From our last post, you’ll know that our family has been going through the ringer.
A week after I got home from Houston, we made the rather Abrupt decision that Neil would be “moving” to the Dallas area for an amazing job opportunity. while Kaya and I stayed behind with the land and the animals.
It was a whirlwind packing situation, some yelling…ok screaming…tears, laughs, unintentional dog kicking, hugging and really just a tornado of preparation in the 24 hours it took us to get him on the road.
The separation has been…intense…these last couple of weeks. We’ve begged and bartered for favors from our friends and neighbors to care for our herd of animals each weekend so we would be able to have some time as a family. (Thank you all, truly!…oh and about this weekend…)
Neil was offered this amazing, but time-sensitive position in telecommunications and we just had to at least SEE if it was something we should entertain. Without so much as a plan, he went for it.
I know you may be thinking…”Gee, Meliss…that’s rather hasty!”
But the reality is, we’re NOT a spontaneous type of a family.
In my younger years, I was ready to drive on a cross country road trip with a 30 minute notice or *gasp* leave the house after 8:00PM. These days, routine is our happy place. Bedtime routine for Kaya starts at 6:30PM. We eat dinner, shower, maybe watch a rerun of “Parks and Rec” then asleep by 8:30PM…wash. rinse. repeat.
I guess you could say that this was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
(fun trivia fact about me…I’ve never seen The Godfather)
Starting over in a new city while trying to maintain our little plot of land where we are; plan a wedding; work our full time jobs; debating buying a house; saving for our cross-country road-trip this summer; working on our relationships with each other and our daughter; starting a blog; and keeping our sanity in check has proven difficult.
Some might say that we’ve bitten off more than we can chew…I say, bring it on … let’s do this.
Shout out to you military spouses I don’t know HOW you do this for the long-term! You guys are AMAZING! <3
In an effort to stay connected with each other and maintain the family unit as best we can, we’ve incorporated these following strategies that are working really well for our family. Hopefully they can help yours too!!
It’s no secret that long-distance is hard. There was one point in my life where I was a very jealous individual and didn’t trust; long distance was just not an option for me at that point in my life. I’ve since found my inner peace and have learned to trust.
Complete and open communication has helped this tremendously. Fortunately, I have a very understanding fiance who likes frequent communication as well (translation…we might be considered “needy”…but we’re ok with it)
Morning Texts – it’s always nice to hear from your favorite person in the morning when you can’t be with them! Go the extra mile and send a sweet note or a bed head selfie!
Lunchtime Kiddo Photo – Neil is pretty much working non-stop for 10-15 hours a day and I find that sending him sweet photos of our daughter makes him a happy daddy and helps break up his day with a bit of sunshine!
After Work Call– Neil often calls when he gets off the job site to his office and then on the way home. This is our venting time. The stress of the day is FRESH and there’s a lot to learn about yourself and your significant other when you’re able to process things right away and discover game plans for dealing with your work problems as soon as possible. I love being each other’s main sounding board!
Google Duo (or Skype) after Kaya’s bathtime so she can see him and talk to him before bed. Usually this lasts a few minutes but they both love it.
*Mini Review: Google Duo has allowed us to stay connected to each other and our daughter to not lose touch with Daddy! It’s really simple to use and connects with your phone book…BEST of all, you can use it on Apple phones AND Android! Sorry FaceTime…you lose! (nope, I’m not affiliated with Google Duo, just a mega fan!)
Evening Texts – We like to banter with each other, keeping it light and fun and flirty!
Evening call – Who doesn’t like talking to their loved one before going to sleep
Before Neil left, we packed the biggest suitcase imaginable since we’re still not sure how long he’ll be gone. I’m a huge note writer and often slip cheesy punny drawings in random places (fruit/veggie drawers in the fridge!? Why not!) This time, I hid notes and drawings in his suitcase, clothes and tool bags for him to find.
…I still don’t know that he’s found them all HAHA!!
Don’t know what to write? Try a few of these, seriously it’s not hard…
“I Lava You” – written in a volcano
“I Love You From My Head To-Ma-Toes” – with tomato drawing
“Reasons Why I Love You…” – list reasons…I can’t help you here.
“You Inspire Me Because…” – same as above…can’t help you….
Draw an Eyeball…Add a heart under it…you guessed it, draw a “U” under that
I also send drawings and artwork from our daughter, these are special treats for him!
In the same vain as the notes, I send care packages and surprises, weekly. Last week was a giant box of snacks. Easy Peasy and for a self-proclaimed “snack enthusiast”, a great surprise! I do believe the reaction was: “OMG…I *EFFING* LOVE YOU” (he may have spelled that out…) I’d say that was a success!
I also sent this phone case since he’s a phone man-handler…this guy NEEDs a case that withstands the elements….his elements….his phone-dropping elements…
So far, it’s living up to the hype!
I never forget Kaya in helping spoil Daddy either! This week is her week and he’ll be receiving a custom art piece courtesy of our little Mehretu artist. (I’m on a contemporary art kick right now and Julie Mehretu has my heart!) I’m sure Daddy will love her abstract “Heart” she made him with tissue paper clippings and rubber cement on construction paper.
She also sent him the I Love My Daddy Board Book to read to her during one of our Duo calls, of course we got a copy too to follow along! She LOVES to read and be read to, I’m sure he’ll be ecstatic to be involved in her bedtime routine again.
As much as possible, I try to take Kaya to see him in person after the work week is over. We try to do something new and exciting with her every time! This last weekend we ventured out in Terrell, TX to explore Ben Gill Park, Braum’s Ice Cream (we’ve never had it…OMG) and then a few “at-home” adventures of beginner fort-building…I have a feeling the latter might become more intricate as the visits continue.
Hotels have been our best friends but unfortunately, there’s not much to choose from in Terrell, TX.
I can tell you this much…Baymont Suites…not so sweet…we’re pretty sure a “lady of the night” stayed in the room next to us…AWKWARD!!!!
Plan Your Next Adventure
What helps us get through the week is knowing that we’ll see each other again relatively soon. It gives us a chance to plan day trips together and adventures as a family. We’re really enjoying getting out of our comfort zone and exploring new cities, parks, restaurants and other sites that we wouldn’t have been able to see before now!
Like I said before…we’re normally a routine kind of a family. What we’re finding out (thankfully), is that we can still LIVE, EXPLORE, CONNECT and LOVE. We’re in this life together and you only get one shot. Make it count and get out there! Love with all you have!
Tomorrow is promised to no one.
Check out our latest adventure below on Instagram!
Car Rides can be a NIGHTMARE with a one year old, be sure to check out some of our Toddler Travel tips coming soon!