Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Be still in the inbetweenness

This moving thing is starting to wear on me.  The stress of being here, and wanting to be there.  Top that off with a crammed timeline- hoping to close ASAP so we have time to paint and get some things done in the new house before we leave for Dallas, trying to pack and also plan for the kids to be here with my sister for the week we are out of town, planning for the movers to come the day after we get home, and then knowing we have another vacation a week later.  I'm feeling 50 shades of anxious and stressed.  

We've had so many hang ups with the mortgage on our new house. Turns out it's easier to get a loan when you don't have money.   The underwriter is being so ridiculously nit picky about things.  They are having all sorts of issues with our LLC and the fact that we just created it this spring even though we've had this business for over 2 years.  We have essentially had to launder our down payment into our personal account because they don't want us using funds that are in our LLC bank account or that can be traced back to it.  Funny, seeing that the LLC account IS MY JOB and everything that is in our personal account comes from it when we write ourselves a paycheck every month.  We are waiting for one last hangup and if the underwriter still isn't happy with our documentation we will likely switch to another lender and start the process over.  (However, we have an AMAZING loan person who is fighting tooth and nail for us, and had already given the 2nd bank the rundown of our story and they said they could likely close us by the end of the month since we have everything done already) 

So I'm trying to be patient.  I'm trying to be still and trust that there is something to be gained or learned from this process. I'm trying to be happy in the present, even though I'm so checked out of this house already.  I'm ready to go into the next step. I'm ready to settle in and get our lives started in our new home.  I'm ready to not have boxes everywhere, and to not have these trips ahead of us anymore.  I have been trying to spend some quiet time each day and pray and just be present in the here and now.  I know that this is just part of the process and we will be through it soon, but being stuck in the middle of it right now just feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away. I know it isn't.  But it feels that way.  

So anyhow, I've been trying to focus on things that keep me centered here, where we are, regardless of mess or chaos or in betweenness.  




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

(the other) Apple Creek

We decided at the last minute to go camping with the Kilchers and Deers at Apple Creek (not our new neighborhood... but ironic, right?), which is a little campground about 10 minutes from our house. Worked out perfect so that we could go let the dogs out a couple times a day. 

Erika texted us that a site was available across from them, and we packed up and headed out a few hours later.  We had a great relaxing weekend.  The kids rode bikes, got disgustingly dirty, we watched fireworks, went on walks, played at the playground, decorated bikes for the 4th of July parade, roasted marshmallows, grilled out, walked dogs, found worms and frogs and bugs, and well... all sorts of fun things!  Our kids get along so well.   Hudson LOVES Jude... he was so excited to go camp with him and he took him on countless walks.   Jack just ADORES Eloise and was always snuggling up to her and wanting to hold her.  Amelia and Emryk had so much fun being silly little toddlers together too.  

We had a couple hilarious things happen over the weekend.  Sunday, the people next to us were leaving and the wife accidentally drove the truck into the water spigot, breaking it off.  Water was shooting EVERYWHERE and flooded our campsite.  We had to move our camper, but luckily a lot of people were clearing out so we just moved next to the Kilchers.  (Michelle and Kevin had left already).  Then, late Sunday night everyone was playing kick the can in the dark... I was sitting in the camper and had fallen asleep waiting for Amelia to fall asleep.  Hudson comes in and tells me there is a problem... there is water everywhere.  I went outside and there was ANOTHER water spigot broken.  Turns out a 12 year old girl from another campsite was playing kick the can with them and she ran into the spigot and broke it off, flooding ANOTHER site next to us.  The poor girl was in so much pain and her parents took her to the ER.  I wouldn't be surprised if she broke her foot.   I felt so bad for her!   Erika and I couldn't stop laughing at the craziness of not one but TWO broken spigots near us, and TWO geysers of water flooding the campground.  Quite the memories! 



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

when your tuesday feels like monday


Today has been so chaotic and jumbled and I feel like neither Ryan nor I have enough arms or eyes to keep on top of things.  Our living room looks like our closets exploded.   Loads and loads and loads of laundry are waiting to be folded.  Ack.   The kids have been running wild.  Eloise is being super needy today.  Not fussy... just... she wants to be held.   She's also been more awake lately and she's still in that awkward stage where she can't play or interact much, but just wants to be awake.  And held.  
  • We took a last minute camping trip over teh weekend.   We had a great time but.... we had limited wifi/cell service so I am spending a huge part of my day catching up on work I got behind on over the weekend.
  • We have both been scrambling to get together last minute documents and information and letters to get our mortgage on the new house loan wrapped up.
  • Speaking of... buying a house and being self employed is like jumping through a million hoops. We've had to write letters with proof of when I started with Young Living, and letters stating our intent of keeping our current house off the market until we move, and letters from our CPA stating they have in fact done our taxes and that we still have our LLC.
  • I signed the boys up for football and soccer camp in the new town we're moving to, and signed Hudson up for a Cookies and Canvas class too.  I'm hoping that they can at least meet a few kids that will be in their school so they have a few familiar faces when school starts.  Porter thinks he wants to try lacrosse in the spring too.
  • I have been obsessed with Pinterest and planning what we're going to do with the house once we move in, as well as trying to figure out how we're going to lay out our horse pastures etc.  I have no clue what I'm doing, by the way, when it comes to horse pastures!  But then this leaves me thinking... we need to clear out the wooded area to make pastures.  When will we have time for that?  
  • I think I'm going to board Lacey this fall/winter so that we can try to get settled into the house, get some of the property cleared for more pasture land, and I'll have access to an indoor arena to ride (score!).   So, calling boarding stables in the area is on my list as well this week.
  • I'm chomping at the bit to get things scheduled before we leave for Convention in August.  We're going to have someone come in and do the floors and paint the interior of the house while we're gone... or at least that's my plan... but I have a feeling dates aren't going to line up like I want HAHA!
  • We should have a closing date in the next 2 weeks or so!  This is exciting... as it may give us about an extra week before we leave for Dallas.   Did I mention we have 2 trips planned in August... so we'll be gone 14 out of the 31 days in August?  I'm not sure how we're supposed to move in the middle of all that!
  • My brain is just in 53 different directions.  I'm making lists on top of lists on top of lists on top of lists.  Work Lists.  Moving Lists.  Kids Activities Lists. Chore Lists.  Team Lists.  Finding New Doctors/Insurance/Barns/Vet/Dentist/Church Lists.  New House Project Lists.    Scrapbook/Project Life/Photo Book Lists.  Childcare While We're Gone Lists.  Summer Camp Lists.
  • I'm finding myself wishing that time would hurry up so  can get into the new house, get this house on the market and get settled into life again.   But then, I'm realizing that summer is going by SO FAST and that technically once we're settled into the house means summer is over!  Catch 22 there.  
The boys have Nerd Camp tonight.  Tomorrow I have a full day of coaching calls with my team, and then I got a phone call today reminding me of Eloise's ultrasound appointment tomorrow (which I had completely forgotten about). Plus I have dinner with a friend to cram in there too.   Ryan's going to be single dad-ing it up tomorrow, that's for sure.  Sorry, honey! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

its time

If I said I wasn't freaking out about the upcoming move we're making, I'd be lying.  I have thrown around "what if's" left and right since the sellers accepted our offer on their house.  I'm scared.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited.  I'm hopeful.  But mostly... I'm freaking out.  

We've never lived outside of Jackson.  We don't HAVE to move to this are.  We don't HAVE to leave Jackson.  However, we also don't HAVE to stay here either.  Our jobs give us the freedom to choose where we want to move to, and that's overwhelming.  Exciting, but overwhelming.  I almost think it would make it easier if we had a pinpointed spot we NEEDED to stay near.   Neither of us loooove Jackson enough to want to stay here forever, but it also makes me nervous that we won't love the area we're moving to either.  (you know, that whole "Grass is greener on the other side" saying...)

I'm just so afraid of regretting this move.  I'm afraid we aren't going to find a church we love as much as Westwinds.   I'm freaking out that we won't like our new neighbors (and we only have 2 options... since there are only 3 houses on the private drive and all 3 of us have acreage so there isn't likely to be anyone else building here).  I'm worried we won't make friends in the area that "mesh" with us.  Or that we'll hate living a little bit out in the country/rural areas.  

I'm also sad... sad that we'll be further away from our friends in Jackson.  I'm sad that we're leaving a house that we've spent the past 7 years putting our sweat and heart into.  I'm sad that we're leaving neighbors that we absolutely adore. I'm sad that the boys are going to leave the neighbor kids they've grown up with.  I'm scared for the boys and their transition to a new school.  What if they don't make friends? What if they don't fit in? 

I know for the most part I'm overreacting.  I know for many people moving to a new town, or even a new state, is nothing.  But, moving outside of our comfort zone isn't something we are used to, so this is huge.  And scary. And it feels really unnecessary, but it also feels so right.  It feels like a chance is in front of us- nothing is holding us here.  It feels like we need to be brave. Adventurous.  Live a little. Explore and get outside of this little town we've grown up in.  Show our kids that we can do brave things, that we can stick together in scary, new situations.  

All those things have been running through my head.  The fear.  The worry.  The thought of regret.  The excitement.  The possibilities.  

On Monday we had the inspections done at Apple Creek.   Monday could not have come at a better time.  I literally had just spewed all those fears to some of my closest friends and then God gave me a nod of approval that I'd been waiting for. 

When we got to Apple Creek, the inspector (Ken) came out and said "So, this is my house..."  to which we were both kind of confused.   Turns out wife who owns the house was Ken's daughters preschool teacher.  They liked Ken's house and floorplan, so Ken gave them the blueprints and they had the house built!  So, he was super familiar with everything in the house and filled us in on all the pros/cons.   The house passed with flying colors.  It is a nice, solid house.  The only issues are that the gutters need to be cleaned out and there is a leaky tub handle in the master bathroom.  Easy peasy.  (Way better than the inspections on H House almost exactly 7 years ago! )

As we were leaving we saw the neighbors walking up the road.  A girl around the boys' age was riding a bike and a littler boy was on a motorized john deere tractor.  Their mom was walking with them.  She stopped and said hi and we started chatting.   She was really sweet.  It turns out they have 4 kids as well- 10 year old twins (boy and girl), a 9 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. AND the other house on the road has a 9 and 6 year old.  So incredibly perfect.   She seemed really nice, and we chatted about schools and the neighborhood and kids for a few minutes.  

When we drove away I just felt so at peace.  I feel like I was given a nod of approval that this is the right decision and that everything is going to be okay.   It will be a-okay.  





Friday, June 26, 2015

Kidz Kamp and Jesus

The boys went to Kidz Kamp this week... as usual, they loved it.  If you're in the Jackson area, this is SUCH  an awesome church camp!   They have tons of different classes kids can choose from (They get assigned to 3 for the week).  Hudson did Clay Creations, Wearable Art, and Drivers Training.   Porter had CSI, Driver's Training and Wilderness Survival.   Hudson REALLY loved the Clay Creations class... and both loved Driver's Training.  I wish they had more of these throughout the summer... I'd sign them up for every one!  They have so much fun.


Wednesday night Porter said to me, out of the blue "Do you know I have Jesus living inside me? Pastor ____ told us that we can accept Jesus into our hearts to live in us, and if we haven't done that yet, he said we could go to him at camp and ask Jesus to forgive all of our sins.  I went up with some other kids and asked Jesus forgive my sins."  Oh my heart.  My heart just exploded and I almost cried.  I told him I was SO proud of him and SO excited for him... and that I remember when I was about his age asking Jesus into my heart, too.   Porter told me that Hudson didn't go up there and I said that was okay, that he could do that on his own time and you can ask Jesus to forgive your sins anytime you want.  And it was kind of like being baptized, and if he remembered watching baptisms at Westwinds.  That being baptized was asking Jesus to wipe your sins away and to vow to follow him and have him in your heart always.  He told me he wanted to be baptized at Westwinds.  I have prayed for my kids (and my husband) for the day they decide they want to be baptized and to follow Jesus.   And here, here is my sweet boy telling me he's ready.   I'm so so proud of him.

Eloise Claire | 1 month

Exactly one month ago I was meeting this sweet girl for the very first time.  It is amazing how in those very first seconds, you realize you could never imagine life without them.  And in such a short amount of time she filled in every empty space in our home and hearts as if she has always been here.  She was meant to be, maybe not quite in our plans, but in His.  And I can't believe we ever thought we were complete before her.


  • She loves to be held.   Probably because I hold her all the time.   What can I say... she's the last baby!
  • We have an extra double bed in her room so I've been sleeping in there so that I can get up with her in the night and not wake anyone else up.  She has yet to sleep in her crib... she falls asleep best next to me.  
  • At 1 month old she eats between 2-4 ounces.  She's sometimes a grazer when it comes to eating and will eat an ounce here, an ounce there... other times she'll eat an entire 3 oz bottle and want more half an hour later. 
  • She's still wearing newborn diapers and size 1's (though they're a little big).  
  • In the past few days she's begun smiling when you talk to her.  Like, genuine, big grin, wiggling body smiles.  I love it. 
  • She wears newborn size clothes, and some 0-3month
  • She isn't a fan of swaddling.  She loves to be held close to you, though, and likes to sleep on her side. 
  • She rarely cries... only if she's hungry.  
  • In the past month, she has accumulated a few nick names already.   We call her Lulu, Lou, Louie, Baby Sis and Hudson for some reason calls her "Bum Bum".   We clearly love terms of endearment in this family :)  


Sunday, June 21, 2015

new babies bring new houses....

What is it about new babies and new homes coming at the same time?    7 years ago we moved from our first home to my mom's house while we were trying to close on our current home ("H House" is the nick name I gave it).   We had a 10 day old baby.   I slightly lost my mind. I documented it quite well back then and it makes me laugh thinking of all the craziness we went through.  

Eloise is not quite a month old and we have an accepted offer on a home that is pretty close to our dream home (ok... not DREAM home... because well, I can dream pretty damn big, but this house is perfecto for us!).   I'm going to attempt to blog more often and document our process to moving into "Apple Creek"

For the past few years I've been itching to move... out of Jackson.  Out of Michigan.  Well, we went back and forth for some time about moving to North Carolina.  After our recent trip to the coast for spring break, we finally decided that instead of moving to North Carolina, we are going to stick around Michigan.   We would miss the Great Lakes, Mackinaw, sand dunes, camping, family, etc.... we just can't leave.  Sure, winters suck... but that's when you plan a vacay somewhere warm in the dead of winter!    We decided that once we are settled into a new home and have our finances all set up (aka... all of our grown up responsibilities that our financial advisor has us investing in such as IRA's, life insurance policies etc....), we hope to invest in an oceanfront rental in North Carolina.  It'd be an investment, and we'd also be able to use it for vacations as well... so it's a win win (and somehow I'd like to make it a work expense and do something like offer it up to my team members as a reward/incentive/rank congrats etc).  We'll see how that pans out.  First focus is on getting into a home on land for horses and kits to run.

Where was I going here?? Oh yeah, Michigan.  So, we decided to stay in Michigan but neither of us *love* Jackson... and since a job does not hold us back here, we decided we're going to head on out.  We casually have been browsing the market to see what was out there... we've looked at a handful of houses over the past few months but nothing was "right".  We need land for a few horses and quads.   And we need a larger house because... kids (and dogs).   We'd find THE PERFECT property, but the house was small/weird layout/needs too much work, or we'd find THE PERFECT house and it was not on land or something.

We hooked up with a friend who is also a realtor in the area we had decided to move to.  On a whim, we decided to have her take us to see 4 houses that had been on our watch list on Realtor.com.  One house had my eye for sure after I saw the floor-plan on the realtors website, but I wasn't planning on making any commitment this soon.   We knew we weren't going to send the boys back to Michigan Center this fall and were okay with finding another district for a year, or homeschooling, or driving them to the school we planned to move to.   We knew with our list of "must-haves" that it might take awhile to find the right property.

When we walked into Apple Creek I'll be honest... the oak trim and doctors office colors in the house really blocked my mojo.   I was hesitant.   I liked the house.  I really liked the house.  I just wasn't sure if I was supposed to find THE ONE.  We spent some time there and honestly, I kind of felt like I did when I walked through H House the first time.  Kind of like... ehh it's okay, but I'm not moved.

We spend the afternoon and evening discussing the houses and the more we discussed it, the more we thought about it, the more we felt like this was the right one.  I began moving ourselves into the house in my mind.  My brain started decorating and remodeling and I saw myself watching the kids play in the woods and looking out my office window at my horses in the pasture.  We really started to fall in love.

We set up another appointment to go back to the house and walk through again, this time bringing Ryan's dad and my friend LeeAnn.  I wanted other opinions.   I wanted someone to tell me if there was something I'd end up hating in the long run, or to point out things I might be missing.  In the meantime, I spoke with our mortgage person and got our finances in order.

The kids came with us to the house and after a good hour and half of checking everything out, we realized we wanted to put an offer in on it.   Ryan's dad- Mr. Negative- had a paper to write a list of anything he thought could be a "con" about this house.   Before we left he said "Well... I don't have anything on my paper....".   I'm pretty sure this house is meant to be.

The next evening we put in an offer and heard back from the sellers within an hour.  We negotiated back and forth and within 3 hours we'd settled on an offer and they accepted.  Kind of surreal!  I'm anxious to get the ball rolling.   Our realtor is out of town this week and the following week we're on vacation, so getting both of us there for inspections is proving to be tricky.

So, here we go again... new baby, new house.  Hopefully this transition won't be quite as stressful or crazy.  We're not planning to list our house for sale until we move into the new house, which will make things a lot easier.  The thought of packing up 4 kids and 3 dogs and getting the house in show condition makes me cringe.  The only downside is the house will be empty when it shows, and that means all the awful dings and marks and scratches on the walls from 7 years of living will be loud and clear HAHA!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Threenager

SCENE:  Bedtime.   Amelia is having a "sleepover" in Hudson's room since Porter is out of town with Oma. She had a chewed up piece of gum she sat on the night stand to chew in the morning.  Imagine utter attitude and disgust in the 3-year olds voice.

Ryan:  Ok, you need to get in bed and cover up.
Amelia:  But I NEED to find my gum!
Ryan:  I threw it away.
Amelia:  Are you KIDDING me?
Ryan:  I'll give you another piece in the morning.
Amelia:  SERIOUSLY?
Ryan: It was all chewed up.  You can have another piece in the morning.
Amelia:  SERIOUSLY?   (puts head in hands) Dummy. Don't even worry about it.

Lord help us when she's a tween.

Friday, June 5, 2015

losing at jumanjii

The past 2 weeks have been insanely busy and overwhelming.   Let's see... the chaos seemed to start the week before Eloise was born.

  • We had the floors put in, so that was 3 days of jumbled, unorganized mess. 
  • Hudson's birthday- which we didn't celebrate in our typical "party" way... which crushed me a little bit
  • Eloise arrived that weekend
  • Baseball games 2-3 nights a week
  • Dance rehearsal one evening
  • Dance recital one afternoon
  • Field Day at Porter's school
  • Author readings at P's school
  • P's end of the year class party
  • Hudson had a Memories Party with his class one evening
  • The horse had her hooves trimmed one day, and another day the vet was out to the barn for shots
  • Eloise has had 2 baby well visits in the past week
  • Multiple chiropractor appointments
  • I've been planning Hudson's actual birthday party we're having for him next weekend
  • Drake, the dog, has been to the vet 2 times in the past 2 weeks 
  • I've been desperately trying to catch up on work, and get things out for June for my teams, as well as follow up with my team members from May.  I'm feeling overwhelmed because people still need me and are still coming to me as their leader but I'm just drowning.  
Let me tell you.... I am SO SO relieved school is over.  This has to be the busiest end of the year ever. My house... I saw this funny joke on the internet the other day "My house looks like I'm losing a game of jumanjii"  Oh yes, yes it does.  The kids have brought home all their crap from school, we have laundry galore, never ending dishes and just kid stuff EVERYWHERE.  GAH!  I can't wait to be able to focus a little bit and not be on the run so much.  Hopefully we can try to relax a little bit this summer?? 

Friday, May 29, 2015

the birth of Eloise Claire | part 3


Around 12:30 or 1am (it's blurry) I get my epidural.  The nurse checks me and I'm about 6cm dilated.   With my last 2 epidurals I felt nothing of contractions, even when I pushed.  This time, I kept feeling pressure.  Like, why am I feeling pressure?!?  

After my epidural was all set, Ryan came back in and Jaclyn, the photographer was there as well.  I felt relieved knowing I had drug relief and Jaclyn had made it before I delivered.  

My contractions subsided after about 15 minutes and Ryan went to get something to eat while I relaxed/rested/chatted with Jaclyn.  

LeeAnn stopped down to visit around 1:45.  Shortly after that, I think around 2, I started feeling a lot more pressure during contractions. The nurse checked me again and I was 7.5cm.  She said she would catheter me to see if that helped dilate me the rest of the way and get my bladder out of the way.  Everyone left the room and as soon as my bladder was empty I felt a huge amount of pressure.  This all freaked me out because I have always felt totally numb.... nothing.... During my last 2 deliveries. (With Porter I pushed for 2.5 hours so I don't remember much of that, but I don't remember feeling this much pressure or pain that's for sure). 

The nurse checked me again and sure enough I was 9.5cm.  They called the doctor in and Ryan and Jaclyn came back in.   It felt like a bit mush of chaos.  I was starting to freak out because my sweet nurse took away my epidural button and I was not dealing with the pain too well.  I felt like I was going to split apart.  

I started to feel a huge urge to push and knew that if I did she would be here as quick as that.  I watched the doctor sit on his stool and take his time putting on his hat.  I wondered why they weren't rushing faster.  Maybe they were but I was too panicked to realize.  I don't know.  

Everything else was kind of a blur.  I remember thinks (or maybe saying) that I couldn't do this.  That I needed more drugs.  That I was going to die.  I remember wanting to just shake myself off the bed and be done.  I remember holding someone's hand and gripping hard.  I remember my sweet girl entering the world quickly... By the 2nd push they laid her on my chest and there she was.  So tiny and perfect and complete.   

I remember gasping for air and feeling so relieved that it was over, and so overwhelmed that she was finally here.  This little one, she was the one we were waiting for.  She was the unexpected.  The one we didn't know we were missing but now, now she completes us.  

Eloise Claire
5lbs 15oz
19"long
Born 5.24.15 at 2:16am


[photograph by Jaclyn Michele Photography]

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

post-partum hormones suck

I always dread the post-delivery hormones and emotions.  I know it's coming and I also know there isn't a stop to it.

I don't find myself anxious or worried.  I find myself more or less sad or depressed at the finality of things.... At the quickness of the newborn stage, the desperate attempts to preserve and remember everything and the fear of failing and forgetting it all.  

With Amelia, I thought she was our last.  She WAS our last.  And I still did a miserable job of documenting so much of her pregnancy and the newborn stage.  Her scrapbook is still barely there. That kills me.... the boys have such elaborate, thoughtful and heartfelt scrapbooks.   Eloise for sure is our last.  A surprise, a second chance, maybe, but for sure our last.  And I sit here in the quiet of the middle of the night and think about how much I already failed to document because "it won't matter" or I didn't think I would care.   Sure, in a few months or years I won't care that I declined maternity pictures with our birth photographer. But tonight, I wish I had sucked it up and done it even though I felt fat and ugly.  Later on, I won't think about the way my belly moved toward the end when Eloise was kicking and rolling around... But tonight I wish I had taken a few moments to record it.  I walked into the hospital telling myself I should take one last belly picture, but I didn't.  And tonight I wish I had taken a second to snap even a poor selfie in the bathroom mirror.   Last week Amelia reached up and grabbed my belly and kissed it.  Why didn't I ever take a picture of her loving on her baby sis and talking to her while she was in my belly?  When the kids came to the hospital to meet Eloise, why didn't I take a video and preserve the looks of awe and pure wonder on their faces, and record their voices and sweet things they first said upon meeting her?  

I hate all these regrets.  These moments that pass so quickly, often without a second thought at the time, but in the days following delivery I always replay them in my mind and load up on wish I would haves and why didn't i's.  I know it'll pass and in the coming weeks and months it won't feel so awful or like such a loss.  Maybe, though, just maybe, I can attempt to document more from this point on.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The birth of Eloise Claire | part 2

We left the Clemons' house at 9:47 (I was somewhat timing contractions but not really because well I'm the only sober adult remember?) and by the time I got Amelia's bag packed and Heather picked her up, and got some of my own things placed, it was ohhhh 10:30 when we were ready to leave.  Oh, and Ryan had showered.  I already instructed him on the way home to shower because alcohol.  At this point I was afraid my contractions were too uncomfortable for me to drive so holy mother of Mary, Ryan drove us to the hospital.  I was a littl worried that this was going to progress fast.  With Hudson and Amelia, the doctor broke my water a few hours into labor and they were born within 2 or 3 hours.  Gah!   

We got to the hospital and Ryan is all wanting to drop me off.  No. Just park.  I can walk.  He finds a spot and decides he should BACK THE YUKON IN.  Oh my word.  He made it, luckily, but way to irritate me.  We go in the ER entrance bc they lock up the front entrance to the hospital.  I was instructed by the l&d nurse to just head up to the 4th floor.  Ryan, however, is insistent I need a wheelchair even though I'm about to waddle my ass away from him and leave him there talking to an ER nurse with a wheel chair.  The nurse comes at me with the wheel chair and I'm all "I AM JUST FINE I DONT NEED A WHEELCHAIR!" (Seriously I am fine.... I can walk and breathe through my contractions. I am, however, highly irritated that my husband is making a big deal of this.).

We get to the 4th floor and I tell him just to shut his mouth and not talk... I've got this under control and I don't need to be any more irritated by his half drunken stupor.   A sweet nurse, Libby, takes me into a room to make sure it's amniotic fluid (hello.  Contractions are 3min apart and I'm like don't talk to me during them so I can breathe. This is labor if this isn't my 4th kid...)

Some foreign doctor comes in, Dr. Rashandwa!?, and starts asking really dumb questions like "what brings you in here tonight? So, you think you're in labor, correct? And is asking me questions during my contractions.   I'm staring at the ceiling thinking.... This can't be happening.  I have a drunk husband, this is my LAST BABY.  My LAST DELIVERY.   And thus doctor is also incompetent and I'm highly irritated with everyone in this room except sweet Libby.  Can Libby and I have a baby together?!?

 Luckily, he is not the delivery doctor.   By this time it is 11:30pm.   He checks me and I'm 4cm and 80% effaced.  I can't remember what this is supposed to mean but I know that I'm in more and more pain by each contraction and I'm paranoid I am not going to have time to get an epidural.   I text Paige back to give her an update as I last left her hanging with a phone call about leaky water.   My husband has been on am his phone typing quite a bit so I'm sure he's half drunk face booking and half updating everyone in the world with our riot of a birth story progress.  

I get into a delivery room and the next hour is kind of a blur.  I remember being pretty calm and collected during contractions, and then suddenly realizing that it usually takes what seems like forever for the anesthesiologist to come in and starting to panic that I'm not going to get an epidural and I will have to deliver in horrific pain.  I start to cry instead of breathing during contractions and beg my nurses to just get the epidural here.  The anesthesiologist comes in and I'm watching every move he makes, wishing he would hurry the hell up.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

the birth of Eloise Claire | part 1

Well, we ALMOST got our 23rd of the month birthday baby.... Almost!   Hudson's birthday is 5/20, porters is 2/21 and Amelia's is 4/22.  We were rooting for 5/23 for this little one but we missed it by 2hrs and 16 minutes.  Although..... if she were a west coast baby we could have made it haha!

This past week had been a rough one.  Is been feeling pretty depressed and withdrawn, just done with the world.  Done being pregnant.  Done being huge and uncomfortable and grumpy.  Our house had been torn apart to have new floors put in, so that was irritating me (having furniture in all the wrong rooms and nowhere to walk comfortably through).   

Saturday, Ryan and the boys went over to a friends house to help put a railing on their deck. Amelia and I stayed behind, cleaning the house and we took a nice nap in the afternoon.  After our nap, we went with Jamie and the boys to play putt putt golf.   It was nowhere near as fun or relaxing as i had imagined.  Amelia was either a hole in front of us or behind us, or in the middle of the boys' way.  Hudson just wanted to putt putt and have fun (he'd only gone one other time), and the 3 older boys argued most of the time about keeping score and who was cheating and what not.  After golf, we took all 5 kids to Meijer (mind you I already needed a drink by this point) and then headed back to Jamie and Tony's house to grill dinner. 

The evening was relaxing... Us girls chatted, the guys had some drinks and grilled, the kids played in the yard.   Great evening.  Around 8 or so noticed I was leaking fluid a little.  It wasn't like I was losing my bladder.... I've been dealing with that crap for the past 3 months.  I called Paige and asked her what to do...  She suggested wrapping it up there and heading home soon.  I didn't think it was that urgent of an issue.  I just rolled up some toilet paper to soak up and little leaking and voila haha!  Around 9 I started having some mild contractions.  Mind you, my husband had been drinking all. Freaking. Day.   So he was totally lit.  It's a long weekend, we've been with friends all day.... My due date isn't for 2 more weeks.  All of a sudden, I started just gushing water on the floor.  Holy embarrassing.  It was quite hilarious as well... All the kids are like "why are you peeing on the floor?!" Haha!   

Luckily, Jamie and Tony offered to keep the boys (well actually all 3 kiddos but I wasn't sure if Amelia would stay in a strange place), so I texted my sister to have her pick Amelia up.  At this point I was just wanting to get home so I could leak fluid in the privacy of my own home, not with our friends bath towel stuck between my legs in a crowd of people.  Imagine, though, my drunk and overly concerned husband freaking out about me driving home.  Our friend Mike was insistent he would drive us to the hospital.  Kids are running all around, wondering what the heck is going on.  I'm trying to find Amelia, waddling through the yard with a bath towel between my legs, growling at Ryan and Mike that I am So Fine To Drive Myself Home.  Hahahaha!  It was a hot mess.  

We finally got on the road (we only live about 10 min away) and by the time we got home and I had thrown some random clothes and necessities in a bag (why do I never have any idea what to pack??), my contractions were getting pretty strong and uncomfortable.  I texted my birth photographer (who was 2 hours away) and let the hospital know we were on our way. 



Stay tuned for Part 2.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

36.5 weeks

At my appointment last week I found out little miss was breech.  This totally took me by surprise... But I did remember a few days earlier she had been doing some crazy, uncomfortable movements.   She had been head down as of my April appt.

He sent me for an ultrasound and sure enough, her head was right up in my ribs.   Awesome.  The plus side was the ultrasound tech took some 4d (or is it 3d?) images and oh my word is she precious!!  I can't wait to see her in person! 



For the past week I have been researching different ways to get her to flip naturally.  Today I went to a new chiropractor who is certified in the Webster Method, which has about an 80% success rate of encouraging babies to flip head down naturally.   She did some poking and prodding on my spine and joints and yadda yadda, and my pelvis is rotated as is my sacrum.  So, her plan is to get me back in alignment and loosen up some of my ligaments so that little miss can flip and drop naturally into place.

After my Chiro appt, I had my 36 week prenatal appt.  They scheduled a c-section for June 3rd (which is 39 weeks 4 days) because my actual 39 weeks falls on a Saturday.  I swear, if they're going to cut me open; they could at least give me a week off of being pregnant (they won't do it on the Friday may 29 bc I'm only 38 and 6 days.  Gimme a break).

So I left my appointment discouraged and grumpy.  Wait.  When am I NOT grumpy anymore.  June 3 is Hudson's classroom memory party. His teacher is amazing and does a party with a slideshow from the whole year and each student gets a scrapbook from the year that she makes for them.  Seriously awesome.  However, now my c-section is that morning.  Grrrrrr.   I don't plan on making it that long.  May is the month.  It needs to be.  My sanity can't take it any longer.

As far as pregnancy goes, I'm hanging in there.  I feel like crap by the late afternoon.  I'm just done and over it.  My right hand/wrist has carpal tunnel and 3 of my fingers have been numb and tingly for the past 2 weeks.  Little miss is all up in my ribs, which is so uncomfortable.   My right hip hurts.  It is painful to walk.  My heels are cracked from wearing flip flops and my feet are swollen.   I'm just ready to have her here and get back to somewhat normal.  I'm trying hard to enjoy this pregnancy because it is absolutely my last, but I really truly am so miserable when I'm pregnant.

I think one of the hardest things right now is my attitude and lack of ambition to do anything (which frustrates me and makes me even grumpier).  Our house is a mess but I have no energy to organize or pick it up.  I am in such a rut with work, and just want to do nothing at all.  I have zero patience.  I want to do yard work and plant our garden but all of it just exhausts me.  I want to play with the kids and go horseback riding and take Amelia to the barn but there is no energy left to do those things.  I've skipped the past 2 baseball games of porters because I don't have the patience or energy to chase Amelia around for 2.5 hours.  And all of that makes me feel like a horrible mom, and that just makes me grumpier.   It's a ridiculous cycle.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

the day my pregnant head almost exploded....

over a crispy chicken sandwich at McDonalds.

You heard me.  This was an actual mind blowing order.

Picture this.  We're running late to my niece's gymnastics event and I'm toting along 2 extra kids that I didn't plan on bringing (it was supposed to be just me, Amelia and my grandma.... but the boys decided at the last minute they wanted to go.  *sigh*).  No one has had lunch so I plan to drive through McD's to grab some sandwiches.

I pull up to our local McD's.  Here's the conversation.

Me:  Hi!  I need 2 crispy chicken sandwiches with lettuce and cheese only
McD's Dingleberry:  Which one would you like?
Me:  Uhhhh I don't know... the crispy chicken sandwich... whichever one that is
McD's Dingleberry:  Well, we have a #8, which is a Deluxe. And a #6. And then we have the Dollar Menu sandwich too.
Me: Uhmmm.  It doesn't matter, I just need a crispy chicken sandwich with lettuce and cheese.
McD's Dingleberry:  I need to know which one you want.
Me:  Whichever one.  I just want a bun, with a crispy chicken patty on it, with a slice of cheese and some lettuce.  I don't know which one it is... but that's what I need.
McD's Dingleberry:  I don't know either.
Me:  Holy shitfuck, you've got to be kidding me!  *slams on gas and peels out of McD's*

I drive to a SECOND McD's (mind you, I've ordered this crispy chicken sandwich before for the boys, and no one has had an issue pushing the damn buttons on their fast food ordering machine).

Me:  Hi there.... I need 2 crispy chicken sandwiches with lettuce and cheese only
McD's DingleBerry #2:  Do you want the Deluxe or the Dollar Menu one?
Me: *taking deeeeep breath and almost laughing to myself*   I don't know... I just need a crispy chicken patty on a bun with lettuce and cheese only.
McD's Dingleberry #2: Ok.   Anything else?
Me:  Yes, a double cheeseburger with no pickle, a 4piece McNugget
McD's Dingleberry #2: Hold on a moment please.  (she pauses. I clearly broke her when I added the McNuggets)
McD's Dingleberry #2:  Ok.  So 2 crispy chicken sandwiches with cheese and lettuce only. What else did you need?
(I finally repeat my order and we are able to get our food)

HOLY HELL.  I mean, is this for real?   And they want $15 an hour..... HA!

Monday, April 20, 2015

33 weeks

33 weeks.  It feels like I have soooo much further to go.  But then I look at the calendar and realize it is almost May.  And technically I could easily have this little one in May, since my due date is the first week in June. 

Today has been rough.  Little miss feels like she's stretched all out and is trying to claw her way through my skin.  I can't get comfortable.  My body aches and I feel like my skin is stretched as far as it can go. I took a hot bath with Lavender oil and Epsom salt tonight (I can't even count the number of oil filled baths I've taken this pregnancy.  It has helped SO much).  I followed up the bath with ice cream, naturally.  Hahaha!

Porter is getting so excited to meet this baby.  He loves trying to feel her move and was talking to her tonight.  He's going to be such a huge helper.  

We kind of but kind of don't have a name.  I have 3 I like.  We have sort of agreed on 1 name, but I keep feeling all wishy washy.  I think we will have to meet her to decide for sure.  

He nursert is slooooowly coming along. I suppose by the 4th kid she should feel lucky to even get a room haha!   I'm excited to make a special space for her, though.  The decorating is just coming along slower than I typically do things.  It'll get there though. I ordered a quilt for her and we still need to get out the crib (even though she'll sleep in a co-sleeper in our room for awhile). 

Porter seems to be feeling pushed aside with the new baby.  Or something.  He has been complaining a lot about just feeling like no one wants to do anything with him, or that his life sucks (basically).  Anything he can complain about.  (Even when we have suggested many things to spend time with him and he declines.  But then complains 10 min later).  I know he's just likely feeling anxious about a new baby in the house.  He has complained about sharing a room with Hudson (and believe me I can't wait to move or build a house so all 4 kids get their own rooms!). And he's been asking me to sing songs to him at bedtime. Total regression over here haha!   Today I surprised him and picked him up at school and took him on a lunch date.  He seemed to enjoy it.  I need to do this more often with both of the boys.  I feel like our house is so full of chaos all the time that really getting intentional time with each of them is difficult.  

Anyhow.  Here is a 33 week pic. Busting out there.  Holy mother. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

hocus pocus omg i need to focus!

We are back from vacation and holy mother my brain is in overdrive.  I feel like I can't focus on ANYTHING... yet I have so much swirling in my brain.   I have commitment-phobia.   Nesting this pregnancy has turned into an overload of anxiety, unease, stress, desire for change change change, and lots of tears.  EWW.  

BRAIN DUMP TIME!

  • I need to order Baby Girls' quilt off Etsy.  But I *STILL* have not fully settled on the fabrics I want to use.  GAH!   I need to buckle down and put together a sample and get it ordered!
  • Did I mention the nursery still has tons of junk in it.... a full sized bed, old rug, random pieces of furniture..... it is the epitome of unfinished.
  • I have a sign for her room halfway made.  Meaning... it has been built, stained, painted and is waiting for an actual QUOTE or something to be painted on it and then distressed.  Only..... I can't decide on what I want it to say.  So that sits unfinished.
  • Third trimester has me falling apart.  I have acid reflux galore.  Oils aren't helping this stage of it.  Its irritating my throat and I've been coughing like its my job, which makes me pee, which makes me so frustrated and I end up puking and peeing and crying all over the bathroom.  Glorious.  Such a glorious trimester.  I'm so over it.
  • Our house is grossing me out.  I feel like everything is dirty.  And cluttered.  I want to purge everything.  I want to organize everything.  I want to take a big fat mop and scrub every little surface of the house.
  • I also want to move.  BADLY.  I feel like we have zero room in this house.  I'm desperate to have more land.  I'm desperate to have a larger family area.   I want to move and settle in somewhere for the long haul.   I have found a perfect home for us except... it's in Michigan.   Though neither of us can commit to moving out of state, so we'll probably stay in MI. Who the hell knows.   All I know is I want out of Jackson and into a different school district.
  • And speaking of moving.  HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHERE TO MOVE TO?   I mean, those of you who have moved out of state, or to an unfamiliar area.... HOW did you choose where to move to?   Did you find any websites that were helpful in helping determine which area to move to?   I've been looking on GreatSchools website as well as Neighborhood Scout website for schools but would love to know exactly how accurate that is??
  • I've been house shopping.  And school district shopping.  And beach house shopping.   Because obviously the best time to decide we want to invest in an oceanfront rental property is when you're 83 months pregnant and ALSO want to move out of town.   But.... if we had somewhere to vacation a few times a year, that'd so be worth it.   This winter actually wasn't too terrible- probably because we spent a bit of it traveling- Virginia, California, Nashville, Utah... maybe that's the key. Stay busy and get the hell out of the frigid winter HAHA!
  • My heart about broke into a million pieces today because Amelia discovered her 1st year scrapbook album... that is so unfinished.  She was SO FREAKING HAPPY and excited to look at all her pictures.  I feel like an awful mom.  I've been so behind on scrapbooking the past 3 years.  I need to make it a priority.   Maybe this needs to be something I do.... get away for a few days and really just focus on catching up!
  • I'm ready for the sun to shine!  I'm ready for summer!  I'm ready to camp and take the kids swimming and be outside on our deck and go riding! (OMG I so can't wait to be able to ride again!)  Today is gloomy and gray and it is depressing.  And it's making my antsy stress levels rise.  Ugh.   

Sunday, April 5, 2015

where is the insecurity coming from?

Please don't think my blog is going to become this place of hashing out mommy war issues.... I totally hate that this is on my mind and that I'm yet again blogging about this.  But... we are in the car and I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that I'm dreading (UGH) and the kids are quiet so my mind is racing and thinking of all sorts of things.

This will probably all be so boggled.  I hope it makes sense.  I started to think about this whole "breast vs bottle" war (which IMO isn't really a war just a mommy issue thing and I think really just stems from insecurity or a sense of being shamed by others that do differently) that seems to be so prevalent the past few years online.  

Let me start out by sharing about my friends and group of friends I associate with.   I would say a good 90% of my friends breastfeed.   And they have never, ever made me feel insecure about my choices to feed my children.  I'm super super blessed (why should I even have to say that... as if people should ever have friends that aren't supportive???) to have non-judgemental friends even though they choose a different route of feeding their babies.   And I have never judged them (or at least I hope they never feel I have!) because I support however works best for them.  I know that insecurity is not coming from my group of friends.   And, knowing that most of my friends do breastfeed, I hear their insecurities about breastfeeding in public (ie... their cries to normalize breastfeeding), which I think is crazy that anyone should care how a person is feeding their child in public or in private.... as long as that baby is being fed.

This all made me start to think... WHERE is this insecurity coming from?   Why are we mothers, who are all doing what works best for our families and our babies, feeling so insecure and "shamed" by our choices?   If it isn't coming from our core social circle (which, in my case, is mingled with nursing and formula feeding moms), WHERE are we feeling it from?  And WHY?

I wanted to ask my readers that.   Leave me a comment.  No judgment from me nor anyone else reading.   Did you feel insecure about how you chose to feed your baby?  Do you feel the need to defend your choices?

Did you feel shamed for nursing/nursing in public?  Who, or what, made you feel most insecure?  

Did you feel shamed for choosing to formula feed?  Who, or what, made you feel most insecure about that?

Recently there was an article about a sports stadium creating a "baby nursing room" for nursing mothers.   My first thought "Cool!"  My second thought "I wonder if it is only for nursing moms, or if bottle feeding moms can use it too?"   WHY did my mind race there?  Why was I feeling like it was something that any mother feeding her child couldn't utilize?    THEN I read the comments.   I expected to find moms saying "YAY!  Awesome!  A comfy place for us to nurse if we have a distracted baby and don't want to nurse in our seats or feel like we are shunned to the bathrooms (EWW)"   I saw comments like "Why should we be confined to a room to feed our babies?" and "Why can't we feed our babies at our seats like bottle feeding moms?"  WHERE did this come from?  WHY were mothers feeling defensive about something created for them to use, for their comfort?  Who was making them feel like they couldn't feed their child in the stadium seat?  (And another question... damn I would so not even want to take a baby to a game HAHAH!)

I'm just so curious as to where it is coming from.   In my experience, it is not my social circle.  It isn't my family.   I feel a lot of insecurity and shame coming from my doctor, as well as the media and people who don't know me and feel the need to question why I formula feed.

Let me explain further.... With my first child I wanted desperately to breastfeed and had no intentions of formula feeding. Part of it was a financial thing, and part of it was that my husband has stomach issues and I assumed if I fed Porter what was "natural" he'd have a safer bet of not genetically getting those tummy issues (he doesn't have tummy issues FYI).   BF'ing didn't work out and I had about a week of awful sadness that I had to formula feed.  And then I got over it and never really thought about it again.  I never felt insecure to take out a bottle in public. Ever.  

With Hudson, pretty much the same.... I decided during my pregnancy I'd formula feed.  I wavered back and forth but ultimately I felt like bottle feeding worked out great for us and I was comfortable with it and that's what we did.  Porter was smart, healthy and loved me and so would my 2nd child.  I think I briefly remember being asked in the hospital what I was planning on doing and there was never any "grilling" about it.  They asked, I told them, they brought me formula.

With Amelia... I think "times" had been changing.  I was noticing more online about "baby friendly hospitals" (as if feeding your child formula was not baby friendly?) and I didn't feel pressure from the doctor or at the hospital to nurse (because again, I'd decided to bottle feed before I had her). However, after she came home from the hospital I had numerous people (not super close to me or anyone who knew my reasons to bottle feed) ask me if I was nursing... or why I wasn't.   It kind of took me by surprise.  I mean, it really took me by surprise.   Why was it their business?  And why were people asking?  I'd never experienced that before.   And thus, I kind of became a bit insecure about my choices, even though I knew without a doubt my children would grow and develop and be happy and healthy and bonded and brilliant regardless of if they nursed from me.

Baby #4... well, I'm feeling the pressure/judgement even more.   The more I see in the media about breastfeeding and how breastfed babies are smarter, healthier and more bonded to their parents, the more insecure I feel about my choices even though I KNOW and have living proof that my formula fed children are smart, healthy and bonded to both myself and my husband.

It seems like in the past 3 years or so it has become so prevalent to pit breastfeeding against formula feeding and in social media everyone comes out and chants for their "side" which I feel makes everyone feel insecure.  I've never felt breastfeeding wasn't normal. I've never felt formula feeding wasn't normal. Until the past few years, I always viewed them as a NORMAL way to feed your child. Whatever works for you, your baby and as long as your baby is happy, healthy and growing why should it matter??

WHEW.  Anyhow.  I'd love to hear from you.   No judgement at all.   I want to know where your insecurites come from.   Is it the media?  Your doctor?  Local businesses?  Places that have nursing stations/rooms?  Places that don't?    Your friends?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

kickin' it old school parenting

It's been awhile since I've vented about my children driving me to want to drink.  Actually... I am pretty sure the last time they drove me to drink I ended up knocked up..... errrr.   Its been awhile since I've vented about the boys because well... maybe I've just become desensitized to the embarrassing parenting moments.  Or maybe because they're both in school.  Or maybe because it isn't summer.  Oh summer... I know there will be some doozies then.

It's not a secret that my boys are a bit... strong willed.   At least that's what I'd assume you'd call them.  Maybe I suck as a parent.  That's probably more like it.  At this point I'm not quite sure.  We'll say its both.  Because for some reason my kids can toe any line like it's their job.   Tell them not to do something and they find some bass-ackward way to do it without actually going against the very thing I told them not to do.   I've dreaded school and babysitters because they need someone who is firm and will put their foot down and not let my kids walk all over them (ie... those sweet, doe eyed teenage babysitters who just want to be their friend... uhm.... doesn't work).   Luckily, my boys are pretty good in school... minus Hudson's first 2 months where he tried to get away with being stubborn but his teacher out-stubborned him.  I knew she was awesome. I'm also buying her a fifth of somethin' somethin' at the end of the year because lord knows I'd need it after a year of working with him HAHA!

The boys take an art class every Thursday night.  This is their 2nd semester.  The teacher is a young, quiet, sweet college girl.   Enter... recipe for disaster.   First semester we had a few issues with Hudson being a snot and not listening (ie... he thought it was a joke when he was goofing off and was told to stop).   2nd semester they had a sub for a few weeks.  She was a "mom age" and I could tell had a much more "doesn't take any crap" personality and the boys were great for her.  No issues. Well, young, sweet, college girl teacher has been back teaching for awhile.  Tonight both of my boys decided to royally embarrass me with their rottenness.

First, Miss Sweetie Pie brings Porter out of class to me.  She explains that he didn't want to draw and wanted to read his book, so she told him he'd need to leave class.   I thought this was it.  I looked at him and said "So what your'e saying is I'm paying for your art class and you'd rather read?"  Then she explains further... that he was being rude when she asked him to put his book away and had an attitude when she told him he needed to leave class.   I'm pretty sure steam started to pour out my ears.  I apologized to her and took his book away (WTF talk about irony... sorry kid I don't want you to read!).   I told him to sit down and had him write her an apology.   I was fuming.    

After class, we went to get Hudson and Porter took his letter to Miss Sweetie Pie.  Then Hudson decided to start talking like a baby and saying "I'm a WOMAN!"  loud while all the parents are in the class checking out the art work from the evening.  I asked him to stop and he continued to baby talk and say weird, awkward things.  (Porter did explain to me that last week all the boys had sat at one side of the table and the girls at the other... and Hudson was on the girls side so they were joking with him that he was a girl or a woman).  My brain was screaming >>holy shit my kids are being so awkward and rude and weird tonight let me go crawl into a hole and die wtf is wrong with them I swear they're normal!<<  After asking him to stop numerous times more I finally just growled at them both to go get their coats and get to the truck. NOW.  

Ryan was not happy when I told him Porter was kicked out of class.  H
e immediately started pacing the house looking for something.   A notebook.  And a pencil.  He wrote down "I will not be disrespectful" and told Porter he was to sit and write it 100 times. Ouch.    Then he realized Hudson had been rude too, so he told him to write 50 times (because he was just not listening... Porter had been disrespectful to his teacher).  Then Hudson earned 10 more sentences TWICE for throwing a fit about not being able to use a pen and something else.

AUGHGHGHGH!!

Porter got his sentences done.  Hudson... got to 17.  He can not focus.  He sits and whines.  We told him he could do them during recess tomorrow if he doesn't finish and still he sat and whined and dinked around with his pencil and anything else he could occupy his time with. Soooo... he'll be writing tomorrow at school.   And probably in the truck on the way to the beach tomorrow night.

I swear.  I swear.   I'm at the end of my rope with consequences.  They've had privileges taken away.  They've lost technology. They've lost time with friends.  I don't know what else to do.  So... I guess we go old school and write sentences.   Lord help me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

happy 2 year anniversary, lemon droppers!



Today marks the 2 year anniversary of the Lemon Droppers. Two years ago my friend Lindsay Teague Moreno came up with an idea... a plan... a DREAM.... that would change the world of essential oils and ultimately the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I'm one of those lives.
I joined the Lemon Droppers in April 2013 and in the past 23 months my life has evolved into something I never imagined possible.
I've turned my family into oil obsessed fools (we use oils like we're freaking granola hippies. WHAT? That is so not us!).
We've learned so much about using essential oils and how to replace so many OTC medications in our home. We don't rush to the doctor when we get sick... we know with a majority of ailments we can take care of it at home- naturally and more quickly than with OTC/prescriptions- if we begin oil use early and apply often.
I've build a business that gives me the flexibility to live my life the way I've always dreamed of.
I have made a job I love and never want to stop thinking about.
This team... my job... has allowed my husband to quit his life-sucking J-O-B and work from home with me.
We've been able to pay off debt and student loans that I'd come to terms would take me decades- or until my death- to pay off.
I've formed relationships and strengthened friendships with some of the kindest, most encouraging, supportive people ever.
I have and will be traveling to places I never thought would be possible.
It is amazing, really, to think that so much could and has happened in the past two years. I'm forever thankful and so blessed to be a part of this team. To be able to experience all that life has to offer and to live life the way we want to. You only get one shot at this life. Go big or go home, and make the most of it! I can't wait to see what the next 2 years has in store. Without a doubt, it's going to be big and life changing.

you belong

Remember that time I was in Utah filming some videos with an awesome tribe of Lemon Droppers? When we first got our script, I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the room. There may have been a few sobs from one preggo Lemon Dropper. This... this speaks to me. This is our heart. This is what it's all about.
“We’re not just about business. We’re a tribe. A clan. A family.”
Two years ago I was at a really REALLY low spot in my life. I was working from home in an oversaturated field (photography... you know it.... have SLR, become photographer... talent or not) in a market area where quick and cheap rules. Making ends meet was barely happening. My kids had been sick all winter and at the time, my oldest was home with a sore throat.
That day in April, when I had all 3 kiddos home with me, feeling lost and overwhelmed and like I was on a dead end road to forever being in debt, forever feeling like I was overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated- that day I took a huge leap of faith. Multiple things over the previous few weeks had pointed me to essential oils and after a long phone conversation with a friend (Michelle Heroff Sauer), I decided to charge my essential oil kit and try it out.
What I didn't know was that decision would change so many things in my life beyond our health. It changed friendships. It changed our habits. It changed our comfort zones. It changed our view on life. It changed our jobs. It changed our life. IT CHANGED OUR LIFE.
To say that investing in this little (awesome) kit of oils (because back then we didn't even get a diffuser with our kit!) changed me for the better is the truth. This team, these amazing, talented, strong, brave, funny, kind, encouraging women (and a few men!) have made me into a much better version of myself. We are all better today because of this crazy team called the Lemon Droppers. Because to be honest, that's what this business is all about- the people. Everything else, the health, the money, the rewards, the perks, the events, it’s all icing on the cake. The people are the core of the Lemon Droppers and they will always be. And, at the core of us, don’t we just want to belong to someone or something?
So, thank you, Lemon Droppers. Thank you for believing in me. For dreaming with me. For pushing me. For cheering me on. For empowering me. For trusting me. Thank you.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday chores

This has been the most productive and exhausting Saturday. Sleep was hard to come by last night. I had bad acid reflux/indigestion and could not get to sleep. I think I was up until 2am?? Porter is staying at Dave's this weekend. He was desperate for a weekend away from Hudson and Amelia. Ryan is out of town. So it's just me and two kiddos this weekend.

Hudson and amelia were up at 8am. Oddly I was not a total zombie, so I was up too. Dreary, grey Saturday.... Not much motivation to do anything fun. I decided to try to be productive around the house.

We went to Menards to get wood to make a sign for the baby's room. We picked up a rake, too, since I can't find either of our rakes.

 After Menards we went grocery shopping. It was lunchtime. Bad idea. We ate through a bag of brownie brittle and loaded up on more junk than necessary.

I hate grocery shopping. It exhausts me on a normal day, let alone a pregnant day. And Ryan wasn't home to take over and unload/put away groceries. Boo.

Hudson and AJ ate lunch while I out away groceries. The sun came out. Yay! Since it was already 2pm I figured we would skip nap and play outside.

While the kids played I cut the boards and screwed together the sign, stained it and painted it. Then I decided to take out our landscaping out front (omg. 4 huge piles of leaves!) and trim up the dead plants by the mailbox and prune the bushes in front of the garage windows.

 I'm glad I picked up a deli pizza for dinner because that was about all I had energy for. The kids are in the shower and I'm counting down the minutes until I can set them in front of a movie and go take a hot bath. My body aches.

why do i need an excuse?


Well this is crazy that this quote/blog post popped up in my feed this morning. I literally just got back from my 28 week appt with baby #4 and my doc (a male) asked me if I plan to nurse or bottle feed. I told him bottle feed (I formula feed by choice. My breasts get ginormous during pregnancy and even worse when my milk comes in and I just can't stand the back pain... and I just want my body back. Selfish? Sure. But it's my body).

He gave me a nice lecture about how they recommend breast feeding and how it passes on antibodies to the baby and increases bonding yadda yadda yadda... I sat there nodding my head, feeling like I was being scolded. If I'd had the balls (or brain cells to think of this quickly) I'd have cut him off and let him know I have 3 growing, happy, super healthy children who are very intelligent and bonded to their mother and I'm pretty damn sure I'm capable of deciding how to feed my 4th. And I probably would have/should have thrown in there "So you're saying your bond with your children is not so great because you obviously don't have boobs to feed them with". GRRARRR. 


Well what great timing to see this post in my feed this morning.  I could have written her exact feelings:



"I’m a stay at home mother. I have the “time.” My older two are in school five days a week. I’m white, college educated......I’m SUPPOSED to breastfeed.  And I don’t want to."

Believe me.  I've read allll the articles, blog posts, studies... touting how brilliantly smart breastfed babies are (a whopping 4 IQ points.  Woah.  Totally bet that'll get them into an Ivy League College on that credential alone!).  I know it passes on all sorts of goodness to the baby.  I hear the preaching about how amazingly bonded all these breastfed babies are with their mothers (as if formula fed babies are fed by a machine HA!). I'm not an idiot.   I'm informed.  And I still make my own choice.  

For the most part, I don't give a crap what anyone else thinks.  I don't feel guilty.   Do I wish I wanted to breastfeed?  Of course.  Do I wish I had the desire to suck up the pain, the backaches, the sore nipples, the inconvenience, the constant attachment... to experience nursing?  Absolutely.   But I know myself.  I know I'm a better mom because I choose to formula feed.   I NEED my body back.  I NEED my boobs back to a halfway normal size.  I enjoy the freedom that bottle feeding gives me, my husband and my kids.  There wouldn't BE any bonding between mother and baby because I'm pretty certain this mama would be committed for going crazy if I was forced to nurse.  

Since my last 3 appointments I've been questioned about wearing my seatbelt (yes, I do.... is this a thing.... Pregnant Women Boycotting Seatbelts??) I'm certain the nursing/bottle feeding question is going to come up again in the future.  And I'm prepared for the shaming at the hospital.  As with each of my kids' deliveries... the pressure/looks have gotten worse at the hospital when I tell them I have chosen to formula feed from the get-go.  With our hospital being a "Baby-Friendly Hospital", I'm pretty certain that this baby's delivery is going to be uuuber awkward with nurses.  Thank god this is my last.  I can't imagine in the coming years the lectures that will be pressured onto mothers for the choices they make.    I'm preparing myself with my defense statement and going to cut off the lecture at the get go.  My choice is made, and I don't need a lecture to tell me you disapprove.   Get over it :) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

let's pretend

Let's pretend you could move anywhere. You didn't have jobs holding you back and had the freedom to go wherever and put down roots anywhere your heart desired.  How would you choose?  What factors would you weigh?

I feel at a crossroads.  A really weird one. It's not bad.  I can't complain at all.  I just.... Feel in limbo.  

We want to move.  It likely won't be until later this year or even next year.  Or maybe the year after that.  We don't have a timeline.  Ryan is home now so we don't have his job weighing us down. We are in this amazing, yet peculiar, situation where we can literally go wherever the hell in this world we want to go.  It's kind of crazy and overwhelming. (No oilers, we won't be heading to Utah)

I would love to buy an old farm and renovate but I also would love to build our dream home.   However.... WHERE do we do this?   I can't imagine like, picking a town and buying land and building having never lived there before.  However the thought of moving to a new town/state and renting and then building sounds like a lot of work hahaha!  Moving sucks.  But I don't want to lock ourselves in somewhere and end up not loving the area (however we do live in Jackson soooo unless it was a total po-dunk town it will likely have more to offer than where we are at.  

Do I start with schools?   Though I constantly consider homeschooling.  Do I start with communities and what they have to offer?  Or do I look for real estate and hope that where we find something we love that the area falls into place too?  

After last winter I was ready to get out of Michigan but this winter hasn't been bad at all.  Totally tolerable.   I would miss the snow and the kids being able to do winter things but can we find somewhere that winter doesn't linger forever? (Not likely).  I would love to move south--- we always love love love North Carolina but will I die in the summer heat?  Maybe we should look more towards Michigan's west coast to be closer to the "michigan ocean" haha but then that'll bring harsher winters.   

Ugh.  The decisions.  Luckily it's not something we have to do right now.  Financially, I want to have a huge hunk of a down payment for something awesome. And the next few months our financial advisor has us socking away a disgusting amount of money into an IRA to try to avoid paying so much to lovely Uncle Sam (joys of hitting the high tax brackets.  Gag.) so for now we have no plans to go anywhere but I know once #4 arrives our house is going to begin to feel more cramped than it already does.  

So I just wonder, aloud, where would you go if you could pack up and go wherever?   What would weigh into your decisions? 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

wanderlust


  
I've been bitten by the travel bug.  I've always WANTED to see the world, but never knew how I'd make it possible.  The COST!  The TIME!   In so many ways I am reminded how much Young Living has brought to my life and changed so much for us.  In the past year I've seen places I never thought I'd see, and in the coming year I have a full travel-log too.  And, as a family we're getting to travel together.  I want my kids to love to travel.  I want to take them to see the world.  Yes, I know it will be EXHAUSTING with 4 kids in tow but if not now, then when?  I want them to experience things they didn't know existed beyond their little bubble of the world.  I can't wait to experience these things TOGETHER.


I was reflecting today on all the travels 2014 and 2015 have had or have in store.  

In 2014 I visited:
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Topsail Island, NC (our family beach trip)
  • Spokane, Washington 
  • St. Maries, Idaho 
  • France: Nice, Eze, Carcassone, Sisteron, Paris
  • Chicago
  • Edisto Island, SC
2015 Travel in the books:

  • Anaheim, CA (Disneyland and to venture out to see the west coast)
  • Nashville, TN
  • Topsail Island, NC
  • Italy with friends, and Croatia work retreat (Not sure if I'll make this trip since I'll be 30/32 weeks preggo but.... I'm going to try!)
  • Mediterranean Cruise (I won a spot on the Global Leadership Cruise in June.... on my due date. I should be browsing Italy, Croatia, Turkey, and Greece. Buuuuttt..... not this year.)
  • Dallas,Texas
  • Ecuador
  • I want to take one more family trip somewhere we haven't been before... in the fall or winter

    Its crazy to me that this is something we can do.  That is feasible for our family to do.  I keep thinking I need to figure out a way to homeschool so we CAN travel when we want and not worry about pulling the kids from school.  I'm not sure that's the plan but its an option.   I have a feeling the next few years are going to be full of adventure.