Have courage and be kind

 

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Reach out to someone who needs you.

Send a kind email to someone who needs a little sparkle in their day.

Compliment someone randomly without wanting anything in return.

Buy a friend a cup of a coffee just for being an awesome friend.

Leave your partner a post it note telling them why you love them.

Read your kiddo an extra bed time story.

Enjoy the moment with your family. The laundry can be folded later.

Say hello to a complete stranger.

How have you been kind today?

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What surprised me most about being a stay at home mom

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When Margs was born I felt like it was the first time I could really breathe in a long long time. I spent my whole pregnancy holding my breath and crossing my fingers for just one more day, one more week and one more month. By some miracle my cerclage kept me pregnant and we welcomed a 40 week (!!!!!!!) miracle into the world on her due date.

I spent so much time focused on getting her here that I never considered what being a stay at home parent would be like- I didn’t care really, my only focus was getting that precious baby here alive.

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15 months later I’m reflecting on being a stay at home mom and I’m realizing that I don’t necessarily love it all of the time. I wish I did, but, I just don’t. Actually, there are days that I’m angry and resentful and frustrated and tired of it.

I feel horrible even writing these things because I’m a rainbow mom. A rainbow mom shouldn’t ever complain about anything parenting related because well, she’s a rainbow mom. I’ve struggled, I’ve faced repeat loss, I’ve had my heart broken in ways that only other loss mums understand and yet there are days that I struggle with being at home with this little girl I prayed and pleaded with the universe to have.

Some days I resent that my husband can head out into the “real” world and socialize with people and have adult conversation. Some days I resent that he gets a mental break from the constant attention, stimulation and energy Margs demands. Then, I snap myself back to reality and realize that he likely resents me for being home with her and getting the privilege to experience all those moments that he misses while he’s away.

Being home with a young child is difficult. Meeting her needs, caring for her, playing with her and watching over her are not the hard parts. The hard parts include the feelings of isolation, the loss of my identity outside of being “mom” and giving up my career (albeit temporarily).

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Some days I feel like I’m not “Jenny” anymore. I’ve become this version of myself that doesn’t know what do outside of caring for a baby. I’ve lost drive, passion and desire – things that fueled my life in very powerful ways before. Sadly, I’ve given up nearly all my favorite pastimes because quite honestly I’m just so tired that I don’t have the mental energy to devote myself to doing anything consistently. I used to love to read, exercise, knit and take photos – all things I’ve basically abandoned because the passion just isn’t there anymore.

In someways, I’ve lost myself to motherhood.

Life has become routinely robotic – Margs wakes – she gets fed, entertained and put down for a nap. Afternoon are the same. Evenings are the same. My days essentially look like carbon copies of each other.

I sometimes deal with an intense desire to go back to work. I was happy in my classroom. I loved what I did. I loved watching young minds analyze, interpret and question and sometimes I’m frustrated by the fact that I’ve given up so much. That sounds so incredibly selfish doesn’t it?

Having Margs was such a blessing. A blessing that I felt required me to give up my identity, lifestyle and career to cherish. We agreed early on that I’d stay home with her. Partly for financial reasons (childcare is expensive) and partly because we’re loss parents who maybe on some level feel like we have to do this to thank the universe for blessing us with such a precious gift.

On days where I’m feeling especially weighed down by it all I feel guilty. So so guilty. I should love this. I should love being home with her and love the opportunity to watch her grow. I should love these things because getting her here meant losing 5 other babies.

I hate that my perceptions of motherhood are tainted by so much grief and loss. I hate that I often second guess my own needs because somehow I’ve convinced myself that it’s not okay to be not okay and that to truly appreciate my gift I must love every inch of motherhood.

Motherhood is just hard. Staying home makes it even harder.

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I’m slowly working on being gentle with myself and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel this way sometimes.  I’m working on somehow finding an intersection between the analytic, spontaneous Jenny who I used to be and the run of the mill mom I often feel I’ve become.

Does parenting somehow alter who we are? Does it change us in ways that can sometimes make us feel unfulfilled?


Happy Maps Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to thenewmrsm2016!!!!

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Maintaining my pearly whites – A triple bristle review

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

As a frugal family, we try to cut costs anywhere we can. Our main focus is to reduce our grocery spending, limit our purchases of clothing/shoes/accessories and buy anything we do need with coupons or at a discount. We don’t buy many tangible goods unless absolutely necessary because we’re really of the mindset that material goods are a frivolous use of our hard earned money. Clearly, when we absolutely need something we do purchase it but generally speaking we don’t spend a ton of money on anything that isn’t truly necessary.

The one exception to our rule is dental care. Both Mer and I take relatively good care of our teeth (cleaning every 6 months or so) since we know that good quality dental care and prevention at home can help us save a ton of money in the long run. Dental work is outrageously expensive so we do our absolute best to keep our teeth in tip top shape to hopefully avoid any very costly restorative work.

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Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been a reality for me. Until roughly 10 years ago I was without dental insurance and having to pay everything out of pocket meant skipping cleanings and putting off dental work. I think I went over 5 years between cleanings at one point (horrible I know!). At the time, I was of the mindset that if it didn’t hurt don’t fix it.

Bad. Bad. Bad idea.

Sadly, putting off some small painless cavities resulted in  needing a few root canals and eventually crowns that really drained us financially and caused us to dig ourselves deep into debt. Thankfully, I’ve caught up on my dental work and try to stay on top of it with a strict flossing and brushing routine at home and regular visits to my dentist. My goal is to prevent any further issues in my mouth. So, when Triple Bristle  generously sent me one of their innovative Triple Bristle Sonic toothbrushes to review I was super excited to give their toothbrush a spin (literally).

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Triple Bristle is truly unlike any toothbrush on the market or that I’ve ever used and over the years I’ve used quite a few of the electric variety. It’s designed with a 3 sided  brush head that brushes the front, bottom and back of your teeth simultaneously which is awesome because it not only cleans thoroughly but cuts down on the amount of time you need to spend brushing.

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Using it  does take a little getting used to. It’s not like a traditional brush because you need to cup the brush head around your teeth and engage your gums and basically allow it to do the work for you. It tickles a little at first but after a few uses you sort of figure out how to place it to avoid it rattling your lips or pallet. It also has a really cool 2 minute auto timer which I especially appreciate  because it helps ensure that I’m brushing the recommended amount of time.

As for cost, a Triple Bristle toothbrush with a charger and extra brush head will currently set you back roughly 80$. Compared to other brushes on the market this is actually quite competitive. Before converting to using electric toothbrushes I thought it was crazy to spend more than a couple of bucks on my toothbrush- but, as I’ve learned a  good quality electric toothbrush is really an investment that allows you to save money in the long run.

I haven’t been using it long enough to really comment on the longevity and lifespan of the product which has often been a problem with other electric toothbrushes in the past. I do have a dentist appointment next month for a cleaning and check up and I’m especially interested to see if my dentist notices an improvement!

If you’re interested in purchasing your own Triple Bristle Sonic Toothbrush head here to take advantage of a 20$ discount! #KissableBreath #TripleBristle #BrighterSmile

What is your dental routine? How often do you get cleanings? Love or hate the dentist?

What is your dental routine?

I brush twice a day and floss about every other day.

How often do you get cleanings?

Every 6-8 months depending on weather and finding a sitter.

Love or hate the dentist?

Love it. I’m not afraid of the dentist. I’ve had SO much work done in my mouth (wisdom tooth removal, gum graft, 3 root canals, crowns, cavities) that it really doesn’t phase me anymore!

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Highs & Lows – Week of March 6th

Hey there! How has your week been treating you?

If you’re just popping in, here are the posts that I’ve written this week. If you have a minute please have a read. It’s also not too late to enter the Happy Maps giveaway happening here on TTBH. Contest closes on Sunday at 6pm, so if it’s something that interests you please head over and enter to win!

Highs

My mom is officially moved in. Work on the basement has finally ended and my mom is comfortable and settled in her new apartment one month ahead of schedule! We converted our basement into a 1-bedroom apartment for her to help reduce her living expenses. Her apartment turned out better than we’d expected and she’s loving being here to spend more time with Margs. Margs also realizes that bubbie now lives “downstairs” and bangs on the door to tell me she wants to head down for a visit. I’m also loving having her so close by because it’s really nice to be able to have adult conversation throughout the day.

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New blog opportunities. A few new blog opportunities have come my way over the last week and I’m excited! When I first decided to monetize the blog I really wasn’t sure where it would take me since my blog is so young and doesn’t necessarily have huge volumes of traffic. I’m thrilled that despite being in its infancy, TTBH is helping me generate a little revenue. I’m planning to write a post about my progress in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that.

Enjoying experimenting with the Keto Diet. I‘m still trudging along on my weight-loss journey. So far I’ve lost roughly 6 lbs which I’m really pleased about. I don’t necessarily feel that my weight loss is visible just yet but I do feel far more energized and in control of my eating habits. I’ve been experimenting with a really relaxed form of the Keto diet this week and although I probably wont stick to it long term (it’s far too rigid to be sustainable for me) it has been really eye opening to learn about carb content by keep track of my food choices with myfitnesspal. I really view this as a learning curve since I’m essentially reteaching myself about healthy choices and portion control.

Activities for Margs. Baby girl has had a busy week. After a discussion with Mer about my concerns that Margs might be bored we decided it was in her best interest to start taking part in some organized activities. She now goes to a play group on Mondays and Wednesdays and takes swimming lessons on the weekend. She really enjoys socializing with other children and has a great time playing, running and tumbling. Her excitement is just adorable and so is her tiny swim cap 😉

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Lows

Margs’ pediatrician appointment. We headed back to the pediatrician this week. Again, I left there feeling pretty defeated. Margs is a big little girl. She’s nearly 33 inches tall and weighs roughly 31 lbs. According to her growth chart she’s in the 97% for height and essentially off the charts for weight. Her doctor questioned her eating habits and made some suggestions that we think might help slow down her weight gain. Basically, I’ve been told to start giving her 2% WCM and to reduce her intake of yogurt. Her doctor wasn’t overly concerned but I’m an anxious mama and it makes me feel terrible that I’m potentially feeding my little girl an unhealthy diet. I’m doing my very best since she eats primarily vegetables and fruit but clearly we need to reevaluate and make adjustments.

Estimated Due Dates. Thursday was a rough day. March 9th was my estimated due date for my twin pregnancy and every year it seems to just creep up on me. By now, you’d think I’d be prepared for the roller coaster of emotions that come from facing a due date but nope – it hit me like a ton of bricks. I took a little break while Margs played with her grandma to have a good cry. It just feels like someone else’s life ya know? I should have 4 year old twins! My gosh, 4 years have flown by and my life is not at all what I imagined it to be. I’m insanely grateful for my precious baby girl but some days the burden of the past is just harder to deal with. March 9th was one of those days.

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of March 6th?

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A few thoughts on time, perspective and circumstance

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So, before I get into some pretty long-winded thoughts, I’d like to give you a friendly reminder that there is currently a Happy Maps giveaway happening here on This Tiny Blue House. Feel free to enter for a chance to win your very own personalized Happy Map if you haven’t already! Good luck to everyone who has already entered!


Recently, Mer and I sat down to watch a Hemingway documentary on Netflix called Papa. Have you seen it? It really is an interesting window into Hemingway’s life so if you haven’t seen it I would recommend you watch it. Mer isn’t much of a reader and although he knew who Hemingway was he really didn’t know much about him so he was especially interested in watching.  When we got to the part about Hemingway’s 6-word novel (the famous: For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn) – Mer and I just looked at each other with a blank stare and understood perfectly well what the statement was insinuating.

Or, did we?

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What ensued was an interesting conversation about time, perspective and circumstance.

Clearly, we both assumed that there was a dead child involved. But, were our assumptions based on our own experiences of time, perspective and circumstance or is there some universal understanding that when a pair of unworn baby shoes are sold there is a deceased child involved?

When I was a kid my father would tell me that everyone had “cobwebs in their closet” and that “some were thicker” but ultimately everyone had them. I think the conversation started when I broke down crying after my parents separated. It was the late 80’s and by cultural standards at that time I was ashamed of my home life. He told me not to worry about it because everyone had dusty cobwebs hidden in the very back of their closet.

Okay, back to what I was getting at here.

It’s really quite amazing how our own experiences have shaped the way we perceive things around us. Before our losses, I doubt we would have made such a heartbreaking assumption about such a potentially simple statement. We likely may have arrived at it eventually but it would probably not have been our first conclusion. Years ago, my brain would likely have wandered to ideas that the child outgrew the shoes before getting the chance to wear them or perhaps the child had more than one pair rendering this pair unnecessary or that poverty was at the root of the decision to sell them. I doubt though that my brain would have instinctively led me down the path of dead babies.

But, now it does. And, it  highlights that perceptions are altered based on circumstances that are unique to each and every one of us. Our story really dictates how we perceive the world around us doesn’t it?

To the parents who have lost children, that 6 word-novel could mean that a child died. A miscarriage, a still birth, infant loss – the possibilities are endless.

While to some it could be an example of poverty.

To others it could be interpreted as necessity – selling a child’s baby shoes to feed a habit, to turn the lights back on, to buy food, to fuel the car to get to a job interview, to make some extra cash to purchase medication. The possibilities are truly endless.

I suppose then that our individual perceptions of what that statement truly means is fueled by who we are, where we come from and what our  lives look like both past and present.

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Interpreting blog posts functions quite the same way I think. When I write something it comes from my perspective – an anxious repeat loss mom who is acutely aware of what it means to be poor, move up the socioeconomic ladder only to find herself in heaps and heaps of consumer debt years later. But, to those who don’t have those same set of cobwebs, my opinions and beliefs could potentially be misinterpreted ya know?

Perhaps, when I make a blanket statement like “I’m jealous of other women’s pregnancies” it might make me appear to be vile, envious and shallow. But, to those know me, know my story, know my struggle- I might get a little leniency.

The reality behind that statement is that getting my baby here safely was horribly difficult.  Does my statement now become less terrible? Does the meaning somehow change? Does my own circumstance change the intention?

Blog posts, and writing in general is tricky. Often times I catch myself reading and re-reading my posts because I know what baggage comes with my writing but most of the time you the reader don’t. Clearly, there are certain aspects of my life that I’ve shared and if you’ve been reading for a little while you’ll know that I mean no harm by statements like the one above but to a new reader who doesn’t necessarily understand my history that statement might be interpreted completely differently.

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As I’m growing this here blog I’m realizing more and more how perspective and circumstance influence both what I read and what I write. I’ve read countless blog posts from women who are “over” their pregnancies. From their perspectives it’s an innocent claim that likely has no intention of piercing through a loss mom like me. From my perspective, that claim makes me cringe because well you know – some women would give absolutely anything – make a deal with the devil even to bring a healthy full-term baby into the world. Perspective and circumstance.

This applies to everything really. Discussions on minimalism, vegetarianism, veganism, politics, opinions, beliefs, religion on so on and so on.

Essentially, anytime we put something out there we are opting to have our words which are inspired and peppered by our own perspectives interpreted by people and their unique worldview right?

How much effect do you think perspective has on interpretation of blog posts and writing in general?

What are your thoughts and interpretation of  Hemingways 6 word-novel?

 

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