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Love at first hashtag

Have you ever met someone and felt an instant connection? Have you ever felt it BEFORE you met? I know, crazy right?? But then how do you explain what happened to us?

The old saying “Love will find you when you least expect it” is more true than you think. And it doesn’t float in softly on the breeze…it storms in and screams in your face! It demands you to notice it and respond. It will shake you, it will scare you, it will challenge everything you believe,  and it will expect of you. But, when it happens, it will awaken everything in you that you once thought was dead and it will create in you a purpose that you never knew you needed.

So let’s begin at the beginning….back when  “Rob&Jen” was just Rob and Jen. I was stuck in a sexless, loveless, miserable, marraige of 16 years with a narcissistic and controlling husband. I had gained so much weight to try to make myself  invisible that I was well over 300 lbs (and veeerry visable!). I was basically waiting to die. I had convinced myself that I was unloveable, unwanted and unimportant. You know when you are stuck in a bad situation and you think you’re the only one and no one else could possibly understand you? That’s where I was at.

Fast forward to late summer of 2016. I had joined Instagram earlier in the year for weightloss support when I finally had my “AhHa moment” and began to take my life back. I had connected with a great group of people in similar situations and it really was like my lifeline. And there was one in particular that I was just immediately drawn to. He was handsome, funny as hell, and sweet to me. He didn’t know how broken I was, he just saw this pretty girl and liked her.  And oh, did I mention we live 8 hours away?? Yeah, there’s that!!

Well we quickly started “following” each other and exchanging flirty, lighthearted banter. I was so head over heals for him but didn’t know really how he felt. Then came the post no crush wants to see….the “I may be taking a break” post. WHAAAATTT?? OMG, NOOO!! I reached out to him, let him know I was here if he needed a friend. We chatted and he ended up not taking that break (YAAAAY!)

Moving on to October 5, 2016…I was getting ready to take a vacation with my kids and “husband” to Florida that was billed as a reconnection trip. I knew better, I knew then that the only reason I was going was to give my kids a Disney vacation. Sad, I know, but true. Rob messaged me to wish me a safe trip and we ended up having an 8 hour text conversation while I packed! We fell in love around hour 3 (although we both admit we knew we loved each other long before that). So many truths were revealed that night…so many sad similarities regarding our lives and marriages.  I had found my soulmate.

My vacation was 11 days long and Rob and I texted almost the entire time! You know that all consuming feeling you get when you are falling in love?? We had that times 10! In fact, day 1 into that trip we told each other we loved each other. And it was the most genuine, true, pure love either of us had ever felt. It’s amazing how transformative love can be.

So…..that’s just the beginning of this incredible story we call our life. This blog is my way of sharing that  story, of creating this beautiful narrative of our life to have forever and also showing you all that long distance relationships not only work…but can thrive and be the most amazing love of your life. ❤

 

 

He’s Just The Best 

As I mentioned before in another post I’m not able to drive my car right now because I can’t afford my car insurance.  For those that don’t know,  Michigan has the highest rates in the nation and it’s damn near impossible to afford. So I’m saving and waiting for my bonus at work this month to have the large lump sum for the premium. But in the meantime I still need to get to work, get around town and get my son to school.  I even changed locations at work so I could accommodate this situation and work a 32 hour straight shift over the weekend so I have weekdays off. I switched my son’s school as well to be closer to our new home, but it’s a charter school so they do not offer bussing for students.

All I could do was worry and think ‘how am I gonna do this?’ Since I was pulled over and ticketed for no insurance just hours before Rob arrived for his visit, I didn’t want the stress of it to ruin our time together, so I basically put off thinking about it until after he went home. Then I worried!! How can I get my son to school? How will I get to work? How do I get groceries or get around town? I was panicky because I was very much in a do or die situation.

That’s when my sweetheart stepped in with this generous gift!

He surprised me one day while we were talking and said he was online right now looking at bikes for me to be able to get to work! This amazing man of mine stepped in and found a solution for me to get by until I could get my car insurance.  I was just blown away….I’ve never had anyone do the things for me that he does.  Even 8 hours away he takes care of me and works with me to find solutions and proves everyday that he is the greatest man in the world!! We are a team, we are partners, despite the distance.

Then he surprised me with this backpack that used to be his…because he said I needed it to be able to carry stuff while I’m biking to work. Isn’t he just awesome??! 😁😁

I haven’t been on a bike in over 20 years but I have to say I love it! I’m getting great exercise, I have been riding about 5.5 miles home from work on the days public transit doesn’t run. I also take it on short trips to the market, along with my backpack, if I have to pick up just a couple things. It’s honestly been the best gift I’ve ever received because it was truly from Rob’s heart, given out of love and his desire to care and provide for me. ❤

 

Rob’s Birthday Weekend Visit

Ok, obviously I have been slacking big time when it comes to writing and I feel awful because I have so much to tell you and so many pictures to share.  So bear with me as I take you back a couple months to when Rob flew out here for his big birthday weekend!

It was end of July, three days after his birthday, when he hopped a plane to come for a few days. We had quite a bit planned for his visit  and I was so exited just to be able to hug and kiss and love on him! His flight was to arrive at about 7:20pm and we planned to have me drive to the airport, about an hour away, to pick him up. I wanted to make sure I got there early with plenty of time so I headed out at about 4pm. A couple miles down the road and I get pulled over. Apparently the police can tell if you dont have car insurance just by running your plates 🙈 Since I moved out on my own some things have been a financial struggle and getting car insurance was one of them. I knew I was risking it but I had to drive, right??

Well….long story short I get a $130 ticket and the officer very graciously let me drive away and didn’t impound my car…THANK GOD for small miracles! I texted Rob just as he was almost ready to board and told him the bad news. Do you know how hard it is to rent a car on a Saturday evening last minute?? Anyway, he was able to finally find a semi-affordable car that he could pick up at the airport here. It was a stressful hour dealing with that, but in the end (after lots of waiting and cussing lol) he made it safely to me and all was right in the world again!

I’m not gonna lie, we spent that first night in each other’s arms, in bed, where we belong! There’s nothing an LDR couple wants more than to be able to kiss and hold and be with the one they adore. We made up for a lot of lost time and it was beautiful and perfect. And to be able to fall asleep in his arms again was what I know heaven feels like.

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Sunday morning we woke up early to get donuts (it’s kinda our thing) and walk along the river. It was a beautiful sunny day so this was the perfect way to start. Later that morning we drove down to Detroit to Comerica Park for the Tiger’s game. It was my first time at a MLB game and I was so excited to be there with Rob. He had bought the tickets months ago, and as always had found fantastic seats. It was sweltering hot though, so after a couple innings we walked up to the deck and watched a lot of the game from a shady spot.

 

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and came home and made zucchini noodles and my homemade meatballs. It was a special request of his that he try them because everytime I make them I send him a pic and he damn near drools over his phone.  LOL  It was so fun to cook together again and the rest of the night we snuggled, relaxed, watched tv and just enjoyed each other.

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The next morning we “slept in” and then hung out and played house for a bit. Rob had bought tickets to the Dropkick Murphy’s and Rancid show so that afternoon we headed out for our first concert together! It was another beautiful sunny day and I was having the best time sharing my sweetie’s two favorite things with him….ballgames and concerts. It was a fantastic show!! Someone dressed in a T-rex costume was in the mosh pit and we got some hilarious video!! Babe did great again with awesome seats!

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As we drove home that night it started to hit me that we were winding down our visit and he would be leaving in the morning. His flight was at noon-ish but with traffic and having to get the rental car back by 9am he had to leave at like 7😕 It’s never easy saying goodbye,  it sucks hard actually, but I will say this time it was a tiny bit easier than last time. Rob had left me an “open when” letter for me to open after he left and it was incredibly sweet and thoughtful. He knows I struggle with missing him and he always tries to ease that and make me feel better….I love him for that!

 

🎉One Year Already🎉



Just a short little post to say today marks one year since Rob and I became ‘us’.  It’s been an amazing year of huge changes and it really has flown by. I can honestly say it’s been the best year of my life.

I remember October 5, 2016 like it just happened yesterday and I have to say that when I woke up that morning I had no clue how my life was about to change! It was truly meant to be that we would connect the way we did.

Regardless of any challenges we may face as a couple now, or in the future, I know this man has my back 100% and I’ve got his. I can get through anything with him by my side.

So here’s celebrating 1 year, and looking forward to at least another 50 with my soulmate❤

Rob’s Birthday Surprise

Wow…I am sooo behind on this 😔 Sorry guys, I’ve been a little busy with life and my writing seemed to take a hit. I feel bad about that because writing this blog is really a highlight in my life.  I had made reference to this gift in a previous post and said I’d share when it was done. Here it is…better late than never I suppose.

Ok so this isn’t an original idea, of course, many ldr couples have made their version of “Open When” letters. The beauty of this idea though is it is so easy to personalize. Between inside jokes, special memories and unique experiences together it was easy to make this our own. 

So first, I started with the idea that it would be his birthday gift. Even though he was flying out for a visit with me a few days after his birthday I wanted to make sure he had a gift on his birthday! Considering neither of us have had our birthdays made a big celebration since we were kids, it was really important for me to make this special….especially since I wasn’t there.

I started this project in May when I came back from my trip out to see him. I needed something to keep my mind focused on the future, to help me get through the lonely times of being away from him. Plus I needed the time to make it just right! 

First, I came up with the ideas for the envelopes….each one needed to be Rob-centric meaning it had to be relevant to him and us. I came up with 15 or so ideas, some universal such as “open when you miss me” or “open when you’re mad at me” and others more specific like “open when you have your next Spotted Cow” and “open when you return from your visit to me”. Next, I printed off some pictures that went with some of them and made a list of items to buy to fill the envelopes. I also hand wrote notes, jokes, and inspirational qoutes pertaining to each theme, and even put in some personal items of  mine 😏😉 

Once those were finished I needed a cute box to hold them. I bought a card box to decorate and some stickers at Hobby Lobby. They had some Michigan and Iowa stickers that were perfect. I cut out our states from a kid’s map and wrapped the top of the box and added plane and heart stickers! I felt like a teenager making it! 

  

When it was finished I mailed it so he’d get it before his big day. There were a couple envelopes he needed to open before he flew out to see me, so it worked out great. We had agreed he’d open it on video chat so I could see his reaction! It was perfect!!! He loved it!

He’s so cute, whenever he opens an envelope he texts a picture of the contents and a sweet note about what’s inside. I love this gift idea so much, because being in a long distance relationship makes it incredibly difficult to properly care for him or do sweet things for him the way I would if I was there…..this bridges that gap.

No Patience

wp-image-180194973I’m having one of those days that is almost unbearable because the ache of missing Rob is stronger than usual.  It’s one of those days that just seems to drag out forever. Each hour that passes I’m reminded that I’m here and he is there.

I need that to change.

I need for this emptiness in the pit of my stomach to stop existing.

I need for this life we are dreaming about and planning for to just happen already. It’s frustrating to me to have to wait longer when I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life already.

I want us, I need us, I deserve us.

That ache is real and no amount of pills or wine or exercise can dull it. The only thing that cures it is…us.

PMDD and me

“What the fuck is wrong with me?”

That should be the actual title of this post…maybe it would generate some serious discussion with other women that suffer from this. I’m hoping that anyone else out there that deals with this will share their experiences, maybe what’s worked for them or how it has impacted their relationships.

I know this blog is intended to document my ldr, but I feel this is appropriate as it affects every aspect of  my life. I’m lucky to have a partner that is supportive, understanding and not judgey. Rob is fantastic at truly wanting to help me feel and be better without making me feel crazy! God help him then because this disorder is brutal on me and I know it affects him too.

So for those of you that haven’t been subject to this horror I will try to explain it…although let me say I’m smack dab in the middle of it right now so forgive me if I scream, cry (most likely), get upset over non-issues, or in any other way act insane! PMDD stands for Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder and it basically is PMS on steroids times 1000😣 Believe me when I say that is not an exaggeration! Mind you this is only for a few days, but while I’m in it, it is exhausting.                         

DAILY TIMELINE: I’m fine…then I see/hear/think about anything and then I go to sadness–fear–anxiety–anger–guilt. I cry uncontrollably and almost always for an unrealistic reason. I then act irrationally and worst of all I confuse and irritate Rob. He wants to help me, he loves me, he just doesn’t understand why this happens or what sets me off (neither do I).

Looking back over the years I now realize I’ve been dealing with this for a very long time, although I never knew it had a name. I just thought it was “normal” behavior for me and there was nothing to be done about it. Honestly I didn’t give it much thought…I didn’t give much thought to anything concerning my health, which is why I gained so much weight over the last several years.

It wasn’t until Rob and I got together and he started to notice that about a week before my period started I became very depressed, extremely emotional and easily upset. I’m pretty sure that’s putting it mildly, because in my head I feel like a deranged, irrational basket case. The slightest thing, whether real or perceived,  makes me quite an emotional mess. It’s literally like a switch is flipped and I can actually feel it taking over me. 

A couple months ago him and I started to track and pay attention to my symptoms.  Right away he noticed a pattern. Here’s the amazing thing about Rob and our relationship in general….we communicate!  He has every desire to see me be happy and healthy and is willing to help me and be honest but gentle about what he thinks is happening.  Like I said I’m in the middle of it right now so just typing that last line makes me bawl (which is embarrassing because I’m in public right now).  When I think about how blessed I am to have Rob in my life it overwhelms me. I never want this disorder to fuck it up.

I went to my doctor a couple weeks ago and mentioned what I was going through and she immediately knew what was going on. Through my research I learned that many women get relief from taking Prozac just for the week or so leading up to their period. I mentioned it to my doctor and she wrote me a script to see if it helps. The fact that I am very anti-meds should be noted here because that’s how serious this is….I’m willing to try anything.

Today is day one on it…last night was rough and if I knew earlier how bad it would get I’d have started the pills yesterday instead. Maybe I could’ve avoided acting like a dumbass….maybe not.

I’d like to hear if anyone else suffers from this or loves someone that does. What did you go through? What worked to help you? What didn’t? I feel like now that I know what my problem is, talking about it will help even more. PMS has always had a stigma surrounding it, I don’t want this to be the same.

 

Photo courtesy of Google images

We’re Still Here 

Hey everyone! I know I’ve been MIA lately and haven’t really written in a while but I never want to feel like I have to write if there’s nothing I have to say….does that make sense? LOL

Things with Rob and I have been sailing along beautifully and we are FINALLY at the 1 week mark until his visit to me!!!! We are both anxiously waiting these final 7 days to pass so we can play house again and adventure in my hometown.

His birthday is in a few days and I’ve already mailed out his gift…I’m excited for him to get it! It should arrive Monday (in 2 days) so when it does he promised to open it while we video chat so I can see his reaction! I’ll post an entry about his gift and how I did it after he opens it since he reads my blog and I don’t wanna spoil the surprise. It’s a fantastic idea though, for long distance relationships, so maybe it will inspire some of you too.

Lately we have been working on continuing our weightloss progress…he is doing way better than me right now and has lost about 12lbs since July 4th🙌🙌 I’m so incredibly proud of him, of his hard work and determination. He is the most resilient man I know. He makes me wanna be a better person and do whatever it takes to succeed.

We’ve also been dealing with our own personal issues….my divorce is almost final, mutual financial concerns and struggles, and shitty jobs we both hate. Our need for a simple, calm future together is always at the forefront of any decisions we make so we both are trying to get ourselves to that point. I know it will happen, I know all the stress and struggle now will be worth it eventually…..I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

So, that’s about it, the countdown continues…..we have 7 more days until we can kiss each other, hold each other,  feel like a “real couple” again.  Stay tuned for future posts on his visit and all the great pictures of a true love story.❤

 

Photo courtesy of Google images

A love letter to Rob

My dearest love,

I wish I were perfect. I wish I didn’t come to you with all these scars and burdens. I wish my past had made me stronger, but lately I feel like it only fractured me more. I wish you didn’t have to know how fragile and broken I really am.

I spent the better part of a 17 year marraige being on the defensive. Always having to plan my next move and words carefully. I never really had the chance to just be me. And it has affected me in ways I’m only now just discovering. I don’t fully know my own voice…my own thoughts. In all honesty my life ended a long time ago. I was dead inside and was trying to kill my body with food and misery.

Then you came into my world and EVERYTHING fell into place. It was as if the Universe finally got it right and our two souls were ready to meet again. You have opened my heart and my eyes and my mind to what real love, acceptance and hope is. You not only let me be me, you encourage it! I’ve never in my life felt such a pure gift. Such a powerful swelling of my heart of raw love.

I wake up every morning and lay my head down every night knowing I am your beloved. Knowing you want to walk side by side and build a future with me. And the overwhelming honor of you placing your heart and soul with me for care and protection. I dont take these things lightly.

So, my dear sweet man, this is a thank you.

Thank you for loving me, for protecting my heart, for breathing new life into my soul. Thank you for sharing your broken pieces with me and for trusting me to love you the way you need, and allowing me to become your forever.

This is also a promise.

I promise to always put you first as you do with me; to lay my ego aside and pursue peace and calm with you. I promise to always love you and allow you to be the man you are without trying to change you. I promise to hold your hand, stand tall next to you, and forge this new life together.

Till the end (and beyond) my heart belongs to you.

❤ Jen

 

 

 

*photo credit for first two images from Google images

Postcards from Iowa 

So I’m sat at 41 days before Rob’s visit and I’m getting anxious for the time to pass. I’ve been scrolling through the pictures we took while I was out there exactly 2 months ago today and thought I’d share some of our adventures with you.

Our first full day he planned to take me hiking a couple hours north of where he lives. We woke up early, grabbed some coffee for me and headed out. Our hiking spot was very near where he grew up so we stopped at this sweet little bakery he used to go to as a kid and then walked down by the water to eat them.  As we drove around he pointed out his old house, and told stories about growing up there. I loved it because I could picture a young Robbie riding his bike down those narrow streets and it made me feel even closer to him.  And ooohhh mah gawd if you ever get to Elkader, IA stop in at Pedretti’s Bakery…you won’t be disappointed!

So, our belliies full, we headed up to Pike’s Peak to go hiking. This was my first time hiking and I was super excited. As I’ve mentioned before Rob and I over the past year and a half have lost around 100 lbs each. Being able to hike was not something I’d have been able to do a few years ago so going here meant alot more to me than just a fun activity. It was a milestone for me.

The hike along the Mississippi River was absolutely breathtaking.  The sheer peacefulness of it all was just beautiful.  It was a cool spring day, the best hiking weather. Even when it started to mist and sprinkle towards the end, it was still perfect.

That picture with the wooden slats for steps will go down in our hiking history as the spot where Rob made me believe in myself because he believed in me! It was a steep incline and I was feeling it and about halfway up I stopped to catch my breath and get a drink.  I could’ve easily turned around and gone back the other way but Babe would have none of that!! He knew I could do it, he wasn’t about to let us let ourselves down, and so we kept going! I’m so grateful to that man for believing in me, it’s what motivates me daily.

Walking hand in hand, adventuring with him is how I want to spend my life. Oh, and he added our initials to the massive ‘lovers declaration’ handrail😊💕

The next morning he had another hike planned for us…this time in some amazingly serene caves. Again, something I’ve never seen before, so I had been looking forward to this for months.

Maquoketa Caves State Park…if you get the chance, go!!


Such a magical, otherworldly place. Hiking through the muddy caves that opened up to this seemingly untouched oasis was a thrill. These caves also have extra significant meaning since this is near the area Rob asked me to be his wife that day. ❤ 

Later that evening we met up with his friend and his wife for a Cedar Rapids Kernal’s game. It was fun, although very chilly, but nothing a little hot cocoa couldn’t fix!

We also spent alot of time playing house. We enjoyed just being home, cooking meals together, running out early in the AM to get coffee and cinnamon rolls and finding random crime scenes outside his building (little inside joke!) and generally just being in love and happy! The short time spent there with him was a lovely prelude to our future. 


Ohhh, and I cannot forget the mother of all things Iowa……

Hahahahaa the place where the true magic happens.  Every few nights, while you sleep, little fairies make the Crunchberries cereal and the warm sweet smell fills downtown Cedar Rapids and makes you think you woke in heaven. My first night there I was awoken at 2am by the aroma and I woke Rob and said “is that the crunchberries?” to which he inhaled deeply, wrapped his arms tight around me, let out a long sigh of “yeesssssss” and we fell back to sleep.❤

What my ldr has taught me (so far)

Being in a long distance relationship can be stressful at times. Emotions run higher, and sometimes the distance gets to be overwhelming and downright painful. Being away from the one you love just plain hurts. But there are so many wonderful things my relationship with Rob has taught me. Is it because of the distance? Is it because he is simply amazing? It’s most likely both! My ldr has made me a better woman and human, so therefore, any struggle is completely worth it!

  • Trust.  Like many of you I have had some situations in my past that have slowly whittled away at my ability to fully trust others. Being hundreds of miles apart means we don’t really know what our partner is doing or who they’re with. We have to rely soley on trust. The fact that Rob has been able to earn my “hard to get” trust is a testament to the kind of man he is. I have never doubted his love or commitment to me and US because he effortlessly proves it to me everyday.
  •  Proper communication.  Learning to effectively express yourself is a gift for you and your significant other. Because the majority of our communication is through text it’s really essential that we choose our words carefully. Being misunderstood can quickly lead to hurt feelings and arguments. And I think that’s especially true in a long distance relationship.  I’ve learned to speak in a way that expresses how I feel but also respects him and his feelings. I’m not interested in being right I’m interested in preserving our relationship so I try to communicate with that mindset.
  • Being creative. Being long distance forces us to get pretty creative at times. Whether it’s with gift giving or time for virtual dates, or sex we have learned to keep things fun! I haven’t really read anything about it on other ldr blogs but you can bet your ass that couples seperated by distance are the most sexually creative people out there 💕😏    Speaking of gifts, because of distance I feel we put more thought into gifts for each other than we would if we lived close by. There are so many gifts specifically for ldr couples and one of my favorites is the coordinates rings that I bought for Christmas for us (Rob wears mine and I wear his). It’s a sweet visual reminder of where my heart lies. We wear these everyday, almost like a promise to always be there for each other.                                                              And this Lokai bracelet that Rob bought for me for Christmas. If you’re not familiar with these, the black bead contains mud from the lowest point on Earth (the Dead Sea) and the white bead contains water from the highest point (Mt. Everest). It is a reminder to stay humble at your high points and hopeful at your low points….perfect for ldr couples. I wear it everyday and it gives me peace.

  • To be fearless. It’s incredible what our hearts are capable of. I’ve lived most of my adult life being cautious and careful. Do you know how much I’ve missed out on because of that? Rob has a beautiful, fun loving spirit and his playfulness has definitely rubbed off on me. I don’t want to waste anymore time, I wanna live!! I used to be deathly afraid of flying, swore I’d never do it again (I flew once 17 years ago) Then….I realized if I have limited time to spend visiting my guy, I don’t wanna waste a day on driving! So when I went to visit him in April I flew, and an amazing thing happened…I wasn’t afraid!  I loved looking out the window and knowing that I was on my way to see him!

So yes, long distance can be a challenge sometimes, but only because you love each other so hard and only want to be together.  And that knowledge is of great comfort. LDR not only work, they can work very well if you’re with the right person.