Are you living or dying? I

Have you ever loved something so much you would die for it? Sacrifice your once cherished hopes and dreams, get out of your comfort zone, give up your comfortable life, and let go all of your petty anger for?

I have.

I don’t like to think of my life as having sacrificed, but rather *alternating* things to make room for these 3. They are the reason for all of my stress, and all of my joy. I would surely be a bum somewhere without them because I really like sleep and I’m not even sure 4 hours/night qualifies as that anymore.

I realized somewhere along the way though that dying for them does nothing. What good am I if I sacrifice the one gift that I can give them? (Which is obviously my knowledge and sense of humor… and hopefully fashion sense… cuz lord, help me)

But I’m no good to them that way. So rather, I will live for them. I will reach outside the lines, I will push myself. I will lead by example, teach by experience and love without fear. It’s not always perfect, but its me.

I’m a single Mom of 3. So trust me, the easy way out is definitely more sparkly and appealing. But it’s not enough. They deserve better.

Every night I go to sleep & thank god for easing some of the burden because I know I did good by two of them by giving them the best Dad they could ever ask for. He annoys me sometimes but they love him and he’s always got their back, and even mine. And I, his.

At the same time, I go to bed and worry and wonder and hope and pray. I worry that B won’t feel as loved, or as important. I wonder how I’m gonna make this work, and how he’s going to feel. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing? I hope that I’m good enough, and I hope that some day I’m not the only parent present. I pray that I don’t have to deliver news that will break his heart. I pray I’m not forced into a situation that would damage us more.

Because you see… I would easily die for these 3 little humans. I love them so much. But that is easy. Rather living for them, is hard. That is what true love is.

But love is not enough for everyone. Some of us would rather die for a high. Some of us would rather die than be loved, or give love. We chase a fleeting feeling, and are never quite fulfilled. Some of us take for granted the life we were given, and the lives we’ve created. But I will tell you, there is no love like a child’s, and no greater gift than to watch your child grow. But you see, this life won’t always be here, and their love is not like ours, (unconditional). These kids are not a trophy, or a brag book. They’re real humans with real emotions that are gonna have some real questions. And kids with questions are relentless.

So its time to make a decision.

Are you gonna live, or are you going to die?

At the end of the day, what do you want to say you’re living for?

The next best thing, or the greatest thing?

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2017; onward and upward

A YEAR OF GROWTH:

We had such a good year. Of course, we had our fair share of bumps along the way but I am proud to say that as a family we really proved our strength this year.

Tristan started off the year getting his 2nd year of snowboarding in, played A-Ball (coach pitch) and turned 7 in the Spring. He played his first year of tackle football and we got to see his confidence (and muscles, he says) really build there. He continues to be extremely picky about his expensive taste in clothes and has recently discovered hair gel. No broken bones or hospital trips this year and girls are still gross. Also, when does puberty start in boys? Asking for a friend.

Ryan had an amazing year. He started it off pretty rough and I was at my wits end with the daily communication from teachers, meetings and trips to get him from school, etc. We developed an IEP, got him into a few counseling sessions and a special education preschool. But then he became a big brother again (x2!) and turned 6 and he walked into Kindergarten owning It like a boss. I kept asking the teacher why he hadn’t called me and he insists Ryan is great. He continues to draw on my walls, create random but heartfelt art, and be the sweet and sassy smart ass we all love. He wants to play baseball, do jiu jitsu with his Dad, and flag football next year.

As a family, we travelled to Oregon to see our entire Jory family, got to visit with my Grandparents, and spend lots more time with Grandma this year. Had a brief Clint sighting and it was nice to know he’s still alive.

ICYMI 😂 I had a baby. I succumbed to the stereotypical soccer Mom minivan and I fill those seats regularly. I must admit I love the chaos of a million kids running around.  Speaking of, I ended my baby making days after B was born and got my tubes tied. I took a year off from dating and it has done me wonders. I spent my time cultivating new friendships and strengthening old ones, reading a lot of self help books, and focusing on motherhood. I went back to work in October at a new job that I love and am happy at. I have a few things in the works for my career in 2018 and am excited to see where I end up next year. I continue to be the same old me- blogging and swearing on the internet, drinking my Mimosas and hope to get back into running.

Blake joined our family in July and he could not be a better addition. He fills our home with a love I had forgotten was possible. He laughs and talks a lot, loves the boob and his big brothers and we think he will start crawling and getting his first two teeth and day now. B went to his first concert (ZBB at the Gorge) and on a few hikes with Mommy and looks forward to more adventures next year. He continues to be the King of the Castle♥️

 

Me too; An open letter to my son’s father:

I have struggled with what or rather how to say this for months now. How do I answer simple questions? Do I tell a perfect stranger my deepest, darkest, most shameful secret? Or do I act nonchalant? Use my default defense mechanism and make a joke? How do I stay true to myself, which is to be open and honest with people and carry this heavy burden?

What do I tell my children? What are the right words? Are there any?

“Who is your child’s father? Do all of your kids have the same father? Is the father involved?”

Just a few of the most dreaded questions I have come to fear.

I know people don’t mean any harm. They are simply curious by nature. They don’t know the answer behind these questions.

But the answer to these questions is a simple sentence that makes vomit rise to the back of my throat, that makes me ashamed of who I am. The answer has made me question my worth, has made me feel like trash, has had me wondering if I have a giant sign on my forehead that says “I deserved this”.

The answer creates a million questions I have asked myself; some of which I have answers to and some of which I don’t.

Did this happen because I made him think it was okay? Did my personality let him think it was okay? Did this happen because I’m open about sex? Because I laugh at inappropriate things & have a twisted sense of humor? Did it happen because I got divorced, or because I came off vulnerable as a single mother? Did this happen because I drank too much?

Did I do this to myself?

I don’t know. I don’t think anyone could ever convince me of any one answer to any of those questions because after a long hard day, it’s hard not to let those questions haunt me.

The only answer I have is simple: my child is the product of a sexual encounter I never wanted.

And so, to my child’s father:

I will never understand why you thought this was okay. I will never understand how my actions and words weren’t quite clear enough for you.

But you haven’t won. I’m still not yours, and never will be. You don’t control me, and you didn’t break me. You have not made me cold. You have only changed me for the better. I am stronger and more loving than ever before.

I wake up every day grateful to be the one that reaps the rewards of your decision. Most women cannot say that anything positive came from their experience, but I can, and for that I am grateful. I don’t have any scars from this. Instead, I have the biggest blessing life has ever handed me. I needed Blake just as much as he needs me now.

But I will not say thank you to you. You did not make me stronger, you did not bless me with this child, as you say. I did this. I planned and prayed and wished for everything to work out. I went nights without sleeping, thinking about how or even, if I would, explain this to my parents, to my kids, to the people I love and wanted to let in.

I wake up every day and fight hard to make it through the day without crying, without feeling angry. I make ends meet. I put a smile on my face even when I just don’t quite want to. I sing in the shower and laugh and kiss my babies as if nothing has ever gone wrong.

I do not look at my son and see you. I see me and all the love I have poured into him.

I did the work. I searched as hard as I possibly could and I found myself again. I don’t know how. But I did. I found the mother I started out to be and I became that woman again.

You say you will one day tell him why I kept you away, and I hope you do. I hope one day you meet him and you are filled with regret. For the choices you made, for the lives you effected, the people you hurt. And I hope that when that day comes, you’ve changed. I hope that you will have learned that you’re not entitled to him, or to me. I don’t want you to wonder about him every day and be sad; I wouldn’t wish for anyone to mourn the loss of their child. I want you to think about him and understand why you are missing out on his life, and use that to motivate you to get help. To get better.

So that maybe one day you can look him in the eyes and say “I’m sorry” and mean it.

So that there are no more women that will join me in saying “me too” because of your actions.

Three’s a crowd

When I found out that I was pregnant with baby #3, A. It was a SHOCK to say the very very least. and B. My first real reaction after the shock wore off, so realistically this was about 6 weeks after the first test, was “shit, I hope it’s a girl”. Of course, I knew there was a high chance, say 50% 😉 that it could be a boy. But I also just knew in my heart that I was going to get my girl anyway.

So imagine my complete surprise when, for the THIRD time, I was told that it’s a boy even though I whole heartedly believed it was a girl. Seriously, I did this with all 3. I referred to them as a girl, I decorated my Pinterest nursery with pinks and yellows and picked out cute girl clothes. I’ve had a girl name picked out since 2008 and was well on my way to monogramming each and every little baby item.

Immediately upon finding out that I was having my third boy, the second thing that shocked me was my excitement. I don’t think I had truly felt excited about this pregnancy until I found out who he was in there. I had feared the disappointment… but it never came. I never once felt sad about the realization that I was never going to get a girl. Three boys sounded like fun.

I began picturing three dirty smiling faces, began imagining the chaos, the Costco trips, the football games, the pee on my bathroom floor.

It was also the first time I was able to give myself a little “I can totally do this” pep talk. Because I AM doing this. I know how to raise boys. Or at least I’m pretending to know what I’m doing.

Then the worry started to creep in. The Mom bug hit me along with the pregnancy insomnia and instead of sleeping soundly at night I was up all night worrying about a little boy I hadn’t even met yet. Is this too much of an age gap for all boys? How am I going to navigate the different Dad thing? The absent Dad thing? Is three a crowd? Is he gonna feel left out? What if he looks totally different than them? I’ve had a lot of scary nightmares that have kept me up at night in my life, but nothing beats Mom worry.

So I’m here to report that as most things do, everything is working out. The age gap is perfect for us. Tristan & Ryan are old enough that they are mostly self sufficient and can actually help but not so old that they won’t ever get to play with him. They love sharing in his milestones and making him laugh and smile. They’re almost worse than me with the ‘oohing and ahh-ing’ over the baby. Playing with and helping with the baby is a bonding thing for all of them.

The boy thing is also perfect for us- we were already doing the damn thing so this just makes everything seemless and easy. It actually turned out for our whole big blended family, as my older two’s Dad had his fourth boy just 3 days before I did, and we felt that it was fair that we both have all boys. No jealousy over one of us getting a girl. LOL. But seriously, I would have cried if he got a girl and I didn’t.

The boys say they still want a sister but they’re just gonna have to settle for her in the fur version bc this shop is closed.

As a Libra and a proud member of the OCD club, I crave balance in every possible way. I never would have thought to disrupt the dynamic duo and send my teeter totter crashing but as it turns out, three is company… and I love company.

Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING.

Fall kicks off my favorite season full of traditions. I think as a parent I feel SO much pressure to keep every single one of these traditions alive in order to create a life packed full of fun and happy memories in hopes that I end up with adult kids that want to take care of me. I mean, spend Christmas with me.

But sometimes, or wait- actually every day, it feels overwhelming.

Buy the costume, attend the festival, hit up the patch, carve the pumpkin, take all the photos, play in the leaves, make the cider, drink all the PSL’s and then run all the miles to burn those calories, do the turkey trot, buy the candy, do the trick or treating, hide the candy, carve the turkey, DO ALL THE THINGS. And we haven’t even gotten started on the Christmas traditions…

Oh and did I mention that as a boy mom, you also have to add in the 4 days of football practice per week and Saturday games. Try getting anything done with that schedule.

There’s so many traditions jam packed in a 3 month span it begins to feel like just another chore on the list, it sometimes makes my head spin.

This year, with a new baby and lots of new changes in our family I decided to narrow it down. Less is more. I didn’t want to be stressed, and I didn’t want to set myself or the kids up for disappointment. I think sometimes we see other people on social media living these great lives and doing all these fun things that it’s so hard not to get caught up in the comparison game and wanting to do it all. And trust me, I WANT TO DO IT ALL. I can’t help it, I love fall so much.

So I picked the things that mean the most to me (ie. my yearly pumpkin patch photo), things that the kids enjoy the most, and last but certainly not least those that were easily attainable. Key word easy. Setting the bar low over here.

I’m a list person. So I decided to write a list of all the things I wanted to make sure we did. But as I was writing my list, I realized just how very little importance these things actually held. It wasn’t the things, it was the people. I don’t want to go to the pumpkin patch alone, I want to go with people I love because, duh.

So I tossed (or rather pressed delete) the list and decided to take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Even though I love all things Fall, it doesn’t mean I have to make my life crazy trying to get it all done.

The whole “being present” thing has been weighing heavily on my mind these days, as I am navigating the world of three boys. It’s so easy to just go through the motions trying to get everything done and not totally lose your shit that you can miss these little moments that are actually big.

If you take your kids to the pumpkin patch but you’re so stressed out getting there that you’re distracted and tense, then what’s the point? Sometimes it’s not the event that they remember, it’s the conversations, the silly car rides, the feeling that they got.

Trying to do it all is a kill joy. It’s just like that saying “you can’t be everything to everyone”. And life is kinda like this too, and even more so as a single parent. You can’t be everywhere and you can’t do everything, so just be where it matters the most and wing it on the rest.

Less is more, people.

You Can Totally Sit With Us; on finding #momfriends

Seven/eightish years ago when I started out on this whole new mom, new baby thing, I had a lot of “friends”… or rather, I thought I did. But as I was writing my baby shower list, I realized how very few people wanted to be in my life now that I was no longer hosting beer pong tournaments in my garage and would likely be spending my days in my pajamas changing diapers. I had hardly spoken to 80% of my “friends” my entire pregnancy. I scratched off half my list, positive that none of these people would want to come to an alcohol free party.

Being a young mom I had accepted early on that I was in a phase of life that not a lot of my friends were in and that I would likely be hangin’ with my husband a lot. It was hard to relate to most people, even other moms, and I frequently felt isolated during a time that I needed people the most. As my sleep deprivation set in, my sanity correlated. It didn’t help that my little family was struggling to make ends meet and my husband and I literally shared everything- car, cell phone, etc. so I was often stuck at home with two babies who never said please or thank you, they just screamed at me.

I tried to make mom friends. I really did. But my own insecurities got the best of me. I forced myself to get out to a few of those ‘Mom & me’ type things, only to be bored to tears, and left feeling inadequate. I was constantly getting asked if I was the nanny. I felt like it was so obvious that if I were the nanny I’d have nicer clothes and less bags under my eyes. I left with the resolve that I was just too young to have anything in common with other Mom’s and eventually gave up the idea of Instagram worthy play dates and trips to the actual inside of Starbucks. Drive thru’s for the win. In my pajamas. Alone. Or rather, never alone.

I was however lucky enough to have kept a few friends that weren’t moms (yet), and my husband had a few people in his life that he lent me. I survived those first few years of motherhood because of these people in my life. My sister in law taught me almost every Mom hack I know, and my only two Mom friends at that time allowed me to have a few days of my life where I didn’t feel totally isolated. I undervalued these days and the need to feel joy in my own life. I had become somewhat of a martyr in my motherhood quest. I didn’t need anyone’s help, I was fine by myself… You probably could have found me in the “strong independent women that didn’t need no man” aisle. Only I did need a man and instead of cats, I was collecting dogs.

Over the years, through the divorce and the move to a completely new city, I once again found myself in an awkward social spot. If I thought it was hard then, this was even harder. I found myself realizing all over again how very few people wanted to be in my life if there wasn’t parties and alcohol involved.

Through the beginning years of navigating single motherhood, I truly had zero mom friends and not a soul that I could relate to, plus I had lost my best friend in the divorce. It was a devastating blow and I became socially awkward and felt like I constantly needed a beer in my hand to be able to talk to anyone for fear that I would go on too long about my kids or mention the dreaded “D” word that sent people running.

The social awkwardness is still alive and thriving but I’ve gotten over the need to be drunk to talk to another human. I’ve embraced my life, motherhood, and the place I’m in– thank you self help aisle.

What truly brought me to this place was a lot of heartache and a lot of growth. I’m starting to get older so we’ll attribute it moreso to age and hopefully maturity than dumb choice. Ok fine, also a lot of dumb choices that eventually brought me to a good place. I started to learn the value of myself, and the importance of having people in my life that also valued me. I learned the importance of searching the audience for those that clapped at my success. A lot of people will come to the show just to watch. It’s the ones who clap and cheer and whistle for you that you have to keep around. I had to cut out the dream killers, the ambivalent people in my life, the fluff -as I like to call them- (which are people who only care for my mere presence while they drank a beer but won’t show up to help fix a flat tired). As much as I want people in my life who care about me, I also want people who I truly care for, and support, people I had things in common with and could connect with. Fake friendships were something I wasn’t willing to settle for anymore. They drained my energy more than they filled me up. I learned that I wanted people in my life that would make me laugh at the trivial stuff on the hard days, accept me for who I am- crazy and all, and remind me that I’m not alone in this, even if my relationship status remains “SINGLE” for the rest of my life (which it most likely will, so don’t hold your breath). But mostly I learned that I not only wanted, but needed people that I could talk to about the most important things in my life- which are my kids. And that was something I truly missed most from my marriage. I still call the boys’ Dad when they do something funny or cute or absolutely horrendous because there will never be anyone who shares that joy or annoyance like I do besides him, and probably their Auntie, but it is a wonderful thing to meet people who aren’t related by blood but who also truly care about the people you created and can laugh at the crazy shit they do. And this is where Mom friends come in.

So it took me 3 kids and 6ish years but I’ve finally met other Moms that I could actually connect with. I finally got over the idea that I just wouldn’t connect with anyone and found that there are Moms out there that I can connect with- of all ages. And it has changed everything for the better. It is amazing to have friends who don’t judge you if you’ve been wearing the same milk stained shirt for 3 days, that understand that some days you just need a freakin’ Mimosa after you drop the kids off at school, that understand the struggle that is childcare, tantrums, and raising kids who do weird things with their body parts. I got lucky and got to share my pregnancy with two amazing ladies that I already knew and loved, and that made all the difference for me. It is so nice to commiserate about the pregnancy aches and pains, trying to get the babies out, engorged breasts, and the postpartum mom bod struggle with other women who are going through it all too. There is nothing quite like it, and no words can truly explain the joy that comes from Mom friends who will get all the kids together on a sunny day and drink Mimosas with you while the kids run amuck.

So with that, I urge you all to keep trying. Not every Mom out there is the right fit, but there’s at least one for each of us. You will never know if the Mom sitting next to you at all your kids practices could be someone you connect with if you don’t try. If you’re a Mom and you’re reading this and you don’t have any mom friends, I will be your Mom friend. You can totally sit with us.

Ps.

I could never devalue the childless friends I have, or have had throughout my years of motherhood that have stood by me, have come over to my house of chaos, overlooked the mess, have gone in public with me and my kids, or shared in the joy my kids have brought to my life. Although I never experienced it, I have had glimpses of a life where you’re in your 20’s, kid free, with a full time job that supports your lifestyle to do whatever you please and can only imagine that the last thing you want to do is go spend your free time with a bunch of annoying kids… so to those people in my life that have been there for me, that have been apart of our lives ‘thank you’ is never enough.

Blake J’s Birth Story

I think when you become a mother, there's like a rite of passage to suddenly want to share your labor horror stories with unsuspecting strangers…

We moms stand around talking details about things like mucus plugs and other seriously gross and horrific experiences our bodies have gone through and call it bonding. Welcome to Motherhood.

When I found out I was pregnant with Blake, it was like being a new mom all over again. I had to actually peak in my dusty "What to Expect" books for a few questionable symptoms. This is what getting old does to you… or what motherhood does. It causes you to forget everything.

Its kinda like I'm starting all over again. New biology, new age bracket, new tax status, new city, new OB, new hospital… new me? One can only hope on that last one. With that being said, let's bond fellow Moms. For the rest of ya'all… welcome to unsolicited details about my personal space.

The circumstances surrounding my pregnancy were less than ideal and I'm just gonna go ahead and chalk that whole experience up to the universe rewarding me for putting up with that shit with what has become my favorite pregnancy. My first two were somewhat awful and I had come to dread pregnancy. Not only do I always somehow manage to get a little pregnancy depression, my first two I was either terribly sick or dog tired until at least 6 months in and instead of glowing I had acne. Wutdafuq

This time around I actually felt like a real human. Still no glowing which was bullshit and still some slight depression but compared to the first two it was… dare I say, almost enjoyable?

However, my impatience hadn't changed and by week 35 I was still done with being pregnant. I was dreaming of the day I would meet this sweet boy and sleep on my stomach… I somehow had blocked out the memory of the postpartum struggle that is breastfeeding boobs. Oh and by dreaming I mean having delusions because sleep was no longer happening.

By week 36 I had full blown insomnia and had taken to the bath tub at night to attempt any shut eye. Seriously, I was taking 3 baths a night because I had nothing better to do than fill the tub and drain the water over and over again. When week 37 hit, I think the crazy in my eyes was showing because my doctor actually spoke of inducing if I came back for my week 38 appointment. I was suddenly in love. With my OB. With my awkward, married OB. INDUCE ME. GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS. Let's do this!

For record sake, labor #1 was roughly 4 hours from the time my water broke spontaneously as the nurses were just about to send me home because I wasn't in active labor and not progressing. I also was forced to go au natural much to my disappointment and demands of drugs because Tristan decided it was go time before they even had me checked in, so when I felt some pressure and the nurses slowly sauntered over to check me they were in shock to see his head between my legs. LOL. In the end I was pleased to have experienced a drug free labor and deliver a perfect and healthy baby without harming my husband (now ex).

Labor #2 was just about as stressful and chaotic and rewarding as it has been raising this strong willed child. He decided he was coming RIGHT NOW, ready or not, after a week of playing games with me. I had marched my happy fat ass to the hospital to declare that my water had broke only to be sent home and told that I peed myself, so needless to say when my water actually broke at home as I was about to go to bed, I was a little inconvenienced and put off. I showered and wanted to take my sweet time when all of a sudden the pressure was on, literally, and in a whirlwind of moments I can't remember because I'm pretty sure I blacked it all out, 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital, 15 minutes after finally receiving the epidural that I turned out to be allergic to, the cuddliest, sweetest baby ever was placed on my chest and I had already forgiven him for his antics earlier that week. Thing have pretty much played out the same between us since.

So needless to say, I was prepared to camp at the hospital at the first sign of contractions for fear I'd end up delivering on my living room floor. Seriously I was very stressed about this because I was banking on getting to hang out in the hospital and eat pudding cups and have nurses take care of me.

However, this was not the case. I was not having contractions, or really anything. My due date was getting closer and my sleep deprivation was becoming more detrimental to my older survival. Literally nothing was happening to indicate that he was coming soon. I was pissed. I did everything everyone told me to get him out (including jumping off the toilet ;P) and the only thing that was happening was that I was annoyed and peeing myself. Finally after one false alarm of being sent home, I had mild but regular enough contractions where I thought maybe I'll have a normal labor this time around. Maybe different biology would produce not only a completely different pregnancy but a different labor as well.

The good thing is that we'll never know because after a few hours of painful contractions I called my mom over to watch the kids and I went in only to find out they were doing nothing and I wasn't progressing. I was about ready to check myself into the psych floor. It was then that my OB came to the rescue with the world's greatest offer and I happily obliged. He said 'why don't I just come break your water and we'll have a baby tonight?' I put my labor socks on, got my drugs and in came a stranger with a giant hook. I've never been so excited at the thought of a woman getting ready to stick a hook inside of me. Weird, awkward. But after 10 months of inhabiting another species who was getting a bit rude with the middle of the night antics your dignity really goes out the window.

Everything from there was basically a dream, and I know as I'm writing this women everywhere are hating me, so I apologize. I'm sure I've suffered in other areas moreso than other women, but labor and delivery is not one of them.

My sweet baby was born one hour later. 7.11lbs of perfection.

I will never forget the sweet nurse who stayed by my side the whole time, who chatted with me about whatever random thing popped in my head, who held my shoulders still while I got the epidural, and never made me feel alone. I was nervous about delivering without any friends or family but in the end, it turned out perfect.

I was happy to have those first few moments with Blake all to myself. Having done this a few times and knowing how precious those first few moments are I was able to really appreciate it this time around. I didn't have to share him with anyone and nobody rushed to take him from me until my curiosity kicked in and I was ready to let him get weighed and measured.

A couple pudding cups and a plate full of eggs and bacon later (I wanted to eat in peace for the first time in 7 years) and we were joined by the chaos that is now my everyday. I experienced what can only be described as a heart so full it could have burst, all while simultaneously sprouting my first gray hairs.

Life with you is so sweet.
We love you B ❤️