Some news…

So I’ve been pretty absent over the past couple of months. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June already!

The past few months have crawled and gone at lightning speed at the same time. Our big news is that we are expecting a new addition to our family. We are obviously delighted and it’ll make for an extra special Christmas for us.

Now, when I was pregnant with Michael I was very sick. 24/7 nausea. This time has been even worse with full blown Hyperemesis. I’ve been medicated since 7 weeks because if I’m not I’ll throw up 10+ plus a day. Which has happened lots of days even with the medication. It’s been a long road and it’s only now at 17 weeks that I have some relief from the constant nausea. Although I’m still likely to throw up at any time. More than once I’ve been sick on the side of the road.  I’ve also been suffering with headaches a lot. With Michael I was hospitalized with migraines but much later in the pregnancy so I’m hoping it’s not a bad sign of things to come.

IMG_0182My sanity has most definitely been tested over the past couple of months and it’s been difficult to look after an active toddler and to try and stay active myself when I can but fingers crossed the worst of it is now over.

In terms of prenatal care I have even shocked myself with this news. Waiting times for hospital appointments here can take all day. The minimum hospital stay for giving birth is three nights… so I’ve decided to try for a home birth. This also means that all my prenatal appointments take place at my house. This saves hours of waiting around in a waiting room. So far so good. I get a scan at every appointment, have had all my bloods and tests done and I have also had Harmony testing and everything is great. A home birth means no drugs of course for labour but I’ve started practicing gentle birthing and I’m hoping this and the birthing pool will get me through. For the actual birth I’ll have a doctor, a doula and a midwife. This is far more hands on care than I would have in a hospital setting so unless there’s an emergency situation this bump will be making its way into the world at home. Any advice for this is welcome!!

I’ve tried to work out as much as I can and have taken up yoga to help with my back. So far so good and weight gain has been minimal in comparison to my first pregnancy.

So other than all of that it’s only 10 days until we fly home to Ireland for our summer trip. It’s the first time Michael has understood the notion of going on a plane so he’s very excited. Maybe not so excited about the change in temperature!!

Im really looking forward to a month in Ireland as we will be staying in Puerto Rico for Christmas again this year with a newborn. There will be a lot of catching up with family and friends and we have a wedding too so I’ll be trying to cover the bump for that.

The Selfish Expat

Last week was St. Patricks Day and it got me slightly nostalgic for the ole Irish sod. We have a small but great Irish community here and in many ways we take more celebration in St. Patricks Day than we would at home because we are away and want to mark the day anyway.

It got me thinking about expat life in general and how we are so removed from Ireland and the goings on. Sure, I watch the Irish news and keep up to date with current affairs but on a day to day level we are away from family and friends and not living in the same world. It may be only temporary but how do you integrate back into that when it’s time to go home?

It’s not the same with family when you’re abroad. You can’t celebrate their good news, hold them when things are going wrong and support them when they need it. Most of the time you’re watching a clock as you’re in a different time zone and it’s about trying to get time to make the call.

So does this make us expats selfish? Are we not there for our families and friends in the way that we should be because we want adventure and the chance to be abroad? Is enhancing our lives and experiences at the detriment of being close to our families and being able to support them? Will our long term friendships with those in Ireland suffer in the long run simply because we struggle to stay in contact?

I’m trying my best to plan our trip to Ireland this summer to allow catch ups with all the family and friends that we need to see but it’s difficult in such a short space of time. I feel obliged to spend as much time as I can with family and feel guilty for being away to see friends.

Do all expats feel selfish at some point for not being at home?

Flying with kids

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 12.13.08

I partly feel like I’ve no right to write on this topic because we only have one child. I see lots of people flying with 2/3 kids on a regular basis and I take my hat off to them. Flying with one is hard. Flying with three kids under 5 is like undertaking a special mission.

Flying as an expat is different to flying on your annual holiday. In most cases you will be flying multiple times a year depending on what family events you need to trek home for. It’s also common, not always, for expats to fly in business class when it’s available as one of the perks. This brings its own challenges. Trust me! Business class is lovely for the extra space and the opportunity to lie down on a long flight.. But what if you’re travelling with a teething 8 month old that refuses to sleep and is crying and you’re worried that it’s upsetting the other passengers who have paid an extortionate fee for some extra comfort on their flight?

We have been on over 20 flights with Michael in the two and a half years that he’s been in this world and this is my advice to anyone that has to fly regularly with kids.

  1. Be prepared. If your child is too small to be distracted by the tv screens than you’re going to need lots of things to entertain them. My top tips are snacks, colouring books, a magna doodle or etchasketch, sticker books, iPad with their favourite cartoons downloaded and some small compact toys. Make sure they’re all new and not something that they’ve seen before. This will really help distract them when you need it most. Prepare them by telling them about the journey in advance. Talk about it excitedly, about the plane, what to expect and where you’re going. Make it an adventure!
  2. Bring back up batteries. You’ll need them for charging your phone and entertainment devices. Trust me!
  3. Carry pain relief. Altitude does funny things to smallies and it’s always good to have pack up. Often their ears will pop, throats will be dry and can even have a fit of vomiting or diarrhoea so it’s good to have the essentials to hand when you need them.
  4. In your hand luggage have at least one change of clothes for yourself and two for them. See point two.. You’ll need them!
  5. Layovers are a pain. Often we can be in JFK for 4/5 hours waiting for our second flight. This is when you want to tire them out. Bring one of those backpacks with straps and reigns and let them run around. Take turns if there is two adults travelling. If you have access to a lounge take them there and take advantage of it. If not, then lots of airports have kids areas that you can avail of. Now is when you want them to burn up their energy so that hopefully they will sleep on the next flight!
  6. If you can book a seat for them. I know under 2 they can sit on your knee but if you’re on multiple long flights then they’re not going to be comfortable sleeping on you and you will also be exhausted. I found with Michael that if he fell asleep he would wake after 45 mins if I was holding him.
  7. I don’t take a stroller. They can be awkward to collapse and then you have to wait for them on the other side. Instead I got a wheel attachment that attached to his car seat and then he sits in his car seat on the plane. It makes life so much easier. I ordered it from amazon but it’s by a company called go go babyz. You can see it here 
  8. I’ve travelled a few times on my own with Michael and it can be hard to handle the hand luggage, the car seat, settling him and yourself, trying to use the bathroom and everything else on your own. I’ve been so lucky with other people offering to help and these usually aren’t the airport or airline staff. Some airlines have flight nannies or can offer extra assistance so it may be worth checking out if travelling alone.
  9. Call the airline before you fly to check requirements around flying with a child. What food and drink items you can take through security, can you bring your car seat on board (Delta now don’t allow this and don’t provide any safety harness for this child when sitting on your knee!!!!), is there priority boarding for kids? All these things will help with your journey if you know what to expect.
  10. Have a plan for when you get to the other side. If you’ve flown multiple flights, are now in a different time zone and have been travelling for over 24 hours you’re going to be tired. Have someone pick you up so you’re not relying on public transport to get to home. You’ll be so glad of a friendly face.
  11. Expect the unexpected. Flights get delayed. Changes happen. If you’re prepared for them then you can cope with unexpected travel changes. I have been delayed for 10 hours in total during one journey home alone with Michael. It’s tough but this is where the back up of toys, iPads, colours etc come in. Wine for you if you need it too!

And most of all…. RELAX! I repeat to myself constantly when travelling that this will pass. It’s just one day. One long day that you have to get through and you’ll get through it. It’s always worth it to see family on the other side!

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 12.17.11

 

Sweat Fridays… or is that everyday?

So this is a pretty personal one for me so be nice…. Anyone who follows me on twitter or instagram will see that I often post updates about food and fitness.

I exercise a lot. A typical week sees me workout with a trainer three times week. Sessions are broken down into one leg training day using gym machines and resistance training, one upper body day doing a mix of weights circuits and tabatha training and one high intensity circuit training day that trains all body and almost kills me. My trainer usually keep this for a Friday and we joke about #sweatfridays!

On top of that I run three times a week for cardio. Usually one long run, one mixed tempo run and one interval run. I usually do a quick ten minute ab routine myself at home 3/4 times a week.

Let me tell you that exercise does not come easily to me. I’m not coordinated and I have a whole back catalog of horrible childhood memories of not being good enough on the sports  field and being last to be picked for any teams. I always tried to get out of doing PE because of it. Teenagers are mean. I wasn’t fast, was a little over weight and got no encouragement from teachers. Irish schools can be a pretty isolating experience.

In college I gained a lot of weight. Nights out, bad food choices and sugary alcoholic drinks meant that by the time I was graduating I tipped the scales at over 16 stone. I lost 2 stone of that through diet and when I started my job in 2010 I was weighing over 14 stone and a size 16. I was driving a lot and decided that once and for all I was going to change and lose it all. I wanted to be the best version of myself. Juliet Murphy was the woman who literally changed everything for me. She was based in Ballincollig, Co. Cork and took me on as a personal training client. Along with a high protein diet the weight shifted. She trained me three times a week and the sessions were so tough. But the lbs came off. On average I lost 5-7 lbs a month and then I started to tone and build muscle. When I got married in 2012 I was a size 12 and 12 stone. I had lost 4 and a half stone and I felt great. I was strong, lifting heavy weights, had a lot more energy and I felt good in my clothes. Confident in a bikini. I still felt that I had a bit of my journey to go but now I knew how to get there.

This was me at my heaviest in college and then in 2013 just before I got pregnant.

 

In 2014 Michael was born. I was very sick during the pregnancy and was recommended to give up exercise. I was on crutches with severe SPD for the last three months of the pregnancy. My mother was dying and I was comfort eating. I gained 4 stone by the end of the pregnancy.

When he was 12 weeks old I was ready to begin exercising again and started working out at home and making better food choices. But the weight never fell off. I lost probably a stone of that weight in the first year after he was born and then it just stopped. After we moved to Puerto Rico I joined the gym, got a trainer and then started back running. Sure I got fitter. Sure I’m more toned and stronger. But the weight isn’t coming off. I’m not getting back into pre pregnancy clothes and now I’m at a loss at what to do.

I physically can’t work out anymore than I do. My food choices are really good. In Ireland last summer I went to a GP and asked for bloods to check my thyroid levels. Everything came back normal. I went to the gynaecologist here in Puerto Rico and asked her to check my hormones seeing as how I have PCOS and endometriosis. She did an insane amount of blood tests and said everything was fine but that I would possibly benefit from a testosterone implant. I went for it. $400 later and it didn’t make a difference.

I went to a nutritionist and they suggested a keto diet where I would eat more healthy fat than protein and I stuck to it 100%. After initial results it was stagnant after a couple of weeks and didn’t work for me. I continued to workout, eat well, cut out alcohol, sugar, carbs.. everything! I’ve tried everything. Nothing was working

I’m currently doing the F4L programme. I can’t recommend this enough. This is an online programme based in Ireland. I have to say it is fantastic. The support is next to none. It involves four workouts per week and a food plan and recipes which is high protein but allows for carbs if earned through working out and has some excellent advice on muscle recovery after working out etc. I’m not doing the workouts (I have done them in the past), as training here is now part of my daily routine but I know that the nutrition part of this programme is excellent and that’s what I’m following. It also includes a private Facebook group for support where you will find the nicest, most inspirational supportive ladies around. I’ve seen the results that they’ve achieved I can see that this programme works. That’s why I’m sticking around even though my results aren’t what they should be. I know that it isn’t the programme. I know how hard I work at it. I also know enough about nutrition and food to know that this programme should be working for me.

So that’s why I’m now going a step further. I’m going to do the alternative route. I’m meeting with a homeopathic doctor this coming Tuesday and I’m going to have some food allergy testing done. I’m going to compliment whatever they suggest to cut out with acupuncture. I am not giving up. I will get back to my goal. I will get my confidence back. And I will get back into my pre pregnancy jeans. I’m going to stick with my plans and not give up on this as hard as it is to keep trucking on with only minor success. I will get there. 8lbs loss over two years has resulted in the difference between these two pics below. A lot of sweat and hard work has gone on in between.

I’m going to stop feeling like my body has let me down because it’s not responding right now. I’ve had a child. I’ve given birth and it has been through a traumatic experience. Its done amazing things.

I’m also going to stop being judgemental of other people and their journeys. Smug me thought that if you move more and eat less then you’ll lose weight. I’ve felt so bad about myself because now that hasnt worked for me. I need to look at plan E and see what will work for me.

I really hope that in couple of months time I will back here to tell you all that between the advice and support from F4L and the elimination of food allergies that I’m seeing results. I don’t care how small they are. I don’t care if it’s not the scales that moves but inches. I won’t stop until I’m there.

img_8593

Mothers..

I wrote this piece 10 months ago on Mother’s Day and never pressed publish. It was too painful and I felt like a broken record. I’m finally ready to publish it because I’m now in a better place. I want others to know that it’s normal to feel like this. This it is ok to be sad. It’s ok to still miss someone after they’ve died if you’re not ready to move on.

_________________________________________________________________ It’s Mother’s day. I obviously have a love/hate relationship with this day. I love being a Mom myself but I miss my own mother more than words can convey.

It’s almost two years since that day. The last day that we had hope. The day that Rob walked into my room in hospital and told me that you weren’t going to get better. That there was nothing left to do – only wait for your time here to be over.

You were so brave. I felt so bad for crying on the phone to you when I called later that day. You were talking about faith and putting your trust in god. I wanted to scream and tell you that none of it mattered. What was the point in god and faith if he was taking you from us? What god was taking you away from me when I was weeks away from becoming a mother myself. You weren’t going to be there when I needed your help and guidance. I knew nothing about having a baby or raising a child.

I miss you. More than I ever imagined. I miss everything – how soft your hands were. How you laughed. How on a Friday night when we would come to stay for the weekend you would stay up late chatting on the couch with me. How until I moved out at 19 you came into my room every single night without fail to check on me. How you ran out of the kitchen on a Sunday morning when you were in your nightie and Rob came down early. How I painted your nails – it makes me giggle that at the moment you passed away I was holding onto your feet, your bright pink nail polish still on from the very last time I had painted them a couple of weeks before. I spent so much time over the years painting your toe nails. I probably would have picked a different colour had I known that I would never get a chance to do them again. It was shocking pink!

I miss your work ethic. How you worked so hard to make the businesses a success. How you never complained about the hours and how hard it was travelling the country every weekend at trade shows. How your feet ached at the end of the day. How you made our house a home. The dinners, the tea, the packages of food being sent home with us on a Sunday. The Sunday morning fry where we would sit and chat for an hour after. Your energy for looking after your family never ceased to amaze me.  The Christmas morning about five years ago that we ate about 30 mini pan au chocolat and watched Miracle on 34th street and forgot about dinner – a Christmas day will never go by without that memory bringing a tear to me eye.

Your phone has long been cancelled. But I replay the phone number over and over again. I miss being able to dial it and ask for your help and advice. You always knew what to do. Your instinct was always scarily accurate. You just seemed to know when something was up. Even the days that during my pregnancy that things were complicated you seemed to know I was in hospital before I told you. It was weird!

I’ve thought a lot about being a mother – what it takes and what I’ve learnt from you. I used to think at one point that you put too much pressure on me. The endless music lessons, auditions, singing, dance classes, french lessons, art classes, speech and drama… everything. I thought that you were pushing too hard and that I was never good enough at any of these things. Hindsight and experience has now taught me that you enrolled me all of this because you had faith in me. You believed I was probably more talented than I ever really was and I love you for that. Your dedication to trying to make me the best I could be. I’m eternally grateful to you for that love and support and I’m sorry that I didn’t live up to those expectations a lot of the time.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for your guidance, wisdom, knowledge, love and dedication. I’ll miss you forever.

Expat Life & Pediatric Healthcare

When we decided to take this expat assignment Michael was still  a baby. He was only 5 months old when we first started discussing a potential move. We really weren’t thinking about what it would be like to have a child abroad as we thought we would be home in two years and that he would be back in Ireland before we would have to think about education, pre school or starting activities.

The reality is that we are enjoying this experience immensely and have committed to Puerto Rico for at least one more year and after that who knows…

He has gone from a chubby cheeky baby to a toddler in the blink of an eye and is now constantly putting on his shoes looking to go outside or to a friends house. He’s bored of Mammy and being stuck in the house. So we looked at our options and decided that Tasis, the international school here in Dorado was the best option for him when he turns three. So he will start Pre Pre K there this august. I’m sure I’ll discuss that in further detail in future posts but for now I would like to focus on healthcare while abroad with kids.

I thought moving here that once we could keep up with his vaccinations and that he had a good pediatrician locally then we were ticking all the boxes. Please keep in mind that as a first time mother I also didn’t know at that point about how much you worry about all the sniffles and coughs and fevers and how much at times I would wish that we had access to a Care Doc system that exists in Ireland. The Irish health care system leaves a lot to be desired at times but it does allow accessible health care to the majority and the Drugs Payment Scheme means that medication is available in lots of cases at a reasonable cost.

Last summer I travelled alone to Ireland with Michael as Rob was tied up here with work. We were home about a week when I went to Galway to visit Rob’s family. On the first morning there I woke up and went to dress him and discovered a rash over his legs. I immediately thought chicken pox but after consulting with a couple of people I was told that they should start on his torso. So I made an appointment with the local GP and I expected to be told that he perhaps had hand, foot and mouth or chicken pox. At this point his hands, knees and ankles were swollen and retaining fluid. The GP advised us after the consultation to go to the A&E dept of UCHG. We were admitted and after stumping a few doctors and some blood work Michael was diagnosed with HSP – an autoimmune condition. He hadn’t been eating well for a couple of weeks and this condition can be brought on by prolonged respiratory infections and he had a mild cough for about a week before we travelled.

This was a bit of a scary situation – mainly because I was away from my husband and it took a while for a diagnosis while doctors are discussing a lumpapuncture, meningitis and liver function but also because I didn’t know the facts about my health insurance. I no longer had VHI and instead had Cigna, international health insurance. The hospital didn’t know if we should be in a private room or if treatment was covered and neither did I. I was charged a larger fee for being admitted through A&E because I wasn’t an Irish resident. It was just more stress on top of being stressed.

It all worked out and we were covered and Cigna paid the hospital bill directly but I was angry at myself for not knowing the facts prior to being admitted. I should have known who to talk to and have the information and paperwork to back it up when on an international trip.

Since then Michael has been prone to colds, fevers and recently a viral infection. If you’re an expat and have kids abroad then you will know how difficult this is. Not only do you not have family close as a sounding board for when to take action but because I don’t speak spanish I have been petrified about having to attend a Puerto Rican hospital.

I have discovered a fantastic service. Michael’s pediatric doctor takes home care appointments and will come to the house for his check ups and yesterday came to check out a persistent rash that he has had due to this viral infection. He had a tech from a local laboratory come to the house afterwards and take a CBC and urine tests. It’s such reassurance as they spoke english and were able to explain everything while I got to keep Michael at home and distract him with his own comforts while being examined and having the bloods taken.

It takes a while to get settled in another country and learn that these services exist. My advice to any expat, particularly with kids, is to have all the documents regarding your health insurance that you need kept together. Be able to show it to a hospital either in your host country or when visiting home should you need to. Alleviate the stress should you end up in a situation where you need to avail of hospital services.

Ask questions… to other moms, doctors, forums, anyone who has lived in your new location and has had to avail of services. Keep all of the information together and don’t have to go and ask the questions when it’s an emergency situation and you’re already stressed. Know your way to the hospital, be able to drive yourself there. Do your research. Michael’s pediatrician is also based here in a hospital and that will be our first point of call should he need hospital care here. All of this was information that I got from other mom’s. You can learn so much from others who have undertaken a similar assignment when you just ask the questions and listen to the answers.

 

 

 

Grief.. An update..

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.25.52 p.m.It’s over a year ago since I poured my heart out here about losing my mother to cancer the week after I became a mother for the first time myself. The original post can be found here. At that time I was merely putting one foot in front of the other and I wasn’t in a comfortable place. I couldn’t speak about her without crying, think about her without it taking my breath away or stop feeling envious of those around me that still had their parents.

It’s now been two years and six months since my mother passed away. Life has moved on. I miss her every single day. I think about her all the time. But it no longer consumes me like it did at that time. Putting one foot in front of the other means that slowly but surely you come back to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, life will never be the same again. But I’m more myself again. Losing a parent isn’t easy but it’s the natural course of life. It’s far more unnatural to bury a child. Thankfully I have never had to do that but people close to me have and it’s horrific.  The immense pain and grief that goes along with that is so traumatic and just not what any parent should have to experience. I’m now at a point in my life where I have accepted that burying a parent is part of the course. A hard part but a natural part all the same

I learned a lot from my mother. I watched her as she courageously fought a horrible disease and I seen the grace and dignity in which she dealt with it and her fate. I listened to hundreds of people who attended her wake and funeral and spoke about the lady that she was. The amazing qualities that she held were reiterated by her home care hospice nurse who knew Mammy from a few years back when Mammy helped to take care of a neighbour who was dying. No one asked her to do this but she was a wonderful, caring and giving person who left a lasting impression on people who came into her contact. I cherish these traits, the letters and cards that people wrote to us after her death and the wonderful things that people said. She was a lady. She was kind. She was strong and loving and fussed like a typical Irish mammy to no end. I can now think about these things without
breaking down and remember her fondly.

One of the things I lamented about her passing was not having her around when I had just become a mother. When I felt I needed her advice, reassurance and help the most. I know now that she had spent 28 years imparting everything
I needed to know already. She raised seven daughters and nothing was any problem to her. I’ve had the best role model that
I could have asked for and while I will miss her every day for a long time I will now in future smile when I think of the little things that she did that I now do for my son. She taught me to have compassion and to look after those around you. I will continue to do my best to remember that and hopefully I can pass on the same to Michael .

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when we lose someone that we love we don’t ever really get over it. We just get to a stage of acceptance where we can hopefully love everything about the time that we had with them and let our tears and anger go. There will always be a gap in our lives but because she’s not there I’ve spent more time with my dad and now I love and appreciate him even more for the gentleman that he is. I’ll cherish every minute that I have with him as we know that we don’t know what the future holds. Every day with your health is a blessing. This experience has taught me that. And for that I’m grateful.

If you still have your parents hug them and tell them you’re thankful for everything they have done. The sacrifices that every parent makes for their children aren’t always acknowledged but wouldn’t it be nice to say you did thank them when you still could? Appreciate everything they have done. Listen to their stories. Learn from their advice. You’ll miss is some day.

Lazy Sundays

 

We are really bad at getting out of the house -even for just a couple of hours to explore. Weekends are spent at swimming lessons, catching up on laundry, sleep, cleaning and usually going out with friends.

Michael had been sick and house bound last weekend so after a touch of cabin fever we decided on a whim to visit condado yesterday. I’ve been there a couple of times before for lunch at the Vanderbilt and dinner one Saturday night.

I’m so glad that we went. It was beautiful. It’s a touristy area and so be prepared for lots of people from all walks of life. We had ice cream in Ben & Jerrys (smoothie for me) and walked along the sand. It was crowded with lots of people drinking and enjoying the sunshine so not that child friendly if there for a long period of time but still beautiful. If we didn’t have Michael with us then we would have been reaching for the sangria and a lounger… life has definitely changed but it was a lovely walk along a fabulous beach front with a view that I take for granted!

Making a plan..

A few months back I wrote about my personal experience as the trailing spouse and how it has left me feeling deflated about a return to work. I’ve lost confidence in my ability to be more than the care giver.. minding our son and ensuring that there’s shirts ironed and food in the fridge. You can see the original blogpost here….

For my own sanity I need to start getting back in the game and I’m putting on my big girl pants. I’m so afraid of putting myself out there to work again that I need to build up that confidence again. So I’ve started to make a plan…

First of all I’m starting a diploma in Digital Marketing. It will include social media marketing and SEO. I know most of this already but the refresher will do me the world of good. The changes in two years since I was in full time employment have been drastic too so I’m sure there’s something to be gained from this. It’s all distance online learning so it gives me the opportunity to work it around my schedule and Michael and still have time for the activities that we do here and my never ending battle in the gym to some day regain my pre mammy body!

Next on my list are online advanced courses in web and graphic design.. Again skills that I’ve used before but need a little updating. I’m hoping if I have time then before the summer that I may undertake something in photography and/or video editing.

Then when all this is done it will be time to put myself out there again and start using these skills. The plan will be to work from home and freelance but hopefully on long and short term projects. Essentially I would also like to produce a marketing toolkit – a how to guide with basic instructions and guidelines for small businesses. I don’t believe in social media experts and I see people being ripped off constantly so essentially I would like to make this guide available for training purposes and show people how they can do it themselves.

Lastly, I’ve always been passionate about volunteering and charity. I’m meeting with a volunteer from a local orphanage this week to discuss how I can get involved. I’ve committed to run a small fundraiser for them in the coming months as well as some other things in the pipeline. We already support a child in Uganda so I really want to be involved hands on as well as financially.

As scary as this is I need it for my sanity. I need to gain my personal and financial independence. I need to be more than the trailing spouse and I hope by the end of 2017 I will be a long way to doing this. And who said living in the sun was all about cocktails on the beach? Trust me… they’re nice too but I need to be more than just that!