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Sunday, May 20, 2012

33 years old

In our first home, in Vancouver
In today Sunday's  Times Union, there's an article about how, at the age of 33, it is supposed to be the best year of your life.  There's even a study to back it up.  So, it made me think of when I was 33 years old, was I thinking that?

At 33, I was married with a one year old.  We were living in Vancouver, Washington, very happy and content.  I turned 33 in October, and so 33 started off in a happy, "on the right track" sort of way.  In November of that year, we were faced with another major life decision.  My husband Tim was facing lay-offs at his semi-conductor plant, and the field was going through a major recession in 2003.  It was around this time that Tim decided to look for another job.  It was also at this time that I was looking at leaving the classroom, and pursuing a Reading Recovery job.  My friend Jen was also pursuing the same job in my district, and we thought it would be fun to go through the classes.  It is a very rigorous training, and our district actually trained teachers.  I decided to apply for one of the few Reading Recovery positions, and had an interview right around November.  It was a dream job;  I would be learning how to teach Reading to kids in this very specific way.

In front of our Vancouver home

In December, I remember going to my work Christmas party.  One of the teachers I worked with owned a pub with her husband, and the party was at this very informal and fun townie bar.  I remember dancing and drinking.  Another one of my teacher friend's noticed I was drinking and said, "Oh, you're not pregnant."  "Nope," I yelled back, as I probably was on my 5th drink.  I remember we left our son, Riley, with a babysitter that night.  It was the first time we left him with a teenage babysitter, and not my friend Cindy.

Well, later that month, I found out I WAS pregnant, so I WAS drinking and pregnant.  I became pregnant with Maggie at 33.

Around January, Tim and I decided that if I was offered the Reading Recovery job, we would stay in Vancouver.  Tim was interviewing for a job in our hometown, and our interviews were days apart.  Days apart, we were both offered new jobs.  I decided that we should move back to New York.  It was a major decision.  We were both very happy living in the Pacific Northwest.  But with Riley and another baby on the way, I thought living near family was more important, and Tim really wanted to move back to Saratoga.  At the time, I thought I had to follow what my husband wanted, and his job career, since he was the breadwinner.  Many times, I often wonder how life would had gone, if we didn't move.  It's hard not to look in the past, so I try not to.  But, I miss my colleagues and my old district- It was the best place to work.
I hated our furniture in that apartment- we were always on the floor

So, we moved in February, during the February break.  It was very stressful.

We found an apartment to rent in downtown Saratoga while we were shopping for a house.  The apartment was furnished, and it was the most uncomfortable furniture, considering I was pregnant.  But I loved walking the streets in downtown and getting to know my hometown once again.

Living near family and old friends was an adjustment.  I had been away for almost six years, and in these years, I changed a lot.  It really was a struggle for me to feel at home.  The saying, "Once you move away, you can't come back," held true for me.  I felt like I didn't belong.  I went through some depression and bad moods.

Before we moved to New York, we had booked a Mexican cruise in Western Mexico.  In April, we left Riley at my parent's, and flew to California to board our cruise.  It was a lot of traveling, a lot of time zones.  And I was almost 6 months pregnant (not planned to be pregnant on this trip).  I remember sleeping a lot on that cruise.  I felt so relaxed with Tim, and when I returned, I felt a lot better about life.

In April, we finally bought the house we are living in now:  a 1906 Victorian house in the village of Ballston Spa.  It was a total fixer upper.  Now, 8 years later, our house is finally received many of the renovations that we planned.  Tim has been working so hard in making our house what it is today.
Our house, before we bought it.  Looks so different!

Tim and Toga at our house, before move-in
Tim was working a swingshift at this time, and during all of his free time and weekends, he was traveling to the house to fix it up.  We were still renting our apartment until the end of July, so Tim could get the house ready.  Those first couple of months, he worked on painting, taking wall paper off, ripping carpet, redoing the wooden floors, and getting new carpet upstairs.  He did a lot of work.  It was hard for me, because he was never with us.  I felt like a single mom.  And, I was HUGE.  Maggie's due date was August 13th, and I was going to have a C-section, since the doctors estimated her to be 12 pounds.  I remember not being able to move or walk because I was so  huge.  And Riley was turning 2, and was active.

We finally moved into our house weeks before Maggie was born.  It was a relief  to have our furniture from our old house.

Maggie was born on Friday, August 13th at 9 pounds, 13ounces.  I remember feeling so much love and so relaxed being her mom.  With  Riley, I was nervous and never sure of what I was doing.

Maggie, a couple days old.
In our new house, weeks after Maggie's birth
Shortly after Maggie's birth, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Shortly after that, my Grandma was diagnosed with colon cancer.  And then I turned 34.

So, I have to say, that 33 was an important year, since it marks the year I moved back to New York and when Maggie was born.  Was it my best year?  No.

My favorite years would have to be any of my college  years.  Life was so easy then.  Sure, I made the dumbest choices and wasn't too bright about decisions, but I grew confident in college and made lots of friends.  Life was good.

I also liked when I was 30.  We just moved to Portland, Oregon, and we had an apartment in downtown Portland.  I loved walking the streets of Portland, discovering the districts and being a city girl.

And of course, I loved 40, since I was living in Europe and discovered the world, myself and we grew tight as a family.

I can't say that any age I went through was bad...I think all the "bad" things that have happened to me have made me who I am today.  I appreciate things more.  I am wiser.

Age 33...hmmm.....can't say it was.  But it was an important year.
Riley, right before his 2nd birthday.


  1. Kristan GottmannMay 20, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I love seeing the pictures of Riley and Maggie when they were little. Great article Stacey

    1. Thanks Kristan- it was fun finding pictures for this story!

  2. right now I'm 33........enjoying a lot my every year :) :)
    it's amazing to read this blog........maggie looks so cute here....
    thanks to share :)

    1. Devyani, this is supposed to be your best year- do you feel it?? Thanks for your comments!

  3. I wish you had stayed here too. Maybe then we could have been closer. I was trying soo hard not to be a "MIL" that I am afraid I gave you the wrong impression. I miss you all and can't wait to see you this summer!