. Even though I only lived there for less than a year.
  7. And .... I was skinny. Not only was I skinny, but I drank a lot, ate Chili's every day, and was STILL skinny. I hate myself from 4 years ago. Bitch.
Although married life has brought all sort of wonderful things, and I wouldnt change it for the world, sometimes I miss that laid back life from yesteryear. Seems like we always had money, time, and things to do. And of course, we had each other (the "Chilis" crew). I wouldnt change my life for ANYTHING right now, but I am glad that I have those memories to look back on. Good times.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day #3: A picture of your house/apartment

Ah ... home. That word holds quite a different meaning for an Army Family.

If I am envious of anything in my civilian friend's lives, it is the ability to put down roots. Although a little thing called BAH allows us to always reside in adequate quarters (more so now that we've promoted a few times ....), there is no such thing as "a permanent home".

We're at the age where the majority of our friends outside the military are beginning to chose their homes. For them, it involves looking at things that will matter 5-10 years in advance : School districts for children that are not yet born, what the projected property values are in 10 years, how long it will take to do all the renovations that the couple desires. Although people do buy houses that they wont live in forever, most couples do not buy a home with the thought that it'll do "for now".

The majority of our friends who are in service will not buy a home. We fall into that category, at least for the time being. Although it would be amazing to walk into "our" home, we don't have the stability to make that a good decision. Military couples have to face a unique lifestyle that involves the very real possibility of being uprooted at any second. That sort of lifestyle does not always promote a positive buying environment, and most of us will continue to rent or live in on-post housing. 

Some military couples will buy houses. For some, its a good investment. For others, they get more for their money when paying a mortgage as opposed to wasting away in a rental home. Whatever the reason for buying, these homeowners also face a unique challenge - instead of renovating everything to their own desires, they always have to think "Will this change to the home still let us rent it out/ sell it soon?". 

With that said, the picture of the day is of our current "quarters" decorated for homecoming day. A summer homecoming was the perfect time to hang banners, plant flowers, and share our joy with the whole neighborhood (who probably couldnt have given a shit less).

This is home, for now. In the 4 years weve been in the military, weve lived in 4 different homes. Ive learned to arrange furniture to fit different rooms, hang pictures instead of painting, and I have more curtains and throw pillows than Bed, Bath and Beyond. Although it can be stressful to be on a first name basis with U-Haul, I can say that I never get bored with our house .... before I can do that, we move. And not only that, but you learn to make home truly "where your heart is" .... even if your heart, and your two big dogs are sleeping at yet another Extended Stay. 

You learn to view every rearrange as an adventure, to explore your surroundings before they change, and that its perfectly acceptable to buy and sell the same twin bed 3 times on .....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day #2: A picture of what is in your purse

  1. I used my favorite pink purse today. The best thing about this purse is that I bought it for $5 at Ross on sale. It was intended to be used for our Sex in the City II night out - I had a pink dress, and it was perfect for the night. As it turns out, I got more compliments on that purse than I ever have my Coach or Louis ... and truthfully, I like the pink on dreary days!
  2. The invitation to Krista's baby shower. I wrote directions on the back, but Google Maps gave directions like "Turn left, take a right, and then another right". Thats a little vague ....can a bitch get a street name?
  3. My equally sunny yellow wallet, which currently holds a zillion receipts, my business cards that I was so excited for but never use, and an outdated FL license that I just cant bear to throw away. 
  4. Sex in the City II - We helped the Dalton's move today, and I had left the DVD there awhile ago. Tany and I planned on having a DVD night, but we just talked for a few hours. Those friends are the best ... the ones you never run out of things to say to!
  5. My employee badge. The picture was taken in February 2009, when I graduated from CASA training. They never bothered to take a new picture when I was hired on as a contractor. I did have a state ID badge, for the month that I worked for the government ... but they took that the second I switched to full time being paid by McCann Law. They dont play.
  6. Bath and Body Works Lip Balm .... the "mentholated" kind. It's infused with mint to help if you dont have any gum/mints. I drink a ton of coffee all day, and I cant be chatting with clients with coffee breath. For days when I DO have gum, there is the MAC Lipglass. I love the shine, but its the kind that your hair gets stuck in .... or maybe thats just me ....
  7. The cheap ELF bronzer that is $1 and is understated and fantastic. Ive used every bronzer from VS to MAC, and the ELF is the first to look healthy not crazy.
  8. 2 (yes, TWO) Cherry Chapsticks. Its winter and its essential.
  9. Dentyene Pure - It has a bit of a liquid filling, and for the coffee reason its an essential in the bag.
  10. Bronzer Brush .... for the times when the mid-day "im tired" pale gets you :D
  11. A few pieces of Laffy Taffy. That has to be self explanatory ..... everyone needs a sweet every once and again!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day #1: A picture of you, and 15 facts about yourself.

  1. I am one month shy of 27 ... and life has never been so enjoyable. As long as things continue at this rate, I look forward to my 30's. I can only assume that 30 is the age when you are old enough to know better, but too young to care.
  2. I have the pleasure of loving my profession. I might not be saving the world as a whole, but I like to believe that in our line of work, we can effect change on the molecular level, therefore carrying it over into the world. You'd be surprised at how treating our youth as humans (and not as animals who have "done wrong") can turn the tide in their lives. I'm excited to be a part of the juvenile justice system at this time, and to see where it goes from here.
  3. I have very strong opinions, and I don't have trouble voicing them. I'm working on my tact, but the Lord asks you to be patient as I am still a work in progress!
  4. I love Bret Michaels, and I say that with no shame at all. Its nothing to do with his looks, but more to do with the fact that hes exactly the kind of guy I want to sit around and have a beer with. He seems laid back, fun and interesting .... and those are the sort of people that everyone should have around!
  5. I also love Taylor Swift, the Twilight Series and the "Party in the USA" song. I also watch Degrassi on The N, and I would so go back to college again. I feel like Freud would have a field day with this, and I must be stuck in the Teeny Bopper Phase.
  6. I have a husband, son and two dogs, all of which I love. I believe this means we are living the American Dream, in an alternative sort of way :)
  7. I love Cherry Chapstick. I do mean love.
  8. My life dream from about 11 to 25 was to go on the Real World. I hold true to the fact that I really could have made it on that show, and been the one that everyone loved but would be all like "OMG, did she just say that?" and I TOTALLY would have said that. Then I realized that everyone on the Real World was getting younger and thinner, whereas I was just getting older and fatter. So, that dream had to come to an end.
  9. I read, on average, 2 books a week. If I'm not doing something else, my head is always stuck in a book. I read when I blow dry my hair, on car rides, when I'm waiting at the office, and especially when I'm in the tub. Our house is full of books ... and if you ever look in our towel pantry in the restroom you will find more books than towels ....
  10. I did not vote for Dubya, either time, but now that hes not the President I'd damn sure hang out with him. In fact, regardless of my politics, I cant think of a President I WOULDNT hang out with. Id love to just hear some of the stories they have to tell.
  11. My name is Anne, and I am addicted to Facebook (and I used to use Myspace as a form of drug ...). We have moved so often, and have friends from all over the world. Myspace/Facebook is the best way to keep in touch with the people we love, and to share our stories, joys, and life with them. Although the "FB" is known to cause trouble in lives, I AM grateful for the chance to stay in touch.
  12. I have a TON of people I know, lots of acquaintances, a bucketful of friends, and a handful of "soulmates'. Through the years I've foraged deep connections with people that have lasted through many moves, some disagreements, life changes, ect, ect. The best part about a friendship like that is knowing that there are people in your life who have seen you stumble, fall, make mistakes, say things you shouldn't, and pretty much be down at your lowest level .... and they love you anyway. And in turn, you know you'll always be around for them, no matter how many times they show their asses. That? Is love. 
  13. When I was 18, I knew everything. When I was 21, I knew most things. At 27, I dont know shit. I cant tell if that means Im getting dumber or wiser.
  14. I genuinely love life, good food, good wine, a long walk, a pretty view, and a lazy day in bed. I dont believe that any pleasure is too small to revel in, whether it be a blowout trip across the ocean or a warm cup of coffee with a good friend. I love the excitement of going on a trip, I love the comfort of coming home, I love shopping for something that you just HAVE to have to make you happy. I love capturing a moment in pictures, I love laughing until my face hurts, and I love talking about something until it makes sense. I love being loud, open, honest, spontaneous, crazy, wild, funny, and most of all happy.
  15. When its all said and done, and Im on my way out, I want to be able to be content with that. I want to know that every single day I was given that I went out there and REALLY lived it. When God calls for me, I want to be satisfied with what I did, what I learned, and what I left behind. And I think, though not without its times of tribulation, this life is the most fantastic gift ever. 

30 Day Photo Challenge ...

Thought this could be a fun thing to do ... not only that, but it is also a good way to prompt myself to write something! Since doing something always tends to win over doing nothing ......

No, wait. Strike that. Reverse it.

Day #1: A picture of you, and 15 facts about yourself.
Day #2: A picture of what is in your purse
Day #3: A picture of your house/apartment.
Day #4: A picture of you very drunk.
Day #5: A picture of you with a parent or two.
Day #6: A picture of you on your birthday.
Day #7: A picture of you from your younger years.
Day #8: A picture of you in one of your favorite outfits.
Day #9: A picture of you making a goofy face at the camera.
Day #10: A picture of your handwriting.

Day #11: A picture of your celebrity crush.
Day #12: A picture of somewhere you want to visit.
Day #13: A picture of you and your best friend.
Day #14: A picture of you truly being yourself.
Day #15: A picture that always makes you smile.

Day #16: A picture of you being absolutely ridiculous. 

Day #17: A picture that always makes you sad.
Day #18: A picture of the town/city you live in.
Day #19: A picture of what you did today.
Day #20: A picture of you and a celebrity.
Day #21: A picture you had no idea was being taken.
Day #22: A picture of you and a sibling.

Day #23: A picture of one of your biggest accomplishments.
Day #24: A picture of your car.

Day #25: A picture of you and your friends.
Day #26: A picture of you on vacation.
Day #27: A picture of you at your senior prom.
Day #28: A picture of you from last year.
Day #29: A picture of you that doesn't really look like you.
Day #30: A picture of one of the best times of your life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trending Topics ... Skewed Reality.

The latest read in my bathroom (yes, I do 75% of reading in the tub. Laugh if you want, but its the one quiet place that neither the dogs or Allen will bother me in. The dogs because they hate water, Allen because he firmly believes, even after 4 years of marriage, that girls do not poop. He does not wish to be proven wrong) is a story that brings a very real problem to light.

No, its not abortion, or meth use, or even eating disorders (which are also very "in" right now, if you like that sort of thing).

Its the problem of "skewed reality", and its infecting women of all ages.

Skew - (as a verb) means to distort; depict unfairly.

As the story goes, a woman moves into a new town. Shes a wife and a mother, but doesn't feel like she's very good at either of those things. Her insecurities come further into play as she meets a woman in town who seems like she has it all - perfect hair, body, husband, kids, ect.

Woman A (the insecure one) decides that she doesn't like Woman B (the perfect one), despite the fact that Woman B has never said so much as an unkind word. In fact, Woman A takes Woman B's friendliness as an insult, saying "She thinks she is so much better than me that she pities me. That's the only reason she even bothers being nice. I KNOW that she actually says horrible things behind my back about what a bad wife and mother I am". Woman A alienates Woman B from her life. Every time Woman B invites Woman A somewhere, or calls her on the phone, Woman A gets angrier at her, deciding that Woman B's continued effort to be her friend is only so Woman B can further make fun of Woman A's ugliness, her lack of parenting skills, and her failures as a wife.

(I hope everyone is still on track with who is who in this story. Lots of letters in play here.)

And then, Woman B is murdered. And Woman A, who is bored with life, decides that she should track the events that lead up to Woman B's death. Woman A is sure shell find out how mean and terrible Woman B really was, and it will validate everything she already suspects.

Of course, we know how this story goes. In the course of interviewing Woman B's family and friends, Woman A finds that, not only is Woman B a perfectly normal person with good things and bad things in her life, but that Woman B actually spoke very highly of Woman A.

Woman A - "I decided to ask outright 'And what did she think of me?'".
Lexi smiled and said "She thought you were a great mother. She always said that she wished she knew you better".

All this was just a long winded and many lettered example of what so many women (and no, its not just women, but we seem to be the ones who suffer from it the most) go through in their lives.

I have to say that I am 100% percent guilty of this.

Like the time when you feel insecure that a friend hasn't called in awhile, and you see them out and they seem distant. So now, my reality is that this friend is upset at me, and they aren't talking to me about it, and they are probably telling all our friends what I did, but not me.

And then, a month or a year down the line you learn that the friend is going through a rough patch in her marriage, or has had trouble getting pregnant, or has a family member who is sick. All of those things were taking up so much thought and time that she hadn't had a second to call. And when I saw her, she had just gotten bad news, and was just trying to smile through the hard time.

I see it happen with the people around me. So many women perceive that they have been "disrespected" (which is the most over-fucking-used word right now, along with "drama" and "fake". I hate those words because no one knows what they mean, they just know that its a reason to throw a hissy fit, or a name to call when they aren't smart enough to think of one. I've got a choice few, feel free to email me if you need those.) by a friend, so they immediately launch the defense sequence.

Case in point:

Jo: "Joanne hasn't called me in awhile. I wonder if shes mad at me. Well, if shes mad at me, then fuck her. I don't have to say I'm sorry for anything, because I haven't done anything wrong. And whatever, if shes pissed then she can go screw herself, because I didn't tell ANYONE when she got that nose job last year, but she doesn't seem to care about that now. Shes so FAKE anyways. Why wouldn't she say shes mad at me? She just wants to cause DRAMA. I hate DRAMA. Shes totally disrespecting me".

Here, Jo's perception is that Joanne is mad at her. So, Jo's reality becomes that Joanne is mad at her. Now, Jo is justifiably defending herself against the attack that has come from Joanne.

When really, Joanne is just hanging out at home, wondering why Jo hasn't called her.

(Next weeks episode will include the girl myth that "if someone wants to talk to me they have to call me, but if they don't call me then Ill be hurt that they don't like me, when in reality if I really wanted to talk to them the GD phone works both ways" ......)

I know its such an elementary way of explaining things; however, I wish I had a dollar for every time I've seen this happen. Its a shame that women, who are the greatest communicators on earth, will lose friendships, relationships, and even jobs because they are defending against imaginary slights. This should also be opened up to the categories of:

1) That's not at all what I said, sorry that's how you took it
2) I'm sorry my success causes you such emotional turmoil
3) You are bored, not angry. Stop confusing the two
4) Speak up, I cant read minds
5) You don't ALWAYS have to have an issue with someone.

I know some people will be offended by this. Because, lets be real, someone is always offended by something. But this isn't born out of anyones actions, nor directed to anyone. I believe I'm guilty of the majority of these offenses. Ideally, Id see a world where woman could get along - or at the least, communicate effectively if they aren't.
Although, as I say that, I can think of next weeks blog titled "We are friends on Facebook, and yet, in real life I don't care to spend any time with you ......".

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Child Free is the New Black ....

Over the last month, some serious decisions have been made in our home.

I realize that a blog, that is visible to the world, is not the place for deep revelations. So, to keep it on a fun n' friendly level .....  potential procreation in our home is officially closed for business.

So now, the aftermath. And if I've been moody, or cranky, or generally impossible the last month and a half, Id like to take the time to apologize now. Although my actions certainly arent excused just for being under hormones or pressure, I hope those that love me can understand that I dont do secrets, doctors, OR hearing the word "no" very well.

So what does it feel like to close a chapter? Im sure some of you, especially those who have always dreamed about being a mother, wonder what that feels like.

I never dreamed of being a mother. It was something I assumed would happen one day, but only after I graduated law school, became a princess, and saved the entire world from destruction. Motherhood was always a secondary thought .... sure, it would happen. But even at a very young age I dreamed of success, and power, and sweeping through an office as a high powered business woman. 

(My mom will tell you that I actually only dreamed of being a teenager. And she was right, to some extent).

And then ... then came a surprise. And although unconventional, Devon was (and is) surely the best thing to ever happen to me. He is still our everything, even if hes far away. And, although Im sure some of my counterparts would disagree, I still feel like a good mom. I never thought that my son would be away from me this far, for this long. But I also know that the choice that was made saved him from seeing a horrible fight, one that would scar his image of everyone around him. Although I hate that hes not here, I love knowing that he is surrounded by so many people that love him so much.

When we first got married, we wanted children. So we tried to have a baby.

And .... nothing happened. 

So, we tried harder. And nothing happened.

My doctor said to me one day "aren't you concerned that at your age and health that nothing is happening?"

So they did tests. And more tests. And Allen did tests. 

And there was news. But at the time, being young and naive, it felt more like ... a joke. 

Not that infertility was a joke. It certainly isn't. But by the time the tests were done, we had firmly established a new life full of friends, and a job, and school. Suddenly, we had moved past wanting a baby and moved into a life full of other things.

At the time, the news didnt seem all that life changing. Everyone assured us that with the right drugs, the right timing, the right doctors, ect et atl, we could one day have a baby anyways. We heard all the stories from people who were cursed with infertility and they popped up pregnant as soon as they stopped trying. People were saying all these wonderful things, and doing it with the best of intentions, but looking back now, it seems like false hope. Although Im sure those stories are true, and wonderful for them, it made the diagnosis seem unreal.

So, we masked any pain we may have felt. We joked that we didnt want kids - in fact, that became our main "tagline".  As in "the Cones dont even want kids". Sometimes it was easier than facing the reality of the situation - that it didnt matter what we wanted, the choice wasnt exactly ours.  And on some days, it was true. The emotions were sticky ... they didnt stay the same from day to day.

Some people took offense to this. They thought we were attacking their way of life. It was as if, when we said that we werent going to have children, some people thought the underlying message was that we thought their way of life was somehow beneath us. To clarify, that was never true. But saying "We dont want them" was so much easier than saying "We cant have them". It may have made us sound selfish, or rude, but it was a hell of a lot easier than hearing the 678 helpful stories to encourage us to just keep trying. 

Looking back, I dont know when the evolution happened. I remember wanting to have babies. And then one day,  it seemed less important. And then one day, I wasnt sure I wanted them anymore.

Parallel to the first diagnosis, I also began volunteering as a CASA. I do remember when the idea of adoption first came about .... when I did my CASA training. And the more I worked with the juvenile court ... through the volunteer work,  my internship, and now my job, the more adoption replaced the idea of ever having my own child.

Soon, Allen was on board with the adoption idea - so much that we started the process by taking the PRIDE classes to get more information. Adoption is a wonderful thing, and we did 30 hours of classes together. It brought us closer as a couple, and closer to the idea that we could still, someday, expand our family.

One day, a friend who thought she couldnt get pregnant found out she was expecting. And with that, I became obsessed with figuring out my own options, once and for all. At 27, I wanted to know exactly what I would have to do to have my own baby. And to be honest, I wasnt sure that was what I wanted. But more, I wanted to know exactly what it would take.

So I got a new doctor, outside of Madigan. And Allen went to someone he trusted. We got our results quickly, after we made friends with both of our providers. 

The news wasnt a shock. It felt like the final sealing of an envelope, the closing of a chapter. I had more than prepared myself for it, and over time, it didnt seem like such a bad thing. I just wanted a finality, before we put that box on the shelf. I wanted one last goodbye before I left it behind. That way I wasnt going to look back in 15 years and wonder what else I could have done.

There was a brief talk of options. Hormones, IVF, new therapies that could be done to elevate this and balance that, surgery to correct another problem. 

It didnt take long for us to decide against any of that. Something amazing had happened in the absence of the child possibility.

***And for those of you with children, please dont take offense to this. This is not an insult against the life you have, its just a coping skill that we learned that happened to save our marriage from devastating news ****

Over the time when children werent a thought, we began to close the holes that the "ghost children" had left. We started to live life to the fullest - to vacation, to eat at fantastic places, to spend our money on cool toys. We started to spoil Devon as an only child can be spoiled, to spend long mornings in bed on weekends. We went to Hawaii, to Vegas, to Michigan, to Florida,  back home to visit friends. We talked over long walks with gelato, we shared our hobbies, favorite movies and books. I got to know everything about my husband. I shared the moments he was home, and when he was gone I was able to worry about only myself. I was able to go back to school, to spend hours on the career that I loved, to spend my crappy days in bed with no one to answer to.

We took what we were given, and we made the best of it. And after time spent doing that, there didnt seem to be the drive to have a baby like there used to be.

There is still sadness. I feel terrible that Ill never get to look at a little baby Allen and know that we made that. There is sadness that we wont go through the joys of pregnancy, that we wont ever know what a child that we produced would have given - to us, or to the world. And although I feel in a great place with this, I cant say that there arent times when I am angry, or sad, that we dont even have the option.

I know there are some people who cant fathom a marriage without children. I can understand that, because I know so many people who are amazing mothers, who work so hard, who love their children and their husbands. All I can say is, I thank God this happened to me and not to them. I think my friends who are full time mothers are the strongest women in the world, and I admire what they do. Although my life is taking a much different track, it doesnt take away my ability to love my friends children with all my heart, and to be proud to have people in my life that show me what good families are. 

As for my marriage? This situation couldnt have happened to a better couple (for lack of a better phrase). Allen and I .... we're who we are. We are both career driven, we are selfish, we are impatient, we push hard to get ahead in life. We both love to live the fast life, we love to mix it up. We love to love each other, and we are very "grinch-y" with our time together ... meaning, we dont like to give that away too freely. We also both love Devon with all our hearts, and we love the idea of being able to give him so much more than we had. 

Allen and I are genuinely one of the happiest and healthiest couples around. Nothing is perfect, and  we arent either, but we have faced every challenge and adversity with a  bond that goes beyond anything I can describe. We take things like this, and we dont let it knock us down. We take all the positive (and yes, there is a lot of positive in this!!!) and we run with it - both driven by the need to see the other be happy.

Our future still looks bright. We have both decided that we arent ready for children, adopted or otherwise.  There is still a lot on our "bucket list" that needs to be done. And we have both decided that, although modern medicine is an absolute miracle, if we are going to spend that much money, time, energy, ect, we are going to spend it on a child that is already in this world who needs a loving home. Although we cant predict when the time will be right, someday we are going to go through with adopting a child. We thought the time was right once, and it wasnt. But someday it IS going to be, and I fully believe that God has something in mind for us ... when the time is right. 

I know that some people will read this, and be confused. All I can say is that its been an emotional journey. Some days having a baby was all I wanted. Some days, I couldnt fathom why anyone would want one. It depended on where I was, what I was doing, and how tired I was at the time .....

Sometimes it is hard to be the ones without children around. I feel like we get overlooked as a family because it doesnt seem cemented without kids around. But, we have so much more than I ever bargained for .... in love, and in life. Its pretty amazing.

As anyone of my friends with kids can tell you, I love their children like they are my own. We love giving date nights, we love buying presents, I love visiting my friends AND their kiddos. I never understood people who werent friends with childless couples .... there is NO one else on earth aside from grandparents who are willing and able to provide extra hands, babysitting services, and lots of fantastic presents that will make loads of fun noises. I appreciate those that have dubbed me "Auntie Anne" and let me get some of this damn biological instinct out with good use.

So, thats the long of it. I just needed to get it all, the whole story, out on this screen. Im ready to leave the questions, the confusion, the hurt, the grieving, all of it behind. God has given me a full cup, and I want to go back to appreciating every day. 

So if you got this far, thank you. I appreciate that sort of care and concern. And now, you all know the story. Hopefully this helps some of you understand me better.