Thursday, May 31, 2012

TTC #2 for Baby #4

As long as I've been tracking and been really conscious of my cycles, I've always had a 31-32 day cycle and I usually ovulate on day 18-19. I started a cycle on May 2nd and on cycle days 12, 13 and 14 (which was May 14th, 15th and the 16th) I took an ovulation test. The ovulation test on May 14th (cycle day 12) wasn't a positive but it was pretty close to a positive (meaning the test line was almost as dark as the control line but not as dark or darker) so I assumed that I was just days away from ovulation. However, the preceding ovulation tests on the 15th and the 16th were progressively lighter; thus, I concluded that I had already ovulated (probably two days before I tested the first time).

I have never ovulated that early before and my suspicion was confirmed when I started a new cycle (aka my period) on May 26th, which would have been cycle day 24. This was not a normal cycle for me at all and I'm pretty positive it's not a very normal cycle for anybody - it's such a short cycle! I'm positive that the Depo hormones were probably still affecting my body.

With the weird cycle and bad timing, we weren't able to actively try to TTC (trying to conceive) in the month of May. However, the good news is that I'm really positive I did, indeed, ovulate and that I'm going to ovulate from this day forward, which is so exciting. This time around we are going to BD ("baby dance") starting on cycle day 7 because I do not want to miss my ovulation again.

Jarod and I have been incredibly blessed that we have such an easy time getting pregnant. I don't think I've ever fully appreciated how lucky we have (in general), but particularly, in this regard, which is why I think I have a more calm, peaceful approach to this TTC journey than I've had in the past.  Ideally, I would really like to get pregnant before Ali turns 16 months old because I don't want a bigger age gap than 24 months - hopefully, we get pregnant sooner than later.

Also, I really think we're going to get pregnant this month for some strange reason. I'll keep you all updated with any news! Wish us luck! :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

we became one.

with love in our hearts and hope in our eyes we set out for the future. we forged forward, content on one single certainty - we would do this together. with a fierceness that only love can bring, we knew nothing and no one would keep us apart. "true love," they scoffed but we knew better. we knew anything and everything was possible with your hand in mine. with my tears wrapped into the warmed of my arms. with my love so deeply entrenched into yours.

we loved.

we lost sight of where i began and where you ended - we became one, a single act that begins with the enthusiasm of a child, aches like the body of an elder and grows through the sheer force of survival.

we became one.

you, my love, became part of my soul.

but . . . sometimes, somtimes i can't feel the gentleness of your hand. i can't hear the sweet caress of your words. and with certainty, i know, sometimes, you can't feel nor hear the kindness of my being. sometimes we lose sight of who we are, of who we are together. sometimes i cringe at our immaturity. sometimes i wish we were better.

yet, none of this, makes me question who we are together. who we are when we are one. these moments remind me we are human. we fail at perfection and we will fail time and time again.

but you are mine as i am yours and we will forge forward.

just as we always have.

just as we always will and we will become one, once again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Letter to My Babies: Grateful for Mother's Day

Dear Aidy, Trissy and Ali,

I understand Mother's Day is about appreciating all the hard, invisible work that mothers do and I am incredibly grateful for all that my mom, your mama, has done for me and her family. But on this Mother's Day, I can't help feeling grateful for you.

Baby Tristen on his birth day (02/04/10).

There are so many people in this world that are unable to have children biologically nor even through adoption (as the cost are pretty pricey); however, for whatever reason, your father and I have been able to be so blessed with three beautiful, healthy children.

My loves <3
There are so many things about you that I love and cherish, so many moments that I wish I could bottle up and return to when I please and so much love that I didn't know existed until you were born. There is so much about my life with you that I love and feel so utterly grateful for.

You have shown me true unconditional love does exist, that heart does not believe in some silly notion of division to love but rather, grows exponentially to accommodate and most importantly, you have changed my very core. You, my children, have helped me grow into a better person, a kinder, more patient, more accepting person. Quite simply, you have helped me grow into a better version of who I once was.

Years ago, my thoughts were consumed entirely of myself, even my relationship with your father was consumed of what he could do for me; what love note he should write me, what sweet, thoughtful words he should compliment me with and how much he loved me. I loved your father but didn't know what love really was - until the day I became a mother.

Baby Aiden on his birth day (03/07/08).
The speed of which my love for my first little one eased itself into the core of my soul was only matched by the removal of my old selfish, selfish being.

Baby Aaliyanna on her birth day (07/19/11).
 I don't know who I would be today without all three of you. I can't and don't even want to imagine who I would have become and although, on this day for the rest of my life, I hope to get macaroni necklaces, crafty little gifts made inside the four walls of your classroom and a phone call just to wish me a, "Happy Mother's Day," more than anything on this day, I will forever be grateful for each one of you. All three of you have changed my life for the better and I doubt I will ever be able to repay you for what you have given me. I love each and every one of you so, so very much.

With the Greatest of Love,


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Invisible Mother

A blog I follow, The Golden Spoons, recently posted this sweet little passage about the work a woman does as an "Invisible Mother" and it was just too good not to share. Reading this made me reaffirm why I choose to be a mother in the first place and reminded me of how my children are truly masterpieces that I'm building slowly, piece by piece, one day at a time. Motherhood comes with such amazing, wonderful highs as well as tiring, difficult sacrifices I naively didn't even consider before having children. There are days I cry from exhaustion and then there are stories like this that lift our spirits and remind us what being a mother is truly about.
The Invisible Mother by Mary Lynn Plaisance. 
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30 , please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball: 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone? What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature--but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals--we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does."

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, "You're gonna love it there..."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Also, to my mother, Happy Mother's Day! This passage reminds me of you. I failed to see all the hard, tedious sacrificies you made when I was younger but now, especially as a mother, I've grown to appreciate all the hard work you've done in order to make our house a home. Thank you for being my best friend, for always showing me know your love and especially, for teaching me to laugh, even through the struggles that life throws at me. Thank you so much for everything. I love you so much!

Conversations with Aiden

It took Aiden until he was three years old to really start talking. We tried encouraging him when he was younger but he would just stare at us and it almost seemed like he was saying, uhh, what do you want me to do? I know the fact that he didn't talk until much later than the "recommended" age would worry others but I knew the little stinker was smart as a whip but incredibly stubborn and he would talk on his own terms. Although, these days he talks all the time, it still amazes me what comes out of his mouth and how funny he is!

So proud of his "homework" (as we like to call it) and seriously, when did he get so big??
Me: "Do you want a piece of candy?"
Aiden: "Yes!!"
Me: "Yes, please."
Aiden: "Can I have two candies??"
Me: "Can I have two pieces of candy, please?"
Aiden (thinks for a second): "Can I have three pieces of candy, pleeease?"
Me: "Haha, you’re a sneaky little thing."
Aiden (smiling): "No, I not."

I love him and his little smile :)

I walk into my bedroom and catch Aiden playing with my things.
Aiden (startled): "I sorry, Mommy. I sorry."
Me: "Aiden, you know better. You’re not suppose to play with mommy’s things."
Aiden: "I sorry. I sorry, Mommy."
Me: "Are you sorry you got caught or that you’re playing with my things?"
Aiden (thinks for a moment): "I sorry I got caught."
Umm, At least he’s honest??

Pretty much the face I get these days when I pull out the camera.

Unless it’s pouring down rain, I usually roll the boys’ windows down so they can wave and shout, “bye-bye, Mama!” to my mom when we leave her house. After rolling the windows up, this ensued.
Tristen: "Widow (Window), Mommy. Widow."
Me: "No, Tristen, it’s raining. We don’t open the windows when it’s raining."
Tristen: "Widow, Mommy."
Aiden: "No, Trissy. Do you like it if Ali gets sick? You want Ali go to the hospital? To the doctor? No, you don’t. You don’t like it. No window, Trissy."
Cool, I don’t even need to parent anymore.

I love these two <3

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feeling Down

I've been feeling a bit down lately and I wasn't even sure where it was coming from. I push a lot of my emotions aside as often as I possibly can until it all comes out in a blur of words and tears uncontrollably falling down the cheeks of my face. I can't even comprehend what's eating at me until all of the emotion smacks me in the face.

Today was one of those days. It's incredibly hard having a spouse be gone for so much of the day. I often feel like I'm a single parent, a very fortunate single parent in comparison to other cases, but still, a single parent.

When Jarod gets home from a long work day, I don't want or expect him to help me. Even when I go out to dinner with a friend and I get to catch up with one of my favorite people and get a breather from my chaotic life, it's difficult because I do everything to make sure the kids are almost, as close as humanly possible, ready for bed, if not already in bed. And on Jarod's days off (he wakes up at 4:30 and even 3:30 some days) I let him sleep in and I take care of the kids. I'm not trying to complain because he works the hours of two people, which means I get to stay home with the kids.

But I feel like I never get a day off. I feel like I'm going about a million miles an hour every day and it's never enough. I feel like I'm never ahead of the game in terms of household chores, taking care of the kids and trying to make their lives the best I possible can. I know myself and I do better and get more done when I'm busy and I know I love the chaos of this life.

But right now, sometimes, I feel overwhelmed. Jarod even asked me if I thought it was a good idea to bring another child into our family right now since I'm feeling this way and although the above was stated and is clearly felt, I said yes. It takes nine months to make the baby and I'll adjust. After every single birth, I felt like there was no way I could do this and I did. I learned how to take care of one baby, two babies, three babies and one day I'll know how to take care of four.

I know I'll get through this. I tell myself there are other women who have dealt with more and I can do this but right now, the emotions are winning this battle over any positive "you can do it" thoughts.


All of Our Debt #2 and Buying a House

We really haven't made anything more than minimum payments on our debt but I figured it's probably gone down a bit and wanted to do an updated list of all our of debt.

Jj’s School Loan (Group B): $190.59 PAID OFF!!
Jj’s School Loan (Group D): $370.77 PAID OFF!!
Jj’s School Loan (Group A): $1542.69 PAID OFF!!
Credit Loan: $2,058.79
Jj’s School Loan (Group H): $2,334.37
Jj’s School Loan (Group E): $2,624.80
Jj’s School Loan (Group G): $2,754.43
Kj’s School Loan #1: $2,853.74
Jj’s School Loan (Group C): $2,912.75
Jj’s School Loan (Group F): $4,466.22
Kj’s School Loan #3: $5,286.95
Kj’s School Loan #2: $7,389.84
Honda Pilot Car Loan: $12,474.39

CURRENT DEBT: $45,156.28

Unfortunately, we definitely had a few months where we put our money elsewhere but we're finally in a much better mental financial state. You know how you can't really start a diet and/or fitness regime unless you're in the mental frame to do so, while we're finally in the right mental state for our financial diet. We've come to a place where we're ready to put aside our immediate wants and pay all this ish off.

Our plan is to pay all this debt off in more or less a year and a half. However, we are a big family, have three little ones and there's always something that comes up. Ali's first birthday is coming up, the Pilot needs it's timing belt replace, Mila needs to get spayed and into puppy training classes, Aiden starts preschool in the fall and we plan on adding another little baby into the family. All of which will push us back a little bit but it's okay - as long as we're striding forward, we will eventually get where we want to be.

I'm extremely excited to pay all of the above debt off and immediately afterward, (we're entirely following Dave Ramsey's plan to a T) we'll save for an emergency fund of three to six months and then save for a down payment on a house. Jarod and I were initially going to save just 20% and get into a house ASAP but (again this is another thing that kind of kills me, just like the iPhone, but) we're planning on saving at least 50% down. I don't want to state where my husband works (for my family's protection) but for those of you who know me personally (in real life) and know where my husband works, then you know his job isn't the most secure. He could easily get laid-off tomorrow and we're about 99% certain he would not be able to make the same amount and I don't want to be forced to work until I'm certain it's the right choice for our family (aka when the kids no longer need me to be there all the time); thus, we're trying to make the safest and smartest decision.

It's definitely hard to not just save up for a down payment now instead of paying our debt off first and getting into a house like tomorrow but we know deep down that it's not the smartest decision. It's incredibly hard as a mother and as a woman that planned to already be in a house with a huge backyard and a cute little white picket fence before the birth of her first child to not have my children grow up in a house. Obviously, that's not the case as we're now planning to have a fourth little one join us in our three bedroom apartment. It's hard putting my preconceived notions of "what should come first" and making the conscious choice to do the right financial decision. It's really tough.

But I think the biggest thing that hit me when Googling advice (how did anyone live without the Internet before??) from Dave Ramsey gurus online about the proper time to buy a house when someone has kids is that I want the house, not them. My kids have a place to live, they have a roof over their heads, food to eat and more toys than I've ever had in the whole accumulation of my childhood (seriously). They're taken care of and I need to push aside that feeling of mine that always wants to satisfy my own unnecessary immediate gratifications.

This is definitely hard and I'm learning that unlearning previously (horrible) financial beliefs is a process that has it's ups and downs but it, also, makes me so thankful for a husband who is on the same page as me (aka reason #12932045605 why I think he's so wonderful). Anyways, I think that's all for now. I'll definitely keep you all updated with the journey. Super exciting news is that we're going to be paying off Credit Loan $2,058.79 very soon! Yay!! :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ten Random Facts About Me

1) Some days I change from my pajamas into some yoga pants and a tighter shirt or tank and put on some makeup roughly about ten minutes before my husband comes home. I look like a terrible mess for the whole day but then I think to myself, ehh, I should at least "try" for the hubby.

2) Prior to and even a few months before we conceived Aiden, I was absolute certain I would be at least 30 before I had my first kid.

3) When my first-child, Aiden, was born I finally realized how much my parents loved me; to say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement.

4) My husband loves and hates the fact that I love nurturing and babying so many babies and pets. He loves it because I take really good care of him and he hates it because he'd rather me spend all of my time babying and taking care of him instead.

5) The moment we had Aiden and switched from two (horrible incomes but yet, two) incomes to one we had to live so frugal, it hurt. Being that poor was a struggle and although I never, ever want to go back to that place financially, I'm happy we did. We live well-below our means and know how to be frugal like a motherf*cker. Even if we can pay cash in full for something, I still get a bit of a panic and heart attack if it's more than like $75.

6) Even though Jarod and I got married four months from our first date, we had joint bank accounts one week and a few days after our first date. We were a bit committed . . . and crazy.

7) My dream is to have a little house with a great big yard, a sweet little front porch and a little white picket fence and enough money to travel the world with all four of our little ones in tow.

8) I can pick up items with my toes and my husband thinks I'm a freak. Personally, I think he's just jeeeealous.

9) If I could eat anything in the world all the time and not get fat, bloated and not feel generally unpleasant (afterwards), I would eat pasta like a crazy mofo. I love Fettuccine Alfredo and bread sticks so much but (sigggh) they make my booty much too big for my liking.

10) I have a really hard time making new friends and trusting people with all my personal problems, secrets and private thoughts but yet, here I am, writing almost everything I would ever say (and sometimes more) to one of my best friends all on the web for complete strangers to read.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Opposites Attract: Why I Love My Husband

In a lot of ways, Jarod's nothing like the person I envisioned myself marrying. I remember thinking specific things would be wonderful to have in a spouse like having a mini-book club at home where we discussed characters, actions and analyzed the words and sentences authors used to inflict specific emotions and thoughts onto their readers. I get really excited about books sometimes and even more excited about how well-written a passage can be - it's almost embarrassing how geeked-out I can get. Whereas, Jarod's read exactly one book in the seven and half years we've been together; rather than reading books, he could play video games for hours days.

I remember in high school I swore that I was going to marry a certain guy that played basketball for his high school team and I remember thinking how perfect it was because years ago, basketball was my life. I played daily, for hours at a time and was even kindly given the opportunity to play for a Division II college. Although, Jarod played basketball up until the seventh grade, he never had the "this is my life" kind of devotion to the sport.

In reality, these small differences don't really amount to anything. Video games, books and basketball aren't important in the grand scheme of life. Yet, it's funny how I thought these were great necessities for a partner at one point in my life. But truly, none of these things really matter.

There are big things we're complete opposites about though that could easily tear us apart, he's a homebody and introverted; whereas, I'm more outgoing and like socializing. I see our future with lots and lots of kids running around and I'm certain he envisioned a peaceful, relaxing future of maybe one child quietly playing on the floor while he read his morning paper. My mind is chaotic, darting from thought to thought, I change my mind constantly and I think in absolute extremes; there is no room for moderation in my mind. Whereas, Jarod's the most constant and schedule-loving person alive. He likes to be about half an hour early to everything and I like to think there's always a five-minute grace period.

We fought a lot early in our relationship during the "adjustment period." I think we struggled the most because we both believed clearly our way was the best way and the other should adhere. Over the years, we've come to accept each other with the grace and kindness we give to our children. Jarod chuckles at the schemes in my mind and I help soothe that mind of his that can easily stresses over the browning of a banana.

I try harder to be on time and he tries hard to not look at the clock. I try extremely hard to adhere to his daily schedule (especially on work nights, i.e. he about dies if he's not in bed at a certain time) and he agrees to sharing my dream of having a big family. I guess, since we've adamantly decided that we are going to be sharing this life together we're forced to learn to work together, accept our differences and simply, be kind to the other despite our faults.

These days when he plays video games, I'll happily bring a book to the coach and sit beside him. When I think our children should grow up with a dog, he jokingly(/seriously) tells me, "you're gonna make me go insane one of these days," as he drives me a hour and half in traffic to pick up a baby pup. I sit patiently as he shows me videos and pictures of a million different cars and I listen to him explain the intricacies of his job (seriously, yawn). He's the least romantic man I've ever met when compared to the realms of Hallmark, red roses and sweet romantic movies; whereas, a romantic movie, regardless of how many times I've seen it, can easily bring me to my knees and have tears streaming down my face in mere minutes. Yah, I'm that girl. But I've learned to see true love and adoration in the way he shares his love. I've learned to appreciate a man that kindly agrees to have a fourth child (even though it contradicts his own vision of what he thought his life would be) and a man that works hours upon hours at work in order to, in his words, one day, "buy me a house." I see his love through the practicality, which is who he is and is what I love about him. I'm crazy and all over the place and he's as steady as an oak tree and through simply standing beside me, he grounds me.

We're completely opposites from each other. He's not the man I envisioned I would marry but I'm so, so glad he's the one I love.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Life is Too Perfect??

Upon starting my own blog, I started seeking, reading and loving other "mommy" blogs. I admire the openness in which they share their lives and their stories and even though I don't personally know these people I feel as though I do know them. I feel the intricacies of their personal thoughts, stories, adversities, worries and triumphs; I suppose that's how others may feel about my own blog.

However, the unfortunate part of reading other people's blogs is seeing the devastation and pain these women are forced to feel from losing their child and/ or dealing with their child's disability. As a mother, I can only hope that my children are given the ability to be all that they are; thus, not starting from "normal" must be so difficult. Admirably, I see so many of these women experience the pain in order to allow themselves to grieve and then proceed to stride forward with optimism and hope for a better tomorrow.

It pains me to personally know the love a mother has for her child and also, know that there are some mothers who are unable to celebrate their child's next birthday. It's one of life's mysteries why some people will only be able to imagine what their child may have been like today. (Sighhh) The mere thought of having to deal with something so traumatic and enormous in scope makes it difficult for me to breathe.

I'm not sure how I became so negative with life, in some respects, but I feel like my life is too perfect. I'm thankful for the love I've been so freely given within my family. I love my husband and look forward to every second I get to spend with him. I adore and love my little ones so much and am so grateful that I somehow managed to be privileged to raise them. Everyone in my family is healthy and happy.

So, what's my problem?

I'm terrified that it's too perfect. I have this aching feeling that something bad is going to happen because nothing has. I have three perfect children; thus, I feel like it's just, somehow, fair that my fourth will have something wrong with him or her.

I know the very odds of Jarod and I having a child with a disability is about one in a million. I know that we will more than likely have another beautiful, perfectly healthy child. But I guess, when other people ask, "why me?" when something bad happens, I'm (dumb enough) to ask, "why me?" because my life is absolute perfect.

Of course, I don't want something bad to happen. I would like to grow old with my husband, watch my children grow into adulthood, get married to the love of their lives, have babies, follow their dreams and wherever their little heart leads them. I want a life devoid of anything other than typical. I want simplicity and I really want to shake this fear that something bad will happen.

Parenting Is Hard

I recently read an article/ blog written from a mother of a six-month-old baby and she declared that motherhood, well, parenthood for that matter, is so damn easy and that it, also, unnerved her that there were so many articles and blogs from moms that bitched and complained about how hard this job is. I completely understand where she was coming from because I felt the exact same way once upon a time.

Baby Aiden (six months old).

I remember when Aiden was just a baby, he was on a schedule and almost never ever cried. I thought to myself, This is so easy. I’m doing a great job. Why do people complain?

Fast forward a few months later, Jarod and I took Aiden to a little water park. The kid loves water. Kids love parks. We concluded he should be having the time of his life. Wrong. He hated it and he wanted nothing to do with the park and acted like if he let go of our hand for a second, we would sprint the opposite direction and never come back.

Daddy and little Aids.

Jarod and I were so confused. There were kids younger and smaller than him that were running at blazing speeds without a parent in sight and yet, here Aiden was, adamantly refusing to leave our sides. We tried coaxing him to the water and showing him how much fun it was but nothing worked.

I remember this day vividly because I worried incessantly that day. I worried we weren’t socializing him enough. I worried that maybe we were babying him too much. Maybe we weren’t babying him enough and were expecting too much. I thought about every possible thing we weren’t doing right and how we could fix it. I thought there was something wrong with him (because of us, of course) and I worried that he would be this same way the rest of his life, which would ultimately lead to failing life completely. He wasn't even two yet and somehow, we already managed to fuck him up.

To say that I worried myself sick is an understatement.

These days he’s so well-rounded and adjusted that whenever we go somewhere he hardly even looks back at me. There’s no longer that much-needed reassurance from his mommy. He’s off and ready to go. I see a confident little boy that’s happy and is ready to explore the world and now I worry about how fast he’s growing and if he’ll even look back. But goodness, that's a totally different post.

So why do people “bitch” about parenting?

Because it’s hard. Honestly, when it comes to parenting, most of the time, I don‘t have a clue what I‘m doing. I don’t know what the best way to handle every situation is as there has never before been an Aiden, a Tristen or Aaliyanna in the world before. Aiden’s sensitive and inflictions literally break his heart; whereas, Tristen is more cut-and-dry and emotions seem to play less in his every day thoughts. Thus, I can’t possibly parent them the same way. A reprimand that’s too harsh for Aiden could break him, scar him for life and be something he talks to his counselor about later in life. Not enough discipline for Tristen could lead him to life of crime. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but you get the point.

Discipline is just one of the many parenting choices that we, parents, make and sometimes we even waver and go back and forth on disciplining methods just to see what works best for our kids and our family. Then there’s a million other choices to deal with: breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, attached parenting, potty training (when and how), vaccinations (pediatrician recommended, no vaccinations, staggering or picking and choosing which ones to use), eating habits (what to do when you‘re kids won‘t touch healthy food at all? someone please help me out with this), siblings (how close together or no siblings at all), “spoiling” (everyone has different opinions on what is spoiling), childcare (staying-at-home, home daycare, nanny or larger daycare facilities), schedules or not working with schedules, extracurricular activities (what‘s too much or not enough), chores (when to start and how much) and explaining the difference between genders which can lead to a conversation about sex. And when should I even talk to them about sex? Not too early because that’ll be too much for them to handle and grasp but I definitely don’t want them to learn about it from Tommy, a kid in their class that learned it from his older brother who learned it from his friend‘s older cousin.

Dear Gawd.

There’s a million different choices that I make during the day and more than once a day, I question myself. Should I discipline the kids every time they fight over some toy? Or should I let them hash things out themselves sometimes? Should I just give them what we’re eating for dinner, even though I know they won’t touch a single thing? Or make them something they will eat? Should I take my child to the Emergency Room now? Or wait it out? (Side note: I've taken Aiden to the Emergency Room three times in his four years of life).

Parenting is hard because we want the absolute best for our children. There’s no manual that comes with each child. There are lots and lots of books that theorize their preferred method; yet, in a not so convenient and charming way, there seems to almost always be another book that opposes the previous book's methods. I don’t know if I’m doing things right (and honestly, I’m probably not) but I do know that I am trying my best to be a good person, a great mother and that my children know that no matter what happens, they will always be loved and I will always be here for them.

I’ve finally come to a point where I’m content with that but still I worry about how much I might be messing them up because honestly, I only want them to have "just enough dysfunction to be funny."

Furthermore, there’s an easy surrender of your previous self and life that you give up when you have a child. Love makes the transition easy and it even seems almost out of your control; however, deep inside every parent there’s still a person with their own dreams, aspirations and thoughts. This person that we push aside for the needs of our little one yearns to still be alive. We can’t define ourselves simply as a parent because there is more to us than that. Parenting is hard because there’s a constant inner battle that wants to be everything for our children and something for ourselves.

Parenting is hard because no one knows what the perfect balance of being a parent and an individual is and no one knows what the right parenting choices are. (Anyone who says they do is just an asshole, in my opinion). No one truly does; thus, I will continue to “bitch” and “complain” about how hard motherhood is because it’s hard. It’s fucking hard and sometimes we just need to know that other people feel the same way because then we can realize that we’re not alone in this crazy-ass thing where God, (the universe or whatever it is that you believe) just hands us a very small human being and doesn’t even have the decency or manners to say, “Good fucking luck! Wish you the best!"

Thus, to other moms and dads out there that are having a bad day, I just want to say, “I totally feel your pain. You’re not alone. This shit is hard. Come on, let’s go have a drink.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Things On My Mind

1) I'm going to sound like a horrible mom but oh my, I hate the age of two. For reals. Sure, they're super cute, cuddly and the perfect size for squeezes. They dance at the drop of a dime like their life depends on it and they have the sweetest smiles (aka natures' way of insuring their survival). But (sighhh) it's tough, man, it's tough.

Typical conversation with the little guy:
Tristen: Ahhhhhh!
Me: Do you want to eat?
Tristen: Eat.
Me: Okay, let's eat.
Tristen: Ahhhhhahhhh!!!!
Me: Do you not want to eat?
Tristen: Ahhhhahahhhhhhhhhh!!
Me: Trissy, what do you want??
Tristen: Eat.


2) I'm almost on week 7 of Insanity and have only lost five pounds. I keep telling myself that muscle weighs more than fat, (muscle weighs more than fat, muscle weighs more than fat) and I'm definitely seeing muscle I truly forgot I had but come on, scale, help me out, man.

3) I miss my husband . . . bad.

4) I'm on my second period this month. Weird, I know. I called my doctor and apparently the first one was the Depo shot wearing off and the second is an actual period. I told him about our plans to have another baby and how I was worried the Depo would make it harder for us to get pregnant and he responded that he's not worried and called me, "fertile mertile." In other news, I had a dream that I gave birth to an 8lb 1oz baby boy. 1) that's a lot of baby 2) there should be no weiner on baby #4 - we're rooting for a baby sister for our little Ali (wish us luck!)

5) I recently thought about how much poop I deal with on a regular basis. We cloth diaper our youngest two and I have to do the dumping method when cleaning the number two diapers. Yuck. I clean the cat litter and pick up dog poop multiple times a day. And although, Aiden is completely potty-trained; he's four and you know how that goes. Thus, including myself, I deal with six different beings' poop. Crazy. But you want to know what's even crazier than that, I just official wrote a paragraph about poop on my blog for the whole wide world to see. Ohh, my life has come to such great highs, it's unbelievable.

6) Lately, Jarod and my favorite pastime is looking up real estate as if we're in the market to actually buy right this minute as in we look at pictures, play with the numbers on a mortgage app and check out it's proximity to Jarod's work. We're nuts but it's actually great motivation to get stuff paid off and a girl can dream, right? The hardest part about this whole being an adult thing (seriously, even after having three kids and being married for over seven years, I still can't believe people call me an "adult") is delaying immediate gratification and prolonging my "I want" urges. Financial freedom. Financial freedom. Financial freedom. Ehh, fuck, this sucks, man.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Out of Debt Journey: I Miss My Husband

There's a quietness that fills the house once the kids have settled down into their beds. I imagine couples that work regular 40-hour-weeks would spend this time together - cuddling, sharing the stories from their day and simply, just being together.

Unfortunately, for Jarod and I, we don't fit into that mold. Jarod never works just 40 hours and I don't get to share quiet nights alone with my best friend. I miss that so much. I miss us, just being us. Granted, Jarod doesn't need or have to work as much as he does but we've both trying extremely hard to sacrifice in order to get where we want to in life, which starts financially.

But it's hard. I feel like a single mom with the fortune of not having to work outside of her home all the time. He feels like a slave to his job. But the biggest struggle for me is that I miss him so desperately it hurts.

I was eight months pregnant  with Aiden when Jarod started the job he has now but before then, we worked together and saw each other every single minute of the day. We ate every meal together, worked together and then we would come home together. Our lives were so intertwined that we shared only one car for years and never felt the loss.

It pains me to not have him around as much as I want. He's the one person I tell absolute everything to but I don't want to share this grief I have because I know exactly what he'll do. (Don't worry he never reads this blog). He'll stop working so much and spend more time with me but I don't want my loneliness to be the reason he stops working as much as he wants or possibly can bare. I want that to be his decision. I want to be stronger and deal with this.

I know exactly why we're chosen this life: the simple thought of a life free from debt and the financial security and peace of mind to put all our children through college (without any form of debt), retire with respect and be able to travel the world. These are our goals and aspirations. I know they take all the sacrifice in the world.

But can I just say, it's damn hard and I really, really miss my husband.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Out of Debt Journey #2

Goodness, it's been such a long time since I've posted anything about our journey to get out of debt . . . mainly, because there has been absolutely no progress, which makes me sad. However, Jarod and I did make a huge financial decision that took a lot of our extra money for the sake of our family, added a puppy into our lives and we've, also, learned a few lessons along the way. Thus, I'm okay with the setback but now we're really excited and ready to get back to getting the debt out of the way!

In my last Out of Debt Journey post, I started we bought an iPad and that took a lot of our extra money away in January. Also, Tristen's birthday was in February and Aiden's was in March. Unfortunatly, instead of setting a budget for their birthdays (like we should have!!), we blow all our extra money those months. For each of the boys' birthdays we had a little family celebration.

My little baby boy is two!

Trissy with his daddy at the Zoo on his birthday-weekend.
For Tristen's birthday, we went to Chuck E Cheese on one day and to the Zoo the other. Every time we go out we spend money on food (although, we did pack a lunch for the Zoo) and gas (and in a 6-cylinder family vehicle, it adds up). We, also, spent money on the all the extra things for a birthday: cake (which I made myself), balloons, decorations (although, I did reuse them for each boy) and gifts. For Aiden's birthday, we went to Chuck E Cheese one day and on another day we had all his cousins and my mom come over for a pizza, KFC (which my mom brought [thanks, mom!]) and cake get-together.

The boys with two of their cousins.

My little man is four! Crazy!!
Then towards the end of March, we had a duel party for the boys and we invited family and friends. The party itself was a few hundred dollars. Obviously, we don't mind spending money on our kids but our problem is that we had, let's say, an extra $800 in our account and instead of sitting down and saying that we were only going to spend X amount for this particular birthday, we just decided to keep hang on to the extra money until eventually it was gone and I can't tell you for the life of me what we spent it on. It's so extremely easy to spend money! Seriously, Jarod and I are sooo good at it :) but we can't keep doing that.

About a week and a half ago, we wrote a very realistic budget for ourselves and our family that I believe will really help us be more purposeful with our money. Previously, we have in the written a budget that was really unrealistic, like, it didn't even account for buying clothes or a budget for the kids' activities so we would save some extra money in our account and then again, abracadabra! - it was all magically gone.

Actual conversation that didn't happen but very well could have:
"We have no more money."

"What! What happened??"

"I, uhh, uhh . . . magic."

We, also, added a puppy into our family. I just thought it was appropriate that the kids grow up with a dog and so this little girl waddled right into our hearts. She was actually a compromise in which I told Jarod that I was done having kids . . . but only if I could get a puppy haha :) Really we did talk about getting a dog for a few weeks before hand so it wasn't really as spontaneous as I'm making it sound :) A few weeks later, he (such a softy, seriously, he's so sweet and kind - I'm really a lucky girl) looked at me and said we could have another (human!) baby.

Mila, our puppy, was a steal at $100 but the supplies, dog food and vaccinations have cost us a few hundred dollars but thankfully, she's only got one more set of shots and is getting spayed this month and we should be good for awhile.

Then the very big financial decision that we made that I'm suuure people are going to be like, "ohh my gawd, so stupid," but we still strongly believe that it was the best decision for our family was we moved into a new apartment . . . before our old apartment's lease was over. Thus, we were paying for rent at two separate places for two months.

First of all, to explain this craziness to people I just have to say that I was pissed off a lot of the time at our old apartment. It was a little under 1000 square feet but it felt sooo small. It felt claustrophobic and I didn't even like inviting people over because it already felt so crowded. No matter how hard I tried to keep the place clean, it felt and looked like a complete disaster. We even rented an extra storage unit at the apartment to help deal with the clutter but it was to no avail. The living room (where the kids play) was just so small that even a small mess looked like someone shit the place. We even pushed our dining table against the wall to make more room. Also, we bought the boys twin mattresses and we couldn't even fit them into their rooms without making it a sleep-only place. There was absolute no room to play in there if we had both twin beds. We had to get out.

We decided to just "look" for a new apartment a few months before our lease was over and found our current place, which is like absolute heaven to me. It's an extra 400 square feet bigger, which has made a world of difference! We put all of the kids beds, including Ali's crib, in one room (and there's still room to spare!!) and made our third bedroom into a toy room. It's just amazing how much different it feels living here in comparison to our old place. (I'll do a house tour soon! :)

Also, the old apartment was on the second floor and the new apartment is on the first floor, which has also made my life so much easier. Getting a baby, a two-year-old and a four-year-old in a car is a task unto itself that when you add in some stairs, it makes it that much harder. And then a very big reason we moved when we did was because our new apartment is literally right next to a toddler playground with slides and swings and was just the next best thing to having a house and a backyard for my babies. It seemed so perfect and just felt really right for our family.

So that's where our money has gone these last few months: an iPad, our boys' birthdays, a puppy dog, moving expenses and paying for two places for two months. There's a list of things we really do need to buy or take care of (but I'm going to include that in a different post because this one's getting really long) but I'm really excited to be back on track to paying off all of our debt, saving a minimum of 20 percent down for a house and moving into a little home of our own in about four years. The prospect of just getting to that point makes me so excited and happy. I know we can do it. I haven't checked to see what our current debt is at the moment because we haven't been paying anything other than minimum payments but I'm sure it's gone down a bit - I'll do that and post it next time! :) Thanks for following our journey!