Viewing entries in
Single Mom


Raising a Husband

I know what this sounds like - and No, this is not about John.  That isn't to say that he and I don't feel like we are raising each other somedays, because I know we defiantly do.   This is about the almost 4 year old little man that I hope will develop into a kind and loving person and will someday, be a wonderful partner. 

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

I say often that I really don't want Brayden to grow up.  I say it so much, that he mocks me with my own statements.  He shows me his big muscles, and he laughs as he rises to his tip-toes saying "watch how big I will grow".   As much as I want him to stay little - I love the developing person he is becoming.  I am coming to believe this is one of the great gifts of parenting.  Every day is filled with pride - pride in the little person growing and learning.  And pride in our own learning and growing -  on the difficult days when we give ourselves a much deserved pat on the back for handling an in-store tantrum or refusal to eat dinner.  We deserve the self recognition for making it through.   I was visibly not happy the other day - clearly frustrated.  Brayden came over to me and started rubbing my arm and consoling with kind words.  I instantly knew that my petty frustration was nothing.  I was moved into a space of pure joy - and I thought, probably out loud, Brayden, you are going to make a wonderful husband someday.  

I spent one of my many sleepless night thinking about all of his wonderful child qualities that I adore - And I really hope he can keep them through the harshness that the world often engages us in.  I hope he can hold fast to his qualities and brilliantly overcome the challenges he may come to face. 

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne

Laugh.  Life is only as serious as you make it.  Laugh often and life will be lighter.  Brayden's laugh has changed.  It's different then a few weeks ago - He has more belly into it and he does it more now - he is learning his sense of humor, and others too.  Laughter is so important - and this is coming from a pretty serious Mom - We laugh, but I need to interject that same principal into other aspects of my life too.  I am taking lessons from him, everyday. 

Love. Love. Love.  This kid, he loves his Mom.  I am sure all kids do.  He sometimes has a hard time reaching others because he finds comfort in the closeness of me - I of course love that.  But, I want him to not have anxiety about being away from my reach - I know in time he will, to quick I assume.  I know someday he will have that some protective comfort when he finds a partner worth sharing it with.  Until then, I will be happy to carry that role. 

Flowers.  Always bring flowers.  I did not teach Brayden this, I wish I could take the credit.  This sweet boy gives me the same artificial, potted flowers EVERY DAY.  No joke.  He brings them if I am sad, tired, happy - he looks for a reason.  He always starts out with the same exclamation, "Mommy, close your eyes.  I have a surprise for you!"  As much as girls say, don't buy flowers - they are a waste of money...  we lie.  Get 'em from a ditch or for $3.99 at the grocery store - We will LOVE them :)

Never loose that glow - the way your eyes light up every morning (ok, most mornings) ready and eager to take on the day - just wanting to know what adventures await for the day ahead.  I believe it is one of the most contagious things about Brayden (it could be all children I suppose, but I am biased).  People have been drawn to him - comments from strangers since he was just a baby - adoring onlookers of the miracle that he is - I believe it is that sparkle in his eye that invites people to want to know him.  Hold onto that, and keep close to your heart - know the world and the people in it are good.  

Children - We come from a large, large family.  Regardless if you have your own or not - be involved in the lives of children, they keep you young - they keep you laughing - they remind you of the traits that adults tend to loose - love them because they need it.  Love them because you need it too.   

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne Stay stubborn.  That same determination you use today when you are relentless about NOT  putting your pants on by yourself - or when you just cross your arms and out right refuse to listen because you don't want to do what I have asked - keep that.  However, learn when it is appropriate.  There are times when sticking with your convictions is all you can do - you take a stand and don't budge.  But, it is also important to learn to pick your battles in life.  Compromise, when used appropriately, is very powerful - sometimes hard at first, but you catch on.  You are inherently stubborn and a little controlling - that's ok, you  have good intentions, you come by it naturally (and so do I).   Just remember that delivery is key - you can hold your own and be respectful in the same moment.  I heard once that one of the most important journeys we take is when we meet someone half way.  

Love your Super Heros.  Right now, as you round 4 years of age - You love Super Heros - who can blame you, they are pretty awesome.  You love when they defeat the bad guys (a role that is often filled by Mom).  You love that they are big and strong - and look forward to one day being just that, big and strong.  You love your dinosaurs still - this phase has been going on for several years, and for me, it never gets old.  You love to read and to learn.  Keep your curiosity - and keep loving the little things.

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

Last, but certainly not least, always lean on your Mom.  I don't mind, really :) 




new smiles

In Brayden's 3 1/2 years of life - He has had more dental work done then many adults. 

At 5 months, he got his first 2 teeth.  But, when they came in, they had a greyness to them.  Over the next several months, they chipped away - eventually exposing his nerve.  So, at 13 months old, he had to have a double root canal. 

6 months later, the veneer cover popped off.  The entire cap needed to be replaced.  We had to do the entire thing all over again.  After it was all said and done, Brayen loved his new 'toothers'.  He loved telling people about his 'new teeth'. 

Then, just a few weeks ago I noticed a lump on his gum.  Come to find out, it was an abscess - he had an infection in the roots of both teeth.  The dentist told us he would need to have them pulled.  

This is really small potatoes to many things in life - I thank God daily for my healthy, stubborn, lovable little man.   But, at the same time I am vain enough to admit I love Brayden's toothy little grin.  He looks just like his Mom :)  I was worried about how he would look - and now with the wedding coming up, he will be toothless for all of our pictures.  More then all of those things, he would have to experience something scary - scary for him, and for his parents.  Watching him being taken away by strangers and worrying about him being scared is a terrible feeling.  

I took some pictures of him at T-Ball this week, I wanted to capture his last days of this smile.  

Yesterday, I saw the dentist round the corner.  He said Brayden did great.  He gave us the 'to-do's' and 'do-nots' to care for his gap, where his precious little fake teeth use to be.  As he was explaining, I saw my little man round the corner - 4 stickers on his shirt,  a little prize in each hand, and a bloody gauze between is lips.  I removed the gauze and looked...  it was scary at first, but he was still that adorable little man - he just looked older.  And he added a cute little whistle to his words when he speaks.  

Throughout the day yesterday, We made our rounds to show off his new look.  Every time I looked at him, I smiled ear to ear, "I love your new smile, Brayden - you look so cute!"  I truly do.  I realized I had the same feeling when they were going to cap his first teeth - sad and scared about the process and what he would look like.  But, he is always my adorable little man.  One day, his big boy teeth will decide to come in.  I have no doubt I will love that awkward little smile just as much as I have loved the different versions it has already gone through.  He is more then his teeth - He is Brayden, my beautiful little boy.  

 I do love that adorable little toothless smile ; )



the beauty I stumble on

I fell short on completing my "blog everyday in May" challenge.  The summer starts to pick up a lot for my little photography shop - Busy most weekends, be it taking pictures or editing them.  So, my intention started out very gung-hoe, but it was hard to keep up.  There are still a few of her topics that I plan on blogging about...  I just need to wait until I get caught up.  The blogging is fun, it has turned into my hobby and therapy and the photography is a business - so, the clients come first.  Well, truth be told, they are second...  this little guy comes first:

It makes me a little sad to say out loud, but Brayden and I had 5 days in row together.  No work.  No Photography.  I think the last time we had that many days in a row together without much interruption was last summer for vacation.  I didn't realize how much I miss that time with him - this week back to work was brutal - all 3 days of it.  And, Brayden is with his Dad this weekend - and, I really miss him.  That time together spoils us both - it is really hard to get back to that routine, that 7:30-5:30 daily grind.  He is growing up so fast - I feel like time is slipping away.  He is going to turn into a teenager in the blink of an eye - I pray, daily, that he will still love me like he does now.  I pray, daily, that he is gentler on me then I was to my parents.  I pray we respect each other, like we do now - but with greater appreciation for where time has taken us.  

During our break - the 3 of us went to the zoo - they have a dinosaur exhibit.  And, if there is anything Brayden loves as much as his Mom - it would be his dinosaurs.  He has loved them for forever it feels like.  He is inherently all boy.

 I use to worry about Brayden missing the everyday male role model, that I would be confusing his 'maleness' - If there is even such a thing - but, I know now that even though he still likes to put on my jewelry and play with my make-up from time to time, he is all boy.  He loves sticks, and worms, and monster trucks, and dinosaurs, and being outside and 'rough houseing'.  I apparently us that term now much like my mom use too.  It probably sounds something like 'if you boys are going to rough house, go down stairs' - because Brayden now uses that phrase, "John and I are going to rough house - I will be the rough house.  Downstairs, right Mom?"

I wish I had a video to capture every silly phrase, every hug, every kiss, every 'so much" response to my "I love you".   He will never be like this again.  I find myself being happy and sad, excited and terrified all at the same time.  

These feelings surfaced up this week being back at work...  and then this morning I read this article that was shared on FB - To Parents of Small Children - Go read it.   You will laugh and cry - because we all feel it.  Because parenting is hard.  Because parenting has all of those emotions that you just don't get until you have children to raise...  to witness and participate all at the same time.  Both Parent and child learning as we go.  Parenting is frustrating and exhausting and down right scary sometimes.  But, it is the best thing I have ever done, ever.  And, I imagine it will always be #1 on my list of accomplishments. I love when I stumble on beauty - the article reminded me of the zoo pictures that I hadn't looked at yet - and then, as I opened the folder, I stumbled on the most beautiful faces, Brayden and John, my family.   

In the Life, Love & Lemons front, I updated the Home page with a few of my fav photos.  I have the most beautiful families.  I also added a new proofing and purchasing site.  AND, I bought a new camera!!  John asked if I was excited as I examined the new Nikon...  my response, "No.  I am scared sh!t!#ss".  I needed to upgrade, but it is hard to bite the bullet and spend the money.  But, now that I have it I am so fascinated by the upgraded / updated technology.  I will put it to practice this weekend shooting some of my vintage rentals for my website. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :)  Thanks for stopping by!



Day #3: Discomfort

Day 3, Friday: Things that make you uncomfortable

This topic makes me uncomfortable :) 

I could have a never ending list of the things that make me uncomfortable.  To be honest, that is almost my default answer when explaining some of my behaviors, ..."because it make me uncomfortable..."  Is something I say often.


  1. Truth be told, I have social anxiety...  maybe that is why I love blogging so much :)  I can say things on my mind, share my thoughts, feelings, and my heart - and not fear the reaction I might see on someone's face.  I can perform very well in social settings, actually, from a professional standpoint I would say it is one of my stronger qualities, I can really excel interacting with people - little do they know I am sweating through my shirt.  The stress and anxiety I feel leading up to those moments, and after the encounter has passed, I over think everything.  What I said, how I acted, what did they think, did I say to much or too little, did I react too much or too little,...  Did they like me,  Will they like their pictures,....???? I call this my social anxiety, or maybe it is just me being a girl.  Who knows.
  2. Confrontation - who really likes it?  I actually do really well making my points, and holding my ground...  which, to fault my stubbornness, could also be the problem.  In the heat of a discussion, especially something I am passionate about, I have difficulty keeping an open mind and I get shaky in my statements, but stay firm on my convictions.  I have come a long way with age and experience to understand that two people don't have to agree.  Understanding that point is often difficult, for myself.  I have grown to be able to say, "I can see where you are coming from" or "I respect your opinion".  But, I want that same curtousy - which is not always reciprocated.  And then I obsess about it (see #1 above...  and then sometimes #3 below). 
  3. Holding grudges.  Being too stubborn to forgive and let go.  Those feelings are so conflicted.  People that have the ability to do this I really respect.  It is on my list of things to do....  A few sessions with my Priest should help...  
  4. Last but not least, snakes, scorpions, and spiders ....  and other little creatures that could kill you when you don't even see them coming!!  I live in the Midwest so I seriously doubt I have to worry about that much here...  but, if I enter high grass, I automatically assume something is going to bite me and I will die.  

maybe I just need meds! ;)

on my way to the Mommy & Me mini's - I send John pictures still... He likes it :)




story of my life with, story of my life

A young lady I have been following posted a challenge to her fellow bloggers - Blog everyday in May.  This is a challenge - but, she gave us the topics to write about every day.  So, in addition to my photo blogs, I will be trying to type about her topics as well.  Sometimes with writing it is organizing a relateable topic into one, not to long, post, that is often the challenge.  It is very helpful that she provided the cues to push us to write about.  So, go check out Story of My Life with Jenni - she also has amazing photography as well.  

so, here we go with, the story of my life (in 250 words, approximately)

Proud conservative, Catholic, farmers daughter - I am the third of six.  Growing up on a farm - with a stay at home mom and a third generation farming family is something that isn't heard of often anymore.  I love that my story is very different - it involves working as kids walking beans, doing chores, and being active in 4-H.  I couldn't have written a better life for myself - I hope someday to provide that same kind of pride to my kids in some way.  

 My family is my roots, and I am the sibling with wings, very diferent from my grounded siblings.  We all share very similar characteristic (our spouses, significant others say that common thread is stubbornness).  I seek out adventure, always thinking of my next new and exciting step, often before I have followed through with the stride I am in.  My family is always good to be the realism - even though I usually do what I want anyway - they are always there.

 I am the proudest Mommy of the most adorable 3 year old on the planet.  He brings out the light in my heart and I ask everyday to keep him little so we can keep our lovable little life just as it is.  But, I know he will grow.  With his height, and with my age - my pride will grow too.  I know he will accomplish great things in his life.  He is my everything.  I finally found the love of my life, who was right around the corner, literally, all my life.  We just needed the right moments to align for us to meet.  We are planning a wedding in August, but more importantly, plan for a life together for the next 60+ years - with babies and a home.  And God willing, lots of traveling in the service of others, someday.  

 The center of my soul consists of family entangled with my little passions that are always growing with antiques or old stuff, ( that I am sure someday my family will turn me in for hoarding), painting furniture, photography, and dreaming of my next big move....  and of course, great country music...  

Pretty sure that was more than 250 words ....  :) oh well - I was never much for following rules anyway.



the sun will rise

I had a blog started before some of the events that have taken place this week.  I will post it next week, after some settling.

I make a point to not watch the news, or read the paper.  It mortifies me beyond words for the world I am raising my child in.  It scares me to bring any more into this world were there is evil, hate, and uncertainty.  This has been a hard week for so many.  And no matter the denial I am in, there is so many  images and updates, there is no escaping it.  From Boston to Texas to right here at home with the flooding.  I have been fortunate to have had very little of that impact me directly - but my worrisome heart and mind can find no resolve.  All I have is questions.  All I can say is "why?" It is so far beyond my own comprehension why people make the choices that they do.  It is so far from my mind the hate that is spewed out onto people who are good.  We as a human race are not perfect - we were created that way.  But, we were created with the ability to make choices, and like the majority of the world, we make mistakes but we still do a lot of good.  We are surrounded by the good everyday, which makes the atrocities of this weeks events so hard to digest. 

On top of the events from around our country - and I know the many more around the world that don't make it to our TV screens - I have my own turmoil.  It has been yet another difficult week of co-parenting, as most weeks are.  Then today at 9am eastern time, I sold my home in Virginia.  In part, I see it as the final connection to Virginia and all of what and where my life changed.  In so many ways, it was wonderful and beautiful - and then, there are just as many that are painful and sad.  In that home I planned a future with the little bump in my belly.  I dreamed of how our lives would unfold and the memories that would be made in the walls of that home, in that back yard, and on the beach of the lake.  The lake was the deciding point - it was countless sand castles to be built and splashing in the water with the little wobbly baby legs.  It was those visions that made that house my final choice - it was the visions of a home and a life - a future very different from the one I had been living, it was the start of my family.  In that house, it held the room that was once painted light green.  It held the perfectly organized clothes and baby items as I prepared for the dreams of the future and what represented the happiest shift of the rest of my life.  Brayden never saw that little green room, it was painted over.  I cried then, and still now. The house is gone and along with it all of those dreams that never became more that just a vision.  I thought I would feel lighter when it was gone.  But, today I am weighed down by all of the anger and the would-have-been's.  Tomorrow I am sure will be better, but today I allow myself to morn the loss of that life.  I believe it would not be nearly as difficult had the co-parenting relationship that I participate in were healthy, for Brayden and for us.    Some days are just hard, when I feel like they shouldn't be.  It seems that when people work for a common goal, it shouldn't be difficult.  I guess the same could be said co-habitating on the same planet, and co-parenting.  Love and happiness shouldn't be so difficult. 

Amidst the sullen of this week, we know the sun will  rise again tomorrow and I, we, us - will be given the opportunity to make choices, the good ones, that will keep us working towards the common goal of love and happiness so our kids can live beyond the worry and live in the light of the sun. 

I pray God will help to lift us through these difficult times, for me - we - us, parents and humanity. 



refuse to sink

Today is met with so many emotions.  

I cried on my way to work today.  But, they were happy tears.  It felt so good to have a shift of emotions.  I have been waiting for weeks for this shift to come.  I knew it would.  It always does.  Sometimes the wait is longer then others.  

Today, we slept in.  I am blessed by a great employer.  I have a flexible schedule and he is very understanding of this kinda crazy life I lead.  

We got our break from the bitter cold today.  Today is sunshine and birds singing - and with the glistening of the snow really creates this amazing beauty that warms my heart - and for a few days of the winter season, I am thankful for the climate that I live in.  

On the drive in, Brayden was full of questions.  And these questions, like most, make me smile in amazement of what he is learning.  He asks so many questions.  But, not just "Why?"  Today, out of the blue he stated "Lighting hurts people and things,"  I said, "Yes it can, but it is just part of nature."  You can anticipate what the next questions was....  "What's nature?"  So, I think for a minute....  "It is the sky, clouds, sun, rain, ground, trees, wind, air..."  I pause, waiting for the next question.  "What does the rain do?"  "Rain is very important.  It feeds the ground and everything that grows: trees, corn, beans, grass, flowers..."  I pause again, I know there is another question coming.  "What's the sun do?"  I smile, loving the sequence of his questions - because they all impact one another.  "The sun and rain work together.  The sun helps everything grow too.  All of the plants and animals need the sun and rain."  And then, brilliant little Brayden says, "Us too!"  "Yup, that's right!  Us too!! The sun and rain are very important"  I reply.  Then, the topper, "cars are important too!"  

I love that kid. 

I realized a few days ago on my way back to the studio, after multiple nights of being there, after many weekends spent planning, organizing, painting, designing, preparing, list making.  I was talking to God and to myself trying to find the calm among the chaos.  I told myself, I just need to get through the next month.  I just need to make it through this and then it will calm down.  Then, it hit me, I always say that.  I pray for the strength to make it from one moment to the next.  Pray to just let me survive this phase.  And then, I believe it was God responding, Why do you do that?  I always tell myself, I just need to make it through this.  Get through this moment and then I can enjoy the next.  Why can't I enjoy the moment I am in?  I need to enjoy the process.  I often look back at the roads I have traveled.  While traveling them, they felt rough.  Somedays were hard to put one foot in front of the other, but I did it.  I look back and I am proud of my travels.  I am proud of my lessons.  I have learned.  I have grown.  I have experienced life.  And, I have some good memories from the traveling.  

I forget that during my current travels.  I focus on the "what if's".  I obsess about just surviving instead of thriving.  There are days that feel like I am drowning in everything that needs to be done.  My mom calls them 'self inflicted' tasks.  And she is right - I know only one speed and that is being busy.  I work best under pressure - I just don't always seem to enjoy the pressure.  At some point, there comes a moment of clarity.  Something, or somebody, that exposes the many, many blessings in my life.  It is all I need to just stop for a minute.  I smile and give gratitude to the amazing life I lead.   And then I tell myself:

Just keep swimming

Enjoy the journey

Refuse to sink  




little wins, one day at a time

January was a big month for us.  They are little milestones, with big meaning. 

In October and November (and December) I was really struggling with Brayden.  He is a fantastic little man - and most often, the light of my life.  But, there are days when I ask myself how I will make it through the end of the day without committing myself to an institution.  Understandably, Brayden experienced lots of changes in a very short time frame.  He moved into a new home.  He started a new daycare.  His Dad moved into a new home.  He spent long periods of time in Virginia.  We tried potty training - my goal was to have it done by the time he turned 3.  That is hard.  That is a trying time - for the toddler and his parents.  Also during that time, I was really busy with my 9-5 job, and super super busy with photography.  I was one fuse shy of blowing up.   That is also during the time when I wrote, "they come and they go".  I reread that yesterday, and I smiled knowing that those days have passed, for now :) 

During the counseling with my Mom, I cried.  I told her I was struggling with Brayden.  Age 3 is so much harder then the so called "terrible two's".  Two was a cake walk.  Three is tantrums and talking back and refusing to eat, sleep, and poop (literally).  I wanted 3 things from Brayden this year - in all of 2013. If we can over come these, I will be a content parent: 1. Poop on the potty 2. Eat (try) the food that is put in front of him 3. Sleep in his bed.  To date, he is doing exceptionally well with two of them.  I can happily say, we broke him of the phobia of pooping on the potty.  It took a little nudity, tough love, and some bribery but we made it through.  He still gets nervous about it but he hasn't had an accident in two weeks.  To me, that is success! He is also eating the dinner we eat.  Brayden has been a picky eater - and I, a tired single mom, gave into him.  I created the little picky monster - and, it has been hard breaking through the 2 years of me giving in.  But, we are doing it.  Together, at the kitchen table we all sit and eat the same meal.  It doesn't sound like a big deal - but, it is.  I wish it were a little quieter, with a little less protesting and less demands from me.  But, we are doing it.  It isn't perfect and we still have lots of room for improvement but, I will take the little wins, one day at a time. 

Can you guess the battle I have not yet conquered?

(don't you just love his shirt?!?!)

Yes, he is still sleeping in my bed.  It hasn't always been this way.  There was a time when he slept in his crib - through the night, happily.  But, he developed allergies, and sleeping through the night was rare.  Sleep deprivation is horrible.  All Moms know.  He would wake up every other hour.  Back then I didn't know why.  After a year of investigating and constantly going to the doctor, we finally figured it out.  He was never healthy.  The poor kid felt miserable.   I don't blame him for wanting the comforts of his Mom.  And, I don't blame me either.  I was tired.  Even with him in my bed, I never slept through the night, because he never did.  But, it was easier to fall back asleep - for both of us.  So, I will give it some more time to bask in the glories of our little wins.  I will continue one day at a time to build on the achievements he is making.   Hopefully, by summer, I can write that we have successfully over come the 'in mommy's bed sleep-overs'.  Until then, I will keep snuggling the little guy - who is growing bigger every day.  Because, I really don't mind all that much.  I know there will come a time and he will be in his bed.  Until then, I am ok sharing.

Another little win, I celebrated with John as he watched me do my daily count of viewers to my website, I had a record breaking month in January.   I made a goal to break 600 - and by January 31st, I had 765!!  Some bloggers/ photographers can get that in a day - and some, in an hour.  But, for this small town farm girl, I will take that little win.  One day at a time, I will reach new people and hopefully I can snag them to keep coming back - and maybe give me the opportunity to photograph a few of their little wins.  

Thank you for all of those who read.  You are more than a number.  You keep me passionate.  You keep me inspired. 

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!  I am gone next week for a training course for my 9-5'er.  If I get a chance I will try to post some of my secret happenings from this weekend! 



stay together

Mornings are crazy busy.  Anyone with kids, no matter what the age, or if you work or stay at home, can testify that trying to get everyone out the door usually feels like a cluster of chaos.  

This morning I arrived at work at 7:39.  9 minutes late.  And for me, that is doing pretty darn good.  I told my self, if I had just not hit that snooze button I would have made it here on time.  Who created the 'snooze' button?  Worst idea EVER.  Anyway.  The morning unfolded as it always does.  An interrupted shower by a little guy that wants to spend extra time with his mom.  So, he gets in with me.  I really love my nice quiet hot showers, on the rare occasions that I get to experience them, but I love the interrupted ones too. After the shower,  Brayden sits naked (he loves being naked) watching cartoons just long enough for me to get dressed.  Then he gets shuffled downstairs for breakfast.  Today was apples and m&m pancakes (warmed-up) from Monday when they were made fresh - but, he doesn't mind, it's m&m's for breakfast.  I hurry to finish up.  Partially blow dry my hair, throw on some make-up and then it's his turn for clothes.  We wipe off the syrup stickiness, I feed him bites in between clothing items.  He gets his daily meds and a 2 minute warning for the cartoons.  I run bags and coffee out to the car, start it up and turn the heat on high.  I run back in and do a double check for anything I am forgetting.  We grab coats and we are out the door.   I get maybe 30 seconds (2 minutes if I am lucky) of regular music, mommy music, before Brayden makes the request to hear his music.  I swore my kids would NEVER listen to those goofy kid songs...  but, he loves them.  And, he looks adorable singing along.  So, I ask, " Which one?  Rum Sum Sum?  Monster? Honk Honk?"  Today was the Monster song, so we start to sing.  

Then, right in the middle of the song, Brayden breaks my heart.  He has been saying this phrase daily, for weeks now and every time he asks, my heart hurts.  I struggle with how to respond (seriously, I am open to suggestions on how to answer this question).  Brayden says,

"I want us to stay together."  

My usual response is, "We will all be together when I pick you up after work.  Then we will go home and see Jojo (I through Jojo the cat into anything and he is usually happy).  However, today he asked "Why can't we stay together?"  I said, "Mommy has to work.  I have to make money."  Then he asks, "What's money?"  I try a diversion of pointing out anything in the scenery - but, it didn't work.  "What's money?", he asks again.   "It's how we pay bills and buy groceries," I say.  "What's bills?" he asks.  Ugh. "Ummm, it is electricity and it's mommy's car...."  "What's electricity?"  oh my.  this is never going to end.   I am having flash backs from our trip home last night explaining fog.  I used words like precipitation and condensation - which is good, but I am not the best at explaining what those are....   Can I go home yet?  It isn't even 7:30 and my brain is fried.  At this point I turned up the 'clean-up' song and he was happy with that.  

"I want us to stay together" is a phrase that haunts me every morning.  I know that as soon has he wakes up this comment is going to come out of his mouth.  And, he gives me those sad brown eyes and it hurts, every day.  

Appropriately enough, I saw an article shared this morning about "What Not to Say to a Working Mom".  I laughed - but, it hurt too.  All of it being honestly true.  I work because I have too.  But, I also work because I like too.  I wish it meant that every minute we are together it is pure bliss, but it isn't.  There is a lot of yelling, sadly.  He is 3.  And I am tired.  But seriously, we are so happy.  Even with the chaos and negotiating bites of peas, we are happy.  Everyone has a different way of running their homes.  I believe it is hard to organize and balance everything that life throws our way but, we all do it.  Day in and day out - there may be the occasional yelling and tears but there is lots of laughter.  Lots of kissing and hugging.  And lots of "I love yous." At the end of the day, we are together - and that's what matters. 




my son-shine

Yesterday, Brayden and I (and of course Jojo) were getting ready to snuggle for a late afternoon nap.  He was winding down, not ready to close his eyes, and not realizing what I already knew, he was was ready for a nap.  He was in good spirits - and he probably could have gone without the nap, but I feared the monster that would appear in the early evening if he didn't get some rest.  So, we took our time snuggling and gigging.  

Brayden tells me at the most random moments, "I like you, Mommy!"  And, I am always a little taken back... "like?"  What's with that? Have I been demoted?"  Now I am use to it.   I just say "I like you too," or "well,... I LOVE you!"  Yesterday, after I replied with the "I love you" he said, "why?"  Again, taken back... and not knowing just what to say, or how to explain it, I fumbled and jumbled my words and came up with, "You are my son. You are my little boy.  You are my sunshine. I just do; that's why."  So, after we goofed for a little bit longer until he decided to finally close his eyes and his cute litle almost-a-snore crept in.  I laid there in the silence with my little boy wrapped in my arms and thought about it. I looked at him, still trying to answer the question that he has long forgotten he even asked. 



It isn't something I contemplate very often.  How do I explain love?   Especially to a 3 year old.  The love for him, or for John, or for our families.     I thought of all of the different adjectives that could be used to explain love.  Someday, this question will come up again, and I would like to be able to give an educated, sincere, thoughtful response.  

I laid there in silence, just watching him breathe.  I looked at his hands.  Those big hands.  They have been big since the day he was born - but, they are changing.  When they are chunky babies, they don't even appear to have knuckles - just dimples.  He still has those, but less apparent from when he was a baby.  He use to snuggle me and fit right into the crook of my arm.  Not anymore.  I use to tend to every whimper - Now, I wait until it sounds serious before I go running to check on him. He is growing.  Parenthood, love, gives us this incredible amount of satisfaction, yet longing to cling to moments that just wont stay just as they are.  Love pushes us, excitedly, to look forward to the someday, but at the very same time ache to hold the moment we are in.

 I decided:

1.  Love is a feeling.  Webster and Wikipedia can try to explain it all they want.  They could use all of the words in their dictionary and it wouldn't do it justice.  Love is felt.  Love is shown through commitment, honesty, dedication, respect, and sacrifice. 

2.  Brayden already knows.  That's why he tells me "Mommy, I like you" or "I just love you so much." 

We just feel it.  He to me, and me to him, and us to the world.  Love is felt. 



surviving Christmas

I survived Christmas.  

I more than survived - I made the most of my first Christmas without Brayden.   I enjoyed my first Christmas with John.  

We woke early on Christmas - but laid around in the quiet.  I was suddenly struck by horror - I had forgotten my camera at his Grandma's house...  oh no!  John being the wonderful man that he is, thought it was just important to have...  not just blurry camera phone pictures - so, he went and got it, for us.  I stayed in bed and sipped on my coffee.  

It was different then the past 3 years - but, it was very pleasant.  We made our own fun - silly. goofy. lazy. All before the running around began from one family to the next.  

Here is a a glimpse of us more than surviving Christmas, but loving it. 

John LOVES Kentucky Wildcats - I bought us tickets to go to a game - he bought me Kentucky shirts...  not sure if they are really for me...  or for him!  (My Mom is a Duke fan and is NOT happy about this)!

I love clothes - John loves sports.  Our gifts received from the other defiantly reflect this theme!


Our other little roommates enjoyed Christmas at home with us too! Jojo is just like a kid - she doesn't care about any real gifts - she is perfectly content with a box and tissue paper. 


Brayden's Dad sent me a lot of pictures.  Cookies for Santa.  Food for the reindeer.  Lots of gifts under the tree.  He was beyond excited.  Beyond happy.  And, although my heart literally aches - I smile with tears because I know he is having so much fun - and, he is so loved.  It doesn't always seem fair - but, he is happy and that is really all that matters. 

Here he is at the end of his Virginia Christmas....  clearly he had no fun at all! ; )

I am still counting down...  3 more days...   


I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful and safe holiday as well! 



invest in love and happiness

Everyone deserves a day or two to disappear.  A day or two to sulk.  A day or two to feel sorry for yourself.  Life isn't always easy and at times it is hard to hold everything together.  Life these days are busy and full - and that can be a great thing - but, sometimes it is overwhelming too.  So, we should allow ourselves a small breakdown, and not feel bad about it.  Then, we need to get back up, wipe away the tears, brush it off and charge on. 

Last night after work, I walked in the door, dropped my bags, grabbed the cat and went directly up to bed.  And there, I sat for 3 hours.  Doing nothing.  I had no more tears.  I stared blankly at the TV and watched useless, yet very interesting shows.  I like the history channel - I  learned about JFK, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, and the Berlin Wall.  Many details that I embarrassingly enough to admit, knew very little about.  I learned about JFK's contributions to our country and the world.  I listened about the Bermuda Triangle and the theories of it's destruction.  I watched a current day mummification - I thought that was cool (I am a science geek too).  

The world continues to spin even through my breakdowns.  So, at 9 o'clock I decided to shower and let it all go.  And I did.  Today is new.  

Us on Wednesday - home sickI reflect on my mood and behavior yesterday and I fight with the anger the wells up.   Having a split family is really hard.  It is harder then I could have ever imagined.  It is hard on both parents, from different angles - for different reasons.  None of which I am going to go into details on here - if you live it, you already know - and if you don't, you are lucky.  But, don't think I down play the efforts it takes to run a family unit, together.  It is really hard.  I commend all families of all types that do the day in and day out.  



It is the every day things that we don't see.  We loose touch with the significance and the beauty that is in a sleeping child, the laughter and love they show in the smallest way, and how quickly they learn and grow.  Someday, they will be us.  Us.  Our actions.  Our words.  Our outlook.  I pray that Brayden is different than me.  I pray that he is better than me.  I hope he exudes patience and optimism.  I hope he gives his time and talent and never expects anything in return.  But, in many ways, I pray he is just like me.  I pray he finds a passion and follows it.  I pray that he waits to find a perfect love.  A love that is built on friendship and mutual respect.  I hope he has determination in life and pushes to succeed, especially through the failures.  Through the failing, you learn far more lessons then succeeding. Failing keeps you pushing.  Keeps you driving.  Keeps the hunger for success alive.  If you always succeeded, what would you have left to do?  I hope he invests in love and happiness.  For him to do these things, I have to be the example.  I have to invest in love and happiness.  We all should. 



I haven't written much about my ongoing relationship with God and Church.  But, I am doing it - not perfect - but, I am better then I was a year ago.  I assume a year from now, I will be better then I am now.  A sermon the other Sunday still rings in my ears.  Treat everyone as you  want to be treated.  Invest in loving and respecting others, and they too will invest in loving and respecting others.  I am a work in progress.  I was very rude to a customer service person the other day - it wasn't his fault my order was wrong.  I have no excuse for being rude or impatient.  I don't want Brayden to pick those traits up from me.  I need to be better - little eyes are watching.  He is always watching and learning from me.  And, others do the same.  Love, Respect, Happiness resounds with everyone - doing onto them, will do onto others.  

So, as the new year approaches, I will begin my list.  It's a great time to reflect on the person I want to be and the example Brayden deserves.  Investing in love and happiness for him, for me, for everyone. 



no silver lining today

It started a few days ago - well, it actually started months ago.  Dreading the Christmas holiday.  How will I do it?  How will I function?  How will I celebrate this wonderful time of year when I feel absolute solitude?  How do I not ruin this for John, for us?  How do I make it be ok?

I was making plans with my family about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day...  Me?  No plans really.  No cookies or milk to set out for Santa, no reindeer food for his helpers.  I don't have any reason to wake up early.  No rush out of bed. No child excitement for the visitor that filled the stockings and ate all the cookies.  The only evidence of his visit are crumbs and gifts. Christmas morning will be quiet.  Too quiet.   

Today is bad.  Brayden leaves tomorrow.   Yesterday we were both home sick.  It was nice to be together even though we didn't feel well.   But, every time he acted out, and I got mad - I got extra mad at both of us.  Why are you (he or me) ruining our last day together?  Then, guilt today for not making more of yesterday.  I am angry.  I am sad.  All I can do is cry.

We have an early trip to the airport.  I get to drive them.  I talk to Brayden about all of the Christmas excitement - flying on the airplane  (he continues to call it a rocketship - and says he and Daddy are astronauts).  We talk about Santa coming to Grammy's house and seeing his cousins.  We talk about all of the fun he is going to have - and I say it with convincing enthusiasm.  And, I am happy for him.  I want him to have that time with his Dad and his Virginia family and friends.  It is a HUGE part of his life.  I am happy he has it.  But, I still feel bad for me.  I feel bad for us.  I feel bad that he is split.  And then, the knife to my heart when he says "Mommy is sad?"  And, he does it with true hurt feelings and concern.  I try my best not to cry.  I fight the tears.  Sometimes the tears win.  I say "yes, Mommy will miss you, but you are going to have so much fun!  I want you to have so much fun!"

I bought him one of those recordable Hallmark books.  You know, the one you record while reading the book.  The one I got is about why Rudolph is the most famous reindeer.   I gave it to Brayden last night - I want him to take it with him.  That way, we can still read books together even when we aren't together. We read it last night - 4 times.   I added extra words at the end of the book.  I say something like, "Merry Christmas Brayden! Mommy loves you and misses you so much!"  Every time he heard that part, he would cry.  And then, I would cry. Times 4.  

Typically, I like to have ' the silver lining' when I write.  It helps keep me positive.  Today is not one of those days.  I know there are plenty of 'silver linings' in this situation and in life in general.  But, somedays - the silver linings don't mean anything.  Somedays, it is the last thing you want to hear.  Somedays, crying is needed.  I pray for the end of the day, for bedtime. So I can sleep away the sadness.  I will look for the silver lining tomorrow. 



they come and they go

Since I have moved back to Illinois, I have had to face a few obstacles, challenges, and changes.  Well, not just 'I', but 'we'.  Brayden and I have done this together.  Outside of the everyday hustle and bustle I am typically a pretty optimistic person.  However, I have been struggling more recently.  Maybe it is just the holiday slump, or maybe it is just part of the peaks and valleys we go through in life.  

Last Saturday I had a little break down.  I had a self pity party that lasted the entire day.  I have a problem letting things in my life overcome my mood.  I don't think I could count the number of times I have spoiled joy for myself because I was too busy dreading something else that is out of my hands. Too many, I guarantee. 

I always turn to my Mom.  I find that to be a reoccuring theme in my life.  My Mom always makes me feel better.  She can't fix it (even though I am sure inside she wishes she could).  I vent.  I complain.  I let it all out in one very long winded rant.  I whisper so others in the house won't hear that I am falling apart.  Mom just listens.  She always just listens.  And then, in the moment when I stop to catch my breath, she looks at me to be sure I am done, then she says, "This is just life, Megan.  Being mad is habit.  You have to just decide to let go and be happy."

I knew she was right.  And throughout the rest of the day, I fluctuated between happy and mad.  Happy when things were going right...  and then when the littlest thing would happen, a tantrum from Brayden or misdirections to our destination would put me right back. On top of it, I would get mad at myself for ruining a perfectly beautiful day.  You see,  Brayden will be leaving me again in a few short weeks.  He is spending Christmas in Virginia. Ten days. 10 long days.  I am struggling.  I keep trying to just tell myself that it is just another day.  We can recreate it when he gets home.  And, we will.  But, I know the struggle that is approaching - or possibly the one that is already here.  It is the everyday that I have difficulty getting through when Brayden is gone.  I just got him back.  I will only have 2 weekends with him and he will leave again.  Then add Christmas to it...  ugh.   I lost Saturday for no reason at all, except I was already letting myself be miserable - and he hasn't even left me yet. I won't ever get that Saturday back.  

I know the hard times - they come and they go.  I am more familiar with the pattern then I care to be.  But, that is life.  I continue to reflect on all that we have been through in these few short years.  I stay stuck in the tough times instead of rejoicing in the everyday that is perfectly normal. Perfectly wonderful.  It is a pattern of behavior;  Always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I need to stop that.  I need to stop expecting people to let me down, waiting for them to prove me right.  That's what I have learned.  People will let me down.  Those people, they will come and they will go.  The good ones stay.  They support me.  They encourage me.  Even if they sometimes disagree with me - we have an appreciation for each other's point of view, no matter how different.  I have a few select friends that hold this definition and of course my family, and John.  Brayden and I have been and will always be that to each other, just like my mom is to me. 

Sunday morning came - sun shining.  I took Mom's advise.  I wanted our day together to be as beautiful as it was outside.  Sunny and warm - completely beautiful.  So we did - and it was just that beautiful.  

We visited Santa at Pete's Train during the Holiday of Lights.  We went to the Indian Creek Christmas Tree Farm to cut down our tree.  It was 60 and sunny!  This is my kind of winter!  We went home and got to work on decorating.  We even squeezed in some family portrait time :) I can't wait to share them!  

From Sunday came Monday - and I was off work! :)  Brayden and I had a wonderful day.  Nothing special but just time together was really nice.  

The tough times, they will come and they will go.  The good ones, they last forever.  Here is a glimpse of some the lasting ones :)

Pete's Train and Meeting Santa:

Cutting down the Christmas Tree:

In search of the perfect tree  :)

Found it! 

Sneak Peak of family pictures! (I may be biased, but seriously...  could he be any cuter?)

So much to be happy for :)






ketchup kisses and sticky claws {got my boy back}

I got my boy back :) 

Every trip Brayden takes to Virginia is painful.  I am happy for him.  Happy for the time he gets with his Dad and relatives in Virginia.  For me, it is paralyzing.  I feel very unlike myself.  Edgy and cranky.  I really find it hard to function.  And, there is the constant reminder when people ask "where's Brayden?"  And in that moment, my head hangs and everyone hears the same muffled response, "He is in Virginia."  If it is his cousins that ask, I try to sound chipper and happy.  But, sometimes, it is just hard to fake.  I know John wants to help lift me from my funk.  And, he tries.  Sometimes successful.  Sometimes not, at no fault of his.  

BUT, on Monday he came back to me! :) And, in that exact instant when I scoop him up, I feel like me again, whole to have my other half.  John immediately gets a picture of the two of us with the same text message "got my boy back".   I always take the following day off work so he can have a transition day and we can have some quality one-on-one time together.  We had such a wonderful day - completely ordinary - completely perfect.  We watched cartoons and danced the 'hot dog dance'.  We painted and snuggled.  We started our Christmas decorating.  Just Me and B.  

We played with his pet geckos.  They crawl up his arm and around his neck and he giggles.  I love that giggle.  We talked about their sticky claws that help them climb - up our arms, and up trees.  So, that became his obsession for the day (and now I assume for everyday for the next month).  He was a lizard with sticky claws.  All I can do is laugh.  He is so perfect.  He always seems older.  The time I miss he has already changed.  It is a reminder to cherish him just as he is, the constant on the go, stubborn, goofy, giggly, helpful, loving, wild all boy that he is.  

I tried to get some pictures of him.  Not groomed.  Just Brayden being Brayden.  Stained cheeks and lips from ketchup and hotdogs.  I beg for a still moment and a smile.  "Say Cheese!"  But, it isn't him.  He can't sit still long enough.  He is too busy roaring like a dinosaur, and crawling with his sticky claws.  

Brayden's sticky claws"Say Cheese!"

I am so thankful for his ketchup kisses and his sticky claws.  He makes life normal, and perfect. :)

I love our extraordinary everyday life. 




post party wrap-up

We had a 2 day event for Brayden's 3rd Birthday.  And, we had a blast! 

We celebrated Brayden's and his cousin Mason's birthday by going to Bounce Town - which, of course, is a great way to let the littles be absolutely nuts and run around like maniacs!  Aunt Mallory and Uncle Chris bought special dinosaur hats and masks - Brayden loved it!  It was the start to a great weekend. 

That night, B, John, and I did presents and cake.  Every single gift was dinosaur related! 

Saturday was the birthday bash!  For me, it is a big deal - I don't do party planning very well...  and, I defiantly do not cook, especially for a large group of people.  But, I have to say, there were a lot of compliments - and the house was trashed, representative of 10 kids having a lot of fun :) 

Especially, this big 3 year old! 


Unfortunately, Sunday came and I had to send Brayden off to Virginia, again.  I keep waiting for the time when it will get easier.  But, I don't think it ever will.  Today is day number 3 without him and I am still in my mopey phase.  Alittle paralyzed not knowing what to do without him around.  And, I do the typical torture - watch videos and cry - my whole heart aching.  I typically revert to laying in bed.  Dinner, in bed.  Editing, in bed.  TV, in bed.  And, that is what I did last night.  And, this morning, that is where I wanted to stay.  In a few more days this phase will pass, and I will grow excited for his return.  Cleaning, organizing, and waiting to see the truck pull up so I can kiss those perfect little lips again - the count down begins: 5 more days...



who are you? {Happy 3rd Birthday Brayden}!

"Hello Baby! Who are you?"  "Are you a monkey with clever toes?  Perhaps your a porcupine, twitching its nose" 

Hello Baby, a book by Mim Fox, I received as a gift from a former co-worker after Brayden was born.  It's an adorable book, Brayden and I still read it on a weekly basis - we both have it memorized.  We have lots of favorite books - and reading before bedtime is one of our oldest, and most favorite traditions.  I have been reading to him since he was just a little guy.  I would be feeding him and rocking him to sleep - while reading some of my favorites.  These favorites were children books really written to make moms cry.  A few that come to mind are, "Hold you a little longer" and "Mommies Best Kisses".  I can barely get through the first page without tears streaming.  

These beautifully written books make me think constantly about the little man that is growing up right in front of my eyes.  They help me to acknowledge - and try to force me to accept - he will not stay this little.  There will inevitably come a day when he will no longer snuggle with me and let me read stories to him.  Or let me play with him in the tub, or need me to kiss away the boo-boos.  Someday, I will be the embarrassing Mom that he doesn't want to be around.  And, I will wait until that phase turns and he will come back to trust me as a parent and a friend.  For now, Every night I will relish in our simplest and purest tradition - bath time.  snuggle time.  reading time.  our time

Here we are.  Three years in the making.  

Who are you, Brayden?

You come from 2 parents with very strong personalities.  We are both very proud of who we are, where we come from, and the little man we are raising.  Through everything, We love you.  

You were born on November 16th, 2009 at 7:21 pm at Northside Atlanta Hospital after 12 hours of labor - all 8 pounds and 10 ounces of you!  You had big dark eyes, dark hair, big hands and feet - my lips, your dad's ears. It was the most incredible moment in my life.  I can still picture it as if it were yesterday.  I will forever live with joy of that day.    From that moment on, I was a new person, better - just because I was your mom.  My life's meaning changed.  

From that day, you have been developing your own self.  You have traits from both your dad and I, gentle and kind - and, a little stubborn too.   You are loving.  You are smart.  You are handsome.  Your eyes and smile make me melt, daily. You never stop running.  You love, love, love dinosaurs.  You love sweets and would pass up a burger any day for a cookie (just like your mom).  You love bath time, still - but, I have to beg to let me wash your hair.  You love your family - all of them - with your whole heart, even though you are still working on how to share toys with your cousins.  You have a strong presence where ever you go.  You draw people to you like a magnet.  Somedays, when you and I aren't seeing eye to eye - a strangers adoring gaze or kind comment about 'it goes too fast - love them little while you can' often helps me to step back and in fact, love you while you are little.  I forget sometimes that you are still learning.  Still growing.  Still feeling out your boundaries.  And, more lately - you have decided you enjoy pushing those boundaries - just to see how far you can get.  I would say you are just a typical 3 year old - but, I also know you may have inherited those traits too...  from which parent is actually hard to tell! 

So Brayden, Here you are, on your 3rd Birthday.   We have come along way in this short time.  We have traveled many roads together, and there will be many more to come.  Just know that no matter what, my hand, shoulder, ear, heart (and pocket book) is always here for what ever you may need.

I will love you.

I know through the years you will learn many life lessons.  Some you will learn from those that love you most.  You will follow our examples.  And others, you will learn by doing - and, in the doing - things may not always come out as you envisioned in your mind.  But, you will learn, much like I have, through living.  

Always, always, always, reach higher and further then you can ever see.  You can do anything.  And if someone says you can't, work even harder, stronger, longer.  Preserverance goes a long way.  Be happy and light hearted.  Life doesn't need to be so serious.  Play - no matter how old you are, make time for fun.  Stay focused.  Work hard and love harder.  Life pays off as long as you life it.

Be honest and faithful in all relationships, including the one with God. Give gratitude everyday, for everyday is a blessing.  

You are my blessing - and everyday, especially on your birthday, I give thanks for you. 

To our Little Man, Little Buddy, Little Hawk, Little Mister, Snickerdoodle, Snugglebug, Bubba, NeNe...

Brayden Scott Hawkins - Happy 3rd Birthday! We all love you!







1 Comment

unpacking my bags

I read somewhere (probably on pinterest):

“Everyone you meet comes with baggage; find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.” Unknown

I joke about my baggage...  maybe I warn.  It allows me the opportunity to say 'I told you so', when life gets a little tough.  I have always tried to be very forthcoming about the challenges that I tote around with me.  Some of my baggage is perfectly cute. Seriously.  He is an almost 3 year old heart melter.  He doesn't do it to just me.  He melts hearts on the street, grocery store, gas station -  total strangers adore him.  He is so easy to love - and truly, I don't even consider him 'baggage'.  He is my life.  He is my everything.  I think that is where the challenge comes in.  Young (and by 'young' I mean new) relationships are supposed to be fun and relaxing and adventurous - spontaneous.  But, kids require routine and schedules - but, they also embody fun too (some times).  That aspect of dating is difficult.  There are far more rules when dating with children involved.  Entering into a relationship knowing that the love a parent feels for their child is unmatched.  It can't be copied, imitated, or duplicated (except by other children).  Someone entering into this life with me, has to have an understanding and respect that this love between a parent and child comes first, bar none.  I was so guarded about this practice, I made it difficult for someone to really come into this precious life that is "Megan and Brayden".  I really wondered if I had enough room to share it with someone else.  I spent many nights, the happy and the frustrating telling myself that this is just how it will be - just me and B.   Along with that thinking came a sense of peace.  Comfort, knowing the familiar.  It isn't always easy - but it is our normal.   I wrote about this 'singleness' in a previous post, single mom smiling.

Underneath my wonderful little life, I am a self proclaimed relationship challenge - Hard to love, comes to mind.   I am very particular about how and when things are done.  I like my towels folded a certain way.  I hate rhythmic noises during silence - it is like nails on a chalkboard.  I am short fused, and have a tongue that can strike - not mean, but to the point. I am stubborn and impossible to talk to when I am mad.  I require a minimum of 5 minutes defusing time - after that I am actually quite reasonable.  I have a memory like an elephant - I don't 'foget' things, and I bring them back to the surface during just the right occasion.  I require coffee in the morning to function.  And, I am a hoarder of all things old.

My heart has struggled with finding direction,  like wind required to sail.  But, when the wind and sail meet, a beautiful adventure can begin.  That's what this post is about.

It's about finding direction.

It's about finding happiness.

respect. love. gratitude. faith. sharing. growing. listening. believing. planning. learning. dreaming. 

living & loving.

It's about finding that person.  That one person,  from all that walk this planet, and sharing the rest of our lives together.

 I found him.  Mr. Just Right for Me.  The wind in my sail.  He was here all of my life.  

All.  My.  Life.

right here.  

John and I joke about all of the times we crossed paths, literally.  We would walk by one another, both to shy to say anything, to wave, to glance - curious, but not brave enough to be the first to make the acknowledgement of the other.  We were more comfortable with the updates from afar.  Annually, our Mom's go to lunch.  They come back with the update from the past year, and plans for the next.  Some ups, some downs in both of our lives.  The coincidences, similarities of each other is almost laughable.  My Mom would point out things we had in common.  Then, she would say, " Would you ever..." I would stop her before she could finish, "No Mom.  He is too shy."  And, that is where it would end, until, of course, next years lunch.  The story of how I changed my direction and we went out on our first date is perfect and adorable - and, I will save it for a later post.

Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”  So, here we are, both 30 (he is, I am still 29 for a few more months).  Time is interesting.  We know that at any other point in our lives we wouldn't have worked.  We were meant to find each other at this exact moment in our lives.  The dots connected just as they should. We laugh about how happy we are.  Really laugh.  We can't hardly believe that life has given us something so beautiful.  Really beautiful.  It isn't perfect - but it is just how it is supposed to be: love, respect, and lots of laughing.  Outside of having Brayden, I realize what true happiness feels like.  Complete happiness that is without excuses.  Without exceptions.   Not a fairytale, but absolutely the life that I dreamed about finding.  We are learning a balance - and he predicts my moves.  He appreciates the challenges that I come with, he comes with his own - and I love him for those too.  

John has a lot of friends.  The same ones from grade school.  They all have each other's backs.  That is one very clear and strong trait of John's - he is a great friend.  And, he has shown me time and time again - he will be that to me.  I will be that to him. We are best friends. 

Here he was.  All my life. 

(my first Bears game)

I was congratulated by a friend the other day.  And, I was explaining all of the wedding details.  Which is surprising to me - I am not one of those.  I don't want the big fancy wedding.  And, I still don't. A cute little country wedding will do just fine for me.  More than the wedding, I am excited for the roots, as I explained to her.  To finally feel like my life isn't in a constant state of flux.  We have that together, the 3 of us.  We have started this foundation where we will build a life.  So, I am unpacking - We are unpacking, together


1 Comment


on the hard days

I feel like a broken record.  I am so busy.  I am always saying , "just one second...." , "be there in a minute, I just need to do this really quick", "Hurry.  We are running late."  

All of the mom sayings could go on and on.  They seem as never ending as my guilt.  

How do I do it all?  Why isn't there more time?   Where can I find more patience?  Why does it seem like just when I can't add anything else or deal with one more thing to go wrong, in fact one more thing happens and another thing goes wrong.  Somedays, I feel like I am fraying at the ends, all of them.   Somedays are just hard.   Today is one of those days.  

My list of things to do grows longer and longer, and my time to do it gets shorter and shorter.  I cross one item off and add three more.  

I cried on my way to work today.  Not because of the lack of sleep contributed by my worrying mind or the  adorable little boy that doesn't want to eat his breakfast or put on pants, he never wants to wear pants.  Or because of the lost favorite dinosaur that we can't leave the house without.  But, the discussion in the car ride about the sun.  I wanted to pull over.  I wanted to just be late.  I wanted to just hold Brayden and cry it out because that's what makes things feel better.  

I pointed the rising sun out to Brayden.  I said, "see the big orange ball?  That's the sun.  It is rising for the day.  It will go way up high into the clouds. "  Brayden said, "I don't like the clouds."  I assume because we say that is where the sun is hiding when it is raining, and why we can't see the moon and stars sometimes at night.  That's what I think, anyway.  But, then I added, "the sun is hot."  "Like fire?" he asked.   "Yes, Brayden - just like fire."  Brayden looks at the sun, then back at me as I glance over my shoulder, "there are dragons on there breathing fire.  That's why it's hot."

I love his little mind.  I love how the world appears to him.  I want more days of dragons on the sun.  I want to slow down.  I want to spend more time before those days are gone.  So, I cried.  Because, on the hard days, it's all I can do. 



Far from, but not yet

I was told the other day by a good friend, whom I respect very much, "You are not getting any younger.  You need to decide what you are going to do with the rest of your life."

At first it bothered me, for two very obvious reasons:

1) Am I old?  - I didn't realize!  

2) Am I not fulfilling my life?  What is wrong with where I am at?

After pondering this statement for a while, I came to some very important conclusions.  First, I let what other people say and think get to me WAY to much.  And, I know my dear friend had the best intentions, and he was trying to inspire and motivate me, but  I am perfectly content right where I am.  For now.

I am a list maker.  I have lists and sticky notes, every where.  I have so many 'chores' to keep organized, not to mention just the ideas and dreams that rush through my head on a per minute basis.  I make these lists to keep me organized, to keep me focused.  I budget and plan out my tasks for the week.  And, If I accomplish half of what is on my list - and stay relatively close to my monthly budget, I am doing ok.

I have been applying that same principal to my life.  I use to plan, plan, plan exactly how my life was going to come together.  Instead, I watched my life unfold and fall apart.  I would pick it up and do it again, and the same life unraveling would happen.  As all of us have experienced, life happens.  More often then not, it doesn't go 'as planned'.  It is how we react and respond to those life happenings that actually change the outcome of our life.  It may not change what actually happens, but it impacts our perspective - and it impacts the lives of those who surround us.  So, I make mental notes of all of the things I want to do in my life; be it going back to school, a different career choice, places to travel, how many children I want to have, to crafts and food I want make.  If I can accomplish even half (maybe a quarter) of my long list, then I know I am doing ok.  

I can say, most often with a smile, This was not the plan :) My life, as I see it, is so much better then I could have ever listed out.  My life is unfolding as it should be.  And there are days when it seems to be far from perfect - when in actuality, every day that we are living is perfect.  Through cars that won't start, alarm clocks that got ignored, trains when we are already late, sick kids, grocery store tantrums, and bottomless piles of dirty clothes.  That is how I know what I have is perfect.  I know because running late means I have some where to be.  I am needed.  I have a turning 3 to quickly, healthy little man. I stress out about the occasional fever and ingrown toe nail - how lucky am I?  I am healthy.  I can walk, I can run, I can breath, I can see and I can hear.  I can experience life.  The good and the trying.  I get to live it.  I get to be present in it.  

"Far from what I once was, but not yet what I am going to be"

So, the statement / question that my friend posed doesn't bother me any more.  I know where I am supposed to be.  It is right where I am.  I know the direction I am headed, I walk it one step at a time.  The destination isn't determined because I may detour and end up somewhere perfectly unplanned, which to date is exactly how it has worked so far.  I am doing my best to live in the present and look forward to the future.  I know that whatever life gives me - We will make it the absolute best, because we decided to do so.