Felt like I was there

Tonight it felt like I was a part of the second family Christmas celebration, thanks to technology. It was definitely the highlight of the day.

This year’s holiday, although was good because I spent it with one of the most important people in my life, left me a little homesick. Tonight after seeing my older brother and sister-in-law, older sister, brother-in-law and nephews, as well as my little sister’s, mom, dad and grandma made me miss family, made me miss living close by.

Jason and I knew this would be my biggest challenge moving to Tennessee from Florida. I guess being one of six children, that feeling occurs every once in a while. I haven’t experienced this much of that overwhelming feeling until now. But I guess after living here for almost eight months it was bound to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, moving to Tennessee has been wonderful and rewarding. It is absolutely beautiful here! It has brought Jason and I even closer, as well as reminding me just how strong I am. I do not regret making that decision with Jason, I never will.

I just miss family . . .

I loved seeing everyone tonight. My nephews had my cheeks hurting I was laughing so hard – their dancing was hilarious. As Emily said they were being little “hams.” It made me smile watching Ian dance because their craziness usually happens with all the chocolate they consume, as well as the exhaustion and excitement that happens with Christmas. As they were dancing, everyone was laughing and talking, which was so typical of a family gathering. It felt great to be a part of that . . .

Ian, my oldest nephew is getting so big and Lucah, oh my gosh, he is not a little boy anymore. I absolutely loved seeing them even if it was through my computer screen. These cute little boys have grown tons since I left Florida at the end of April.

It makes me want to make a trip to Fort Myers and spend some time with everyone.

Family is such a huge part of my life, they are with me every day even though they are hundreds of miles away. Not a day goes by without thinking of at least one of them.

For example, the other night I made myself grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup – I instantly thought of my older brother Bill. Or the ducks I saw sitting on a log at the Greenbelt made me think of Mom – I felt her next to me.

I am so fortunate to have such a loving, close family. They all mean the world to me.

A few traditions of our own

Yesterday was a quite, relaxing, simple Christmas with Jason. We spent the day at home spending time with one another … enjoying each others company.

We made both of our family traditions a part of our holiday this year.

On Christmas Eve I made sauce from scratch for the Italian sausage that cooked in the crockpot for dinner sandwiches and Jason made chili for dinner on Christmas day.

My mom always makes an incredible Italian dinner every year for Christmas, so I wanted to incorporate that into our celebration. This year she made homemade lasagna, which I’m sure was incredible.

Throughout the day we enjoyed talking to our families. I Skyped with my family after Jason made us delicious pancakes with fruit and homemade whip cream.

It was nice seeing the family. One-by-one, new faces filled the screen, so we could all wish each other a Merry Christmas. First, I saw my Mom and then my Grandma who is visiting from Illinois. Dad came into view with a smile before my younger sister’s shared a Merry Christmas. It was also good to see their boyfriends as well.

We caught up for a while … it felt like I was a part of the celebration. I have to admit, I became a little homesick after all those conversations were done and we hung up.

With that said, Jason continued to make me smile, continued to bring some joy to the day. I am grateful for this man, he spoils me rotten and always has my best interest at heart. The glances, smiles, laughter, hugs and comments that were made are imbedded in my memory …

We also had the chance to Skype with Jason’s sister and family. Although it was a short conversation because of the connection it was great seeing the kids. They all became excited when my face appeared in the screen, which made me feel very loved. I love his sister and family!

Jason and my first Christmas together was spent in Illinois at his sister’s house with her three kiddos and husband. It was a great trip, one that instantly made me feel like part of his family.

After we finished eating his delicious chili, I received a phone call from my younger brother, sister-in-law and nephew. That call made my day complete.

Every year my family does a secret Santa gift. Instead of buying presents for all my siblings – there are six of us – my mom throws names into a hat – one per household per say – and we buy just one.

So this year, Jason and I had Tom and his family. We found a beautiful frame that said “My Boys.” The “My Boys” were openings for photos. So, I went through my collection of photos and found three of my favorites of Caleb and Colton. Tom and Lisa said they loved it, which made me smile. I love making gifts for someone, it means more because it’s a gift from your heart.

Then Caleb, my nephew, came on the line wishing me a Merry Christmas. I could tell he was preoccupied playing with one of his many gifts, so cute. He also said “I love you,” which completely melted my heart! Yep, my Christmas was complete.

Before the night ended Jason agreed to take pictures in front of the tree. This of course made me smile because he hates taking pictures.

We captured yet another Christmas together, our 4th one.

Handsome little smiling faces

This was definitely a remarkable Friday . . . one that only built upon the day I had yesterday.

My day started off by driving to Johnson City to interview a woman for the Herald & Tribune about how couponing became a part of her life.

This interview was after I received an email from my editor yesterday asking me if I would be up to writing more articles every month for the Herald & Tribune . . . heck yes, count me in! This news was completely unexpected, which is the best kind. I have submitted only two articles for the publication so far, two which are expected to run next week. Yeah!

After arriving back home, the interviews continued, but this time for another newspaper, The SanTan Sun News.

Once I got off the phone with him, I returned another call – this call has left me smiling since early this afternoon. Christina, a great friend, and editor I work with in Arizona offered me yet another job. This, by the way, is two jobs in two days. I now have three editing positions, as well as a freelance writing position with Times Media Group alone.

Her phone call could not have come at a better time either. It’s always hard to establish yourself in a new area, which is something Jason and I have personally felt since moving to NE Tennessee. We have had some financial struggles since our move, but with that said, things are looking up once again.

I’m beyond excited. I never thought freelance work could become a true source of income, one I could depend on solely. I am having a blast. It’s an invigorating feeling . . .

I thought I was on top of the world when I landed an editors position for the Pine Island Eagle in Southwest Florida . . .

I remember the excitement that radiated off of me when I was offered that position. I remember calling my parents and Jason to share the excitement that I could not keep under control in the parking lot. I had a paper that I could call mine, one that was filled with articles and information that I thought was important for this little island. That time spent on Pine Island I will carry with me forever, an accomplishment that gave me so much confidence in my career.

With that said . . .

Do you know how exciting it is to contribute your work to various publications in three different states? I feel accomplished, I feel this is only the beginning of a career that keeps my enthusiasm building on a daily basis. On top of the world doesn’t even come close to the feelings that are running wild inside.

So . . .

The excitement doesn’t stop there . . .

Jason called and asked me to come out to the restaurant he now works at, The Troutdale Dining Room this afternoon. I always love seeing where he works, getting a tour of behind the scenes, so to speak, as well as meeting everyone he talks about when he comes home. Plus, who wouldn’t love seeing their boyfriend in the middle of the day? The great part of this out of the blue visit was I got to tell him my news in person, instead of through a text. The excitement I felt was written all over his face, which of course only built what was already brewing inside of me.

To think it doesn’t stop there . . .

While I was on my way home I received a text from Mom asking me if we could Skype.

This of course could not be topped . . . definitely the icing on the cake . . .

A beautiful, handsome little face filled my computer screen when our Skyping began. Yep, my heart filled with so much joy, which only brought my happiness to another level.

. . . and then there were two handsome smiling faces shining through my computer screen. This is when the adorable conversations began, as well as the dancing and singing. I felt as if I was in my brother’s home in the middle of it all.

It was a wonderful surprise. I completely forgot this was the weekend Mom and Dad were visiting my younger brother and my beautiful little nephews.

Before we ended our session, another surprise . . . I had the chance to talk to my younger brother, something I have not done in way too long because of our crazy schedules.

Today was absolutely perfect. There were so many wonderful surprises that has me smiling at the computer screen now as I write this blog.

I am loving life and loving all of the opportunities  that are presenting themselves . . .

The happiness is brewing from way down deep again.

Three hours . . .

Mom and I finally caught up on everything going on in each other’s lives, as well as everyone else in my family, today!

Skype is such a wonderful thing to have! Instead of spending three hours with a phone plastered to our ears, we sat with computer’s and an iPod in our laps talking and laughing the afternoon away.

I have to admit, it was a great way to spend a Saturday while Jason is at work and with my dad leaving for Copperstown, NY this morning to play in a baseball tournament all week. We both had some time to kill, looking for a way to fill our afternoon.

Although we sometimes go weeks without talking to each other on the phone, we stay in touch through many text messages throughout the day. Thank goodness for this blog, it’s another way for Mom to see all the beautiful places Jason and I go, as well as read about what’s going on in my life.

With that said, it’s always nice to hear and see Mom. Skype is the next best thing, the next best thing than actually being in the same room together.

I am looking forward to seeing Mom in about 27 days, seeing her in person, when the conversations and laughter will continue.