There has been so much of life consumed by Autumn that sometimes it’s hard to find the life that existed before her. Of course I remember what it was like when it was just Brad and I, but even when given the opportunity to have that experience again (sleep-over at Nana’s!), I forget how to live that life. That life before her.

I was going through Brad’s glove box the other day and literally found 3 gift cards older than 5 years each (also read: older than our marriage and dating relationship combined). We called, and they were all still active. So, we got Easter clothes and dinner for two at Outback steakhouse. We left Autumn with my mom and went to dinner and a concert/show afterwards. At dinner the table next to us had a set of twin girls that were no more than a month or two older than Autumn, and Brad could not focus on our dinner. And it was cute, and not at all annoying (could be read sarcastically, or not). They were precious, and we felt like real parents. Because everyone told us that dinners alone would not be like dinners before, because we would be talking about her the whole time. And oh how I tried to not do that, and I tried to find something else to talk about. But how do you talk about something other than the larger-than-life addition that consumes most hours of most days? You don’t. And I think it took that dinner for me to realize that it’s not necessarily a bad thing to talk about your kid when you get a moment to be without her.

We have changed, our marriage has changed, and our life has changed. I was so fearful of that happening and have tried so hard to fight it. But I feel like I have come to terms with those changes, I love Autumn even more for them, and I appreciate this new life. The newlywed life exchanged for the family life. And it’s a good exchange.

I have not written about Brad and his post surgery stuff in such a long time. He has lost SO.MUCH.WEIGHT. He is now 199 lbs. That means he has lost 145 lbs. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE POUNDS. Did you hear me?!? And July will be a year since he had surgery. They told him he would lose 100-120 lbs  in the first year. Unexpected excess weight loss much? I am going to have mine in July (possibly late June, depending on how much vacation time I have built up) and I’m really looking forward to it. I know my weight loss won’t be as quick or as much as what Brad’s was, but any is better than this. By summer of next year I will be wearing shorts and tank tops and clothes that are appropriate for warm weather (and appropriate, period)–not begging for just one more cold day so that I can wear my jacket to cover up my shamefully large body. With Brad having lost so much and me remaining shamefully large, certain things were bound to change. And I’m so ready for them to change BACK. Or rather, change again. Cause I don’t want to go back to before. We always press on, press forward, one foot in front of the other, pushing each other towards success and the next best version of ourselves…and always together.

On a totally and completely different topic, I read my mom’s journal this week from when my grandmother was suffering through her battle with cancer. I have written before about how my grandmother was not much on verbally expressing her feelings and emotions, but she was a wonderful writer and chose words to express herself. But I had no idea that mom was just as talented and captivating. Even Brad, “Hater of all things words…Math Extraordinaire” (thanks, spell check), couldn’t put it down and finished the whole thing in a matter of 3 hours (2 days. But still, 3 hours). And he couldn’t stop talking about how intense it was. Obviously my grandmother’s battle with cancer was intense, regardless of my mom’s writing ability, because it was such a short battle and so very devastating. But the way my mom was able to express her emotions in such a raw and real way, the way she cried out to God and painted a picture of desperation was just incredible. I’m so blessed to be able to have these snippets of writings from my mom and my grandmother, that when my mom is gone I will be able to connect with her again, that I’m able to connect with my grandmother in a way I never was able to. Writing is just so special. I am ashamed that I have not more consistently taken advantage of the opportunities that blogging gives me as a mom. Things have changed so much technologically and as cheesy as it sounds, this blog is a gift that I can choose to wrap up beautifully with pretty bows and ribbon and shiny paper….or I can wrap it up quickly without much thought as to what the package will look like in the long run. I want this blog to be a package for my kids one day, wrapped elaborately and lovingly with them in mind. When they open this here cheesy package*, I want them to be flooded with happy memories of who I am, my passions and the things I love and I want them to feel like, for just a little while, I’m sitting with them and visiting.

I don’t know where life is going to take me, or where it will take Autumn and her future siblings. My grandmother died at the age of 54 from a devastatingly quick form of cancer, it stole her life. Whether I’m states away from my kids, or galaxies away walking with Jesus on streets of gold….I want my kids to be able to connect with me. I want them to be able to feel my emotion, be it happy, sad, or indifferent. Because after reading my mom’s journal and walking through that emotional journey that changed her, after feeling like I learned more about who my mom was versus who she is now? My kids need that opportunity too.

* “this here cheesy package” feels like it should be followed up with a good ol’ Goofy “hee-uk” laugh. No? Just me? Okay.