10 Things I Learned During My Time In Baltimore

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What a summer this has been! I keep meaning to pop in here with a personal post to let you know more about what’s been going on. It has been an insanely busy summer because we just found out in June that we’re moving back to Colorado! As in, this coming weekend, we’ll all be there. Yowsers! There’s nothing like 7 weeks to execute a cross-country move amid an already planned and busy summer to really toss you on your keister. Let’s just say my life has been chock full of painting, packing, researching, selling, crying, renting, goodbye-hugging, lots of panic, and a little excitement, too.

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Some of you know that three years ago, my husband accepted a job to be the Head of Football Analytics for the Baltimore Ravens. This began an incredible journey of change and adventure for my family. We left Boulder, CO where we had lived for over 13 years and landed in Baltimore to start anew. It was hard, really hard, to pick up and forge new connections and ties in a city we didn’t know.

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But, we did it, and just when I felt like things were really starting to sing here in Baltimore for the kids, with friends, for my work, for our house . . . sigh . . . Can you tell I didn’t see it coming? Sandy got asked to be the Director of Sports Analytics for Kroenke Sports Enterprises. He will be building a team from Denver to run statistical analysis for the St. Louis Rams, the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Rapids, and the Arsenal Soccer Club! Um, what?? I’m proud as punch for him, but it kinda knocked the wind out of me. Didn’t I just say that this moving across the country thing is hard? Hell yes! But, as I tell the kids and myself, we did it once already, so we know we can do it again!

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So, Colorado bound we are! It felt like a good omen when I saw this sign all the way down in Costa Rica (I couldn’t cancel all our plans!). I’m more than a little sad to leave Baltimore. We all grew and changed a lot here. And, just because everyone LOVES a top 10 list, I wanted to share with you the Top 10 Things I Learned During My Time in Baltimore:

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1. Baltimore is an amazing city. Baltimore is a very real city with serious challenges, but it is also charming and unique and filled with people that have a passion for it. The city is broken and decayed, but also beautiful and full of life and texture and grit. I loved looking and seeing and absorbing its history, energy and people. Don’t believe everything you hear on the television, it is a place worth exploring. I will miss it terribly.

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2. I can get it done. Sandy worked really hard here, as in NFL Football team hard.  I had to take on all the responsibilities of the house and the kids and, well, pretty much everything that didn’t have to do with football. Yes, this means I even emptied the mouse traps. In our old life, I was used to splitting household and kiddo work with Sandy. Single mama life was new to me.  I didn’t always do it well, but I got it done! I’m proud of myself for that.

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3. I adore old houses. The house we bought was built in 1900. It has a life and presence of its own, truly. I love the character and the detail. I love the crooked floors and quirky things. I love the patina and the sense of something lasting over time.  I’d like to say definitively that I will never live in a new house again. But, I learned long ago to never say never.

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4. Being part of a team that wins the Superbowl is fun. Like SERIOUS fun. The Ravens will always have a special place in my heart. Go Ravens! But really, I’d like to go to another one, so, Go Rams!

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5. When making friends is hard, you cherish them all the more. It’s strange to me, but I value the friends I found here in Baltimore so much, in large part, because I feel they were hard-earned. My kids were older than the we’re-all-Kindergarten-parents-so-let’s-be-friends age. It took a lot of effort to find people I really connected with. I found friends of all types in Baltimore. They were creative, funny, forthright, heart-felt, hard-working, supportive, kind and generally a blast. I will miss you all!

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6. Kids are uber adaptable and they grow fast! Look at what babies they were when we arrived! The kids adjusted much better than Sandy or I did. They took the changes in stride and just dug in, making great friends and sliding in to Baltimore life in a heart beat.  This is how I know they can do it again.

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7. When you pursue your dreams, sometimes you get what you want.  When Sandy first decided to pursue a career in professional sports ten years ago, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Despite having three kids under three, I began working full time in a career that I didn’t have a passion for in order to support the family while Sandy reached for his dream. He did it. My efforts during that time makes each success he has in this arena feel like my success, too. So, a career in professional sports it is, and all that comes with it, including moving. I love too, that in true partnership, he supports me while I pursue my dreams. These dreams are coming more and more true and real with every passing day.

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8. Writing a book takes incredible time, love and care. Speaking of dreams, Baltimore is the city my book was born in. I would love it just for that. Book-writing truly is a labor of love. Now that it’s in my hand, I’m glowing and proud and full of joy for my accomplishment!  More on this later (available September 1)!

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9. I don’t like moving backwards.  When we found out about the move, everyone thought we’d go back to Boulder. It would be a 40 minute commute. You’d be near your friends. You’d know the place. But somehow, I couldn’t. It felt important that we be near Sandy’s work, together as a family. I needed somewhere new and different than before. I needed it to be a new adventure, not a return to where we began. I look forward to discovering Denver. This is our adorable rental house above. We’re off to a great start!

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10. It will all be okay, as long as we’re together. I remember saying this to my kids when we found out we were moving to Baltimore, and I say it to them now as we embark on our Denver journey. Together we can deal with anything.  Together, we will figure it out. Together, we will grow and change.  Together.

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So, it is with deep and reverent thanks that I say goodbye to Baltimore. The city holds a momentous position in our life, colored by exciting achievement and transition, enormous sadness and loss, and incredible joy, too. It will always hold a dear and cherished place in my heart. Thank you, Baltimore.

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  1. We moved from Minnesota to North Carolina last summer, and I can relate to so many of the things you wrote (including hard-earned friendships). They are certainly harder to come by after the baby years. Best wishes on your move to Colorado!

    • Yes, they are. I appreciate that you understand. I hope you cherish your budding North Carolina friendships! It will get better! It did in Baltimore. Give it three years and keep your fingers crossed that you don’t have to move again! xo

  2. Sandy

    Thank you for all your love and support. You are a terrific mother and I look forward to this next chapter of our lives. Westward Ho!

    • I love you, Sandy! Thanks for commenting ;).

  3. Beautifully said. 🙂 I wish you all luck in your new adventure!

  4. Best of luck on your new adventure Ann. And congrats on the book – an incredible accomplishment!
    Kristin

    • Thanks so much Kristin! I appreciate it! xx

  5. Thank you for this post. It was beautiful and heartbreaking both at the same time. I hope your move is wonderful and that your adventures are greater!

    • Hi Heather,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I so appreciate your support!
      xo

  6. This is such a beautiful post. It is so sad you are leaving a place you loved so much, but the entire time reading, I saw the love for your husband and family in every line. Thinking of you and you will rock Denver with your awesome-ness. Major hugs!!

  7. betz

    Beautiful post! I’m glad I got to be a tiny part of “your Baltimore”. Safe travels!

    • I loved that I got to be close to you Betz! We’ll just have to keep making plans! Lots of love! xo

  8. Carla

    Oh Anne, what a beautiful post. So honest and full of positivity! Am so excited for your next adventure and I can hardly wait until September 1st!

    • Thanks Carla! I keep trying to focus on that positivity! It helps! Thanks for your comment. xx

  9. Amy

    You said it all…I give you so much credit for a lot of things, not the least of which is breaking into a “town” like Baltimore. It’s a small town with many who are born here and never leave. You saw the beauty in it and worked at making your family happy and successful here. I’m glad Baltimore made its mark on you, Sandy and the kids. I know you all made your mark on Baltimore. May the next chapter be full and bright!

    • Amy, I love this comment. Thank you. You were such a big part of my creative life in Baltimore. I’m so glad that I got to meet you! Great that we can continue to stay in touch!

  10. Wendy

    What a beautiful post, and I love that your husband commented on it–made me a little teary. Good luck with your big move!

    • Thanks Wendy. That he commented made me tear up too! He’s a sweetheart – and turns out he reads the blog! who knew!? LOL. Thanks for your comment. Love from here!

  11. Lacey

    I love this post! We liked visiting you in Baltimore, but we will love visiting you in Denver! Good luck with everything and I can’t wait to hear how the kids get settled.

    • Thanks so much Lacey. I’m so looking forward to your visiting here, too! We’re figuring it out!

  12. Beulah

    Oh Anne…what a beautiful good-bye to this city I love. You will be missed big bunches! So much love and goodness for this next adventure. I know you, Sandy, and the kiddos will make it be the absolute best. We’ve loved, cried, danced, laughed, and shared joy in Bmore. Looking forward to more memories. xoxoxoxo

    • Beulah! Thank you so much. I just adored my time there and you were such a big part of it. I can’t thank you enough for your warmth and open arms, your laughter and your fun. You are such a joy to me. Lots of love!
      Anne

  13. gina

    I’m behind on catching up with your beautiful site, Anne and am just dazzled by your presence and words. You’re just such a compelling person —- both in the work that you do and you can also see it in the glimmer in the eyes of your entire family. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, beautiful reflection on what “you’ll be taking with you” — good-byes aren’t real; but new paths are. You are just an inspiring person. I knew it from the first finger knit pillow I laid my eyes on with your name! Best wishes to you and your entire, beautiful, glittering brood!! You shine! xoxo

  14. gina

    PS. AND, on an alternative universe: thank you for writing out fully Sandy’s new venture! I will share this post with my son! — 🙂 … as motivational places to put his math skills and love of sports! I’m positive Sandy’s career is built on layer or layer or skills and it’s really exciting to find someone motivational to the kids who are starting to have this complex musing about the world and …what they might do one day! (ha! We’re not any where near that yet, but, if I share that math lead to the Superbowl… that might be great musings for a 14 year old.! xo)

  15. Hi Anne. I’m new to your blog. Just found it this morning thru Pinterest when I stumbled upon a pin on how to create my own light box. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I thank you for making it so simple to follow. : ) I’m so glad I decided to visit your blog as well. We’ll be moving next month. Of course I also have those little worries about the kids adjusting. Ours range in age from almost 23 down to 5. Crazy huh?? Lol!!! We’re only going 35 minutes north from where we are currently but they’ll all be leaving friends and two of them are now having to commute to jobs. Just like you said, as long as we’re all together we can get thru anything. I’ll be happy to have my two older guys with us for as long as they want to live at home and all of their friends have already been told that we have an “open door” policy and they are welcome any time. Our house is where we have friends coming and going all the time and I hope it stays that way. My husband and I just love it!! Best wishes to you all on your move and I look forward to catching up on your posts. : )

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

    • HI Wendy,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. The way you describe your family is just beautiful. It sounds like you have your hands full but are ready and excited to start on your new adventure! Good luck with your move!!

  16. Libby

    Oh Anne,

    You will love Denver. As someone who made the exact same move 3-years ago, and had similarly lived in CO before heading to DC/Baltimore for 10-years, you’ll be tickled and thrilled by how things have changed and grown here at a mile high. You will love the sunshine, and the friendly ‘howdys’ from folks on the street (though, that takes some getting used to after being back east), and the relative ease with which you’ll accomplish those mundane activities which used to take all day. You’ll miss bmore (I sure do!), but I promise Colorado will feel like home sooner than you know!

    Welcome to Colorado! I hope we treat you well 🙂
    -Libby

    • Libby,
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment and thoughts. That’s so funny that your history reflects my movements so closely. I am happy to be back in the sunshine for sure! This comment made my day. xo anne

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