You live how far from home?!?

Before I write this out, let me address the big issue: Kyle and I CHOSE this. We could have easily (and still could) lived closely to our families. But we decided not to. Why? Because, “the mountains were calling and we must go.” But for real. The beauty of the Pacific Northwest has few rivals. We were young, Judah was young, and so we went. We love life here, but it is hard. Why? Because we have children under the age of five and we are what I like to call a “single-parent family.”

I define this term as a family unit that is alone. One without close by aunts, uncles, and grandparents. “Close” meaning within a day’s drive with kids, so less than 10 hours away. If you can raise a hand to that, solidarity.

Let’s review some pros and cons of this decision.

Pros:

  • We get our kids all to ourselves during their baby years.
  • There is one constant enforcement all the time. There is no, “well at Aunt so-in-so’s or at grandma’s we…” It’s just here. It’s our rules or the highway, and in these formative years, that ‘s pretty irreplaceable.
  • We do what we want when we want. There are no obligations, ever.
  • We have chosen specific people to be our family. Family is assigned, you cannot choose it, but since our move, we have been able to fill in with people who we love. This is a privilege that is known to few.
  • Our marriage goes through it all together and because of this, we are strong. I love my husband with a fierceness I have never known before. He is our family’s rock. He is my rock. He provides. He aides me. There is no “we’re at the grandparent’s for the day so Imma sleep on the couch.” He makes memories with our kids. He helps me out. He is involved. I think the world of him, and so do our kids. There is nothing we could do without him.

Cons:

  • There is no “can you take my kids for an hour so I can______?” You know what we get? Deal with it. Bedtime is at 7:30, you better last until then.
  • Dates are few and far between. We get one this coming Friday thanks to some friends, but the last time we got one was over a month ago when those same friends offered to take our babies for a few hours.
  • When we are at our wit’s end, we either pass the kids along to our spouse to single parent, driving them to their wit’s end, or we push through.
  • Neither of us gets things done after the kids are in bed. Because we don’t get dates, this is our sacred “together” time. I refuse to clean, do laundry, work on anything other than time with my husband during the few hours we have after our kids are asleep.
  • My kids have a minimal relationship with their extended family. Grandparent’s day at school is my worst nightmare. We have friends that have willingly filled in, but I still remember my own grandparent’s day as a 29, almost 30 year old woman. It’s pretty traumatic. PTL this year’s was cancelled due to snow.
  • I haven’t met my niece and she’s 2. Lennon hasn’t met her aunt and uncle and cousins and she’s almost 1 1/2. This alone makes me cry. I missed out on holding my newborn niece because we live over 50 hours apart. I’ve always dreamed of being  the aunt to take my nieces out for the day, but I can’t. That’s not in my cards. I have one who is a teenager now, and I would die to go to the movies and talk boys and clothes and writing with her, but I can’t. I love each of them so much, but they will never really know, because I am not there to cultivate that bond with them.
  • We can’t have our nieces and nephews over to play. We can’t be there when they play basketball games, accomplish something academically, or are dedicated at church.
  • Vice versa. We dedicated Lennon at church last year, and there were no blood family members present.
  • We can’t share happy things, like the purchase of our first home, with our siblings.
  • Visits are expensive. We can’t go on vacations together as a family of four because we prioritize visiting our extended families who are far away. Thankfully, where we live is magical and allows for awesome memories on its own, but still–we do have a drastically long rainy season where we are stuck indoors.
  • We sacrifice sleep…a lot. Lennon still won’t sleep through the night and is not a good napper. Kyle and I are both introverts and thrive on occasional alone time. I typically need three cups of coffee a day to feel normal. Kyle has sacrificed sleep to gain alone time to refuel. This is what we do.
  • We don’t get to prioritize our marriage. Discussions and tension has to wait until our kids are tended to because we are all we have. Yes, it does make us closer, but also it does make for some extended trying times.
  • It’s lonely.

Yes, the pros are few and the con’s are a lot. But at the same time, this is where our family thrives, believe it or not. This season of difficulty in parenting is brief, and it is our hope that because of this season, our family unit is solid .

My parents raised my sister and I away from family. We were okay. My mom and dad always encouraged my sister and I to go where we were happiest, where God led us. They trusted us, they went before us in this type of season, and it was alright. It is because of their example that I know everything will be okay. It is because of this that I know no matter the distance, the bond I have with them is unbreakable.

So, parents out there who complain after a hard day or difficult week, remember, you could live 38 hours away from your nearest relative. Think of those who do. Think of those who don’t have the luxury of a monthly or weekly date night. Think of us who don’t get to go grocery shopping alone. Think of others who crave a hug from their mom’s from time to time, but just can’t have it. Yes, we chose it. Yes, ultimately we love it, but no, it doesn’t make it easy.

**Editor’s note** I am not asking for help. Again, we have chosen this. I’m simply asking you to review your perspective. We wouldn’t trade our position, I’m simply wanting to be heard that some days are hard and also to let you know, I’m not the mom friend to talk to about not having breaks.

Dear Bethany,

It’s okay.

It’s okay that your dishes from four days ago are still in the sink.  The ones in the dishwasher are clean, and we all know you’ll get to them eventually. You have not one, but two dirty crockpots? No problem. At least you used them at some point.

It’s totally fine that you haven’t dusted in a while. Little children are still running in and out of your house, so even if you did, no one would notice anyway. Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t done you or your husband’s laundry in so long that he had to wear old underwear to work. He rallies for you and is proud that at least the kids have clean clothes.

And speaking of your awesome husband, it’s no big deal that you haven’t shaved your legs in a significantly long time. He’s also cool with it that you didn’t get the opportunity to shower today because your schedule and children were both slightly crazy. He’s watched you birth babies, and still finds you sexy. Honestly, there’s not really too much beyond that which will make you physically unattractive to him.

It’s not the end of the world that your child, after over a year of efforts, still will not always poop when he has to. This too, shall pass. Don’t stress over the amount of times you have to say, “stop making fart sounds,” “no, we are not talking about poop right now,” or “for the love, put your shoes on!”

You had canned soup for dinner last night? No big deal. A little processed crap never hurt anybody. At least you saved $20 and opted out on going through the McDonald’s drive through for the 85th time this year.

Don’t feel bad that you forgot to pack diapers for your daughter today when you dropped her off in the nursery and she ended up needing a diaper change and had to be put in a diaper much to small for all that junk inside that trunk. She survived, and the nursery workers have extra diapers just for moms like you.

You’re doing great. You’ve got this. Mom power and all that hoopla to you. Because you know what? Sometimes the stars align, your baby takes a long nap, your oldest is actually quiet during “quiet time,” and you get to clean your kitchen and listen to Kaleo at the same time. And, after that the heavens open and it’s 65 and sunny on an Oregon November day and you can get outside with your littles and rake the entire backyard with a 20 pound baby on your back. And despite being hit with a rake over a dozen times by a certain four year old who is very slowly learning spacial awareness, you got the entire yard raked and your kids got some precious vitamin D. Then, your babies entertain one another long enough for you to punch out this letter to yourself.

Don’t worry, mama. If you don’t get it done today, it will be waiting tomorrow, or the next day, or even the day after that.

You are capable.

Sincerely,

Yourself.

 

Another baby? It’s complicated.

It’s my “blog-aversary” I guess. So says WordPress. Four years ago I started this baby….and wow does time fly. Four years ago I started this blog as a rant of the struggles of first-time motherhood. And now that little baby I was talking about is four. He knows how to write his name. He knows the alphabet and he can count to 100. That little baby is also a fantastic big brother and says the funniest and craziest things. It’s nuts how life works out and flies by all at once.

I’ve been in kind of a funk these days. I know I talk about my miscarriages often, and many of you who read this blog may be tired of hearing about it. I apologize, and want to kindly remind you that you don’t have to read what I write, it doesn’t bother me one way or another. But be warned, this blog does touch on my unborn babies.

I have begun the process of writing a book I once dreamed about. Both my husband and the readers of this blog have encouraged me to push forward and make that dream a reality. Though it won’t be remotely written for many years, it is in the works.  Writing on this topic has been something I have been passionate about. Miscarriage and the loss with it has been so taboo in our culture and I’m tired of it, and so are the other mothers out there who have experienced it. It’s just time to talk about it and not in a “everything-works-out” kind of way. It’s time that miscarriage is recognized as the anger and grief inducing tragedy that it is. It should be called out for what it is: a life altering, never the same again, event.

But, that is only part of what is on my mind today. Really, what my mind is mulling over is whether or not to have another baby. I want another baby. I crave it. I hated being pregnant with Lennon, but in the long run, it’s so worth it. But honestly, I am petrified. The condition I have, which presumably caused my previous miscarriages, only worsens with age, so each day that passes, each moment, increases my chance of miscarrying all the more. And honestly, I don’t know if I can mentally and emotionally handle the possibility of losing another baby.

Recently, my husband and I have started a small group within our church dedicated to the common bond of miscarriage. Because of this and the start of this book, I have been dwelling on and reliving my experiences more graphically than  usual on a daily basis. It does a number on one’s emotional state. I typically think of my lost children at least once a day, but lately, I have been graphically re-living every detail of their loss.

I have been trying so hard to soak in the moments with my four year old and treasure the fleeting moments of babyhood with my sweet Lennon. But always in the back of my mind is the craving of another child, and the reminder of those I have lost. It’s a tough place to find myself.

I tried to fool myself into saying I was done after two living babies. I have a beautiful boy and the most awesome girl. Perfect, right? But I crave another. A few weeks ago, I held a friend’s sweet newborn baby and was so happy to give her back once she cried, but now–now I long for that moment when you hold a new baby for the first time. I want to hear those sweet and unforgettable newborn cries. I want that first look into each other’s eyes. I want to mother another child. But I’m scared of the journey to get there. My heart cannot take another loss. My heart can hardly manage another pregnancy. The mere thought makes my stomach churn and my eyes tear up.

Pregnancy is a complete crap-shoot. You don’t ever know until the moment that beautiful, pink, screaming baby is placed in your arms, that everything will be okay. And there in lies the risk.

This is where I am, folks. Truly caught between a rock and a hard place. And seriously hoping time will tell.

So long!

In true fashion to the name of this blog, the following post is no doubt, extremely rambling. Just stick with me if you can 🙂

This blog has always been a place of complete honesty. I think there is so much out there for us to look at that–though not necessarily dishonest–doesn’t encompass the entire picture. I have written this blog as a way to vent, share our little family’s story, and to be honest about the ups and downs that I face in life, whether serious, funny, or amazing.

Since getting laid off from my job, I have tried for over a year to land a freelance position (other than the one I semi hold where I formally worked). My goal in doing this has been two-fold: one, for the obvious reason of providing income for my family and helping out in that area, and two, because staying home for the first few years of my babies lives is so important to me, and writing is one of those rare things I can do while also being a stay at home mom. However, I have tried to no avail. As each month passes and as the reality that I’m going to have to return to a 9-5 gets closer and closer, I have felt my self-worth slowly begin to wither away.

This blog has previously provided a healthy outlet for me. I love to write. I am not always the most open person, but for some reason, I am able to express my thoughts most clearly when they are written out. This platform has provided ways for me to relate with others and share my story that I normally wouldn’t have. I have gotten messages from strangers, friends, acquaintances, and more thanking me for the words I have written on this site. The impact some of my blogs have had on others is a gift that I will never be able to replicate. I am so appreciative of those of you who have taken the time to read my rambles and reach out to me with parts of your own story.

Despite all the good that has come from this blog, there has been some down fall. There has been a lot of judgement received by what I have chosen to discuss on here. And, at times, I have used this blog negatively myself. Because of this and a little bit more that I’m not getting into, I have decided to take an indefinite pause.

The holidays are fast approaching and I think it’s the perfect time to put this blog to rest. During this season, I’m going to focus on my son and preparations for our new little girl.

But before I go, I want to thank you, my readers, for your love and support over the last three years. It’s been so fun to reconnect with people, relate to total strangers, and share life with you. It always blows my mind when people say they have not only read my blog, but enjoyed it, or found it helpful. So thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. You will never know the positive effect that has had on me.

Who knows, maybe in a few months I’ll be back with the shenanigans that come with balancing two kids, but for now, it’s time to say farewell! Much love, and thanks for the journey!

Silver Falls, OR. Hiking buddies for life.

Silver Falls, OR. Hiking buddies for life.

Fall Things

My last posts have been kind of heavy and have caused some controversy, SO….let me just say, I’m sorry if I offend anyone with what I write on here. But at the same time I’m not. This is my little internet space to express my thoughts, and to honestly keep it real. There is too much out there that is fake or “just the highlights” that it can be a little discouraging when you look at your own life and realize you’re not “keeping up with the Jones'” as much as you hoped (and no, I’m not referring to my sister and her family 😉 ). When I started this blog, it was a place for me to be real, to not sugar coat things, and to celebrate both the highs and the lows. Right now, my family is in a bit of a valley, but that’s okay. They happen, it’s a part of life, and I think the valleys only add to the highlights in the end.

So, just know going forward that I normally filter myself quite a bit in my every day life, but this is my one space that I simply don’t. And, right now, I’ve seen far more good come from it than bad, so my blog will continue.

However, because my last posts have been a little gloomy, I thought I’d reassure my readers that we are in fact enjoying many aspects of life. And we are especially soaking up this Fall season. Isn’t Fall just the best? We’ve been lucky to participate in so many Fallish activities this year and I thought I’d share some photos with you all.

Apple Picking

Judah and I got to sneak away and do some apple picking at our favorite little orchard. Judah ate about ten apples while we were there, and we ended up leaving with five gallons. It was the perfect amount for canning a few quarts of apple sauce, making a couple pies, whipping up some apple cinnamon french toast, and of course eating the extras with peanut butter and honey.

IMG_0798

We’ve also managed to enjoy some time with friends. Though Fall is often busy, we’ve been lucky enough to snag a few moments with some of the people (both big and small) that we love so much. Needless to say, the imaginations have been running wild and always…safety first 😉

20151002_160923

The weather has been so nice here this season. We have been able to still reap some warmth from the summer sun, but our mornings usually start out nice and brisk and our evenings end with a great chill in the air. It’s wonderful to still be able to play outdoors and not feel like we’re melting into a puddle.

20150926_153823

20150922_101616

Who doesn’t love a fresh Fall haircut? I’m practicing my hand at the DIY haircut and was pretty proud of myself for pulling off a semi-decent at home do for my kiddo.

20151008_164041

We also celebrated our favorite man’s 30th birthday!! We have a tradition, stollen by Kelle Hampton, where Judah gets a set amount of money and can choose whatever he wants to gift his dad with each year. I love the idea of giving him the choice to decide what he thinks Kyle will enjoy most. Right now it’s pretty toy oriented, but it’s fun to see the extra thought he puts into things as the years progress. This year’s loot included two light sabres, a monster truck, and play dough.

We also had our annual visit to the pumpkin patch this past weekend. And…as I was going through my photos I realized I didn’t take any of Judah actually in the pumpkin patch…woops! But, we did leave with four killer pumpkins which are sitting outside our front door.

20151009_151008

20151009_150921

20151009_154952

20151009_152118

20151009_154939

20151009_151451

We’ve also gotten Judah’s “big boy room” finished and are almost done with baby girl’s nursery, which will be coming up in a future post.

I hope you and your families are enjoying this Fall season! After all, it’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year 🙂

“Burt, are we fuck ups?”

I know, I dropped the f-bomb in the title. But, it’s a quote, and it makes sense in this particular post. So, can we all be mature and get past that for a second? Mmmk, thanks.

The past two years have been a whirlwind. Those of you who keep up with my blog know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t, here’s a recap of some of the highlights: We moved across the country, suffered three miscarriages, my husband has gone through three job transitions, I was laid off from my job, we bought a house, and now we are expecting a little girl this January. Phew. That’s a hell of a lot to go through in a two year span. Oh, and through it all, Kyle and I are miraculously still married…but seriously. A move, a job change, or a loss of a child alone can put a marriage through the ringer. Going through all of that plus more in a short span of time has definitely made for some tense months. But we’ve prevailed, and we still are.

Something happens to your world when you know a child is coming. You start to look at yourself with a bit more scrutiny. You no longer let the days just simply pass by because you’re well aware that you’re shortly going to be responsible for another life. There is a shift in your actions. Even before your child arrives, you start doing everything for them. This is what’s happening in our world right now.

After Judah was born, that pressure has remained, it just somehow settled into a routine. Despite all these transitions and highs and lows, we’ve somehow begun to just go through the motions, doing things as expected. I just received a text from my husband, who inspired this post, saying that he’s realized how much he’s let society and other people dictate who he has become and he’s getting pissed about it. I think that’s amazing. Look at this man I’ve married, recognizing this and taking his life back!

This last time that Kyle and I decided to try again for a baby was our last effort. We had a hard road, not as hard as some though, when it came to having as second baby. So when you give it “one last try,” you also have to allow yourself to start to accept your life as it is. We were starting to become okay with just Judah. We were beginning to look into things like adoption (which is still very much a desire of ours in the future). I was accepting the fact that I might never carry another child again, and that was alright. I was also beginning to recognize that in a short time, I was going to need to find a new job, as Judah would be starting school. And then, we were lucky enough to become pregnant. And again, our perspectives, our lives, altered.

Kyle and I watched the movie “Away We Go” before having Judah, and we watched it again a few weeks ago. The characters in the movie are ridiculous, but there are comparabilities to each of the people that the lead personas come in contact with who also represent people in our lives. And there are similarities to that, “holy crap, we are going to be responsible for someone else and we have no idea who we are ourselves” plight that the main characters are going through. There’s a line in the movie before the official journey to find a home for the lead characters begins. Maya Rudolf’s character looks at her longtime boyfriend, played by John Krasinski and asks, “Burt, are we fuck ups?” I think this is something Kyle and I have asked before having each kid.

From society’s standpoint, I think we are. Sure, we’ve got a house, a dog, and a jankie fenced yard, two healthy kids, and a good church. However, I stay at home when we really can’t afford it, and Kyle barely makes enough money for us to sustain our mortgage. We’re on state assistance. We’ve never vacationed anywhere, unless you count visiting family, Kyle and I are both still wearing most of our clothes from college (and some from high school…it’s considered vintage now right?), a splurge on dinner out is a $7.99 pizza maybe once a month, and most of the things we own have been craigslist finds or gifted to us by our very generous parents. All this is maybe considered okay by society for someone just out of college, but we’re nearing thirty and have two kids. Hashtag winning?

I think what both my husband and I are going through is recognizing again that it’s not what jobs we have, how much money we make, or how many kids we raise that defines us. It’s the character we have, the friends and community we surround ourselves with, and the balance of all these things that makes up what we say about ourselves. And I think there’s a bit of that looming question, “are we fuck ups” that remains in everyone, especially during major transitions in life.

Point blank, it’s scary to look at your life realistically. It’s also really refreshing when you can begin to do so outside of what “the general public” expects you to make of it. Who decides that anyway? Who said by the time we were thirty we had to have it all figured out and a steady 401K ready for us when we reach the ripe age of 65 so we could gloat on our millions and become snow birds? Who says you can’t have kids until you make X number of dollars every month? We sure don’t. And let me tell you, Judah is one happy child. Money, career, it’s not everything.

We’re figuring it out one day at a time. Really, aren’t we all just a bunch of kids running around trying to parent other kids? Well, I’m taking a step in the direction of my husband’s lead and rediscovering me, outside of what society says I should or shouldn’t be. And my goodness, isn’t that one of the best things we can gift our kids with anyway? Nope, life’s not rainbows and butterflies in our house right now. There is a lot of financial stress and pressure and many tears (I am six months pregnant after all). But there’s also hope. We have Christ present in our home. Not always as much as he should be, but he’s there, leading the charge. I respect my husband fiercely. We love our kids deeply. We are far from perfect and far from normal in society’s eyes, but we’re doing our best, and I think our best is yet to come.

And, if you’ve never watched “Away We Go,” you should get on that. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to understand where we are, it’ll give you a pretty good glimpse.

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR

A Fall Resolution.

Before I get into the heart of today’s post, I’d really like to discuss something that Kyle and I stumbled upon last night during some late night TV watching. It was something we turned on accidentally, but could not peel our eyes away from, even though I felt like my pupils were burning. I have also never laughed so hysterically about the concept of a TV show in my life. The tears were flowing. So what is said show? “Dating Naked: Playing for Keeps.” This, my friends, is not a joke. It’s real television. It’s like “Bachelor in Paradise,” only everyone is naked. Seriously. I’ll just let that resonate with you for a second.

Moving on and away from the antics of VH1…and on to the antics of my resolution for this season.

My resolution is this: “No.”

I have a difficult time with this word. It’s hard for me to say it because I am a severe people-pleaser. I never want anyone to not like me or to be upset with me. I’m horrified of inconveniencing anyone to the point where I will greatly inconvenience my own self, and even my family, for another’s benefit. While this is okay sometimes, it’s something that is slowly becoming a problem.

I genuinely enjoy helping others. If you’re sick, I’d be happy to cook you a meal. If you need someone to watch your kids while you run a few errands, take a meeting, or just need a sanity check, I’m your girl. Plus, I also think it’s ridiculous to pay for someone to do that, so I’m also always free. Just know I expect the same in return 😉 When I’m working, I want to do my best, to make sure everyone is benefiting from the job being done, not just to collect a paycheck.

I dislike conflict. My husband is pretty confrontational in nature, and the ability he has to stand up for himself sometimes makes my stomach queasy. The idea that a person could disagree with what I say or be a little annoyed with me for a while is just unnerving. However, the older I get, the more I’m realizing it’s getting me into trouble.

I’ve recently felt a bit taken advantage of, and I think that this may be more my fault than anyone else’s. No that’s not the people-pleasing talking, it’s the reality of the impact my people-pleasing tendency is having. It’s not just in one area specifically, but in general. I’m smart, and maybe not confident enough to say “no,” but confident enough to admit that I am one intelligent woman. I learn things quickly and I’m a hard worker. Whatever is in front of me gets my full attention, often to a fault, as my husband can attest to.

Because I fear any type of conflict, no matter how small, I often place myself in situations that bring me great stress. I rush around and alter my schedule because someone needs a favor. I agree to working on something I have no knowledge or passion for because I want to be helpful. I love on other people’s kids when I’ve barely had time to play with my own. I accept a low payment for something because I think, well, “I guess it didn’t take me that long to write that article,” or “I’m sure it would really help them out.” I’ve allowed people to speak opinions into my life when they have no grounds to do so, all the while, I walk away feeling self-conscious and bitter.

I’ve also failed to stand up for things that I think are inappropriate. For example, I was part of a meeting in which my superior was discussing the difference in the ways men and women work with each other. While reviewing how “easy going” men are with one another by often quickly moving on from a conflict or difference of opinion, he went on to say the exact opposite about women stating instead that, “girls give each other eating disorders.” Being someone who not only found that statement highly sexist, but also a person who has directly struggled with an eating disorder, I felt this so distasteful. Especially coming from someone who was my superior, and supposedly professional. However, in my nature to not want to create any upheaval, I never said anything. To this day, I still regret not speaking up.

I’ve endured disrespect of my time, whether people are continually late to meetings with me or late to show up when they say they will when there is nothing unexpected interfering with their time (I am constantly at least 5 mins late, so I’m not talking anything petty like that…I’m meaning 20-30 mins plus.) I’ve also endured finding out that ideas I’ve spent time on, or even content I have written has been taken by others multiple times, and still I smile and say, “oh that’s okay.”

I’ve also had people talk about me behind my back, accuse me of something I didn’t do, and question my character, only for me to roll over and apologize to them saying, “oh no, the misunderstanding was all my fault,” when in reality I had nothing to be sorry for. What I was really apologizing for was the fact that for whatever moment in time, they didn’t see me in the best light possible. By apologizing, I justified their actions against me and allowed them to feel okay about questioning who I was.

So why am I writing about this? One, because I just need to get it off my chest. Two, because I need to be accountable somehow. I feel that by putting it out there, I can’t just sit back and silently take it any longer. Luckily, I have found myself within a community of families who love me, care for me, and will ensure that I am always appreciated. Not to mention, I have a pretty freaking fantastic husband who is not afraid to stand up for his family. Three, for my kids. As time ticks away on my pregnancy and as Judah grows older, it’s becoming increasingly important to me to set the absolute best example for my children that I can. I want them to know the importance of serving and loving others. I also want them to know the value of family and the value of themselves. I want them to be strong and confident, comfortable enough to speak up for themselves, and loving enough to put others before them. I want them to serve people out of love, not an obligatory feeling because they are afraid of being disliked.

So, pardon me if I say “no” a little more frequently. The people pleaser in me is screaming at you to understand and not be annoyed if I turn something down, but I think this challenge and change in my life has been a long time coming, and if you don’t like it, I think I’ll eventually be okay with that 🙂

20150802_165524

Okay, Facebook.

So, I deleted my Facebook account for the month of July. I did so for several reasons, but I will share my top three:

  1. It’s a total time-suck. Do you ever think, “let me check Facebook for a second” only to glance at the clock and realize you’ve been staring at your screen for like 20 minutes scrolling through some mutual friend’s photos who you’ve never met before? And I wonder why my dishes were never done.
  2. It’s gotten a bit messy for my taste. People today have pretty much lost their communication skills. Facebook has become the biggest soapbox. While I’m all for freedom of opinion and expression, and I understand and advocate for the value in conversation with others about more than the weather, please do not refrain from using basic people-skills online. If you wouldn’t bring it up at a dinner party, or if you wouldn’t say that exact thing to someone’s face, then just don’t do it. Those who thrive on posting or commenting on controversial topics on Facebook just don’t seem to follow that rule *in my opinion.* There is too much, “well I think this, and it’s right, and I”m not going to read your argument” type of attitude. Also, as someone with a communications background, let me tell you…there is SO much of the conversation that we miss out on by not seeing a person’s expression, hearing the inflection in their voice, and observing their body language. If I say something sarcastically online, but fail to clarify that I’m being sarcastic, you best believe someone is going to be all up in my business with a word or two about that.

    Social media is now. It’s happening, it’s unavoidable. But we still have to use courtesy and recognize that what we type is in fact going to be read by another human being with feelings and emotions. I would encourage people who want to share strong opinions about a specific subject matter to either a) do so privately on Facebook so I don’t have to navigate through all that negativity or b) avoid posting it online and instead talk to people about it face to face. There is power and knowledge in debate and *respectful* discussion with other people of differing opinions. It’s how we learn and grow. Just remember, emphasis on respectful.

  3. It fuels gossip. Of this, I am 100% guilty. Ever notice that you can be in a group of people and say, “did you see what so-in-so posted about on Facebook?” or “did you see that picture so-in-so was tagged in and where they were/who they were with/what they were doing?” Facebook depletes our privacy. Generally, in signing up for such a platform, I’m pretty sure most people agree to it on some front. But something that I just cannot stand is when people read off their newsfeed, like it’s some celebrity gossip magazine. We hardly ever know the whole story to anything–let’s be honest–so gleaning information from a haphazardly composed status or photo isn’t the wisest of decisions.

So why did I decide to return? Basically for a couple of the awesome aspects of the site:

  1. It keeps me in touch. I live far away from family and some close friends. Facebook allows me to stay connected with them and to share glimpses of life with each other.
  2. It’s a great platform to support people. I know individuals who are small business owners, band members, having a garage sale, or promoting an event. Facebook is an excellent way to show your support for those people and their endeavors and also spreading the word to your network of friends to check these things out. Having worked in marketing, I understand the expense of advertising and promotion. I have also seen the behind-the-scenes benefits of Facebook sharing, and believe me, it’s one of the best ways to help a brother or sister out and get there name to the public.

What has giving it up for a month taught me? A great many things. Here’s two:

  1. I know my limits. I will no longer have Facebook on my phone. I’m just not going there. It’s too easily accessible, and it’s a temptation for me that I don’t want to give into any longer. I will check my Facebook at a designated time during the day, and that’s that.
  2. I can be an example. My Facebook posts will no longer be used for rants (that’s what THIS blog is for after all 😉 ). It will not push a political agenda, though that’s not really something I did anyway. Instead, it will be used to show off my cute little family, and to keep in touch with friends and family that are far away.

Social media is awesome. It connects us in ways we could never have thought possible. But just like anything else, moderation is key. And remember, social media deals with PEOPLE. We have opinions, feelings, and emotions. What you say to my face affects me just as much as what you type on my newsfeed.

The No-Good, Horrible, Very Bad Morning.

So, do you ever have those days where it’s just not your day, right from the get-go? I am currently having one of those, and good news for me–it’s only 11:00 AM. More fun to be had, right?

Here’s what the last few hours have brought to me:

1) I mis-measured my coffee/water ratio in favor of the water.

2) I walked my dog and when going to collect his morning duties via plastic bag, there was a hole in the bag, and my finger met that hole, along with his best smelling, fully digested dog food. Awesome. And, that was about a block and a half from our house, so…I had a nice smelling walk home.

3) My son slept in and woke up at 8:15 this morning, which was super nice. I was able to get an entire article for work done before he woke up. Then, I got distracted by something stupid and exited off the document prior to saving it. Rookie mistake, Alcock.

4) Like I said, Judah slept in. Win for me. The catch is, he has not stopped talking since 8:15 AM. Literally, not once.

5) I  attempted to hang some string lights from my porch this morning. It’s really a two man job, but over-excitement got the best of me and I decided to try and tackle it myself. I got two strands hung, and they fell. Bulbs shattered everywhere, and my deck was covered in microscopic shards of sharp pieces of glass. Try sweeping that up, while wrangling an ever-chatting toddler, and keeping him off the patio where all the pretty lights with sharp, pointy, edges are now accessible to his grasp. Yikes.

6) Just when things couldn’t get worse, my dog, usually glued within my eyesight, got the sudden urge to take off in a full-out sprint around the neighborhood. So now, I’m running around like a crazy person screaming at my dog (who is purposely not responding) with my yoga pants on, unwashed and full-on bed-head hair, and day-old mascara running down my face. Not to mention the ever-chatting toddler in tow.

I sent my husband a text out of frustration of my day. And do you know what he did? He called Target, explained my situation, and gave me the name of a customer service representative who would exchange my broken porch lights for brand new ones. You know why he did that for me? Because he is amazing. Also, thank you Target for yet again being awesome.

A few deep breaths, a little toddler time on the iPad, and one therapeutic blog post later, and I think I’m ready to get back into this day. Also, don’t we all need these moments, these “no-good, horrible, very-bad-day” times to put things into perspective for us?

There are some pretty heavy and serious things happening in our country and around the world right now. And, I’m saying this to myself as much as anyone else, but let’s pay attention. There are people who are crying out for our help, for justice, and for peace. Folks, as I look at my “white privileged” life, where the worst part of my day is broken porch lights, I think there is a HUGE need for us to stand up, listen, and do something about what is happening. I encourage you all to research, know your facts, and LISTEN.

This is a great place to start: https://ifgathering.com/2015/03/unity/

Life and other random things.

Obviously I’ve been pretty inconsistent in my blogging lately. Truth be told, I’m just not exactly sure what I want to do with this space. I realized that previously I mostly used it as a venting outlet, with occasional family updates. I think it’s what I needed last year, so thanks to all of you who read my rants 😉 Any suggestions moving forward, I’ll take ’em.

This year, Kyle and I have deemed it our “stress free” year…if that’s possible. So far, so good…minus the whole losing of the job thing, which has made us stress a little bit about the old bank account. But, it has also provided us the ever-present opportunity to put our faith in God to provide for us, and he has not failed.

Some of our house projects have been put on hold because of our temporary financial hiccup, but it’s kind of been a good lesson. It’s allowed us to live just right where we are, right now, and be grateful for the many abundant blessings we do have. Instead of focusing on “oh, we need this and it will be so much better,” we’re saying, “hey, this is awesome about our space, and I love it.” I know for me, it’s really helped me to appreciate the little space we call home, and the potential it has to blossom even more in the future.

So, some updates. Kyle has recently started working at an elementary school in an autism room. He is really enjoying his job, the school schedule, and those little k-2 kiddos that he gets to work with every day. Getting to this point has been nothing short of God’s work in our lives. Seriously. Going from wanting to be a college RD to working in an elementary school has been quite a ride, but looking back, you can see the divine hand that led him there. We are so thankful for this opportunity for Kyle. Thank you to everyone who has been faithfully praying for us and for Kyle in his job search.

The “terrible two’s.” We are in those right now, but honestly, they are not so terrible at all. I know, I know…just wait until he’s three, but whatever. Judah is a blast. Growing quickly, saying the funniest things, and he is just the sweetest, most generous kid I know. What two year old freely offers his coveted Easter M&M’s to his parents (and dog)?? *Swoon*

Zoo carousel.

  Zoo carousel.

Judah's "cheese!" face.

Judah’s “cheese!” face.

Makeup time. He's a beaut.

Makeup time. He’s a beaut.

Super into legos these days.

Super into legos these days.

Friends :)

Friends 🙂

I have been finding a new appreciation for being a stay-at-home mom. After I was laid off from my job, I realized how much I depended on that title. I was so offended by the question, “so what do you do all day?” when people would find out I stayed at home. So to be able to say, “I’m a writer” when asked my occupation took away all the insecurities of simply, “being a mom,” Wait…simply being a mom?? Isn’t that important enough? Yes. Definitely. I still write some freelance pieces here and there, but I’m finding new joy and new confidence in this whole, I’m a stay-at-home mom thing. I love being able to take frequent walks in my neighborhood with Judah and our dog, Quincy (we got rid of the puppy, sadly, but it was just too much. We opted to adopt a 5 year old retriever Chinook mix and he is the bee’s knees).

20150315_190300

I also love being able to do yoga with Judah, actively play with him and be all there, instead of worrying about my time to meet my next deadline or make sure I’m not missing an important email. And, it’s been nice to slowly build friendships with some other mammas in the area.

We’re ready to start our first small garden this month, which we are all excited and anxious about. If it bombs, there’s always next year and the farmer’s market, right?

Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend. I know we did!