“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
The summer is finally winding down and I’m hoping *fingers crossed* that we’ve had our last week of 90-plus degree weather. We managed to skip out on the last scorcher by going to our favorite beach with some friends, which ended up being a pretty fabulous day.
I thought I’d share some of our recent adventures with you via some slightly terrible iPhone photos. We’ve been lucky to have had some visits from family over the summer, so it’s given us a great excuse to continue exploring our new state and showing off the sites. Despite the drought we’ve been having, I gotta say, Oregon is beautiful in the summer.
We went to the beach and Silver Falls with Kyle’s parents, and as part of our anniversary, Kyle and I decided to do five little things to celebrate five years. Honestly, most of them are favored around Judah, but Kyle and I will getaway someday 🙂 One of our five things for five years included a family trip to Newport beach where we stayed overnight at a resort to swim, be lazy, and visit the aquarium. Judah had a BLAST. And…photos:
Tomorrow my Oregon adventures continue on a hike with some amazing women. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those days that completely refreshes my soul. Hope you all have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!
This past Friday, Kyle and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Holy crap. Are we really at five years already? Our wedding day literally seems like it was yesterday…yet also such a long time ago. Over the last five years, we have grown so much both individually, and as a couple.
The night before our anniversary came, I looked over at Kyle and said, “This year’s been a doosey hasn’t it?” We laughed about it, but really, it has. This year alone, we have been stretched in more ways than I think each of us have experienced in one short time span ever in our lives. Roughly in the last year, we have and continue to grieve three miscarriages, we moved across the country leaving our family and friends behind, faced job uncertainty, and lost significant friendships. Honestly, I think we’ve had more arguments this year alone than our previous four years combined.
However, these trials we have faced are also some of the best things that have happened to us. Experiencing the loss of our unborn babies has opened up new conversations for us about our family structure and what we really want that to look like. It has also, in a strange way, given us a renewed love and appreciation for the beautiful son we have. Our time with job uncertainty has helped me to learn the value in the way my husband relentlessly pursues his passions. He does not give up. And he ALWAYS wants the best for me and for Judah. Leaving our friends and family has caused us to rely on one another in ways we haven’t always needed to. Yes, it’s caused some strain for obvious reasons, but it’s also pushed us to finally consider what is best for our core family unit, not everyone else’s. It has allowed us to step back and begin weeding through what we want and don’t want as parents, as a couple, and as a family.
This year reminded us that marriage is tough. It’s not all happiness and fun times. Marriage takes hard work, and it takes commitment. Though this year has been both amazing and difficult, I wouldn’t trade it in. This year has opened up our eyes to new ways in which to communicate to each other, to encourage one another, pray for each other, and love each other. For me personally, this year has shown me the amazing patience Kyle has for me and my shortcomings. It has also revealed to me the length that he would go to help me become the best person I can be.
Looking back five years ago, I didn’t think this is where we would be now. Sure, some things have lined up, but others haven’t. And you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Doing life with this man has been an incredible ride that always keeps me on my toes, and I cannot wait to look back another five years from now.
Thanks for asking me to be your wife, Kyle. I’m one lucky lady.
Happy Monday! I hope all the mothers out there, in every sense of the word, had a wonderful day surrounded by their loved ones yesterday. I had a fabulous weekend with my two men, who spoiled me with coffee, a new nightstand, the best burger I’ve had in a long time, and fresh donuts on Sunday morning.
But…this post isn’t about Mother’s Day, it’s actually about me. I know, so humble right?
So, sometimes–and by sometimes I really mean more frequently than I’d like to admit–I just have out and out pity parties for myself. I think about all the things I was going to do or could have done and wonder what it would be like if I had. I look at other women my age who are pursing something similar to what I wanted to do and finding great success in it, and that little bug of jealousy rears it’s ugly head, leaving me in a puddle of self-induced sorrow. Pathetic right? Especially when I snap out of it and take a look at what’s really around me every day.
Back in my early college days, when shows like The Hills were all the rage, (yeah LC!) I really wanted to pursue something in fashion. I loved it. I was always well-dressed in college, except for those inevitable 8:00 a.m. classes where sweatpants were mandatory. I’d often have people on my floors frequent my closet to borrow my clothes, or ask for my advice on their outfits before a big date or whatever. I liked playing that role. I liked being confident in what I wore, and being able to help others feel good about what they were wearing too. I had dreams of opening up my own shop someday, and even had an internship with a small boutique in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to start learning the ropes. Then, I met Kyle. When we started dating, I wasn’t thinking that this was the year I would meet my husband. But, lucky for me, I did, and plans changed. And they changed for the better. Sometimes I think back to opening my own little store, realizing I never pursued it, and feel that twinge of regret. But then I snap out of it, and I think, if I had, I wouldn’t be married to the man I get to call my husband. My life just wouldn’t be complete.
I have held similar desires toward things like photography, or fitness, or blogging. I tried to be a photographer, but that just didn’t pan out for me, despite my efforts, and that’s okay. Instead, I get to use what I know to create great memories for my family, and there’s a lot less pressure involved. I get to do it for the pure joy, and nothing else. I’ve also really been into yoga lately. I have been taking a class from this lovely lady (but seriously, check out that link to her Instagram, she is insanely talented). I have always enjoyed the practice of yoga and the ability to see the small progressions your body makes, even in just one session. However, I also want to have more babies, and I can’t really be doing forearm stands while pregnant. Therefore, my dreams of becoming a really great yogi are going to be a little suspended, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I can’t lay a great foundation for my practice now, one that will really get me ready for doing things like a forearm stand someday in the future. And that doesn’t mean I should enjoy doing yoga any less. After all, it’s basically the only thing that gets me out of bed at 6:45 a.m.
And blogging. I started this blog in a different state of mind, as a frustrated mom of a colicky baby who felt so isolated. I loved my new role as mommy, but I also longed for something more. Everyone else’s life with their newborn seemed like nothing short of constant bliss compared to my scream-fests every day. When I wrote that first blog post, it was for nothing more than to vent. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself clearly, and I definitely had a few things I needed to get off my chest. After receiving a lot of success from my posts, I’ve toyed with the idea of making some money off of my blog. But I quickly realized, in doing so, I wouldn’t be writing for myself, I’d be writing for the potential of making money (for those who do, there is nothing wrong with that, I’m simply saying I couldn’t personally find that balance). Instead of writing when I wanted to, I’d feel pressured to keep up a schedule, which wouldn’t allow me to be as spontaneous and write from the heart. And for me, that’s okay.
I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, when is it going to be okay to just be me? And by that question, what I really mean is, when am I going to be okay with just being me?
I’m a major people pleaser by nature. I hate feeling that others will be upset with me or dislike me. Previously, to the point of completely disregarding myself and the things I enjoy in life to pursue what would make me “look good” in the eyes of whoever I was trying to live up to. Such a lame way to live life, and I’m finally starting to see that. A few times throughout this past year, I have been able to stand up for myself when I’ve been wronged, or haven’t wanted to do something, and it feels great! But I’ve got a long way to go, and part of that will come with rooting my foundation–being okay with my choices and being me.
In just a few short weeks I’ll be turning 27. That’s a lot closer to 30 than I used to be. I’ve always envisioned being 30 as reaching the pinnacle of “you-dom” (yep, just made that up). You are who you are, and you embrace it. Throughout your 20’s there is so much change and shifting in life, things that happen which begin to define who you are. Not that there aren’t any changes when you’re in your 30’s, or 40’s or 50’s, but I just feel that by that time, these changes probably occur with a bit more of a grounded foundation. At least, that’s what I’d like for myself.
Instead of choosing a career in fashion, I chose to get married and become a mother. And you know what? I’d rather wear clothes covered in peanut butter and yogurt and watch Mad Men and the end of the day with my husband than be doing anything else. I love being a mom, it’s my thing. Instead of being a super awesome yogi right now, I’m slowly learning the habits to get there, while allowing myself time to fully focus on my son while he still actually wants my attention. And I love that. It works for me. I love the opportunity to practice yoga first thing in the morning and to attend class on Tuesdays. It’s a great way to start my day and get a little me time in. My forearm stand is waiting for me in the future, and I’m happy with that for now.
In the midst of my pity party last week, I was reviewing these feelings with Kyle, and he said something to me that I think is so true. Being a mom, or not being a mom, or wanting to be a mom, it just totally changes your entire world. It determines your priorities. We began talking about the different roles that moms can play. We determined that there is a bit of a scale when it comes to motherhood. There are the moms that live solely for their kids on one side, and the moms who have kids who live solely for them on the other, you know, kind of like an accessory. Then, there’s that sweet spot in the middle of the perfect balance. When moms prioritize their kids just right, while still prioritizing themselves and their own dreams. I think that’s the place every mom strives for, we all just end up somewhere different on the scale, wherever that may be.
But ah…that perfect balance.
Here’s to finding it, and here’s to working my way toward finally being okay with being me. Twenty seven, I’m coming for you.
Okay, I know I’ve been doing primarily photo heavy blogs lately, which isn’t my usual, but we’re still just so in awe of the beautiful area that we live, how can I not share it? Kyle and I have had many discussions about hoping to never take this landscape for granted. I grew up close to hills and pretty outstanding views of nature, but I think there is little that compares to the sites around here in Oregon. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the color green quite like I have here. Every shade of green imaginable, and so rich! Also, the water is pristine, I mean pristine. You know those old bottled water commercials they used to run with that water so perfect you were sure it must be some type of photoshopped magic? It’s definitely not photoshopped, and it’s right in my backyard.
Spring here is pretty magnificent. Yes, we have days where it rains, but usually it’s pretty sporadic and only lasts a half hour or so before clearing away to some blue skies and sun rays. And, it seems like for every four rainy days we have, we get four gorgeous clear skied beauties. We’ve been taking advantage of such days as much as we can.
Recently, we went to explore Silver Falls, a natural waterfall paradise about 35 minutes away. The photos below don’t do it justice, but it’ll give you at least a little glimpse. And these were all taken by my husband. Sometimes I just don’t want to bother with pictures, you know? I just want to soak it in. Lucky for me, Kyle snapped some great memories for us.
Next up is a hike we took with some friends. We were meaning to head to a location called Jawbone Flats, but it was a bit further than we anticipated, and with five kids in tow, a four mile hike was good enough. Luckily, the hike itself offered plenty to explore, including a great spot to play in the creek below before heading back home.
The other day, it was one of those exceptionally warm days, so we snuck away to the beach. It was about 80 there, and just gorgeous. We had been to this beach previously when we visited Oregon before moving last summer. The day we went, a cloud got stuck in the cliffs and just never rose. Despite the overcast and foggy appearance, this beach still took our breath away. Imagine our reaction when we were able to enjoy it on a clear day.
Judah loved it, which makes this mama happy. He has really enjoyed all of our excursions.
Can’t wait to see what adventures the summer has in store for us! To keep up with all of our family excursions, follow me on Instagram (@bethanyruthalcock). And, if you like my blog and think others will too, give a click to the “Top Mommy” and “Top Baby” blog icons to your right. Thanks!!
About two weeks ago, my parents came out to visit us during their Spring Break. It was probably the rainiest week we’ve had here in Oregon so far, and Judah was getting over his ten thousandth sickness of the winter. But for a few hours one day, we were able to make it over to the coast, and the sun poked its face through the clouds for the short time we were there.
I usually don’t do photo-heavy posts, but I figured the pictures would do the best job of telling you all about our day (minus the part where we shoved our faces with Mo’s clam chowder). That being said, I apologize in advance…my camera and I have not been together as much as we should be and my photog skills are a bit rusty.
It was a good day, and an even better visit. We love you Neena and Pops!
First, I want to thank everyone for your kind words, positive thoughts, and prayers since my previous post. Kyle and I have felt each and every one. It always blows my mind how many people actually take the time to read the nonsense I post here, and it is unbelievable to me the amount of support we have received from sharing our story with you. Every passing day we are getting better and moving on in our process of healing, and you my friends have played a large role in that.
There are very few “anniversaries” that I keep up with. I mean, really, I can only keep track of so many things. But, I do remember the day that Kyle and I got engaged. I remember it like it was yesterday because well, it is one of my most favorite memories of all time. Kyle and I are not super romantic. Just for reference if you don’t know Kyle, he’s kind of the Harry Potter loving mixture of Chandler Bing from Friends and Nick Miller from New Girl. Not sure what that says about me, but whatever, he’s my favorite. And, his proposal was one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me.
Anyway, five years ago today, Kyle asked me to be his wife, so I feel like it’s time I share our little story.
We went to the same small college in the middle of Indiana, but we didn’t officially meet there. There were several occasions that we could have introduced ourselves to one another, but we never did, and thank goodness. We would not have dated if so. Seriously. We were definitely not in the same friend group at that time in our lives and I think it was a good thing, because it molded us into the people we were when our paths finally did cross.
So how did we meet if we never crossed paths when Kyle was the RA on my brother floor? How did we never meet up when our rooms were directly across the roof from one another? How did we never meet considering we went to the same little church, I went to see his band play a few times, and we had so many mutual friends? Definitely a God thing.
Truth be told, we met on Facebook. Yep, Facebook. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! It’s a little embarrassing, but totally true. Yes, Kyle and I both knew who we were, our college was small and you pretty much had an idea of who everyone was. However, he had already graduated and I was just about to enter my senior year. I checked my Facebook one night and saw that he had messaged me. I thought it was strange, but I replied anyway. Yet another God-thing. I would have never responded to some guy trying to flirt with me via Facebook message. But, for some reason I did.
Kyle was living in Colorado at the time and didn’t have any intention of coming back. Anyway, in my college-aged head I felt messaging was harmless because I knew that nothing other than a friendship (yeah right) would occur since I was headed back east after graduation with no desires of Colorado anywhere near. We messaged, AIMed (yeah, it was still cool back then), and eventually shared our phone numbers with one another and talked personally. With each conversation, our relationship grew and our respect for each other increased. Kyle made me feel comfortable, perhaps because he was so far away, and he helped me through one of my most challenging phases of life.
Well, later on he told me he needed another knee surgery and because of that, he would be coming back to Indiana. I got super excited because this “boy out west” was definitely not just some anonymous friend any more. Silly me for thinking so in the first place. As we continued to talk our feelings for each other grew, and we knew we’d be dating as soon as he came home. And that we did. We dated for five months before Kyle put a ring on it.
Kyle was adamant about never proposing on Valentine’s day. We didn’t celebrate it, nor do we to this day, other than buying discounted chocolate and candy the day after, let’s face it, we do that after every holiday. But, Kyle told me he did have a little surprise planned and wanted me to come to his parent’s house a few days after Valentine’s day. So, I got ready and drove over, expecting we’d have dinner and watch a movie or something.
Kyle met me at the door and took me through his house where he had a very elaborate plan in place. We started downstairs in the basement. Strewn on the floor were photos of me from birth through high school, and a plastic slide, very crucial to my toddler years, that he had somehow tracked down. We looked through the photos together, laughing at my awkward braces-filled, middle-school years, thanking the Lord that I didn’t actually stay that way. Then, Kyle led me back upstairs to his parent’s office.
Once we got there, I was presented with a blanket fort Kyle had made. We had made a blanket fort during one of our first dates. Blanket forts are the bomb.com, seriously. Underneath it were more pictures. This time, the photos were from my college years. Also in that pile was a notebook full of all of the Facebook messages that we had sent back and forth to one another over the summer, and Kyle had bolded several of the messages that really stood out to him in defining our relationship. What a stud! We perused through the photos together and I read the sections that Kyle had highlighted in our book. And we had a blast laughing at ourselves looking back at our “first impressions” of one another.
Next, Kyle took me back downstairs into the living room. Now, most of you are probably thinking, oh, you must have known it was coming! How did you keep it together so long? Well, fun fact about me, I’m totally oblivious to everything romantic/flirting/engagement. Seriously. Despite the fact that we had talked about getting married, and had previously gone ring shopping, the whole time this was happening the words “engaged,” “ring,” or “marriage,” never crossed my mind. I seriously thought that he was just going out of his way to give me a really thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. Yeah, I know.
Anyway, back in the living room, Kyle took my hands and explained that the downstairs had represented my past, upstairs my present, and here, where there were no photos, just the two of us, was our future. (I know, I know, you’re all thinking, “Bethany…you’re killing me, you have to know now!!!” No. I didn’t. Seriously, I’m oblivious.) Kyle was nervous and his hands were shaking. In the middle of his speech, letting me know how much he wanted to be a part of my future, I stopped him and said, “Kyle, why are you so nervous? It’s just me!” Seriously girl, it’s so obvious! Anyway, he responded to me, “Just let me get through this.” So, I smiled awkwardly and he continued. After saying so many sweet things, he pulled out a Polly Pocket from a drawer on a side table. I used to collect Polly Pockets as a little girl, I had like 45 or something ridiculous. Those things were my WORLD. He opened it up, and inside it was a small plastic ring. He looked me in the eye, and said, “Will you be my wife?”
One, he did not get on his knee, and I appreciate that. Instead, he looked me right, square in the eye, as his equal, his partner. Two, he didn’t ask me to marry him, he asked me to be his wife. He asked me to be in it for the long haul, to be his wife, and everything that comes with that. Points my friend.
Of course I said YES! And he put that little plastic ring on my finger as far as it would go. It was made for a 4 year old, so it didn’t quite fit.
A few minutes later, after our initial celebrations, he pulled out the real rock. And man, is it a rock! He did a great job. We called our families and closest friends and rejoiced together. It was one of the best moments of my life.
And, if you don’t think my husband is the sweetest after that story, here’s a bonus. My family lives in Western New York, and we were in Indiana at the time. Kyle drove all the way to my parent’s house to ask my dad’s permission in person. And, on the way there, he called my sister, who is also my bestie for life and asked her permission as well.
Yeah, I know, he’s pretty dreamy.
Five months later, we were married. And in August, we will celebrate five years of marriage. Happy engagement anniversary to us!!
Early in the morning on January 6, Kyle and I rejoiced together–we were going to have another baby. We excitedly told our son, Judah that he was going to be a big brother. We had wanted our kids to be fairly close in age, and were elated to be expanding our family.
Being new to the area, I had no idea what doctors were the best, but some friends filled me in, and we were able to find a great one. We scheduled our first appointment to meet her and begin the journey to having another child.
Because this wasn’t my first pregnancy, I began to show pretty quickly. Here I am one evening before bed, approximately seven weeks along. It was exciting to me to be looking pregnant so soon, I always loved the “cute” pregnant time, when you have those small baby bumps, regular sized ankles, and a normal amount of energy.
Kyle and I Skyped with our parents, who were all overjoyed with the news of adding another grandchild to the family. A bit later, we told our siblings and a select few friends. We began planning out how we’d configure our living space for another little one, and I dug out all my old maternity clothes, and began taking inventory of new purchases I’d need to make to keep myself comfortable in the upcoming summer months with a big belly in tow.
A few weeks passed, and we were scheduled for an ultrasound to pinpoint a more accurate due date. On February 4, one month after finding out our exciting news, we woke up early and excited. We never had an early ultrasound with Judah, so this was a new experience for both Kyle and I, and we were so excited to see our little babe. I remember going into the doctor’s office and seeing a fellow patient come out of the door to the waiting room looking at pictures of her ultrasound, a smile spread across her face. She was looking at some of her baby’s first precious photos. This made my excitement grow ten-fold.
Shortly after observing this woman, Kyle and I were called back to the ultrasound room. I got ready, and my doctor came in, time to see our baby! She spread that warm jelly around my belly, and immediately, we saw our little babe. There it was! So small, but so defined. We could see it’s little nose, and the beginnings of what would be hands and feet. As soon as I saw it, my heart was overflowing with love. It was real. We were a family of four now. Judah was a big brother, and we were parents of two. I couldn’t wait to meet my child.
The doctor adjusted the wand once, and asked me if I had been experiencing any abnormalities. When I said no, she smiled at me. Then she let me know she was going to refocus the picture and walk us through what was on the screen. First, she said, “Here is the pregnancy.”
I beamed. That was my baby! Here it is! But I should have known. It was foreshadowing. She didn’t call it a baby. She called it, “the pregnancy.”
The smile that was spread across my face was quickly swiped away with the next five words the doctor spoke. Five words that changed me. Five words that changed Kyle.
“Unfortunately, there is no heartbeat.”
Unfortunately. Unfortunately. That word echoes over and over in my head on a daily basis. Unfortunately.
Immediately I began to weep. I could see my baby, my precious baby, but it was gone. Taken from us in an instant. Gone before I could ever hold him or her. Gone before we could meet it. Gone before we even knew if it was a boy or girl. Gone before Judah was able to play with him or her. Gone before we could say happy birthday. Gone before we could whisper, “I love you.”
The rest of the appointment was a blur. I remember asking her how far along the baby was and she told me 8 weeks. After that, all I kept hearing was, “unfortunately” over and over again. That, and feeling the strongest desire to run so fast to the car and just sob uncontrollably. Somehow, we made it through the rest of the appointment, and thankfully, no one was in the waiting room when we left. I don’t know if I could have bared to see a happily expecting mother in that moment. (*Side note, I’m okay with seeing expecting mothers now. In fact, it still makes me smile just as much as it did before.*)
Kyle and I cried together in the car, and I wept for the rest of the way home. The worst part to me was that my baby was alone. I couldn’t hold my child during their final moments. I couldn’t kiss my baby and soothe any discomfort it might have felt. I was helpless. Sure, my baby was with me, but I couldn’t mother him or her the way I wanted to–the way I would have, had I been able. I felt so devastated that its life and final moments were spent alone.
Kyle was so strong, has been so strong for me. He’s let me cry, talked with me, weighed our next steps, and took care of Judah when I couldn’t.
In the midst of our heartache, we have been surrounded by so much support. From new friends who barely know us, to old ones who call or send texts from afar just to check in. We have felt so much prayer from both family and friends, and our healing has begun because of it.
During our days of hardest grief, we were battling with what steps to take next. Frankly, insurance blows. It’s terrible, and I was so angry that we had to navigate over-priced deductibles and fees when we should have solely been focusing on grieving and celebrating the life of this little child. Luckily, God answered our prayers and has provided for us in ways we never expected.
This weekend, Kyle and I will be saying good-bye to the earthly parts of our baby. We know our child’s soul is already dancing in Heaven, and we cannot wait to be reunited someday.
Sweet baby, it was such an honor, such a privilege to carry you for the time I was able. I hope with all my heart that you know how loved you are. That you know how highly anticipated your arrival was. That you understand the joy you brought to our lives. And, so you don’t go without hearing it, happy birthday. I love you.