Four years ago today, knowing not much about one another, Jarrod and I hopped in a car and drove to Colorado together on absolutely no sleep. We arrived early in the afternoon, went into the courthouse in the town of Golden, and got married. Then we stayed at a beautiful little bed and breakfast called Meadow Creek Mountain Lodge for our one-night “honeymoon” of sorts. We would have stayed longer but we had obligations back home.
Since then, we have been through an extraordinary amount of ups and downs. More than any one couple should endure in a lifetime, I dare say. And here we are today, still together and back in Iowa, raising our own child together alongside our 6 teenagers, and making many plans for the future. Four years ago our family and friends called us crazy. No one believed it would ever work. Everyone assumed we would fizzle out as quickly as we came together. BUT WE DIDN’T. We love each other not only as much now as that adventurous day, but so much more. We have learned many life lessons with one another and from one another.
Today for our anniversary, with Felix along for the occasion, we decided to visit the zoo and then grab some our favorite cuisine for takeout on the way home.
Felix wasn’t a real fan of the zoo, but he did pretty well. We grabbed some creole food from Buzzard Billy’s for our anniversary meal. And we’ve been able to just relax alone at home together the rest of the evening while Felix happily plays with his toys. It’s been a great day together.
When Jarrod and I discussed our sterilization reversals back in 2018, we thought about having 2-3 babies together. I got pregnant on the first cycle, but pregnancy in my late 30s was quite a bit more challenging than it was in my early 20s. So once Felix was born, we both wanted to wait a little while to relax and recover of course. However after just a few weeks, Felix started crying with “colic” that continued for months. At some time in the middle of that, Felix was also diagnosed with a global developmental delay and hypotonia. He got referrals for many specialists and testing, including therapies. The developmental doctor said they wanted to take an aggressive approach as early as possible to give him the best outlook later on. Meanwhile, the “colic” continued until Felix was about 10 months old. Now that Felix is 2 1/2 years old, and knowing what we do, I believe it was sensory issues and intestinal cramping that was causing his crying.
Back to the point… Jarrod and I had planned on more babies, but as time went on, and we got deeper and deeper into specialists and testing and therapies, we not only had less and less time for each other, but it began to become pretty clear that dividing our time further would not be in anyone’s best interest.
Then, a couple weeks ago I really got to thinking about the whole process of being pregnant and having another baby. As things are right now, Felix sleeps on his toddler mattress on the floor, right up against our mattress, which is also on the floor. So essentially he still co-sleeps. I go to bed when he does, wake with him in the middle of the night, and get up when he does. I stay home with him, and take him to his appointments, play dates, etc. He is very demanding of my attention, and trusts I will fulfill all his needs every day, which I do. It’s been difficult to carve out time not only for myself and my own health and basic needs, but also for my older kids who still need me, and my marriage! But the thought that really tipped the scale for me was the idea of me leaving for 2-3 nights to have the baby, and Felix not understanding why I’m not there for him. Then coming home with a baby in need of most of my attention and Felix having his whole life flipped upside down because of it. It was heartbreaking to think of. So after a very serious discussion with Jarrod weighing all the pros and cons of everything I’ve already stated here and more, I decided to get another tubal ligation.
I had an appointment with my doctor last week and made an appointment for a tubal ligation. This particular doctor removes the Fallopian tubes entirely (because most ovarian cancer starts in the tubes), so there will be zero chance of another pregnancy in the future. This time it will be permanent. I think at 40 years old, with 4 kids (and 3 bonus kids), I am more than happy to be done with that chapter of life.
Felix has completed our family. Though he will essentially be raised an only child, with siblings 12-17 years older than him, that just means he will have plenty of people to care for and look after him. And I don’t mind saying we all spoil him too.
My surgery is scheduled for September 27th. It’s an outpatient, laparoscopic procedure, with very little downtime.
I never imagined myself living in a mobile home. And I certainly never imagined myself being excited about moving my family into one. However, the mobile home park is one of the places we applied to when our big Iowa house fell through in May. I wasn’t excited by the prospect, but I applied there and a few apartments, since no houses were to be found. As previously mentioned, we moved into an apartment in May after being immediately approved. We moved our few belongings in, and then got our approval for the mobile home. I declined the mobile home at that time because we had just moved into the apartment, but I knew it wasn’t permanent.
While living in the tiny, shitty apartment, Jarrod and I did some serious discussion of future plans. He had been talking about how much he’d love to travel to follow certain bands and musicians, and I had previously (years ago) brought up the idea of tiny living. At that time we wanted a large main house and tiny homes for all the teenagers. But we never went anywhere with the idea. And now that all the teens are going their own ways for the most part, we recognize that we don’t necessarily need a big house, or a lot full of tiny homes. So bringing the wanderlust and tiny living idea together, we looked in RVs and other such ideas. But ultimately we decided to convert a retired school bus into a mobile tiny home.
Then, while visiting someone in their mobile home, I realized how claustrophobic it felt to me. With the long, narrow layout design. At that moment I realized living in a bus would not work for me if I couldn’t feel comfortable in a mobile home. So I decided to make a decision to get myself adjusted. I talked to Jarrod about going back to the mobile home community and accepting the one that was offered to us.
The community manager told me it was no longer available, but that there were other options available. So Jarrod and I went out and toured 3 homes. The first was brand new but very small. The bedrooms were tiny. There was not room for us all. The second was used and smelly, but spacious. She said there would be a lot of work that would go into it before we could move in. The third was brand new AND spacious. But it had pending applications. We knew better than to get our hopes up, but made it very clear that we wanted the third one. It was just a matter of time to see if the other applications were approved, knowing we were already preapproved.
The next morning I got an email saying we had been approved for home number three! It was everything we wanted. Brand new. Spacious. A beautiful kitchen with an island. And on the edge on the community with lots of greenery in the back. We were thrilled!! We ditched the apartment and moved within just a few days. That’s the only time I’ve felt thankful to not have much – because it didn’t take a lot of effort to move everything.
As of today, July 3rd, we’ve been in our new home for 5 days. It’s comfortable, clean, and OURS. We are renting, but plan to purchase. There’s a purchase program available that we will qualify for after 6 months. We don’t know what it will take to do so, but we’d like to move it to a private property in the future instead of a mobile home community. This will be a long-term home for us.
Over the next several years (3-5) we also plan to work on finding, purchasing, and converting a school bus. That way we can have a homebase, and a fully functional home to travel in.
And since I know people want an update on our stuff caught up with the moving company: WE STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN OUR STUFF BACK. At this point I truly don’t believe we ever will. I continue contacting them and trying to get an answer. They always say they’re working on it. And nothing more. It’s very hard letting go of all the sentimental things we’ve lost. I’m doing my very best to embrace it and see it as a fresh start.
We may have had a very large share of issues this year, but things are finally starting to settle down. With the stability, safety and security of a permanent home, near our loved ones, we can now focus on enjoying life and planning for our future. And to that I say CHEERS! 🥂
I feel like there may be a small misunderstanding amongst our friends, family, and even our community who follows this blog and our life.
I just want to clarify….. our move back to Iowa was not us running back with our tails between our legs. There was no trauma or shame. We were making it just fine in North Carolina. We were fully capable and able earn enough money, pay bills, get proper medical care, etc. Our decision to return “home” was solely based on our desire to be near our family and friends. We were all missing each other pretty bad. The only real issue we had was the way our return moving plans fell apart along the way. But that was unforeseen and had nothing to do with any reason to return.
One day in the not-so-distant future, after the teenagers are all graduated from high school and able to stand on their own two feet, we may move away again… or at least look into a time share or summer home, because that warm/mild winter was FANTASTIC. But for now, we want to be fully here in Iowa for the kiddos. ❤️
I haven’t had an easy life. Lots of adversity, mostly brought on by my own choices, actions, and energy. I’ve done a lot of quitting things that would have turned out good for me. I’ve been around a lot of negative people. I’ve had a lot of so-called friends that tend to root for negative occurrences in my life, and my depressed reactions. Even when things seemed to be going well for me socially, I ended up with another series of unfortunate events regarding my health. My depression took a turn for the worst, I started lashing out at those I love…. my life, from my perspective, really turned to shit.
Then we moved across the country. I hated it for a while, having brought my negative attitude with me. It wasn’t what I expected, and I wasn’t open to change. I got even more negative. Depressed. Anxious. Angry.
And then I stopped.
I was tired of being angry and frustrated. I started thinking about my kids, and how they see me. And how they deserved better from me. I started thinking about the early days in my marriage, and how in love my husband and I were with each other, and how he now deserved better from me. I started thinking about how happy I was back then, and how well I took care of myself, and how I deserved better from me, too. I started faking happiness. “Fake it ’til you make it.” And it helped.
I’ve gotten involved in a few things, giving me a sense of community, which helped dramatically. I’ve gotten more involved in my home, accepting where we are and finding joy in the little things. Who cares if we aren’t in the perfect house, in the perfect location? We are away from Iowa, like I’ve always wanted. We are in a home that is warm and safe. We have good food in our kitchen, warm clothing in our closets, working utilities and appliances, entertainment for our mandatory time spent at home during the pandemic, and the LOVE of one another. LIFE IS GOOD!
I’ve refocused my energy. I’m not concerning myself with that which is beyond my control. I’m recognizing how blessed I am. I am thankful beyond all words that I get to stay home with Felix and watch him grow and learn. That I am the one who gets to take him to all of his specialist appointments and therapies. That I am the one he knows he can trust to take care of his needs every day, rather than a child care provider. I am thankful that I can create a warm, comfortable home for my husband when he comes home from a hard day of working to support our amazing family. I am thankful for the outstanding man that he is, and how well he provides for us, not only financially, but as a loving father and husband as well. I am thankful that I am able to help Andy learn how to grow into an independent man, helping him navigate the work world and finances. I am thankful that Cory has been able to continue his education online during this pandemic, and not miss out on a year of high school. I am thankful we are only 2 hours from the ocean, 3 hours from mountains, and always in the middle of the woods. I am thankful for, and looking forward to, the variety of opportunities this new part of the country will provide for us all once things open back up and we recover from the illness that has surrounded us for so many months.
LIFE IS GOOD! And I will never take my blessings for granted again.
With all of that being said, this blog is now officially reopened, and I will post an update about once a month. I will share what new things we have been able to discover, what adventures we’ve found, and of course, updates on Felix for our family. 2021 is the start of something great… I just know it!!