We are now a week into 2018 and I thought it would only be right to keep up the tradition here and review the year we just ended with a recap. Especially since I've been all but absent from this space for so long.

So much has happened in the last year! I didn't realize this until I was going back through my phone photos and remembering all the little and big moments that I so wanted to share them here and keep them in these pages for my girls to remember.

2017...

It began a little differently than usual. It was my first New Year's Eve without my girls, but it was spent in Columbus with my wonderful boyfriend, T. By now, we had all grown pretty used to each other and the girls were becoming more and more comfortable with our new life in separate homes. We all get along fairly well and as I've said before, we are both better parents with the others' support, so we're trying to stick with that.

K has danced her heart out all year long, and was in a few different productions. Early in the year she was in the chorus of her first musical "The Addams Family" as a "dead ballerina ancester". It was a great show and she fell in love with the whole experience!

Another new experience for me was taking a couple rounds of stained glass class at the local museum with my friend, and mom joined us for the second round! It was a lot of fun getting to hang out and learn something new and creative!

With my boyfriend living an hour north, we both have spent quite a bit of time traveling to each other on the weekends. He lives in a quaint little college town about 20 minutes from anything. These windmills became a welcome sight - almost there! :)

Mid-year, after Christmas 2015, C decided she wanted to join band. The saxophone was her instrument of choice. I think she was more into the idea of playing an instrument, and not so much the practicing part of learning one... lol. At the end of the year she put it down and we currently have it for sale... but at least she gave it a shot!

In early spring, mom and I went on a road trip! I planned a crazy trip from here to St. Louis to Chicago and back with all sorts of off the wall stops along the way. We called it "from the arch to the bean and back" ;) While at our first truck stop lunch, we picked up this little sock monkey guy named Roland. He came along with us to the big cat animal preserve (waaaaaay off the beaten track), world's largest wind chime and rocking chair, a metal fire-breathing dragon, a ride up the Gateway Arch, Pink Elephant Antiques (and cool retro diner), Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL, the scary underground roads of Chicago, Cloud Gate (the bean), the Chicago Art Institute and more! 


My girl J always plans the most awesome themed parties! For another of our friend's half-birthday, she planned a fantastic back yard tea party, complete with fun hats, scones, and more sangria than tea! lol

This year, I've tried my best to get to yoga once a week. It has become such a fulfilling part of my life and forces me to focus on myself for an hour a week. The people there are amazing and all so authentic and uplifting. I hope I can spend as much time there if not more this year!

In July, T and I took a trip to Michigan, with a tiny cabin outside of Traverse City as our destination. However, my car had other ideas. A long story, a busted transmission in a part of the country where nothing is open on Saturday evening landed us in the tiny town of Clare, MI for two whole days and nights with no vehicle. Feeling like a disaster at first, in the end we came to see it as a weird little adventure. The whole town seemed to be stuck in 1992! We checked out the ice cream place, restaurant, "park" (patch of green space - lol) and little antique shop. We spent time just doing nothing and just being together. After the weekend in Clare, we spent a day at a Chevy dealership and I wound up leaving with a new car, who is apply named CLARE :) Another night in a much nicer hotel (one exit away from Clare of course), a stop at an awesome forrest in Toledo, fireworks at a park for the 4th and back home. Not what we had planned, but a wonderful adventure with a wonderful guy!


Another hobby C took up this year is archery. Just back-yard archery, but she's gotten pretty good at it!

I also bit the bullet and hired a photographer friend to shoot so photos of me and the girls rather than trying to do it myself. SO worth it! These girls are my toughest clients!!

In September, I took a HUGE leap and faced one of my biggest fears! I took a plane (twice!) and had an awesome vacation with three of my best girlfriends in Panama City, FL. I actually loved it and can't wait to fly again... who knew?!

While on the trip, I ticked another item off my bucket list and got in the water with a dolphin! He was amazing and it was such a cool experience! I'd love to do it again, and swim with him next time!

Yellow Springs Sunflowers! I had three sessions with senior girls here this year and then decided to bring my own down for some pics. Let's just say this is the last picture I got in before the heat and bees and hormones set in and everyone melted down... sigh.

We also added another feline to our pack this year. Sarah is a sweetheart and seems to be fitting in just great after some initial growing pains...

K attended her first Homecoming Dance this year.... (!!) She is growing up incredibly fast! Help!

A quick weekend trip with T this fall to a cabin in Hocking Hills. He has made my year so incredibly great... This guy knows how to make me feel loved and appreciated and worth it. I am a lucky girl!

Thanksgiving at mom's

I also laid a new laminate floor in my "family" room (92% on my own!) in the process of transforming it to a photo/dance studio for K and myself. Proud of myself, and so excited to finish this project and start using it!

The Nutcracker, as usual, took over our entire lives for the month or so before Christmas. It was incredible as usual and K had the best roles yet! So proud of my tiny dancer!!

Other big events: 
- K turned 14.
- C turned 11. 
- I turned 37. 
- The divorce was final in October. 

Overall, it was a good year. Every day is challenging of course (working two jobs, keeping a house, seeing someone who lives an hour away, and trying to single-mother two very different, crazy girls) but I am so, so blessed.

Today is the true end of one chapter in my life and the beginning of another. While we have been living apart for over a year now and have both moved on with our lives, today marks the official end of our 17.5 year marriage. So much has changed and settled into a new routine over the past year. We've both had our good and bad moments and growing pains, but in the end we both agree - we are better people without this marriage. We bring out the worst in each other. We are best off friends and co-parents, and that's what we'll be from now on.

To be honest, I am an overall happier person these days. I've found someone who brings out the best in me instead of the worst. I am confident I can do this single parenting thing (even if it kills me), and am more grateful than ever for the amazing friends and family I have supporting me. I have the two most feisty, beautiful daughters and a co-parent that wants to continue to be a great father to them. My business is thriving and I'm booked up all through the fall again. K is growing in her dancing and as a gorgeous young lady. She's been cast in a few nice roles for Nutcracker this year (mostly en pointe!) and is prepping right now for her Ballet Company concert coming up next week. C had a rough beginning to the school year but has started taking on a lot more responsibility and seems to have fallen into a routine now. She continues to fall behind her peers, but progresses in her own time. I know she'll find her feet eventually. We all will.

I am so proud of how far K has come in the 3.5 years she's been dancing. She just wrapped up her 3rd Nutcracker and I couldn't love watching her on stage any more than I do. She amazes me! It's been a big year for her - being accepted to the Ballet Company at her studio, getting her first pair of pointe shoes and making Senior Corps for the Nutcracker. She's now working on choreographing a dance piece to hopefully have one of her friends showcase at a student choreographed show this year.

A quick session at home with my own personal gorgeous ballet model...
















Obviously, Christmas was bound to be a little different this year with Ex-Hubs not living with us anymore. It wasn't all that bad though. I'm so thankful that we are at a place where we can spend a day together with our kids and have a decent time. He came over for the morning gift-a-rama and even made us an old family favorite of tater-tot-casserole to enjoy this afternoon. He stayed for a movie and popcorn this evening and the girls appreciated the time as a family, I'm sure. It was a Merry Christmas, as far as it could go in our situation.

K and C were pleasantly surprised by what they found under the tree and I loved snapping a few of their expressions as they were unwrapped. Nothing tugs at my heart like true grins on those girls' faces...

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope yours was filled with true grins and warm hearts as well.








A lot of the time when things pipe down around here, it’s because there is something consuming going on that I’m not ready to share with the internet yet. In this space, I share my thoughts and observations about the world. So, when my world is permeated by a thing I can’t share, there is radio silence. You see, I am wrapping up a year that will change my life forever. 

In late spring/early summer hubby and I came to a realization that neither of us were happy. Something had to change. His depression due to his disabilities had taken over our entire relationship and seeped into my soul. Sticking it out became less and less of a possibility in my heart and I began to see the world in a way that I never thought possible - without him. I think a huge part of why I have been absent from this space is due to not having the "right" words to make you understand. I do love him. He has been my partner for more than 20 years. We've made beautiful children and so much more together. Those things will never change. He is simply not the person I married anymore. No one could have convinced us at the time, but sure, maybe 19 was a bit young to make that kind of commitment. We are not us yet at that time in life, at least not the full versions of ourselves and who we are to become. I will always cherish those years and all of the time we've spent building this family together, but it's time to move on to the next chapter. I need to do this for me.



The girls are okay. It's been a few months of living separately now and we've worked out a schedule that has both of us spending time with them just about every day. It's taking adjustment of course, and none of us are near comfortable yet, but we'll get there. We're learning this new way together, and of course there have been some bumps along the way. 

I want to come back to this space and share more of my new path. It's been a crazy autumn for my business as usual, but as things are slowing down now I felt it was the right time to return. As always, I write this for my babies. I write this so that someday they will understand. That someday, when we're all comfortable again, we can look back on these days as just a stepping stone to where we were meant to be.