Nevertheless…

The internet is a funny thing.  We see the best of everyone’s lives and then sit and compare ours to the snip-its they are allowing us to see.  I always thought this was ridiculous, but you know what?  I’m guilty too.

I’m guilty in that I absolutely compare myself to the girls with the beautiful clothes, perfect messy buns, gorgeous homes.  I do.  I wonder how they look so great all the time and how their lives are so shiny and beautiful and mine is just such a mess.

But I’m also guilty in the sense that I also heavily edit my life.  Now I don’t do this because I want people to think I live a perfect fairy tale or that I’m better off than anyone else.  Quite the opposite, I don’t want people to see what is really going on and think “Oh wow.  Her life is F’ed UP”.

But here I am.  I’m about to put all that out there.  I’ve put bits and pieces out there before, but if I want to truly expect people to know and trust me, than I need to show them all of me.

And getting to know someone who is never present online, well, that’s nearly impossible.

So here’s my thought.  I’m letting my hair down, you guys.  I want to be ME.  Not some polished, happy version of myself.  Listen, sometimes I get cranky.  Sometimes, I curse.  Ok, well a lot of the time I curse.  Sometimes, I don’t like things.  But that’s part of being a real person.  And I feel like those are all the things that I’m so afraid to convey on social media.

So what is the point of this post?  Well, firstly, it’s another in a growing list of “I’m sorry I’ve been absent” posts.  When I tell you my life has been in shambles over the last year and a half, that is no understatement.

We have had several health scares with family members, some more permanent than others.  From serious motor vehicle accidents, to surgery, to a completely debilitating disease, this year has not been kind to our extended family members.

On top of all that, the home that we are currently living in has been foreclosed on.  We have been house hunting for quite some time, as I’ve mentioned briefly before, but due to our lacking budget, we have yet to find a house that will work for us.  So right now, I’m packing to move into a house that I don’t own yet and we are desperately searching for something while the clock ticks on.

I cry most days.  I hide it from most, but this year is taking a toll on me mentally.  And I know I’ve talked before about how easy it is to shut down when you are stressed.  I do it ALL THE TIME.  But when you shut down and do nothing, sometimes you lose sight of some of the things that make you happy.  For me, my business is one of those things.  I love building my business, interacting with people, making relationships.  HELPING PEOPLE.  I love it and it brings me joy.  But I forgot.

SO here I am.  I am back for the hundredth time.  Be patient with me.  Know that through the madness, I’m trying like hell to get back to happy and back to my business.  I want to shed some layers and become just a little more real, a little more transparent.  Nevertheless, I plan to persist.

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Because I Have To.

So.  As the title implies, I’m writing this post because I have to.  Why do I have to?  Because I haven’t.  Duh.

I haven’t written anything in some time, and not because my life is void of activity or events, but because I’m terrible at follow through.  There.  I said it.

Also, I have to say (since I like to be honest here) my confidence has been seriously lacking as of late.  There is something to be said about putting yourself out there and hoping people like who you are.

“But you shouldn’t care if people like who you are!  Just be you!  You are special!”  That’s what we’ve been told growing up, isn’t it?

But goodness, it’s so much harder than that.

I don’t know who I am most days, or how to be sure of myself.  I (as I’ve mentioned before) struggle so much with the concept of making adult friends.  And I know I’m not alone.  There are many people who feel this way.  And especially after having kids, all of a sudden you turn into this MOM-BOT that only says things like “Sit down!”  or “Nice hands!”  and you go by names like “Mrs.  So-and-so”  or “So-and-So’s Mom”  and you’re all “Wait!  I used to by my own person!”.

Add to that mix the fact that my humor is, um, a little off brand to the mom world, and things just get even MORE awkward.  I can’t express to you the amount of times I’ve made a joke, just to have people’s eyes glaze over and their jaws slack a little.

I guess the point of this post (besides me once again complaining about how I don’t know how to life) is that I’m in the process of barreling through this weird, awkward second puberty I’ve found myself in.  Thirty is the new twelve.

So if you find yourself feeling similarly, at least know you aren’t alone.

That’s all.

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and I can’t help but realize, like every other area of my life, Valentine’s Day has changed drastically since having children.  

Allow me to demonstrate:

BK (before kids):  

You get super excited when you glimpse at your calendar (filled with lots of fun, grown up-like events) and notice that Valentine’s Day is coming up!  Oh for soothe! (Or something.). You can’t wait to spend the day with your love and relish in how much you enjoy each other’s company.  It’s going to be so much fun!

AK (after kids):

Oh hell.  Valentine’s Day is like, three days away!  You didn’t notice between the school meetings and play dates.  But there it is.  Did you pick up Valentines yet for the class?  How many kids are in the class?  Are they doing that this year?  Is there a class party you have to show up to?  Your kid doesn’t know either.  Awesome.  Did you discuss any plans with your other half?  Are you getting each other anything this year?  Why are there holidays?  Aren’t regular days enough?

BK:

DAYS before, you start the grooming process for the big day.  You’re waxing and shaving various areas.  You need to make sure you have that certain perfume that drives him crazy.  What are you going to wear?  Whatever.  You’ll get an entirely new outfit.  It’s a special occasion after all!  You make an appointment for the salon that morning so your mani, pedi, and hair look amazing.  You smile to yourself while trying out different make up looks in the mirror and wonder if life could be any sweeter.  

AF:

Valentine’s Day.  Like, the actual day of.  Is everyone bathed?  Have they at least bathed recently?  Did you brush your hair and teeth this morning?  Better make sure you do that.  You don’t have to shave. Gweneth Paltrow said so.  

BK:

You’ve picked out the most amazing gift for your other half!  It’s wrapped like in belongs in a window display and you are dying, DYING to give it to them.  They’re going to be so excited.  And you know how great they are at giving gifts too.  What is it this year?  Diamonds?  A new car with a bow on it?  Your own ISLAND!?  Who knows?  You don’t!  AH!  You love love!

AK:

You hand your significant other the generic box of chocolates you remembered to pick up at the last minute.  They might have thanked you, but you can’t hear them over the sounds of children asking to try some of YOUR chocolate, even though they definitely got their own.  You turn your back for a minute, and that giant gaudy heart you received is filled only with wrappers.  Magical.  

BK:

You’re in the car, listening to Boys II Men, and gazing longingly at each other.  Your love surprised you by getting reservation months in advance to some swanky, dark little restaurant that charges illegal organs for a main course.  But it’s ok,  what else do you have to spend money on?  You hold hands across the table, while sharing a dessert and staring into the dark pools of each other’s eyes.  This is so great.  

AK:

You head to whatever chain restaraunt that  isn’t completely swamped with people.  You still have to wait an eternity to get seated.  If you have to tell the kids to stop hitting each other one more time…oh thank God, the table is ready.  You go through the the regular dinner time motions (begging people to eat, negotiating, threatening, listening to conversations entirely based around video games and tv shows you don’t even understand) all while feeling SUPER conscious of the fact that everyone in your immediate vicinity is childless.  And annoyed with you.  In fact, your pretty sure that one couple left before their drinks even came to the table.  Whatever.  Jerks.  

BK:

You finish dinner and race home to the…main event.  

I don’t feel like that needs further explanation.  

AK:

You finally manage to get everyone into the car and wonder if these little heathans will ever sleep tonight after the copious amounts of candy they ate.  Once you get home and make sure everyone is dreaming sweetly, you pass out promptly on the couch.  If you’re lucky, you aren’t snoring.  (You aren’t lucky.)

And I know what some of you are thinking: “Why not get someone to watch the kids?”

And you can do that, but let’s face it, you’re just going to spend the whole time talking about how much you miss them.  

If You Have Friends, Read This. Seriously, Read It.

young mom

So, today was Slugger’s first day of fourth grade.  And I found a baby snapping turtle in my yard that was just unbearably cute.  In other words, it’s a good day.

On that note, I need to say this post is going to be a little bit of a downer.  But it’s important.  And if you hang in there, you’ll be rewarded by finding out who the giveaway winners were.  Spoiler alert: I picked three people instead of two, because it’s a good day.  BAM.  Now don’t just scroll to the bottom!  I’m trusting you!

So.  Now that we are all gathered, I want to tell you a little about me.  Growing up, I had friends.  A lot of friends.  And I don’t say that in a braggy way, just in a “I was friends with a little bit of everyone” kind of way.  It’s important to the story.  My “Best Friends” included a pretty wide circle in high school.  And they were amazing friends, seriously.  I was a bit of a basket case back then and they all loved and supported me regardless.

Fast forward to the dreaded “post high school” years.  I knew going in that people branch out and drift apart, but I was hell bent on maintaining relationships.  And mostly, that was ok.  I was managing.

Now, I need to stop here and just say that I’m not finger pointing or accusing.  Things happen.  People change.  Again, I get that.  But let this post serve as a PSA for those in a similar situation.  Begin taking notes now.

When I got pregnant with Slugger, I was a young(er) mom.  I was the first of my friends to have a family.  Which wasn’t planned, but I was happy and content none the less.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was prepared to take on the responsibility of raising a child with someone I loved.  What I wasn’t prepared for, was how lonely being a young mom really is.

IMG_1095

There’s me and baby Slugger.  All young and what not and it seems like a hundred years ago…

Any way, back to the story.  I was nineteen when I found out I was expecting.  Being the first to get pregnant made me sort of a hot commodity amongst my friends.  There was so much buzz and excitement and it was great because I could still go out and do things and we would talk about how weird it was that I was growing a human and someone was going to call me “Mom”.  Friends would binge eat weird things with me, because you know, when in Rome and all that.  Life was good.

Fast forwarding again, by the time I had Slugger, I was twenty.  Want to inspire awe and wonder in a group of early twenty-somethings?  Show them a new baby.  We had so many friends come to visit us in the hospital.  We felt super loved.  From there, there was a string of people to our apartment to see the baby, and people would invite us over to hang out with the baby.  And we were all about the baby.  Again, life was awesome.  I made a person.

Then things started to shift, ever so slightly.  Friends would invite me out to things that I just couldn’t navigate with a newborn.  I was forced to turn them down, and that sucked, but it was nice to be invited.  I would hear things like “Just get a baby sitter.” or “leave him with the hubs and come out with us tonight.”  I would explain how these options just weren’t on the table at the moment and hoped my friends would understand.  And I thought they did.

But then the invites became less and less.  I would see friends hanging out, doing things that I could have made, but was never asked to join.  I would ask and get replies like “Oh, it was no big deal.  You didn’t miss anything.”  But I was missing things.  I was missing my friends.

As the years, went by, I have kept some of the same friends.  Some have turned into people I follow on Facebook, but no longer really know.  It’s been almost ten years since I had Slugger and people are now having families of their own and “catching” up to me on this crazy path in life.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt to see them hanging out with the new friends they’ve made.  I hope for them that their transition into parenthood is smoother.  That they’re surrounded by people in similar situations, walking the same path with them, not away from them.  I hope they don’t know the pain of being ostracized.  For feeling like you had to make a choice between friendships and your family.

I guess what I’m saying is this:  Be understanding when a new parent says they “Just can’t”.  They aren’t ready to leave their baby with someone else.  Or maybe they seriously just can’t.  One day they will be able to go out again.  When their kids have grown and developed into semi-functioning people, your friend can once again devote a little more time to your relationship.  It’s fast and it’s fleeting, folks.  Don’t make it lonely.

That’s not to say it’s all bad.  Really.  I love my family and have zero regrets.  I have a tiny group of friends now, but we are incredible close knit.  I have a bestie with kids similar in age to mine and nothing brings me more joy than knowing we can get together and watch the kids act like kids while commiserating and celebrating all that parenthood is and will be.  Life’s still pretty great.

So, now that I’ve said my peace.  Giveaway WINNERS!  These will be posted to my Facebook page as well, and I will be reaching out to the winners over the next couple of days.

The winner of the Free Bottle off the $20 and under list is:

Monica Eulo!

And the (now) two winners for $10 off your order:

Donna Iansito

and

Nikki Calfee!

Congrats ladies!  And thank you to all who entered.  Keep a look out, you never know when I’ll give more stuff away…

First Come Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes…

marriage vs dating

Hooray, you’re here again. So, my baby sister got married a couple of weeks ago. It was beautiful and sweet, and all things you imagine marriage to be. But it got me thinking. Dating VS Marriage. Total. Game. Changer. Now, I’m no Dear Abby, but my husband and I have been together ten years now. Only three of which consist of “actual” marriage, but I feel like after living with someone for ten years, a piece of paper makes no difference.  I’m not a relationship expert, but I am an experienced member of a relationship. So, whatever. Let’s do this.

marry you

Ah, I remember so well meeting the man I would eventually marry.  I was young, and dare I say, much hotter than I am now.  He was all quiet in a sexy, mysterious way and such a super duper gentleman.  We would talk for hours about nothing and he would laugh his face off at all my stupid jokes.  I was so, so funny back then, folks.  Which brings me to my first point.

The way you feel about each other WILL change.

Now, I’m not saying that to be Debbie Downer, but listen.  When you are with someone long enough, and you spend enough time with them, suddenly things you found so charming, well, aren’t.

For instance, my husband’s quiet demeanor was so alluring.  Until we had our first argument and he sat there staring into nothing.  Saying nothing.  I’m a “need to talk it out kind of girl”.  He’s a “maybe if I just don’t look at her, she’ll go away” kind of guy.  Not.  Cute.

And on the flip side, the sense of humor I thought I had honed over the years, quickly wore off with the hubs.  What started as giggling like a school girl and covering his mouth to contain it, slowly turned into a half a smirk and an eye roll.  Which left me shaken and questioning just how funny I really am.  Because I’m funny.  Dammit.

But of course it goes with out saying the feelings will change in good ways as well.  My husband and I have almost morphed into the same person on a lot of issues.  Things that we would have completely disagreed on in the beginning of our relationship have become things we snort at and pick apart together.  Or I may have just brainwashed him to agree with me to avoid hours of long drawn out conversation.  Either way.  Harmonious.

grooming

On to the next point.  Which some of you may completely disagree with.  And if you do, just know, you haven’t gotten there yet.

When we were dating, I remember primping daily like I was going to prom.  Hours of hair straightening, make up application, picking out the perfect outfit.  Exhausting.  As I became more comfortable (read: hugely pregnant with Slugger) I realized that my hubs loved me regardless of how presentable I was.

Be careful.  This is a slippery slope and once you have kids, it becomes a down right avalanche.  I’m only semi ashamed to admit that my daily regiment takes all of five minutes to throw on whatever clean clothes I find in order to get the little monsters looking presentable.  Doing my hair?  More like “Does the messy bun I slept in look ok, or should I redo it?”  Make up?  Chapstick counts, right?  Shaving…happens like once a year.  My yearly shave.  I can barely take a pee with out someone asking me ten thousand questions, so showering long enough to rid my body of any “unwanted” hair is totally out.  Deal with it.   In my defense, there are like, a million memes on the internet talking about how sexy yoga pants are.  Seriously, look it up.  So, score one for me.  I own A LOT of yoga pants.

The caveat to this ladies, is that men have some magical gift bestowed upon them.  Spoiler alert, the gift is you.  While you are catering to the tiny monsters you have created, he has time to groom and primp like the old days.  Which let’s be honest, consists of maybe a shave and some tooth brushing. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a gift as well, a husband with enough manners not to burp and fart everywhere.  Thank you, honey.

 messy

While dating, you put your best self out there.  No one wants to see the worst of a person and then commit to be with that mess.  Nope.  Living together, married or not, definitely sheds light on all the, um, dirt.  Somehow cleaning each other’s messes is not enjoyable.  GO FIGURE, RIGHT?  But it comes with the territory.

 The beauty of dating is, at the end of the day, you both go back to your respective places and subsequently, respective messes.  Your boyfriend doesn’t know how to use a hamper?  Not your problem.  Your craft project took over a whole room and has left no where for anyone to sit down?  He doesn’t have to know about it.

But fast forward to living in the same dwelling, and things get real.  You can hide NOTHING.  You share a space and care for that space together and suddenly you have no idea to live.  None.  Like, for instance, what to you mean I can’t just have various pieces of paper covering an entire table surface?  I was working on something!  Who moved the underwear I left on the floor?  That was clean!  Why aren’t my dirty clothes getting washed?  I left them over here, on the floor, on the side of the bed, which is clearly my dirty clothes pile!  The outrage!

Things get hard, people.  They get dirty.

 love

Dating is fun.  It’s great to look back on the times when everything was fresh and new.  Every quirk was endearing and every conversation stimulating.  But there’s something to be said about coming home everyday to the familiar, the comfortable.  About knowing where you stand, and who you stand with.  Marriage isn’t so bad.  It’s actually pretty great.