God Willing

A lot has happened in the very short time we’ve been married. We knew that we wanted to add to our family, and knew that, due to our ages (!) we didn’t want to wait long. It’s funny because for the past eleven years I’ve said “NEVER” to having more kids. The thought never even crossed my mind, until I started dating Ryan. I knew he wanted to have a family “of his own” and though he adores my kids, I always knew he’d want to have more kids. Well, as my Ryan Middleton clause would have it, I would do dang near anything Ryan Middleton wants, so kids together we shall have!

During our wedding, we gave the kids necklaces with the words Deo Volente engraved on them. The words are ones that Ryan introduced to me early in our relationship. Ryan always said that he’s not arrogant enough to think he’ll have kids of his own, or that things will “work out” a certain way that HE wants, but rather he trusts that things will be just as God will have them be. The words engraved on the kids’ necklaces have been more impactful over the past 5 weeks than I could have imagined.

God Willing.

We found out very quickly after our wedding, that we were pregnant! I took a test a few days before my missed period, so I wasn’t completely sure, but I knew I couldn’t do any of the cute reveal videos on Ryan because there was zero chance I could keep this a secret from him, regardless if the test was accurate or not. So I took three more over the following week. All positive! We were pregnant!!!!!

I instantly went into planning mode for how we would reveal the news to our family, knowing we’d have to tell them super early because of an impending family cruise on which I’d now be painfully sober! They’d know something was up, so the news had to be broken! And it was! We had cute announcements to our parents and siblings, and kept the news fairly mum after that.

Shortly after getting back from our cruise, I told Ryan I just didn’t FEEL pregnant. We had our first appointment scheduled for two weeks after we got back from the cruise, but still, something didn’t feel right. Before, I felt bloated and tired, and grumpy, and…PREGNANT. This day, I didn’t feel anything. We called the doctor and they got us in immediately for an ultrasound. No heartbeat. Nine weeks into our pregnancy, it was over. An hour after our ultrasound appointment, we were walking out with an appointment for the following day to have a d&c. I can’t share exactly how I was feeling at that very moment, because it’s just not something I’m ready to write about. But to say our hearts were broken would be the understatement of the century.

I’ve never really experienced grief like this. And still, it’s hard to really put into words the feelings of loss over a nine week pregnancy. It’s like sitting at a red light, waiting to turn, and cars are speeding past you, shaking your car as they pass. You sit there, and everything else keeps moving. You still go to work, you still make dinner, feed the dog, and yet…struggle to figure out how to make your mind go back to normal. The physical pain from the procedure ends. Your flower deliveries and sweet cards stop coming. The packages of precious baby clothes you’ve been ordering for the past month finally come to an end, thank God. Your husband no longer touches your belly, but instead pours you a glass of wine for your tears. Your kids stop referring to the baby, and focus more on Halloween costumes instead. Everything goes back to normal. Except for your mind.

Here’s one thing I know. Ryan and I will keep trying for a baby. We will continue trusting our God to carry out the plans He already has in place for us. We’ll keep loving each other fiercely, whether or not we have a baby. We will enjoy every blessing we already have- which Ryan reminds me of constantly. We’ll spend time being newlyweds and smothering each other with all the love for each other! We’re confident in our future together, and we’re hopeful that, GOD WILLING, we’ll have an addition to our family someday.

We Got Married!

I’ve been trying to write this post for almost two months now. Nothing I wrote seemed to do justice to what I wanted the message to be, so I just typed and deleted for the past 50 some days!

For the past two months, I’ve been Mrs. Ryan Middleton! Our wedding day was the most perfect day I could have ever imagined. With the help of many, we were able to host our wedding at our home, and it was seriously flawless. One of my closest friends came in from Colorado to photograph our day, and again….she did an incredible job capturing the day perfectly! We hired a band to set up and play gorgeous music for our guests (and anyone across the lake from us!), we had delicious food catered in, and had all our closest friends and family with us. The day was perfectly intimate, and it truly encompassed all our love has been and continues to be. It was more than just a great day- it was so so perfect!

Everyday I wake up, listen to my husband get ready for work, watch him with the kids as they head off to school, and thank God that this is my life. And that’s no joke. I am more in love with him today than I could have ever imagined.

wedding pic

Embracing the Dust

When I decided to start writing again, it was absolutely for my own benefit. I write to release, to vent, to process. Hearing from any of you, reading my blog, about how my words help you,  is just icing on the cake! Naming my blog (Second) Lucky Chance is not something I fully thought through when I first got back into the Blogosphere. At the time, it was just a way to incorporate my original blog, while announcing my “comeback” (obviously I use that term loosely, as I know I have approximately 5 whole followers, 4 of which are family, LOL)! Almost two years back into writing, I feel a whole new appreciation for the word “second” and the impact the word has on me.

Second chance. Second love. Second chapter. Second marriage. Second family. None of which I thought I needed, wanted, or would have. Yet, here we are a little over a month from my second wedding, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this life and these “seconds”.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a quote that hit hard for me.

“Dust doesn’t have to signify the end.

Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.”

And let me just tell you about the literal dust we’ve got in our home at the moment. First, after a couple years living as a bachelor, my darling fiancé has some significant dust build up in his home. (He needs me, ya’ll!) Add to that the drywall dust from a bathroom and basement renovation, and you’ve got a full on dust-shit-storm. I’ve struggled over the past month with leaving my squeaky clean (in comparison), newly-built, perfectly-me home, to transition into the Dust House.

Then there’s metaphoric dust. And we have our share of that, as well, let me tell ya. The idea of getting a second chance at love is beyond thrilling to me now, especially because it’s alongside Ryan. But it isn’t always easy because we both have a past of disappointment, betrayal, pain, loneliness, isolation, heartache, and much more. There’s also a past of happy times, great memories, other families, vacations, friendships, and love. We both have dust from our past that affects both of us differently and at different times.

So when I read this quote, I realized that I am actually thankful for the dust- both literally and metaphorically. (Ryan if you’re reading this, this does NOT mean your cleaning skills are up to par. You still have to dust the house!) The literal dust in the house signifies a new basement living room for our kids to play and make memories with friends. It’s a space where we’ll watch movies together as a family. It’s the dust of a renovated bathroom for our teenager, and for our guests that we’ll host. It will be the memory of our very first home project together that is so TOTALLY US. And even the dust that Ryan forgets under the couch- it signifies the man I get to marry and spend the rest of my life with.

The metaphoric dust will be stuff we’ll forever be thankful for, because though it was never part of our original plan, it led us to each other. I am THANKFUL for his past. I am THANKFUL for my past. Every single heartache, obstacle, and opportunity has lead us to this relationship with each other, and I am THANKFUL for that. I am THANKFUL we’ve learned from our past, and get this second chance to write a second chapter in life.

Sparkling with Love

My kids go to Minnesota a handful of times throughout the year, and though I always love the break, the weeks are long without them. Over the past year, Ryan and I have done our best to plan trips or time together, when the kids are gone, so as to distract me, and make the weeks go more quickly! This year, summer break started with the kids headed to MN, and Ryan and I agreeing to a staycation!

We decided on a few days off at the end of last week, and packed up for some much-needed time on the water! The weather was great, the company even better! Friday morning we decided on a boat ride. It was something we have grown to love! So, we headed out!

Remember the story I wrote about last year, detailing our first boat ride together in Monticello? The one where he thought he’d be romantic and shut off the boat so we could just float in the middle of the lake, chatting, listening to music together? Only to get ready to leave and find that the boat wouldn’t start….leaving us stranded for at least four hours until his dear Uncle Mike could rescue us. Yeah, that story! Well, guess where Ryan directed us Friday morning? To that exact little spot, with the perfectly sparkling water! It was so fantastic!!!

But then.

He shut off the boat. WAS HE NUTS?! Didn’t he remember what happened last year?! I just kind of chuckled, thinking this man had lost his dang mind!

I turned around in my seat to take a picture of the water- so calm, like glass. I looked out- there was no one around. It was just me and the man of my dreams, floating in the middle of this perfect setting.

I turned back to him and noticed him sitting awkwardly in his seat, not realizing at the time it was because he was down on one knee!! He started talking…most of which is a blur to me now. I just kept thinking “Good grief, being on the water really brings the mush out of my boyfriend.” Then I heard the words– he asked if I would marry him!!! I looked at him, looked down at his hand with the blue ring box in it…and literally lost all chill I had up to this point! “WAIT! You’re like ASKING ME, right now, to marry you?!” (Smooth Gretch, super smooth!) Of course I said YES!

We’re now a few days removed from the proposal, and ya’ll I am still so excited and surprised! I cannot believe I get to marry the man of my actual dreams!! To say that my life is better with him in it, would be the biggest understatement ever! I’m so thankful that I get to do the rest of my life with him.

 

Ryan,

You are my everything. You’re my absolute best friend. I am beyond thankful for all you do for me and the kids. I am so excited to spend the rest of my life with you! I promise to always be faithful, honest, and supportive of you. You will never fully know the extent of my love for you! You have been the blessing I never knew I was missing. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the four of us over the next few months, and beyond! Thank you for knowing this proposal would be the memory we’d always look back on and love. Thank you for introducing me to the beauty of sparkles on the water. Thank you for being so intentional with our story, and with our future. I love you so much, and cannot wait to marry you!

 

Grandma Anglin

I really miss my Grandma Anglin. Like, I really really really miss her. The older my kids get, the more I wish she was here. I wish she was sitting in the stands watching Lilly play basketball. And though she would for sure disapprove of him playing, I wish she was sideline with us at Anderson’s football games. I see Lilly changing into a teenage girl, and wish so badly that I had my Grandma here to encourage me that it will be alright, yet help tame that Gretchenesque sass that is seeping from Lilly’s pores, already. I see my sweet boy who still lets me pick him up and smother his face with mama kisses, and I know that my Grandma would also love to have this same sweet boy curled up in her lap too.

Yesterday I got to meet Ryan’s grandma who recently relocated to Fort Wayne from North Carolina. I was so excited to meet her, but nervous because…well Grandma’s can be tough! When we walked into the room, she instantly took Ryan’s face in her hands, and just lit up. And…knowing my sweet-hearted boyfriend, I’m sure his heart was bursting with love too- he had been waiting to see her for weeks since she moved to town! She looked at me and said words that I know my very own grandma would say- she told me I was pretty, and asked me about my kids. It made my heart sing! There is just something about the approval of a grandma that matters so so much.

This weekend we celebrate my Grandpa Anglin’s 90th birthday. I wish, so badly, that my grandma was here to celebrate with us, and though I know she’s always with us watching over us, it still pains me a little to know that she’s not physically here. I miss her hugs. I miss her laugh. I miss her hair. I miss her picking at my grandpa! I just really really miss my Grandma Anglin.

Happy Birthday, Love

Do you ever sit and think about how thankful you are someone was born? Like, sure I feel this way about my kids, but they’re my kids! Today I am so thankful that Ryan is on this earth, but even more so that I get to do life alongside him.

Over the past (almost) year, I have learned his quirky habits…like how he sniffles if he’s sleepy, and how he rubs his eyes after a long day at work. I have learned that he wakes up painfully early so that he has time to read from his bible, drink his coffee, and of course watch a little PTI…all the while still making it to work before me! I’ve learned he never skips morning coffee- like ever.

I have witnessed his endless facial expressions- the one when he’s reading a work email, the one when he gets a text from an old friend about the latest beer or recipe he’s trying, the look he gets when he’s watching an intense sporting event, and the expression he has when we connect glances from across the room (yes, that happens in real life, people!).

Today I am thankful for the very rare moments Ryan busts out the guitar to sing a ditty for me, and even more when he plays for the kids! I am thankful for the times he makes us take pictures- even when I’m looking a mess- because he is intentionally documenting our precious moments together. I am thankful for the man who attends two church services with me every week, and the conversations that each service sparks between us.

I am thankful for the guy who helps coach my son’s basketball team. I’m thankful for the man who showed up to every.single.basketball game of my daughter’s. I am thankful for the guy who rushed onto the field with me when my youngest got hurt during his final football game. I am thankful for having someone to sit with through 5th grade spelling bees, robotics matches, and AGBL award banquets. I have learned the value of “showing up” and “being present” in life, all parts of it, because of Ryan.

Today is Ryan’s 38th birthday, and though I haven’t spent the previous 38 with him, I am looking forward to the next 38 together.

Happy birthday, love. You are more than a blessing to my life. You are my favorite person on this earth, and I am so incredibly thankful you are here. Here’s to the best year of our lives!

ryan

Name Change

From my post yesterday, you know how much I love this time of year. I love the idea of “fresh starts” and “new beginnings.” So imagine my excitement last Sunday when I heard our pastor suggest we be proactive and intentional about who we are this year.  Ya’ll KNOW my love for intentional living, so this was right up my alley.

First though, he challenged us to think about what people may have called us last year. What word or name would people use to describe us. I instantly allow myself to go to the dark and ugly corners. The insecurities pop through, my negative self-talk takes over. But then I am reminded that these are my own thoughts. Our pastor encouraged us to reach out to a couple trusted friends/family, and invite their words to help define our name in 2018. SO, I reached out to two of my closest friends, and told them I be brutally honest and share with me the words they’d use to describe me. I was not overly surprised by their responses, and I plan to utilize their words to describe me as I move into 2019 and my “name change” for the upcoming months.

I normally do a “word of the year”, and while that’s still important to me, the other part of that is what the word means as it defines me as a person.

2018: As you saw in my end of year wrap up, I had an awesome 2018. I adored 2018. In fact, I LOVED 2018. I did a lot of growing, self-reflecting, and a ton of loving. In fact, my friend Rachael said that I became more self-aware than ever before. While that super super super excites me, there is one pesky thing of 2018 that I let eat away at me. I lacked self-confidence and motivation.

Going into 2019, my goal is to gain that confidence back. I vow to have confidence like Mary. (see picture). My goal is to have an incredible relationship with GOD, and build my confidence in HIM, and though Him. My aim is to stop putting my confidence in the hands of things and people and situations, but rather trusting God’s plan for me and for my family.

Our sermon notes from last Sunday list five questions. The first two I’ve basically covered, but the final three are more personal and will require more thought. What scripture will help me get to this goal, and what actions/lifestyle changes will I need to make to get me there. And lastly, who will I share this information with- who will be my accountability partner.

The final answer came easily. Ryan has become my best friend, the one person I will tell EV-ER-Y-THING to. He pushes me, encourages me, and motivates me. He is my person- my accountability partner, and my everything.

I am so incredibly excited for 2019. I look forward to gaining confidence like Mary’s and trusting in God’s plans for us in the coming months!

 

 

 

That’s a Wrap

This is always my favorite time of the year! It’s a chance to be cliché and use words like “reflect” and “looking back” and then pair them with equally cliché words like “future” and “resolutions”. I truly love it, and this year I love it even more because ya’ll, 2018 has been incredible, and something tells me 2019 is going to be even better! Here was my year:
January: I celebrated my 36th birthday with the most incredible family a girl could ask for! My brothers came into town, along with my mom, and we had a great dinner followed by an impromptu surprise party, hosted by my Littles! It was the perfect start to a new year!
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February: We spent a lot of time with our cousins, complete with a fun day at Sky Zone! I was reminded just how incredibly precious family time is. I treated myself to a lot of out-of-season tulips and other flowers…because…February!
March: We did an early Easter (again, with cousins) since the kiddos would spend Easter Sunday with their dad. It was my first Easter without the kids home, and though it was a giant bummer, I survived and they had a good time in MN!
The cousin and I spent the final day of March seeing a show downtown Chicago, celebrating Megan’s birthday! We had a great dinner, and an amazing time with my brothers!
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April: I went on a first date that would forever change my life! I wrote about it here. Ryan and I hung out one Saturday afternoon, and have been inseparable since. There was never a question of “is this something?” because we knew instantly, day one, that this was different. And it certainly has been!
May: I went on a quick cousin vacay to Florida with Megan, where I found my first whole sand dollar! We relaxed pool side, beach side, and inside. Without. Kids. It was incredible!!! We drank wine, we played cards, and channeled our best Bette Midler/Barbara Hershey possible. I say we nailed it!
Later in the month we celebrated Lilly’s 12th birthday! The girl continues to amaze me! Twelve has been so good to us all!
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June: The kids had their last day of 4th and 6th grade, and instantly were off to Minnesota for a week with Dad. Ryan and I traveled the opposite direction, and off to our first vacation away together! We rented a cute cabin, on a private lake with perfect views!!! It was absolutely wonderful! We hiked, made great food (okay, HE made great food, I just ate it!), and drank copious amounts of wine and negroni. We played board games, read together, and listened to the same playlist of music on repeat (no wifi!). He fished while I talked (haha!), we explored the private little lake together, and avoided as many bugs as we possibly could in the woods in June!
The kids and I also went to Florida for a week with our cousins! It’s always so great to get time away with them!
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July: We celebrated the 4th in Monticello with the Middleton fam! The kids loved the fireworks show, and the sleepy ride back to the house after the show! Sleeping on a boat was a first for them! SO fun!
Shortly after, Anderson headed off to Camp Lakewood for a week of learning and growing closer to God. He made awesome memories with his friends, and I am so super thankful he is able to go every year. Lilly snuck away for a couple overnights with her cousin Grace, in Michigan (notice a cousin theme?!)!
The following week, Lilly spend her week at church camp…Camp Adventure! Anderson and I had some awesome alone time, and he even got a night away with his Wabash cousins!
As the last of July approached, the kiddos left once again for a summer visit to MN, while Ryan and I spent a night in Chicago! We lunched with my brothers, then we went downtown to do an architectural boat tour, followed by an awesome dinner at a super cool gastropub.
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August: One of my favorite summer memories was a morning in Monticello. Ryan and I woke up fairly early to take his boat out on the calm, gorgeous lake. After traveling some distance, we decided to just turn the boat off and enjoy each other’s company. Literally the most romantic morning E-VER…until we were ready to head back. Ryan joked what a bummer it’d be if the boat didn’t start….and it didn’t! After HOURS later, we were “rescued” by his amazing Uncle Mike, and did the tow of shame back to the house! Seriously, the best part was how calm he was throughout the entire thing- he felt awful but it seriously become one of my favorite summer memories!!
Later that month, Ryan and I took Lilly and her best friend to The Clyde to see Jonny Lang. The girls were awesome, and it was so fun to share this concert with them both!
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September: Ryan and I snuck away for a quick weekend in Florida to spend time with his brother and sis-in-law. It was awesome to be able to spend the time with them. Really really awesome!
We also checked off a bucket list item later in the month…An Anderson East concert!!!!! This time we took Ryan’s sis and her best friend! It was so much fun, and I was a LEGIT fan girl that night!! So awesome!
Crazy enough, just a week later we went to ANOTHER concert, this time in Indy. MAROON 5!! Concert-goers we are not, BUT this year we did it up!!!
At the end of September, Ryan and I took a trip to Santa Fe. You can read about that here.  We made incredible memories together! SO thankful!
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October: MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED!! It was the most BEAUTIFUL weekend EVER!! There are no words to express how incredibly happy I am for my brother!!!!!
I also met the final Middleton sibling while we were in Chicago, and his precious son Adam!! SO awesome!!!
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November: We got a turtle! Oy. After two years of begging, I finally budged and got Anderson a pet turtle. Welcome to the fam, Kirby!
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December: ANOTHER wedding….Ryan’s youngest brother, Jace married the most adorable girl, Lily! The wedding was BEYOND gorgeous, and we are SO excited for their future together!!
We did Christmas together, and with each other’s family. We got a TON of family time in this month, and I am SUPER SUPER thankful!!! It’s been an incredible month!
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As I sit here on the last evening of the year, I am SO very happy. My heart is full, my family is beyond blessed, and I am SO incredibly excited for what’s to come next year!!!

Happy Birthday, brother

A letter to my brother on his 39th birthday:
Dear Brother, 
 
Today on your birthday I want let you know just how incredibly valuable you are to this world. I have watched you my whole life, from your mannerisms, your friendships,and now your marriage. You continue to be someone who I look up to and learn from, and aspire to be more like. You are someone who has shown patience and grace with me, over and over again- even when I don’t deserve it. You have forgiven me in the worst of times, and have been there for me more than I deserve. 
From our earliest childhood memories- mostly tainted with ice-spitting, scarred arms from my pinches, and far too many stories of my “biological Mom”, to our past decade of adult memories, you have consistently been the epitome of loyalty, honesty, and self-awareness. I think back to our childhood years, and to say that you were brave would be an understatement. I always felt safe and protected alongside you, no matter what chaos was occuring in our childhood home. You navigated through your high school years amidst simple-minded, small-town beliefs. You grew into your true self in your college years, and I sat back in awe of just how incredible it was to see someone be so completely himself. I am still in awe of this. 
You have been a constant in my children’s life. You have supported my parenting, and have participated in the kids’ life as much as you can. You have shown up for them, for their games, their school programs, and their many milestones. You have proven to be a person they can call anytime, for French homework help, for fundraiser purchases (!), for piano lessons via Facetime, and for ideas for science fair projects. You. Are. Always. There. For. Them. and they KNOW that. I am beyond thankful for that. 
The past couple years I have learned from you and Rodney what it means to love without condition. I have learned to love limitlessly and fully. I have learned to be confident in myself and my relationship, without seeking validation from anyone else. I look at the way the two of you treat each other- which such respect. I admire you both and the love that you share. Being able to witness your marriage this fall was one of the best times of my life. Being surrounded by an incredible group of friends and family, it was obvious just how many people love you both. 
Thank you for always being my big brother…the good, the bad, the hard, the easy, the tough times and the best of times. Thank you for loving me and my kids, always. Thank you for supporting me, for teaching me, and for helping me. I hope today is the best day ever! You deserve it all! 

Hallmark Boyfriend

Tis the season for all things mush, thanks to Hallmark channel’s annual Christmas movie extravaganza! Before the days of Hallmark-esque movies on Netflix, I too found myself shamelessly tuning in for some of the cheesiest movies Hallmark had to offer each holiday season. Zero. Shame.
This year has proven to be no different, except this year my mini-me, twelve year old has participated in the viewing! Two Hallmark movies into the Christmas season, I had a revelation. You know how each movie has a similar (errr same) story line? Big city guy comes to town to turn the local lodge into a parking lot, only to fall in love with the super sweet country girl who later saves the lodge. Obvi. But don’t even lie that you’ve not at least secretly wished you’d find your own Hallmark movie boyfriend, because ya’ll, ya have!
This is where mush-fest 2018 happened. I found my fingers effortlessly texting my best friend, first warning her that what I was about to admit was not only disgustingly mushy, but also that if she ever told a soul I would deny profusely until my dying day. I told her that while watching the latest Hallmark love-sesh, it hit me– I have my own Hallmark movie boyfriend! (I told you, puke!)
But seriously, every Hallmark movie guy is always super sweet, soft-spoken, ridiculously handsome, and usually has perfect hair. And as my bestie pointed out- he’s always in a sweater! Hello, Ryan! Hahaha!
So while ya’ll sit and watch the latest Hallmark movie, I’ll be over here hugging on my super handsome real-life Hallmark movie boyfriend! Because, dreams really do come true at Christmas time!!