From Halloween until Christmas, has been a roller coaster of a ride, sometimes hands in the air yahoo sort but other times, stop the world I want to get off type. Any way we have made it to today, December 27 (Yes, we lasted past the end of the world 12/21/12 which just happens to be my oldest daughter Brittany's birthday!)
I will digress to give some back story and go back further than even Halloween to give an adequate bird's eye view of our year, then we will skip ahead to the present.
The year began as any other year. "Happy New Year," cheers, whistles and kisses. Skip ahead, I did two marathons in three weeks, crazy, yes, but was a great experience. Two days after the last one, Nik and I flew to Vegas to train with Kong and of course to eat a belly full of Thai food.
Nik celebrated his birthday in the middle of the above mentioned events and the trip to Vegas was part of his birthday gift. Of course we had a blast, got our butts kicked. We met up with a couple from here, Mark and Bre, got to see Cirque de Soliel and eat at my favorite restaurant there The Top of the World. It was a great time.
Then May came around and my oldest daughter Brittany decided that she was moving to Holland, as in Amsterdam as in 4500 miles away. May was sort of an emotional month for me. She left the week before Mothers Day, it was tough. Even tougher was that I didn't hear from her for a solid week and was terrified. Upon receiving a call from her where I was asked why I was upset, I could tell she was oblivious. After I had calmed, I completely understand why she left, she has wanderlust just like her mom. Truthfully had I not been a mom at 17, I probably would have done the same thing.
My birthday rolled around and a trip to Puerto Rico followed, my favorite place on earth. I celebrated turning 39 there. Anybody who knows me at all, knows my fascination about turning forty so, yahoo!! I'm another year closer.
Pretty even keeled for the next couple months, Nik decided to go full time at the gym, Sor Sumrit and all is going well until October 31.
We had just gotten back from celebrating our first wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico, getting settled back to reality when the gym catches on fire due to a faulty heater exploding. Thank goodness nobody was in the gym at the time, and though the damage was devastating, we still had each other and our house. All I can say about getting the gym back up and running, was only by the help of a few great friends who have made such a huge impact on us, we could never repay them.
At exactly the same time that the fire department was on the way to our house, my mother was being rushed via ambulance to the hospital. She had an aneurism in her heart and at the time there was no clue what was happening. She ended up being in CVICU for close to two weeks.
Reminder: we are still on the same day, October 31, 2012, the longest day of my life.
Thanksgiving came around, it definitely didn't feel much like the holidays as I had been slammed at work, Nik had been getting classes built back up and having to deal with everything going on all around us.
I, up until this point, had not had a meltdown. My stress level was about a thousand percent, my swim coach would only let me swim freestyle laps, by myself. Every time, I would end up swimming around two to two hours and fifteen minutes, just back and forth. during that time I was able to be at peace.
Running was my other saving grace. Thank goodness for my friend, Lori who is crazy enough to say, twenty miles sounds fun.
After Thanksgiving the meltdown occurred, or as Nik likes to call it, full on turtle mode. I don't talk, I usually cry, a lot.
When road miles don't work anymore and swimming laps don't work, Muay Thai has been exhausted, a girl's just gotta cry. I knew when I was sitting watching "How I Met Your Mother" and started tearing up it was happening.
It was a Friday morning, Nik said are you supposed to run today, because you need to. I said no, I have twenty tomorrow and ten Sunday. He said good, you need all those miles. I told him I was going to see my friend, Laura. She was waiting on me at her house and I swear as soon as I stepped through her door, the waterworks started. I talked and cried, cried on her shoulder and she just listened, no advice given. The turtle was gone, I was exhausted, but I did feel better. I am so thankful to have her in my life.
Hannah's birthday came and went, I still can't believe she is seventeen years old. Brittany's birthday came and went, this was the first year I have celebrated with her. This year was also the first for her not being here over the holidays, which made me sad but she has to live her own life.
The past few months I have been working on two relationships, with my sister and daddy.
On Thanksgiving we dropped by my dad's after having been to my mother in laws with my mother and her husband. He showed us around his farm. Serious animal hoarder there, but it keeps him active.
During the time that my mother was in the hospital, my sister came down and stayed with me. Though the circumstances weren't great for us to spend much time together, we enjoyed each others company immensely. I decided I wanted to go and visit her in Fayetteville over Christmas holidays.
Work was crazy (not complaining at all, I enjoy what I do) which did not permit much running or swimming, funny because I am supposed to be tapering for an upcoming event. Things always workout that way.
The last day at work was 12/21, 12/22 after lunch we headed up to my sister and brother in laws house in Fayetteville. My sister and I were so super excited, see what you don't know is that over the past eight years that she has lived there I had never visited. I reserved a hotel room at the Hilton there for Saturday and Sunday night and we were set.
Saturday morning, Nik taught and I ran with one of my best friends, Lori. We had a great run though it was freezing, 18 miles on the books for us.
Nik and I loaded up and we were off. Surprisingly traffic was not bad, we made great time, checked into our hotel and got dressed to go to my sister's house and to dinner that night at Carrabba's with her and her family. Dinner was fabulous, their treat, and dear lord the sangria there was to die for.
We went back to our hotel, slept. Had breakfast and then...went to the gym on Sunday morning.
In the afternoon we went to my sister's home and roasted hot dogs and s'mores over the fire. We baked cookies and pinwheels, drank some wine and chit chatted like the old days. And guess what was on tv, Ironman Championships 2012. We all watched it together, questions followed and I answered gladly. It was a nice treat to have them interested in something that I love.
We ended up heading out early Monday, Christmas Eve, to get back home before the masses were on the road. We made good time back home, no traffic again.
Devyn and Alex came by for a brief visit. They were talking to us about their upcoming wedding and job and such grown up stuff. They were surprised with their Christmas loot.
Christmas morning we decided we were going to volunteer somewhere, I asked a friend and found a local place so we headed out at 9:30 to go lend a hand. One of the guys from the gym came with us to volunteer.
I was armed with a scoop, Josh with a slotted spoon and Nik with a ladle. In an hour and a half that we were on the line over 500 plates were dipped. It was incredible to be part of something so small that means so much. We were thanked for giving up our Christmas morning, I had nothing else to do, it didn't feel like a sacrifice to me at all. Actually it made me feel more in the Christmas spirit than I had previously.
Other people showed up to volunteer at 11:45 so we were forced to surrender our utensils, stupid I thought but we did and we headed off to our other Christmas festivities.
1:30- Christmas lunch at my Daddy's. the food was fabulous, all veggies were grown in his garden which made them phenomenal. I enjoyed my food very much and the conversation. Except one comment that got under my skin. He asked me about my running after I made the comment to Nik that I was going to have to run 40 miles to burn off this food. Daddy asked me how far I had run? I told him, then I told him about my half ironman. He said you quit didn't you? Pissed me off to be truthful, but I said no sir, that is one thing I am not is a quitter. Conversation moved on. Sad he doesn't really know me at all.
He took us out to show us his chickens again and to feed the donkey. We left soon there after to go to Nik's mom's house for our next Christmas stop. She made finger foods which was a nice change from the big full meals we are accustomed to. We spent sometime with her and then left to go pick up Hannah from her dad.
Hannah was excited to open her presents that Santa had left her, mostly Bob Marley stuff. We just relaxed that night, Nik, Hannah and me, by the fire.
At the end of the day, we were tired, had full bellies, and were happy. What a full few months, a roller coaster of a ride, learning what is important, family and true friends, and the pursuit if happiness.
Whatever happiness means..
My definition follows:
-having a great family whether matching DNA or not
-loving what you do for a career
-raising functional children who can take care of themselves
-having food in the pantry
-being able to help others
-being and having great friends
-being physically active
-trying to mend relationships
-finding new challenges
-learning something new every day
In a nutshell...loving every aspect of my life, accepting that it is far from perfect but it is serendipitous and I wouldn't want it any other way. The pieces of the puzzle and every person in it make it complete, there are more pieces yet to be added and I'm certain some will be removed, such is life.
I welcome, open armed 2013, a year of simplifying, reevaluation and self discovery with my own happiness project. This year I will have aged forty years, I will acquire more laugh lines, less frown lines while cultivating this thing called life. I hope to inspire more people to make changes, to be a positive example to others which helps my own personal growth.
Bring it on 2013!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year