A New Year!

A New Year!

As I sit here thinking about 2018 I’m reminded of how freaking hard it was. It was hard y’all. My Uncle had a liver transplant in January and died in October. I haven’t experienced a loss quite like that. My great grandparents passed away in 2010 when I was 21/22 but they had lived long and full lives. Do I miss them? Everyday! But I could rationalize it. Ya know? My Uncle still had a lot of life to live.. I’m shocked that I’m even saying that he died. He.DIED.

However, there were SO many blessings wrapped up in this year and alongside his illness and inevitably the loss of him. So many. God really is so good! BUT, I am so thankful this new year! The possibilities, the positivity, the newness, the wonder, the goals, health & happiness. It’s funny that a new year could invoke so much awe but it does. For me.

This blog began as a way to document my adventures with Jack but a part of me was sad because we didn’t go on many this year. I felt like a fraud almost and unworthy of writing. I’ve come to realize that we did in fact have the biggest adventure of all this past year and that was soaking up every last second with our Uncle. It wasn’t the typical mountain adventure or nature walks or really much of anything outside. Instead it was an adventure of life (and death) which created a dialogue rich in context about heaven and God and angels and Jesus and family and how toxicity doesn’t belong in our lives period not just not in our food and home. It was an adventure of self discovery and realizing just how strong I am… even when I had to peel myself from my sheets some days & that crying in front of my children IS okay.

I am happy to close the door on 2018. So very happy. I look so forward to 2019 and all of the adventures life has planned for us. I am thankful that I learned some lessons like life really is too short to have people in it that don’t care & that negativity is something I can get rid of. I’m thankful for the people in my life that do care unconditionally. I’m thankful for the time I had with my Uncle up to 6 hours before his passing and that I got to tell him everything I wanted to say even if he couldn’t hear me. I’m thankful for even the really awful moments w/ him in the end.. ones that haunt me even BECAUSE what a privilege it was to take care of someone that took care of me.

My hope for us all is that 2019 is kind to us, we have health and happiness, our prayers & dreams come to fruition, we receive grace and give it, that we recognize negative people and things before they wreck havoc in our lives and that we are able to live each day as our last. That we learn to say yes and no after careful thought in terms of our best interest, that we may be a glimmer of hope to someone, and that we have a ton of adventures!

Happy New Year!

Sorry Not Sorry?

Sorry Not Sorry?

Why is everyone so offended these days? Oh, I probably just offended you, oops. I’m not heartless, ignorant or self righteous but I truly don’t get it.

The “Baby It’s Cold Outside” controversy right now is baffling to me. I’ve heard the song a bazillion times in my life and I guess just never sat down to analyze every word. Who has the time between dry shampoo days and soccer games? Am I sad that women (and men for that matter) have been violated and objectified? Of course! Am I sad for someone that’s heard it and feels that way over again? Sure. But what’s the answer? In my humble opinion there isn’t one.

I’m a Christian so I hate the LGBTQ community? I practice Wicca so I’m evil? I had premarital sex so I’m a whore? I had a child out of wedlock (make that two – gasp) and they’re “bastards”? I’m a republican so I hate pro-choice? I’m a democrat so I have no scruples? I eat organic so I’m better than you? I bed share so I’m a pedophile? My child was sleep trained so she was neglected? I’m white so I can’t possibly understand anything because of my privilege? I’m a minority so I must be uneducated and headed to prison? I mean What in The actual Fuck? Need I go on? Okay, I will… I don’t allow my son to see his father so I’m awful? I allow my son to and I’m awful. I’m not Jewish so I can’t embrace Hanukah? I’m not a Christian so you can’t say Christmas you must say happy holidays? I’m on an antidepressant so I’m broken? I cuss so I can’t love Jesus? I support equality so I have no moral compass? I don’t support gay marriage and I have no moral compass? My child has a breakdown in public so I must not be disciplining? I spank my child and CPS needs to be called immediately? Is it not possible to support the police but not support police brutality?

This is an ever changing world and thank God for that. Progress has been made yet there is a long way to go. I still don’t know that being politically correct all of the time is right. I mean honestly, if you feel a certain way in your bones and you don’t communicate like a reasonable person to another reasonable person(s) and you follow politically correct protocol then aren’t we just a bunch of liars? The only way to change is to LEARN from one another. Civilly. You know, because we have made progress? I accidentally cut someone off in line today so I paid for their coffee. I didn’t know if he was a killer, a rapist, gay, a bigot, a father, an asshole but just that he was human. * For the record: had he of been a killer, rapist, or bigot I prob would have flipped him off & sped away while listening to my Christian radio station and calling him every profanity my mouth could muster under my breath or not since Jack said “What the hell is that?” while pointing at a weird bug later on in the day. 😬 * Wait, should I not have called the bug weird? Jesus take the wheel.. I don’t know if that’s on the appropriate list or not. 🤦🏼‍♀️

It seems like I’m making light of horrific things that have happened to people, cultures, societies, etc. and I’m truly not. Injustices piss me off just like they do you. But let that fire inside you drive YOU to be better. Live and let live. Be kind. Don’t be an asshole. Join civilized organizations or groups to make a difference. Peacefully protest for change. Make your voice be heard. You just don’t have to condemn and judge others to do so. We are ALL a work in progress. We have ALL been mistreated. Guaranteed. And pain is pain. We are ALL working through trauma of some sort. Because we are ALL human. ✌🏻

Edit: those that have sexually and/or physically assaulted, verbally and/or mentally abused, etc. ANY man, woman, or child should absolutely be criminalized or rehabilitated based on the case. I am in NO way saying that that is okay because it is NOT and if you’ve read my other blogs or know my story you’d know that to be true.

* Featured pic was used from quizlady.com

“My cancer is back” …

“My cancer is back” …

My uncle (was like my dad) had cancer in his liver and some lesions in various other areas. He did treatments over the course of a year or so and it went away. Yay, right? Yes! But then, because of the treatment and other issues leading up to that in years prior, he needed a liver transplant. This wasn’t incredibly shocking because we new he would eventually need one but what was shocking was when we received a call last December saying “You’ve been moved to the top of the list, we think we have a match and come in now!” That’s enough to make your head spin in and of itself.

We went in 3 times, he was prepped and at the last minute the match wasn’t a match after all. But in January he was matched. It was a miracle. A hard one knowing that someone had to die for him to ultimately live but a miracle none the less. They anticipated he’d need to stay with me for 6 weeks post op. He defied those odds and stayed at my house for a WEEK and was released. So amazing! An answered prayer.

Of course there were some issues with meds and figuring out his new normal but he was healthy and continued to surprise not only us – his family – but the doctors. The first 3 months are the scariest and he was passing with flying colors. But then he started not feeling too well; he was getting more and more tired, he’d have unexplained pain, etc. but again we just thought this was part of the process and didn’t expect what was coming next.

At his 6 month follow up in July he underwent an mri. And that’s when life changed. He called like usual to fill me in and said “Well, the cancer is back, my liver is covered and has metastasized to vital organs like the lungs, etc.” WHAT?! How can this be?! My heart broke in that moment and 3 and a half short months later he died. Today is the one month anniversary of his funeral actually.

Death is odd. It can be beautiful for sweet old souls that pass in their sleep and then there’s the ugly; babies dying of cancer, horrific accidents, etc. The thing the two have in common are infinitely knowing you won’t see that person again earth side. And although I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns am I forever going to remain in a state of disbelief?

Have you ever been so lonely when you’re in a crowded room? I have. About 10 years ago my heart broke for the same uncle and I was so angry and desperate for God to help him. I cried out and pled and even though I knew in my heart that God does things in His timing my heart was shattered anyway and I was angry at God for about 2 years. Two loooooong years. I forced myself to pray, I had honest convos that went like: “God, I love you but I’m so angry at you. I don’t want to be but I am.” “WHY won’t you DO SOMETHING?!” And then some convos that conveyed my mastery in profanity. 🤬

I refuse to do that this time. I realized that God was with him every step of the way and He did help him in His time. And now this. I’m clinging to God with all of my might because if I don’t I can’t be the mom, friend, family member, human that I need and want to be.

So…. how am I dealing with this death that seems so unfair? By watching Christmas movies with my love bug and putting up my Christmas tree w/ enormous lights of course. 🤣🎄

I’m fully aware that Thanksgiving is weeks away and I give zero effs. 🤷🏼‍♀️ The holidays will be hard this year. This year has been hard. So if Christmas decorations bring us happiness then I’m down. I’d love to hibernate in my bed until I feel “normal” again but I refuse to. Instead I will honor him by taking care of my health even more so and by being the best me I can be because anything less than that wouldn’t be fair to my family, friends, him, and myself.

If you have had a loss and feel all alone – I see you. If you are angry at God – I understand you. If you are trying to find your happy in the midst of a storm – my heart is with you. ❤️

Who’s calling? “They didn’t have a face, mommy!” as the decline buttons pushed. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Who’s calling? “They didn’t have a face, mommy!” as the decline buttons pushed. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I think sometimes there is a misconception that if you are a stay at home mom or you’re homeschooling you’re really vegging out on the couch and your little one is an idiot that shoves toilet paper up his nose all day. 🤣 Nope & nope!

Rarely will you find us vegging except at bedtime which is 6:30-7:30 (GASP) for Jack. We are goers by nature and early risers. And in the car a LOT. He didn’t have screen time until he was over two but made up for it today because I’m pretty sure he had my phone in the backseat most of it. “All is well in moderation” — I’m chanting that if you didn’t know.

So….. how did he homeschool today. How did he learn a thing with his eyes glued to my iPhone? Because we talk. And talk. And talk. I use (almost) every errand or try to anyway as a learning opportunity. Today, we took my mother to the doctor. He informed two doctors that they should have glubs 😍 (gloves) on because of all the bacteria. We listened as my mother was told a plan of action and 25 minutes later she asked me what one of the details was and before I could open my mouth he looked up and told her. We picked up two rocks from her neighbors yard 😬 and that discussion led to volcanos and then to earth quakes and then to the extinction of dinosaurs. 🤷🏼‍♀️

We came home and fed Little Wing (our broken winged butterfly) and talked about how he eats. He colored a picture while I unloaded the dishwasher, and then did our normal nighttime routine before bed. So no, he wasn’t in a classroom for 7 hours today and yes he had entirely too much screen time but our littles are learning all.of.the.time.

All this to say that today wasn’t our norm. And I’m okay with that. He’s 5 and while I do teach him what he “should” know at this age I focus primarily on the things of interest to him. Why? He’s a child and needs to be taught specific curriculum?

Life is full of educational opportunities. I’ve always followed his lead. And when he’s interested in something he generally masters it. So he may not know all of the required sight words for kindergarten but he sure does know a lot more than I knew at his age.

Do you momma! Whether that be homeschool or brick and mortar. There is no right or wrong only what’s right for YOUr family at this moment in time. 👊🏻

Be kind. It’s simple.

Be kind. It’s simple.

Recently Jack started Play Therapy. I’ve questioned whether or not to discuss this here but I’ve decided to for two reasons. 1) When a child needs help we help them. 2) Because I want him to grow up with the tools to express himself in a healthy way, problem solve, and have healthy relationships.

Backstory: He has been through some traumatic events. I tried diligently to shield him from them but that isn’t always possible. I was at the library at our co-op one day and he pushed me (new behavior that breaks my heart) and a friend w/o judgement told me about this book.

It was if God himself placed her there at that very moment and I immediately checked it out. As I was reading it spoke about the brain… all about the brain and how we as parents have to tune into it. We are all a little traumatized so this book helps adults heal too. If we are healed then we are better equipped to help our littles heal. However, we needed some more help.

* Let me say here quickly that my child isn’t “broken” and why I feel the need to say that makes me sick because I’m so against the stigma that comes with therapy. *

He has a friend, my best friends son, and there were (are) times he would almost bully him even though he loves him so much. They’re 4… well 4 and 5 now as they both just had birthdays! 🎉 Where did he learn this behavior? I’d always been patient, I’d always been nurturing, I practice gentle parenting, we play outside, I’m hands on, I’m home with him….. you get my drift. Then I realized two things: another child had been aggressive towards him and used words we didn’t allow (not an excuse but truth) and he was having BIG emotions that he was unable to verbalize to me. Our schedule had been off and there were a couple of life changes that happened but still – where did my sweet boy go? This was beginning to affect our relationship and other close relationships we have. My true friends didn’t treat him any different, were so very supportive of us both, and were willing to help me help him anyway I could. There were a select few that chose to talk about him and me as if we were a joke. Quite disgusting.

We’ve been twice now to play therapy and by reading the book there has been some improvement! I can’t wait to see how he flourishes moving forward with play therapy and by being around those that truly love him.

This is my goal for him. ⬆️ I’m not a quitter and we will win this together.

My goal for myself. ⬆️ And I think so many other parents should take note of it too.

Thursday, we had play therapy and then that same night issues arose with a couple of people I know unbeknownst to him. Friday, probably after a day of processing from therapy he brought up a hurtful event that happened to him from a friend. We talked through it over and over until he was comfortable enough w/ our discussion to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I had to discuss that adults can be mean to each other too. His sweet self said “mommy, I don’t want anyone to be mean to you.” I explained I felt the same for him and that it’s important to be the friend he wants in return.

Man, we certainly can learn a lot from children.

And what a great quote for adults too! ⬆️

Who’s Down With The Sickness?

Who’s Down With The Sickness?

It’s that time of year and it sucks! Shedding from vaccines from back to school, viruses, etc. ain’t nobody got time fo that. 🤧🤒😷🤮

Well I found myself w/ a cough that feels like it’s leading to bronchitis. 🙄 It couldn’t possibly of come from Jack that recently was congested and thinks it’s hysterical to cough in my face. 🤦🏼‍♀️

So…. after two days of upping my probiotics, and sipping on elderberry syrup I decided this weekend would be the beginning of our annual bone broth making. I make this all throughout the fall and winter.

Last night I made baked (organic, free range, vegetarian diet) chicken with caramelized red potatoes and organic broccoli for dinner.

I cleared the bones of any remaining meat and refrigerated them over night. * my least favorite part might I add and makes me want to become a vegetarian every.single.time. – maybe someday. * Then placed them in the crockpot w/ an onion, ACV, pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, carrots unpeeled, garlic & 8 cups of filtered water. Will let it simmer on low for 24 hours, strain w/ a cheese cloth and pour in mason jars.

It will last up to a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer!

“Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and therefore support immune system function and healthy inflammation response. Collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal these openings in the gut lining and support gut integrity. Traditionally made bone broths are believed to support healthy inflammatory response and normal immune system function. (7, 8) Bone broth can even promote healthy sleep, boost energy during the day and support a healthy mood.” www.draxe.com

Bone broth also protects joints, helps with the gut, promote healthy skin, boosts detoxification, along with boosting the immune system.

I’ll drink 8oz a day throughout “sick season” and the little will drink 4oz. 😋

Bed-Sharing, yes or no?

Bed-Sharing, yes or no?

I believe in attachment parenting which is defined to me as picking up babies when they cry, following their cues, baby wearing, listening to them, speaking calmly, redirecting instead of using the word no all of the time, breast feeding (IF able and IF that works for mom,) hugging, kissing, endless I love you’s, etc.

It isn’t a fad. I wasn’t mommy warred into it. It came naturally to me.

With this came bed sharing. Let me interject here for a hot second – I was 18 with my first child. I didn’t breast feed him but even then I had a pull to follow his cues. I didn’t do it as well as I have with Jack because I was honing into who I was at that time too but he also bed shared. He had his own room and his own crib then bed then bunk beds but he slept with me for many years.

With Jack I truly thought I’d exclusively pump, for six weeks only, and that he’d sleep in a bassinet next to my bed & then nap in his crib during the day and sleep in his crib at night. All I can do is laugh at my thoughts. 😂 He latched immediately in the hospital 🙌🏻 (a blessing that doesn’t go unappreciated because many aren’t that lucky) and that he nursed for 4+ yrs. Yep!

As a baby he nursed every 2 hours for at least the first 6 months. I gave up on the bassinet on day 1.5 I’m pretty sure. It was easier for us both. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 2. I couldn’t do the “cry it out method” nor did I want to. I also had know desire to sleep train him. It is NOT uncommon for babies to not sleep through the night especially during their many developmental leaps. Again, bed sharing was easiest for both of us. I could tend to his needs much quicker and was able to sleep more… and what momma doesn’t need more sleep?!

I recently went to see my PCP (that I love, admire and respect) and she said it’s time to get him out of my bed. She said we both need our own space and time. So that got me thinking…. am I doing something wrong here? Will I emotionally stunt him? Will I never have my bed to myself? What if I get married someday? What happens when he has sleepovers here? PANIC ensued. But then I honed back into my mommy gut and remembered that he’s doing extremely well emotionally, I’m not getting married anytime soon or even remotely soon – I’m talking no marriage on the radar period. 🤣 And I’m okay with that. And I’m also okay with him sleeping with me, in my bed, in his little space that’s carved out for him except for when feet invade mine. 🤷🏼‍♀️

And then this. ⬆️

Every family has the right to decide what works best for their family as long as abuse isn’t occurring. It certainly isn’t here. Do you my friends and so will we.

😍😴✌🏻

Toxic People

Toxic People

My friend recently sent me this text message

And I thought about it since yesterday. Do I want to get so personal? Do I want that part of me exposed? No. I don’t. BUT I’m going to and here is why….

And that was just a quick google search.

I fell and when I say fell I mean I dove head in an empty pool in love with my middle school crush after running into him years later. Safe right? I mean I knew him. He was so funny and charming and smart and quite easy on the eyes just to name a few. He drank… a LOT but I just didn’t see it strangely. My mother was an alcoholic and I’m pretty no tolerance when it comes to that but was completely blinded. It took me a good 2 years AFTER leaving that I could even utter those words about him – alcoholic.

Our relationship was coming to an end after I found myself (a non cryer) sobbing nightly realizing that this relationship was not just toxic for me but for him as well. I was classically enabling him. Hindsight really sucks sometimes. AND then I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say he wasn’t very happy about that but we continued until Jack was 5 months old and I literally couldn’t take it anymore. Things were getting worse and I refused to allow my little to grow up similar to me — my mother wasn’t abusive FYI but still not a road I was willing to expose him to.

I had no idea how much worse it could get AFTER leaving. But it did. The verbal abuse began, the allegations began, the broken windows in the middle of the night began, the doorbell ringing (knowing the dog barking would scare my infant) began, the social media bashing, the defamation of my character, destruction to the outside of my house, the threats, the child welfare checks accusing me of neglect began, and the stalking. With that MY anxiety began, counseling began, playing in the backyard vs front yard, calling the police, filing VPO’s, countless VPO violations, constantly looking over our shoulders, not trusting anyone, guilt, shame, anger, etc.

If anyone thinks that verbal and psychological abuse isn’t just as awful as physical try telling that to a mother holding her screaming baby that climbs up her like a tree and physically shakes when the doorbell rings.

So why am I writing this? On a blog about my adventures with my child? Because this has unfortunately been a four year adventure that has yet to stop.

Based on stats from www.americanaddictioncenters.org 8 MILLION American adults battle both a co-curring mental health and substance abuse disorder.

In our case he struggles with alcohol & drug use coupled with Bi-polar disorder. The combo of these is scary in and of itself.

On average 24 people PER MINUTE are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the US every year. That is 12 MILLION people. Let me repeat – 12 million people! 1 in 3 people in their lifetime (nearly half of all women) have experienced physiological aggression which is about 48%.

Was it hard to walk away? Yes. Do I pray for him and his health daily? Yes. Do I pray that Jack received the very best of both of us – since he was in my womb and continue to. Am I sad sometimes still? Yes. Is that okay? Yes. Why? Because this wasn’t The dream I had hoped for for my family nor was it a walk I wished for him.

So what has this last FOUR years taught me? I was broken too. To allow that treatment while we were together and by not seeking help earlier. Is it my fault? No. We are all a little broken. BUT we are worthy – all of us – of being treated with love and respect and not intimidation. That although my little doesn’t see his father he has now a very healthy mommy that puts him first ALWAYS and always has. That I will fight my ass off and heart out to change the laws regarding abuse of any kind and the process of VPO’s and the repercussions of violations and that my story IS worth telling.

If this reaches ONE person and gives them hope then my horror hasn’t been in vain. And that my friends is why I shared. ❤️

Sick & Single mommin’ like a BOSS!

Sick & Single mommin’ like a BOSS!

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted. I’m never sick and by never I mean like 3 times in my life. Good genes possibly and good choices as I get older.

People often say (usually married people or peeps w/o kids) “I don’t know how you do it.” Let me say that in an ideal scenario I’d have a husband and we would raise our children together BUT that isn’t the case for me.

Im so used to being a single mom that it’s not a task but a privilege. Not to say it’s not for others but selfishly (yep, admitting that ✋🏻) I don’t miss out on a thing – every meal, bath, nighttime story, hugs, kisses, I love you’s, etc. I usually respond to the married couples and say I have it easier because I don’t get breaks.. meaning: if my hubs handled bath time nightly for example then went out of town for a week it would be harder for me to adjust. Know what I’m saying?

BUT for the last 3 weeks I’ve been “sick” with an infection that’s caused me to have zero appetite and because of that I literally have forgotten lunch times for my little (mom FAIL) and dinner has become a chore instead of an act of love w/ Bob Marley or the like playing in the background.

I’m petite anyway at 5’2 & 110-115 but went to the doctor a few days ago and weighed in at 101. I nearly lost my mind. Luckily I still have energy to take my little on adventures & my appetite is increasing 🙌🏻 but I’m forced to take two major antibiotics (which I can NOT stand) & before I’m ridiculed for that that me say I am thankful for western medicine. It helps many people. However, I CHOOSE food as medicine, homeopathy, etc. so taking antibiotics that effects my gut I so carefully take care of is a hard pill to swallow. Literally and figuratively. 🤣

Allllllll of this brings me to these thoughts that as much as I want to be supermom I’m still a human susceptible to anything everyone else is. And although I know that I don’t want to accept that.

I’m all my children have. Yes we have family and friends but I’m really it for them. Truly. Hug your babies tight and enjoy every.single.moment because as cliche as it is – tomorrow isn’t promised.

* Im not dying btw at least not anytime soon! * 😘

Miss Betty’s

Miss Betty’s

There is something about the outdoors. Something about the air, the dirt, the freedom, the adventure that can not be explained. Jack comes alive in a different way. His mood changes, his smile is different and his imagination goes wild.

Recently we went to a women’s house that we lovingly call Miss Betty. I can’t even tell you her age but I guarantee she would no longer be considered a “miss.” She lives with her daughter on a small farm and it is perfection. I have known her (my best friends grandmother) for 26yrs this year. But for our kids to experience this too is amazing.

They got to pet the skin of a snake that lives in the barn. I mean, I’d die if I knew a snake was anywhere near me, but this one is welcomed. And got to touch, examine, explore, and hold a birds nest that is made so amazingly that you can only praise Jesus.

So.many.animals run free on the many acres they have from horses to chickens to goats to roosters. And turkeys.

And then the tractors, oh my!

As the day escaped us way too quickly the littles were able to pick their own strawberries…

Can you even? 😍⬆️

Before we were sent home with dozens of fresh eggs!

I have ALWAYS considered myself a City girl but I tell you that every time we encounter a new farm I feel this pull inside of me. There is absolutely nothing like it. The hard work, the filth, the sweat, the tears, the harvests, the peace, the adventure, the imagination, the dreams….

I’ve said it a thousand times and will a thousand more — you can learn ANYWHERE. Follow your heart and the heart of your children regardless of if it’s a farm, a newspaper stand, a video game, etc. Just watch what comes alive in your child. That second right there will help you help them. To see there eyes twinkle is to know their little minds are soaking it up. And the beauty of it all is you’re right there with them. ❤️