Monday, as I packed up the final boxes from my classroom, my home for five years, I realized that some of the greatest sadness I was feeling throughout this process was in leaving the physical space of my classroom.
As the emotions that I’ve been fighting back began to creep up, I allowed myself to ponder why the room itself was causing me so much sorrow.
I think that perhaps, the physical spaces in our lives, the brick and mortar, the buildings, homes, and rooms that we spend our time in, are much like our cast iron skillet or wooden salad bowl that we cherish.
Those cast iron skillets and special wooden salad bowls, the ones that we intentionally never deep clean or scrub, are kept this way to deepen the taste of dishes over time. The seasonings from all the previous meals, delicious dishes, and the taste of the memories of events gone by are kept within their grooves and crevices forever. And today I realized that I believe the same is true of physical spaces we spend time in throughout our lives.
My classroom walls, even when washed this summer, or repainted in the future, will forever have a piece of my time here within them. This space, that I so lovingly called home for the past five years has played witness to some of the largest, most important moments not only in my life, but in that of numerous students.
For my students, they have seen, heard, and felt first day jitters, frustration, pain, sorrow, joy, laughter, epiphanies, brand-new learning, friendships being made, friendships ending, perseverance, and an everlasting love.
For me, these walls have seen an excited teacher setting up a brand-new, never used classroom. They have seen open houses meeting strangers who became friends, and a few who became more like family. These walls have heard true belly laughter and played witness to the joy that fourth grade students bring into my life. They have seen my frustration, endless hours, and my painstaking thought process. These walls have watched as I wept over a sick and lost father-in-law and a miscarriage the following year because this was a safe space. This classroom witnessed my tears and heard my voice tremble with equal parts excitement and fear as I told a class of fourth graders that I could no longer teach because my pregnancy had made me too sick, five weeks prior to my baby’s due date. These walls have seen me light up and beam with pride while showing pictures of my girls, and while celebrating the success of a classmate.
These walls, this brick and mortar, have seen it all. Every major life event in the past five years has played out, in some way, within this space.
That’s why it’s emotional to clean up. That’s why it’s emotional to leave. That’s why it’s hard to say goodbye to a room of inanimate objects, because it has been my space.
Deep in the paint, texture, and drywall I am certain these walls can feel. The history that this classroom has within it, from my time here, will be felt when the new occupant arrives. And next August, when 20 bright-eyed faces enter the space, it will begin to soak up even more history and store it forever in it’s walls and cherish the memories that are made within them!
Do you think that perhaps all of the spaces we spend time within are like this? They hold onto our memories and not only do they become a part of us, we become a part of them? All of those spaces, the bricks, the mortar, the walls, the paint, hold onto a piece of the past and the experiences they witnessed?
It might sound strange, but I sure hope they do. It brings me some real peace, imagining that a piece of my existence and time in the space lives on long after I leave.
Admittedly, the title of this post is a bit gruesome as you start reading and realize I really am giving the straight forward, honest, gross truth about a miscarriage. But come on, it’s just too funny to resist. Also, 90’s Megan needs “Deets” to be a thing again!
I feel like I need to start this post with a couple disclaimers. Number 1: If you are not prepared to read about the female body during a miscarriage and all that it entails… stop reading (Although, if you are a male and your significant other is going through this, even if you feel a bit uncomfortable or squeamish, I highly recommend you continue reading to try and better understand and support her). Number 2: This is only one experience with a miscarriage. There is absolutely no medical research or backing for any of the following, this is simply my experience.
When I had my miscarriage, or knew I was starting the process of miscarrying (more on this below), I couldn’t understand. I’m not just saying that either. I actually didn’t understand what was happening with my body. I didn’t understand why it was happening, what it was going to be like, how long it would last, how it would feel, and the list goes on… So, in true Megan fashion, I turned to research.
I started with my amazing doctors. I asked as many questions of my doctor as possible. The thing is, they’re very focused on making sure the medical side of things is happening and that you are safe. Blood work, ultrasounds, mental health, all of the things that they are trained for, and frankly, that are their job. Don’t get me wrong, all of those are essential, and life saving, but still didn’t dig deep into the reality of what I was going to experience in coming weeks. So then, I turned to the internet, obviously. What I found was just not as blatant and honest as I wanted. I ended up needing to navigate the unknown (which is the hardest part of anything, in my opinion) as it came. I just didn’t find the information that I felt that I needed. The true, down and dirty details of what lie ahead of me throughout my miscarriage.
I’m not sure why this information isn’t openly shared. Whether it be not wanting to spook others, salt the wounds, or even just not wanting to share the TMI details (if you’re a Garden of Heart follower you know I don’t believe in). People have good intentions with not sharing the details, but I’m just not that person.
I NEEDED to know! I NEEDED to mentally prepare! I NEEDED more!
So, I’m going to give you the honest truths about miscarriage and what to (possibly) expect. Another quick reminder, this is just from my experience and what my body went through.
Stay strong girl. You are far stronger than you could ever imagine, physically and emotionally. Allow your body to go through the process and take the time it needs.
I promise the bleeding will stop!
Are you noticing a theme with all my recipes?? EASY!!
We are both full time employees and by the time we get home we need something quick and easy.
We also love cheap, delicious and leftovers! If you like those things, this recipe is for you. (If you don’t, you need a fancier blog!)
Quick and delicious chicken noodle soup recipe. It was quick, made on a weeknight, and tasted (almost) just like grandma makes!!
1. In your instant pot cook chicken breasts. I thawed mine first and cooked for 10 minutes and did a quick release. (You can cook your chicken however you like to prepare for shredding, but I LOVE my instant pot for efficiency, especially on weeknights!)
2. As the chicken cooks, add broth, soup, and stick of butter to a soup pot and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, add pepper, garlic powder, and minced onion to taste. Then, add frozen egg noodles and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Once the chicken is finished and has been shredded, add it to the pot of noodles. Allow to simmer for another 15 minute.
5. Serve over mashed potatoes and enjoy! (Clearly, you don’t have to serve over mashed potatoes, but if that’s not how your eat your chicken noodles, you might not be my people.)
Ok… I’ve tried to cleverly start this post several times, and I don’t know how, apparently the cleverness isn’t flowing freely today! So I guess I’ll just start instead.
I have anxiety. Lots and lots of anxiety. Don’t worry, I’m not telling you these things as a blog post cry for help, (I’m medicated) quite the opposite actually. I’m telling you so that if you are someone who struggles with anxiety perhaps I can help you find some common ground, learn something about yourself, reach out, get opinions, or just be open and honest.
Since reaching adulthood I have struggled with my anxiety, like many many others do. For some reason, I think that it is still considered a negative thing to admit anxiety or depression are part of your life. It feels a bit like you are a failure of sorts for not being able to pull your shit together. Even more, I felt like I was expected to “cure” myself by working out more and eating healthier. (Which, by the way, I do encourage and those things do help quite a bit.) However, those things just aren’t always enough. So for a long time, I kept this quiet.
I never took action to get help or even considered talking to a doctor about my anxiety. Here’s the strange thing about me, (or maybe this is totally normal for anxiety sufferers) I had this belief that my anxiety was actually a piece of my success as and adult and in my career. I thought that my ability to see every angle of a conversation, think deeply on things for hours and weeks on end, and anticipate things that were yet to happen were all part of why I was successful. I was afraid to lose my edge. Weird right? I know!
So what finally happened? Well, turns out if you’re living with daily anxiety and things in life do start to go wrong, it all compacts… quickly. The anxiety that you can “control” becomes something that you can’t because you’re trying to deal with all the other things in life. At least that’s what happened to me. I lost my father-in-law to cancer, had a miscarriage, and was working on a masters program all within a year. All of this was on top of still being a full time employee, a wife, and “dealing” with anxiety. Needless to say, suddenly I wasn’t in “control” of my anxiety anymore.
I finally went to my doctor and told her all of this. By the time I went to her, I was a bit of a mess and had let it go too long. I was put on an anti-depressant that day to “try out” and help with my anxiety. Wow, my world changed! In all open, honest reflection, I cannot believe I let myself live that way for so long. My poor brain!
I openly discuss this with people now. And when I say openly, I mean in a regular, not hushed whisper voice any time someone has questions or wants to know more. I have no shame that I take medication on the daily to help me keep my brain and anxiety in check. I have no shame that I take medicine that helps me. I don’t feel like a failure because I couldn’t overcome my anxiety without medication. Honestly, I’m proud of myself for being open, honest, and vulnerable!
Folks, the thing is… anxiety is real! You don’t have to be a depressed, down in the dumps, miserable person to need help with your anxiety, they’re not always one-in-the-same. You don’t have to suffer or let yourself get to a point of depression before you advocate for yourself. No one knows your body or mind better than you. We have to move past this shame that we put on ourselves about anxiety. Your mental health is important! You don’t have to share your story, I’ll share mine loud and proud though to hopefully help others who are trying to take on anxiety alone.
Ok, wait… Don’t leave this post right away, I promise this is good! Sounds gross, but is delicious!
Caveat: So, I hate when I find a delicious looking recipe online and I follow the link and come to someones eight page story about their love for this recipe, how it came to be, and what their cat’s day was like (clearly I’m being a bit dramatic), all before finding the actual ingredients and recipe.
So… if you’ve come here to check out a recipe that’s what you’ll get… a recipe! No more, no less!
This recipe is super simple, super cheap, and super delicious. Don’t make this recipe harder than it is, when I say cut it in chunks, seriously just cut it into chunks and throw it in the pot!
Let me know if you have questions about this recipe or share your reviews!
…and my dad too!!
After another amazing week with my parents in town, I’m pretty emotional today as they head home. Each time it’s equally as difficult to say goodbye for all of us. It goes beyond just being sad because my mom and dad are leaving. It goes beyond them having to say goodbye to the girls who are growing and changing every day. It’s beyond the sadness and tears. Frankly, it’s that I want them here not just because I love them, it’s because I love the extra help!
The older I get, I can’t seem to understand why our culture is so determined to measure adult success as the ability to live (and thrive) with nearly complete independence. It seems as though our country has reached a point that the overall consensus is that successful “adulting” means that you can work a full time job, run a home, raise a family, and take care of your physical and mental health all without consistent help from anyone outside your household. Aside from the occasional help from friendly neighbors, close friends, or extended family, we’re pretty much alone in our households for all the day to day craziness. The thing is, I still feel like I’m successfully “adulting” even though I want (Ok… NEED) my parents around.
When my parents are here for the week our whole home is more peaceful. We don’t rush as much in the mornings because we have extra help. We don’t feel guilty if we have to be home a bit later because we know the girls are home and being cared for. We eat homemade meals that are cheaper and healthier than eating out because, between four adults, we can always find someone with time to cook. We have four sets of adult hands to help with dishes, laundry, dinner, general house cleaning, and most importantly… raising kids.
I don’t feel at all like a failure as a career woman, a parent, a wife, or an adult saying that I prefer to have the extra help. I LOVE the extra help. I LOVE the relationship my girls get to have with their grandparents. I LOVE getting to share parenting with my own parents. I LOVE that we can take turns getting up early with the girls (who are bound and determined to never let us sleep in again). I LOVE that the overall stress and pressure of this world is reduced. I LOVE all of it! Frankly…. I need my mom and dad!
“It takes a village.” That’s the old adage that we’ve all heard a million times. I think, that for the most part, people believe it too. For some reason (far beyond my understanding) though, we have reached a point in our country where multi-generational homes are far less common, and perhaps even viewed negatively. What’s that about?
Don’t get me wrong, I get that spouses and families need some space. I get that my husband and I need time together, just the two of us, just as my parents do. But I think we could work all of that out, and man, it’d be so worth it!
I’m sad my parents left because they’re so fun, amazing grandparents, and I love them dearly. But beyond that, I’m sad to not have them around for the help and I’m more than willing to admit it! I’m a strong YES for multi-generational homes becoming a part of American tradition. A home with multiple generations, all living and growing together, and cohesively raising younger generations, now that sounds to me like true successful adulthood.
I guess all that’s left to do is pack mom and dad up and find a bigger house!!
What’s next? Now what? Who are you outside of wrestling?
These are just some of the questions that instantaneously swept over me as I heard the final buzzer go off and saw your opponents hand be raised. You see, my now husband, had just wrestled his final match of not only his five year college career, but also his lifelong wrestling career that had begun at age five. In a matter of minutes, something that had consumed the majority of his life had come to an end. So, in that moment, and many that followed I wondered (as I’m CERTAIN he did) what’s next?
The immediate and easy answer to what comes next for a college wrestler is food. Lots and lots of food! But even more importantly than that, as much water as he could possibly drink. And once his stomach was full, and he was fat and sassy… sleep. Sleep without having to worry about a morning practice or weigh ins and no more stepping on the scale ten times a day.
But here’s the thing that I noticed, you did still step on the scale 10 times a day. You did still wake up early, anticipating practice followed by a day full of classes, study hall and another practice. For the first time in years you had a chance to chill, but you didn’t know how. You didn’t know how to go to class and then just relax. You didn’t know how to fuel your passion for competition. You didn’t know what life would be like without wrestling.
More than that, you didn’t know who you were without wrestling. You were unsure of your identity if not a wrestler. You had been a wrestler, an athlete, your whole life (and a pretty bad ass and successful one at that). The majority of your friends, your experiences, and your best memories had to do with you being a wrestler. I saw it on your face constantly… Who am I? What’s next?
Now, six short years later, I can’t help but smile as I think back. What came next was a career fueled by that same competitive passion. What came next was unwavering determination that only someone strong enough to survive five years of college wrestling can give. What came next was a love that only someone as dedicated as a college athlete could give. What came next was a life that could not be without what once was. You are a husband, a friend, a coach, a voice of strength and confidence, and now (and this is my personal favorite) you’re a dad.
What I’ve learned (or think I’ve learned from watching it unfold) is that finding purpose after being an athlete your entire life isn’t about finding a new identity, it’s about using that identify to build your life. The drive, the passion, the determination, the sheer ability to love something as deeply as you loved your sport is your identity.
Perhaps it’s not the same for all former athletes, but for us, it changed us in so many ways. We’re different after facing that time of uncertainty in our lives when the “what’s next” and “who’s next” were consuming our thoughts. We’re different now because it seems just a bit easier to face life’s continual changes with a smile and the hopeful thought of… what’s next?!
Remember how I mentioned in one of my first posts that I fully intend to cover the full spectrum of subjects? I meant it! As it turns out, life has dark times, rough patches, and flat out shitty days. So in an effort to be real and not sugar-coat life, I’m hoping to cover some of those times.
March 7th, 2017. That’s the day that I realized I was having a miscarriage. I had known that my husband and I were expecting our first child for less than 10 days and was miscarrying. Here’s the thing though, this awful, heart-wrenching life event is EXTREMELY common. Like 1 in 4, folks! I was shocked to find this out, but even more appalled by the fact that NO ONE talks about it! I have some theories on the secrecy that surrounds something so common. Below I have shared my two theories for the taboo that is miscarriage.
First, is that women feel embarrassed. It feels like you failed at what your body is so naturally supposed to be able to do. Like you’re broken, damaged goods. Let’s address this! You (and all women) serve far more of a purpose on this Earth than just being an incubator for babies. Is this ability absolutely freaking amazing… yes! Does this alone measure our worth… Hell NO!! The fact that the human body can grow another human is astonishing and mind blowing. However, your uterus and your desire or ability to complete this task is NOT what makes you a woman!
It’s messy, bloody, gross, and has to do with a Who-Ha (Full transparency, I can’t bring myself to type vagina… Well, what do you know… I can!) It feels embarrassing to tell someone that you are going through a miscarriage because you personally know how much is going on, you know, down there. You are cramping and bleeding (sometimes A LOT) for days, or weeks, maybe even months! And since that’s what you’re going through, you imagine that everyone must know and instantly think of that horror… They’re not! Even after my own miscarriage I have talked with women and close friends going through the same. My mind never goes to the “yucky” parts, it always goes to a place of care and concern. Give people credit, that’s where their mind goes as well!
The thing is, I don’t think anyone is intentionally ignoring miscarriage. And if they are, I genuinely believe it is out of a place of embarrassment, not disgust. In all honesty, I think women who are having (or have) miscarried just don’t know how to start the conversation (even though they may want to). Then, because it’s rarely brought up, when a woman does feel the need (and trust me, for me it was a NEED to be heard) others don’t know how to respond.
So how do we fix this? My suggestion… SHARE! Talk about it! If you’re having (or have had) a miscarriage, be brave and share your story. Be brave and know that others genuinely care about the miscarriage process, mourning and grieving. Be brave and start the conversations. The more people who are brave enough to share, the less taboo this will become. If you know someone who is miscarrying, be brave and ask! Ask how they feel, both physically and emotionally. Be brave and start the conversation, don’t shy away from something that is so normal in our world. If the person you’re reaching out to doesn’t want to share, they won’t, but be brave and give them the option. Trust me, you’re not reminding them of their miscarriage by bringing it up, they haven’t forgotten!
PSA: Are you going through a miscarriage now? Have you gone through one in the past and you’re needing to talk it out? If you need to let it out, talk, share, seek common ground with someone who has experienced what you are, shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I would love to face it with you!
Guys, I thought I was being so clever with the name of this post. Then, I showed it to my husband and he says, “It’s shitters full.” Duh! Come on man, we’re talking a classic National Lampoon reference. But then, after having to explain it to him, I questioned my cleverness, so now I’m explaining it, just in case. So much for clever!
In August, with a six year old and four month old, my husband and I sold our house and decided to upgrade a bit. Our new home is an upgrade by 50 years and has a garage, which trust me, is a BIG deal for us! But with these upgrades came a lot of work. A LOT!!!
We scraped popcorn ceilings, re-textured ceilings, replaced light fixtures, painted every square inch, replaced carpet, tiled floors, fixed holes (millions… no idea who needs that many things hung on walls), and finally fixed the bathrooms. Admittedly, I was terrible at taking before and after pictures because I was in a hurry to get projects done before the new school year started. Now, I’m definitely wishing I had taken more to share because we are extremely proud of our work. This post is all about the main level bathroom, which was by far the worst room in the house. Below I’ll explain the updates/changes and share the pictures and links with you!
To start, the bathroom was pink and just flat out dirty! I spent a substantial amount of time removing drywall screws that were left in, patching holes (on both the ceiling and walls), and scrubbing walls, baseboards… everything! Once all the holes were patched, I used spray on wall texture from Home Depot. I have found this texture to work extremely well, blend in nicely, and even dries quickly. It’s a go to for us! Warning though: make sure you have windows open and air flowing- this stuff is fumy!
After my patching work and texture dried it was time to paint. Our whole house is painted the same color, Dakota Ranchwood for the walls and Antique White paint for the ceiling and trim, both from Walmart. I really like Walmart paint and had the same paint, including the color in our last house. It looked great for the full four years we lived there, and cleans easily (which is a must with kids and dogs). This is the color and paint that we chose for the bathroom. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference a couple coats of paint make! What a difference from the pink! In addition to painting the walls, I did choose to paint the bathroom vanity. This is really difficult and I have not found a great way to get the paint to adhere to the smooth surface of the vanity. But for now, it looks great!
Then came the fun part… DECORATING! I chose matte black and white to continue the farmhouse theme from the rest of the house in the bathroom. You can find links for all the decorative items and hardware below the before and after pictures. All are great quality and I installed myself!
As promised, here’s a list (including links) of the goodies used in the bathroom. Full transparency, the Amazon links are affiliate links. I wouldn’t share the product with you if I didn’t love it and believe in it’s worth!
We’re incredibly pleased with how our bathroom turned out. It was hours and hours of work over a long weekend but it was TOTALLY worth it! Feel free to leave me a comment below if you have questions!