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“Good” and “Bad” are Incomplete Stories, So I Hear

“Good” and “Bad” are incomplete stories we tell ourselves…

I read that somewhere in my Feedly and it completely resonated with me in this particular space in my life. Someone on Facebook asked people to summarize their 2017 year in one word and mine was CONFLICT. But then that feels like a lie and a truth (all at the same time.) When I think of 2017, I struggle to associate positive feelings with it, though I know that there were plenty of amazing things sprinkled in throughout.

So maybe 2017 was a total beast in some ways. SO was the year before that and the year before that, honestly. Wait. When was the last good year I had???

My brain doesn’t do well at focusing on the good, but as I work on wrapping this year up,  I’m trying to create habit in being more reflective about my experiences.

I spent the bulk of this year heavily buried in running and building a women’s clothing business – an extension of the work that I did in 2016. There is so much positive and negative all rolled up into my feelings about my work from this year. Negative because at times it felt ALL-consuming. I struggled with establishing boundaries in various ways, work was so flexible that it felt like it was always bleeding into my personal life, and I was so consumed with being successful that the downward and upward swings that go with being an entrepreneur became really hard for my brain to endure.

I ultimately closed down my business this year, for a  myriad of reasons, most of them not actually related to everything from above, but I did accomplish some really amazingly POSITIVE things this year within that business.

I ran a legitimately successful business, y’all, and that just feels amazing to me. I may not have been a baller, but it gave me confidence and an understanding in myself that I can seriously do whatever the fuck I want, and as long as I put myself into it – I’ll see results. I explored the femme side of myself through fashion this year, and while I may never be so tapped into her again, it was fun while it lasted and I so enjoyed that more feminine side of my beauty. Plus, I spent more focused time on fundraising projects, made some awesome new friendships, built a community that will endure past the death of my business, and plenty more – like my newly acquired boss modeling skills. 😛

This was THE best year of friendships. Really. As awful as my experiences this fall were, the one beautiful thing that came out of it was having the neccessary need to lean IN to my friendships and feel completely loved, and I will never take that for granted. I know some really amazing fucking people.

Not to be outdone, it was an amazing year of friendships for the kiddos too. It’s been a positive experience, as their mother, to watch them grow into relationships with people, and learn how to navigate those. If there is one thing I’m doing well, it’s socializing those kids.

We moved into a new house. Notably one of the worst things to ever happen to me is all wrapped up into moving into this house. We packed up our home in 4 days under conditions of duress, put everything in storage and then lived temporarily with friends while we tried to secure a long-term place to live. How we ended up here doesn’t matter now though – we are home. This neighborhood and house make me happy.

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy having older children? The increased independence is changing our homeschool in good ways. 2017 was big push towards focusing on the basics at home and outsourcing for everything else, and it opened the door for the kids to step into some fabulous classes, workshops, extracurriculars and trips. I’m steering in new directions for 2018, and that’s what I love so much about this lifestyle of our’s. We do with it what we need to for each phase of our lives.

This year I’ve been courageous and terrified. I’ve been daring and I’ve been weak. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. Maybe a better word for this year would be VULNERABILITY. That is perhaps more accurate. Though there is pain, anxiety and discomfort in vulnerability, there is also this amazing beauty to having your layers peeled away and seeing yourself and letting others see it too.

I showed up this year, and it has made me realize in earnest that I’m not someone to fuck with, ok? Bring it 2018.

 

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The Best Quiet Moments

It’s completely worth it to wake up early and drag myself out of bed so that I can enjoy quiet morning moments. I love starting the coffee pot and curling up on my couch with my blankie and hitting my snooze button on my phone alarm over and over, while I enjoy the smells of coffee brewing. Opening up the curtains just a smidge so I can enjoy a small view of the woods outside. It’s currently made better by the shine of multi-colored lights on my Christmas tree. Maybe I should decorate my living room in multi-colored lights all year round? It might improve my happiness levels.

If we burned a fire the night before I can sometimes still feel a little heat emanating from it. I’m enjoying a whole new appreciation for winter that I’ve never experienced before. When the heat clicks on in our house it causes a nice noise and vibration due to the unit not being installed properly under our house. It seems to have the same effect on me as one of those vibrating chairs for infants. I’m not sure that I actually want it fixed. And there’s the Cheeks to join me for some snuggles. My quiet moments are officially broken by the sounds of YouTube.

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Confession: I’m Not Cut Out for Motherhood

Now it’s time to jump back to my more serious confession that I mentioned previously. I actually wrote this days ago when negativity from lack of sleep was driving me, so I decided to hold off on publishing it until I could have a better perspective. And today I do. But my post isn’t any less true, so here it is.

Confession: I’m not cut out for motherhood.

Being a parent is SO hard. Or maybe I just make it hard. These days I find it almost laughable that being a mother is the one and only thing I knew without a doubt that I wanted to do, and that there was a time where I thought I would be amazing at it.

My ideals rarely line up with my reality though. I feel like I am in a constant war with myself between being the mother that I want to be and the mother that I actually am. I had terribly unrealistic expectations of what being a mother would be like, but I also didn’t at all realize how being a mother would change me, and it hasn’t all been in positive ways. I try to look for the balance, but sometimes it just feels like the negatives are outweighing here.

I love my children. I really do. More than I will love anything or anyone else. But I don’t always like them, and that is a fact with which I find it really hard to cope.

I wish that I were a patient and loving parent. Instead I feel more like a crazy, screaming banshee. Patient and loving are the furthest things from what I feel half the time.

I’m tired of the battles.

I’m tired of seeing myself reflected back to me in my children. It only highlights my inadequacy at the job I am doing.

I do remember a point where I did think I was a great mother, but it was a long time ago, and before I had two children. Having two children broke me, and I’ve been struggling in varying degrees ever since. It is why I am adamant about the fact that do not want, and will not have any more children. I don’t want to see what a third child would do to me as a person.

I hear that as they get older it will get easier. I can only hope, but that only makes me wish away these younger years… Fast forward to a time where we can enjoy each other more. And that is just so damn sad.

[box] I love and hate writing posts like this. Love them because it relieves some of the pressure I feel inside me, and hate them because they always peel away at the carefully constructed mask I like to try and wear.[/box]

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Bye Bye Milky Boobs

Well, it is official. After almost 7 years of breastfeeding without any downtime, my boobie-ing days are over. We are 3 days into the weaning process, and Addison is handling it very well. It was just time. And even though I have BEEN ready for this, it is definitely a little bittersweet to have this significant era of my life  over, knowing that there will be no more babies in my future.

Haden

Sweet toddler Haden. He was definitely my boobie babe. He nursed quite frequently up until the very end when I weaned him a few months shy of being 4.

Tandem Nursing

My one and only tandem nursing photo. Forgive how rough I look. 😉 I had just given birth about 12 hours earlier. This was our first tandem nursing session. I only lasted about 3 months before I decided to wean Haden.

 

Addison

A recent picture of Miss Cheeky Baby nursing. <3

 

I guess it is time to move on to a new phase in my mama life. Bye bye milky boobies!

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A Little Push

It has been far too long since my last post. Honestly, I don’t know what my deal is, because I can’t really say I’ve been too busy to find the time to write. Maybe it has become like exercising. Since I’ve lost my momentum it has become hard to get back into it? Who knows. Maybe giving myself a little push, I can find my way back…

Since I am here and writing I feel like I should give you an update on life, so this feels like a good place to insert that I am quitting school. Yeah, I bet everyone is totally shocked. Cause I seemed so committed and all. I really can’t think of any good reason to be doing it, and my lack of overall goal makes my motivation almost nothing. Since I can’t seem to justify the increased stress levels, and the whole eating away of my time thing, I figured I needed to live by one of my new-ish life rules – to only be doing shit that I want to do. So school is out for now. Maybe when my kids are older, I might figure out what I want to do when I grow up and all that jazz, and I can revisit that option.

So, I’m officially unschooling myself again. 🙂

In other news I have been participating in a book club with some friends from our homeschool co-op, reading the book Daring Greatly. Brene Brown’s work is amazing, and even if you read the synopsis for the book and don’t think it is a book you want to read – do it anyways. Best advice I have ever given you. Her chapter on shame was excruciating to read, eye-opening and more than a little heart-breaking. It is the kind of thing that breaks you down, but at the end you are thankful for it. Truthfully, it is hard fior me to put into words and make any sense, so just read it.

I posted her Ted talk Listening to Shame below, which gives you a little insight into what her book is about. Watch it.

Anywho, things in the land of homeschooling have been fun and interesting… you know between the crying, whining, and fits (mostly from me). Plus, bribing Addison with TV to give me 20 minutes of peace to actually work with her brother… 🙂 I have a lot of homeschooling topics I’d like to blog about, but I just need to sit down and do them.

Goo

Bed Time

Growing

Exploring

[box] Did I mention Addison turns 3 in two weeks???!!!![/box]

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2013!!! Here’s to getting it right!

I’m running a little behind on getting this post out. As usual, although I intended to be a blog writing machine during my break from school that hasn’t really panned out in reality. Oh, well.

2012 was a really good year for us. SO I really want more of that.

I wrote these goals out over the summer in preparation for the new school year, but since I haven’t really given them much thought since then it seems like a good time to actively start trying to actually focus on them.

My focus going into 2013:

  • Keep letting go. This year my anxiety levels have been pretty minimal. I don’t want to back track. I just have to remember to not get so caught up in the day to day crap, notice how I am feeling about life and do what I need to stay happy. Let go of other people’s expectations for me, but probably more importantly the expectations I place on myself.
  • Fight less. I really want to minimize the amount of time we (my family) spend being snappy with each other or having full out brawls, so I’m trying to pay attention to our triggers for negative behavior.
  • Remember, I don’t have to do everything! Less is sometimes more. And sometimes less is all I have energy for so it will just have to do.

These are more centrally focused on our homeschool:

  • Be more open to on-the-fly learning. I have to be less focused on trying to plan everything out, and being MORE available to the needs of always curious children.
  • Support more independent, student-led projects and learning, which is why I’ve completely cut Fridays out of our regularly scheduled school so that they have a free day where I can stop focusing on the stuff I feel like they need to be learning and can ask, “What would YOU like to learn about today? What do you want to explore?”
  • Foster entire family participation in activities. I would really like to find ways to get Michael more comfortably involved in our homeschool.

Today, we had one of those rather perfect homeschooling moments. While we were cooking dinner, my kids were in the back yard doing this…

Later, I told Haden that what they did on the seesaw was Math, and he just looked at me all confused-like. 😛

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Year 2012: A Round-up on the Blog

Another year has gone by, and while I didn’t blog nearly as much as I hoped, I still managed to write a WHOPPING 93 posts in 2012. Yeah, I was surprised by that number too. I thought it would be fun to look at some of the highlights from the year.

My NUMBER 1 most visited blog from this year was…..!!!!

Stand Strong and Loud: My contribution to Blog for International Women’s Day that was hosted by Gender Across Borders and CARE. This year’s theme was “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”

Following behind (in order) were…

Our Next School Year: The Plan: My post on this years curriculum plan, which I should probably just write a complete update post on considering we have completely ditched Time4Learning, and are now using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, ClickNKids, living math ideas, and Pintrest to replace it. Oh, and we ditched our Road Trip USA curriculum too. I have really been reevaluating our approach to school recently, especially since we’ve been on our Winter break. This one was originally posted on a Homeschool Blog Hop.

Rethinking Education: A persuasive essay on homeschooling, outlining benefits and considerations.

Our Homeschool Space: The title is pretty self-explanatory. 😛 Another one that I did on the above mentioned Homeschool Blog Hop, which is what contributed to its popularity.

This is me… throwing down: My response post to the whole Chickfila controversy BULLSHIT over the summer. It is probably my favorite post from the past year.

Now, I figured that I would add in a couple of honorable mentions, because even though they might not have made the top five traffic-wise on my blog, they were in MY favorites when I wrote them. And really that is more freakin’ important.

Warning Snark Ahead – with a fair amount of cussing: From just last month – 5 things that I learned after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Homeschooling: An Interview with My Kids: It was just so darn cute.

Tit Terrorists?: My thoughts on how we (lactavists) talk about breastfeeding and approach our activism.

 

Get to reading the ones you missed! 😉

 

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Our 2012 Family Slideshow

For those that missed it on Facebook right before Christmas… our 2012 family photo album/slideshow! I love how this years turned out, and it is always nice to look back over your year to remember all the really great things about it. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! Enjoy!