Everyone knows 2016 was a crapshoot. I don’t think I know one single person who couldn’t wait for it to be over. So as I was mulling over just how to put into words what this year meant for us, it dawned on me – 2016 was a leap year. Now try and follow me here. A leap year, in both the literal and metaphorical sense, means to correct drift. So if you think about it – all 2016 was meant to do was get us back in synch and help us find our true North. I don’t know about you, but the older I get and the more complicated life is – it only seems harder and harder to follow my internal compass. But 2016 was a year for reflecting and looking inward, whether I wanted to or not. Many of you have read my initial recap of this year that I wrote back in Sept. Well a lot, and I mean A LOT, has happened since then.
In October, our son turned three. Which may not seem like such a huge deal – but suddenly all those warnings about “ohhh it’s not the terrible twos, it’s the terrible threes” – came true. Now I’m not one to go on and on about the injustices of motherhood, cuz quite frankly, it shouldn’t be news to anyone that being a parent is hard. And I chose it, so why whine about it, right? I simply must say that it truly is a humbling experience. I mean, how often in life do you get to be thrown into a completely new situation that comes with no real training (prenatal classes don’t count), and has no promise for what the end outcome will be? There’s no degree or diploma that a group of older moms gives to you after you complete two years of service. There’s only this wonderful, innocent, trusting individual that God has entrusted you with, and they are the only ones that truly govern the way life is from here on out. I don’t mean to sound like I let my child rule my life – I just mean to express just how one simple thing like turning a year older for them, impacts a whole family dynamic. It was like overnight we found ourselves in a whole new ball game. There would be times that we’d look at each other and think – is this normal, do we just let him get it out and see what tomorrow brings? And then other times it was like we were handed the ball with 10 seconds left in the game, and if we didn’t handle this the right way – that was the end of the season for us. But for the most part, what we’ve learned is balance. Balance between how we react (or don’t react in most cases), and teaching our son, who knows exactly what buttons to push to make both of our heads spin, how to balance his own emotions. It hasn’t been easy, trust us, but we’ll get there. Before we know it he’ll be turning another year older, bringing on a whole new set of challenges and victories.
In November, we closed on our first house. It was the fixer upper we’d been searching for, even ever since we lived in LA. Crazy how things happen, and this might be the craziest of all for us to date. Grant and his dad had been talking about fixing up and flipping houses for over a year now, but it wasn’t until a one-story HUD foreclosure in Clear Lake popped up on our radar that it become a reality. We contacted the local realtor who helped us place a bid online, and we waited nearly a week to find out that HUD accepted our offer but only as a back-up. Well for whatever reason, weeks go by and Grant decided to randomly look through the listings from that same realtor, and the house was back on the market. We still have no idea to this day what happened – did the other offer fall through, was there something majorly wrong with the house and they backed out? (we later learned that the latter hunch wasn’t that far off). Anyway, we put another bid on the house (even lower this time), and in HUD terms that I won’t bother to bore you with, they accepted. We pretty much couldn’t believe it – we were about to be homeowners. We, who have bounced around from apartment to apartment since college and since we met 12 years ago – were about to have the home we always dreamed about. But that’s about where the fairy tale ends. Not to sound ungrateful, because trust me we will forever be that. But if you have adopted as unhealthy of an addiction as we have to all the HGTV shows about flipping homes – you probably can guess what happened next. After days/weeks of sleuth-like investigating (and intel from some very insightful neighbors), we learned that the house hadn’t actually been lived in for six years. Um, what? Which meant that all the utility meters had been removed, which meant us calling around to the city of Houston, along with the local gas, electric, and water services to try and coordinate what could possibly be the residential gaggle of the century. The plumbing ended up not being as big of a deal as we thought, other than the fact that the pool had been neglected for six years and was now a veritable swamp that our neighbors informed us was like the frog plague before HUD came and boarded it up. What actually ended up baffling even “my father-in-law the hero” and 5+ electricians – was the wackodoo wiring that some apparent novice had installed throughout the house, causing lights in one room to switch off lights in a bathroom halfway down the hallway, and wires so crossed (literally) it took over a month to get it sorted out – and we’re still finding random issues. But alas, we’re all moved in and Garrett is loving the new house with all the space in the world to run around. We also lucked into the neighbors of the century who are the sweetest couple from Baylor (I think that’s as close to Chip and Joanna as we’re gonna get), and Garrett adores playing with their two little girls. The wife and I hit it off, and she’s even introduced me to her fellow mommy tribe, which as a new mom, you need more than anything. Our plan is to tackle the house project-by-project, which we happen to really be loving. It’s a good thing, cuz renovating an entire house while living in it is not for the faint at heart. I promise to get my act together and organize all my random before/after photos, so that I can start a series of blog posts for all you fixer upper lovers out there.
In November, Grant started a new job. The job, in fact. The job that he had more or less gone back to grad school for seven years ago. The job that inadvertently fell in his lap at the beginning of the year, and then got snatched away all too soon a few months later. The job that made us finally pull the trigger and move back to Houston, not knowing if it would actually one day lead to the job – but it did. Taking that leap was not easy for my husband or me, but after a whole summer of networking and countless conversations – he finally got a start date after Thanksgiving. I don’t have to tell you how the irony of that timing was not lost on us. We could not have been more thankful, and it didn’t take us long at all to settle into our new routine. As for my job front – I’m still trying to work through all the logistics of starting a new business. Cammeo Head to Toe Styling officially soft launched on the blog – you can check out the announcement here. I even ordered business cards and had my first closet makeover client with a couple more in the pipeline 🙂 Since I also want to leverage my digital marketing experience, but from a remote work environment – I’ve been talking with companies I’ve found through The Second Shift and PowerToFly about various opportunities. So stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed!
In the midst of toddler tantrums, house demands, and new routines – we are allowing ourselves a minute to pause and celebrate a very long year come to a close. While we may not have started out knowing it was going to be a “leap year”, I can’t possibly think of a better way to encompass all we’ve been through. We may have drifted, but our sails are set due North. Lord only knows what 2017 will bring…