The Trenches

“You’re in the trenches.” I’ve heard this phrase many times in the last year, and I’ve not really known what to make of it until recently. It is typically used to refer to parents who have multiples under the age … Continue reading

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.

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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 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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.

Judah Is 3!

Hard to believe this kiddo turned three earlier this month.

We were able to celebrate with a few close friends, and the day was really special. It has been ridiculously hot outside, so some type of water feature was a must. When Kyle and I asked Judah what he wanted to do for his party this year, he said “cars.” After a quick peruse of the ‘ol Pinterest, we settled on creating a “car wash” that could be used for the rest of the season. It was great fun, and surprisingly easy to assemble. You can find the directions to the model we used here.

We are about to hunker down for the next couple of days, so my next posts will probably be photo heavy, unless something drastic happens and I need to vent 😉 Kyle is recovering from a small surgery and I am taking the opportunity to try some hard core potty training with Judah while we wait for our main squeeze to recoup. So, if you come to our house, Judah will be naked, chances are high that there will be pee on the floor, but my gosh, this boy is getting potty trained. And if he doesn’t, he most likely be the kindergartener wearing a pull-up to class, because after this attempt, I’m just throwing in my towel. Just don’t draw attention to it…his parents are sensitive about it.

For now, I will leave you with some photos from this three year old’s festivities. I apologize for the photo quality, or lack thereof. I have better pictures from his actual day turning three on my camera, but I’m feeling way too lazy to get up and upload them, so you’re stuck with my crappy phone pictures. But, you’ll get the drift.

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Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day...

Busted getting his 1,000th sucker of the day…

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Enjoying some ice cream sundaes!

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Minions bike!

I mean, if he's not the cutest little construction worker you've ever seen.

I mean, if he’s not the cutest little construction worker you’ve ever seen.

Happy birthday, kiddo. We love you to pieces.

Motherhood Lately

Motherhood lately has been a pretty big guilt trip that I’m putting myself through. I’ve been short on patience where it’s been needed most. Slow to sympathize when it’s been requested. Motherhood lately has been the struggle to find that balance between surviving the day, and embracing it. It’s been difficult to look forward to going to yet another park or splash pad, or playing yet another game of car racing. Motherhood lately has been barely holding on and hoping for ten minutes of silence where I can change over the laundry, or do a few dishes. Motherhood lately has been kind of gray.

This summer has been a mix. It’s been mostly great, but there has been a cloud that’s slowly creeping in. We’ve had a steady busyness of visitors and activities, and still more to come. Our family has strengthened existing friendships, formed new ones, and assessed others that were maybe not what we thought. We’ve found ourselves a pretty solid family away from family, and we’ve felt so much love this summer. We’ve had visits from dear friends from far away and from my parents, and an upcoming vacation with Kyle’s entire family. We celebrated our beautiful boy’s third birthday. Not to mention we’ve finally made it through the first trimester of a new pregnancy. These events have left us feeling blessed and loved.

But despite all of this amazingness, motherhood lately has been a struggle for me. Everyone has their seasons, the highs and the lows, and I’m kind of in a slump right now. So, instead of constantly beating myself up about it, I’m attempting to cleanse that “I’m a half-assed mom” feeling through writing and hoping to start fresh.

Judah has been pretty fantastic. We’ve had tons of transitions and events this summer, as described, and through it all he’s been extremely tolerant and pleasant. Kyle and I were worried that all these guests and activities would make for one sleep deprived, fit-throwing child, but he’s surpassed our expectations and has proven he’s pretty much amazing and that we need to give him more credit where credit is due. I on the other hand, have not had this great of a report.

I’ve been in my first trimester for most of the summer, which means I was feeling sick, very anxious given our history, and pretty lethargic. Luckily, all these things are now starting to pass. However, dealing with this plus an energetic toddler can really take it out of you.

I’ve been getting down on myself lately because the place where I “work” (ha) hasn’t really been requesting a lot from me lately, which scares me for our bank account. I’ve also been going a little bit crazy…I haven’t been away from Judah this entire summer, except for that one time I had a doctor’s appointment and asked a friend to watch him while I had my annual pap smear. Just what you want to do with an hour to yourself, right?

It’s been a tricky time for me and Kyle too. Not being away from Judah also means not having husband/wife time. Kyle has been working so hard this summer to provide for our family. I am SO proud of that man. He has worked crappy job after crappy job so that our bills are paid and I can be home to raise our kids. It’s one of the biggest testaments to how much he loves this family. Though he’s finally starting to map out a career plan, thanks to the works of God, this summer has been no exception to that crappy job cycle that he’s just barely breaking out of. Though we are thankful for the work he has, I still think it’s okay to think it’s kind of sucky sometimes.

Kyle has been working on a roofing crew this summer with the school system. Physical labor is difficult, and roofing in the summer is like slow torture. Not to mention, Kyle isn’t used to physical labor, which makes it even an even more difficult adjustment, but throw in a heat wave where it hasn’t been below 90 degrees in at least a month, and it’s just brutal. Needless to say, upon leaving the house at the crack of dawn and working in the heat for the better part of the day, without fault, he comes home every afternoon completely whipped out. He’s basically a walking zombie from Monday through about Saturday afternoon when he finally get some much needed rest. So, while he’s out in the heat, breaking his back for a meager paycheck to help with my lack of work from my “employer,”  that leaves me basically being a single mom.

Sure, I only have one kid to feed, potty train, and entertain at the moment, but it’s still hard. Sometimes, mommy needs her breaks. And sometimes I really just want to talk with my husband and hang out with him. But currently, it’s not an option. I know it will be over soon, and I can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. But despite this summer of being surrounded by wonderful friends and family, it’s also been a little bit lonely. And sometimes I feel very much like I’m kind of half-assing the whole mom thing. There are moments where I just want silence, and Judah wants to reiterate every thought that passes through his brain. There are times when I want to sift through my email for five minutes, and just can’t because I’m being bombarded with cars, and trucks, and monster noises. There is laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to be vacuumed, and beds to be made, and I don’t have the energy to do it.

Motherhood lately has been a trial, but it’s one that will only make me stronger in the end. I love my little boy to pieces, and I adore my husband and the way he fights to provide for our family. So, to all you other parents out there struggling to stay standing in this summer heat wave–solidarity.

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Dinner Time

Wow. You guys, I am terrible at blogging these days. Terrible. But, I’ve been enjoying life outside of the internet, so can you really blame me? Anyway….today’s post is dedicated to meal sharing. It’s something both Kyle and I hold near and dear, and it’s played a pretty significant role in our lives.

I first learned about the joys that come with hospitality from a really young age. My dad pastored a small community church for a few years while I was growing up. Looking back, I can’t really remember any Sunday after church that my parents didn’t prepare a huge spread for a table filled with people. To me, it was normal–expected even–to have a large group of strangers over for dinner at least once every week.

Sharing a meal brings community. I was reminded of this just over the weekend. I turned 28 on the 21, and that day is pretty rough for me. Not because I’m slowly approaching 30, but because of the significance of my 27th birthday. But what could make a tainted birthday a little better? Sharing a meal with friends.

*Photos are courtesy of the lovely Jen B.*

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

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Some of my favorite people, missing Jen B who is snapping the photo. These friends are true gems. I can’t even begin to describe it.

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The chef and the hostess. He’s a pretty hot lookin’ griller isn’t he?

 

To Kyle and I, our friends are an extension of family. We live thousands of miles from both sides of our families, so we’ve learned to adopt some close friends in the area to fill that void. Until rapid travel is possible, it’s just what we need to do. And one of our favorite ways to connect with people is by sharing a meal. I think we would host someone almost every day. I love to cook big, hearty meals, and Kyle is becoming quite the master griller, so between the two of us, we’ll get you full 🙂

But it’s not about the food. It’s what happens around it. We laugh, we tell stories, we build relationships. I think too many of us don’t take sharing a meal seriously. Our society is pretty busy, so actually sitting down for a proper meal isn’t always something we prioritize. Well, I’m going to challenge you on that. Make it a priority. Even if it’s once a week that you make a full dinner and sit with your family. Then take it a step further, invite someone else over. No one cares if your table is perfect. No one will mind if you cook a terrible meal (I have done that before, and we all had a good laugh over it). In fact, you can even ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. What sharing a meal is about is building community. Whether it’s over grilled cheese sandwiches or a big juicy steak, it really doesn’t matter.

So, who are you going to share your table with?

Lady Friends

So…I just got back from attending my city’s local IF: Gathering. If you don’t know what it is, look it up. If you know what it is, I strongly encourage you to go next year if you couldn’t make it this time around. If you went, aren’t you like…woah. Life changing and beautiful stuff. My mind is still spinning. So much so that I was processing some of the things I heard over the past two days while in the shower this morning–it’s where I do all my best processing–and when I got done, I realized I had been so sucked into digesting everything that I couldn’t remember if I had washed my hair or not.

So this conference couldn’t have come at a better time. Life has been less than ideal lately…I had such high hopes for 2015 because 2014 basically sucked balls, but so far 2015 has not been so kind. I got “laid off” from my job, sort of…I guess you could say, I was “demoted” to being a freelance writer for the company, but “freelance” without any work. Basically, the money there is tight, and it’s a business, so cuts had to be made and lucky for me, I was on the list of cuts. But, I’m strangely okay with this…after a few days of being royally pissed 😉 So, the season of hardships continues for the Alcock’s, but this time, thanks to a swift kick in the pants from the ladies at IF, I am able to face it with an entirely new perspective.

Anywho, that was my, “hey let’s catch up on life intro” and now I’m going to awkwardly transition into my for real post topic: Friendship. I cannot tell you how many times Kyle and I have discussed the issue of friendship. Since moving here to Salem, I finally have somewhat of a social life, which had been lacking dearly for the past five years. However, friendships in adult life are just not the same as they used to be.

Gone are the days of “just popping by” because you have so many freaking obligations as an adult. Jobs, for one. Taking care of and scheduling your kids, family obligations, spending time with your spouse, laundry, dinner, money, the list goes on and on. So basically, being friends as an adult consists of scheduling time well in advance every so often that you can actually get together. Meanwhile, half of the time you’re together, you’re preoccupied about what’s going on at home, or work. Gross.

I recently had a phone conversation with a friend who put this whole “adult friendship” thing into such great perspective. She said, basically in college, we were in this little bubble, so spoiled and entitled to relationships that are just not practical in the “real world.” Boy, do I hate that though. I want my friends to just stop over to my house, unannounced, sit down for an hour or two and just chat. I want to randomly drive over to their house for the sheer reason that I’m tired of looking at my own walls and it’s raining outside, I don’t know how to entertain my toddler anymore, and I don’t have a reason to go to the grocery store. You know what I’m saying?

The catch in all this is that I don’t think I’m the only one who craves this sort of community, and despite our crazy schedules, I don’t think it’s impossible to obtain. It shows up in little glimpses here and there, so I know it exists. Like that time my friends and I danced to a strobe light and old hip hop songs in her living room. Yep. It happened. Three baby mamas getting down to Usher and Lil’ John. And it was awesome.

I consider my friends to be like family to me. I’m introverted, so if I reach out and open myself up to you as a friend, you might as well identify yourself as my family member. Lucky you…

So, when I have a friend, I want to know EVERYTHING about them, and I’ll tell them EVERYTHING about me. I want to chat with them all the time. I want to spend time with them. Not in a stage five clinger kind of way, but in a “hey, lets do life together,” kind of way.

Interestingly enough, because I’m introverted, I often sit back and wait for friends to initiate our “scheduled times.” However, if I want something to happen, I just gotta do it.

So, friends, consider yourselves warned: I’m spontaneously stopping by your houses now, and it’s going to be awesome.