Wednesday, May 27

Where did four years go?

When I first accepted this job, decided this would be my next adventure, I had no real clue. I thought it sounded fun and I was desperate not to have to move home. Love you Momma, but can't live with you!

The original #montgomerymove was like a comedy of errors. At the end of a whirlwind weekend, I was officially a permanent resident of the state capital. And I hated it. But it slowly got better, I found some friends, I found a groove at work, and things got better.

I learned what the hell a skidder was, how to properly fake interest in a fiberboard production line, and just how ridiculously important to the world the forest products industry really is.

Did you know, thanks to improved forest management practices, we have more trees in America today than we did 100 years ago? Working forests not only provide jobs for millions of Americans, including me, but they are good for the environment providing clean air and water, wildlife habitats and carbon storage. Plus, do you really want to wipe your ass with a pine cone?
I don't think that first year, or even really the second, it sunk in that I lived here, that I wasn't leaving.

The plan was always to leave.

Then I met a boy, and he decided I should change my last name and change all my hopes and dreams for the future. I actually found myself agreeing.
Now, I'm here. I live in this place I hated for so long. Hell, I'm on every major television network encouraging people to vote for our next mayor. My family is comprised of seventh and eighth generation Montgomerians.
I go to the same sushi restaurant at least three times a month and they know my order without me having to speak. I have close friends here. My sons will make their first close friends here. Mark and I are in the process of buying a bigger house here. We have couple friends here. We go to dinner parties; I’m in a book club. I met my husband at the same table we sit at every Wednesday evening when our friends gather to catch up on our lives and enjoy the Southern weather and a few adult beverages. Our lives are here.

I'm not leaving.

I always thought when my fourth anniversary at Hatton-Brown came I would be in the interview process somewhere else. Instead I spent it in the low country of North Carolina, meeting with a couple of loggers and going for a late night treadmill run in the Rocky Mount Candlewood gym. I take fuzzy selfies all around the country and I love on my 78 lb. German shorthair. I have one husband, two sons, two stepkids, four dogs, nine turtles and one helluva life. 
I'm lucky: Even when it doesn't always feel like it.

Saturday, May 16

15 for 2015 Update: April

What counts here is that I am keeping myself accountable about this right? Not that I am post dating this, like I actually wrote it in the middle of May…. 

Progress on 15 for 2015 during the month of April, which I barely realized was over.


15 for 2015 
Hit the Pure Barre Montgomery 250 Tuck Club (Accomplished in January) 
Spend another long weekend in Curacao 
Show Fitz and Alex the beach  
Take an entire month and not buy a single piece of clothing (or accessory) for myself Still working on this one. It’s a long year! 
Finally re-decorate our living room DONE! Finished this one in time for Fitz and Alex’s Baptism celebration! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. 
Update my phone software (Not that it helped anything) 
Visit Kimber, Gentry and Saylor at the farm in Pennsylvania 
Go home for Alabama Homecoming 
Write my Nanny once a month January: yes, sort of. February: yes! March: yes! April: No. I need to make this a more regular habit. Sometimes I find myself missing her a lot and remember there were years where I talked to her all day, every day. How can I not find time to write to her? I’ve got a lot of guilt on this one. 
Try 15 new recipes 1: Creamy Italian Chicken Crockpot Bake 2: Cajun Cake recipe from Southern Living Annual Recipes 1987 edition 3: Basil Chicken Pizza 4: Fiesta Chicken Rice Bowls
Completely clean out my closet Still working on it. It’s a long year! 
Take about a zillion more pictures Working on it, I mean, how can I not want to document this sweet face? 
Clean out the storage unit and sell the furniture we are never going to use (Accomplished in March)  
Show Mark Philadelphia and the Porecca family

 ___________________ 
Obviously, apparently, I'm all about that slow climb to greatness, time to kick it up a notch, maybe?

Tuesday, May 12

Sipsey Johnson Anderson

When I woke up on Mother's Day, I had no idea what I was in for. See, it's been a real shitty 18 months. I had a tough pregnancy (both physically and mentally) and then I brought home not one newborn, but two! One who was just a little more special than others.

So, once January rolled around I thought I'd been through enough. I finally put 2014 behind me; I was ready for a fresh start. And 2015 was good to me for a few weeks. Then we got thrown another curveball and our world was twisted right on its head again. After a few months, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I thought I was done.

Then, Sunday morning Mark woke me up and looked like he'd seen a ghost. My sweet, skittish, rescued from the 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa dog, Sipsey, was let out last night to go to the bathroom and didn't come inside.

She has not yet found her way home.

I have spent hours, nearly days, crying. I am desperately trying to find some perspective, because I know she's "just a dog." But she's not just a dog, not to me. She's been my sweet companion for four years. She's taught me patience, been someone to listen to me rant during that tough final year in Tuscaloosa. She was there when I cried myself to sleep from loneliness when I first moved here.

She's "nothing special." "No one will want her," people have told me. Like that's supposed to be comforting. But here's the thing: I want her. I thought I had been through enough. I know she wants to come home, she needs to come home, but she's lost and can't find her way.

As of this morning, our lost pet post has received over 300 shares on Facebook, we've passed out over 175 printed fliers. We are offering a reward for her safe return. I've called every local vet and been to the animal shelter twice to look for her.

And still nothing.

I'm trying very hard not to lose faith, because so far, every challenge, every hardship I've endured over the last 18 months has not yet broken me. But this one, it just might.
St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around, someone is lost that can't be found.

Saturday, May 9

One

via Pinterest
365 days have been a helluva adventure. Becoming Mrs. Walter Mark Anderson, IV on a tiny island in the southern Caribbean, just us two, was magical. I couldn't have imagined a better partner for everything we've gone through this last year. Lord knows we've gone through it all. And while I still get pangs of jealousy over friends' beautiful weddings, I know this was perfect for us and exactly what we needed, exactly who we are.
I promise not to cry today like I did on this day last year, stinky pot husband, if you promise not to sweat to death. No trespassing to fish either!!
I'm glad we've survived this year, because we've got so many more to go.

The #johnsonandersonadventures are still only just beginning. I've even started remembering to introduce myself as "Jessica Anderson"! #progress
So, here's to year two and year twenty-two and the ones in-between I have a feeling we'll still be battling over the temperature in the house and whether or not we have enough pets.

Friday, May 8

Looking Back On Motherhood

Motherhood has been an incredible, insane and just plain tiring adventure. The entire time I was pregnant I was too busy trying to make it through the day, to really reflect on the magnitude of change that was about to occur. I didn’t realize the full scope of how I would change. Most may not know, my husband Mark has two children from his first marriage, so when we married, I instantly became a mom of sorts.

My wonderful stepdaughter Virginia is about to turn 13 and is a mix of sass and sports, which I fear isn’t going to change anytime soon. We instantly bonded over nail polish and making fun of her dad, so "stepmoming" her is "easy." Remind me of that when she’s 16 and trying to play me off her dad to get a curfew extension.

My stepson Charles, he's eight, and was a little tougher of a sell. He liked me fine once I started buying him fireworks, of course, because what little boy doesn't like to play with sparklers?, but gradually over the last year, he's shown me that I've got a long road ahead. Boys are a completely different world to me. I don't inherently love bugs and getting dirty. Baseball isn't exactly my sport. But thankfully, I've got "like the coolest job" when I show him machinery videos and let him wear my hard hat when he wants to go on an adventure in the backyard. Never mind this latest adventure was during his little brothers' Baptism party when 40 people were in our front yard...
Because of Virginia and Charles, I had a taste of what motherhood would be like, but these past seven months have shown me I really have no idea what I'm in for. Every other weekend we've got a full house, and while it used to stress me, I now often join in on the trash talking during Mario Kart racing.

I still feel defeated on a weekly basis by two 15 lb. people, but when little hands grab on to me those feelings usually go away. These past seven months have taught me more than I ever thought they would, and made me miss my mom more than I ever imagined. Atlanta isn't that far from Montgomery, but at 2 a.m. when one of my boys won't stop crying and I am so completely lost as to what could be wrong with him, well, Atlanta might as well be Africa.

All it takes is one look at Charles to realize that the nights may be long, but the years are going to be short. One day, not to far from now, I will have to get two hard hats, so Fitz and Alex can don safety vests and hard hats while they adventure in the backyard—just like their big brother did.

Thursday, May 7

Seven Months

Tiny loves, you are quickly becoming medium loves! We went to our fancy new pediatrician this month and we love him. Dr. Glover is going to take excellent care of us, and he even put up with Momma's insane overparenting of Alex. #malrohelicoptermom
You've both got giant heads compared to your bodies, both on the growth charts and in real life, but it's okay. You'll grow into the Anderson head—I think.

Fat Fitzy Baby, we probably should stop body shaming a seven month old, you are the most content little dude. You're just so chill, it is literally unbelievable, I have no idea where you got it from. Weighing in at a nice 16 lbs. your seventh month has been filled with food. And more food. And a complete afro. You're going to be my jolly giant and I am thrilled! You have the tendency to fight sleep the most but are the cuddliest when you finally do crash. Your curls are starting to get out of control and I can't wait to see what the humidity does to your hair...
Little Al Pal, you're the more inquisitive one and are constantly looking around, talking and trying to grab at things. You're my one to watch. One of your favorite things to do is watch Monde des Petites, and I swear if I have to hear "le fruits" one more time…I'll turn up the volume and watch you discover one of my favorite things, because I talk a big game about how absolutely annoying those French videos are at 6 a.m. when you're awake and I am not, but I love the idea of sharing the French language with you and your brother.
Ignore the death grip you've got on that yellow pillow,
 This month you also had your first group date, and it went as well as could be expected. Olivia didn't pass out any roses, but if she had, and I was a betting woman, I think Alex would have had the edge.

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