What Happened in 2016?

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I was cleaning up my about me page when I realized that I had nothing written for 2016! Since I only blogged a handful of times during 2016, I made the yearly recap a little bit longer than normal, so I could include a few highlights that I normally would have posted!
On the first day of 2016, I was diagnosed with EDS III, which is a genetic condition that I have suffered from my entire life. The diagnosis explained a lot of my medical issues. You can read about that here.

After I was diagnosed, I didn’t blog much. In fact, I blogged a few times that month and then called it quits. I stopped reading, so I didn’t have books to review. I mostly watched Netflix while I suffered. I used knee braces and a wheelchair in order to leave the house and have any type of social life with my husband. Skinny jeans, while cute, don’t accommodate the massive knee braces that I need, I appreciated the 3 weeks that I could wear linen blend pants.

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This was one of the few weeks that I got to go out during the spring, without my wheelchair, but you can see the braces under my pants. However, that’s my all time favorite necklace!

A huge shout out to the band Judah and the Lion. Not only are they one of my favorite bands, but when I mentioned on Instagram that I had anticipated going to their show for my 28th birthday, but the venue wasn’t accommodating for my wheelchair.

When I emailed, the venue said that I could put my wheelchair in “the hallway” and never followed up with me, even though 6 months before that, when I emailed with the same venue about their “gold seats” for another act–they don’t always have seating–they sent a follow up email within 10 minutes of explaining the seats to me to ask if I had purchased them yet! Obviously, this venue was only interested in my business if I was paying more. The band gave me VIP tickets and their helpers/people who perform with them on the road (I don’t know the technical term) put my wheelchair in the best place in the room. I skipped the braces and hobbled up for our group shot that I’m including below because they are STAND UP dudes, who make amazing music. I figured that it was my one chance for a photo with Judah and the Lion, so I wasn’t going to be sitting!

And, per my doctor’s orders, my husband and I went all over Charlotte to find new coffee shops and things that I could do in my limited capacity. We even took the dogs one day! She enjoyed it for… 5 minutes.

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I continued to not blog during the summer because I was EXHAUSTED. PT twice a week, plus more doctors appointments! I was so tired that I was a hazard driving, so my poor mom had to drive an hour from her house to take me my appointments. It paid off because I got to dress up fancy and attend my brother-in-law’s wedding in Mississippi. I did enjoyed slow dancing, remembering some group dances (wow, those are exhausting), remembering the words to every classic song ever, and made sure that my husband fulfilled his best man duties by decorating the car. I felt so sick the next day because my husband stepped on one of my bare feet and I kicked myself in the ankle on the other foot. I was glad that I had a wheelchair!

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The fall past quickly with more doctor visits, homecoming, and our regular fall rituals. A new one, though, was getting anniversary photos taken. While I loved our wedding photographers, I wasn’t very happy with how I looked on our wedding day, so we hired a local friend to do a take 2!

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We ended the year by flying into New Orleans, where we stayed for a few nights, seeing the WWII Museum, getting beignets, visiting an old friend, and using Uber more than a normal person should–I really should have started a walking program to build up more endurance. Two days before Christmas, my in-laws, who live nearby picked us up and took us back to their home for the rest of the holidays.

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Christmas Eve Service

Overall, 2016 was a tough year. I dealt with getting treatment with something that should have been being treated for 27 years. I had to make the decision to walk away from our church, where it was the one place that I kept trying to make friends because I realized that it was hurting me, but no one there really cared or understood. No, the way that it’s hard for me to get dressed and out of the door is not the same as the way it is hard for you to get ready to go places with your 2 year old daughter. Not even the same ballpark.

2016 was a year of finding new music that I love, new authors to enjoy, new TV shows to laugh at, and still being amazed at lucky I feel to have my dogs in my life. Like, how did I literally get the two best dogs on the planet at once? 2016 meant letting go of people, letting go of possessions (donating clothes as fast as my bum arm will let me!), and saying no to things that I don’t need in my life. Not every medical treatment is needed all of the time. There is such a thing as too many appointments, especially when you need a lot of sleep.

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We are looking forward to 2017. We are hoping to move in 2018 (I’m sick, so we can’t rush these things!) and find not just better community, but any community, better medical care, and be closer to family and friends who are in similar situations to what I am in. I believe that living in an area that has a community of doctors that treat both of my conditions will lead to a better quality of life because not only will I find treatment, but I will find fellow patients. I am alone here.

I am looking forward to feeling a decluttered house. Unlike most people, I can’t just declutter. It takes a lot of time and even more help. Its one step forward and two steps back when I knock everything off of the counter because I tripped over my own feet. But, it will look good and feel even better. I am saying “no” to samples when I order beauty products online if I know that I won’t use them. REALLY.

My shoulder is getting worse, so I can’t play my flute, but I am going to try to find the energy to pick my oboe back up. I am always looking for a way to add structure, but not beat myself up when I accidentally sleep until 5 PM. Hell, I’m going to try to shower regularly. Life is an uphill battle, but I have a really good team on my side.

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He’s the most handsome member of the team.

This is just what I’ve been doing. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw most of what went on last year–the fun stuff–not the heartbreak. But, I hope to come back with book reviews and maybe an insightful comment or two!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

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Grateful Heart Monday: One Year Anniversary

I am super grateful for one year of marriage! Yesterday was our one year of marriage. We’ve been through so many trials in the past year, so I’m impressed that we made it this far. I have to give Brian and his steady character and commitment credit for this. Also, the support of our family helped a lot.

So, I am grateful for one year of learning to be married with my best friend in the world. (Don’t tell the dogs that they aren’t really my best friends).

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After the wedding:

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The honeymoon!

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Here is to many, many more years! I love you, Brian!

Ember Grey
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Happy 2nd Anniversary, Josie!

Today I have had my beautiful Josie for two years ago. It’s been two years since I picked up a tiny little puppy and took her back to DC, kept her there for a week, moved her to Birmingham for 6 weeks, and finally settled here in the suburb of Charlotte.

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It has been two years of hilarious laughs, snuggles, and fun games!

Josie has been my best friend for two years now! I could certainly fill pages and pages of funny pictures of her. She’s cute and funny. Now she likes to sleep a lot more, but she is certainly more energetic that we have a puppy in a house!

On a side note, baby Josie is staying with my parents while Rylie recovers from “getting fixed.” It’s hard to be away from her, especially because I legit threw her a party last year. I wanted to do the same again this year!

What’s the craziest thing that you’ve done for your pets?

Categories: Pets, Updates Tags: ,
Lazy Saturday Mornings

When I say that this morning has been lazy, I mean that it’s been non-productive.

I woke up with a super bad headache and neck ache… at 5 AM. 5 AM is not my favorite time on Saturday mornings. It’s not my favorite time, ever, to be truthful. Props to anyone who gets up that early.

I desperately wanted an ice pack, but I didn’t want to disturb our sleeping dogs. Especially because going to get the ice pack would mean that I would have to let them outside before I could use it. Once I decided to suck it up and do it, much to my dismay, I found our adorable little puppy who got fixed yesterday had removed her own collar/cone. I was so upset, because I know that she probably licked her incision, which could cause an infection.

poor rylie

Now that I’ve iced, taken some medication, and am sipping coffee, I feel a lot better. Soon, though I have to get ready to go visit my grandma! I know that tomorrow is technically Mother’s Days, but Brian and I already have a couple of commitments on Sundays, so we just can’t fit it all in.

Aside from bringing my grandma the typical flowers (I went with a potted plant this year), chocolate, a card, and gracing her with my presence, we’re also going to finally get to get rid of 10 bags of dirt. And when I say dirt, I mean like clay from where Brian built his raised garden bed.

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The bags of dirt are actually a kind of funny story. See, Brian hauled about 14 very heavy bags of dirt to the curb, along with the rest of our trash, on fine Monday morning. He was dismayed to find out that the garbage company only took the regular trash. But, I mean, that was a ton of heavy dirt. So, Brian put the bags of trash in front of where he parks his car, so the neighbors couldn’t see it. From that point on, he just put two bags of dirt with the rest of our trash and that worked fine–until the day his car wasn’t there to hide the rest of the bags.

He came home to find that his dirt was still there, along with a nice note from the garbage people:

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So, now that this misunderstanding has been cleared up, we’re going to dump it in the woods at my grandparents’ house. Who say that we can’t multitask?!

Alright, I’m seriously going to go put some rollers in my hair and pick out a dress. This is happening soon. Like after I hit publish. Maybe.

Categories: Fun, life thoughts, Updates Tags: , ,
The River Walk

Last Friday, while my neck was behaving, my husband and I decided to take a walk at a place in South Carolina that was recommended to us, called the River Walk. It was great to get out and move around, plus the weather was unbelievably nice! It’s part of a planned community that’s still being built. I would love to move into Charlotte, but if we don’t, I wouldn’t mind living there!

 

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The path was perfect! There were hills for exercise, but a great view enjoy. There were people on bicycles, kids on skates, and people with dogs. We even walked by a backyard wedding at a venue there.

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We can’t wait to go back and take our dogs and pack a picnic. There was a perfect shaded and open spot by the ricer, about half a mile into the trail. Our puppies aren’t big on long walks, so that would be perfect!

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Music Watch Saturday: Massive Catch Up

So, I’ve been really out of, musically speaking, recently. In fact just Thursday, I learned that one of my all time favorite bands, Fireworks, released a new album last week. Normally, I would have eagerly anticipating its release. I’m talking countdown app, y’all. I already preordered Needtobreathe’s new album, but they’ve been talking about its release at their shows for over a year at this point.

Music Watch

I’m under no illusions that anyone else really shares my taste in music, but I thought that I would peruse the website of my youth, AbsolutePunk.net and try to see what I’ve been missing out on. Maybe some of these bands will strike your fancy!

Without further ado, I am loving or looking forward to:

The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams (March 25, 2014) [RIYL: Lucero, Drive-By Truckers, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists]

Fireworks, Oh, Common Life (March 25, 2014) [RIYL: The Wonder Years, Transit, A Loss For Words]

Manchester Orchestra, Cope (April 1, 2014) [RIYL: Brand New, All Get Out, Dear and the Headlights]

Needtobreathe, Rivers in the Wasteland (April 15. 2014) [RIYL: Good Music (seriously), Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Jon Foreman]

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The following projects are in the works:

Action Item, Full Length

 

Music News:

The Dangerous Summer broke up. I knew that. But reading it again, made me super sad. Oh, college days! I regret the few times that I missed seeing them in concert when I lived in DC.

Copeland is releasing new material! (Megan is super excited! She would probably kill me for posting her goth-sad outfit that she wore for Halloween after they broke up.)

Jonny Craig is not using drugs. Color me surprised!

Emery is crowdsourcing support for their new album because they want to own their own music! Good for them! They have a killer live show.

The Starting Line, which is my go-to summer music, is releasing a vinyl edition of Say It Like You Mean It. I would rather them just write some new, good songs.

New Music that I Found:

Tokyo Police Club, Forcefield

Firestarter, Forget the Past (May 14, 2014) These guys remind me a lot of old New Found Glory and why I fell in love with pop-punk. Ready for summer! [(RIYL: New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Blink 182]

 

What music are you looking forward to? Anything new that I should check out?
Venus Trapped in Mars
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Be Kind

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

 

So, these past few weeks have been kind of difficult for me. I have mostly been dealing with health issues related to insomnia and cervical dystonia. Together, they give me the worst kinds of headaches! As I was driving home last night and the quotation above, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” came into my mind.

I got to work very late because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. I haven’t had a long or good night’s rest in weeks. As I shuffled through my 8 hours and 45 minutes of torture, I could barely lift my head when I walked–mostly due to my neck weakness–but some sadness too. I feel like my life is a battle, and I am losing it. The physical and mental pain are exhausting.

Then I thought about my coworkers, husband, and friends. I thought about how offended I get when people are not sensitive to my health needs, but I often forget that everyone is struggling through something. Maybe someone was short with me because they are preoccupied with their own troubles, so I shouldn’t take it personally. Anyway, I kept thinking about how overwhelmed I felt, yet if I asked everyone around me to be truthful, they would all have their own stories and battles.

For example, I have a beautiful friend, who I thought had the most perfect life. She does have a wonderful life, but now she’s battling cancer. I have other friends who are so happy on the outside, but when I talk to them, they are hurting deep inside–they live with wounds that others have inflicted on them emotionally. I even have another friend with similar health issues to mine. I see her shuffling through the day, sometimes, too. And when I say that I shuffle, I mean that I barely pick my feet up. The pain is no joke, y’all.

Even though my sample size is small, if 100% of the people I’m close to are battling something every day, I’m going to venture to say that so is everyone else.

I know it’s idealistic to wish, but I think that if everyone kept this idea that they’re not the only ones who are hurting and struggling in mind, we might be kinder to one another. As a result, I think everyone’s burdens would be eased.

Categories: Cervical Dystonia, Updates Tags: ,
What I Wish I Knew at 16

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So, today is my 26th birthday!!! I’ve survived 10 years past when they gave me a driver’s license. Big. Deal. Seriously.

I actually moved from Kentucky to South Carolina a few days before my 16th birthday. Talk about devastating. If you have kids, please don’t move them during the middle of high school. Total nightmare. My mom even took me to register for my new high school ON MY BIRTHDAY. I was starting to think that she was systematically trying to destroy me, but then she did the coolest thing that she’s ever done. Ever. When the guidance counselor asked if I was ready to go to my first class, my mom said that it was my birthday, so we were going out to lunch and that I would start the next day. The next day started the worst 2 and a half years of my life, but at least it was delayed by a day!

Now that I’m 26, there are quite a few things that I wish I knew at 16–wisdom that I wish that I could impart to myself. I probably wouldn’t have listened, but it’s nice to think that I’ve grown and learned. Especially learned from mistakes.

10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

  • Like your grandmother once said, “Men are like trolley cars. As soon as one leaves, another one comes along.” So calm down.
  • Without your health, you don’t have much. I’m not saying that life isn’t worth living if you are chronically ill, but PLEASE enjoy the time that you aren’t sick. Don’t abuse it by abusing your liver. Instead, push your body and mind to be as healthy as possible.
  • Family is actually important. Jobs will take you all over the country. Your little brother will get married and move away. Enjoy your family.
  • C0llege is the best thing ever. It makes high school worth it.
  • Take time to develop your own hobbies and be an interesting person. Talking to people at parties about reality TV shows is lame. Read a book. Learn to paint. Be knowledgeable about something.
  • Learn how to cook. This will totally come back to bite you. Learn how to cook in big batches to save time. Invest in a freezer after college. You’ll stay healthy and save money.
  • Be grateful. You still aren’t, everyday at least. But you should be. Work on it.
  • Travel. You didn’t, but you should have. Make sacrifices to save and go see the world.
  • Getting a puppy will be one of the best things you ever do. While she might “tie you down,” a little, the joy of knowing her and loving her will make you a better person.
  • You will get married to the best man you’ve ever met. Quit trying to force relationships with guys who aren’t worth your time or make it clear that you aren’t worth their time. You’ll meet him, and you will know. So take that single time to make some good friends. You still need them everyday–even once you’re married.

Well, that was easy to write, yet hard to write. I could list 20 more things, but I limited myself to 10. It was hard from the standpoint that some days, I still need to hear those things.

I want to leave this page with my prayer for the next year:

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Snow Day & Early Post!

Snow Day!

I could resist writing about this beautiful snow day. It was a bit of a surprise to be honest! I got up, went to work, and two hours later they told us to go home! I saw several wrecks on my way home, and the drive was slow.

I’m glad to be home, though, in my pajamas and listening to music! Plans for the day include making hot chocolate, watching Veronica Mars, and listening to an audiobook. I may hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes to fulfill my GymPact pact with myself. Five more days for the pact, and I’ve committed to four workouts!

Snow Days are really so much better as adults–unless you’re a teacher. The unplanned day off that confines me to the house forces me to relax and take care of myself, which is not a strong point of mine!

It’s been really fun to see our puppy enjoy her first snow and the (almost) two year old avoid the snow like it is a flesh-eating bacteria! My husband and I even took a few fun pictures of the snow.

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Do you really want me to touch this?

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Yay! I love this stuff!

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 snow day

I do have to say that the highlight of the day so far, though, is seeing our puppy getting her head stuck in her toy. Like every loving mom, I had to snap a few pictures before setting her free 🙂

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In Progress

We’re set to go live on the day of love, February 14!

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