We can all thank Facebook memories for this post. It popped up at the top of my newsfeed on Sunday, and while I knew it was coming soon, I was surprised to see it. It has been exactly a year since we left Virginia to move to Tampa. It has been quite a year, and I’m grateful for a place to reflect.
Creating our Virginia Home
I grew up in the St. Pete/ Clearwater area, so this area is truly home, but Northern Virginia earned its place as home in our hearts. I moved to Woodbridge, Virginia as a college graduate, and I thought it would only be temporary. The short version is that I got a permanent job teaching elementary school, met my husband, and the rest was really history. The longer version is that my husband and I truly created a home together there. We got engaged overlooking the same bay where we would get married a year later. We had our first grown up jobs as teachers. We watched our careers grow. Most importantly, we started our family there. All three of our boys were born in the same hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. We made life-long friends there. We had routines, and overall, the comforts of a “home.”
Over the 11 years that both my husband and I lived in Virginia, we knew that we did not want to stay there permanently. We didn’t see Tampa as our next home until a couple of years ago when we had our routine Christmas time visit here in Tampa. We saw how people were able to spend so much time outdoors, how our boys loved it, how there was a bit of a slower pace, and how great it would be to live near family. We spent time at the beach, saw the joy in each other’s eyes, and decided that if we could make it all work, we would move to Florida.
It sounded so simple but daunting. Somehow everything fell into place, and we found ourselves packing up while I was at the end of my pregnancy. We pulled off the move from VA to FL and lived to tell the tale!
We arrived in Tampa with a set of goals and hopes for our future here. In a year’s time, we have met many of those goals, but not in the ways we expected to. My husband found a new job and starts next week. I never thought I’d be running a blog and organizing events, but here I am! But through it all, we still haven’t made enough memories here yet for it to feel like home.
What is Home?
I’ve lived in many places in my life. My dad is retired Air Force, and we also moved around when I was a kid because he was in the restaurant business. I’ve learned that it takes time to make a place feel like home, but above all, it takes people. When I visited Virginia, of course I had a few destinations that I needed to visit (Wegmans, I MISS YOU!), but I had a list of so many people who I needed to see. I spent time reconnecting, chatting, and just feeling like myself.
I consider myself lucky that I have found a few people here in Tampa who I know will remain life-long friends. It will continue to take time to make it feel like home though.
A Year From Now
I am excited to see what this next year brings. We have goals for our family, for our careers/businesses, and for our kids. They may not happen exactly how we plan, but we know that we will continue embracing Tampa as our home!
My first stop was for a donut and coffee of course! Have you ever had a donut from Duck Donuts? Ohhh emmm geeee. It’s a good thing for my health that they didn’t open the store next to my gym in Virginia until after we moved to Florida. Try the Cinnamon Sugar - it's amazing!
I fit in some wonderful time with my matron of honor from my wedding and another close friend of mine. They were my first friends in Virginia when I started teaching, and we share many memories together.
I next spent the afternoon getting my car serviced. This may sound like a terrible way to spend my first afternoon of freedom, but I didn’t have any kids with me, I had free wifi, and they included a complimentary car wash!
Next, I made sure to include a stop at my favorite nail salon for a little pampering before an evening catching up with a great friend.
Well, Day 2 was a little less about me than Day 1. I did a lot of work and emails for Housewives, had lunch at the AMAZING Warehouse in Alexandria with a contact for a Girls Night Out here in Tampa, and had some work done on my computer. It was a little about me when I was working because I used workspace at Wegmans, the best grocery store ever. I’m happy to debate about how it stacks up against Publix. I made sure to fit in another meal and wine time with my awesome, hospitable friend who hosted me at her home in the evening.
Wednesday morning started with an amazing cycle class with one of my favorite instructors in Virginia. I have a couple great classes in Tampa, but this one felt like home.
I spent the afternoon with my friend (and sort of boss!) from the school system I do some work for. It was great to catch up and connect!
That evening, I was so excited to pick up my husband at the airport! A few days apart and time spent on our own left us refreshed and ready for a couple of days in Virginia without our kiddos.
What I Learned
Of course, time away from my family left me with some pretty intense mommy/wife guilt, but I struggle to explain how important this time was for me. I didn’t go on an exotic vacation. I simply spent a few days being me. Just me, not a wife, not a mom, just me. I know those roles of mom and wife are an important part of who I really am, but I want to know that I can fill my days without that too.
Would you ever take a little vacay for yourself? What would it look like?
Today is my birthday. It’s my 35th birthday to be exact. I’m not one of those people who dreads getting older. As my dad loves to say, it’s better than the alternative! Yeah, it’s a dad joke. Anyway, I have always made a point to enjoy my stage of life and not dwell too much on the past.
However, something about 35 is hitting me hard. I have been reflecting on why, and I think I finally figured it out. I am an adult. There is no escaping it. I don’t really think I could’ve escaped it when I had my third child, or even when I became a teacher (can you be any more “adult” than when you’re teaching a room full of children?), but now, at 35, I’m pretty much full-blown “ma’am,” “lady,” and “woman.”
So, what does this mean? There are some completely unglamorous and downright unpleasant parts of being an adult, and some others that bring a certain freedom and peace that cannot be found without years of experience. I cannot even imagine how I will feel looking back on this post after another 35 years of living!
So for the unglamorous, I am now expected to manage and follow a budget, keep my home clean (ha, as if that ever really happens though!), and cook at least one dish that will result in people asking for the recipe. I also feel the pressure to know what to wear for every occasion, including not only the clothes, but the accessories, shoes, and jewelry. Oof.
There are a number of things that I LOVE about being an adult. I love knowing that I have the responsibility and pleasure of taking care of three children every day. I made them and they drive me a little crazy, especially during the summer, but I am their mom, and it doesn’t get more adult than that. I love that I have a husband who works hard for his family, and who I get to daydream with about our future. I love the certain peace I have about who I am and how at this point, I know I can’t expect everyone to like me. Just gotta do you, right?
Overall, being 35 is going to be great, and I know it’s just a number. Somehow though, it feels heavier and more grown-up than 34.
What do you think? Is 35 a milestone year? Or is it just another on the road to 40??
“Wow, you have THREE boys?? You must never sleep!”
“How do you get it all done??”
“Three boys must keep you very busy!”
Any time it comes up that I have three sons, I usually hear a variation on one of these phrases. I politely smile or make a dumb joke about how I don’t know how it all gets done, but the truth is, I have a (not-so) secret weapon. I have an amazing husband who is an incredible father and husband, and on this Father’s Day, I want to recognize him.
Watching my husband grow from the young man I met when we were both teachers in Virginia to the man I know today who is the father to three sons has been nothing short of incredible. I count myself lucky to have a husband who my sons are excitedly waiting to see every day when he comes home from work, a husband who gladly plays with the boys and takes them on adventures, and who above all, shows our sons how to be a supportive, loving husband.
Something Dan knows about me is that I’m “not so good with the words,” which is particularly funny since I’m now writing a blog, so I will wrap this up with some of my favorite pictures showing my husband shine as a loving father. Happy Father's Day, Dan!
Hello and thank you for finding your way here! My name is Diana and I am beyond excited to be bringing the Housewives in the City Girls Night Out and Meet-ups to Tampa. I'd love to start off by sharing a bit about myself. I grew up over the bay in Pinellas, and after attending Florida State University (Go Noles!), I moved to Northern Virginia. After 12 wonderful years in Virginia, we decided the best way to spend our summer was packing up and moving our family of 5 (including a newborn) to Tampa. We are truly a special kind of crazy!
I love meeting new people here and connecting with old friends as much as possible. And do you know what I've learned? You are all SO FRIENDLY! When I saw the opportunity to bring the Housewives in the City to Tampa, I knew this area would be perfect for so many women of different backgrounds to connect and forge new friendships. I meet women every day who mention how challenging it can be to make new friends. Let's fix that! My goal is to create a wonderful network of women who love to have fun at our events!
There is never a dull moment in my life, and I am happy to share with you! A few of my favorites: the beach, cake decorating, cycle class, pizza, flip flops
Things I do not love: fish, negative people, traffic
So, please stick around as I explore all things Tampa and stay tuned for our first Girls Night Out in January!
If you see me around, please say hi!
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!