It was time to come home.

I’ve tried to write this post about a dozen times over the last year and just could not find a rhythm for it. Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post titled “When you’re married to the boss” and ended it with:

Success is the real vulnerability in Entrepreneurism – because once you prove you can, you have to keep proving you should.

Fast forward 5 years and last April we made the announcement that Aaron had successfully sold his company of 15 years. Elevator Up was acquired.

The reactions were varied, but mostly confused, if I’m being honest. People were excited for us in an arms-length sort of way. There were a lot of jokes about being able to retire now, and what were we going to do with our millions of dollars, which, I have no words for. The idea that we made bank was implied, it was a huge leap for people to take and they didn’t even look around for warnings – they just jumped; we haven’t, and won’t discuss the financial side of this sale. But in the very quick assumption by most people looking in from the outside, we immediately felt lonely and vulnerable.

Selling the company wasn’t an overnight decision, it didn’t “just happen”. Back in 2014 we had started talking about what the future of his company looked like. Could he see himself doing the same thing in 5, 10, 20 years? We were constantly having the conversation about what’s next? Not just for the business, but for our family, for us.

Aaron felt the weight of the burden of proof every single month. The company grew, which was amazing, but so did the monthly nut it took to keep things going. Demand for higher wages in a midwest lifestyle, more flexible work schedules, more more more. Being the owner, we learned long ago, meant we weren’t confidants or friends – although we always tried to be there for whoever was working on our team. We invited them into our home, we fed them, we cared deeply for the people who chose to spend their time with us, in any capacity.

Next week Aaron starts a new chapter, he will be an employee again, and this also confuses folks. How can he go from being the one in charge to being “just one of the many” underneath someone else? You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re assuming he’s never had a boss before, he’s never worked on a team, instead of just leading one. His new role has plenty of autonomy for him, but the last year he’s been able to spend at home decompressing from the last 15 years, going to therapy, being available to our kids and learning how to be bored has been the real gift.

We are beyond fortunate enough to even have had the opportunity for Aaron to take a gap year. We’ve been frugal, we have no debt, and Aaron has been a wonderful provider for our family. But selling Aaron’s company (and later the same year, his other companies) had very little to do with finances.

It was time. Aaron was burnt-out. He was angry, tired and weary. He was suffering. I learned a very valuable lesson almost 16 years ago when my dad died of cancer; Aaron and I were in our first year of marriage and we were expecting a baby: Life is too fucking short, you guys. It’s not about the dollars. It’s about the value in your life, and Values.

Have you made memories? Did you love someone well? Do you even know how to say yes? What if you just said no? Maybe, just maybe the answer isn’t always what everyone else has done, will do, is doing. Quite possibly, it’s the wackadoo idea in the back of your mind. The dead-end road you’re curious about, the sign that says “open”. What are you even curious about? What lights you up like the 4th of July? Do more of that. Read about it, learn about it, do it for free, volunteer for it, cheer for it. Become its biggest fan. One day you’ll find yourself in the game and it will have all been worth it.

Every day that closes the gap between this year and the next adventure, I get a little more emotional. Right now with all the social distancing and quarantine happening for Covid-19, Aaron’s more accessible than ever. Right in the back yard, near us, close to home, here.

And next week he’ll be out there. Over there, away, gone … again. I used to tell my therapist that the best way I could describe how I was feeling as the wife of an entrepreneur was this: we (the kids and I) were standing on a dock watching Aaron sail away on his big idea. It was hopeful and exciting and there was a plan for the ship to return … but the longer it went on, the farther he went. And instead of being able to see the ship from the shore, eventually it got so far away that we couldn’t make out its shape against the horizon. We were left behind.

The ship came back this past year. It docked, he disembarked and we had the reunion of a fucking lifetime. He came home.

And it was good.

March 17 // Coronavirus Quarantine Day 2

March 17, 2020

We got this. We can do this. Yesterday was … how do you say … hard. I think the vast amount of information I had been taking in finally caught up with me. That and coming to terms with the loss of privacy or alone time hit me hard yesterday. But today is a new day and already I’m feeling better.

March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

Yesterday started like I’m sure every day will start for the foreseeable future: the kids were awake before me checking their email and getting a jump start on their studies for the day. Or pinteresting. It’s hard to tell. I made my coffee, did the dishes, sat down for a minute and then freaked out.

Aaron has been able to set up an at-home office here so he’s generally only a hundred feet away, in the tinyhouse in our backyard, and he was getting our daughter signed up for some online learning, among other things. Like I mentioned earlier: the vast amount of information I had, to this point, been digesting really hit me. Add to this the onslaught of new accounts to sign-in to, more online systems to learn and oversee and the general sense of overwhelm I started to feel: this is what broke me.

March 17, 2020

I politely asked for everything to please stop. As in, stop sending me invites to new things. I cannot with the amount of tasks at hand, give a shit about a family slack channel. Also, please leave me alone. We don’t have any carrots in the house and how am I supposed to make the lunch I planned without a carrot to chop?! WE NEED CARROTS.

I went there, guys. I went dark. Everything fell apart over a slack channel and carrots. There were actual tears. And then we made lunch (a new, different lunch plan) and the kids were getting along and I announced we would be LEAVING THE HOUSE TO FIND SOME NATURE FOR A WALK.

March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

It. Was. Awesome. So we hiked Sanctuary Woods (with most of Holland) and driving away from the house in a car felt like rebelion. It was naughty and I wanted the chance to explain to everyone who saw us that we were just going to a park, away from people, to be outside.

After our hike, there was more school work to complete and then a lot of down time until dinner. I put my headphones on and disappeared for a while. I started drinking wine and feeling better and texting family and friends.

March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020

The kids learned how to play Jacks and we ended up watching old home movies for hours past their bedtime, which is relative at this point. They finally went upstairs and Aaron and I sat there staring at our phones with a mindless show as background noise. It was a day. And we got through it.

Coronavirus Quarantine Day 1

Quarantine day 1

Yesterday was the first day of my kids’ schools being canceled. We have one in the public school system (high school) and another in a private school (middle school). Our high schooler doesn’t have any instruction from school yet, school just … stopped. And our middle schooler has a school-issued laptop where emails stream in with instructions and google-classroom work and the engine keeps moving.

Quarantine day 1

I decided to pick up my camera and document the everyday moments of the quarantine. I’m immunocompromised as a type 1 diabetic and we’re staying on top of the information available. We had expected school to be canceled and in my 24 hours of prepping mentally for it, I had grand ideas of schedules and menus and regular exercise. We did go for a walk yesterday, I did make a bunch of food, as planned, but I spent a lot of time on my phone digesting new and ever-changing information. I listened to hours of podcasts with headphones on in the same room as my children while they did school work, called friends or read. We played a game, Aaron went to the office and recreated an office here at home. At one point, I took a shower.

Quarantine day 1

And then it snowed.

We watched a movie together before sending the kids to bed and all my anxious energy finally had a place to go: up and out of me. Suddenly I realized that I would have to repeat today all over again. And again. And again. I haven’t had any feelings of panic about this situation until last night. It sounds irrational when I write it, and selfish. And yet, here I am. In day 2 of some weird version of Ground Hogs Day.

The upsides are this: I’ve always wanted to try homeschooling my kids. At exactly these ages, which is weird and awesome and I will rock Home-Ec like no other. Personal Finance, Credit building, How to obtain a mortgage, buy a house, balance a checkbook. I’m here for it. We’ll plan a garden, bake bread, and dance in the living room.

I haven’t decided how yet but I want to use my huge picture window in the front of our house as some sort of message board. “Free bread” “We’re all in this together” or just opening the blinds and turning all the lights on when it’s dark outside and slow dancing. A moving picture for whoever needs one that we still get to be held, loved, wanted, needed and together.

All the things

This Fall has been so full, fun and it seems like time has sped up. Like, I feel it in my bones – maybe I’m going faster than I usually do, or the faucet turned on inside of me and there’s no slowing my roll when it comes to ideas or gumption or enthusiasm.

2019-08-25 19.07.00

I have so much to share with you, offer you, and tell you.

First – in August I did something new called “Tour of Homes” which started out as an idea I shared on Instagram.

It quickly turned into an event but more of an evening with friends. Here’s a blurb about it:

Tour of Homes is a way to see inside the lives of every day people that decided to redo some or all of their home. Often these updates are only seen by a select few but after getting a chance to see and be inspired by so many ourselves, we asked a few friends and brave souls if they’d be willing to show others what they’ve been working on.

Tour of homes
2019-08-25 19.55.23

The evening ended in the Glass House and magic happened.

More about that soon! But right now, down to what I have to share with you … we’re doing it again! Another Tour of Homes is happening in October and you can get your tickets here.

Before that, on Sunday, October 6th, I’m offering Fall Mini-Shoots and have a handful of open spots yet. It’s a photoshoot within a 30 minute time slot and guaranteed 15-20 images/digital files for you to use as you please. More info here. (And because I’m super good at technology (that’s a joke) you’ll likely have to request to gain access to the form, I’m sorry, I don’t understand google forms)

truck

There will be a number of different fall vignettes to choose from, including one like the truck above. I am so excited!

If October 6th doesn’t work for you – a few photographer friends are also offering Fall Mini-sessions.

BeeTree Studios has some availability on Thursday, October 17th and Friday, October 18th. Follow this link for more information. (There’s a pony!)

pony_beetree

Expression Studios is another option, with details coming soon. Like their facebook page for details later today. They’re thinking of offering them on October 26th or 27th.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

I mentioned the Glass House earlier … you’ll want to sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know when they have events. One of their first events is going to be October 5th and I’m going!! I cannot wait to learn how to make sourdough bread from Becky. It’s definitely a workshop type class, and a good half day one at that. If you’re as curious in the kitchen as I am and have the time to invest in this – check out the details here.

2019-08-25 19.13.25

In summary – here’s what’s going on this Fall:

OCTOBER 5TH – Sourdough for the people $150
OCTOBER 6TH – Fall Mini-shoots with me $100
OCTOBER 17TH/18TH – Fall mini-sessions with BeeTree Studios $125
OCTOBER 20TH – Tour of Homes // October Edition $10
OCTOBER 26TH/27TH – Fall mini-sessions with Expression Studios (details coming soon)

What else is going on around town/Where are you spending time this fall? Leave your ideas in the comments!

** No affiliate links have been used, I’m just really excited and like to share.