30.

A lot of women struggle with turning 30. It’s the end of your 20’s. The wrinkles start. The hips are bigger, especially if you’ve had children, and your metabolism slows down tremendously. There’s also other things that happen…like weird dark hairs that grow into your chin that you have to pluck out. Or bleach. Or both. Things are not hopelessly saggy, like you can still rock it if you need to, but when the bra comes off, there is a definite drop that wasn’t there before. You know what I mean. Cellulite creeps in. It’s hard to stay toned, like you actually have to watch what you eat and work out. Not to mention the gray hairs and wrinkles that are starting to form.

Sounds dreadful, right? But 30. Thirty it is. I’ve arrived. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a bonafide adult. I’m 30. I have cellulite. And some to spare if you’d like some for yourself. I’ve nursed two kids for over a year, so things are not perking up like they used to be. I have gray hair that I dye. I have wrinkles and think it’s flattering when I get ID’d at the store to purchase wine.

Nothing pleases me more than going to bed at 10:00 at night, and I love, love, love to have hot coffee in the morning without interruption. I hate small talk. I know the kind of people I want in my life as friends. I don’t want to walk with you through your journey to “finding yourself.” I did that in college/early motherhood and I’m done now. I’m saving the rest of that energy for my kids when they will need it. I know the kind of mother I want to be to my children. I am starting to realize that my body is pretty awesome looking for a 30 year old mother of 2 who has been pregnant 5 times. I eat dinner before 6:00 every evening. And yes, I get annoyed if there are people out and loud after 11. I want to stay in and watch TV with my husband. I avoid crowds like the plague. I don’t know where to shop because I’m too old for Forever 21, but too cheap for Anthropologie. The last movie I went to see in theaters was the Minions, and this weekend, my husband and I went wine tasting and to a garden resort to stay with the rest of the geriatrics because those are our people now.

To me, 30 brings confidence. I am grabbing 30 and running with it, wildly and freely, in a way 20 cannot ever catch up with.

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Dinner Time

Wow. You guys, I am terrible at blogging these days. Terrible. But, I’ve been enjoying life outside of the internet, so can you really blame me? Anyway….today’s post is dedicated to meal sharing. It’s something both Kyle and I hold near and dear, and it’s played a pretty significant role in our lives.

I first learned about the joys that come with hospitality from a really young age. My dad pastored a small community church for a few years while I was growing up. Looking back, I can’t really remember any Sunday after church that my parents didn’t prepare a huge spread for a table filled with people. To me, it was normal–expected even–to have a large group of strangers over for dinner at least once every week.

Sharing a meal brings community. I was reminded of this just over the weekend. I turned 28 on the 21, and that day is pretty rough for me. Not because I’m slowly approaching 30, but because of the significance of my 27th birthday. But what could make a tainted birthday a little better? Sharing a meal with friends.

*Photos are courtesy of the lovely Jen B.*

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

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Some of my favorite people, missing Jen B who is snapping the photo. These friends are true gems. I can’t even begin to describe it.

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The chef and the hostess. He’s a pretty hot lookin’ griller isn’t he?

 

To Kyle and I, our friends are an extension of family. We live thousands of miles from both sides of our families, so we’ve learned to adopt some close friends in the area to fill that void. Until rapid travel is possible, it’s just what we need to do. And one of our favorite ways to connect with people is by sharing a meal. I think we would host someone almost every day. I love to cook big, hearty meals, and Kyle is becoming quite the master griller, so between the two of us, we’ll get you full 🙂

But it’s not about the food. It’s what happens around it. We laugh, we tell stories, we build relationships. I think too many of us don’t take sharing a meal seriously. Our society is pretty busy, so actually sitting down for a proper meal isn’t always something we prioritize. Well, I’m going to challenge you on that. Make it a priority. Even if it’s once a week that you make a full dinner and sit with your family. Then take it a step further, invite someone else over. No one cares if your table is perfect. No one will mind if you cook a terrible meal (I have done that before, and we all had a good laugh over it). In fact, you can even ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. What sharing a meal is about is building community. Whether it’s over grilled cheese sandwiches or a big juicy steak, it really doesn’t matter.

So, who are you going to share your table with?

Lady Friends

So…I just got back from attending my city’s local IF: Gathering. If you don’t know what it is, look it up. If you know what it is, I strongly encourage you to go next year if you couldn’t make it this time around. If you went, aren’t you like…woah. Life changing and beautiful stuff. My mind is still spinning. So much so that I was processing some of the things I heard over the past two days while in the shower this morning–it’s where I do all my best processing–and when I got done, I realized I had been so sucked into digesting everything that I couldn’t remember if I had washed my hair or not.

So this conference couldn’t have come at a better time. Life has been less than ideal lately…I had such high hopes for 2015 because 2014 basically sucked balls, but so far 2015 has not been so kind. I got “laid off” from my job, sort of…I guess you could say, I was “demoted” to being a freelance writer for the company, but “freelance” without any work. Basically, the money there is tight, and it’s a business, so cuts had to be made and lucky for me, I was on the list of cuts. But, I’m strangely okay with this…after a few days of being royally pissed 😉 So, the season of hardships continues for the Alcock’s, but this time, thanks to a swift kick in the pants from the ladies at IF, I am able to face it with an entirely new perspective.

Anywho, that was my, “hey let’s catch up on life intro” and now I’m going to awkwardly transition into my for real post topic: Friendship. I cannot tell you how many times Kyle and I have discussed the issue of friendship. Since moving here to Salem, I finally have somewhat of a social life, which had been lacking dearly for the past five years. However, friendships in adult life are just not the same as they used to be.

Gone are the days of “just popping by” because you have so many freaking obligations as an adult. Jobs, for one. Taking care of and scheduling your kids, family obligations, spending time with your spouse, laundry, dinner, money, the list goes on and on. So basically, being friends as an adult consists of scheduling time well in advance every so often that you can actually get together. Meanwhile, half of the time you’re together, you’re preoccupied about what’s going on at home, or work. Gross.

I recently had a phone conversation with a friend who put this whole “adult friendship” thing into such great perspective. She said, basically in college, we were in this little bubble, so spoiled and entitled to relationships that are just not practical in the “real world.” Boy, do I hate that though. I want my friends to just stop over to my house, unannounced, sit down for an hour or two and just chat. I want to randomly drive over to their house for the sheer reason that I’m tired of looking at my own walls and it’s raining outside, I don’t know how to entertain my toddler anymore, and I don’t have a reason to go to the grocery store. You know what I’m saying?

The catch in all this is that I don’t think I’m the only one who craves this sort of community, and despite our crazy schedules, I don’t think it’s impossible to obtain. It shows up in little glimpses here and there, so I know it exists. Like that time my friends and I danced to a strobe light and old hip hop songs in her living room. Yep. It happened. Three baby mamas getting down to Usher and Lil’ John. And it was awesome.

I consider my friends to be like family to me. I’m introverted, so if I reach out and open myself up to you as a friend, you might as well identify yourself as my family member. Lucky you…

So, when I have a friend, I want to know EVERYTHING about them, and I’ll tell them EVERYTHING about me. I want to chat with them all the time. I want to spend time with them. Not in a stage five clinger kind of way, but in a “hey, lets do life together,” kind of way.

Interestingly enough, because I’m introverted, I often sit back and wait for friends to initiate our “scheduled times.” However, if I want something to happen, I just gotta do it.

So, friends, consider yourselves warned: I’m spontaneously stopping by your houses now, and it’s going to be awesome.

Anniversary post…and another move.

I got an email last week letting me know it’s been one year since my first blog post. Holy moly. One year already? As I sat and reflected on where I was at the time of that post, to where I am now, it’s been a crazy, wonderful, beautiful, trying, exciting, stressful, and fantastic ride.

I love being the mother to the most amazing little boy I’ve ever known. He gave Kyle and I a run for our money straight out of the gate, but to look at who he is today, how he has shaped us as parents–I’m so grateful for those initial struggles. Judah is the best thing to ever happen to Kyle and I, and you’d never know he was such a challenge if you knew him today. He’s sweet, mischievous, adventurous, friendly, and so loving. He has my heart.

Our little family has been through a lot since that first blog post. And, we’re about to go through yet another transition. This one is our craziest yet, but goodness, it’s going to be amazing.

Since we’ve known each other, Kyle and I have dreamed of a life out west. Well, more Kyle at first, until I took my first trip to Colorado. Once there, I was sold on the dream too. However, we decided to stay in Indiana after getting married instead of making the move right after saying our “I do’s.” But, the mountains, the hiking, the adventures, they’ve been tugging at us every year we’ve been here.

We don’t regret making the decision to stay. Because we stayed in Indiana, we were able to figure one another out in our early married life in a familiar area with friends and family close by. Kyle was able to get his master’s degree, and I was able to have the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, in a job I’d never have imagined myself doing. I was also able to support my husband as he got his master’s, and I’m sure proud of that. In turn, with my husband’s support, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for most of the first year of Judah’s life. In fact, I still am. But now, I get to write and be apart of a wonderful company full of individuals who genuinely care for each other and their customers. If we had moved away early on, these things wouldn’t have happened.

But, it’s time for us to go now. Those of you who know Kyle and I, know that we’ve moved…..a lot…over the last four years. It’s not because we enjoy packing and unpacking our things, trust me. We’ve kept moving because deep down, we’ve known this place isn’t for us anymore. Sure, we’d try out a different place, a different town, in hopes of finding our happiness, our niche, our place to spread our roots. But we’ve never found it. Not here anyway.

It’s a difficult conclusion to come to, and we haven’t done it lightly. We are leaving our families and going farther from them than we ever have before. We have received support from some, and not so much from others, and when you’re making a big life changing decision like this, it’s hard without that support. But we know this is right. We know it deep down, to our bones.

Next month, Kyle, Judah, and I are packing up for hopefully the second to last time for quite a while (last time being if we ever buy a house), and moving to Oregon. We will be an hour from the ocean (my soul’s sanctuary) and 30 minutes from the mountains (Kyle’s sanctuary).

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Since moving to our current location, Judah has made one friend here (yay Remmington!!), and not for lack of trying for more. But everywhere we go, we are alone. And let me tell you, this little boy has so much to offer and he deserves tons of friends.

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Typical, not one other kid at the playground. This is the third one we’ve tried in our town.

Same goes for my husband. He loves adventure and the great outdoors and he wants to share that with his son. He wants to teach Judah how to map out hikes, he wants to jump with him in clear pools of water way up in the mountains. He wants to explore, and go camping with his son. He wants to show Judah that there’s more out there than flat land and corn (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And he deserves to do that. He deserves to be the father he has always wanted to be to his son. He deserves to have those experiences.

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I want to splash with my little boy in the ocean waves. I want to build sand castles and watch the boats come in. I want to wade with him in the tide pools and look for “sea creatures” up on the shore. I deserve that. I deserve to explore and adventure with my son. I deserve to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be for my son. I deserve to have those experiences.

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Judah loves to explore. He loves to be outside. He loves to splash in the water. He loves to see and discover new things. He loves to be around other kids when he can. He deserves to play and discover. He deserves to make friends. He deserves to have those experiences.

Crazy, yes. Unexpected, maybe. But, if you really know us, it’s not. Challenging and scary, of course. But we’re doing it. We’re taking the risk. The time has come, and we’re making the move.

I recently saw this quote posted by Sevenly and I think it fits perfectly for our current situation:

“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.”

So, if you’re ever on the west coast, or ever want to go, you’ve always got a free place to stay, adventures to be had, and if I really like you, I’ll even throw in a couple meals. 🙂

On to the next adventure we go!

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