Do The Hard Things.

Tonight, my oldest child walked into my bedroom after I got out of the shower. He nonchalantly told me he was glad that he heard me singing in there again. He told me he’s missed it. I asked him what he meant and he said, “I always know you’re really happy when you play music and sing so loud.”

Gut check.

I didn’t even realize I stopped. I mean, I knew that the extra effort to connect the speaker and pick a few songs hasn’t felt necessary lately. Mostly because I usually hold my exhausted body up by leaning against the shower wall at 10pm just long enough to wash my hair and ass before crawling into bed for a few hours of restless sleep.

I really can’t remember the last time I sang in there.

I have spent the last few years, specifically the last year, consumed by deconstructing every single thing I’ve ever known to be true. My religion. My sexuality. My relationships. I’ve always done what I thought was expected of me and then I ended up having to fix the brokenness that came in the aftermath of not meeting those expectations.

Those expectations were bullshit. Glennon Doyle said, “when a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.” And when I read those words, it was like a switch flipped. I stopped caring about making everyone else happy and focused on my own happiness.

I decided just to stop giving a fuck about what people expect from me.

In the last month, I “came out” on social media and immediately felt the effects. I worked at a preschool in a church that preaches loving people where they are, but sends pastors to “come alongside you” while you try to pray your gay away. I quit my job there, even though it meant having to leave kids and their families who have become like my own. The next morning I woke up with this overwhelming sense of relief that I wasn’t expecting but that simultaneously brought contentment and broke my heart.

I felt free to finally be authentically myself for the first time in my entire life.

And you know what? The God that I believe in created me to be this person and still loves me unconditionally.

Just a year ago, some of the words spoken to me in the last month would have absolutely broken me. Instead, I’ve found so much happiness.

So basically, what I’m saying is that Glennon was right. Don’t be afraid to do the hard things. Quit the job. Date the human that makes you happy. Be authentically yourself. Choose the joy.

An Open Letter to My Son’s Absent Father

aus4

You were never much more than a bandaid I was using to cover the hurt from my marriage imploding. I think you knew that. I was broken. Broken really isn’t a word strong enough to describe me in those months. Crushed, hurting, shattered, devastated, furious. Broken. You knew that too. And you used it to get close to me. I can see that clearly now.

So from the moment the pregnancy test turned positive, I knew I would be raising my baby alone. People assured me you would step up once you knew, but I was confident you would not. And I was right.

The day I told you I was pregnant, your response was to tell me “we can go dutch on the abortion.” There are very few people that know that until now. That moment solidified what I already knew.

I tried to keep you informed. I shared the first ultrasound with you. You asked me to stop talking about it, as if that would make it go away. Finally, around seven weeks into my pregnancy, you made a threat to hurt yourself if I remained pregnant. You told me it would “ruin your life.” You said that you may as well just end your life because it was over anyway. That was the last time I spoke to you. You never reached out to see if he was a he or a she. You never asked me his birthday. I don’t even know if you know his full name.

aus1

I spent the last year equally leaning on God and being angry with Him. Why would He think I’m equipped to handle this alone? Why would He bring a child into this situation? WHY? But this little boy that I didn’t know I needed, along with his brothers, helped me heal my broken heart. God used them to help me become whole again. He used him to help me put those shattered pieces back together. He provided.

He is six months old now. He is the most beautiful little boy. There are moments when I see you in him, but I mostly see his brothers. And me. Sometimes I wonder if you think about the baby you’ve never met. He crawls everywhere and gets into things he shouldn’t at his brothers’ encouragement. He’s eating real food and learns more about this world he lives in every day.

And he is loved. So much. And so wanted. You were the mistake. He is not.

aus2

when depression steals your joy.

I used to sing in the shower. Obnoxiously. Like, cow dying-from-labor-mixed-with-squealing-pig obnoxiously. Whether I was happy or sad. Whether I was angry or indifferent. Whether I had something to look forward to or it was just another Tuesday.

I stopped singing in the shower.

That was probably the first sign that I ignored when depression took over my life. The first of many. I stopped writing. I lost myself. I lost my happiness. I lost the first year (plus some) of my child’s life. I lost my motivation. I lost my joy. I lost me.

joy.jpg

I struggled to nurse. I struggled to sleep even when he would. I cried. All.The.Time. Over nothing. I went through the stages but I lived in denial. This was not happening to me again. And it definitely wasn’t WORSE than last time.

It started with the constant tears. Soon after, the feelings of inadequacy began. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being a mother to these two beautiful little humans. I convinced myself that my family would be better off without me and often caught myself daydreaming about what would happen if I just ran my car into a ditch one day. I hated myself. I sank into this darkness that I just couldn’t escape. It took every ounce of willpower in my body to get out of the bed most days. Taking a shower became a chore. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. The anxiety kicked in and with it, rage. I felt like I could be standing directly beside someone, screaming at the top of my lungs but no one could hear my screams. And this infuriated me. I over analyzed every detail of every thing, and anxiety attacks became a part of my daily routine.

Yet, through feeling all of these things, I still felt completely numb.

I became such an angry person. I was angry with myself for sucking as a mom. I was angry at my friends and family for not seeing how I was so clearly inwardly screaming for help. I was pissed when I would open up only to have someone tell me to keep my feelings to myself, for fear of seeming “crazy.” I was furious when someone told me to just “be happy” like it was that easy. I saw nothing but red when someone would tell me to just get over it.

One day, the rage got the best of me and I essentially collapsed on the living room floor, bewildered by my own levels of anger. I finally asked for help.

To the mom who is still knee or even neck deep in this mess, it will come back. It being the joy, the giddiness, and the confidence in being you. It WILL come back. Happiness will seep back in, slowly, and with it pieces of what makes you, you.

You will get there. Soon you will feel human again. You’ll laugh without forcing it to hide the sadness. You’ll smile, not because you’re hiding the pain, but because you have joy. This season is just that, a season. And it is going to pass.

I still battle daily with my anxiety. I have to convince myself to leave the house with my kids. I have to pep talk myself into going to work. Anything beyond the basics? I still pass most of the time while I navigate my way through the rest of this phase. But tonight? Tonight, I sang in the shower. Joyfully, and obnoxiously. 

 

 

Dalmatian Costume DIY

For Halloween, Aiden wanted to be a fireman so I decided to dress Asher as a dalmatian. I couldn’t find a cute one anywhere that wasn’t close to $100 and I am just too cheap to pay that much for a Halloween costume. I decided to make him one using items around the house. I only had to purchase white tights (boy mom), black felt, and fabric glue.

Materials:

  • White onesie
  • White pants
  • White tights
  • Cotton balls
  • Black headband
  • Black felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Needle & white thread
    IMG_2364 IMG_2365 IMG_2366 IMG_2368All I did was cut out various sized felt circles and glue them on. Then cut out two ear shapes and glued them to the headband.
    IMG_2457IMG_2501Then I cut off one of the tight legs, stuffed it with cotton balls, and then hand sewed it to the back of the white pants.  IMG_2370IMG_2502Easy peasy. And turned out to be super cute on him! 🙂IMG_6651See both of their costumes in my Halloween post by clicking here 🙂

Asher • Six Months Old!

Height: 27 inches

Weight: 16lbs 5oz

Clothing size: a few 3-6, but mostly 6 months or 6-9.

Eye color: Greenish Hazel (like Mommy!)

Teeth: Zero

Eating: Breastmilk, oatmeal, avocados, frozen grapes & broccoli, and he loves puréed foods, unlike his brother! Favorite things: Mommy & Daddy, the pupdog, but Aiden is his favorite person/thing in the world!

Dislikes: The car seat. And currently, sleeping longer than a two hour stretch.

Sleep: see dislikes…

Milestones, etc.: Crawling! Pulling up on everything! He’s gotten up to his knees many times and his feet once or twice!

Follow our family on Instagram to see more frequent updates!

My Facebook is Full of Lies.

lies

I have a few confessions to make about the photos you see on my facebook feed.

In this picture, you see two happy, smiling little boys. What you don’t see is my Husband, not home, because he’s busy working his tail off to provide for our family. You don’t see me on the other side of the camera, running on fumes and counting the minutes until bedtime so that I can do something as simple as pee without someone crying for me. You don’t see that Aiden was showing his stubborn streak and was fighting every request I had of him, all night long. You don’t see that Asher hadn’t napped all day, and this photo was snapped in the thirty seconds of contentedness he experienced while snuggled up to his favorite person.liarIn this photo, you see my babes staring into each others faces, seemingly overwhelmed with love. You don’t see that Aiden is only wearing underwear, because I had given up the fight to get him to keep on any other clothing. And you don’t see that two seconds later, Asher nailed him in the eye with a finger.  liar2 In this one, you see a happy, relaxed baby. What you don’t see is the pile of laundry to the left of the frame that I STILL haven’t finished sorting through days later. I’ve pretty much accepted that I won’t get caught up on laundry until all of my children have moved out. liar3 In this photo, you see my squish gumming the heck out of a pickle. And loving it. What you don’t see is the loud, screaming, and embarrassing meltdown that followed moments later because he was overtired. liar4 In this picture, you see my overachieving 5.5 month old pulling himself up on the leg of my yoga pants. What you don’t see is that I’m wearing yoga pants because I still can’t button my pre-baby shorts, and they are showing no signs of fitting comfortably before this summer ends. You don’t see how much pressure I put on myself to lose the baby weight, and how upset I get when the scale doesn’t budge.liar5 In this one, you see my ham of a five-year-old, grinning from ear-to-ear. You also see the pile of books I’ll never have time to finish reading on the end table. What you don’t see is the aforementioned pile of laundry to his right, the thin layer of dust on the bookshelf behind him, and the reward chart in the background that still says “June.”

liar6

I’m never trying to be something I’m not when I post these pictures to social media. I put our happiest moments on social media to show our friends, family, and acquaintances, and accidentally, it paints a picture about our lives that just isn’t true.

I’m not a perfect housekeeper. My house appears cleaner because I’m good at keeping the toys, and the laundry, and the books, and the mess out of the shot. (Did I mention the toys?)

I’m not a perfect wife. My Husband almost always comes home in one of the two craziest hours of the day. First thing in the morning when I’m trying to get Aiden to school, or during the pre-bedtime witching hour full of baths and books and everyone pulling me in 20 different directions. He usually becomes the focus of my frustration and I snap at him and then I feel like the worst wife because it’s not his fault I’m so frustrated. Luckily, he usually sees that frustration and gives me some grace, but that doesn’t mean he deserves it.

I’m not a perfect mom. My kids are loved. SO loved. Overwhelmingly and unconditionally loved. But sometimes, before bedtime hits, I am just so ready for them to go to sleep, and for a moment of peace and quiet that I find myself counting away the minutes. Aiden’s whiny voice grates my nerves and Asher’s clinginess, instead of feeling like a special bond between us, starts to feel like I really wish he would be a little more independent sooner rather than later. Then they’re finally asleep and I sit in the quiet and try and decide what the heck is wrong with me because I start to miss them. I think about how quickly this season of our lives is passing, and my heart aches for more time.

My photos often portray me as having it all together, but I’m human. I’m exhausted, I’m behind on almost every household chore with zero sign of being caught up anytime soon, and I make it through each day with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. But where there is so much chaos and exhaustion, there is also so much love and so much happiness. It’s a beautiful mess. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Asher – Four & Five Month Updates

Ash4Height: Just over 25 inches

Weight: Approx 16 1/2 pounds

Clothing size: 3-6 or 6 months

Eye color: Greenish hazel. Just like Mommy!

Teeth: None yet.

Eating: Still nursing. Letting him play with some foods now since he will be 6 months in a few weeks! (What…?) ash 5Words: He “talks” constantly. 

Favorite things: Rolling all over creation, knocking over buckets of legos, & watching big brother’s every move.

Dislikes: Riding in the carseat and not being fed fast enough.

Sleep: Usually just up once per night!

Milestones, etc.: Rolls all over the house, pulls himself into my lap, almost sitting unsupported!ash Where did the squishy newborn go?!

Follow our family on Instagram to see more frequent updates! 

And Then You Went to Kindergarten.

aid3 2Dear Aiden,

Tomorrow is your first day of kindergarten. I don’t plan to sleep much tonight. My head is so full of all my dreams and wishes for you. It feels like I have been counting down to this day forever, yet I still can’t believe it’s already here. What I wouldn’t give for just one more year before I have to share you with the rest of the world.

Earlier tonight you told me that you were nervous, and that you couldn’t go in without me. I felt such guilt-ridden joy to know that even now, you still need me. I promised you that I would hold your hand, walk alongside you, and stay there as long as you want me to.

I’ve spent the last five years protecting you, keeping you in this little safe bubble where I’m sure that no one can hurt your feelings or break your heart. You are so excited about this new adventure, so unafraid. But your Mommy is terrified. I haven’t let you see me shed a single tear, but I think you sense it anyway. 

On the other hand, Mommy is so incredibly excited to watch you come home every day with that joy in your eyes that always appears when you learn something new. You’re so eager to learn, and so curious about everything. You are going to thrive in kindergarten, Aiden.

I want you to know that I am so proud of the little boy you have grown into. You have become an amazing big brother. A tenderhearted, inquisitive, and an independent little man. You can bring a smile to anyone’s face, and constantly keep us laughing with your silly jokes that only make sense to you. I am so thankful that God chose me to be your Mommy.

All day long tomorrow, I’ll be worrying, praying, and thinking about nothing other than how you’re doing. If you’re making friends. If someone has hurt your feelings. I’ll hope that you will remember all of the manners that I have drilled into your head over the last five years. Say please and thank you. Yes or no ma’am. These simple little things will go such a long way in your life. But, I know I don’t even have to worry, because I know you will be fine. You’re going to make some awesome friends, you’re going to learn some amazing things, and you are going to kick kindergarten’s behind.

Aiden, my hope for you is that you will always be happy. I want you to be eager to meet new people and to learn new things, not just today as you start kindergarten, but always and forever. I am so incredibly proud of you, Bubba. I love you to the moon and back, times infinity. 

Love always,

Mommy