Heyyyyy guyyyyys… 🙂
I feel a little sheepish coming back after such a long time again. (I’m actually cringing with embarrassment a little bit as I write this.)
A few months ago, I wrote a post stating that I was “back and better than ever!” In the post, I explained where I had been and promised new content and exciting things on the horizon. While I really did think that I was “back and better than ever” at that point, it turned out that life had other plans. So here I am, once again, to share with you what the heck I’ve been up to these past few months.
On April 5 (two days after I posted Back and Better Than Ever), my mom was involved in a terrible car accident. After hours of back-and-forth with my brother, I made the decision to buy a one-way ticket and fly up to Minnesota to be with my family. I am so glad I did, because the accident turned out to be much worse than I realized: my mom had broken her femur and had stitches in her head, but could have easily had brain damage, spinal damage, internal bleeding, or worse. She was truly blessed to come away from the accident in the condition she did.
Over the next few days, I spent countless hours at the hospital watching my mom slowly regain movement as her room filled with bouquets, balloons, cards, and treats. I was able to experience firsthand how loved my mom is in the form of visitors, Facebook comments and messages, texts, calls, and prayers sent our way. I was so fortunate to be able to put my responsibilities on hold and spend time with someone who I could have so easily lost – I know many people are not so lucky.
My mom was in the hospital for three days, then was transferred to a Transitional Care Unit (TCU) where she stayed for two weeks. In the TCU, she focused on completing everyday motions – getting into bed, standing up, walking to the restroom – on her own. I did my best to provide support in her highs and comfort in her lows.
I flew back to North Carolina two days before she was released, but my brother sent pictures of her homecoming to help me feel closer to home 🙂
Once reaching North Carolina, Vikram and I set out for our mystery anniversary vacation, which – SPOILER ALERT – ended up being in beautiful St. Augustine, FL. I am still planning to post a summary of our vacation, so keep an eye out!
I spent the first half of May catching up on what I had missed during my time in Minnesota for my mom’s accident- blog writing and planning, errands, and other life things that I’d been trying to nail down for quite some time.
In the middle of May, I once again flew to Minnesota. When I arrived, I was amazed to see how much my mom had improved – when I left towards the end of April, she was very slowly moving around and relying on her walker, and now she was already scurrying around the house with just a cane! I spent two weeks in Minnesota helping my mom fix up her house (planned) and practicing how to walk without a cane (not planned) in preparation for my brother’s upcoming wedding (obviously planned).
Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom and I drove down to Lake Okoboji, IA for my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party! The weather was beautiful and we had so much fun – it was great to finally meet all the bridesmaids, since I couldn’t make it to the bridal shower earlier this spring.
After the bachelorette party, I flew back to North Carolina – but not for long!
Now here’s where the madness really picks up.
I was home in North Carolina for about 10 days, during which time I was again catching up on errands, getting the house cleaned, and finalizing the itinerary for my father-in-law’s impending first visit to the U.S. Once the ten days were up, Vikram and I packed our things, jumped in the car, and drove to Minnesota (yes, again) for my baby brother’s wedding.
Shortly after our arrival, Vikram’s dad arrived in Minneapolis and our jam-packed itinerary began. Since he was only in town from India for a little over three weeks, we wanted to make sure Papa saw as much as possible during his stay. We did our best to show him the key points in the Twin Cities, but obviously some things were left out due to time constraints.
There were three crazy-beautiful days of wedding festivities (rehearsal, wedding, and gift opening), plus Father’s Day and plenty of shopping for gifts to send back to India (no sales tax on clothes in Minnesota – WHEEE!). We were pretty much going nonstop from sunup to sundown for over a week straight, and while it was all a blast, as an introvert it was a little draining.
But that’s not all! When our time in Minnesota was up, we began our multi-stop journey back to North Carolina. Our first destination was Chicago, with a quick stop in the Wisconsin Dells along the way for lunch and some sightseeing. The next day, we hit just a few of the top spots in Chicago before continuing on our way, stopping to sleep in Indianapolis. We then woke up and drove to the Jim Beam Distillery in Kentucky for a quick tour, followed by a trip to Mammoth Cave and an overnight stay in Nashville. We did some key sightseeing in Nashville and continued our trek east through the Smoky Mountains. Our original plan was to spend one night in Asheville, but when we woke up in Nashville we all agreed that we were ready to get home. We briefly stopped to explore Asheville’s amazing downtown area before finishing our journey with a late-night return home, and not a day too soon. (Actually it was a day too soon, but you know what I mean!)
The following week was filled with exploring Raleigh-Durham, gift shopping, eating out, and juggling luggage weight capacity for all of Papa’s suitcases.
If my writing sounds rushed, that’s only because it reflects the nature of our travels – a total whirlwind, and almost too fast to process (or fully appreciate) everything that we were seeing and doing!
On July 1st, we packed our bags and drove to the Outer Banks for the 4th of July holiday weekend. We returned in time for fireworks near home, then spent the rest of the week packing for Papa’s departure on Friday the 7th. It was so hard to drop him off at the airport – even though he was only here for less than four weeks, he became such a part of our lives that we almost couldn’t bear to let him go.
Now it’s the middle of July, and things have finally settled down. You’ve heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”? Well I would never complain about traveling, but I will say that I am so glad to finally be at home for good (at least for the foreseeable future).
And now that I’m finally home, I’m ready to get down to business!
I’ve recently decided to put my big girl pants on and start being the best version of myself that I can be. Here are a couple of sneak peeks into what I’m up to:
- As you can tell from my pictures, I chopped off my hair! I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time, but was holding off until after the wedding so I could have beautiful long bridesmaid hair in all the pictures 🙂 I am so glad I decided to go for the chop, because 1. My curls hadn’t been behaving in nearly a year, 2. I was alternating between a constant rat’s nest in the bottom layer from rubbing against my clothes, or wearing it in a top knot, 3. I didn’t feel like long, romantic princess hair was “me” anymore, and 4. Because last fall I heard a friend talking about styling her chop, saying, “it’s only about 30 minutes twice a week, not bad” and I was like heck yeah not bad, sign me up! I am so much happier with short hair, and I feel like a whole new Allison! Plus I am loving all the styling variations – curly, curled, straight, wavy, the options feel endless!
- I’m taking care of my body – or at least trying to! Once Papa left, I started the Whole30 program, which was not fun at all and I hated it, but it did help me to be more conscious about my food choices and cut out the bad stuff, which are both great things! Unfortunately Whole30 didn’t work for me long-term (I stuck to it for just under a week) since I am a vegetarian and it cut out nearly all of my protein sources. However, it did give me an idea of how eliminating certain foods can help me to feel better and more energized. I am currently sticking to a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free diet, which, yes, is still more inclusive than Whole30. (I’m telling you – Whole30 is not fun!) I’ll try and do a blog post about my experience sometime soon. I am also starting a regular exercise regimen, which I think is the perfect complement to my healthier diet 🙂
- After a big, long, crappy slump, my creativity is re-energized! I don’t know if it’s the Southern climate, or all the traveling I’ve done lately, but my tastes in fashion and decor are totally morphing from neutrals to bright colors and patterns, and I am all about it.
- I’m going back to school! I’m enrolling with an online program that starts at the end of August, and I am so excited to be going down this new path! This will be my second Bachelor’s degree, which makes me feel a bit disappointed that I didn’t listen to my gut and choose the right major the first time around. But I can’t change the past, I can only learn from it and move forward. And that ties into…
- After a lifetime of being scared to choose a direction in life, I have finally decided on a long-term career path for myself and I could not be more motivated and committed! It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of but never considered a reality, and I’ve decided that it’s in my hands to make it a reality if I work hard enough 🙂 I will share more on this in a later post.
- And finally, I’m ready to re-re-kickstart this blog! I have the time, the motivation, and lots of creative ideas, so you can count me as back on board! I look forward to your support and feedback to help make it the best it can be!
So here I am – actually back, actually better than ever, and ready to conquer the world!
I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately and how you’re kicking 2017’s butt – let’s keep the momentum going! Let me know in the comments!
I have plenty of things to post about in the coming weeks and months, but if there’s something you want to see, please let me know in the comments or via an email or social media message!