Friday, December 11, 2015

A thank you.

I am unworthy of my husband. At least... I often feel that way. He is kind and hardworking and he loves me. Me. Good & bad. I have an unsavory past and it has not been an easy pill to swallow for myself or those close to me. Coming to grips with many of the poor choices I have made in my life has been a hard fought battle. It is not fair that I have managed to snag a man that loves me in spite of my lesser qualities. Those include, but are not limited to, my diarrhea of the mouth syndrome, my brutal honesty paired with my inability to reason other people's feelings, my periods that lacked critical thinking skills. I was a hopeless wreck that somehow got her act together and all (most) of my ducks in a row. But the past, yeah, it likes to pop its ugly little head up from time to time, and I hate that. I am so far from the person I was 3 years ago, it makes me shudder to remember what I put myself through. I was a broken idiot, and I spiraled for a long time. 

Like I said, I'm luckier than I should be and I don't really know how the man jackpot hit me when I am so very undeserving. He loves me wholly, he challenges me daily, and he literally makes me feel like my heart could beat out of my chest when I stop and think about this life I have with him. He puts up with my bullshit, doesn't make me feel (too) silly about my erratic emotions and the roller coaster that has been my adult life. He keeps it real and helps me to heal, especially when I wrongly think that I am already all glued back together. I'm not sure what he saw in this mess of a soul, but I will forever be indebted to this compassionate man for seeing beauty where I only saw wreckage. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


If you are out there somewhere,
Please accept my apology.

I want to believe,
But I don't know if I can.

I am trying.

Friday, November 20, 2015


I should stay off social media when anything of any significance is happening in the world. But I don't, so I let off steam by ranting a little. I am reminded how intolerant the world is, and it hurts my heart and my brain. I am still recovering from the ups and downs of postpartum hormones, so my emotions get a bit out of whack from time to time. I am sure these are exacerbated by reading the hate-filled words that fill the Facebook timelines. The world is not going to hell in a hand basket because school children don't say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore (my public school child still says it daily in class). Obama is not causing the demise of Earth. The world is not going to hell any faster or any differently than it ever has before. Muslims are not ruining the world. No, they should not be deported, or rounded up and imported into a database, or IN ANY WAY, have to explain their religious beliefs.  This is not Nazi Germany. Remember all those millions of Jews (see also: refugees) that were murdered? Refugees are not ruining the world. To say they are... it's disgusting. Today, refugees are running from a war that our country had a hand in creating. Do people forget how generally fucked up the world has always been? In fact, when has the world not had fucking awful things going on? If you feel the world is so god awful, be the change. Posting bullshit memes on social media is not being the change. Being the change is fucking educating yourself. This does not include hitting the share button on every politically charged, and likely factually inaccurate post you read on Facebook. Do some due diligence. Is the shit you're sharing even true? If it's on Facebook and has no source attached, it's probably bullshit. Remember that. Even if it has a source attached, is it factual or just propaganda? Read. Research. Fucking. Educate. Yourself.

One more rant. Pity parties are not pretty. Stop. A party of one is not a fun party to be at. Pull up your bootstraps, your panties, grab those fucking chonies and get yourself together. Everybody else's happiness was not put here to highlight your sad existence. In fact, the only thing that highlights a sad existence is you - highlighting your sad existence. There is always a reason to be happy. This does not mean you have to be happy all the time - this means try being happy sometimes. Appreciate the things you do have. Appreciate that you live in a first world country. Clean water and food are not only accessible, but so are cigarettes, liquor, soda, and fast food. Every vice you can imagine, you can EASILY ACCESS. Hell, take a minute to appreciate the fact that you are not a refugee trying to find safety for your refugee children while being compared to terrorists. 

And on a final note, realize how privileged you are.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hello. It's me.

I've gotten very little done lately, both on the business and pleasure sides of life. Lyric is very much like her big brother was in his first 11 months - high needs. Some of the words and phrases that doctors use to describe a high needs baby are: intense, draining, feeds frequently, demanding, can't put baby down, super sensitive. The list continues on, but these are what describe my Lyric most closely. On the bright side, my high needs baby Avery is a sweet, calm, lovely little boy Avery - and has been since he outgrew that first year of fussiness. So, there's hope for Lyric yet. :) Anyway, having a high needs 4 month old does not make getting things done real easy - especially when she is currently battling an ear infection and teething, to boot. 

There are lots of laundry piles (albeit, clean - the washing is easy, but putting Baby down long enough to accomplish folding...). I do manage to keep a clean kitchen 99% of the time (I couldn't handle it otherwise). The bed gets made usually around 6pm at night. And the little business venture I've become a part of recently (more about that later)... Needless to say, it's been a bit difficult to set aside time for that.  And those aren't even counting any kind of pleasure activities. I've been wanting to blog for weeks - I think about it, and I think some more, and my brain just sits there in fizzle mode. There are thoughts in there, swirling about, but grabbing ahold and organizing them into something worth actually reading is a whole 'nother problem.

I have started to feel the 'there's more to me than mommy' bug lately, as most stay at home moms feel at some point in time. In fact, I know I've blogged about it a time or two in my nearly 7 years of blogging. I've found myself back at this stay at home mom thing for the 3rd time in 6 years. This time, though, feels much different, despite many similar feelings.  The first time around, it was the first time around - I struggled with loneliness with a soldier husband frequently gone and few friends in a foreign country, but I was high on life as a young newlywed.  The second time around, I struggled with postpartum depression, the terrible twos, a high needs infant, and spousal infidelity with a still-often-gone soldier. This time, I am a newlywed again, still deep in the honeymoon phase with my husband (and not entirely sure that will end). He is here every night and weekend, and despite our four kids between us, I feel I manage time and sanity pretty well when you consider the high needs 4 month old and the older, but still needy 3, 4, and 6 year olds. Sometimes though, my sanity hits the road and I feel my days are chopped in half, wondering where my emotional stability and my time have wandered off to. 

The only solution for this is finding something for myself. I get a little of this nightly once the kids are in bed, and my husband and I get to focus on each other. But these times come when we are, more often than not, on the brink of exhaustion. Still though, I am grateful that we always allow ourselves time together daily, no matter how brief. 

Anyway, despite how fortunate I am for these times with my husband, I know that time for Hilary must still be found and  taken, no matter how difficult. After Avery was born, I buried myself in fitness - I ran miles upon miles on the days when my husband wasn't off playing Army in another state, or working the graveyard shift as a cop. And on those frequent days when he was doing one of those two things, I had Turbo Fire. My soulmate workout. I lost 85 pounds after my second child was born. I fell in love with sweating my ass off. I found strength in myself I'd never had and had unbelievable body image. I was strong. I lost sight of all that when I separated from my husband and I packed on the pounds that became harder and harder to shed. 

But I have recently given birth to my third child, and have been reminded of the passion and desire I have to be the best version of myself that I can be. I deserve it. My husband deserves it. My kids deserve it. This time, I am only 35 pounds from where I was back then. I am 50 lbs closer than I was last time, and I am ready. I have more modifications to make this time because of the knee I obliterated a couple of years ago, but what's life without a challenge? I am happier, more motivated, I am better when I am fit.  I have become a fitness coach with Beachbody. I swear by their products and I live them. It is only natural that I want to share my love of them. In fact, the 176 pound plateau that I have been absolutely unable to surpass since late September was broken this week because I started drinking Shakeology again. Plateau broken and an additional 2 pounds gone.  I am doing it for many reasons - I love the company, I love the company's CEO, and if I can turn someone else onto the products I love by being a product of the product, I will always consider that a win. Here's to being a mom, being a newlywed, being Hilary, and here's to pursuing my dreams every single day from this point forward.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A cry.

In the months since having my third child, I feel like I say -  and do - everything wrong. I don't think I had this quality before, but now it seems to be the one that shines the brightest from my personality, and I don't know why. I lose patience when I shouldn't. Sometimes, I expertly maintain my patience, but then I feel  I've done that wrong too.  I get anxiety over not getting it all done. Anxiety creeps in when I feel like I need help, so I don't ask. Then I take offense when someone offers it, like they're offering their help because they know I certainly can't manage to do it on my own. I know that this is illogical. Anxiety does not.

I was a stay at home mom for years. I feel like I forgot how to be that this time around. I can't keep the baby happy and keep my daily life intact simultaneously. Preparing dinner sounds like an unimaginable feat most days. I am grateful for my husband's help in this matter, but I am guilty. I cannot do this all on my own, but I used to be able to. I used to do this every single day with a husband that was frequently gone. Now I have a husband that helps daily and is home for dinner nightly (after all, we might not eat otherwise). Still, everything is harder. I don't know why. I accomplish things that seem like a big deal (laundry! sweeping! both of those things in the same day!), but at the end of the day, I realize these are not big things. These are things everyone else does daily too, without feeling like they've accomplished the impossible.

I am emotional. I need reassurance more than I should. I need hugs from my family or my many pieces of anxiety will crumble me. I am always on the defense. I can't let my guard down. This is not me, but touch helps this. Being a mom is really hard. During the day, when it's just Lyric and me here, there's a lot of crying that goes on. And it's not always the baby.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lyric Olivia Space ~ 7.8.15

I've been attempting to sort through all that has contributed to Lyric's birth story, but it seems that there has been so much that led up to her arrival that I've not been sure where to start.  It all started when we got into the car wreck at 32 weeks pregnant. At that point, we had overnight fetal monitoring until preterm labor stopped and I was given steroid shots to help mature Lyric's lungs in the event of preterm birth. Since then, it's just been a blur of ongoing contractions and fruitless visits to labor & delivery. Luckily, I managed to make it to full term - 37 weeks - before I bid a temporary farewell to my coworkers. It was at this point that Spencer and I decided to really put our efforts into getting this baby out.

Every tincture, tea, and cocktail that gave some hope of inducing labor, we tried. Of course, they were all in vain, and probably just led to more letdown for us, but after weeks of prodromal labor, all we had was hope that something would get the labor fires burning. We walked and yoga ball bounced, and still, Lyric's estimated due date came and went.

At 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, a Tuesday, we had a check up with our midwife. Here, we were told I was 2cm dilated, 40-50% effaced, and baby was at -3 station. My midwife swept my membranes as a last ditch effort to stir up some kind of active labor. Otherwise, Spencer and I had elected to proceed with an induction at 41 weeks due to a variety of personal reasons. Much to my dismay, I think I had fewer contractions that day than I'd had for weeks, and I began to mentally prepare for the induction I dreaded.

That night, I had trouble sleeping between stomach issues and general discomfort. By the next morning, a Wednesday, I was starting to realize I was having mild contractions, and by the time Spencer left for work at 8am, they were coming about 11 minutes apart. I knew they'd eventually fade out like always, so I sent him on his way to work. The kids and I planned to hang out until it was time to meet up with their dad later in the afternoon. Around 9, when Spencer texted to check up on me, I reported that the contractions were painful, but erratic - sometimes coming 11 minutes apart, sometimes 9 or 14 minutes apart. I decided to take a short walk with the kids around the neighborhood, which intensified the contractions, but only while walking.

By noon, they were coming about 6 minutes apart and reasonably painful. An hour later, they were nearing 5 minutes apart, and 30 minutes after that, I had the...  (gag) bloody show. At 2, I took the kids to their dad's house, and had a few contractions along the way, but made it home without a hitch. Oddly enough, I was still having contractions every 5-6 minutes, but only every other one was painful. At this point, I felt like I was over analyzing everything, and decided to lay down with a cold glass of water to try to relax and see if there were any changes at all.

At 4:05, I texted Spencer to ask him to come home "soon-ish" and by 4:10, I sent the word to come home now.  I had been very gun shy about calling the midwife if things weren't real because of the many attempts to L&D that turned out to be false labor.  On the other hand, I was afraid to wait too long since I was positive for Group B Strep, which required 4 hours, ideally, of intravenous penicillin prior to the baby's birth. Weighing these two things, I felt confident that it was time, so I called my midwife to let her know I was ready to come in. She instructed us to come to the office before so that she could check my progress without the hassle of labor & delivery. Spencer made it home and quickly washed the day's sweat off before we headed on our way to Greenville Midwifery Care.

Through all of the 5 o'clock traffic, we finally made it to the office about 6pm. Barb, the midwife, determined I was 3 cm dilated, 50-60% effaced, with a "bulging" amniotic sac, and that baby had dropped to a -1 station. I felt generally disheartened to hear that I had made so little progress despite the day of contractions. Barb, on the other hand, must have realized this could be the real deal, as she instructed us to go for a walk, grab some dinner, and stay close to the hospital.

We decided a walk downtown and dinner at our old spot, Carolina Ale House, was what we needed. This was where Spencer and I first met, so it seemed fitting to have our last meal there before we welcomed a child of our own. A restaurant to book end the 'just me-and-Spencer' chapter of our story.  As it turned out, I was having to really breathe through my contractions, so Spencer did all of the ordering for us. Once we finished eating and I couldn't take sitting still anymore, we headed out for a walk around downtown. We walked until I was having to stop through contractions at only 2 minutes apart, and when I sat down in the van, they reduced to 4 minutes apart, but no less painful. Spencer put another call into Barb to let her know I was ready to come in, and she informed us that she'd already let labor & delivery know that we'd be coming in.

We were told to go straight to labor & delivery, so we did just that, bypassing both the registration office and triage. We stopped periodically along the way as I breathed through contractions, but when we finally made it to l&d, we were informed that we'd have to go back to registration before being admitted. My contractions were coming hard and fast at this point, so I was pretty disappointed, but we made our way back only to find that there was a very calm, very not-in-labor woman ahead of us, waiting to be admitted for what I can only assume was an induction. We began to feel irritated and frustrated as we watched the women in the registration office work at what can only be described as a snail's pace. Finally, we were called into the office and Spencer scribbled some signatures as I continued to just try to make it through contractions. We were told at this point that all of the labor and delivery rooms were full, so we were placed into a recovery room to wait until a labor room was freed up. Luckily this didn't take long, as I was growing ever more impatient, wanting to find a room to settle down and focus on contractions.

When we finally entered our labor & delivery room, my eyes landed on the most glorious thing I'd seen all day - a large, beautiful, inviting birthing tub, slowly being filled with warm water, and my body ached for it. First though, I had to have penicillin administered for Group B Strep, and they needed 20 minutes of fetal monitoring before they could allow me into the water. It was nearly 8:15pm by now, and I feel like I should mention one detail that I never want to forget about this labor. The entire time I was in labor, I had Andy Grammer's "Honey, I'm Good" stuck in my head. As a result, I have very positive feelings when I hear that song. At this point, I felt a small rush of fluid, so the nurse, Rachael, checked me to find that my waters were mostly still intact and that I was 6cm dilated. The contractions were unbearable at this point, far worse than I recalled them being with my previous med-free labor. I rocked and swayed in Spencer's arms for awhile, happy to have him, happy that he was there. But finally, the contractions got the best of me, and I asked - no - begged the nurse for relief, happily willing to throw away my birth plan just to ease the pain. Finally, I was given two options - morphine or to enter the birthing tub. Without a second thought, I jumped at the opportunity to get in the water. My IV was capped off and water protected, and I donned a sports bra, ready for buoyancy and relief.

The warmth rushed over my legs and my abdomen, and it was exactly what I needed to keep going. The near 100°  water soothed me, and Spencer's touch got me through each contraction. I have no idea at what rate time was passing. I just know that labor was escalating quickly, and before too long, the warm water was not enough for relief as the contractions were coming too fast and too furious for me to appropriately handle. Once again, I felt myself begging Rachael for more relief than the tub could offer. The midwife, Barb, had just finished up another delivery and came in at this point. I wanted an epidural - I was confident - but Barb's affirmations of what my body was doing soothed me enough to keep at it, to keep doing what I was doing.  The baby was monitored periodically with a special underwater fetal monitor, and she fared the contractions well, even if I didn't feel like I was.

As the contractions grew stronger and stronger, and I began to enter transition - the toughest part of labor - I started to move around more in the tub, trying to find the ideal position for comfort. I moaned through the ever-increasing pain, and Barb kept telling me "not much longer now". I remember looking at the clock sometime shortly after 10pm, and silently praying that this baby girl would be born before midnight. Barb coached me to lift one leg up to allow the baby to move further down into the birth canal once I started to feel pressure, so I did. I sat on a small stoop in the birthing tub and assumed a "spread-eagle" position. It wasn't going to be long now.

Almost immediately in this position, I had to push. Barb helped me hold back one leg and Spencer held the other, and all I could do was scream, no - wail, as I pushed with every muscle fiber in my body. I started to lift myself out of the water as I pushed, my only way of coping with the pain I was experiencing. Barb ordered me to sit down, fearing, I can only assume, that I would push the baby out above the water. Somehow, I relaxed enough to get my lower body fully submerged again. Through the push, I saw a cloud burst under the water from between my legs - the amniotic sac that held my baby bursting. Immediately after, Barb told me "I see a head, Hilary, you're almost there!" and I just kept on pushing, never letting up, as, in one long push, I birthed the shoulders and the sweet little body.

At 10:53pm on July 8, 2015, Lyric Olivia was pulled from beneath the water, and came to rest on my breast, her lifeline from 9 long months still pulsating between us. A beautiful, perfect, sweet baby girl. Mine & Spencer's baby girl. 7 pounds and 11 ounces, 20 inches tall. We stared in wonder, the closest feeling to heaven on Earth that we will ever experience. Within a few minutes, the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, the clamps were placed, and Spencer made the cut to separate baby from placenta.

I handed Lyric to her daddy and he placed her, bareskin to bareskin, on his chest. Barb and Rachael helped me from the tub, and I made my way to the hospital bed for the final phase of delivery.  Spencer handed Lyric back to me and she latched on, doing her part to help me deliver the placenta. This took only a few minutes, and then that was that - I was no longer pregnant, no longer impatiently waiting for our moment. My sweet baby girl was here in my arms, nursing away like a true champion.

All told, I was in the hospital for only 2.5 hours before Lyric's arrival. Because the penicillin wasn't able to work the full 4 hours before her birth, they had to monitor her temperature for 48 hours, but it never spiked, never swayed from absolutely normal. Trust me when I say that just because a labor is short, it certainly doesn't make it easier. Imagine 30 hours worth of painful labor, and then imagine compressing that amount of pain into just a few hours. This labor was by far the most intense and most painful of the three children I have birthed, but each reward has been so great. I never planned for a water birth, only intending to labor for awhile in the tub, but once the water hit my body, I was quite sure I was going nowhere before this baby greeted the world.

Lyric's birth was incredibly empowering. Because I wasn't facing complications, my midwife never felt the need to recheck and recheck my cervix. She never had to coach me not to push or to wait just a little bit longer. Once her initial exam at 6cm dilated, I never had to endure the discomfort that comes with practitioners that want to keep an eye on your progress every centimeter of the way. Instead, she knew to trust my body. She empowered me to trust my own body. It knew what to do, so I knew what to do. We allowed my body did what it was made to do, and what an unbelievable feeling that truly is. 

There isn't an easy way to describe how fortunate I feel to have had Spencer by my side every step of the way. He grew increasingly patient as I grew increasingly impatient.  I have no idea the things that must have been racing through his mind while I was in labor, but he was there when I needed him, he was exactly as I needed him.

This all started out so scary, a pregnancy test taken on a whim, a baby that was never expected. But as it turned out, it became the perfect story - the next chapter in our lives, and dare I say, the most exciting one yet. The fastest ride. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Crooked Days Left Behind

After the crazy month of May that our family endured, I am excited that June has arrived. The due date for Lyric Olivia is one month from today, and I am both excited and nervous, as I'm sure any parent-to-be is at 36 weeks. We were fortunate to get into a replacement vehicle last week, which has been an absolute relief and weight off since the wreck. One weekend with three preschoolers buckled side by side by side in a compact sedan was enough to have me racing toward the dealership in search of a solution. Luckily, we found something very similar to what we had to begin with, and thanks to some connections I had from my car sales days, we got a wonderful deal on it. And that actually brings me to what inspired this blog post.

While at the dealership, I ran into a lot of my old coworkers who all seemed both happy to see me, and pleasantly surprised to see that I was purchasing a minivan with my new husband for our soon-to-be size 6 family. One friend we ran into, and ended up handling the bulk of our purchase, was someone I became particularly close to while I was delving into the world of car sales. This person was something of a mentor and confidant. In catching up with this person, they stated, "I'm so happy for you, I can tell you're in a much better place". I relish in these words because I know how true they are. I know how far I've come and how much I've grown. "Back then, I worried a lot about you", this person said to me. "I was that much of a mess, huh?", I jokingly retorted. But the response to that intended rhetorical question was affirmation that, yes, indeed, I was a hot mess at the time. I don't know that anyone should be judged for the long term based on who they were during such a tumultuous time in their lives, and I'm grateful more that I made it through so much with only the memories as a lasting reminder.

I gained and lost a lot of friends, but my family was always there for me, even when they understandably could have chosen not to be. But losing the friends I did typically ended up being the best thing that could have happened at the time. But because of all of the friends that came and went, I was weary of walking into a place that was witness to how haphazardly I was living back then. As it turned out, though, seeing people from my past filled me with pride and confidence. I am proud of who I have become, of how much I have grown up. I am confident in who I am, of the life that I am living. And I am happy to have this blog to always remind me of where I have come from. I have realized, above all else, that I have actually nothing to be ashamed of. I can't change the places I've been or the experiences I indulged in. It has taken a lot of growing up to not be embarrassed anymore by the road of partying and late nights that I ventured down. In retrospect, I had the same experiences that just about everyone has. It was just that mine were out of order from the norm, which left me with this terrible sense of disappointment in myself. But really nothing has gone the way I ever expected in my life. From my early marriage,  motherhood, and divorce, to my futile attempts to join the military, to where I am now. It has been quite an adventure.  In the back of my head, I do wonder, "what's next?", but I am actively trying to let go and just be.  Because in all reality, there's no way of having any idea what the following chapters will entail.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The luckiest.

I am deep in the honeymoon phase of being a newlywed.  I feel like I hit this stage when Spencer and I went on our first date, and I am still riding the same wave.  I feel so lucky.  In a hundred lifetimes, and in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I would find him and I would choose him.  Every. Single. Time. 

In all of the chaos of the last couple of weeks, from getting married (!!!) to our beach vacation, to our car accident and subsequent overnight hospitalization, he has been my rock.  When I have wanted to cry, he has picked me up and calmed me down, and when I have needed to cry, he has assured me that that's okay too. He has been the calm through the storm.  I'm not sure how he maintains his cool, but he manages to even when I feel like I am breaking apart.

I admire that he is a hard worker, providing for our family without fail.  He is successful in his job, and in all that he pursues.  How lucky am I that he is mine? He is an involved and loving father to three kids already.  I tear up when I think about him holding our daughter for the first time.  Our daughter.  Mine and his.  I have butterflies thinking about the fact that we have created life together that we will love and teach and watch grow together.

When we are laying in bed together, sometimes when he's already asleep and sometimes when he's just starting to fade out, I look at him and can't help but think, "how did I get so lucky?".  I don't know what I have done in life to be granted this type of happiness, but I am forever grateful.  I am not a religious person, and have only delved into religion a few times in my life, always for brief periods.  It has never stuck, but my husband?  He makes me feel like there must be more.  I have had this growing feeling inside of me that we were placed in each other's lives by something much greater than ourselves.  I don't know what that means or where the feeling comes from, but I know that it must be true.  He makes me want to explore that feeling more.

Sometimes, I wish that he could see himself through my eyes.  I think that, only then, he could realize how truly special he is.  I am completely overwhelmed by how he makes me feel.  I have met my match.

Monday, April 27, 2015


I am nearly 31 weeks pregnant, and I miss my vices. Yes, I have been harboring a human inside of my uterus for more than 6 months, and now that we are in the home stretch, I am really missing all of the wonderful things that I've given up to ensure a healthy a child.

I miss beer. I miss Fireball shots shared amongst friends. I miss eyes-locked "cheers". I miss the fuzzy feeling. But mostly, I miss cranberry Red Bulls mixed with Naked Turtle silver rum. My favorite.

I realize this might make me sound like an alcoholic. Some people can't give up the Diet Coke. There are the self-proclaimed "chocoholics". I can't live without my favorite indulgences either. Except I can. Because I am. For the greater good, of course. But, boy, I can't wait to be able to indulge a little after Lyric is born.

I miss laid back porch-sitting, throwing-back-a-few nights with Spencer while we played endless games of dart challenges. I think we learned the most about each other on those nights in the beginning. I'd never felt so at home with someone I so barely knew. Maybe that's why I miss those vices. They are a reminder to how hard and fast I fell for this man. They are tied to our very first memories of icebreakers and belly laughs. Of sultry glances and the first time I felt that "weak-in-the-knees" emotion deep inside, when I knew I was never letting this one go. They helped to create the memories that we had no idea would become the roots of something much greater.

Life has moved quickly for us, but I've lived every bit of it to the extent of never wanting to forget a moment. It has been the fastest ride of our lives, but I don't regret an ounce of it.  I am so grateful for that.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Four kids and the love of my life.

I've often thought how whirlwind the last few years have been, and I find myself thinking that with every year that passes.  I've come to the conclusion that the past few years being a whirlwind is no coincidence.  Life, in general, is apparently extremely whirlwind, and it'll be that way forever, or at least for the foreseeable future. 

I've basically skipped having three kids altogether, and am essentially going straight from two to four.  In the past, I've had one child, and then two of my own, and then my boyfriend and thus, his son, entered the picture.  And then my boyfriend proposed, and I found myself trying to grasp having a stepson one day.  But, it was mostly always my kids plus his son.  Since getting pregnant with my third though, and my fiance's second, I've somehow gone from trying to grasp having a stepson to actually feeling like he's one of my own.  One of our own.  In class earlier this week, I caught myself telling someone I was "about to have my fourth" when someone asked if I was expecting my first baby.  Fox isn't just my fiance's son anymore, he's one of ours.  I love him like I love my own.  I have a hard time understanding him sometimes, something I've just attributed to the fact that he's not my flesh and blood, but in all reality, I have just as hard a time understanding my daughter most days, and she's straight from the womb. Somehow, he and I - well, we've found ourselves parents to four kids.

I am in awe of Spencer nearly constantly.  I've had my hormonal moments while pregnant... to be expected, of course.  I've found myself taking his typical sarcastic jokes to heart.  I sit there, my mind telling me "don't take this personal. Seriously, it's not that serious.  You know he's joking just like you always do.  Stop. Now. Seriously, don't be upset about this".  And yet, my heart is welling up with hurt and tears and biting back my overly emotional reaction.  I've been tough to live with, I'm sure, and yet, he's pretty much handled it like a pro.  It's ridiculous how often I feel that stupid, giddy feeling when I think about him.  I find out he's on his way home, and I get so excited to hear the garage door open and his Jeep door slam.  He sends me a simple "how are the kids doing?" text after he knows I've picked them up from school, and it makes my whole day feel better.  I just find myself loving him more everyday, and I can't imagine that feeling ever going away.  I can't wait for him to hold our daughter.  I know that my love will grow by leaps and bounds when we've made it through to the other side of this pregnancy, and his daddy's girl is here to greet the world. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Untested Virtue.

My two very curious kids have been asking me some pretty tough questions lately.  I've already gotten the questions like "how did Spencer put the baby in your tummy, Mama?" and "well, how will the baby come out?"  I'm totally fine answering those questions in scientifically, yet age-appropriate ways, and the kids seem to be cool with the answers I've given.  The questions I haven't been prepared for, though, are things like my 3 year old son asking me, "who made the world, Mama?" and my daughter following up with "but who put the stars and the sun and the moon in the sky?"  I of course can't give my 3 and 5 year olds an answer about cosmos and nebulas and supernovas and the Big Bang Theory because 1) they won't understand it which will leave them confused and frustrated and 2) I don't even have a good grasp of what that all means.

I am not a religious person.  I was not raised religious, and never grew up in a church.  I dabbled in going to church in middle and high school, when my friends and I found a Unitarian church that we were pretty intrigued by.  It was a welcoming place, but I never gave much thought to the things I was actually learning in the youth group, so my takeaway was next to nothing, except that church wasn't as bad as I'd always imagined.  When I went away to college, I jumped head first, full speed ahead into the church.  I knew very few people when I started at Coastal Carolina University, so I tagged along with my then-fiance's sister and her roommate, and I found myself going to weekly meetings at a group called Refuge.  This is where I got my first real introduction to Christianity.  I went to a Methodist church every Sunday, and actually felt very at home there.  I came very close to getting baptized, and had a very few real moments of "wow, I think I actually believe in this stuff".  I remember one specifically when I was sitting at my desk in my dorm room, on the phone with a friend named Aaron.  We were discussing my recent breakup with my fiance, and he was trying to be encouraging.  I flipped open the bible (my very first bible) that I had recently been given, and the first passage I laid eyes on gave me exactly the guidance and answer that I'd been seeking.  I can't remember the passage now... I wish I could, but I remember thinking, "did that really just happen?" and wondering if, truly, there was a God looking out for me.

Fast forward a few months, and I fell away from it all.  I began to see the very judgmental sides of some of the friends I had made in the Christian community, and in the end, it disillusioned me to it all.  I felt like I was in an all-or-nothing community, where I had to be a bible-thumping, God-fearing, Jesus freak.  Questions weren't allowed here, and I fell away from it just as soon as I'd fallen into it.  Since then, I've never revisited it much, except inside of my own head. 

I remember expressing to my ex-husband how much I wished that we could raise our kids in the church.  I'd seen my friends growing up who had friends from birth onward that they grew up together in the church with, and I always felt some serious jealousy.  I was envious of that beautiful community that they were all a part of.  At the end of the day though, I've never been able to really commit myself to believing in the higher power that the majority of the world has such faith in.  I'm a big proponent of "you have to see it to believe it", and since I've never seen any such proof, I can't seem to wrap my head around it.  I would love to, and I have such envy for people who can have that unwavering faith, but I guess I'm not one of those people, even if I desire to be. 

Anyway, I'm at a loss as to how to answer the questions.  Do I answer them the way I want to answer them, even if I have no faith to back that up?  Or do I answer them by stalling and giving as best of a scientific answer as I can, which, thus far, has been a lot of "I don't know"?  The kids' dad is not religious, by any means, and he hasn't had much input as to what we tell them.  On the other hand, Spencer does believe in God and always has, and I wonder then what we will tell our child together, if we have differing beliefs. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Daddy's Girl.

      I have to say that I feel like the luckiest lady in the world when I think about my sweet family.  Spencer and I found out last week that we are having a sweet little girl in July.  I wasn't sure if I had a preference one way or the other, and honestly thought that I'd kind of wanted another little boy.  But when the ultrasound tech told us that it was "definitely" a girl, I felt my heart swell up and I was just so excited.  I am ecstatic that I am growing a little girl inside that is Spencer's little girl.  I see the way he treats my daughter, and he is a wonderful role model.  He builds her up, uses unbelievable amounts of patience, and always manages to be convinced by her to read just a few more pages at bedtime.  I think it's safe to say that she's fairly tightly wrapped around his finger, even if he's only her stepfather.  I am so excited to see him with his own daughter in just a few months. 
      Spencer has been so excited since the ultrasound last week, and sometimes it seems that if he's not at work, then his nose is in the baby name book.  We do have a name picked out that we are pretty set on, but not set enough that we have announced it to the world.  It seems pretty perfect for our girl, and is comprised of a name that I chose and a name that Spencer chose. I think finding out the sex of the baby was what he needed to get really excited about the impending arrival.  I imagine the pregnancy will only fly from here on out, and before we know it, we'll be staring at a list of must-haves and realizing that we've only got a few weeks left until The Day.  All we can do at this point is to sit back and enjoy the ride from here on out.  It seems like it's going to be a fast one, no doubt.

Monday, February 9, 2015


In a couple of days, Spencer and I will be just about halfway, give or take a few days, to meeting our little boy or girl.  I am 19 weeks and 4 days today, but July 2nd still seems a long way off yet.  We find out the sex of the baby a week from today, and I am definitely ready to get another peek at our little one.  Aside from wanting to know if I'm carrying a little brother or sister in there, I am looking forward to the ultrasound to see the growth of the baby, to ensure that all of the necessary parts are present and accounted for and working just as they should.  So far, all prenatal testing has come out just fine, but the anatomy scan is always helpful at easing my mind.  Instincts have told me all along that I am carrying a little girl, but I've been so sure that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if a boy was in there just to give me a little surprise.  Like all parents, I'll be happy either way, and honestly don't know if I have a preference for one sex over the other.  My girl, Cori, is a handful and a diva, and honestly, the thought of battling it out with two girls sounds mildly terrifying.  That said, a girl would be neat to even out our two boys and one girl, and to give Spencer the pleasure of raising a little girl all his own.  On the other hand, boys sure are sweet, and tend to be so much easier... at least in my experience.  Either way, I am so excited to find out next week, and truly can't wait.  We have a lot of pretty solid candidates for baby names, but haven't settled on anything definite for either boy or girl.  While I find it hard to believe that I'm already halfway done with this pregnancy, I also feel like I've been waiting forever for the mid-point anatomy scan.  I'm in no rush to the end of the pregnancy by any means though.  I am pleasantly happy with keeping this little one growing on the inside for as long as he or she needs me to.  Babies are, after all, much easier on the inside than on the outside. :)

We have been living in our new house for about two weeks now, and I am in love with it more and more as we settle in.  It is becoming our home, and I am beginning to imagine what it will be like to bring a new little one home here.  The kids are thriving in the new house, loving the extra space inside and out.  Fox is picking up on potty training all of the sudden, and seems to be getting very excited at the prospect of being a big brother.  When we ask him, he insists he'll be having a baby sister, and Cori and Avery seem to think the same thing.  Fox will be transitioning from daycare to K3 soon, and I wonder how that, as well as a new baby, will affect him.  He seems to have really come around to me finally, and doesn't cling to Spencer's side like he did for so long when we first moved in together.  Life with two different homes is all he knows anymore, just like Cori and Avery.  Speaking of - Cori and Avery are both doing wonderfully in K3 and K4, and have surpassed what they were supposed to learn this school year.  Cori spends her days drawing and writing constantly, and I imagine she is a born writer.  My question is what to do with the stacks and stacks of books and papers and drawings that she produces every single day.  I imagine at this rate, our entire attic space will be filled with boxes of Cori's artwork.  Soon, she'll be reading I know, and I'm sure we'll never be able to get her to stop from there, which is just fine with me.  Avery has come out of his shell a lot this school year, and while he still clings to me some mornings at drop off, he has gained a lot of independence.  The three of them together get on quite well, but certainly have their sibling rivalry going for them.  Cori and Fox like to gang up on Avery sometimes, but ten minutes later, Fox and Avery are racing trucks around their bedroom floor, and Cori is screaming from across the hall that no boys are allowed in her room.  Ah, kids.

I often wonder how in the world I so quickly found myself here in life, mother to a 3 and 5 year old, stepmom to a 2 year old, and expecting a new baby with my soon-to-be 2nd husband.  Life sure is funny, and really has no way of letting you know what's going to happen down the road, but it sure is a blessing.  I am grateful every morning when I wake up that I wake up next to a man that I feel is surely the mate to my very soul, and that just down the hallway, we have the most wonderful bunch of children amongst ourselves.  I hope I can always find myself in a moment like this, admiring where life has brought me, and appreciating the tough times that always lead to something greater.