Tag Archives: changes

Closing Out 2021

2021 has been one of the longest years I have experienced as an adult. I’d say it’s probably the second hardest year for me in my 41 years in this body, on this planet. I started out the year watching fireworks with my family from our livingroom window in Garner, NC. At that time, I believed all was fine. I was getting over being homesick for Iowa, and we were finally moving forward. Life went on, and we were good.

Of course to start the year, being carried over from 2020 was COVID. A neverending sickness in the general population and everyone resisting any type of mitigation efford – from mask wearing, to vaccinations, from handwashing to social distancing.

In March, something I have not discussed publicly happened, and I decided in a very swift change of heart that we were headed back to Iowa immediately. It was what was best for our family, and I made it happen quickly. We were back in Iowa by May. Of course you already know, if you’ve been following me for very long, that the moving company screwed us over. They didn’t deliver our belongings and I had to go the legal route to get anyone’s attention. But more about that later…

In April, Jarrod and I were able to get our COVID vaccines. I was still breastfeeding Felix at the time, so he possibly got some of the benefits of the vaccine.

When I was making arrangements to move back to Iowa, I found a nice rental house in Des Moines that we had all set up to move into on June 1. When we got back to Iowa, Jarrod and I went to tour the home and sign the lease. We paid our deposit and were all set to move on time. But when we left Garner, NC, the moving company showed up right at about the last possible moment, and we were unable to finish up cleaning before heading out to the airport. So because that upset the NC landlord, he decided to be petty and contact our soon-to-be landlord and tell him about the mess (which was not even as bad as what we had moved into and had to clean upon arrival the year before). So the rental in Des Moines got revoked, our deposit refunded…. leaving us essentially homeless.

We ended up moving into TWO apartments at a very low-rent drug-ridden apartment complex so we had a roof over all our heads, since Jarrod’s girls needed to stay with us for a while as well. And a few weeks later we moved into our current home, a brand new trailer in a trailer park. The apartment manager claimed damages, and tried to bill us for things that were pre-existing in the apartment when we moved out. But I’m pretty sure we were the only ones who had taken such good care of one of those apartments in many years.

I swore I’d never live in a trailer, but I must say, the property manager here has been an absolute pleasure to work with. Maintenance has been on top of issues, its clean and quiet out here. We’ve only had a couple storms that I felt could have threatened our livelihoods, but we remain safe and our home in excellent condition.

We added two new kittens to our family – Sage and Daisy.

As a good point to the year, Jarrod and I were able to take Felix on a mini-vacation to St. Louis. We visited the St. Louis Aquarium, City Museum, and the St. Louis Zoo. More photos can be found on my Instagram or Facebook pages.

In September another wave of things happened; Felix got his official diagnosis of ASD. He is already in many therapies, so nothing much has changed for him. We will continue therapy as we were, and do what we can to educate ourselves and cater to his needs.

Cassy had a falling out with their stepmom and got kicked out of their dad’s place, landing them back in my home. We haven’t had room for them here, so they’ve been sleeping in the living room this whole time, cramping up the whole house and how we do things.

We got our belongings returned to us after talking with a couple of different police departments and starting the process of legal action against our moving company. Several boxes and a few big pieces of furniture were missing. And many more items that were returned were broken or severely damaged. Needless to say, we will never be using a moving company to move our household again. Doing it ourselves with a UHaul may be a nuisance, but its definitely worth keeping all our stuff, and having it all in tact.

I started having severe sciatic pain down my left leg. An X-Ray showed it’s due to degeneration in my spine due to arthritis. I never knew I had arthritis, and as of now, the last day of the year, over 3 months later, I still have not been able to find a proper diagnosis or plan for pain treatment. It has been a very rough and painful 3 months.

Jarrod and I have definitely struggled to maintain any type of decent relationship through all of these struggles, but we talk every day and we’re working through it to the best of our abilities.

In 2022 I look forward to the approval of the mortgage for our home (pending inspection and repairs), and the comfort and security of living there, knowing we will never have to move again. And I hope for COVID to be at a state of acceptable control so we can safely attend public outdoor events again, such as amusement parks, the Iowa State Fair, music festivals, and much more. As simple as that all sounds, I’m sure it won’t be. But I still maintain hope.

Thanks to all my friends, family and followers of my blog. I wish you all a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and may your 2022 be more bountiful and serene than 2021.

Special

⚠️ Trigger Warning ⚠️ Suicidal Thoughts, PPD

“You’re so strong, such a good mom. God won’t give you more than you can handle. Your baby’s got challenges but you’ve got this! ”

Things I hear or have heard regularly. All fine, with good intentions. But you know what? All I’ve ever wanted was help. All I’ve ever wanted was someone to say “I see you struggling. Let me help.” I’m not asking for the world. I mean small things, like bringing a meal when I was so tired from late nights that I couldn’t find the energy to cook. Coming over and holding my colicky baby and pacing with him for an hour so I could have a break from the screaming and regroup. Any little thing. Even a visit and a hug.

Did I get any of that? No. During his first year of life I not only adjusted to being a new mom again, but I also dealt with TEN MONTHS of incessant crying. As time passed it became more apparent he had special needs, and I mourned my way of life, and any plans big or small we had for him. I became sure I should give him up to more suitable parents, and I even became suicidal because I felt worthless because I couldn’t make him feel better. I felt I was failing as a mother. I was in probly one of the worst mental states of my life. I truly wanted to die.

Felix crying into my shirt around 3-4 months old. Nearly nothing helped soothe him. It would go on for many hours at a time.

Not one person noticed. Not one person reached out. I tried to express myself, but my husband was working very hard to support our “new normal,” and my friends and family vacated. Some of my cries for help were met with jokes. Some of them were met with “oh it will be ok.” And most of them were ignored entirely.

Still today, not one person outside of me and my husband has made any effort to get to know Felix in a way that they could care for him. We haven’t had a real date night in nearly 3 years. Our marriage has been through the ringer because of this. It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far.

And God? I don’t believe in God. If you want to tell me this was all given to me as some sort of sick experiment planned by an invisible man in the sky, please just keep that to yourself.

The fact is, this isn’t fair. Felix didn’t deserve to have all these troubles. He didn’t deserve to be unable to walk, talk, eat properly, process speech or emotions or his senses the way he should be able to… when he will be 3 in a couple months. He didn’t deserve to have belly and sensory issues so severe in his first year that all he could do is scream frantically trying to tell us something was wrong, with no relief. He didn’t deserve to have a mom who was utterly alone and often frustrated and ready to give up on life because she couldn’t help his helpless little hurting soul. He didn’t deserve any of it.

For nearly a year, wrapping Felix tight up against me was one of the only ways to get the crying to stop. I couldn’t sit or relax, I had to stay in motion. I was TIRED.

All I’ve ever wanted as a mom is for my kids to have FAMILY, and to be happy and healthy and to know they are loved, and to have every opportunity to thrive. And though I’ve done the best I can do on my own, I still can’t help but feel I’ve failed left and right.

And I’m still mostly alone. My husband is not working as much now, and it’s amazing to have his help as I expected to have before. I absolutely love the relationship he and Felix have. But again, still no one else stepped up. It’s just me, him and Felix. No one noticed. No one cared.

But we made it. I adapted. I’m no longer suicidal. I’m no longer sad or upset. I adore Felix. I just learned I can’t depend on anyone to help ME when I need it, especially when I need it most. I’m actually looking into hiring skilled respite care for date nights and much-needed breaks when I become overwhelmed. That way I can reduce my own stress levels to be the best mom I can for Felix. Hopefully we can find the right person, or people, that can see and understand what Felix is all about, and who can build a good relationship with him for their visits. He needs a good team. They can be our extended family, in a way.

Felix playing with his dads phone after lunch, while eating out. And me, peeking around him. Lol. Just for fun. Life is better now. 💖

Finding Myself

This has turned out to be a somewhat long post, but just barely touches on the highlights of my thought process. I’m not comfortable going into more detail in a public forum. If you’re a close friend or family member of mine and you’d like to talk about this, please send me a PM on social media or text me and I’d be happy to answer questions or discuss things in more depth.

I have always dated and been in relationships with men. Growing up, and around the time I started understanding sexuality, all of my examples in life were straight. My mom and dad weren’t together, and they both dated. My grandparents were very happily committed (and a shining example of a loving relationship). My aunts and uncles, cousins, and family friends were all straight. I knew no different. I knew that girls were attractive to me, but rationalized it to be more of an idolization rather than attraction.

Also while growing up, being raised mostly by a single mom, she taught me never to trust men. She always taught me to be aware of my surroundings, carry car keys between my fingers while walking alone after dark, and always check my back seats in my vehicle to check or predators. Yes, all of this is good advice, even now. Especially now. But on some level it helped along the mindset that most, if not all men, are predators. This all checked out within my experiences because I endured rape and sexual abuse by adult men while I was still a child.

During my later teenage and high school years, there were a couple of girls I actually developed feelings for, one of which ended up dating one of my other female friends. I was very jealous, but never really processed it as jealousy in terms of romance. I rationalized it as jealousy because two of my close friends were hanging out and doing things without me. I was missing out. But even when I confessed my feelings to those I had crushes on, neither reciprocated my feelings. It was disappointing and it hurt, and so I defaulted to what was familiar and easy, which was getting attention from guys.

I continued throughout my entire adult life labeling myself as bisexual, but only ever had relationships with men. Nearly every relationship I’ve ever been in with a man has been either psychologically, emotionally, or sexually abusive in some way. I was never fully satisfied with the physical intimacy part of those relationships, but I continued with it to get attention, to feel loved, and to have companionship, even if those relationships were detrimental to me.

Once a few years ago I had a short-lived little fling with a female friend. It was inappropriate, so ended quickly, and we were able to salvage our friendship. However, even in that moment, I realized on some level that the feelings I had in that situation with her were more intense than anything I’d felt before with men. You’d think that would be my “aha!” moment. But I don’t learn things easily…

Right now I am married for the third time, and have been divorced twice. My current marriage to Jarrod has been far from perfect, but we love each other and we plan to stay together. We love our family, and don’t want Felix to come from a broken home. We’re happy. Nothing is planned to change about our situation… However throughout the last couple months I have been evaluating my history, the feelings and experiences I’ve had, and how it all fits together and makes sense for ME.

And you know what? I am a lesbian. I know what/who I’m attracted to. I know what causes the reaction of physical and emotional attraction, and that is women AND my husband. Ok yeah, of course my husband is (and always has been) anatomically male. But for lack of a better term, he’s been grandfathered in due to the fact that I love him. I love him, I love our family, and I love where we are in life. I don’t want that to change. He knows all about my feelings and recent self-discovery, and he loves me anyway of course.

So what does this change? Nothing, outwardly. Internally, I feel much more comfortable in my skin knowing where I stand. Its a relief to know my true self and not be in denial or hiding it from anyone. I’m no longer looking to seek approval from the male gaze (other than my husband’s), which is a very freeing feeling. I can relax and be my authentic self.

Snapshot Of Our Lives

Life is ever-changing. Tastes change, circumstances change, people grow and change. I know where I am now, and what I do on a daily basis is far different today than it was a year ago. Or the year before that. So I’m going to make this post once or twice per year. This is a snapshot of what my life looks like today.

Today Felix woke me around 10:30am, which has gotten earlier over the past couple weeks. He was sleeping in until noon. He cuddles me for a few minutes before he goes to play, a morning tradition I cherish. He and I woke Jarrod, and then Felix played for a while while Jarrod and I checked our phone notifications.

Felix and Scout, just starting the day.

Then Jarrod cooked some eggs for the three of us, and I got our drinks. Today we had cold cereal with our eggs, other days we have toast with peanut butter, bacon, or oatmeal. While we have breakfast we watch something on the iPad. News, game shows, reality shows, or sitcoms. Today it was Big Bang Theory. Once we were done eating, around 11:45am, Jarrod left for work. He works noon til 9:00pm right now.

Today we had no appointments. So we didn’t have much to do. I took a shower while Cory hung out in the living room with Felix. Felix played with his toys in the living room and rode his horsey all over the house. Cory played on my computer for a while and had a show playing on the TV. I chatted with him and cruised social media. I also did some light cleaning, and watched our kittens play. Around 3, Felix crawled up into my lap and passed out for a nap. He naps on me, Jarrod or Cory when he naps. Typically he sleeps for about 30 minutes, but today it was about an hour and a half.

Sleepy boy!

Other days Felix may have a checkup or therapy, we may have friends to hang out with, or shopping to do. Sometimes my mom or Jarrod’s will visit, Evan or one of the girls will hang out for a while, or we will go out to eat. If Jarrod has a day off we usually find something to do outside of the house.

Once Felix woke up from his nap, I fed him lunch. After lunch he watched a couple episodes of the cartoons Pablo and Simon on Netflix while I placed an order online at Walmart for pickup, like I do a couple times per week. As of right now, COVID and RSV are quite common amongst children, and though everyone else in the house is vaccinated against COVID, I’m doing my part to protect Felix by reducing my contact with the public. So currently (again) I’m not taking him into stores much. So our trips to the store for pickup are regular outings as well.

When we got back from the store we had a snack, and I put on some music on YouTube for Felix. He LOVES Billy Strings, so I just put some videos on and he will watch and dance. That has bought me a little time to write this blog post. Even though Andy just decided to emerge from his room for the first time since I’ve been awake today. Nevertheless, I’m continuing to write because I’ve already had too many distractions over the last couple days. Once I’m done, I’ll get supper started.

Felix on his horsey, Billy Strings videos playing.

We will eat late, once Jarrod gets home from work. Usually around 9:30-10pm. He will take a shower before he eats, and bathe Felix once supper is over. That’s their bonding time, since he’s gone for most of Felix’s waking hours. While that’s going on, I’ll get the kitchen cleaned up, and maybe tidy up a few other things. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Sims 4 in the evenings before bed. Jarrod will have Friends or some other sitcom playing on the TV and will play with Felix or look at his phone if Felix is busy playing. We will talk about the day and update each other on anything important or entertaining that happened, or anything coming up either of us should be aware of.

Felix is usually ready to sleep around 12:30-ish. So we will head to the bedroom, read Felix a couple stories, and he and I will brush our teeth. And then we will get into bed. I hold Felix until he falls asleep, and then lay him down on his mattress, which is right up against ours. Jarrod and I both stay in bed at that point too. And the day is over.

The therapies Felix has are Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. He currently has referrals to get his vision and hearing checked again, and has an upcoming appointment with the Developmental Specialist, and Genetics.

Today was a mellow, rather boring day. Not all days are like today. In fact, often we have so much to do that we’re all exhausted by the end of the day. But right now, I love where we are. I love how Felix is my best friend, and is so much fun to play with and go to appointments with. He enjoys therapy and all of our outings. There are times I feel overwhelmed by my lack of alone time, but then I just take a step back and remember these days won’t last forever. In fact, these days will be short and sweet, and someday not too far into the future I will miss my little boy and our fun times together.

Not today, but adorable anyway. 💕

This is a snapshot of now. I know things will change so much, so it will be nice to have this post as a little reminder of today.

One And Done

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.