Not that anyone is actually reading this, because I began writing this as a sort of catharsis for myself anyways, but it’s been a long time and I felt like it was time to write a bit of an update. Life’s been so hectic, I haven’t had two seconds to just stop and think, let alone read or write!

In December, Kris and I started talking seriously about getting married. As soon as it may seem for some, we were literally spending all of our time together anyhow–and honestly, when we stopped to think about it, the thought of either of us ever going back to doing life without the other was just impossible. We were meant to be together. It just made sense to get married and join forces! Of course, that meant that we needed someplace bigger to live as well, as we each have a gaggle of kiddos.

In January we were fortunate enough to find the home we are presently renting (which, holy cow, could be a blog post in and of itself with all the renovation, moving nightmares and issues we initially had) and we had to move in within two weeks to seal the deal! Oh, and to further complicate things, BOTH Kris and I had started college classes in January on top of working Full-Time. So, picture this: we are each working full time, frantically packing his place, doing homework, raising kiddos, and MOVING (out of his place at least). Happy January!

Enter February. Our new home was being gradually unpacked, we were still working full time, raising kiddos, living out of boxes, going to his old place to clean it so it can be re-rented (because paying rent at his place, my place and new house?! OMG.) and then we decided that we should get married. Right then and there, February 10th to be exact. We were two people crazy in love, embarking on this grand adventure together–and let’s face it–we didn’t have the money for a big wedding and I couldn’t really think of having a big wedding without my mom there, so one Saturday afternoon in the middle of a stretch of days where I had to work, we got married. We did it in a way where I didn’t have the pressure of organizing “the perfect day” but I dressed up a little, and I knew mom was there when the JP mispronounced Kris’ middle name (which is seriously an easy one) and we all laughed hysterically. We went out to a nice dinner, and then I totally got to put on jeans and a hoodie (I AM still Andrea).

March was a little hard, I’m not going to lie. The anniversary of mom’s death sent me reeling, and I have to hand it to Kris, he gave me so much grace and patience during that weekend. We had all the kiddos, and I was a mess. Just a fricking mess. I was crying one minute, and yelling at people the next–it wasn’t pretty. That man is my absolute rock, though, and he just kept reminding me how loved I am and that he’s here no matter what. I seriously thank God for him every day.

Also, in March, Kris and I had to make the tough decision to retain an attorney due to some ongoing issues with communication between him and his youngest son’s mother. I’m not going to go into great detail about things, because to some degree, I do respect her–but I will say this much about the situation. It’s been a bit of a battle, but we felt that it was necessary to try to make the best possible decisions for what will be in Liam’s best interests as he grows older. My heart aches as we go through this ordeal, because as I reflect on the entire situation, I see so much of myself at earlier stages in my life and how much anger I used to feel regarding my oldest son being raised by his stepmom. I know now that all of that anger stemmed from me feeling shame, and inadequacy–and plain old hurt. In that way, I really am trying to give Liam’s mom some grace and remember that once upon a time, I was there. I have an amazing biological son who has been raised by a wonderful stepmom that I didn’t give nearly enough credit to throughout the years. Nicole, if you ever read this, I can never thank you enough for being Jayden’s mom.

Lastly, in March, we were able to bring my kitty cats (Harley and Skunker) over to our home and to finally get my townhouse emptied out and cleaned for the next folks to rent. It was such a relief to finally be done paying double or triple payments and to focus on getting all of our things entirely unpacked and put away.

April was super exciting, as we decided that it was time for Kris to quit his job and become a full time student and stay and home dad. We’re so fortunate that he’s able to do that–since he’s a Navy veteran, the post-9/11 GI Bill is covering the cost of his education as well as providing him with a housing stipend, so that is helping to cover what would be his part of the bills. It’s awesome, because we were able to adjust how much time we get with his two older boys and so now we have them around 50% of the time. I never thought that having a house full of kiddos could be so much fun! In April, I started spending Tuesdays working in the SIM lab up at United Hospital teaching Critical Care SIM to RNs that are new to an ICU environment (in addition to my normal work), and have really enjoyed learning that aspect of healthcare. Also, I took another certification exam and PASSED!!! I acquired my CCRN on April 28th!! I was SO excited to achieve that certification so early in my career, as I’ve only worked in a critical care setting for a short time. We also added a new member to our family in April, Kane the Lab/Bulldog mix joined our family. He’s definitely Kris’ dog, that’s for sure. He’s about 10 months old and has lots of energy…

And here we are in May! Kris and I are (finally) done with our Spring Semester of classes and are about to start Summer Semester. Kris got two A’s and a B, and I got straight A’s! Not too shabby for all we had going on, huh?! I just started working day shift after about 2.5 years working nocs…not sure how I’m adjusting yet. The kiddos are excited that school is winding down, and they’re eagerly anticipating summer vacation.

All in all, it’s been a huge change since my last post during Thanksgiving. We moved in together, got married and went back to school–but what hasn’t changed is how I feel about him. Marrying Kris is the single best choice I’ve ever made in my life aside from becoming a Nurse. He is hands down the love of my life. He is the kindest, funniest, sexiest, sweetest man that I’ve ever known. I seriously just look at him some days and am absolutely blown away that he chose me to be his forever. I mean, it isn’t paradise every moment–hell, we have five kids (depending on the day), two cats and a dog–but even when it’s crazy and loud and chaotic, there’s no one I’d rather share it with.

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