Archive for the ‘so this is growing up’ Tag

yes, yes, yes!   Leave a comment

engagement ring boxWhen you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. (Nora Ephron)

Sixteen months ago to the day, I found myself on an A*MAY*ZING first date with a guy I met the week before at a country bar on a Sunday Funday.  And now, roughly 500 days after we met, we are engaged and anxiously awaiting our November 1, 2014 wedding date.

These past sixteen months have been beyond wonderful, and the day Cubby proposed is a day that I’ll never forget.  But more than all of these unforgettable memories, I cannot begin to address how much I have learned about life, love, relationships, Cubby, and myself.

I can also say that life is completely unpredictable!  Here I am, turning thirty in a few weeks, and a year ago I never would have predicted that I would be a fiancée before I was thirty years old!  Actually, two years ago, I never would have thought that I would have a boyfriend before I turned thirty!  But I found a fantastic boyfriend… who turned into a spectacular fiancé… and who will undoubtedly be the best husband.

Reflecting on these incredible changes in my life over the past year and a half, the best advice that I can give anyone is to always say “Yes!” to the opportunities that life brings you.  Say “Yes!” when your girlies or buddies ask you to spend a Sunday Funday at the bars.  Say “Yes!” to the cute guy who asks you out on a date the following weekend.  And most definitely say “Yes!” to love and all of the joy and happiness that comes with it.


all of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who i am.   3 comments

When you’re twenty-nine years old and only beginning your first relationship, people tend to ask, “Why?” to defend that there is nothing wrong with you.  But they might as well save their breath, because there actually is something wrong with you.  I mean how is it that you can be mere months away from a milestone decade with only one notch on your girlfriend chart?  Come on!  That’s not normal! 

This twenty-nine year old with “something wrong” is obviously me. 

Two weeks ago I finally dropped my walls and faced up to the “something wrong” that has held me back for nearly half of my life.  It hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been quite scary, but so far it has been worth it.  So much weight has dropped off my shoulders; however, while I’ve felt some sense of relief, life has been far from easy.  In fact, it’s been pretty difficult. 

As I sit here tonight, with a few tears in my eyes, I can only wish that I would have faced up to my struggle sooner.  When I think about it, I believe that my struggles began when I was in eighth grade, which would have been fifteen years ago.  Fifteen years of depression is just too long, and what makes it worse is thinking about much I’ve held myself back from.  

Without a doubt, love is the biggest sacrifice that my depression has forced me to make.  In a way, I guess you can say that it’s also my biggest regret for not conquering these demons of mine way back when.  I’ve already let it hold me back from potentially being with who I believe was the love of my life (which unfortunately I still regret more than anything in my life), but now I’m a bit fearful that it’s always going to hold me back.  I could say more about that, but today really isn’t the night to do so.  Sorry.

While I intended to include more in this post, unfortunately I’m not feeling like much of a blogger tonight.  After a great day of babysitting, tonight has proven to be a little bit rough.  But if I can leave you with one last thing, it’s this: Please don’t let anything, hold you back from love or happiness, as I have.  In talking to one of my best friends today, she said, “Kris,  I just want you to be happy.  You deserve to be so happy.” 

We all deserve to be happy.  Unfortunately, those of us who struggle with this depression don’t believe that we do, which is why we don’t seek treatment right away.  But I’m here to tell you that we do, indeed, deserve to be happy.  We really do.  And from what I’ve been told, you can find that happiness when you drop down your walls and let yourself be helped.

The Story- Brandi Carlile

take me back to the ball game?   Leave a comment

In a matter of seconds, I went from a Chicago-living 27-year-old to my former 12-year old  self by simply seeing a “Frozen Lemonade” sign in the window this morning.  Before I knew it I was lost in memories of those summer days spent at my brother’s baseball tournaments and all those Aunt Thelma’s Old-Fashioned Lemonades that helped me beat the heat.  Besides supporting my brother, I soon found myself noticing those cute boys in ball caps more and more.  Boys: Our sweetest downfall.  

Those days were fifteen years ago, yet I still remember how innocent things used to be.  Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, that was one of the last summers- if not the last summer– of innocence for me.  Shortly after that summer I had my first ‘real’ boyfriend and first kiss- soon to be followed by another boyfriend and another round of kisses.  But as sweet as those days proved, the Terrible Thirteens also introduced the terms Frenemies, Pettiness, and Jealousy.  Yep, the Age of Innocence was definitely over for me!

As I walked in my office and reality set in, I couldn’t shake this thought: Am I really that same girl?  And if so, how did that teenager eventually become…well…me?

I’m heading home (Pittsburgh, PA) this weekend for some time with my family.  To be honest, right now I’m hoping that those four days can be filled with some innocent fun and family therapy.  And maybe, just maybe, I am hoping to connect with my former self a little bit more.  Having only lived in Pittsburgh for a year and a handful of summers since college, I feel very disconnected to the girl who once only knew the world inside the Hampton Bubble.  So much has changed since then.  I’ve changed so much since then. 

For instance, I associate more with being an Ohio girl than being born & raised in Pittsburgh.  Not to mention, those crushes on baseball players are certainly a thing of the past as I’ve been categorized  as having a ‘soccer player type’ for at least the last 8 years.  Still, the memories catch me off guard every now and then to remind me where I came from.

Even as an innocent and happy pre-teen, had dreams about leaving everything I knew and adventuring off to the unknown world.  I was always fascinated by the big city lights and meeting new people.  Quite simply, I guess I always felt like there was more out there for me.  I always knew the day would come when I’d  say ‘goodbye’ and try to find a new place to call home. 

But sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have that itch; or if I didn’t have the courage to pursue those dreams.  Or what if I would have fallen madly in love with one of those boys in ball caps from my hometown?  What if I never had the opportunity to crush on those soccer boys?  Would I have kept my innocence?  And more importantly, would I have been happy? 

Sometimes I find myself a little lost in this big city and get to wondering if there’s somewhere else I’d be more fitted for.  Truth be told, I don’t think it’s Pittsburgh.  (I really don’t.)  But I really do value my past and truly believe that it provided me the challenges that I needed to face.  I’d love to have an innocent heart again, but then again I don’t know if I would really change it for everything I’ve been able to experience thus far.  Nor would I give up those irresistible soccer players that seem to always find a way into my life.  Do you hear that, Mr. Beckham?

oh becca & kenna, don’t you ever grow up. it could stay this simple.   Leave a comment

As I rode back from Midway Airport early Tuesday morning, I turned on the Becca & Kenna playlist that my weekend guests made me only to find myself crying happy tears as Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift played.  After spending a weekend with my 18-year old cousin, Becca, and her best friend, Kenna, I couldn’t help but wonder where the time went.  When did my little cousin grow up?  Is she really going to college in a few weeks?  And how is she old enough to be talking about boys with me?  As I pondered these questions, my mind when through a montage of memories from the previous weekend and how A*MAY*ZING it truly was. 

For those of you who don’t personally know me, led me shed some light on the events leading up to my guests’ arrival.  Last December, my cousin, Becca, traveled from Atlanta to perform with her high school band.  Spending limited time with Becca due to her travel schedule, I invited her back to Chicago (since she expressed her love for it!) during the summer after graduation/before college began.  She willingly accepted and we decided to extend the invitation to her best friend, Kenna, too. 

Last Saturday morning, I woke up early to venture down to Midway Airport to pick up the college girls!  To be honest, I had no idea what the weekend would entail but so excited to find out!

Somewhere on the train between Midway and our stop we decided to conduct a photo scavenger hunt over the course of the next three days.  The first photo taken was of the girls in front of the first Starbucks that their path crossed.  (Note: We ended up passing/seeing 15 and taking a photo at each.)  We eventually headed back to my apartment to change and get ready for lunch with our other cousin, Kelly, (who was also in town) and her friends.  After some pizza at Giardano’s and more photos, we embarked on some shopping on Michigan Avenue and a stop at Garrett’s for popcorn.  Shortly after we decided to call it an early night- since these ladies were up at 4 am ET!!- and headed home to watch a movie.

Sleeping in on Sunday morning, we began our day perfectly with Panera bagels and Starbucks coffee before venturing around the neighborhood towards a few destinations.  Just like the previous day, we had no set plans; however, the girls were really interested in finding the production company of (their crush), Glee’s Darren Criss.  Unfortunately they were (apparently) only in Chicago temporarily, but that didn’t stop us from taking photos in front of their one-time theater, as well as The Gap, which all Gleeks know as the place of Blaine’s serenation.  And since we were in the area, we headed over to Wrigley Field before taking a trip to Navy Pier.  Before we knew it, we  were hungry again and I knew just the place to take my guests: Wilde’s!   After a hearty meal at my favorite neighborhood bar/restaurant, we headed back to lounge around in our pjs and rest up for another day around town.

Following another breakfast of bagels & caffeine, the girls and I jumped on the train to visit two of my favorites: Michelle & Max!  After playing hard-to-get for a little while, the world’s most adorable toddler finally came around and enjoyed playing with his new girlfriends.  And boy did they love him!!  As Max opting for play time instead of nap time- who can blame him?- we headed off to Millenium Park to show the girls “The Bean”.  And while he was a little intimidated by it a few weeks ago, Max as entertained as any other tourist.  I think it’s safe to say that the girls have fun but mostly enjoyed being in the company of this little heart-throb. (Honestly, it’s impossible not to fall in love with him.  Surrender now.)  Lucky for us, our time with Max wasn’t over because the wonderful Michelle invited the girls & me over for dinner.  In my opinion it was the perfect end to the weekend.  There was just something so special about watching them play peek-a-boo with Max.  Especially Becca.  Having known her since she was a toddler and now watching her with another who is like family to me, I just had such an indescribable feeling come over me.

So this now takes us to the ride to the airport on Tuesday morning.  Thinking about last weekend makes me realize how simple life used to be when we were kids- even teenagers.  When did life get so complicated?  While I am thrilled for Becca & Kenna to begin the next chapter of their lives in college, I am also filled with reservations because I don’t want them to grow up and lose the innocence that I witnessed within them.  I want them to avoid all of life’s complications and cherish the little things.  I want them to live simply and simply live.  I want them to remain young at heart instead of cold from the harsh realities.  I want so much for them, but above all things I really just want them to be happy.  This past week I saw happiness shine through them and their friendship; and based on the lessons I’ve learned, that is something that should always be cherished.

*This post is dedicated to Becca & Kenna.  May you both always know that you have a second home in Chicago as well as a cousin/ friend forever.

everybody says they’ll never fall again, but everybody does.   2 comments

As little girls we begin our forever quest to Find Love.  We go to bed dreaming of Prince Charming waking us up with His Kiss and taking us away to Happily Ever After.  Brainwashed by fairy tales and romantic comedies throughout our rose-tinted adolescence, we find ourselves infatuated with the Idea of Love.  Our Imagination fools us to believe that each guy could be “The One” that we’ve been waiting for…to rescue us.  We wish on birthday candles and (all possibly) shooting stars that this is the year that he’ll find us.  We hope, pray, and never stop believing that Love Will Find Us. 

And then we grow up…and reality sets in.  We find ourselves faced with frustration, disappointment, and the inevitable (first) heartbreak.  We soon curse that Boys are Jerks and Love is Stupid.  We swear to Never Fall in Love Again.  And for some of us, and I say ‘us’ for a reason, we stop believing that love exists- or at least for ourselves. 

You are never the same after that First Heartbreakbut as they say, The Show Must Go On.  But how?  How do you pick yourself back up after (literally) falling so low?  Again, I’m neither an expert on L.O.V.E. nor relationships, but I definitely have broken heart experience.  So when I sat with two new friends yesterday- on Valentine’s Day of all days- I couldn’t contain myself from sharing my philosophy: Live Your Life with No Regrets.  I told them to go out and Live Carefree.  Say Whatever You Want to Say.  Do Whatever You Want to Do.  Do Not Hold Yourself Back.

While both agreed, each also brought up those ‘exes’ that still appear to be holding them back.  Something that I knew a little too well.  So yes, I understand, maybe too much.  I’ve been there, done that.  I am dedicated to accepting all aspects of my life in order to never wear those old pair of ‘whoa is me’ shoes again.  While I’m glad that phase of my life is over, I have the utmost appreciation for having had that experience…which is something I never imagined myself feeling.  Since I cannot say it better myself, I’ll let this quote explain my ration here: “Every instance of heartbreak can teach us powerful lessons about creating the kind of love we really want.” (Martha Beck)

Last night I walked through the streets of downtown Chicago with a completely clear head.  In fact, I kept walking- passing bus stops- so that I could continue my moment of serenity.  Somewhere along Michigan Avenue I found myself with this thought: Maybe I was never in love with Casey?  Maybe I was always in love with the idea of love, and he was the one I projected it onto?  Maybe…maybe not.  I know I loved him and cared a lot about him, and I know that because to this day I still want the very best for him…even though I cannot be the one making him happy.  To me, that’s what true love is about.  When you love someone you just want them to be happy, even if it means making you a little bit sad.  Okay, ponder that if you choose to…

Today, at the lovely age of 27, I find myself (finally) content with Who I Am.  I’ve become quite comfortable Saying Anything I Want to Say and Doing Whatever I Want to Do. 

No longer to I go to bed to Dream about Love and the Crush of the Moment.  I don’t find myself Hoping to be Saved by a Knight in Shining Armor.  And it’s fair to say that I’ve stopped believing that Happily Ever After looks just like it does in the movies. 

And to be honest, I may be a little too oblivious to this whole love thing these days.  Maybe that’s what my old patched-up heart needs to work on because I don’t want to miss love if it chooses to come around again.

are we falling or flying?   4 comments

Maybe I’m homesick? 

I thought this as the possible explanation as I walked down from the children’s hospital last night after volunteering, and again this morning on the way to the train station.  Why do I feel so blah?  Wasn’t I just high on life last week, bouncing around the elementary school covered in paint and tape?  Didn’t I just sing praises for my 3 am alarm giving me the opportunity to send off kids and their families on well-deserved trips far, far away from hospital rooms and doctor appointments?

YES and YES, but back to the harsh reality of, well, reality- also known as the work week.  I know it’s Wednesday, but for some reason that isn’t helping too much.  So what gives?  Am I homesick?  Maybe.  I’m not sure.  Am I stressed out?  Perhaps a little but I’ve been a lot worse before.  Seriously, what’s up with this week?  Am I the only one who feels this way?

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”  That darn line from The Notebook has been in my mind all day ever since I saw a Facebook-friend from high school’s status this morning: Love is patient.  Without thinking, I hit “Like”.  Hours later I’m still thinking about the line, but not in the sense of romantic love.  Instead I wonder for how long one can be patient when it comes to their passions.  How long will you wait, how much time & energy can you exert, for a dream to come true? 

I’ve spent a lot of my life dreaming,  but I’ve never believed in something as much as I do right now.  (Okay, maybe one other thing but this isn’t about him.)  I know my dream, my goal.  I know it’s attainable, but when is it going to work out?  Will I ever lose steam trying and trying and trying to catch a break?  I know it’s worth it, and the kids are worth it.  And as much as I doubt myself, I know that I am deserving and qualified to fulfill such a role. 

But unfortunately when it comes to new opportunities, sometimes we’re just a piece of paper to new eyes.  We have no soul.  No heart.  We are only the letters on the page and the words they form.  How they’re perceived is a mixture of luck, chance, and, well, luck.  The black font doesn’t always show our hopes, our dreams, our beliefs, our talents, our skills, our beauty.  If you know me, really know me, you know all of this is ‘me’- the things a piece of paper cannot always show.

Let me leave you with this thought.  When we fly the coup (ie leave our parents’ house and/or our hometown), we don’t always know our destination.  Okay, some people do so I’ll change that.  When I flew the coup 3 1/2 years ago, I didn’t know where my flight would eventually lead me.  Last night, in a weak moment on my walk home I thought, maybe I should go back to Pittsburgh.  Maybe that’s the best decision for me.  It’s not.  I know that, but at least there I know that three people help me feel like I belong somewhere, as well as the past where I first really learned to fly. 

But did I really learn to fly then, as a child, as a teen?  The world was so much smaller back then.  The sky was full of boundaries and limited opportunities.  That alone makes me realize that my wings were still clipped, hence the reason I couldn’t fully fly and therefore, young birds fall more than soar.  But that was then, and now they’re no longer clipped.  I’m free to fly wherever my wings will permit me to go.

So I decided to ‘fly’ to Cleveland this  weekend to visit Julie & Ken.  Up until a few hours ago, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.  But when something is that important to you, like Juls is to me, you find a way to make it work.  So this little bird is headed back to O-H-I-O for some much-needed R&R, bonding, and Megabus soul-searching this weekend.  This may be the time that I decide not to come back to Chicago…we’ll see.  This bird is ready to fly, and fly she will.  Somewhere, anywhere she belongs. 


Are we falling or flying?
Are we living or dying?
Cause my friend this too shall pass
So play every show like it’s your last

~Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Falling or Flying

i’ve lived those seven days a thousand times. moments, now they’re all a blur, except for every second and every word.   Leave a comment

It didn’t take long after moving to Chicago in late November 2008 that I swore I would never live here to see another winter in this city.  Brr, was that one brrrrrutal!   That was almost two years ago and the weather these past few days has indicated that my third Chicago winter is quickly approaching.  It’s funny because Stef said the same thing, and now she’s approaching her 4th? 5th? winter in The Windy City.  But it’s not winter yet, even if Mother Nature is playing tricks with us here in Chi-Town with the 48 degree morning commutes.  Seriously, do you want Stef and I to move?  Just tell us, give us wonderful jobs in new cities, higher paychecks, and we’re outta here!

I spent another enjoyable day with Stef on Sunday as we ran errands, made holiday cards for soldiers overseas, and stopped by the Halloween store for a creative brainstorming session.  The Halloween Store: The sign that Fall has arrived.  Just seeing that store made me think of the fall…which made me think of college…then Athens…and OU Halloween.  Halloween in Athens.  Maybe you’ve heard rumors and stories, but unless you’ve experienced it for yourself then you have no idea what it’s really all about.

I love the fall!  The crispy, cool (not freezing) air; Drinking hot apple cider, hot tea, coffee, and even an occasional hot chocolate; Boots, hoodies, sweaters, cardigans, and gloves; High school football games and sitting out on the bar patio with a chill in the air.  Taking long walks with all the leaves changing and falling from trees.  I love it all, especially cute little kids in adorable Halloween costumes…and pumpkin spice lattes!  Both are pretty A.MAY.ZING. and I refuse to choose one over the other- although when I see little Hazel & George in their costumes in a few weeks (!) I’m pretty sure that pumpkin spice lattes all over the world will surrender to the cuteness.

But back to Halloween and my favorite place on earth, Athens, Ohio.  As soon as I entered that Halloween store with Stef on Sunday, the aroma of nostalgia took over my whole being.  If I skipped, I’m sure I’d be skipping still.  As I looked over all the Sexy This and Slutty That costumes, I found myself falling in love all over again with Halloweens Past.  Oh Athens, I miss you.  You’ve ruined Halloween for me though because no one’s will ever compare to yours. 

Skimming through the costumes, I found myself lost in thoughts of my first Halloween in Athens.  October 2003.  Seven frickin’ years ago.  We look so young, but then again we were!  Now 3 of those girls are married and the other 3 are engaged or ‘in a relationship’ (via FB)  And the 7th girl in the picture, the girl in some white lacy thing and black top hat, yep she’s still single.  I still cannot believe I wore that! 

That was a great Halloween and my favorite in Athens, by far.  Amanda and I went as Madonna & Britney Spears, respectively, as the VMA shenanigans had just occurred a few weeks before.  Yes, there was a kiss.  A very quick, kiss that is honestly the one thing that I don’t remember from that night.  I really do remember most of the events that took place that evening- some more than others- probably because I was sober for the majority of it.  Halloween lived up to its expectations, unlike most New Year’s Eves.

If I could go back to a time in my life and start all over again, it may very well be that night.  Now there are many more reasons behind why I say this, yet none that I am going to indulge you with today.  Let’s just say that Halloween was not the only memorable day for me back in Fall 2008.  The days that followed were pretty A.MAY.ZING. too. 

It’s hard not to feel nostalgic as I feel the chill in the air or sip my hot apple cider, and, oddly enough, each slutty whatever costume leaves me reminiscent of Athens and those Halloween celebrations- especially my first.  And now that I’m living in Chicago, it’s down-right impossible for me to forget the boy in the Cubs jersey that night who leaves me wishing I could start all over again beginning with Halloween weekend, 2003.

Song of the Moment: Seven Days by Kenny Chesney