Hi friends, long time no talk! As I sit here in my cozy home with a hot coffee complete with pumpkin spice creamer, I felt the need to update my friends on all things Wamie!
Since becoming a Beachbody coach in the spring and devoting more time to my health and fitness, life has become a bit overwhelming and, well, here we are, five months after my last blog post. And I am oddly at peace with that. Life is not linear. It has its ups, among the peaks of dreams and accomplishments, and its valleys in the troubles or sadness or growing pains of life. And while WamiesWorld and sharing our story will always be a part of us, it will share in our peaks and valleys as well.
In the past five months, we have had our fair share of highs and lows. We traveled to the Outer Banks in April to celebrate our first anniversary. It was an amazing weekend, with an adorable hotel room right on the beach, plenty of shrimp and seafood, exploring lighthouses and National Parks, and time away just the two of us. I cannot express how blessed we were by our first year of marriage. We were able to spend so much time, just the two of us, to grow and learn about each other in marriage. If you have the opportunity to move away from friends and family in your first year of marriage, I am all for it! You will grow in ways you wouldn’t have had you stayed in your same routine!
In June we were able to take a week and go to Walt Disney World for one of the most magical vacations of our lives! It was Will’s first time (my fourth), and let’s just say that he has completely bought into the experience. He would love to be an annual pass holder (wouldn’t we all!?) and never vacation anywhere else again! We met a wonderful woman at our hotel who visits WDW every year and takes her grandkids. Can you say goals?
Following our phenomenal week in Florida, we flew out to Utah to spend some quality time with Will’s family. We were able to see two of his siblings and their families, and spend a lot of time with his parents. We explored a piece of Bryce Canyon National Park—a natural wonder of southern Utah that has some of the least amount of light pollution in the continental US—followed by a dinosaur museum and animal style burgers at In-N-Out.
My sister and their family moved away to Tennessee around the fourth of July, where they bought a house and started new jobs. We have enjoyed road tripping through the mountains to see them and explore their new home.
We are currently in a season that requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice for Will’s work, and although we cannot discuss further details online, we ask that you keep us in your prayers for the next severallll months.
Rapid fire questions:
What are you reading? The Anne of Green Gables series.
What are you watching? Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, and Big Brother.
How’s Blue? She’s great! And huge. Her first birthday is very soon.
What workout program are you doing? LIIFT4 is a program that combines lifting and high intensity interval training and is four days a week.
What is your favorite meal prep meal lately? Burrito bowls! Guacamole multiple times a week? Yes please!
If you want to follow along on our adventures, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right. It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!
This is my official “top nine.” The one the app pulls up for you and says, “Here! This was your year!” And these were my most liked posts on mrsjamieshugart from 2018.
While I actually think this Top 9 did a pretty dang good job, I still stare at it and think, “How on earth can my 2018 ever fit into nine little photographs?”
According to this photo, 2018 was our Golden Retriever Blue (who is quite important, don’t get me wrong), our new furniture, our NEW HOUSE (first time home buyers—holla!), us, and adventures. Not a bad representation, but probably not exactly what I would choose.
2018 in a nutshell:
Will and I spent the first three months apart. We took our engagement photos and then he was whisked away.
Just as soon as he got back, we got married, honeymooned in Maine, lived a few more weeks in North Carolina, and then packed all of our possessions into a storage unit for safe keeping.
Within 5 days, we bought a house, lost all of our furniture, picked out our puppy, and bought a new (to us) Toyota.
Just two weeks later we brought our Golden girl Blue home. The first month was extremely overwhelming and all of the emotions of the car accident and storage flood caught up with us during our lack of sleep during puppy and potty training.
Will started his new job with a much busier schedule that will demand a lot from us in 2019.
I started working almost full time as a photographer, being self employed and working a lot from home.
WHAT. A. CRAZY. YEAR. WE. HAD. If I could choose my own top nine for this crazy year, these photos would be it.
My baby nephew was born and adopted in February. This is what I had to say at the time:
For this child I have prayed.
Little baby Harkni, how we have prayed. And we know now, why it all happened the way it did. Because you were absolutely always His plan, and without the years of waiting and praying and sadness, we wouldn’t get to love you the way we get to love you. We wouldn’t have YOU, and what a beautiful and miraculous thing that there is now this precious new person in the world. And that precious new person is ours to love.
We are so blessed. We are so happy. We are so in love. Our family is growing this year, and 2018 is The Best Year Ever.
With all of our hearts, baby Harkni.
My bridal shower!
This was a crazy season for me. I was stressed beyond measure (planning is NOT my thing) with the wedding, Will was far far away from me, and I was working all hours of the night and day with my full time job, photography on the side, and worship team shenanigans. My amazing work family threw me a surprise bridal shower that was extremely generous and made me feel so loved. My bridesmaid/bestie and her mama also threw me this shower on the day I got my hair done for the wedding (conveniently) at this adorable and delicious restaurant downtown with some of my very favorite ladies.
May you all feel loved the way I was blessed to feel so loved.
In April, we got married in my parents’ backyard under sunny blue skies. I wore lace and tule and we didn’t have a first look. I watched all the guests arrive through a slit in the blinds of my parents’ master bedroom and ogled my fiancé in his tux from afar. Will cried when he saw me and we said sweet simple vows. We snapped a couple pictures and then spent the reception with our loved ones before we jumped in a very decorated car that told passersby to honk, JUST MARRIED! and drove to Raleigh to stay the night in a fancy hotel before setting off the next morning for our honeymoon.
On our honeymoon, we went to the beach, but in coats. We didn’t get tan, or drink cocktails, or go snorkeling. We flew to Maine—my dream vacation—and stayed in a little cottage outside Bar Harbor on an island called Mount Desert. We drank wine and ate blueberry preserves. Our first little breakfast, I got crepes with Maine blueberries and we drank our way through the island’s coffee supply that week. We wore activewear and fleece and hiked up mountains to see the views. We looked off into the distance of the Atlantic on a very clear day and had lobster multiple times at fancy restaurants on the bay. Will tried a glass of twenty dollar scotch and we did a Marvel marathon to prepare for the release of Infinity War.
We even went to see a lighthouse that I had been ogling pictures of for years. I had saved a photo of the very lighthouse to my phone exactly two years prior. To the day.
Our Arizona adventures!
After packing up and moving, discovering hotel and desert life, and launching our blog, we began to realize our dream of visiting as many National Parks as possible, beginning with the Coronado National Memorial. We love hiking, camping, and exploring. We were stoked when we found out that Coronado has a cave that you can explore without a guide! We hiked the half mile trail up the mountainside and then spent a long time exploring the depths of the cave with one headlamp and one sort of okay flashlight.
We then drove up a windy, dirt road to a view point. If you turn around, you can see well into Mexico. It was beautiful and green because of monsoon season, and we were so blessed to experience it.
Another dream of mine! And a culmination of all of my goals and aspirations in Arizona. I did a work out program called 80 Day Obsession specifically to be able to keep up with my super fit husband on all of our adventuring in the desert. At the Grand Canyon, we got up around 3am to make it to the rim in time to watch the sun rise. We then hiked the rim trail for over twelve miles and spent over 13 hours in the presence of the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.
This photo is a great representation of our Arizona adventure. On our last weekend, we drove up to Saguaro National Park to catch the sunset among some of the biggest cacti I have ever laid eyes on. We had a mini photo shoot with my camera on a tripod and the remote in my hand. It gave us a moment to slow down and cherish every adventure we had been on, the four months we had gone through just the two of us, and this incredible way to start our marriage. It was a bitter sweet last adventure in the desert, but it was probably one of the best ideas we have had to date.
All of our last two months of 2018 wrapped into one photo, with our new house and our new furniture and our new pup. What a whirlwind the last 70 days of 2018 were! I’ll be honest, I hope we don’t go through any more of those, but WHEN we do I will be grateful to do it with Will by my side.
Last year was a blast! (Most of it!) I was a little sad to see it go, to be honest. 2018 was very very good for my soul. For our marriage. For our future as the Shugarts. We are so blessed to have had 2018.
Now here we head into the unknown of a new year. Our bags are unpacked. We are setting down roots. We have plans and adventures and explorations to do. The world is a big place, so let’s hop to it, shall we?
We are first time home owners!And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.
What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days.
Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge.
My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.
Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!
Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina.
Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal.
We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here.
Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing.
We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections.
We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy.
On the first day of our cross-country move, in a small town in New Mexico, my tiny car was rear ended as we were attempting to pull into a restaurant for dinner.
Earlier that day
We were in Arizona for four months, exploring and working and living in a hotel.We booked it out from North Carolina in June, driving our two tiny cars packed to the brim across the country over three and a half days in order to get a good hotel room.We were able to snag a suite, with a kitchenette, separate bedroom, and couches for comfy movie nights.I took advantage of our space and went through a full workout program during our stay.I worked out five days a week for about an hour every day and got some abs by the end.
When it was time to leave, we were definitely a little sad.We had made great friends and connections, not to mention all of the authentic Mexican food and National Parks to explore.If you have been following my blog you know all about our adventures and how much we loved our time in the desert.Granted, my whole family is in North Carolina and we have an incredible support group on the east coast, so we were definitely excited to head home as well.
We weren’t able to leave town until the afternoon.We packed up our cars, checked out of our hotel, said goodbye to our friends and had a quick lunch at Subway.We sent texts to all of our family and friends to let them know we were hitting the road.I promised my mom I would let her know once we arrived at our hotel for the evening.Then we set off into the desert, going through our last border patrol check and peacing out toward the mountains.
We stopped in a tiny town in New Mexico and pulled into a parking lot to check our map and decide where to eat.We settled on a nearby local restaurant that had great reviews online.After turning back out onto the 25 mile per hour road, we drove a little ways and then turned left on another road.We stopped, with our left blinkers on, intending to turn into the restaurant’s parking lot.
That’s when I got hit.
Suddenly my head flew backward and my car lurched forward and my heart and lungs seemed to compress in my chest behind the tightened seatbelt.My arms were glued to the steering wheel and as I began to comprehend what had happened, and my car lurched forward again, I slammed my feet on the brakes in a feeble attempt to avoid hitting Will’s car, which was directly in front of me.
Luckily, I didn’t hit Will.He waved to me, indicating he was going to pull into the parking lot.I rolled down my window to look back at the driver who hit me to see if he was okay.He was in a huge truck.My tiny Mazda hadn’t stood a chance.
I shakily yelled back at him, “Are you okay?”But I doubt he heard me.I waved at him a few times, and indicated two or three times that I was going to pull into the parking lot to get us out of the road.I tested my car and it seemed okay to drive, so I cautiously pulled into the parking lot and to the side to stop.Will ran to my window and immediately asked if I was okay.I started crying, I think simply from adrenaline and shock.Also just because I cry over every strong emotion.I got out of my car and we hugged.That’s when we finally looked around for the other driver.
He wasn’t there.
Another shock.It was a hit and run.And it had happened to me.
The witnesses outside were shocked as well.The restaurant owners brought us water.A paramedic heard the crunch of my tiny car as it was hit, so he and his fellow paramedic came immediately and called the police for us.
Guys, I want to emphasize something right now.Every single person we encountered on this journey was amazing.They answered our questions, helped us however they could, and were on our team.Even though we went through something hard (although unfortunately not uncommon), we did our best to treat everyone with respect while at the same time emphasizing our situation and being proactive in getting everything accomplished.
We were in the middle of/on the first day of our cross country move.We were not from New Mexico, we had no permanent address, and we were two thousand miles from our destination.
As we waited for a tow truck, a truck pulled up and a man and his son got out, heading directly over to the police.There was a small dent in the front bumper of the truck.I nudged Will, who was on the phone with insurance.
I want to protect involved individuals, so I’m not going to hand out specific here, but let’s just say that the dad of the driver who hit me deserves an award.They came back, and we shook hands, and they apologized, and their insurance has been the bomb.
What a crazy rollercoaster of a night!
The tow truck driver, on arrival, inspected my car and told me it was okay to drive to Las Cruces.Will asked if he could drive my Mazda for me and I took his little Fiesta.We stopped for a quick dinner, got a hotel room, unpacked my car, and then went to the ER to get me checked out.
I got x-rays of my right wrist and they did an exam but determined nothing was broken or bruised.They gave me a shot for pain and a prescription for muscle relaxers, and advised that I not take more than half a pill at night if I was planning on driving the next day.
The following day was Friday and insurance claims adjusters don’t really work on the weekend.We had one day to get everything sorted out, otherwise we were going to be stuck in New Mexico all weekend.
To make a long story and a long day a lot shorter, we were able to meet with an insurance claims adjuster that afternoon and after working with us for a few hours, he determined that my car was a total loss.
Not to be dramatic, but literally six years to the day after I bought her, my baby died.
On one hand this was much more convenient.We didn’t have to figure out how to get my car repaired and then to North Carolina, or how to get to North Carolina and then repaired.Having it be a total loss meant that insurance could give us a check and a rental car and we could drive off into the sunset.
Which is pretty much exactly what we did.
It was a bitter sweet moment, and I may have shed some tears as we said goodbye to my Mazda and peaced out in the HUGE Ford F-250 rental car (the only car they had on the lot for us).At least we knew we could fit all of the stuff that was inside my car into the truck.
We stopped and indulged a little for dinner at Cracker Barrel, drowning our sorrows in comfort food and consoling ourselves that the total loss was ultimately in our favor because we could finally get back on the road.
After dinner we drove a couple hours into Texas just to get somewhere.I took half a muscle relaxer once we got to our hotel room and we went to sleep almost immediately.It had been a crazy 28 hours.
The rest of our trip was absolutely uneventful.We ate dinner one night at the fanciest Panera I have ever seen.We still listened to podcasts and stopped for Subway, gas station dinners, and tiny donuts.Will drove the truck (and LOVED every minute of it) and I drove his car.We took a different route home than we had planned in order to save some time.Our favorite hotel was a La Quinta somewhere near the eastern border of Texas.Our room had crazy tall ceilings and was exceptionally nice.
All in all, even after arriving back home in North Carolina, purchasing a new car, and other grand adventures we have been on since coming back, we are grateful.We don’t know God’s purpose yet in the accident, and maybe we never will.Sometimes everything isn’t about us.Maybe it is about someone we encountered along the journey.
Or maybe for us, it was about having each other and learning to cope together in a stressful situation. Having Will by my side through all of it was the greatest blessing.It was much less stressful to go through it with him and while I would rather never total a car again, I would gladly say I’m excited to do life with my husband, especially during the rough patches of life.