It was written for romance, but ‘A Thousand Years’ is far better as a lullaby

thousandyears

Christina Perri wrote A Thousand Years to capture the love story of Edward and Bella in the film Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Now, judge me if you must, but I’m a fan of the Twilight Saga.  It was an epic fantasy, and provided a wonderful escape from reality, which is why I read.  I love a few moments each day in a world with possibilities beyond humanity.

I also adore Christina’s song, but not because of Edward and Bella.

Time and again, no matter how often I hear this song, it brings me back to the first moments I had with each of my children:

“Heart beats fast,
Colors and promises”

My dreams of becoming a mother, mother of two, three, four…  In the urgent seconds just before their precious lives became forever part of mine.

“How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid
To fall”

Will I be able?  Will I be enough for this little person of mine?

“But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One more push, Jessica.

“One step closer”

It’s time…

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

And then the baby is here, being placed on my chest…

 “Time stands still beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What’s standing in front of me “

I reach for Captain’s hand, he smiles at both of us…

“Every breath,
Every hour has come to this
One step closer”

The nurse gives the baby to Captain, and I watch him run a finger along the baby’s frictionless cheeks…

“I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

My heart swells when his eyes return to mine…

“And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years”

We make a silent pact…

“I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

We watch our family grow…

“One step closer”

And grow…

“One step closer”

And then, it is complete.

“I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid,
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

And every day, they flourish…

“And all along I believed
I would find you”

These pieces of me that live outside of me…

“Time has brought
Your heart to me”

These testaments to the love Captain and I share…

“I have loved you for a
Thousand years”

These children who call me Mommy.

“I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

Edward and Bella can keep their fantasy love.

I have all I need right here.

Ten Things of Thankful, with a Moose

This is Oosh-Moosh.  He's The Kraken's lovey.

“Join the Ten Things of Thankful community and work with us to nurture an attitude of gratitude. We use the whole weekend to focus on the Good Things in life. Make a list of ten of those wonderful Things. Then share the Wonderfulness with others.”

Ten Things of Thankful

I love this idea.  Maybe it’s because it’s in step with our Unicorns Fart Glitter hop…  Maybe it’s because there just seems to be SO many things to be stressed out over…  Or, maybe it’s because I like happy things!  When I first read about it, I thought, Oh, I’ll join up next weekend.

But, why not now?  I have plenty to be thankful for right here, right now.

So, here goes:

1)  Modern Medicine.  The science behind taking a woman of my age, with my fertility history, and rendering me unable to bear more children.  Freeing my husband and I to enjoy the rest of our lives together as intimately as we dare without fear of adding more family members to our household than we can handle.

2) My Children.  If there’s one thing that taking away possibilities does, it makes sure you take a hard look at what you DO have.  Now that there will never, ever be a chance for us to have more biological children, I am so incredibly grateful for the 4 I do have.

3) My Captain.  He’s been so doting during the past few days.  Through my surgery and recovery, he’s taken care of me, the kids, and, for the most part, the house.  Dare I say, he’s almost better than I am at this whole ‘running the house’ thing!

4) This Moose.  LOOK AT HOW CUTE IT IS!  I love stuffed animals.

This is Oosh-Moosh.  He's The Kraken's lovey.
This is Oosh-Moosh. He’s The Kraken’s lovey.

5) THE INTERNET.  OMG, how bored would I be, sitting in bed with no one to talk to but myself these past 3 days?!

And because of the internet, I have

6) An online community to be thankful for.  A group of women who totally understand my desire to write and share.  Stories that echo my sentiments, test my empathy, and broaden my perspectives on everything from fashion to politics to parenting.

7)  Rice krispy treats.  Yumm.  We never make them, because we eat the entire batch in the same day.  But, really, they don’t keep well anyway.  Who wants a stale krispy treat?  Captain has made two batches since Wednesday and we. just. keep. eating. them.

8)  My new blog design.  Yessss, shameless plug, BUT, I have been WAITING to get my page just so, and I think I’ve finally done it.

9) The Seahawks Superbowl Win.  I know a lot of people don’t care, or don’t like the Seahawks, but I grew up in a football crazed home, and married a football crazed man, so having our home team win, after being staunch fans through their worst seasons, was just an awesome thing to watch.

10) Water.  Random?  Yes.  Necessary?  Yes.  Overlooked?  Always.

What things are you thankful for?

Good vs. Great

goodvsgreat

“Do you ever just get frustrated that you don’t have something you’re great at?  I know I’m good at a lot of things, and, given time and effort, I could be great at them as well…  But, I know myself.  I get bored easily, and what feels fun one week turns into a chore the next.  I am surrounded by such an amazing group of talented people and almost every single day I get jealous and depressed, because I haven’t found my ‘thing’ yet.  How do I narrow it down to one, five, or even ten things that I’d like to learn and become better at?  I’m sick of waiting for it to come to me, yet I’m so afraid of wasting my time, money, and energy on something that I will eventually not like to do…”

I wrote the above piece nearly 2 years ago.  Since then, I started running 5ks, Crossfitting, knitting, and became more serious about gardening and becoming self-sustaining.

Since then, we have also had our lives turned upside down by a sooner-than-planned pregnancy and last minute move for a new job for Captain.

Now that the proverbial dust has settled, I have to reevaluate everything.  What we can afford, what will be worth my time and energy (considering that we are in a temporary rental until our house sells and we can build our forever home), what will give me the challenge and satisfaction I need, what will keep me emotionally stable.

I’m finding that I want everything.  I want to run, get back into Crossfit, and try yoga.  I want a huge garden and animals to provide us with food.  I want a proliferate herb garden to make my own teas and fill my spice cupboard.  I want to learn how to paint, to advance my knitting and sewing skills, to refine some jewelry making techniques.  I want to relearn French and start learning Spanish and ASL.  I want to advocate for new and expecting mothers, create a non-profit for feeding hungry kids, and participate in cloth diaper pantries.  I want to improve my writing, have a flourishing blog, and write stories.  I want to plan parties and events, bake delicious treats, and have my crafts be coveted works of art.

And through all this, I want to be a good mother who teaches my kids that not only can they be anything, they can be everything.  I want them to know that you are never to old to learn, try new things, or become better.

I’m not interested in being a one hit wonder.

It Starts

The domestic pirate

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I hope to make it a good one.

What the hell am I talking about?

I got a gym membership.

Whoop-dee-freaking-doo, Jessica, you and every other person on the planet in January.  So what?

I have been waiting for this.  Since we moved, I have been checking out gyms, comparing options, trying out their childcare, and yesterday I finally found a place that will work for me, that has a smaller gym close to our house for Captain to use before work in the morning.

The big thing, though, is that the childcare hours are super limited.  2 hours a morning, Monday-Thursday, and that’s IT.  And Cabin Boy’s preschool class starts an hour after my workout time ends, which isn’t enough time to run home, feed him, and head back to the same area my gym is in to get him to class on time.  So, if I want to work out, I have to be on top of my game in the mornings.  I need to have a plan in place.  A schedule, to get us all ready to go, bags and lunches packed, and out the door in time.

Today is the decider.  Can I still enjoy my coffee and a half hour of checking my social media/working on my blog?  Hopefully.  I don’t want to have to get out of bed earlier, but if I have to, I will.

Let’s just hope that I can get 3 kids changed, 3 lunches packed, and my workout stuff in order in an hour.

TIME ME!

I don’t love my body, and that’s okay.

nolove

noloveIt’s hard to keep up with all the health and fitness movements that are constantly cycling in and out of popularity.  Yo-yo diets, Thinspo sites, conflicting reports on which foods burn the most fat where.  Diet groups, fitness clubs, television shows… Coupled with media sensationalized images and stories of extreme weight losses/gains, it’s nearly impossible to navigate the path to health without stumbling across something that makes you feel like you aren’t doing it ‘right.’

My favorite thing right now is the Body Image Movement.  Loving your body, despite its flaws.  Seeing your shape/weight, not as something to be changed, but something to be proud of at every stage.  The message is a wonderful one: You are worth loving.

And yes, we are.  Every single one of us.  Because we are a person, not because of our body, or our acceptance of it.

For those of us on a path to getting healthier, it can feel like no matter how hard we try, we’re doing it wrong.  Because if I’m still unsatisfied with that 5 sticky pounds, I’m not loving myself enough, and that’s bad.  If I’m struggling to accept and love the stretchmarks my kids gave me, I have to change the way I think.  If you think your body isn’t good enough, you’re wrong. It’s your thinking that’s not good enough.

And having that burden placed on you by someone that isn’t you?  Is bullshit.

YES, there is a ton of ridiculous propaganda out there to make people feel like if they don’t look a certain way, they’re less than worthy.

YES, there is a lot to be said about self respect.

NO, you shouldn’t base your self worth on how others perceive you.

But in all of these DOs and DONTs, the implied message that If you don’t love yourself, you’re doing it wrong, honestly just makes me feel worse.

When I was 35+ pounds overweight and trying to get pregnant with our 2nd child, the words “If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?” were devastating.  I was head over heels in love with my husband and my life revolved around our daughter.  Was my love for them not good enough, because I didn’t love myself, too?  Was I undeserving of their love because I just. couldn’t. find a way to love my self as a whole?  And that made me feel worse.  How can you get on the train to loving yourself if everything said to motivate you makes you feel like you can’t do anything right?  I can’t even love myself properly…

Properly.  That word means different things to everyone.

When I was at my healthiest just before my last pregnancy, properly meant taking time to eat right, dressing in a way that made me feel good, exercising in a form that I felt confident doing.  When I was in that dark place before our 2nd baby, taking care of myself properly was just making sure I ate something everyday.  Sometimes, that something was cookie dough.  I can look back now and see exactly what my problem was then.  But back then?  I didn’t see a body worth caring for.  I saw a young woman marked by pregnancy, unable to control her horrible eating habits, dealing with secondary infertility, and incapable of loving herself enough to get on the right track.  Yes, I knew what I should do to get healthier, but untreated depression trumps know-how.

Now, as I’m sitting here 3 months post partum, 20 of my 50 pregnancy pounds still sitting around my midsection and thighs, all I can think of is getting back into shape.  Because, while I love what my body did on the inside, I DON’T LOVE the outside anymore.  I loved my body and my self most when I was pregnant, each and every time.  Because when we’re pregnant, we get a pass.  We can eat what we like, dress however is comfortable, and laze around without much judgement (until Kim Kardashian came along, apparently).

Comparison is the thief of joy, as the saying goes.  Comparing myself now, 3 months post partum after my 4th baby, to when I was at my peak of health just a short year ago, isn’t fair.  But it’s what we’ve been trained to do.  Even when we are barely treading the murky waters that are new or renewed parenthood, we are held, not only in the shadow of our pre-pregnant selves, but in the shadows of all the pregnancy weight loss stories that came before us.

Among those shadows are the tales of women who get help in achieving their goals.  Surgeries to limit eating, to get rid of fat, to tuck away stretch marks, to enhance breasts.  There was a time, when I was my least self assured, that those practices upset me.  I was self righteous to the nth degree, declaring that if my body couldn’t do it naturally, then it wasn’t meant to be and SHAME on those women for thinking so little of themselves that they need surgery.  I hated my body, so every other woman who hated hers just had to wallow in the misery of it with me.  And guess what?  I felt no better.

On the flip side are the women who scream that we shouldn’t feel the need to have these surgeries to feel good about ourselves.  And there was a while, when I was healthy, but not necessarily fit, that I was in that camp as well.  If your body isn’t that way naturally, it wasn’t mean to be.  And I still do feel that way, to an extent.  Barring extensive reconstructive surgeries, I will never look like a runway model.  Not from lack of drive or trying, but because GENETICS.  My genes come from workmen.  The women in my family are broad, tall, and strong.  Petite and fae-like though I’d love to be, it will just never happen, and I’ve accepted that.

Now that I’ve been on both sides, hating myself throughout and totally loving myself as a whole, I find myself in a new camp: The ‘Do Whatever Makes You Feel Good’ camp.  We surround ourselves daily with the things that attract us: aesthetically and emotionally.  I am attracted to things that I find appealing.  I can say with confidence that I am not attracted to my body.  I do not find it appealing.  So why begrudge myself being attracted to the one thing that will be with me always: my body?  Why is it WRONG to desire having a body that I myself find attractive?

Because “society”?  Because “self esteem”?  Because “the man”?

Everyone finds different things appealing.  Where there are people who love full figured, curvy women, there are others who prefer slim, willowy women.  If my desire to replace my flat, post-nursing breasts with full perky ones puts you in a rage, that’s your problem, not mine.  If I’d like to get a tummy tuck to get rid of the shelf of skin left behind by 4 full term pregnancies and you just can’t understand why I can’t accept and love what my kids did to my body, that’s your issue.

If you’re happy being a size 24, OWN IT.

If you’re satisfied with A cups on your broad figure, CONGRATS.

If you can look past stretchmarks and still find yourself attractive, YOU ARE AWESOME.

But I’m here to tell you that I am OK with not attracted to my body and I look forward to changing it.

I owe it to my self, my husband, and my kids to be confident in myself.  If I am constantly waging a war with my body and skin, how can I be the wife and mother they need me to be?  If my nonacceptance of my body the way it is makes others insist that I need to adjust my thinking, that’s one more thing on the plate of issues I have to work through.

YOU are the person on this journey.  Not the diet gurus.  Not your Dr.  Not your mother, your sister, your best friend.  Not the motivational speakers.  Not the fitness bloggers.  YOU.  So OWN it.

Own it.  Go work out.  Find a relationship with food that works for you.  Talk to a Dr. about getting a lift, or a tuck.  But do it for YOU.

No, I don’t love my body.  You may not love yours, either.  And that’s okay**.  It’s inherent in our nature to be dissatisfied.  But just because you don’t love something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind to it.

**I am in no-way saying that you should be living with untreated depression or body dysmorphia.  If your problems are more than skin deep, and you’ll know if they are, please seek help.  Just as not loving your body is OK, absolutely hating yourself is not OK.  Call someone, send a message, reach out, and ask for help.

Thankful for: The Big 3.

Here it is, the ubiquitous post about gratitude.  It’s the spirit of the season, and though the traditions of Thanksgiving have a controversial background, it doesn’t make the holiday less special for those of us who look forward to it year after year.

I could list the million and one things that I’m thankful for throughout the year, but I’d probably just end up annoying myself.

So instead, I’m going to list the Top 3 things on my thankful list this year.  Technically, there are 4 things I’m especially thankful for, but rather than rehash it, you can read why Captain is my most important one here.

1) My kids.  They are healthy, obnoxious, thriving, beautiful, demanding, and bring out the absolute worst in me.  They test my patience almost constantly, and it has made me into a better person than I’d ever imagined.  They have opened my eyes to the complexity and glory of a life worth living, and I will never stop being grateful for it.

2) My family.  Both blood related and not.  We have recieved such an overwhelming amount of help and support from my parents, Captains parents, and the friends we have surrounded ourselves with.  Whether they were babysitting so Captain and I could have a night out, bringing me coffee, donuts, and company as a pick-me-up, rallying at the last minute to help us move, letting us live with them, or lending their support during the birth of the Kraken, we have been enveloped in so. much. love.  I can never say Thank You enough.

3) This tiny double-wide.  Never would I ever have imagined myself to be grateful to be living in an old mobile home.  But here I am.  Here WE are.  Together.  After several months of uncertainty, our family separated by a 2 1/2 hour freeway drive, and lots of gut-wrenching tears, we are all under the same roof, thanks to this little, affordable house.  It is allowing us to be whole while we save for our future, and that is an amazing gift.

These are the things I’ll be reflecting on while I sneak bites of dressing out of the slow-cooker at my parents’ house today.

What are your Top 3?

If I had a million dollars…

Image from Mainstreethost via Google.

Prompt: If you found a million dollars in the morning and had to spend it all by that night, what would you do with it?

I like to think I’d be frugal and just take care of the essentials then donate the rest, but I know myself.  I’m a spender.  And, I like nice things.

Do I have many nice things?  Not really.  I get a lot of things second hand and buy what we need, aside from food, as cheap as possible.  We splurge here and there, and are gifted nice things, but I generally try to make my dollars stretch as far as possible.

If I found a million dollars?

First, I would pay off our debts.  $200k for the house we can’t sell, $25k for our remaining car loan, $10k for student loans, and $3k in credit card debt.

$238,000 of debt.  Youch!

Then…

A truck for Captain.

Book a nice family vacation.

New furniture.

New wardrobes for everyone.

And last but not least, I would buy a nice piece of riverfront property, 10 acres, and pay a contractor to build my dream house: modest, but spacious. 7 bedrooms, 4 baths, a craft room, a sun room, a huge utility room, 2 living spaces, and a large, open kitchen.  A greenhouse and shed for gardening, big enough to accommodate the drying of herbs.  Outbuildings and chickens, goats, a diary cow, rabbits, and maybe a pig or two.  Add in a small guest house for visitors or as a place for my parents or in laws to live as they get older and start needing help.

Debt, new house, a truck, vacation, furniture, and clothes.  I’m actually kind of shocked at how fast my imaginary money was spent!  But, to live without a mortgage or car payments…

Image from Mainstreethost via Google.
Image from Mainstreethost via Google.

Now, where can I find a million dollars?!

 

 

We Become

webecome

Surround yourself with beauty.

Surround yourself with people who make you happy.

With people who build you up.

Surround yourself with positivity.

And you will become; Beautiful, happy, uplifting, positive.

But, those of us surrounded by the constant mayhem that comes with having children?

The ones who already live with the threat of depression ever on their minds?

When the simple act of going to the bathroom alone leaves room for the unmitigated destruction of the rest of the house?

When the people we care for do nothing but whine, bicker, and fight?

What do we become?

We embody that which surrounds us.

Chaos.

Disorder.

Noise.

Destruction.

Like the poor who can’t make a long term financial plan, because an extra $10 saved won’t matter in the face of three overdue bills, we, the depressed, struggle to see the point in doing just one thing for ourselves.

Why should we?  We’ll only return to the same old environment.  Hear the same complaints.  Clean up the same messes.  Fight the same fights.

That 30 minute run is our $10 bill.  The toys thrown everywhere, the lack of well-fitting clothing, and the meal that will take too much energy to prepare are our delinquent power, utility, and phone bills.

Once those bills come in, that $10 won’t matter.  Because we’ll still be so overdrawn, so in debt, that the $10 becomes a drop in the ever growing bucket.  We can try to squeeze out every drop we can, but the bucket grows into a tub, the tub becomes a pool, the pool turns into a lake, and the lake suddenly morphs into an ocean.  webecome

 

I’m putting myself in tech time-out

The domestic pirate

Time is flying and The Kraken is getting bigger every day.

Since she’s my last, I don’t want to miss anything.

But I’m stuck in this second nature of taking my phone with me everywhere I go.  Whenever I sit, I grab my phone to check up on what’s happening in the outside world.

And a majority of the time, when I’m sitting, it’s with the baby.

If I’m truly going to look back on this time with no regrets, I need to stop trading my enjoyment of cuddle time with the baby for a social media fix.

So I’m putting myself in time out.

The rocking chair is a smart phone free zone.

The laptop will remain out of reach.

And I will squeeze every iota of enjoyment out of this last baby that I can.

Religion Free Mealtime Prayer

mealprayer

Raising my kids religion free does not mean we don’t crave ritual and prayer.  After staying with my parents for 7 weeks, the Cabin Kids got used to saying Grace at mealtimes, so I came up with an alternative that I am comfortable saying along with them, that doesn’t bring up questions of a faith we don’t embrace.

mealprayer

Does your family say Grace or a prayer of thanks during mealtime?

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