Back-to-school season has been a fairly chaotic time for me for the past 11 years, as it is for so many teachers, but I would say this year’s back-to-school chaos by-and-large champions any other year’s chaos.
I moved to another state two days before I was to report to work. Yeah…
Long story short, because I think it would be weird if I just kept blogging without addressing one of my craziest life transitions, a few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to make the move back to Central Illinois where we are both originally from. I started this blog (initially named Rock, Style, Repeat) about two years ago as a means to an end…and what I mean by that is it kept me sane in a time of transition, one from Illinois to Iowa and from full-time high school teacher to stay-at-home mom of two under age four. I kept the blog going as a hobby, and what has transpired out of it is a little side business…as you know, as of a few weeks ago, I am a LuLaRoe fashion consultant. YAAY. And another aim of my blog is always to keep it honest up in here. But I digress.
As I was saying…a few weeks ago, my husband and I decided it would be best for the health and happiness of our family to move back to Central Illinois. I would be lying if I said living over five hours away from family has been easy. I think in many aspects, I tried everything I could to make it easy. I landed a WONDERFUL teaching job (my brightest spot in my time in Iowa, aside from my new friendships). I tried to make friends and succeeded a few times. I tried to attend a different church. We purchased a home in hopes of making our move feel more permanent. But as our kids got older, they began to communicate that leaving our family each time was HARD and, in their eyes, not wanted anymore. My son asked us why we didn’t have a house closer to the town in which part of our family lives. And oh, by the way, he’s four. That comment was really what sealed the deal for us.
I was tired of “making Iowa work” as well and wanted to live my BEST life, not one I was probably okay with. I wanted comfort again. I wanted to minimize situations where I was always the odd one out again. I was like OVER being the new person in the room, the one whom no one knows. So we told our family a few weeks ago that we would be moving back at the end of this school year (2016-2017). Though our hearts wanted to come home sooner, we thought it was most responsible to wait until the end of my school year to make the move. I told both sides of our family that it would take a miracle for us to return any sooner. And a miracle indeed happened.
I can honestly say I have had a ton of peace over this time of “what ifs” and “well, maybes.” What happened was that two jobs fell into our laps, and ultimately, we decided to take the plunge and come back THE WEEKEND BEFORE my new job started. I grew up attending traditional church, and we always sang this one hymn at the end of service. One of the lines is praise God from whom all blessings flow. And that was how this all happened…God’s blessings flowing. For one of the first times in my life, I truly put my faith in God that His timing was best, and He accelerated our move. Plain and simple. We are often used to waiting on God’s timing. In fact, I waited (impatiently) on God’s timing for my first child. That year of struggle was unbearable because I was trying to make the timetable about my wants and desires. This time, though, I knew I could react and make God-stewarded decisions based on the opportunities in front of us, but the opportunities would, in large part, originate from God’s doing. It was just so amazing to watch this and that unfold, from jobs to daycare to everything in between.
So after two years away from family, we are back. I am teaching 7-9 English at my new job, and I am fortunate enough to work with my dad, who is our district’s superintendent, and my sister, who is one of the district’s school nurses. So though I was new again on my first day on the job, I knew a total of three people stepping in to my new school.
|Here I am with my dad and sister. Happy heart…|
I will say a few words about living away from home. It’s not for everyone. I have a good friend who THRIVES in a location far away from home, and one of the differences in our personalities is her comfortability in being social. In my eyes, I tried HARD to make friends in Iowa, and I did make a few VERY good friends because these ladies were willing to take a chance on someone new and get to know someone who wasn’t comfortable to them, which I am forever grateful for. In most cases, though, I would make acquaintances, and those acquaintances would not develop into much more. Now I feel like I’m pretty self-aware, and I may be missing the mark on this one, but in my experience, many in my season of life/age range are mostly comfortable with a certain friend group and do not desire to extend outside of that group very much. And that’s OK. Deep down, I know that our little families are our top priority, so I try not to take it personally, though I totally do sometimes! I just thought if I was intentional enough, I could make it happen. And that’s not to take away from the few amazing friendships I cultivated in Iowa because those ladies are my forever friends. So if you are considering a move away from everyone you know, really take time to consider how willing you are to be social and extend yourself out there because it is not easy for someone like me. Bottom line, we are not meant to live in isolation, and being away from your family almost forces you to seek others out. I’m just not super great at that.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, family is really everything. When we moved away, I slowly began to realize all of the milestones my family was missing out on in my kids’ lives, and one picture sealed the deal for me anyway…
I saw this picture, really saw what my two kids looked like when we moved up here and how much they had changed in two short years. We decided that staying for another ten months was not worth the missed milestones on our family’s end, that we want our kids to grow up surrounded by extended family who love and support them. My husband and I thought we were enough. And we are as parents, but we can also enrich the lives of our kids and our family by allowing them to connect more frequently by living closer.
|What a difference two years makes!|
A lot of people have asked me about moving, and those are some things I would consider before making such a drastic move. It wasn’t a super easy decision to leave Iowa either because I had to leave a job I loved and a school district that had treated me more than well. When I taught in Iowa, the staff and the students accepted me as their own, like I had lived there for years. I had days where I legit belly laughed with my students. Quite truthfully, I enjoyed going to work every single day, even the time I drove to work and didn’t know school was closed that day. HA HA. Good times. I also had to leave two very good friends and a home/neighborhood ideal for raising a young family.
So with all of these transitions, I decided that I want something in my life to be easy in my first week of school! Enter the new LuLaRoe Carly dress, which I will be wearing in my first week on the job. I can’t commit to my first day because I like freedom of choice. I usually plan outfits out for the week but not the day so I can wear what feels right that morning.
There were a LOT of skeptics about this dress, and there still are, but I rely on gut instinct when I shop for myself. When I saw the first picture of the Carly, I was immediately excited. I knew it had potential. It is basically a shirtdress with a hi/low hemline (longer in the back) that is the PERFECT blank canvas to add to your wardrobe. This is a dress that screams accessorize me! And that’s what excites me.
I’ve created the three-piece outfit with the Carly that I plan to go to when things get hectic in the coming months: Carly + long pendant statement necklace + ankle boots.
Pardon the Mom hair in the above pictures, but adding a few statement accessories can really dress up this Carly dress. And below are a few other ways I styled it: one casual, one casual/dressy, and one dressy.
Sizing…in a nutshell, sizing is flexible. I feel comfortable in an XS and S, and I am 5’11″/size 6. In most cases, consultants tell their customers to size down one size from their normal, and I would even say that taller ladies can stay true to size due to length. I own one XS and one S. I don’t honestly see a huge difference in the sizing, so if there’s a print you like in a certain size, don’t be afraid to experiment with sizing a little bit. I would not personally size up to a medium. A small is the largest I would go for my body type. If you want to snag your own Carly dress, I will be having an online sale this Saturday morning (August 20)! You can join my Facebook group HERE.
I am not done experimenting with the Carly, but I wanted you to see a few easy looks I’ve put together in hopes of giving you some inspiration to give her a try. And I told my husband the other day, when I wear the Carly, it feels like I’m wearing a nightgown. Anything to make my crazy life a little easier right now, right? Have a blessed day, my friends!