Wining Wife®

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Category: Life (page 1 of 8)

This is 40

So, a few weeks ago, I turned 40.

Forty. 4-0.

It’s so strange. 

For one, I do not, at all, feel like I’m forty. I can still remember being a lot younger and thinking “gosh, forty…that’s so OLD!!!” I, for one, definitely do not think that I am old. I mean, I just had a baby like six months ago. By the same token, I have a kid who moved off to college at the end of the summer. 

It’s so strange. 

Of course, in true fashion to my birthday, I was sick with an icky cold, so it took me a few days to come here and update things. 

Celebrate Good Times

For my birthday, we did a lot of fun things. We ate at one of my favorite local restaurants, George’s Bistro. I had their French onion soup, and it was delicious. It paired well with the wine we selected. I also had their Steak Frites, also supremely delicious. I was so full afterward, that I couldn’t finish my dinner. Yay leftovers!

After George’s, we went to a place I’ve been wanting to explore, Dockum Apothecary. 

Before I tell you more about what Dockum is, let me tell you a little bit about what Dockum was. The Dockum Drug Store was one of the sites of the civil rights movement here in Wichita, Kansas. A sit-in protest began July 19, 1958 at the counter at The Dockum Drug Store when Black people gathered to protest the store’s refusal to serve their Black patrons. See, back then, Wichita was super-segregated (I actually have noticed that there is still a lot of segregation here, particularly along economic lines and job types), and a lot of places around the city would be “whites only.” A group of students sat quietly at the store’s counter, waiting to be served, every day for three weeks until finally the manager ordered his staff to serve the students. The sit in went a long way for desegregating many businesses across Kansas. There’s now a pretty awesome 20-foot bronze sculpture commemorating the awesome students who participated in the sit in. 

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So,  somehow, I stumbled across an article reviewing a Speakeasy-style bar hidden downtown.  The Ambassador is a hotel downtown that is housed in the restored Union National Bank Building – and  – Dockum Drug Store. In the basement of The Ambassador is Dockum Apothecary.  They serve alcohol and bar eats, and boy is it a neat place to go. Their cocktails are finely crafted takes on old classics. I had The Smoking Gun and The Duke of Earl cocktails. They were amazing. So good. If you live locally or you visit Wichita, you really ought to check them out. It was a lot of fun.

Running and Wine Tasting

After long last, I’ve re-taken up running – YAY! I joined a local running group that does couch to 5-k training. I’m really really excited about this. I have three races coming up – yipes! So my training program began the day after my birthday, and it was good to be moving again. I’m looking forward to running more and getting this extra baby weight off so that running is easier on my body and so that I can keep up with my three small goobers (and the big one who is off at college too). 

After the run, we came home, goofed off a bit, dropped small people with grandparents, and headed out to go taste some wine. YES! Wine! Kansas does have some wineries, and we decided that we wanted to try them out. We went to two: Wheat State Wine Company and Grace Hill Winery. I have to say, I was impressed with both. I was kind of expecting Kansas wine to taste like jam, to be honest, but the wines were good. I’ll be writing more specifics about them soon enough. For now, check out the photos I took while embarking on our tasting trip.

Wheat State Wine Company



Grace Hill Winery

Planning on a Good Year

In addition to picking up running again, I’ve been working on planning a lot more for my own success. In fact, I got these supplies from Happy Planner and Erin Condren (affiliate link) to help me do that. I’m looking forward to sharing more about how I’m going to go about using multiple planners soon. 

So that’s about what’s been happening here. I turned 40, the kids are all growing up more and more, I’m running, I’m planning, I’m doing. 

How are things on your end of the spectrum? Don’t be afraid to say “hi” in the comments!

The Teenager Graduated and Baby 4 is Here

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks involving a high school graduation AND a birth. The upswing? There is a beautiful and healthy new baby in our lives, the teenager gets to go off to college in August, and I’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine with Wining Husband on our anniversary in a couple weeks. The downswing? Baby 4 is here due to an emergency induction.

First, the graduation. The teenager blows me away with how accomplished he is at 18. You should see the stack of medals and awards he has accumulated. I do not think it is possible to be more proud of him than I am. He’s going off to college on multiple performing art and merit scholarships in the fall. I want to eat up as much time with him as possible before he heads off. I am so glad I got to see him walk across the stage. On Monday, it didn’t look like I would be able to do that.


From Low Risk to a Cause for Concern

In March and April, I was hit by a nasty, nasty respiratory virus that knocked me out for a few weeks. On top of it, I had some family issues going on in the background, that evidently were enough to create a good amount of stress. I noticed at my doctors’ appointments that my blood pressure, normally in the 115/60 range, had started to creep up. I was gaining more weight than is normal for me at the end of pregnancy. I started to look for other warning signs and red flags for preeclampsia.

On Thursday, May 4th, I woke up and my feet were extremely swollen.   I put my feet up and tried to stay off of them as much as possible until my OB appointment in the afternoon. The swelling did not go down, even though I was resting. I even took a nap on my left side. We got to my appointment, and my blood pressure was the highest it had been. They collected a urine sample, and I was sent home with instructions to go right into labor and delivery should I develop a headache or visual disturbances. 

Will I Make Graduation?

I heard nothing back on Friday, so I assumed no news was good news. However, I continued to feel worse in terms of fatigue levels. Saturday we did graduation prep – we got decorations and the teenager’s graduation gifts. I’d intended to finish up any client work and an outstanding customer order over the weekend, but just heading out for that bit of activity wore me out. I felt that something was wrong, very wrong. It was more than just anxiety. I knew there was something not right. I took it easy, only because I had no choice. I couldn’t focus, and I felt like heck. On Sunday, the contractions began – but they wouldn’t get regular. I started to worry I wouldn’t make it to Tuesday’s graduation.

Late Monday afternoon, I finally heard back from my doctor’s office. It turned out I DID have protein in my urine and glucose. They wanted me to come in again the next day, Tuesday, for further evaluation.  

A Very Risky Situation

I went in. My blood pressure was very elevated, over the 140/90 threshold. I still hadn’t had a headache or vision disturbances, but I did feel really out of it. Plus, I was nauseous and having horrible heartburn. I also was having a hard time catching my breath. Just the short walk from the bed to the bathroom was wearing me out. My OB wanted me to go in for immediate induction, but she agreed that if I could pass the non-stress test that I could go to graduation and then head in for induction right afterward. I was hooked up to the monitor, but Princess Ladybug was fluttering all about and they couldn’t get a good tape on her. So, it was off for a biophysical profile ultrasound to ensure that she was safe. 30 minutes later, I was cleared to head to graduation. I was in a world of back pain, but I ate, I visited with my sister who had come in to support my teenager for graduation, and then I rested with Princess Boogie Oogie and the Chunky Monkey until it was time to head to graduation. 

Mid-graduation, my head started to hurt, and my ears started to ring. I started to feel even worse. I was very glad I was being induced soon. I watched the teenager walk across the stage, clapped, watched the closing, took pictures, scarfed down some food, dropped the small people off at their grandparents’ house, made sure the teenager got to his grad night celebration, and headed in to begin the induction. When we got in, my blood pressure was the highest it’s ever been in my life. I felt completely awful. 

19 Hours Later…

19 hours of unblocked (no epidural, no pain medication) natural except for Pitocin labor later, Princess Ladybug made her appearance. There was cord compression going on, and I tried to remain calm for the purpose of getting her into this world as quickly and safely as possible.  I was 38 weeks along, she was 6lbs 11oz and 19.75″ long. My husband cut the cord, and my sister was there for the entire birth…and yes, I was making goofy jokes and faces on a yoga ball when I was dilated to 7 cm because I was trying to remain calm and focused to get through the pain and get baby here as soon as possible. By that time, my blood pressure had returned to normal, and the headache had turned into a hunger and thirst headache. The swelling had gone down a good bit. My OB decided not to give me magnesium sulfate unless the headache persisted through eating, having some caffeine, resting, and hydrating. Baby was examined by the pediatrician – and she looked great!  

We Got to Go Home!

The next day, after the 24 hour testing for myself and Princess Ladybug, we were able to go home. Everything had returned to normal for me, and Princess Ladybug was doing great. She’s the smallest birth weight of my 4 kids.  I still have to be on the lookout for any sudden change – particularly a headache that won’t go away or blood pressure that goes up for the next 6 weeks. Moreover, because I had preeclampsia, I’m now at an elevated risk for preeclampsia should I become pregnant again and my stroke and heart attack risk have doubled. It’s really important (as if it weren’t before) for me to stay on top of my health. I’m not going to lie. I’m an emotional wreck. I’d been hoping that in a couple of years that we would try for the last baby, baby 5. Now, we’ll see what my OB says. That may be too risky to my health and that baby’s health. I have four kids who need me earthside. 

Preeclampsia Warning Signs

The thing that saved both mine and Princess Ladybug’s lives was familiarity with the warning signs of preeclampsia. I had a mild case of it that could have become much worse had I not had great medical care and raised a concern over the swelling. Here are the warning signs. Share them with the women you know. It’s also important to note that you might not feel any symptoms, hence why its so important to have regular prenatal care where your blood pressure and labs are carefully monitored.

  • High blood pressure (140/90 or higher, or significantly higher than your baseline – 15 degrees for diastolic, 30 degrees for systolic).
  • Protein in your urine
  • Swelling – particularly in the face, hands, and feet
  • Headaches that do not go away with Tylenol, food, water, or rest
  • Sudden onset of nausea or vomiting after mid-pregnancy 
  • Abdominal and/or shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Weight gain of 2 or more pounds in a week
  • Vision changes including flashing lights, auras, light sensitivity or blurry vision and spots
  • Super fast and strong reflexes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety, racing pulse, mental confusion, or a sense of doom

I was lucky, as my symptoms largely disappeared during late labor and after birth. Many women are not so lucky. Preeclampsia occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period in 5-8% of pregnancies. It can progress really quickly after 20 weeks. Preeclampsia, HELLP Syndrome and eclampsia are responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths every year.

You can learn more about preeclampsia and learn how you can help with research on this disorder at the Preeclampsia Foundation’s website. 

I am running behind on book reviews, client work, and customer orders at the moment. I am doing my best to work through the backlog, but my health has to come first. 

I am so glad and so thankful that Princess Ladybug and I are both here in this world. 

I Can Do Hard Things – You Can Too (Cents of Style Fashion Friday Story)

Cents of Style You Can Do Hard thingsI’m 22 weeks pregnant with baby number 4 (a girl!), and so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make 2017 the best year yet. One of those things I’ve been thinking about is where I’ve been. That’s why when Cents of Style  announced they were looking for Fashion Friday stories to accompany a deal on their Inspirational Graphic T-Shirts, I signed up. I chose to wear the “You Can Do Hard Things” shirt. I’m kind of surprised my regular jeans are still fitting me, usually at this point in a pregnancy, I have to saddle up with the saggy baggy maternity jeans brigade. This year is about reclaiming and rebuilding for me. That involves coming out of a sequence of years where I did a lot of hard things. 

In fact, I spent a lot of years doing hard things. It’s important to remember that I got through those hard things – and came out stronger for it. I graduated from high school early and started college in what would have been the spring semester of my junior year of high school. Then, like many 18 year old girls, who think they know everything, I was in a hurry to grow up. So, I got married. That didn’t last long. It wasn’t a good relationship, and I left – after a split lip for Christmas, a broken nose for Valentine’s day, and a heck of a lot of bruises between then and when I left 5 months later.  Not long after, I learned I was going to be a mom, and 3 months before my 21st birthday, there I was, starting a life with a small person – going it alone as single momma. Believe me, I did a lot of hard things in my 20s. I worked full time at one job while going to college full time as a philosophy major – and – I worked part time as a logic tutor. I honestly do not  know how I did it. 

I managed to get an award for being an active member of my community, take on a roll as treasurer of my honors society, Phi Sigma Tau, host open mic poetry nights at my workplace, and of course raise a kid. I graduated with my BA – with honors in the major – and applied to graduate school. Those were some tough years, but I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA

Philosophy, if you don’t know, is a traditionally male-dominated field. Being a woman in philosophy really is not for the weak. There’s still a lot of the “old boys” club mentality that goes on. So, when I got to my Master’s program, I really wasn’t surprised by the fact that I was one of four women entering to join two other women in the department. The rest of the 30-odd students were men. Even so, I rose up to the challenge the departmental makeup presented, and finished my degree in 2 years, with a 3.35 GPA

 When I joined my Ph.D. program, the stakes were even higher, even though there were more women in the department. On the home front, my very bright 8 year old was having a very rough time at his school, and I made the decision to pull him out and homeschool him – as a single parent in an intense Ph.D. program. I continued to do well in the program (3.8 overall GPA), but had another hard decision to make. I got in trouble for “working too much.” The graduate student union had a rule about working more than 30 hours – and I was working as a TA and an RA in another department. I was doing so because the stipend for being a TA was low, and I still had work study monies left over.  I was at risk for losing my TA-ship, which would have meant taking out more student loans to finish than I was comfortable with. On top of that, I was getting weary from the pressure to be at all departmental functions when it was difficult to afford a babysitter for all of them. Plus, I had a lot of pressure coming from back in California to hurry up and finish and go back to California. And, I was tired. So being tired, burned out, and worn down, I made a decision I still question from time to time. I left my Ph.D. program the semester before I was supposed to finish taking my comps.

After I left, it was 2008. The economy was flailing. I applied to over 200 jobs. Over 200. I had an MA degree and most of a Ph.D. Can you guess how many interviews I had? 

0. I had 0 interviews. The job market was that competitive. So, I looked at my kiddo and took a deep breath and made another hard decision: I decided to start my own writing and editing business. And the rest is history, sort of. I got into another nasty relationship that left me with PTSD. Then…I met my now husband, we added to our family, moved across the country, and added to our family some more.

And now…here I am, in the house we bought, and I’m working on reclaiming that fierce woman who did all that hard stuff – and more hard stuff I’m probably not even writing about here because, hello, this is a blog, not a book. “Reclaiming” is my word for 2017. “Reclaiming” because after you do a lot of hard stuff, you get tired. After 2 babies and with a 3rd pregnancy, it’s time to revamp my wardrobe, get new makeup, pay more attention to my hair – fix my piercings (my nose piercing closed!) and take steps to feel more fabulous. This momma of almost 4 is tired! SO…to do that, i’m still going to have to do some hard things – give birth, continue putting my businesses together and building, get our home organized, and keep going. 

If you need a reminder that you too can do hard things, or you’d like to check out the various other inspirational graphic tees available at Cents of Style, click here (affiliate link). The tee-shirt is so super soft and comfy – and fit over my pregnant belly just fine.

Inspirational Graphic T-Shirts for 50% OFF + FREE SHIPPING w/code INSPIRE17

*I was provided with the t-shirt by Cents of Style in exchange for writing my story.

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s 2017 already? I can’t. Of course, I spent the last quarter of it battling some sort of nasty respiratory virus that cleared up just in time for December Madness – two birthdays, Christmas, New Years, and all of the planing that goes with that. My word for 2017 is “Reclaiming.” You may be wondering what that’s about, well, let me tell you about it.

Since my daughter was born in 2013, a lot of things have slid – my hair, my nose piercing closed up, and though I do love fabulous fashion, I haven’t put the effort in that I’d like to when it comes to having a wardrobe I love. In fact – LOL – most of my clothes are old and being held together with threads – the clothes that fit, that is. Of course, I’m pregnant now too, so fixing some of these things will wait until the second half of the year (like finally getting the phoenix tattoo I’ve wanted for years). So basically, I want to reclaim the fabulousness that has sort of faded in the shadow of baby and toddler tending. It’s still there, but in the wake of my husband’s job change, moving twice in the past year and a half, and all of the craziness that comes from that, I’ve let some of my usual things slide. It’s time to stop that.

This year, I think, has good things in store. I have more book reviews to share with you; I’m looking forward to selling more of my handmade goodies (you can find my Facebook group for that here, please request to join); my teenager is graduating and heading off to college; a new baby will be joining our family in May. Lots of good stuff! I’m looking forward to getting some of the guest posts I’ve accepted up, and to sharing older wine notes with you. Before I got pregnant, we had some great wine last year. 

What are your plans for the new year? Have you chosen a theme-word for the year? Do you have resolutions or goals for the new year? Please share them  in the comments!

An Announcement…

Be sure you watch this video aaaaaaaaaaall the way through. 


You watched the video, right?

With that announcement, comes the announcement that I’ll be needing a few guest bloggers to write about favorite wines between now and June.  I have several review notes ready myself to post, but it would be great to have others’ voices as well. If you’re interested, read my guest-posting guidelines and drop me a line with your ideas. 

Back to School Tour: First Day of Preschool Edition (And Giveaway)


Wining WifeIs it already that time? Little Miss is beginning preschool (at home). I can’t believe how quickly they grow up. Tiger Boy has started his senior year of high school at the local public school, and we spent a good part of the summer talking about college options, and ended the summer with a couple of college visits. It doesn’t seem like it was so long ago that he was learning his alphabet and looking forward to attending preschool himself. 

Continue reading

Build Confidence in Yourself

How to build confidence in yourself Wining WifeLast year, I wrote the post, “Please, Keep Your Insecurities to Yourself” after someone who called herself a friend suggested I go on a diet following my posting of pictures of myself on my Facebook page. Mind you, I wasn’t posting the pictures and saying, “Hey, help me lose weight!” I was posting the pictures and saying, “Hey, check out what I made myself, and by the way, I think I look pretty flippin’ awesome.” That kind of feedback can make it rough to build confidence.

Well, a year has passed. I had a lot of great reactions to that post. Lots of women added me as their friends, thanked me for saying the words I said over there, and said they thought I had courage. A lot of women also said, “I wish I had that sort of confidence.” I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to respond to people who would like to build confidence. Continue reading

It’s Tax Time and Budget Wake-Up Call Time

Photo by:  Alejandro EscamillaHave you done your taxes? If not, don’t worry, I’ll be here when they’re done. 

There’s nothing like going through and analyzing all the figures during tax time to make you say, “Hey, we spent how much on what?” In fact, I’m thinking that a regular (weekly) analysis of our spending will help us stay on track for our financial goals. We’ve done well in a lot of areas. We cut back spending at thrift stores, on sewing supplies, on our entertainment expenses, alcohol, and on buying books. But holy WOW do we spend a LOT on food. Like a lot too much a lot.  We’ve even cut back on eating out, the past month excluded (because hey, who wants to cook in a half-packed and then half-unpacked kitchen?). But our grocery bill is still way too much each month. 

I know a lot of the standard tips – coupon, meal plan, shop the sales. And they are good tips! But I still haven’t managed to get my food bill down to a more reasonable figure. Here are some of the challenges:

  • I have food allergies. I can’t do conventional foods. I’ve tried. I break out in a terrible case of hives. I also have to have GMO free foods. I’m allergic to GMO corn, soy, and wheat. I wish I were making it up/overreacting, but the last time I ate Green Giant corn, my tongue swelled up. 
  • We don’t do many processed foods…so we tend to avoid the things that coupons are made for – boxed foods, many canned prepared foods and soups, frozen meals are all things that very, very rarely make it to our list. Pretty much the only processed foods here are snacks for the kids. I’d love some good kid-friendly snack recipes 🙂 (particularly picky toddler friendly ones). 
  • We’ve already pretty much cut out soda. Every once in a great while, we’ll treat ourselves to a bottle of Izze soda, but we have a Soda Stream. I’d love more recipes for it! 
  • I try to include fish twice a week. It’s hard to do when you’re also trying to be environmentally conscious/avoid factory farmed fish. It’s expensive! Ideas for how to save money while having a conscious in this respect would be great. We also don’t do the big fish (tuna, shark, etc) b/c I’m breastfeeding…and, well, mercury. 
  • We do beef once a week or so.  You know, to protect our hearts and all. It’s definitely cheaper in the food-run, but more expensive in the long run in terms of medical bills.
  • That leaves chicken and pork – both are expensive! I try to do thighs, but I’ll be honest here folks – I HATE them! Plus they’re high in cholesterol…which leaves roasting a whole chicken. And I do it, but I’d love to buy antibiotic/hormone free chicken breasts at a reasonable price! 
  • Being organic means there aren’t a lot of coupons out there. If you know a resource, please share it in the comments. 
  • We do meal plan. That really hasn’t made a big dent in our grocery budget. I’m not sure why not.
  • We just bought our house, and I’m excited to garden, but I don’t have a lot of uh…green thumb experience. Do you have resources? Favorite sites? Best things to plant for a novice food gardener?

Okay, so here’s the thing! I’m opening this up to your ideas. One lady in one of my Facebook groups suggested making a budget based upon caloric needs – which is a great idea – has anyone tried that? 

Please, please, please, share your ideas with me in the comments! I’d love to shrink down the grocery budget a good bit.

Moving Through Grief

The three of usSo, my older brother died. 

That seems like a really tactless way to put it. I could say “he passed” or “he’s no longer with us,” but that seems euphemistic and to avoid looking at what happened in the face. I have tried several times to write this post, and I’ve struggled with it – both in terms of putting into words how I’m feeling and in writing the post itself. It hurts. The emotions are still very raw.

The picture to the right is of the three of us – my older brother, myself when I was about 4 or so, and my younger brother. I had it as my profile picture on Facebook for a bit, but had to change it, because it hurt to look at the photo. 

You see, a few days after Christmas, my sister-in-law let me know that he was missing. The next day, they filed a missing person’s report (I live in the southern midwest, my niece and sister-in-law are in California). 

The past month has been a bit of a blur…both in terms of the sad feelings I have and just in terms of sleepless nights with a toddler and a newborn. I’ve been dipping my toes into the getting back to work water, but it’s been hard.

I’m digressing. This is the problem with this emotion that I’m feeling. I keep trying to get away from it,and I keep getting distracted with other things. The other night, I had a dream that I’d wanted to show him something, but then in the dream, I’d remembered he’d passed away.

So what happened, was that he went missing on Christmas Eve. I guess my sister-in-law and niece kept thinking he’d just turn back up, and that’s why it took them a few days to report that he was missing. I don’t know if he’d taken off like this before. I don’t really know that, because once I was an adult, we weren’t really all that close – different life paths and all. I had a reporter trying to ask me for a quote about the kind of person Rick was when he died. I can’t answer that question very well, because truth be told, the almost 14 years between us meant that I didn’t know him as well as I should have known a brother. We grew up in different households too – he was raised by my grandparents, not my parents. So there was that.

As a kid, I always looked up to him. I wanted to go to concerts with him, because concerts seemed cool. My mom wouldn’t let me because of something called “pot” and things called “drugs.” I had no clue what that stuff was when I was 4; I just wanted to be where he was. I promise you, this is all related.

So sometime around Mid-January, my niece called me. She was upset. I knew what she was going to say. I just didn’t know the context. Evidently he died on Christmas Eve. He was wet and out of his mind when people saw him collapse. It was natural causes, but the news reported he had methamphetamine in his system. He was 51 years old. I don’t really know how to wrap my mind around everything. 

When he’d visit us, as a kid, I’d bust out my flute, or my math book, or my latest ballet routine. I wanted to impress him because I thought he was so cool. It’s not cool to die with meth in your system. I’m angry with him for drugs; but I understand the kind of pain he was masking by self medicating.  

I can’t remember a time in my life where my sister-in-law wasn’t part of it. I know that they started dating at some point. I know that they’ve had ups and downs. I know that she’s hurting beyond words. I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t have words. My ill-timed awkward habit of making jokes is out of place, and her need for someone to hold her hand through grief is great. I can’t be that person right now, because it’s all I can do to function from one day to the next for my kids, for my husband, for my self.

The night I got the newsThe thing they don’t tell you about grief is that it’s a circular process. It’s not just like denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Some days, I still feel shock, like when I had the dream. Other days, I burst out in an angry waterfall of tears. Some days it’s hard to do anything other than hold my kids tight, give them love, and hope that they all three feel the mad amount of love I have for them, and that they never feel the need to self medicate. My younger brother is an alcoholic. He spent his 30th birthday in the ICU being diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Yes, I run a blog titled “Wining Wife.” Yes, I think it’s super important to be healthy. Yes, I think that having a cocktail once every month or so or a glass or two of wine a week is fine. Having two bottles of vodka a night…is probably not a great idea. I’m glad that he’s given up drinking. I was very very close to him – despite fighting with him all the time – during our childhood. Both my brothers gave up school in high school. My older brother eventually got his GED. I have an MA in philosophy. Life directions…  Life is never smooth; it’s never “neat.” There are always hills and valleys to navigate – sometimes at the same time – like the birth of a very much wanted and planned baby coupled with the death of the sibling.

I joined some Facebook grief groups. Because I honestly don’t have the tools to deal with this. I know how grief works. I’ve studied it in my intro to psychology classes. But when it happens to you, it’s kind of like someone took a giant frying pan of sad and slapped you in the face with it, then immediately poured ice over the wound to numb everything. Or, maybe that’s just me.

And I think that’s why I’m struggling the most. It’s because it’s not clear. I still feel joy when I hold Little Man and go with Little Miss to her gymnastics classes and dance classes. I can hold my husband’s hand at a restaurant and appreciate both the extremely delicious meal we’re enjoying and the fact that I won the gift certificate allowing us to enjoy the meal. I can still smile in pictures, not only because it’s a picture, but because, even through the grief, I don’t believe that the people we love ever truly leave us.  I think they live on in our memories of them.

I’m sad for the relationship we didn’t have as adults. But relationships require the efforts of two people…and while there were a few attempts, lack of time, different lifestyles, and location kept us from being close. I’m glad he got to see my oldest run in a cross-country meet, and I’m glad that my oldest did get to meet him. And I know it will take time to heal. And I guess that’s where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Just kind of processing everything and riding the waves of the various emotions I feel right now. 

My niece was born three days after my thirteenth birthday. Boy was I excited to be an aunt. Well, and sometimes my thirteen-year-old self would pretend that she was my own little one when I’d go with my dad to the store to pick out some outfits for her, when I’d change her diapers, when I’d prepare a bottle for her and hold her close, when I’d bathe her, when I’d help my dad feed her baby food because my mom was sick and my sister-in-law needed a break. And it was all a joy to me. And I was always thrilled to see her and play wiht her…because I’ve always loved children and I’ve always wanted children. My niece will always have a part of my brother with her, in her blood, in her soul. I can’t imagine how much pain she is in right now. I wish I could hug her. But grief is a journey you wade through on your own. Sure, you can have people around you, they can hold you up and hug you, but the emotion is something that each of us experiences. It’s something that is uniquely my own; her own; my sister-in-law’s own; my mother’s own…grief is.

And so, I keep moving, one day, one hour at a time. 

I keep on moving through the murky waters called “grief.”

Happy New Year from Wining Wife

12301274_928986570524098_257289394_nOkay, so I’m like…a few days late, but still! Happy 2016! I’m still getting used to toddler tending while also snuggling a 3 week old. The teenager, of course, needs teenager attention too, so things have been a bit busy around here. I’m excited to be back at the computer and writing this post, though, and I’d love to share some of my 2016 plans with all of you. There are some really cool things in store!

1. Finish the launch of Ronda B. Handmade

Before I had Little Man, I’d been planning to launch a new business featuring handmade items. I’m still working on this, even though a nasty cold and then delivering little man delayed the process a bit. Sign up to receive a notification when there are items in the shop here.

2. Launch a new branch of my writing and editing consulting business

I’ll have more updates on when this will happen. A business plan is in progress.

3. Start tot school with Little Miss.

I have all kinds of great resources to begin tot school with her; I just need to set some time aside. She already knows her alphabet, and some of the sounds of letters, her shapes, and her numbers from 1-10. It will be fun to do art projects with her and some of the fun science experiments from Mudpies to Magnets and More Mudpies to Magnets as well as build on her knowledge. I don’t plan on doing more than 20-30 minutes of learning activities a day as we also do a lot of learning through play in our home.

4. Sew more from my stash

I have a lot of fabric and a lot of patterns hanging out. It will be nice to make use of the resources I have. One of the ways I’ll do this is by participating in The 100 Item Sewing Challenge.

5. Share more recipes and get back to the cookbook a week challenge

To be honest, this probably won’t start until February. But I’m looking forward to getting back to it!

6. Share more wine reviews with you

I have some notes and photos of a 30-year-old wine we opened up and enjoyed with our Christmas dinner. I’m really looking forward to sharing that with you.

7. Get fit

I want to get back into running and being active. After a pregnancy, postpartum depression, and another pregnancy, my body would love for me to move it more. It will be fun to explore our new community’s outdoor areas through hiking about as well.

8. Read more

Wining Husband and I have a LOT of books. I’d love to make my way through them! I’m also realistic, so I’m not even going to say I’m doing the 52 week book a week challenge. Because, let’s face it. I have limited time right now to sneak away and read.

I have other things on my radar for this year too. What sorts of goals do you have for this new year? Please share in the comments!

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