So how's married life, anyways?

Happy Snow Day, friends!

Lately, I’ve been a lot of the same questions over and over again (mostly, because I haven’t been talking about any of them on Social Media at all), so I thought now would be a good time for a little life update around here.

Because I just know you’ve been DYING to know all about my life. Probably just sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for me to post again…

Just kidding! If you’re reading, thank you. I’m sharing because ya’ll have been in this with me for a long time, and have followed along with all our craziness, and this week I wanted to fill you on how things are going.

Particularly, I’m going to answer the three big questions I keep getting (and rightfully so!):

  • How’s married life?

  • How’s Joe?

  • When are you moving to Colorado?

So let’s dive right in and I’ll spill all the deets.

HOW’S MARRIED LIFE?

Truth is, I wouldn’t really know! We haven’t lived together for more than a week or so at a time since we’ve been married. Granted, we lived together for a long time before we actually got married, so it’s not like I’m waiting for some big marriage secret to be revealed or anything. It was just unfortunate timing that as soon as we got married, Joe went right back into competition mode and I just don’t have much to compare this ‘married life’ to, other than we already felt married before we were actually married.

That said though, it’s been a long winter after a very long 2018…and we’ve still got a ways to go. I suppose the one thing I have learned about being married is that this year we’ve been having a much harder time being apart than we did last year. I can’t explain why it’s harder this year than last year, other than the fact that we are married this year? I suppose that is a pretty big thing… but I do know that I’m just ready to not be apart anymore.

HOW’S JOE?

Two weeks out from Canada, Joe had his follow up doctor appointment for his shoulder. We weren’t really sure what they were going to say. They were either going to say yes, you’re good to go, or no you’re not and you need more time. We were definitely mentally prepared for the latter (getting told no) and we had decided before that that Joe would be competing no matter what.

And before you make judgment on him competing regardless of his injury (unless you know Joe, in which case you wouldn’t be surprised at all), here’s why: Joe really had 3 options at that point: 1. he doesn’t compete at all and he essentially forfeits the rest of the season as you have to have a certain amount of points to qualify to compete in the remaining competitions this season. 2. He competes and falls and hurts himself again, and he’s out for the season anyways. 3. He competes, he doesn’t fall or hurt his shoulder, and he can move on!

Well, obviously, it didn’t matter because the doc gave the okay for him to compete, and he totally KILLED IT in Canada (see below…).

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Joe raced Boarder Cross in two World Cups, and got 5th in the first one and 6th in the second, which are his best finishes in Boarder Cross races to date! This also means that he got a good amount of points for those placements, and he is now ranked NINTH in the entire world for Adaptive Lower Limb 2 Category in Boarder Cross, which is just crazy incredible! AND this was after less than 2 weeks of training coming off his shoulder injury.

Just in case you were wondering about the ‘Lower Limb 2 Category,’ I’ll explain real quick. In the Paralympic World, they have 3 separate categories for men and for women: Upper Limb, Lower Limb 1, and Lower Limb 2. Upper Limb is missing or having an impairment in one or both arms. Lower Limb 1 is missing two joints in your legs, so either both feet or an above the knee amputee (missing one foot joint and one knee joint on one leg). Lower Limb 2 is missing one joint or having another type of impairment such as a club foot, cerebral palsy or MS, etc. No matter what the category they are, these ladies & gents are one word: BADASS. They ride and they rip and they shred it up. I’m completely in awe of all of them and find them to be the most inspiring community of people from all over the world I’ve ever met. Especially when we get to hang out after the competition is over and everyone is so down to earth and fun to be around. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know this amazing community and feel lucky to be a small part of it.

That all said, Joe is amazing! And he qualified for the upcoming races in Spain, and that will hopefully be followed by Finland and Sweden. He leaves next week for 10 days in La Molina & Barcelona, Spain. No, unfortunately, I don’t get to go this time. But we’re hopeful that next year I’ll be able to join a few more places in his travels! I’ll just keep living vicariously through him and keep rooting for him from home!

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COLORADO UPDATE

So…Colorado. The BIGGEST of all the questions- when exactly am I moving?! I know, I know. I made this big exciting announcement last year, then I got married, and now, here I am, six months later still sitting around in Fredericksburg. Will she ever leave?

Yes! I am leaving! I swear. I’m getting there as fast as I can, and sometimes that doesn’t feel fast enough.

Joe has an apartment with his roommate/teammate, Dustin (a fellow below the knee amputee) and his sweet malamute/wolf dog, Allie, until April 15th. It’s a two bedroom apartment, so it’s not super big, and between three adults and two large dogs, it would be a lot if I headed out there right now. That said, between that and still tying up a lot of work items around Fredericksburg, it doesn’t make sense for me to move out there until we can get our own place, which will hopefully be in April or May. We’ve been told that the best rental months are May/June, but obviously we’d love to find something a little bit earlier than later for sure. A lot of factors go into finding a place to live: location, space, (and the biggest one) price. So fingers crossed we find something that works for us! Especially for our littlest Grohly Poly Oly. He is going to love it there!

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Am I ready to move out there? Absolutely. I’ve never been more ready for anything in my life…well, maybe my wedding :). I love my in-laws, and they’ve been amazing to live with, I couldn’t have made it through this winter without them. But they’re not Joe, and it’s not our little family or our own space. There’s just a difference, ya know? We are beyond ready to be past this transition phase and into our new home out in Colorado as a family.

And as my dear friend Amy Sides (she’s on the left in the photo) asked, ‘When you are coming home?’ And that’s exactly how I am starting to feel, like i’m ready to go home.

A Little Update | We've Moved!

You've probably seen the Instagram stories and maybe wondered what's going on. We've been working on a lot of stuff behind the scenes around here between the wedding and business stuff, but what I'm sure you're all wondering about is...

We're moving.

Well, technically now we have moved. But there's a little more to it than that...

We LOVED our house. If you've purchased anything from me over the past 3 years and picked it up, you've probably stopped by my house and home office across from the river. This little house on the river has become my sanctuary and my home these past 3 years. The place where Joe and I became a family with the little Grohly Poly Oly; where we got engaged; where we've held so many get-togethers with family and friends. 

Last summer, we tried to buy it. At an early point in our lease, the landlord had mentioned that we may want to buy it one day, so we researched what we thought it might be worth, what we could afford and perhaps some upgrades. We took it to our land lady to start the discussion, feeling pretty confident. 

Unfortunately, she had other plans. She said she didn't think she was ready to sell, but would think about it. A few months after not hearing anything, we found out she sold it to a friend, and we were...well, we obviously weren't very happy. It took us a while to really get over it, honestly. We were almost angry. This was our home. And for someone whom had never even lived there or perhaps been there to take it away from us seemed very unfair.

But everything happens for a reason. 

In the last month, the dishwasher had to be replaced, the AC and Oven stopped working, etc. etc. If that house had been ours, we would have had to replace it all on top of paying for the wedding. While it's an amazing house and even better location, it's old and needs a lot of upgrades. Upgrades that we just don't have time or money for right now. 

As most of you know, Joe spent the last winter season in Colorado to train with a professional adaptive snowboard team. His goal is to make it to the 2022 Paralympics. And in order to do that, he has to go back to Colorado again this winter. 

So for now, we are moving into Joe's parents house through the wedding, and I'll stay there through the winter season while he is in Colorado training. Twila & Co. will have a new home with Darling D's and Vintage is for Lovers on Lafayette Boulevard, and you can (and should!) come absolutely come visit. I wanted to be here for the holidays as I have exciting new skyline products coming and can't wait to share! 

But next spring, things will definitely be changing even more around here.

Have you guessed our big news yet? 

Joe and I will be moving to Silverthorne, Colorado together full time from the spring of 2019 until the 2022 Paralympics. He has an amazing opportunity to follow his dream and he would be stupid not to go for it. And as hard as it will be to redirect my business for a bit and test out some new waters by moving out there, I think I'm ready for the challenge. It's taken me a while to get on the excited train for this; Fredericksburg and Virginia has been my home my entire life. But I'm finally feeling excited for this next chapter. 

Don't worry though! The Skyline products aren't going away and neither are wedding invitations or any other services! Catherine at Monkee's has agreed to continue to sell my skyline products even when I'm gone, and of course, the website will have them as well. We'll be visiting a lot and that will definitely include lots of skyline trunk shows! Maybe I'll even get some new ideas and products while I'm out there. 

And of course, if you're ever near Denver or in the mountains, PLEASE reach out! We'll be about an hour and a half outside of Denver in the mountains. Grohl doesn't know it yet, but he is going to LOVE that mountain life and he already has buddies out there waiting for him; and so do we. 

I could go on and on about this move and how much I will miss Fredericksburg and everything I have built here, but I'm going to save that until I actually leave. Until then, I'll just live in a little bubble of all things wedding and Fredericksburg as the wedding gets closer and so do the holidays. 

But I will say this, I love you all more than words can say! And I am so thankful for everyone that is a part of this journey. 

As if you needed more convincing to come visit us when we're out there...

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Update on Joe & the Paralympics

Joe is supposed to be competing today in his last Banked Slalom before the Paralympics. Unfortunately, he's not. But let's back up a little bit. 

There’s nothing like a change of plans that reminds out of how not in control we are and how we take things for granted.

So those engagement photos, right?! Incredible! I couldn’t have been happier with how those turned out (Thanks, Hope!). We had so much fun, despite the cold. And we were just excited to be together and snuggle up in the cold. It looks like everything is great in those photos, and for the most part it was. But there was a lot going on behind the scenes.

As Joe said to me, he feels like he hit a brick wall going full speed.

Not even 48 hours after our engagement photos, Joe was on crutches. Again. He has a bursa sac (it's basically a blister underneath the skin) at the bottom of his stump that's also resting on a nerve and it continues to fill up with fluid, despite having it drained multiple times. Just before this trip to Canada, he was told he needed another surgery.

Definitely not the news we wanted to hear.

Joe’s been through so much. We’ve been through so much. I will never say I understand what Joe’s going through, because I'm not an amputee and I will never understand to the full extent what he's going through. But being by his side through this journey, I at least have somewhat of an understanding of what can happen and what emotions amputees can go through.

One minute your riding down a jump throwing and landing a back flip like it’s no big deal, and the next, you can’t even walk. 

It would be so hard for me to sit here and say that I am always strong and I am always able to get through this, but the reality is, I’m not. I get frustrated. I get angry. I wonder why these things happen to an amazing person like Joe, who all he wants in this life is to excel and do what he loves. Yet has it constantly stripped away from him.

I could sit here and ask, why him? Why can’t he catch a break? Why can’t it just go easily for once? There are people out there with two perfectly good legs and they don’t even use them, and yet here is Joe, and all he wants to do is walk and some days he can’t even do that.

We take so much for granted in our lives.

We’ll be going along and everything’s going great, and we’ll forget what it’s like to get knocked down. What it’s like to be on crutches. What it’s like to have to have somebody do everything for you. And it’s humbling how quickly you’re reminded that anything and everything can be taken from you at any point. And while I know we will get thru this, as we always do, it doesn’t make these moments here and now any easier.

The hardest part is feeling like there’s nothing I can do. I have no quick fixes.

So here we are in Canada. 

This whole season, we've been really unsure whether Joe would make it to the Paralympics or not. His category is the largest, with some tough competition. And this is his first year. He's only been training for this for about 4 months.

Just after the new year, he found out that there was potential for him to snag one of the last spots on the US Paralympic Team, but it all depended on how he did in Canada. He's been working his butt off for weeks for this. Training on the slopes every morning; spending every afternoon in the gym or training at Woodward. And it was just after finding out he still had a chance to make it on the team, that he formed this bursa sac. 

I know Joe won't like that I say this, but it's the truth: he's in a lot of pain. He really shouldn't even be riding. But he is. On Monday, he trained on the Border Cross Course, and on Tuesday, he competed in the last World Cup to qualify for the Paralympics in Border Cross. For being injured and needing surgery, he completely rocked it. He made 15th in the World and qualified for the second round, only to be beaten by Canadian Alex Massey, who went on to win the silver medal for the day, by two board lengths. To do that on an injured stump, I'd say that's pretty freaking awesome. 

Unfortunately, he's paying for it. As soon as he got home that afternoon, he couldn't walk. His stump has been swollen since and he's not able to walk regularly in his socket. He won't be competing in the Banked Slalom Course today like he originally planned, and basically this means that at this point, any chance of getting to the Paralympics is slim to none. 

He may not say it out loud, and I may not agree with it at all, but he's disappointed. Disappointed in himself; in his leg; in this situation that he had absolutely no control over, whatsoever. He's handling it like a champ though. His spirits are up, and he's doing well, but I know it's not easy for him. He would give anything to be out there on the slopes with those guys, and today, it's just not in the cards. It breaks my heart.

The good news in all of this? He's still so young. He's one of the younger and newer riders on the Paralympic circuit. He now has four years to get himself healthy, train and kick ass before the next winter Olympics in 2022. And I cannot WAIT to see how well he does, because I just know he is going to do great things.

This is absolutely his passion, and I love seeing the person this experience has made him. He has grown up so much these past few months and has worked so hard. I couldn't be prouder of him. 

A huge, HUGE thank you to the coaches and managers of Adaptive Action Sports, Daniel & Bryant, for being incredible along this journey. They have been amazing through this and so helpful and supportive as Joe is figuring out this new part of his journey.

From here, Joe will get healthy, continue to train and work for the 2022 Paralympics, and I know he is just going to kill it. So stay tuned, because this is just the beginning.
 


For more about Joe's story, check out these blogs or Joe's website. 

Road Trip!

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This past week I've been a little MIA on all Social Mediums, and that's because Joe and I were making our way across the country on a Road Trip! As most of you know, Joe is moving out to Colorado for 6 months to pursue a career in professional snowboarding. It's such an amazing opportunity for him and I couldn't be more proud of excited. Even though I'm going to miss him like crazy. 

The past week we drove from Virginia to New Orleans to Corpus Christi to Roswell to Littleton and finally to our destination, Silverthorne, Colorado. It was quite the adventure, we saw and experienced so much over the past week, it's hard to recap everything other than with photos. But I am going to give you some of my tips for a road trip that helped get us through.

PODCASTS  |  Oh my gosh, we would have never made it through without good podcasts. We started with Homecoming, then moved to Limetown, and got through season 1 and half of season 2 of The Black Tapes. All three podcasts were awesome and I highly recommend. Previously, I've listened to Serial and S Town, so if you liked those, you'll love these. It made the drive go by so quickly and kept us awake. 

PACK SNACKS  |  We packed a nice bag of snacks for the road and lots of bottled water so we wouldn't have to stop as much. I chose trail mixes, protein bars, pretzels, and my favorite road trip snack: dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are great because they take time to eat, aren't a ton of calories and keep you occupied and awake. 

KEEP THE GAS TANK FULL |  If you're driving over any of those Midwest states, you'll have plenty of roads that go on forever and you don't see anyone or anything else out there. Some times we went hours without seeing anything, so every time we saw a gas station, we stopped and filled up. 

TAKE PHOTOS & STOP FOR COOL THINGS | We stopped at a few random places we saw along the way and any scenic stops for two reasons: one, its nice to get out of the car; and two, who knows when you'll come back to that same place again? If you don't do it then, when will you?

LANDSCAPES ARE COOL | One of the coolest/craziest things Joe and I found interesting was how different each landscape was. We went from our usual Virginia to the mountains of southwest VA to just trees after trees of what looks like Virginia but is really Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Then finally got to the swamps, bayous and cities of the dead of Louisiana, then to the plains of Texas to the dessert of New Mexico then back to beautiful snow capped mountains of Colorado. It's crazy how much it changes. See photos below!

10-12 HOURS IS A GOOD AMOUNT OF DRIVING TIME | Day 1 we were really ambitious and drove 16+ hours straight from Fredericksburg to New Orleans. It was doable, but it was really pushing it. We didn't get to NOLA until 2am. It seemed to take for-e-ver and by midnight we were going crazy. Every other travel day was between 8 and 12 hours and that seemed to be the perfect distance. Just long enough to be in the car, enough time for a few good stops, and 10-12 hours gets you to a different state typically, so you felt like you were moving.

BE GOOFY & RELAX | Don't take the trip too seriously! Have a tentative itinerary, but also be flexible to change things up in case you decide to stop somewhere extra or do something different. This was a little bit harder for my type A personality, but it was fun to just kind of go with the flow for a few days. 

PHOTO JOURNAL

DAY 1 | VIRGINIA TO NEW ORLEANS

with a stop at the Natural Bridge in Lexington, VA

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DAY 2 | NEW ORLEANS

the crepe cart in the french market

the crepe cart in the french market

gluten free crepes!

gluten free crepes!

the cathedral

the cathedral

charbroiled oysters at legacy

charbroiled oysters at legacy

bourbon street

bourbon street

found the ruby slippers! 

found the ruby slippers! 

DAY 3 | NEW ORLEANS, LA TO CORPUS CHRISTI, TX

with a quick stop at the Buckner Mansion from American Horror Story: Coven

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DAY 4 | CORPUS CHRISTI, TX

we stayed with joe's buddy, hank, while in corpus who owns a cool food truck, munchies, & restaurant, the exchange

breakfast by the marina

breakfast by the marina

beautiful beaches

beautiful beaches

gluten free burger at padre island burger company - it was incredible!

gluten free burger at padre island burger company - it was incredible!

joa & i at the munchies bus

joa & i at the munchies bus

joe & hank at the munchies bus

joe & hank at the munchies bus

DAY 5 | CORPUS CHRISTI, TX TO ROSWELL, NM

sunset over the desert

sunset over the desert

desert

desert

DAY 6 | ROSWELL, NM TOURS TO THE GARDEN OF THE GODS TO LITTLETON, CO

international ufo museum

international ufo museum

they took over the dominos!

they took over the dominos!

joe with a cheesy exhibit

joe with a cheesy exhibit

exhibit at the ufo museum 

exhibit at the ufo museum 

drive through the desert

drive through the desert

me at the garden of the gods

me at the garden of the gods

garden of the gods

garden of the gods

garden of the gods

garden of the gods

DAY 7 | LAST DAY! LITTLETON, CO TO SILVERTHORNE, CO 

with a stop at the loveland pass

joe and i at the loveland pass

joe and i at the loveland pass

the loveland pass

the loveland pass

the loveland pass

the loveland pass

MEANWHILE IN VIRGINIA...

grohl got to hang out with aunt tessa and all his buds all week, i think he's having a good time

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Passion & Perspective

Friday was Joe and I's 'Negative One Year Anniversary.' Which basically just means that one year from Friday is when we are getting married! Hooray! I can't believe it. We celebrated by having a date night, making some wedding plans and having some great conversation about our future adventures, particularly his snowboarding.

I would be lying if I said that being okay with Joe moving to Colorado to be a pro snowboarder was an easy decision for me. I mean of course I want him to be happy and I want to support him no matter what, but there was a lot of doubt about what that meant for us and our relationship. 

As a creative and small business owner, I have to say I'm almost embarrassed by how long it took me to come around to understand this next part. I spent years working at desk jobs that I hated where I felt like I was suffocating (read more about this journey here) just trying to get out. It even took me a while to convince myself to run my own business after people told me it would never work. Now, every day I get up, I sit at my own desk in my office in my home, work for myself and chase after my dream of being a creative. It's incredible and more than I ever dreamed it could be.

And a big reason I am able to do this year after year is because of Joe. He has supported me in every way possible: emotionally, physically, financially, etc. He lets me cry on his shoulder when something goes wrong, complain and rant about emails, assemble invitations and gift boxes, and picks up where I can't on those slower months. If he can help, he's right there, no questions asked. 

So why did it take me so long to understand that the way he feels about snowboarding is the way I feel about my business? To support him not just verbally because I felt like I should but also emotionally and with my whole heart?

For a long time, I was selfishly worried about how it affected me. What it meant for my life and my business. I'm not really a fan of change. I like things the way I like them. 

At some point, Joe started talking more about how snowboarding made him feel. How excited he got when he put his board on, turned his music up, and hit the snow first thing in the morning; how he felt at home on the snow and like that was where he was meant to be; and how amazing it felt when he landed a new trick or technical riding style. It's the same way I feel when I send off a new design I've been tirelessly working on to a client and they come feeling just as excited as I am about it.

I am not a snowboarder. I can make my way down the mountain (hooray falling leaf!), but after one day and a ride or two down a green slope, I'm good for like a year. Hand me the spiked hot cocoa and I'm good to go in the lodge. I just didn't get it and didn't allow myself to see it from another perspective.

When I finally realized that the way he felt about snowboarding was the way I felt about my business, it was like something just clicked in my head. I totally got it. I understood how he felt and was able to support him completely, not just go thru the motions. And when I pointed it out to him, he did too. Despite the fact that our passions are incredibly different, we were able to understand each other better by relating with how we felt. 

Sometimes we get so stuck in our own ways and in our heads that it can be hard for us to understand where others come from. Just because someone is different from us, doesn't make them wrong. And it doesn't make us right. It just means that we all find passion in different things.

Finding your passion isn't always an easy road. Sometimes we find it on our own, and sometimes it finds us. It comes in all different ways. No one's passions are the same because it's not just what we do, but also the heart behind it. It comes from our own experiences and how we relate to others using those experiences. 

If you haven't found yours yet, don't stop looking! It doesn't matter how old you are or where you are in life, it's never too late. And if you have, don't let it go! You can absolutely make it happen! 

Happy Monday, ya'll!