Thursday, September 14, 2017

Filling it all in

I'm going to get a little philosophical here...but I've been doing a lot of reflecting this summer. And as my time in the Midwest comes to a close very soon - I have realized a few things.

When I learned we would be returning to the Midwest back in March I was ecstatic. I knew this time would go extremely fast, it would be very full, and I would get to strengthen my relationships with family.

All that has been accomplished.

I also wondered, "will it feel weird to be back?"


I've realized that I have changed a lot since I last called this place my "home". Grown is probably a better word choice than "changed".

This time has made me feel as though during my time away - I was painting the outline of a painting. Understanding what was going on - staying in touch with where everyone was it - but you don't really get to "fill in the lines" until you are face to face with those people.

I really felt like I've been able to get to know my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews much better this summer - and have grown much closer to each and every one of them.

When 20 year old Abby hopped in the U-Haul a mere 9 years ago...I don't remember crying. Probably because I was naïve and excited for the future. Also because I had never really left home before - and didn't realize what "home" held. I didn't realize what it felt like to spend holidays away and miss birthdays and reunions.

Now I know that feeling very well. I was able to play  little catch up this summer and be fully present for my sister's wedding, the 4th of July celebrations, and just time with everyone.

In a few weeks, we will pack up our cars and head back home. This time my goodbyes won't be as naïve. I'm going to be honest and say there will probably be more tears shed this time. (and that is hard for me to admit - as I cry about 2-3 times/year maybe)  But I also know that everyone will always be a plane ticket or FaceTime or phone call away.

This post may have some scratching there heads - as we had ample opportunity to summer to change our lives and make Fargo our forever home. It was a very difficult decision, but we have decided to return to our new "home" - Tucson. We have made it our home. We have made it our place. We have found friends who are like family.

I have about 2 weeks left in the Midwest, and I fully intend to drink in each moment as much as possible. Instead of tears or fear of saying goodbye - my heart is filled with extreme gratitude.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Midwest Update: Where did summer go?

Where do I even begin? How has it been since June 28 since I've checked in here. Gosh, so much to catch up on. So many events, I think we will need to do a "bullet point style recap" to get this all down before time flies too fast and I forget it all! Ha!

I'll throw in a few pictures, as well.

Hold on tight - lots to cover ;)
  • 4th of July weekend was amazing. So full - so much laughter - so much fun. We got to bond with family from California, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews.
  • Much boating, laking, laughing, eating over the 4th of July.
  • Have I mentioned that I feel like this trip home feels like this freeze in time where I'm kind of covering ground I lost over the past 9 years? Blog post to come on that soon....
Out to dinner over the 4th of July weekend with family on my dad's side!
Fedora picture taken after a day of tubing down the river with aunts and cousins on the 4th of July

Pontoon ride that weekend with several of my siblings, their children, and my parents! And Ryan's awkward selfie face :D

  • The actual 4th of July didn't end so great. We got a call that night from the police that our house was robbed.
  • We got a take a surprise visit home to clean up the damage. We made the most of it though, got a lot done, and was even able to squeeze some time in with our friends!

  • We had a great Camping weekend with my sister and her family at Lake Carlos near Alexandria, MN. We spend pretty much all weekend out on the boat - as there is a chain of about 3 weeks. We couldn't have asked for better weather - and again...the weekend was filled with so much fun!
Friday night after setting up camp and eating dinner - quite the storm rolled through. Luckily - my sister and her husband have a large Expedition with a dvd player in it! We all cuddled up in there and watched Dumb and Dumber.
Many good memories were made this weekend! Here we are being very "Midwest" - donning my Twins shirt and drinking Woodchipper ale while being eaten up by mosquitos! Heaven lol
  • Ryan turned 30. He had the work night shift the weekend of his birthday, and was in Ohio for week the week before - but was able to spend Friday night at the lakes to celebrate the new decade. I baked him a chocolate cake and make authentic green chile enchiladas for his birthday meal and we went on a sunset cruise on the pontoon! He was super exhausted and not much in the partying mood. Maybe 40 will be a bigger "bang" - but let's not rush into that lol.
  • We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Not sure how that happened so fast...but it sure did!
We celebrated by going to a Redhawks game, out to dinner at Vinyl Taco downtown, and did some beer tasting at Drekker Brewing company while listening to live music. Perfect night in my books!
  • In between all that - we have been spending every possible free second at the lakes.
  • Ryan has been very busy at work going through the training to be an instructor pilot in his new aircraft, and is almost done!
  • And I have been very busy with some career related news I will be sharing soon.....
I can confidently say this is a summer I am never going to forget and will always hold a very special place in my heart! I am off to Minneapolis to visit my sister this weekend. I am so excited to get some bonding time with her!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

If we were having happy hour

How did a month just fly by like that since I last blogged?

Instead of a "Currently" update -- which is my "standard" when I haven't blogged in awhile. I'm going to switch it up and do a "If we were having happy hour" post. Because I kind of miss having happy hour with my girlfriends back in AZ! Or our 5 am runs. I never realized how much "head clearing" all that provided me with ;)

If we were having happy hour I'd tell you.....

  • That I am being faced with some challenges at work right now. And it's weighing on me a lot! I am focusing on the good, and trying to not the stress/pressure bring me down. I'm also having to make some tough decisions. I'd probably vent a little - but I watch my clock to assure I don't spend too much time ranting away about my internal struggle ;)
If we were having happy hour I'd tell you....
  • How much I'm enjoying the amount of time we are getting with my family. I've spent more time with my family these past few months than I have in 10 years, and it has been incredible. It's going to make leaving hard! But again - I'm taking what I can get, and focusing on the positive.
If we were having happy hour I'd...
  • Talk about my run training. We have found a gym/athletic training center here that focuses on power/agility training and I want to take it home with me. But it's a giant dome built around a football field - so I cannot pack that in my luggage back to AZ ;)
  • I'd tell you how much I am really enjoying my runs lately - and soaking up the cooler weather temperatures. As in AZ it is 85-115 degrees F daily right now. No thank you...
If we were having happy hour I'd tell you...
  • About your trip to Peru we are currently in the planning stages for.
  • How over-the-moon excited I am to hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu
  • That we plan on spending 4 days in the Amazon rainforest doing excursions.
  • That we have been watching a lot of Planet Earth and PBS to get amped about our trip :D
If we were having happy hour I'd ask for advice on....
  • Skin issues! I always have taken pride in having good skin, and that has NOT been the case lately.
  • I have acne for the 1st time ever in my life.
  • I've developed some rash on my stomach, back, arms that comes and goes periodically. I'm starting to wonder if it's some soap or laundry detergent I'm using? But it's pretty annoying. Ryan and I only sleep in the same bed a few nights / week now because he is on night shift, and I feel so bad for him because I can't sit still in bed because I'm so uncomfortable.
  • I'm about ready to set up an appointment with a dermatologist if this doesn't improve soon!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fargonian Adventures

Greetings from Fargo! "Dontcha know" we have been in Fargo since April 9?

I have been a bit absent from here. Here is my list of excuses:
1. No one reads this blog.
2. It's been kind of busy.
3. By the time I finish my day of work where I'm staring at a computer screen for 9 hours in my work from home office, I don't want to look at another screen.
4. Everytime I think about posting a blog, I don't even know where to begin :D

So what have I been up to?

Well, for one, trying to stay warm. It hasn't been the best weather here in Fargo. But I'm not letting that stop me from enjoying myself. And I really soak up the beautiful days.

Work has been quite busy. I don't tend to talk much about that part of my life these days. I'm feeling strained, and while I'm working or thinking about working - my stomach hurts. So let's focus on the fun things in life!

Wedding Fun:
Love has been in the air in my family. My sister got married this past week. Blog post to come on that! What an event. What a month, really. I thank God every day that I get to be in the Midwest during this time to be able to attend and be a part of her shower, her bachelorette party, and the wedding festivities!

I was lucky enough to get to "steal the bride" aka "Bride-chilla" (instead of "Bride-zilla" - because she was super calm and at ease on her wedding day) the morning of the big day. We ran from downtown Minneapolis, past the beautiful church she got married at, and along the Mississippi river! 

 Sibling Photo! I love my siblings - so fiercely! There's a lot of us, eh? 5 siblings - but I count my in-laws as my siblings. I am super close with my sister in laws, and my sister's picked some pretty awesome men to marry as well! I got a new "brother" last weekend, and am so excited to get to know him better. He is a great guy! And hilarious. 

Lake time:
We are just 1 hr 15 minutes from my parents' lake home. So just about every weekend while we are here, we plan on spending the weekend there! It hasn't been exactly "lake weather" yet - but we still have found some time for boating, kayaking, and I ever got out on the paddle board 2 weekends ago! (I just prayed hard that I would not fall in LOL) 

1st fish of the season! My 2 favorite men in the whole wide world: Husband and Father. Good guys. 


I have been finding all the great places to run in Fargo and at the lakes! Every Thursday morning, I run with a local run club - and am meeting some of the nicest people! I also enjoy running along the Red River, as there are miles of trails to keep me busy. It is so peaceful along the river.

I run on this path about 1-2 days/week. It's so quiet!! Hoping for it to warm up better soon, so I can get my bike out here! It's just been too windy and cold for cycling. (For me, anyhow...)

This is a run in did while staying with my sister in Minneapolis: my favorite place EVER to run! Cannot wait to return in September to run a half marathon together!

Snapshots of Glendalough State Park. This place is truly a hidden gem! 

At the lakes, I have enjoyed Glendalough State Park. Another great running venue with paved and off-road trails to enjoy!

I'm really trying to soak up every day we have here. As I know October 1 will come fast. I do miss our friends in AZ with all my heart - and our house and our garden. (And perhaps the sunshine....)

But, I am just really loving this time. My heart is very full.

So I'll leave you with my favorite quote that sums out my belief on life....

Sunday, April 2, 2017

It's actually happening...

We are rapidly approaching 9 years of being Tucsonans. While at the same time...we are REALLY rapidly approaching our departure for Fargo, ND for  6 months. And I have to be honest and admit....even though it's 6 days away, it does not feel real yet.

First of all, it doesn't feel real. For I was told it was happening, and then it wasn't happening, and then it was for sure happening, and then there was only about a 30% chance of it happening. But now it's really happening.

I've kind of warped my brain to not believe anything is happening until I'm fully living it.

But we really are moving. I've changed our address w/ USPS and I've packed 1 suitcase so far! ;)

I don't even know how to explain in words how excited I am. I've missed and pined for my family so much over the past 9 years. It doesn't feel real that I'll be with them for 6 months.

While at the same time, I'm going to miss my friends. I have a group of friends who have become family here in Tucson. We run together 3-4 days/week at 5 am. We've formed an inseparable bond. We communicate ALL day long via text. We don't skip a beat.

The beauty is - they aren't going anywhere ;)

Here are a few things that have been keeping us "busy" over the past week. (Besides work and regular life!)

-Ryan has built us our garden. I assisted. When we get back, he is going to install a rainwater harvesting system and we will have quite the setup and year-round garden to enjoy! I am very blessed to have such a talented woodworker for a husband! I helped with this project, but really I just held boards in place and fetched tools for him.

-I've been super busy at work trying to get licensed in as many states possible, so I don't have to deal with that so much when we are in Fargo. I'm required to get licensed in pretty much all 50 states, per a new policy. Some states require notaries, proof of degrees, birth certificates, fingerprinting, etc -- and it's just easier to take care of all that paperwork at our home.

-We have been trying to see everyone before we leave. The reality is - we won't get to see everyone. But we are making our best effort. Our weekends have been packed full of dinner parties, date nights, and get-togethers with good friends. 

-Friday night we hosted one last dinner party with some of our closest friends. It was a fun evening full of so much laughter. This is a mix of the ladies I run with every morning and a few of our travel/scuba diving friends. Unbelievable bonds! 

I know the week ahead is busy. So I assume this will probably be my final blog post before we are North Dakotans!! See you all on the flip side! 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A few changes....

Wow. Where do I begin... It's  been a rollercoaster of a few weeks.

Ryan is supposed to be coming home tomorrow. He's been home for a week. (Yay!!!)

Let me tell you about last week. We went from thinking we were going to be spending 6 months in Fargo ND near family, then it was going to be Nashville, TN, then it was going to be Syracuse, NY, then it was back to Fargo.

The funny thing about this life is it warps your brain to not even care where you're going -- you just want to know.

But the amazing news is....we are going to Fargo, ND on April 7!!!

We still don't know what kind of living situation we will have. That is changing on a hourly basis. Literally every day Ryan comes home with new "news".

I don't care. I'll live in a box. Well, my company won't approve of that. But you get the point ;)

As thrilled as I want to be - it's hard for me to take the excitement seriously. It changes so much that I almost am starting to feel like I'm standing on the outside looking in with everything going on! But once it's all in writing, and we have a lease signed - I think I'll start believing the excitement a little better.

Words cannot describe how excited I am to be closer to family. I miss them so much. I also get to be home during my sister's wedding festivities! So timing just could not be more perfect!

We will supposedly (lol) be living in Fargo, ND from April until late-September! Perfect time of year to get out of Tucson ( I hate our summers) and spend some quality time at the lakes.

I already know our time is going to fly....and it is probably going to be difficult to leave. But I'm going to do my absolute best to not focus on that. Goal is to focus on enjoying every single day I get there. People don't realize how many days I've spend in AZ pining to be near family. Well, here is my big chance! I cannot wait....

On to the next adventure! ;)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Adventures: NYC

Due to the fact that Ryan was going to be stuck in Syracuse for about 3 months, we decided it was a great opportunity to get us to New York City for the weekend.

Syracuse is about a 4-5 hour drive, so we ended up meeting in NYC for President's Day weekend.

I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here.

Miraculously we get to our hotel about 20 minutes of each other. Ryan had to take a bus (long story). And I obviously flew, and took the Subway. (FYI - Google maps was the best way of figuring out the subway system!!)

We got freshened up, and headed out for some exploring. Our hotel was the Marriot Residence Inn - which was wedged between Times Square and Central Park. Great destination!! We walked around Times Square for a bit, bought broadway tickets for Saturday night, and asked our guy where a local goes for the best Thai food.

Times Square is a lot like Vegas. Too people-y. But pretty cool to see. Once ;) Ha!

We headed a few blocks north to "Yum Yum Bangkok". This place did NOT disappoint. Ryan and I usually get different things to order, and share. But we both wanted their green curry so bad. It was incredible. I wanted to lick the bowl. Prices were really good for Manhattan, too!

I could have gone back to this place again and again...but you aren't supposed to do that on vacation ;)

Saturday morning, we got up early for a big day of sight seeing. This was the sunrise that greeted us from our hotel window.....

Not bad, NYC, not bad!

We took the subway to Battery Park, and got in line for our ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I think our favorite part of this was the ferry ride. We are such view-lovers.....

I think this one will have to make our 2017 Christmas card, what do you think?

There she stands - so proud! It was surreal seeing that Statue of Liberty in person. Seen so many pictures of it. It's cool to be there. And if you remember from my 2017 "Bucket List Post" -- I wanted to touch the statue. Well, here you have it!!:

Me. Touching Lady Liberty. Pretty fun. We only made it this far up. Tickets to the crown you much buy in advance. And we aren't "buy in advance" people. I don't even know where I'm going to be living in 1 month. How could I possible plan months in advance for a trip??

Our next stop was very sombering, but also incredible. The 911 Museum. If you are every in NYC, this is a MUST SEE. Picured above is the new WTC they are building. Very impressive architecture.

I'm didn't take pictures of what laid within the museum out of respect. But it was truly a sight. They kept the original foundation of the WTC, and build the museum around it. There were melted pieces of steel, concrete stair cases covered in blood from the resuces that when on that day, and a room filled with the 3000 people who died on 9.11. I was tearful, heartbroken, nauseated, angry at times - but also in awe.

Above is a quilt that 4 women from Pennsylvania got together and made after 9.11. Each square is about a person who's life we lost during the attacks. Something about this quilt really touched me. The quilt squares were so personalized. Some squares had apples for teachers, a stethoscope, a pair of running shoes. Just unreal....

This is the actual memorial they have created. Also incredible. 

We also got to stop at Ellis Island. Pretty impressive - felt neat to "walk the floors" where our ancestors came to America on. 

This is where they would have to enter and go through "customs". 

It was about 2 pm, and we had seen the statue, Ellis Island, and every hours at the 911 Museum. We were hungry. We hit up a bar/burger in the Fidi that was definitely a firefighter haven. The walls were covered in patches. And our table happened to be next to the Mesa, AZ one. Kind of fun!

Next up was the Financial District. Anyone who knows Ryan well, knows how much he has followed and taken quite an interest in the stock market since he first started working at age 14 ;) So he really enjoyed seeing where the magic happens. 

He wasn't excited that I had to take his picture by the Wall Street sign ;) 

George Washington overlooking the New York Stock Exchange Building....
And I just loved this view. The tall buildings of the Financial Distict, with the cathedral in the distance. Beautiful! 

We headed back to our hotel, actually vegged out for about 2 hours to regain our energy (with coffee, of course). And then headed out for a Broadway Show.

I really, really, really wanted to see Chicago. And that is what we saw! Definitely enjoyed every second of the show!

Here we are all fancied up. Ryan shaved this mustache Saturday morning that he had been growing as a "pact" with his training buddies. I was so pleased!! 

Sunday morning we slept in a little, and headed to Central Park for a run. I was officially in "taper mode" for my marathon (I planned that). So did a nice 3 mile jaunt through the park! 

Such a beautiful place!! 

After our run, we were hungy and I was ready for some carbs and calories (I've been 80/20 paleo lately...and that went out the door on our weekend!!) This was Maison Kayser. Delicious pastries. We had the pain au chocolat and americanos. So good! 

Then we headed out to explore the city. We checked out Chelsea Market, High Line, East Village, and had dinner in Little Italy. 

It was a wonderful day and evening!! 

Sunday morning I had to squeeze one more Central Park run in! So we headed back for another nice 3 miler. Then we just walked around Central Park and enjoyed the sights. And soon thereafter had to part ways again....

Goodbye, New York City! 

Such a fun place and  wonderful memories.