Starting It Off Right

This year, I have a few things I want to work on. I’m sure I won’t keep up with it all during the whole year. But I’m going to give it a good try. So here’s my short list:

  • Improve attitude. No need to be so annoyed, irritated and angry so often. And when I am, I don’t need to rattle on and in about it. I need to internalize a little, and work through it in a more constructive way.
  • Read more. Books, stories, whatever. At least 15 minutes a day, or perhaps a book per month. I miss reading for pleasure, and I want to start again.
  • Use Duolingo for Spanish for once! I’ve gotten pretty far before, and I’ve always wanted to be fluent in Spanish. I have a good foundation from high school and even a little in college. So what the heck am I waiting for? I don’t wanna waste what I already know.
  • Vlog at least once a month, joining my friend Jess in vlogging for 2020. I don’t know what sort of content I’ll be posting besides Felix, but I’ll figure something out. Even if they’re just 5-minute videos. I want to document our life for memories.
  • Improve my diet. I’m not looking to lose a ton of weight or anything drastic. I just want to cut out some junk food and cut back on portion sizes. The goal is to not gain any weight back. And maybe lose 10-20 lbs.

These are pretty simple and not very demanding of my time, so hopefully at least a couple of these things will make it until the end of the year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Happy new decade! 🙂

How To Love A Hippie

How To Love A Hippie.

Aug 5, 2015

To love a hippie is to take a walk into a soul’s garden and stop to smell the flowers.

It’s early morning sunshine stretching across a bed tangled with “I love you’s” and the soft gasps of dreams.

To love a hippie is to escape from the mundane into a world that is magical—seeing the joy in the moon rising above the distant sea and the beauty of lips pressed against fresh daisies.

It’s music that lifts and dips, this way and that, moving to a beat all its own. It’s bare feet and long hair tangled in your sleep, and it’s the smile you just can’t forget.

To love a hippie is to hold hands with nature while kissing the stars.

It’s moonbeams and rainbows—and just a little bit of thunder.

It’s the smell of summer rain steaming against the hot earth, and the touch of grass wet with dew upon up the toes.

To love a hippie is to decide that the rules aren’t always worth pursuing. For even on the best day, a hippie will manage to break a few.

A hippie’s love is free as the lark in the sky, and as vast as the night.

Everything and nothing at once, it’s the indescribable feeling of wanting but not needing.

It’s the taste of Elderflower liquor heavy with the smell of Ganeshas Dream hovering in the air. Bare shoulders and wild eyes that dance at the edge of reason and passion.

To love a hippie is to journey into the tempestuous unknown of this life with nothing more than a soft hand and hope.

To love a hippie is to thirst for adventure as others desire their morning coffee. It’s a love like sleek cobblestones and icy glaciers.

To love a hippie is to know that the journey will matter most—that the destination will somehow become lost between 2:00am kisses and fresh bread from the bakery. It’s homemade strawberry jam licked from expectant fingertips, and the taste of honey dust upon bare skin.

To love a hippie is to journey above the rules of relationships and far beyond the expectations of society.

It’s free love, and it’s always the best kind.

To love a hippie is to marry at sunset with the sound of the surf as the only witness. It’s a marriage of two hearts—without rings, without lace and without pretense. It exists because the universe has conspired to make it so.

To love a hippie is to journey not just into love, but into finding yourself as well. It is comfort and understanding—and patience as warm as mamma’s quilt by the fire.

To choose to love a hippie is to decide to make romantic love real. It’s a candle’s flickering glow.

It’s the beauty of love that exists simply because—just as the chicory grows along the wild riverbank—because the very best of things just are. Just as the sun rises in the morning above green-laced hilltops, and as the moon glows pearl-like over fields, the love for a hippie just is.

For a hippie loves another from the purest place in their heart; they don’t know how to love any other way.

If you’re lucky enough to be loved by a hippie, it won’t be because of anything you own or the money in your wallet. It will be because they see you for who you really are; they see the magic you create when you’re not looking.

They are the ones who love with the enthusiasm of a meteor shower in the middle of summer—for they do everything with all their hearts. They are full-throttle—passionate.

They don’t just desire your body; they want to touch your soul as well. They won’t just kiss your lips, but your fingertips too.

They don’t just want you for a night, but for as much of their future as they are willing to plan.

And while they know only the foolish make promises of forever, the truest oath they can make is this:

As long as the sun and moon still kiss the sky, they will try to love you as they did the very first day.

To love a hippie is to know that wherever life takes you, you’ve got your own bit of paradise right next to you—and she’s just waitin’ for a kiss.

~

Author: Kate Rose

Editor: Toby Israel

Felix is 10 Months Old!

Felix is 10 months old today. He is so happy these days, and is a delight to spend our days with.

We are doing better with routines now, and I think that has helped him understand when bedtime is. Sleeping remains a struggle, and naps are nearly nonexistent, but we’re going to continue to work on it.

The developmental specialist said we should try to re-introduce dairy into Felix‘s diet, and so far it’s going well in small quantities. He is eating a pretty wide variety of foods now, and is finally starting to try and feed himself.

He is not crawling yet, though he is getting closer every day. His physical therapist reduced his visits to every other week rather than every week because he’s making such wonderful progress. She said she anticipates him being caught up with his peers by age 2. We are just all so happy that he is getting caught up, and that he has passed his fussy first several months.

I can’t believe we are nearing one year old! Onward and upward!

Not Your Slave

Marrying a man who was a doormat has been an interesting experience…

In the past I was a doormat as well.  I allowed people to walk all over me, use me, take advantage of my generous nature, and even abuse me.  Then one day, I had enough.  I wanted to be better.  I wanted to feel better about myself.  I knew I deserved more than I was allowing myself to have.  So I sought help.  I went to therapy, worked on my self-esteem and anxiety issues, applied those skills to my real life, and started standing up for myself.  My newfound boundaries and ability to tell people no lost me some friends, but afterall, they weren’t real friends anyway.  They were just users, and I didn’t have room for that nonsense in my life.

Now I’m married to a man who had the same sort of background.  Jarrod was used by MANY people in his life, and after many years of being used, his friends and family came to expect a certain attitude and behavior from him, naturally.  But then he got together with me, and I saw his struggle.  I saw him feel run down and defeated by giving in to everyone’s demands of him, even though he didn’t want to give in.  He often gave in to avoid confrontation because he just didn’t want the drama and conflict.  He and I had conversations about it, and I assured him that he deserved better.  That he deserved the respect of his loved ones.  That he deserved to be able to stand up and say no to the demands and even to simple requests if he so desired to say no.  I encouraged him to defend his boundaries, and make decisions that he wanted to make rather than what everyone else wanted.

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Jarrod and me, September 2017

At first everyone thought I started being the one bossing him around, pulling at his puppet strings and making all his decisions for him.  I’d like to say over time they all came to realize that he does, in fact, have a mind of his own, with is own opinions and desires, and his own ability to make decisions.  And I was absolutely not making all his decisions for him.  But as of yet, they still haven’t figured it out.  I’m still getting the “blame” for his changed behavior.  When all I’m really doing is just telling him that it’s up to him, and supporting his decisions.  I’m building him up, making sure he knows he’s important and what he wants matters.  It’s frustrating to me that no one gives him the credit for being in charge of his own life, and that I’m pretty well disliked because they still think I’m controlling him.  But most days I know I just can’t let it get to me.  If his loved ones actually love and care about him, they will someday come to realize that he is his own man, and can say and do whatever the hell he damn well pleases without anyone telling him what to do.

As far as decisions that affect the both of us, or our whole family (us and our children), our decisions are 50/50.  Always.  We talk to each other, discuss the pros, cons and options, and come up with a decision we are both satisfied with.  For everything!  From little stuff like chores and household rules, to appointment times and dates, all the way up through family vacation ideas and living arrangements.

So, am I sorry?  HELL NO!  I have nothing to be sorry for.  I love Jarrod, and I’m doing everything I can to make his self-esteem better, and his own needs and desires met.  He does the same for me.  We’re soulmates, and that’s what we do for each other.  And if anyone has a problem with all of this…. keep it to yourself.

Bonding

When I was pregnant with Felix, I had certain beliefs and expectations of becoming a new mom again.  I knew I would be tired and sleep deprived for a while, and sore from the c-section.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew the baby would sleep in our bed at least part of the time.  I knew we had family and friends who were looking forward to not only meeting our baby, but helping with him for babysitting and such. And I knew I wanted to stay at home with the baby for about the first year or so, at least.

From the first day Felix was born, he gave me hell about breastfeeding, which continues today.  He has found new and unique ways to make nursing challenging just about every week.  From refusing, to not latching right, to blood sugars requiring supplementation, to LOTS of biting.  Its been crazy!

My expectations about sleep deprivation were very inaccurate.  It’s been nothing like I thought it would be.  Felix does not have typical sleep patterns.  For one, he doesn’t really nap.  He sleeps 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day while laying on one of us.  If he gets put down, he wakes up.  And at night, for the longest time he didn’t sleep much.  He was awake for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night, and nursed several times overnight.  He would be wide awake and happy, playing in the dark and keeping us awake.  I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night for months.  It has evolved a little over time.  Now he generally sleeps well overnight, but still wakes to eat 2-3 times, occasionally staying awake for an hour or two, or occasionally having a night where he doesn’t sleep much at all. On the flipside of that, he occasionally has nights where he sleeps 10 hours straight.  But its more on the sleeping side now.  Even though he’s still challenging to get to go to sleep.

Friends and family have been few and far between as far as visits.  No one babysits except Felix’s big sister Zoey.  And that’s only been a couple times.  But some of that is just because Felix had CMV and was grumpy and colicky until he was about 6 months old.

And that’s where the point of this post comes into play: illness and colic, and bonding with my baby. For the very tough, colicky period, I loved Felix of course, but I didn’t like him. I hated all the crying, particularly because there was nothing I could do to soothe him. I couldn’t make him feel better. He would look directly into my face and scream frantically as if pleading for me to make it better. It broke my heart every day, and I sobbed right along with him.

And after a while the helplessness made me feel like a shitty mom. It made me angry, not at Felix, but at the universe for making my poor innocent baby so uncomfortable and upset. It also made me angry with myself for being so completely unable to make it better. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I started to have feelings of regret and resentment towards myself and Jarrod for deciding to have another baby in the first place. I was desperately missing the time I had spent with my husband, my older kids, my other family, my friends, and even working. I was entirely consumed with the fact that I now had to take care of this little, helpless, miserable, screaming human that I could not comfort or make feel better. I knew it would be a temporary phase in the bigger picture, but every day felt like an eternity. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, as more time passed and Felix wasn’t improving, wasn’t getting past his colic, and now had obvious developmental delays… my already sleep-deprived, depressed and anxiety-ridden brain absolutely ran away with ideas of serious illness and disabilities. He wasn’t physically moving right, seemingly wasn’t seeing or hearing well, wasn’t responding to anything or looking at us at all, had no interest in toys or really anything. Our family doctor really didn’t know what to tell us, so he sent us onto specialists. But before we could meet with the specialists, I couldn’t help but worry myself sick. My brain just would not shut off, thinking he had some severe life-altering condition or issue.

When we met with the developmental specialist the first time, Felix had improved only slightly. That was in August. Genetic tests, body system function tests, and many imaging tests were ordered. Physical, occupational and speech/feeding therapy was ordered. The doc said he wanted to be super aggressive for the best outcome. But while we were waiting for all of these appointments, Felix started to improve on his own.

The only test that came back without a normal result was the one for CMV antibodies. Meaning at some point in Felix’s short life, he had been exposed to CMV and had gotten an infection. CMV is like mono, and it effects everyone differently. Apparently it had a very strong, long lasting effect on Felix in a very important developmental period of his life. So he felt like he had a cold/flu for likely 2-3 months, and that is what was delaying everything.

In October, Felix had his follow up, and by then he was like a whole new baby. And since then he has improved even more. He is babbling, playing, social, happy, communicative, and a complete joy to have in our lives. Physical therapy is helping him learn how to move his body the ways he should have learned when he was sick with CMV. It’s giving him the awareness and confidence to try new things and he’s really blossoming.

His illness and delays really drove a stake into my heart at first, and made me question our decision to have another baby. It was extremely tough, and looking back I’m not sure how we survived it. But now that things are coming closer to “normal,” speaking for myself, there’s an overwhelming sense of relief and joy in my life. Felix is an amazing little guy. I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed to be his mommy. He has taught me so very much already, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me more. The bond is strong now, as I feared it would never be. Thank goodness.

I’m so lucky to have been able to stay home with him and support his extra needs. If I’d had to work or if I wasn’t as involved as I am with him, we may have missed the issues and it could have had much more lasting effects on him overall.

I’m even luckier to have an amazing husband supporting not only Felix’s needs, but me, my needs, and my dedication to helping our son. Jarrod and I make a pretty phenomenal parenting team. There’s no one in the world I’d rather have as my partner in life. He has supported me through all the struggles, listened to all of my venting, and done everything he could do to help in every way. He’s shared in all the joys and triumphs, with just as much excitement. He’s the best husband, father, and man I’ve ever known.

Now the regret and resentment is completely gone, as it has transformed into bliss. We made the right decision to have a baby. Felix makes the most perfect addition to our family. All the older kids adore him, and I feel like his presence is bringing us closer as a family as well. Something we all have in common. I am enjoying watching his personality develop and shine, and I am hopeful and excited for the future with Felix in it.