SmithfieldOn an adventure in Smithfield, VA.

Hello, friends!

I wanted to take a few minutes to share where the MYU blog and shop are headed. You’ve probably noticed the substantial inactivity in both and A LOT of people have been asking me what’s going on lately. Some are concerned, some are disappointed, and some are just curious. I could be wrong, but I hear some of the voiced concern coming from a place of disappointment that I’ve given up on pursuing “my dreams” in place of becoming a wife and mother, so I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you how I feel about all of it. If you’ll give me a few minutes to paint the picture of what our life looks like for the next year, I’m betting you’ll agree, or at the very least, understand my decision! :)

To bring you completely up to speed, you would need to know that in May 2013, Cowboy graduated from medical school in Kansas and we moved to Portsmouth, VA, where he is completing his intern year (first year) of residency. In the civilian sector, residency is completed in one go, whereas in the military world, intern year is viewed separately from the rest of residency. So, we’ve always known that we were only guaranteed a year here in Portsmouth and then we would need to re-apply for whatever we wanted to do next, be it staying to finish residency or taking a break to do an operational tour.

In October 2013, Harper was born and our lives were changed forever! Many of you know and understand how your perspective changes when you become a parent. Simply put, you’re given the opportunity to re-evaluate the path you’re on and how it will affect that little life, because, well, life isn’t about you anymore.

In December 2013, the “lists” came out, telling us whether or not we would be moving or staying. We were wait-listed for both residency and the operational tour, so it wasn’t until the end of January 2014 that we found out that we got a spot doing exactly what we wanted–the operational tour! Cowboy will be trained for and act as an Undersea Medical Officer for the 3.5 years following the completion of intern year in June 2014. He will spend six months training in Connecticut and Florida, followed by a 3-year billet somewhere else (we won’t know until right before we have to move there).

SO, this is what the rest of our year looks like: in July, we will move to Connecticut. After six weeks there, we will spend 9 weeks (almost exactly 2 months) in Florida, living in a furnished place while our stuff remains in Connecticut. After that, we will return to Connecticut and stay for another 8 weeks, before it is time to pack everything up again and move (again, we probably won’t know where we’re moving to until right before we have to move there…I’ve heard of orders not being cut until DAYS before you have to move). When we moved to Virginia, it took me 6-8 weeks to settle in and unpack everything. So, by the time I’m “unpacked” in Connecticut, it will be time to throw our entire closets into duffel bags, and drive to Florida to live out of suitcases for 9 weeks…then we’ll be back with our stuff again at the end of October, but only for maybe another 6 weeks before it all gets put into boxes again. Hectic. I don’t even know if my sewing machines will get taken out of boxes, let alone the rest of my studio, because, well, what’s the point? So, running an Etsy shop becomes impossible during that time.

Of course, I could ramp it up between now and the end of June…but that’s a lot of work to drum up business just in time to close shop for the last 6 months of the year. When you run an online business, you act as the designer, the launderer, the shopper, the cutter, the seamstress, the customer service rep, the marketing/advertising team, the photographer, the copy writer, the developer, the accountant, the packer and the shipper. It’s a WONDERFUL business, but it is a lot of work. Anyone who’s tried it can tell you that. Not only that, but keeping up with the taxes and rules of different states (and combining/separating it all at the end of the tax year) can be a nightmare for someone like me, who HATES the tax/accounting side of it all.

Behind that, I know that I am EXTREMELY blessed to be able to stay home with Harper and live comfortably on my husband’s salary. I am ALSO extremely blessed in that I LOVE and am completely fulfilled and satisfied by my role as wife and mother right now. I know that that can be a very real struggle for some (and I’m not so naive to think I won’t ever struggle with it). Some little girls aspire to be business women when they grow up…but, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I was little, I would have told you “mommy.” When Harper was born, it’s almost as if my soul was awakened and said, “THIS…this is what I was meant to do.” (I literally did think that on the morning of October 16, the first morning I woke up as a mother.) I am blessed beyond belief. (I am joy-crying just typing it all out!)

With all of that being said, I know that I could pursue my blog and shop. If I really felt driven to do it, I could and would do it with full support from my husband. (Even he has asked me why I’m not pursuing it at the moment, as he sees it as something I can have and enjoy for myself. He’s the best to encourage me in that arena!) But, for this year, at least, it simply doesn’t make sense. It’s not at all how I feel I should–or even WANT–to spend the time and energy I have. Wherever we end up living in January 2015, we will be for 3 years, SO I will certainly re-evaluate then! I’m not disappearing from the blog or from Etsy for forever by any means (I do have a little bit of inventory available in my shop right now!) . Life is always changing and moving. But for 2014, my main online activity will be on Instagram, and my projects will be to make gifts for friends and family. Creating for loved ones (vs. strangers) brings me immense joy! If I make something and you see it on Instagram, feel free to contact me about a custom order (I’ve taken four custom orders in the last month)…but don’t expect to see new ready-for-sale items there for a bit. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about this…and my heart’s just not in it. And in this business, it’s obvious when your heart’s not in it. :)

On the other side of this, can we get excited about the AMAZING adventure our little family is on this year?!?!??? We will finish out our time here in Virginia, then get to spend summer in Connecticut, fall in Florida and Connecticut, and winter (CHRISTMAS!!!) in Connecticut! We’ll be 2 hours from NYC and 2.5 hours from Boston. We’ll be able to catch the train to NYC for the weekend or jump on the ferry for 40 minutes and be on/in Long Island! The place we’ll be in Florida is a prime Spring Break location. We get to live in a beach house at the beach for 2 months. HOW AWESOME IS THIS?!?!??!???!!?? I am stoked out of my mind. And my husband will be working 40-hour weeks (or less)!!!! And he’s basically going to be getting paid to work out for 3 hours a day for those first 6 months, which he thinks is the coolest thing to ever happen to him. So, while our living situation will be all over the place, we’ll also get to enjoy some sense of normalcy in the work schedule. To sum it all up, we have an incredible year ahead of us. We’ll live in 4 states in a 7-month time period. That may sound unenjoyable to some, but some people would kill for an opportunity like that. So, why would I want to spend it sitting inside trying to drum up business or writing blog posts out of a place of obligation when we could be exploring these new places?

I’ve had all of these thoughts swirling around in my head and after being asked for the umpteenth time about what I’m doing with my life (if you’ve been one to ask me, don’t think I’m complaining–I thoroughly appreciate you taking the time to ask little ol’ me!!!), it feels really good to “get it all out.” Some people rely on the income from their online businesses or blogs and my hat is off to them because I know how much work it all is. You’re incredible. Seriously. I can’t and won’t compete with that kind of dedication (at least not this year)!

If you want to follow along on our journey of this year, be sure to follow me on Instagram. We’re bound to see and do some very exciting things this year. Love to you all!

Alina