Grief at one year


One year ago, I lost the most important woman in my life.  My Mother.  She was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in December and passed away on July 31, 2011 after suffering tremendously.
There is so much to say about the past year of living through grief but, on the other hand, there is not much to say at all.  There is no question that this was the hardest year of my life.  I struggled.  Pretty much every single aspect of my life suffered- my health, my marriage, my liver, and my friendships.

I miss my Mom with every fiber of my being.  I would trade almost anything in my life just to hear her laugh again or to watch her smirk at me for saying something inappropriate.  I really just miss her... I miss my Mom.

I am still bitter that she is dead.  It is very difficult for me to not roll my eyes when people write negatively about their own Mother's on facebook.  When people write FML (the traffic sucks and I am late or the line at Starbucks is too long or I forgot my lunch or I got a silly traffic ticket), I want to slap them through the computer screen.

I am bitter that my Mom, a woman who dedicated her life to her family, her community, and acquaintances had to die when all of these crappy loser Moms seem to live forever.  I am bitter that my Mom, a midwife who was obsessed with babies, doesn't get the opportunity to delight in her grandchildren.  I am bitter that I have to go through life without being able to consult the person that I respected and trusted most in life.  I am bitter that she had to leave my Dad alone.  I am bitter that she left before we were ready.

I still struggle with the memories of her passing.  It was all so terrible and violent and scary.  I wake up in the middle of the night remembering rubbing her lifeless body and petting her face, not wanting to stop touching her, knowing I would never be able to touch her again.  I can't think about any of it without tearing up and I often lay in bed battling with the memories.

Right around 9 months, I turned a corner in my grief process and became less desperately sad.  I am stable now.  I don't cry every day anymore.  I don't wish I could drown into the bottom of a wine bottle anymore.  I don't feel emotionally distant from my daughter anymore.  I don't feel like leaving my husband due to being emotionally over-whelmed anymore.

At one year, I can say that I am healing.  Slowly.  Surely.  I wish I didn't have to.  But I am.

**like always, the comments have been turned off for this post but feel free to email me if you'd like**

Grief at 

How do you make that money, honey


Today I am linking up with Lindsey to show "How I make my money, honey".

Here's how I make my money.
{full disclosure.  I stole this pic off the internet.  My bedroom looks junky.  Remember this post?  Well, we still haven't done our bedroom}
And by taking care of this.

Sometimes he gives me bonus's because of this.
This is how I make my money, honey.  My husband provides it because I keep his kid alive and share a bedroom with him.

Happy Monday ladies!

ps- if your visiting from the linkup, welcome!  Stay a while.  Leave a comment telling me your'e new so I can come follow you back!

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Military Monday: Kathryn- Robins AFB, GA

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
Name and blog site: 
Kathryn, Singing Through the Rain (

Branch of service: Air Force

Where currently stationed: Robins AFB, GA
How long have you been there?: We have been here since January 2009 so about 3 and half years now.

Favorite restaurant in the area: Mmm so many to choose from... the two I go to the most are: O’Charley’s and FATZ Cafe.

Previous duty stations
This is our first duty station, but we are really excited to travel and see more!

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
1) Ok so this isn’t in Warner Robins, but only about 20 minutes away are these awesome shops called, The Shopps at Rivercrossing ( It is actually pretty new as it wasn’t there when we first moved here and every time I go, they are building more and more there. It’s a lot of fun because it’s an outdoor mall so you can walk around outside and go in and out as you visit the shops.
2) Lane Southern Orchards ( is my second favorite place to go - more so when it is in-season to do so. It’s also a great place to take family and friends from out of town, because it definitely gives them a chance to get a small taste of Georgia. Basically it’s a place to go and buy fresh food or even to handpick it yourself. We have gone strawberry picking there more than once for their delicious strawberries. They also have a playground for the kids, tons of homemade food samples inside and the most delicious homemade ice cream and desserts you will ever taste!
3) Another great place to take family and friends to is the Museum of Aviation ( It is on base property, but is technically not on the base as it is not behind the gate so anyone can go to it. It’s not a huge museum, but there are several different buildings filled with planes, lots of history and more! I am not usually into Museums, but I have enjoyed going on more than one occasion.
4) I know this is 4 not 3, but I just had to add that Atlanta is only 2 hours from the base, Savannah is also only 2 hours from the base. Hilton Head is about 3 hours from the base. All places great for shopping, site-seeing and even the beach!

Favorite duty station so far: 
This is our first duty station.

Who is your hero? 
Honestly? Every military wife is my hero. I have watched what so many military wives have gone through during deployment and while their husbands are away and it amazes and inspires me. Military wives are a strong bunch of women!

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? 
I’d say the biggest drawback to this base is that it is mostly civilian which is rare. The ratio of civilian and contract workers on the base to active duty military is high. About 70% civilians work on this base. Of course I don’t have anything against civilians, but it does cause some difficulty. There are a lot hostilities between the military and civilians that work on base.

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? Every year they have the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon. I have never been, but I hear it’s wonderful. It’s a pretty big event. They also have the Georgia National Fair every fall which I had the privileged to attend last year right before my husband deployed, and I have to say I had a blast! I definitely recommend going.

Have you joined any groups on base? 
There is an Officer’s Club on base and an Enlisted Club  just got started. I haven’t joined yet, but I think it’s going to be a great thing to have! Also there are tons of Facebook groups for this base. Mommy groups, babysitting co-op groups, yard sale groups, you name it, you can find it! I started one of the main groups when I first got here called, Wives at Robins AFB. We get together once a month to go out to dinner or lunch and to meet new friends. It’s been a great way to make friends and to have a support group in the area.

Winner winner!


The winner of the Paper Coterie photo book is...
Krysten from

Hope everybody is enjoying their weekends. I am off to a friends house in the country. We are going to swim, eat, drink and let the kids run around like wild banchees.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

And because no post can be complete without me making myself look like a complete fool, here's my attempt at a cute "Look! I'm in the third row of the car packed in with all of this stuff because we are going out to party in the country!" pic. Obviously an epic fail.
Yeah, epic fail.

Friday all day long- letters


Dear Friday- It is always good to see you.  It is sort of weird since I am a stay at home Mom.  Who cares about Friday?  It is not like that means two days off laying in bed in my PJ's ordering a Pizza Hut Veggie Lovers pizza and watching crappy TV like it used to when I worked full time and didn't have a cling-on.  The weekend pretty much looks the exact same as Monday through Friday.  It feels different though- in a good way.

Dear Krista from Army Wifestyle- See you today.  This is going to be my first date in a long, long time.  In fact, it is my very fist internet date ever in my whole life.  Please don't end up being a psycho and cutting Eva and me into a million pieces.  I am excited to meet a new friend in Maryland!

Dear Husband- Thank you for being a man.  Not a wimpy, feminine, 3/4 sleeve shirt wearing, unemployed, fake prescription eye glass wearing loser.

Dear Eva- Thank you for still being scared of me when I say, "That is it Eva.  3!..  2!...".  I know it's not going to last forever but it does make my life a bit easier right now.  On that same page, when I swat your butt, it is not funny.  It is supposed to sting a little and make you stop the bad behavior (ie, running away from me when you're supposed to be in time out for telling me "NO!" yet again).  Newsflash, you're supposed to take me a little more seriously. Oh, and I am totally obsessed with you.  I wonder all the time whether all of the other Moms feel the same way about their kids that I do about you.  My heart is so full that it aches with joy, pride, and unconditional love.

Dear California- I know it's only been a few months since I was home but I'll see you again in a few weeks.  I can't wait to see my nieces and nephew.  singing California love (are you singing the song in your head now?)

Dear granite suppliers- Please be kind to us this weekend.  Help us make a choice.  Make the sale but please don't screw us.

Dear Housewives- NYC- you are lame this year.  Teresa- you are psychotic.  You have totally lost your grip on reality and it is totally not interesting to watch your delusional nonsense.  Melissa Gorga- can I please have your body.  Please?  Kim Zolciak- Are you still pregnant?  You and Jessica Simpson should meet up and discuss how to deal with 20 month long pregnancies.

Dear blog- Sorry that the photo quality has diminished from exclusively Rebel T2i to 3Gs instagram. I am going to stop being a lazy picture taker starting today. I promise.

Dear Readers- As always, thanks for coming back.  I am stoked that you are reading.  I am pos that there are an epic number of other blogs out there that you could be investing your time in but it's like sick that you keep showing up here... And yes, I am practicing my So Cal slang before my upcoming trip.

Have you entered my Paper Coterie giveaway yet?  It ends tonight!

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

If you're sensitive do not look at the picture below.  
If you're not sensitive, how freaking funny is this...

Thoughts on giveaways....


I know there are lots of blogs who don't do giveaways and sort of look down on the blogs that do.  I have read lots of blog posts about how annoying giveaways are.  In fact, I just read a post about how lame blogs who do giveaways are and how it it takes away from the integrity of the blog as a whole.  Most of the biggie, super popular blogs don't do them unless they are tied to their sponsors.

Here are my thoughts...  

Because I have an active, growing blog with a fair amount of readers, companies reach out to me to promote their products on my blog.  If they offer to give something to my readers for free, as long as it's not something totally bizarre or lame, I am going to offer it to you.  

Why?...  Well, why not.  It is free to you.  It is free to me.  I am in a position to bring awareness, attention, and traffic to the hosting company.  You like free stuff.  We all do.

If you don't like giveaways, DON'T ENTER!  You don't have to.  Seriously, there are plenty of other people who like free stuff.  If you get super annoyed that I do giveaways, I guess you can stop looking.  

There are plenty of people who appreciate free stuff.  I am not offering these giveaways to try to gain followers but it seems silly to not give out free stuff that is offered.

I think of it like this...  Thank you for reading.  Want some free stuff?  Great!  Here you go!

My blog is and always will be my personal spot to share thoughts, ideas, memories, and photos.  I don't feel like I am selling my soul to give you (the reader) free stuff.

So there.  Those are my thoughts.  Hate giveaways?  Sorry, I am not sorry.

PS- ENTER MY Paper Coterie giveaway NOW!  

Giveaway- Paper Coterie


I ordered a photo journal from Paper Coterie the other day. It is adorable.
I chose a bunch of my favorite pictures, chose the text that I wanted and with a couple clicks, my cute little journal was born.
They are kindly offering one free journal + shipping to a reader of Handling With Grace.
To enter, use the rafflecopter below. You don't have to have a blog to enter. If you have trouble with the rafflecopter widget, email me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Military Monday: Jane- Schofield Barracks, HI


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: 

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

How long have you been there?: 2 years

Favorite restaurant in the area: Kona Brewing Company

Previous duty stations: None

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
1) Snorkeling. My favorite spot is Hanauma Bay but no matter where you go you're bound to see some tropical fish, turtles, eels and other fun sea creatures.
2) Beach hopping. There are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world 15-30 minutes away. Beach hopping is one of our favorite weekend activities.
3) Luau. For special occasions and when company comes to town we always go to a luau. It's such a blast, great food, entertainment and some tropical drinks.
Favorite duty station so far:
Schofield Barracks. Trick question, this has been our only duty station but, it's really wonderful. I consider us very lucky living here.

Who is your hero?
My husband. Is that just too cliche? But, he is. He is smart, hardworking, puts up with me when I am being downright ridiculous. Plus, he would be a great partner if the zombie apocalypse ever comes to pass.
What is the biggest drawback to your current duty station?
#1, there is no Chipotle. Shocking, I know. Seriously though, it's very expensive. You do receive COLA which helps, but it's still pricey. It's hard to travel to and from here, we miss friend's weddings and graduations because it's too expensive to fly. Buying a house here is completely unrealistic.

What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
I was warned before coming to Hawaii that the military population is not welcomed. I have to say, I have never seen or experienced this. The military presence is huge on Oahu, there is Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. I have always felt very warm and welcomed. Hawaii is laid back and has a great atmosphere.
How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
I have mixed feelings on this. In my experience, along with everyone I know, it was very difficult making friends here. Everyone tends to keep to themselves, neighbors don't know each other, etc. But, the friends I have made are all truly wonderful people.

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
There are tons of great festivals. Spam Fest, Pineapple Festival, Hawaii State Fair, and the Food & Wine Festival to name a few.


On house reno and marriage


When I started this kitchen project, my husband wanted NOTHING to do with it.  He refused to help pick out the tile back splash or have an opinion about paint.  He wanted no part of making decisions or helping with the project.

Lets fast forward a week.

He is involved in every. single. decision.

Mr. "Just do what you want" is changing my choices and re-thinking my plans.  We spent all day looking at granite counters and at this point, we are probably taking all of the tile that I purchased back and RE-PAINTING the kitchen that I just spent all day painting.

This, ladies, is why you can never believe your husband when they tell you, "I don't care!  Just make some decisions and do it.".

I guess this is akin to "No, honey.  Sure.  Go to the bar with your friend after work...  Whatever.  I don't care".

You know how no man should ever listen to his wife when she says, "Whatever.  I don't care"?  Apparently no woman should ever listen to her husband when he says, "It's your kitchen.  Do what you want."


Friday latters 7.20.12


Dear Eva: I cannot get enough.  I know all Moms feel like that this but I am obsessed with you.  You are my everything.  Seriously.
Dear Botox- See you again soon.
Dear wrinkles- I've seen enough of you lately.  I am not going to miss you when you're gone.
Dear Maryland summer storms- Enough already.  Do we really need a crazy lightening/thunder storm every single night?  I will lose my crap if we lose power again.  Please.
Dear "fever"- Yes, I get it.  I hear yah.  Believe me, we're working on it.
Dear readers: I appreciate you!  Thanks for sticking around.  Let's do another giveaway, shall we?  I haven't put the post together yet so come back on Monday and I will have it up and running.

Happy Friday!  

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Thinking out loud


I attended a Maryland State Foster Parent discipline class last night.  We spent three hours talking about appropriate, legal ways to discipline teenagers who are working their way through the state system.  

It got me thinking, maybe that is my calling.  

There are so many kids and teens who need a home.  There are so many kids who need to experience a normal, healthy, balanced family.  There are so many kids who need a patient adult to teach them social norms and appropriate behaviors.  There are so many kids who just need to be loved.
We have plenty of room in our house.  I have plenty of time.  WE have plenty of love.

I am certainly not jumping in to anything but it is definitely an idea that is bouncing around in my head and tugging at my heart.  

...Just thinking out loud.

It's all about me, me me!


Very rarely do I do a "getting to know you" post because quite honestly, isn't just having a blog narcissistic enough as it is, BUT, Becky is hosting it so I have to join in. Here we go!

1. Did you go to college? If so where and what did you study?
Yes! I got my Bachelors degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego in beautiful La Jolla, California and my Masters degree in psychology from Northcentral University.

2. Where have you traveled?
I have been fortunate to travel a lot over my 29 (*ahem) years.   I've been all over the US (everywhere in CA, Seattle, NYC, DC, New Orleans, Biluxi, NV, AZ, TN, KY, NC, all over FL), a couple places in Mexico, London, Paris, Heidelberg, Germany, Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Austria, Prague, Iceland, and Hawaii.
{vacay in New Orleans}
3. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing that you would buy?
Probably a vacation.   A long vacation.  I'd bring my family and spend my days talking to B about what to do next and how we are going to spend the rest of our days.  Oh, and drinking lots of fruity cocktails.
 {perhaps a couple weeks in Greece?}
4. What are three pet peeves?
1. Bad service.  Number one.  Hands down.  If you suck at customer service, get out of the service industry.   If you don't like serving people, don't be a server!  If you used to like it but people annoy you now, get a new job!  I hate when I have to pay someone who is supposed to serve me and they suck at serving. (ps- yes, I have worked in the service industry and know that it is not always fun and sometimes it is the patron that is the idiot but guess what?  When you work in the service industry you're supposed to suck it up.)
2. Flakiness.  Hate it.  Follow through.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.
3. When my husband doesn't listen to me and/or disagrees with me.   What?   I'm supposed to be honest, right?!

5. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Wine.  Definitely.  Cabernet to be exact.  Who really drinks water, anyways?

6. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

Write this blog, drink wine, and watch trashy reality tv (I am obsessed with everything Bravo).

7. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?

That is hard.  I am super cheap so I wouldn't want to spend it all on clothes.  I love Ross but I am not sure I need $10,000 worth of Ross stuff in my house.  Maybe the NEX so I could get a random sampling of things (clothes, furniture, etc)?

8. What day would you love to relive again?

Any day with my Mom.  I would just go back to hug her and see her smile and tell her I love her and thank you.  One more time.  

**taking a break to go cry for a minute**

9. If your life was turned into a movie... what actor would play you?
Since we're all in agreement that my only doppleganger is a weird old man, I would have to pick someone totally random.  I guess I would choose Reese Whitherspoon.  She is just so darn likable.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
Executive recruiter, executive assistant, product (alcohol) rep, horse trainer/exerciser.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college.

{I blurred their faces to protect their dignity.  I, on the other hand, am not worried about my dignity.  Here is us in high school before we went out to a house party for Halloween}
Just for good measure, here is another one. 
{vacay in San Fran when we were 19ish}
15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Africa.  I NEED to go on a safari at some point before I die.  

16. Show us the most current picture of you or you, or your family, or anything of meaning to you. 

Here is a current picture of my daughter and I 

My husband and I
And my favorite picture (my sisters, Mom, and I)
17. Where do you see your life 5 years from now?
The SAHM of 2 babies (probably a 7 year old and a 5 year old), married to B, he will still be working where he is at now, same house we're in now.  I guess in a similar place that I am in now.  I have it pretty good right now so I guess I hope it is pretty similar. 

I think that is probably enough about me, me me!  Leave a comment so I can come follow you back!  Hope your'e enjoying your Tuesday!

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Military Monday: Brittany- Ft. Bragg, NC


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: 
Brittany at Aviation of Love

Branch of service: 

Where currently stationed:
Fort Bragg, NC

How long have you been there?:
I’ve been here for 4 years and my husband has been here for a long 8 years.

Favorite restaurant in the area:
For BBQ it is hands down going to be Fatbacks BBQ & Ribshack.  They work out of a trailer that a guy pulls behind his truck that looks like a log cabin.  He was actually on the show BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America and made it to the finals.  He didn’t win but he did come in 2nd place.  They have ribs, chicken, and regular BBQ.  My personal favorite is the BBQ plate. He actually gets to open up his own restaurant that won’t be behind his trailer in a few short weeks.  It is amazing eatin’!  They also do catering on the side!

Previous duty stations:
We have NEVER been to any other duty stations.  Shane hasn’t either in all his 8 years in the Army.  We did, however, just get orders to Fort Bliss and will be moving at the end of September!

3 favorite things to do in your current city: 
* Go dancing hands down.  I love country bars so my favorite is this bar called Cadillac Ranch. It’s a line dancin’ bar, even if you can’t line dance well or really dance at all, you can have a great time with cheap drinks.
* I just got into reading about 2 years ago (I’ve always hated reading).  So you can generally always find me at a Barnes and Noble or the local used book trading store called 2nd and Charles.
* We love to go shootin’ guns.  We grew up in a small town where you can just go over the hill and have your own targets which is cheaper than ranges but I’ll take going to the range too.   Also, if you go to the range you see all the other guns you have the chance to shoot too.

Favorite duty station so far: 
I don’t have any to judge from so I honestly can’t say that Fort Bragg is my favorite or least favorite.

Who is your hero?
This is cliché but I have to say my husband.  He and I have really been through a lot in our 4 years of marriage.  I’ve seen how being deployed multiple times has affected him.  I’ve seen him at his worst moments and I’ve seen him at his best moments.  I’ve saved his life before which is something that will change your perspective on your life and your marriage!

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?
This base is over- crowded.  The roads can’t handle the traffic and because of traffic it could take you 15 to 20 minutes to go 10 minutes up the road.  Fort Bragg has the biggest suicide rate over any base in the Army so we are always hearing sad news.  Post housing tends be pretty crappy, in my opinion.  The hospital can’t handle nearly half of the population on this base and the parking blows so go prepared to walk in the busy hours.  Most doctors won’t give you anything more than motrin for ANYTHING because the drug problem here is out of control. 
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