I Love You, Momma.

Postive Affirmations for Momma


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Celebrating Memorial Day and Feelings of Restlessness

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John returned to work on Memorial Day, so my mom, step-father, and cousin DeAnna came over to celebrate Memorial Day. I am still not fully recovered and not completely up to hauling a 3 week old over to someone’s house (think diapers, formula, burp cloths, extra clothes, etc. plus all the things my toddler requires.

Typical of my mom, she brought over a grill and we all made burgers (I made portobello mushroom burgers for myself, with some grilled asparagus). And she left a ton of food, again typical of my mom. DeAnna purchased Juliette a small plastic pool for her to play with and like all new things she was obsessed. I had the idea to use the pool to fill with random objects (rice, beans, buttons, balls etc) and give Juliette the chance to have some sort of sensory game that I can leave her in for a short time. We filled the pool with a little bit of water but three seconds in Juliette slipped and face planted in the water (it was only like an inch) and she was done after that.

When John got home we had a long talk. Having Jackson is so completely different from when I had Juliette. I don’t think I was ever away from her until she was 5-6 months old. I was so anxious to leave her (excluding her dad). But this time I am so anxious to get back to school. The main reason is probably because I just want to finish as soon as possible (I mean Juliette will almost be 3 by the time I am graduating anyway). I don’t know if other stay-at-home moms feel the way I do at times, but occasionally I get the feeling that I don’t contribute to our household, simply because I don’t bring any finances to the table. That’s not saying I do nothing all day. I mean, I take care of the house, kids, meals, shopping, budget. I know all that would fall to the waste side if I was working, because it did when I had a job. John and I constantly fought about dishes, laundry, and meals not being prepared. I was so tired, and worn thin from working that home life was less of a priority to me. When I was home I would have much rather played with Juliette than sweep up the dog food for the tenth time that morning. Neither one of us wants to be in that position again, but we can’t say that we don’t miss the extra finances (I was food serving, so at least bringing home an extra $100/day, on top of a paycheck). Is it worth it? Should I start serving again? I really hated it, and honestly I wasn’t really that good. I worked on weekends at a high traffic breakfast joint and I don’t care what anyone says, food serving is hard! I messed up plenty of orders, and that’s after having worked at the restaurant for a year already as a hostess. I knew the menu backwards and forwards, but I still always forgot to ask people what kind of toast they wanted. I don’t know if I am necessarily good at food serving, I think they only promoted me because I knew the menu so well, but no one taught me how to be a good server. I couldn’t multitask well to begin with and now after the birth of my second, my mind is even more gone.

I just want to help our family financially. We have so many goals. We want to both graduate school. Cosmetology, for me (1.5 years left… at least….) and John wants to start a film degree of sorts from Full Sail, which will take him two years. We want to get out of Vegas, and get into the film industry. I’m really dying to take an airbrushing certification class. The sooner I get that cert. I can start working on the strip at some of the cirque du soleil shows. We don’t know if post graduation if we are going to try moving to California for work, but I know eventually we want to end up in Seattle. If John really wanted to make it big in film, I know that we would almost indefinitely move to California first, but if he’s thinking of working on more indie films, I think we could skip Cali and head straight for the North West. 

It just sucks because the longer I sit here……. the longer it is until we get there ^
I just want to get back to school.
xo, Rhea

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On Breastfeeding and Being That Small Percent.

Before I had Juliette, like most first time moms, I was so looking forward to breastfeeding. It is something that fascinated me. My mom had breastfed me until I was 10 months old, and honestly she made it sound easy and natural. Well, it’s definitely neither.

Juliette lost 2 lbs after she was born (thankfully she was born at 9 lbs so she didn’t get too tiny) I had to start supplementing with formula at one week, and the vicious circle continued until I quit breastfeeding when she was 12 weeks old. I tried everything to get out of the supplementing spiral and get breastfeeding to work for us. We shelled out so much money on a pump, SNS, shields, everything to make breastfeeding work. I tried herbs and drank gatorade, ate oatmeal, did everything I heard would increase my supply. At 5 weeks old she refused to latch, and I continued to pump drops and give them too her. Eventually, I got mastitis, and then I got it again. All this led to feelings of depression and I stopped for my own sanity.

While preparing for Jackson, I was determined to follow the rules and guidelines to make sure breastfeeding was a success for us. During his first couple days he was attached to me, like normal, but I could see that I was producing significantly more milk than I was while nursing Juliette. I was encouraged. Around day 5, though, we noticed he started to look slightly jaundiced. The midwives came to our home, weighed him, and found out he had lost a pound. And the circle of supplementing had started again.

I was so confused. Why was this SO easy for so many people, but here I am struggling to do something my body was supposed to naturally do? I met with a Lactation Consultant the next day and learned what was wrong.

Before you have a baby, people tell you that women not producing enough milk is a myth. That there is a small percent that physically cannot produce enough milk because of biological reasons and you are likely not in that percent. Well, after my meeting with the LC I found out I am that small percent.

At some point when my body was going through puberty, I didn’t grow enough mammary glands. It is something called IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) and it’s not common. While I can produce some milk, the LC told me I will likely never have a full supply (she did say it’s not impossible, but my babies would be feeding every hour until they were on some sort of solids).

When she left my house I started immediately bawling. This is why everything has been so difficult, and it will continue to be difficult because I physically can’t make enough milk. Upon researching, most websites refer to it as a deformity and hearing that about myself left me so distraught. I’m sure all women have insecurity about their breasts, but I always felt like something was wrong with me. I was different and plenty of people noticed (i.e. the teasing I received in middle/high school) People always told me that I was just going to be a “late bloomer” but I really never bloomed at all to some extent. I felt like a gargoyle. I remember feeling like I just wanted to cut them off and get rid of them forever. And I immediately felt like I wanted to quit nursing Jackson.

I held on for another week or so and one night I just decided not to nurse him. I knew he wanted it though. Juliette preferred the bottle as soon as we gave one to her, but Jackson preferred breast even after having plenty of supplemented formula. It broke my heart that night because he was looking for me. I would make sure he was full of formula and he would continue to root around looking to nurse, just for comfort. That was the bond I was looking for with Juliette that I never got and now I didn’t even want it. I hated myself so much. A week passed. I felt the engorgement for a couple days but would express enough to feel relieved in the shower and that was gone before I knew it. But I was still making milk.

Formula was so hard on him. He was constipated to the point of screaming. I felt this overwhelming since of guilt because I hated myself too much to nurse him. I knew that just a little bit of breast milk would be all he needed to relieve his digestion, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I suggested donor milk to John because I knew he was uncomfortable with using another mom’s milk to feed our babies, but he agreed without an argument because of the pain Jackson was in. I found a mom shortly after who donated 30 oz and wanted to continue to donate every week. What a blessing! I knew it wasn’t enough to feed him full time but any breast milk was better than none. He was so young and I knew he needed the immunities and antibodies from milk and even if it was only 4-6 oz a day, at least it was something.

This morning I woke up and I was leaking through my shirt. This is especially strange because I hadn’t expressed any milk in just under a week. I had this thought that maybe I could pump. If all I got was a feeding a day at least it was something, and then with the other mom’s milk, maybe we could combine and offer him something great. Again, any breast milk is better than none.

I pumped with Juliette but I had no idea what I was doing and literally only ever got drops. I sat down with all my supplies (thoroughly washed and sanitized because I was a tiny bit grossed out that it was sitting in a box in our garage) and I got an ounce of milk in 5 minutes. Clearly that was 10x’s more than I ever got before and I was immediately encouraged. So I decided to start loading up on my herbs and pumping every two hours. Two hours later I was ready for my next pumping session but Jackson was awake and hungry. So I nursed him. The first time in a week I had felt him nurse and it was different. He felt stronger. I remember his suck being so weak and his mouth being tiny and his latch being shallow, but now he was bigger and stronger and it was like nursing another baby. He was frustrated after a couple sucks, which was to be expected. I mean he was hungry and there wasn’t much there. But we did it.

I’m going to continue with some lactation herbs and pumping a couple times a day, maybe I can give him some more milk. Like I said, even if it’s just one feeding a day. At least it’s something.
xo, Rhea


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Spring Cleaning/Still More Labor/Toddler Sleeps

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What is it about spring that makes you want to clean? I always thought “Spring Cleaning” was a myth of sorts, but after today I think it may actually be a primal response. As of the first (this coming Thursday) John and I will have lived in our new town home for 4 months, and after moving as many times as we have, (seven times in a year in a half!) I know that it’s just between the 3 and 4 month mark that you finally unpack your last box. John may be experiencing some sort of nesting of his own today, he organized the entire garage, emptied out a desk we are attempting to get rid of up stairs, set up the baby swing, and moved the dresser we had the living room TV on upstairs so we could finally organize all of little man’s clothing. Oh, and he mounted the TV, which some times makes me feel like I live in a day care, but I’m just glad to have the space. I write as if we have all this stuff, but we really have purged so much crap in the last seven moves. But somehow there are still those couple boxes we both refuse to throw away. My philosophy has always been the less crap you have the simpler life can be. So while we did a lot of projects today, it didn’t really take more than a couple hours because there wasn’t that much more purging to do.

I attempted to do lots of cleaning on my own today as well, but because of all the nesting I have been doing for the past couple weeks already, there wasn’t much more to be done. I spent the morning cleaning the kitchen, but now as I sit here at the end of the day, its dirty again. Story of my life. I didn’t even do any laundry today. Oh, but I did bake today! I’m still in that Early Latent Labor, where I’m having hours of timeable contractions that just stop randomly. Last night I was awake until 11pm, woke up at 3:17am (like every night) and was awake until 7am when John and Juliette got up. I was having contractions every 15 minutes or so, then nothing. I was exhausted today, but I remember this from my last pregnancy as well. I don’t know if its subconscious anticipation that the contractions will turn into real labor, or if I just really can’t sleep, but all I know is that chasing a toddler is hard on 4ish hours of sleep.

The photo above was taken about an hour ago, as John was preparing Juliette for sleep. Those two don’t have the happiest of times trying to go to bed, so I tried suggesting they read a story. She normally is a kinesthetic learner and must. touch. all. things (but I think that’s most toddlers, honestly) but tonight she just laid there and listened to him read. I just heard him open the door about 15 minutes ago (my cue that she’s asleep and the room is safe for entering) so I’m assuming it went better than normal. I mean it probably took him 30 minutes to put her to sleep, plus shes down a lot earlier than normal. She’s probably tired from all the spring cleaning too. I want to start helping her learn to fall asleep herself, but honestly I can count on my hand the number of times she’s just fallen asleep without any sort of coaxing (rocking, humming, cuddling). I have always just followed along with however she chose to sleep, whatever she felt soothed her best, but I’m hoping to make the big girl transition into her own room soon. And eventually being able to let her put herself to sleep. Part of me wonders if that is even realistic. Can a 15-month-old really just fall asleep? Can my 15-month-old put herself to sleep? I just don’t want to force her to do something for my convenience…. I have some reading to do.

Before I sat down to write this I was in Juliette’s room (but not the one she sleeps in) stuffing her cloth diapers and I was just reveling at how blessed I felt. I mean, I know I’m blessed. I know that being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the biggest blessings there is, but really, how do I deserve this? How do I deserve this life? I don’t. I have never done anything phenomenally moral in my life. I have never helped anyone in extreme need. I love to live my life by karmic law, but really what good have I done? I really want to hold onto this season for so long because I know how life works. There are ups and downs and I’m so terrified for when this ends, so I want to enjoy it now.  I feel thankful for this season and I hope I make the best of it. I hope I can really do good in this season so that it makes the next one a little easier.

I just found out Kawaii makes newborn diapers now, so I may have to go browse their website for the next hour or so….
xo, Rhea


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Super Veggie Bowl of Deliciousness: A Recipe

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This is a meal I have on hand that I make when I’m feeling like eating something super comforting but healthy. When John and I are doing really well on our diets, this is made often in our house. I originally got the recipe from Oh, She Glows but it can be made a MILLION different ways. The main premise behind this bowl is brown rice, roasted veggies, and some sort of protein to go with it (in this case we have the roasted chic peas, hummus, and avocado). Basically, this is the vegan version (and way tastier version) of chicken, rice and veggies, a dieting staple for most people.

This isn’t the hardest meal to make but it is a little involved, at least until you get your timing down with the rice being done and veggies coming out of the oven at the same time.

If you are looking for a healthy, hearty meal with lots of flavor, this is what you are looking for.

SUPER VEGGIE BOWL

Ingredients:

Brown Rice
2 cans of organic chic peas
Asparagus
2 Red Peppers
2-3 cups raw spinach
1 clove garlic
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
Toppings: Fresh Avocado and Spicy Pepper Hummus (I use Athenos)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare the rice.
2. Rinse chic peas in a strainer, place them on a dry cloth towel to dry and remove all shells. The easiest way to do this is to rub them gently in the towel and the shells simply just fall off.
3. Coat chic peas in olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Then place onto a greased baking sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Flip and cook for another 15 minutes. 4. Cut up your red peppers, length-wise, and chop ends off asparagus. Coat these in olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place on a greased baking sheet and put these in the oven after you flip the chic peas.
5. Once you remove both baking sheets from the oven, heat up a frying pan with olive oil and garlic and cook spinach until wilted. Depending on your tastes, it should fry up in a minute or two. I don’t like my spinach completely cooked, just slightly wilted.
6. Prepare your dish with brown rice on the bottom, top with veggies and chic peas then add some diced fresh avocado and a big scoop of spicy hummus.

 

Like I said there is a million ways to make this. It’s a good way to eat some veggies that you aren’t necessarily fond of. It’s filling and great for those dieting days. Oh, and this is definitely a toddler approved meal in our house! Hope you enjoy!
xo, Rhea

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Why I’m Over Pregnancy

20140408-085914.jpgI have been pregnant for 19 months of the past 23 months (just short of two years). I conceived my first in May 2012, and I am due with my second in May 2014. Needless to say, I am over pregnancy. I’m over the growing and shrinking, I’m over the shortness of breath, and the gasping for air at the top of the stairs, I’m done with all the waking to pee, yet still obsessing about my water intake. I’m done with the blood work, done with the fundal height measuring. I’m done with Braxton Hicks contractions, and real contractions, and I-think-these-are-real-because-they-hurt contractions. I’m done with getting asked my due date (because its not like babies actually come on their due dates anyway. I’m just over all of it!

I’m technically 36 weeks and 4 days today, going from my ultrasound measurement. But if you want to go from my LMP date, I’m 38 weeks and 1 day, so do you see why this can be so frustrating. It’s the difference between having a week or so to go, or a whole month entirely (I mean, not technically, but when you are this close to the end even a day of waiting is an entire day of anxiously waiting.) I’m either at the end, or almost at the end. This whole pregnancy has gone by SO quick, and now I’m at the end and it CANNOT GO ANY SLOWER! This Friday we will see our midwife, and I’m pretty sure she will do a cervical check then, and we will hope and pray that I am any sort of dilated!

The past four days I have been having consistent/regular contractions. Some are painful, some are uncomfortable, some are just plain annoying, but they are there and I am without a doubt feeling them, unlike my last pregnancy. Probably because I know what I’m feeling this time too.

With Juliette, I started having “signs of labor” around Christmas. She was due January 22nd, but I didn’t have here until February 5th. So with this baby, I feel like I’m getting anxious (and excited) only to have to wait another month or so. I’m trying my hardest to be patient, trying to develop some sort of plan to still get all the stuff we need for this guy, but there’s not a whole lot of doing that can be done when the funds aren’t there. I just want to go to sleep and wake up when I’m in labor.

So now, here’s the crazy pregnancy hormones talking and I feel completely opposite to everything I have stated above. My daughter is 14-months-old and this is the last few weeks I have when I can give her all my attention and love and can focus solely on her (between the back twisting contractions that is). These are the last few moments of “just us”. I want to show her life everyday, take her places and do things with her, and I have no idea where this is coming from. I want to walk her to the park, but I’m too big, and having too many contractions to hardly make it up the stairs. I’m so sick of the excuses.

I pray to God, that my energy comes back. I don’t remember how long it took after I had Juliette to get my energy back, but I hope I can as soon as possible. Its going to be summer, and I want to experience all that Las Vegas summer’s have to offer.

 

Come on, baby boy. Stop teasing me!
xo, Rhea


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I’m Having a Boy!

T-25 days until due date of my little guy. I’m a huge stack of emotions, but there is a lot of unresolved feelings on the whole gender thing. When John and I were pregnant with Juliette we both WANTED a boy, but when they told us it was a girl I can’t say I wasn’t relieved. Having a girl is easy, because I am one. I know that John was nervous or unsettled, but I’m going to go into that a little bit later.

I knew when I got pregnant this time around, it was a boy right away. I told people I didn’t really have a “feeling” because I wanted Juliette to have a sister. But, I knew it. I feel like with a boy there are so many more decisions you have to make ahead of time. I’m just gonna write all these feelings out, so if there is no reason or order to these things I apologize in advance.

1. Circumcision. I have avoided talking about this with so many people, and I can normally skate around the issue a little bit, because his business isn’t really my business, but I knew this would have to be a conversation with Johnathan. After Juliette was born, and seeing her get her feet poked to test her blood sugars and getting the PKU I knew I never wanted to purposefully put my children through pain, if it was unnecessary. Of course, blood testing is necessary, and we can argue the necessity of circumcision, but I just decided that I wouldn’t force my son to experience any pain. Also, I never circumcised Juliette, so it didn’t seem logical that its illegal to perform on my daughter, but not on my son. The whole idea of circumcision doesn’t logically make sense to me. Anyway, I remember the night John and I had the talk about it. He was sitting on our brown leather recliner and I was sitting on our hand-me-down couch that smelled like cats. We were talking about names and I hesitantly expressed that I really hoped it was not a boy. He looked at me confused and I explained (much like this whole post) how there are so many things to know on how to raise a boy and I just felt like I couldn’t do it well enough…. and that I was really against circumcision. I tried to just sweep it in because I really didn’t want an argument on it, because I didn’t really have a leg to stand on except that I knew it hurt and I didn’t want to hurt my baby. He paused for a second, and asked why I was against it. And I believe my response simply was “Well, it’s not my penis. And I think he should be able to make the decision for himself.” I love this next part. He just looked back at the TV and responded “Ok.” No argument, no tension. It just logically made sense to him (one good thing about men, logic makes sense to them). And that was that. I have since gone on to research circumcision and have better feelings to back up my decision against it (although why do I have to defend my sons right to decide for himself?). 

2. How a woman will raise a man. I will be honest. IF I were a single mother, this boy probably would be a huge push-over mama’s boy that would marry an over controlling woman, and be the super sensitive crier. I have feelings about boys, and I have a hard time respecting boys that don’t turn into men. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a super sensitive man, as long as he can lead his family with confidence and strength. I think John is a great example of what I am talking about, because he is not afraid to be emotional but I have never seen anyone doubt that he is a man. John assured me that because I thought that way about him, our son would be fine. Most boys turn into their fathers, just like most girls turn into their mothers (and we all love to hate it don’t we!). I love John and if I ever had any doubt about who our son would grow up to be, I can rest assured that John’s got that!

3. Teaching a man to be gentle. Now on the completely opposite side of the spectrum, one thing I try to teach Juliette and was hoping to teach to my son as well, is how to be gentle. John says to make that sound more masculine, I want to teach him to be able to control his strength. I have 5 brothers, and I see characteristics that are innately birthed in them, that was never taught. Like turning a stick into a sword. And while that is something I admire about the male species, the fact that there is strength in them without needing to be taught, it scares me! My brothers were ROUGH growing up. I thankfully had a mom who taught them that “Girls are fragile” from the time they were very young so that I never had to experience the full force of their strength. I want to teach my son to control his strength without teaching him to be weak. This is a lesson I probably will have to learn daily, and will probably be corrected by Johnathan many times, but I’m open to learn with this one.

4. I’m scared I’ll love him too much. I know this isn’t a bad thing. I know that loving your child unconditionally is the best gift you can give them, because they will know they are completely accepted and always will be. However, I’m scared that by showering him in my love and affection somehow this will hinder him. Stunt his growth in manliness. This may be illogical, but I just don’t want to be the person who turns him into the type of guys that annoy me.

And all these fears I have are so silly. I have Johnathan! He knows what he’s doing with a boy, just like I know what I’m doing with a girl. He trusts me and I just need to trust him. I know that raising a boy will be difficult, but I’m so thankful I have a partner who I love 100% and I can trust 100% to do the best job possible with our son.

I’m glad to finally get this out of my head. To clarify though, I am EXTREMELY excited and anxious to have a son now. I can’t wait for him to get here!

xo, Rhea

 

 


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5 Things That Make Me Happy :)

Continuing on in the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series, I realized I probably won’t go exactly in order. Some posts are longer and harder for me to write and in fear of becoming stagnant, I would prefer to keep writing other posts and go back. So, what are the 5 things that make you most happy right now? I’m glad you asked!

1. Juliette – duh. I know, I know. I’m a biased because she’s my daughter, but she is seriously the funniest, craziest little person I have ever met. I love her fake laugh – it just makes me think she must find herself hilarious. I love this cough thing she does when she is frustrated. I love how hard she tries to tell us things, and have conversations with us, but she speaks toddler and I really don’t understand it! I always think of this poem whenever she talks to me.

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2. This Weather. I know that we are going through this second (or third maybe?) winter, but I love having the windows open, hearing life. It’s only cold really late at night/early in the morning but warms up significantly during the day. I always feel the outside calling to me, like I need to just go, and be outside. But there are a million and one excuses why I don’t. Of course.

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3. This Blog. I’m just going to be honest. It’s the first thing I have felt passionate and committed to in a LONG time. I have been doing this for what, a week, but I constantly have ideas. If anything it fulfills that part of me that is desperate to journal, but I have no time or energy to write. And I really am looking forward to coming back to this in a year or so, and seeing where we were, and what we were overcoming and giving the future me a little hope, and a chance to see some progress in our life.

4. Being on leave from school. I am taking some time off school before/after my guy comes for obvious reasons, but being home in the afternoons with John and Juliette really makes me happy. I am more exhausted than I was before, and the house is more of a mess than it was before, but at least I get to see my girl to sleep every night and make sure she eats a big dinner so she will sleep well. And I don’t mind not having to stand and do hair for 5 hours a night 🙂

5. Blue Bell Ice Cream. I’m just going to put this in here so I can get the blog up, but since its been on sale at the grocery store it sure has made me happy. And started up my sugar craving again, which I mean that part sucks, but whatever. I enjoy a nice mug of ice cream in the evenings when we watch That 70’s Show or Dexter or some weird movie on Netflix.

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Life is looking up right now and I’m really, really thankful for that. I am fighting so hard to keep that positivity for us because its so easy to be stressed and worried about how much we don’t have at the moment. But things are looking up, and maybe just cause its Friday.

xo, Rhea


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Describe Your Realtionship With Your Partner.

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Post #3, I’m on a roll! I changed the name of this because Johnathan isn’t technically my spouse, yet. But, he will be.

I met John when I was 16, kind of in passing. It was at least enough for us to add each other on Facebook. We debate the reason we even started talking, but my version is that I was with my brothers, and they were poking fun at me and he jokingly made them feel bad for picking on a girl. The reason this is debated is because John would never normally do that for anyone. He is the fun-poker! But anyway, we really began our friendship a year or so later while I was living in Texas. I posted a picture of a painting I had done, he liked it, I commented on a picture he drew, conversation ensues. He was in a relationship at the time, I was single, but he started cyber-stalking me. Liking all my posts, commenting on my statuses, etc. We started debating religion and life and it was really nice for me to talk to someone so different from me. I was a very rule following religious person and he was very grace-minded and that was nice. Frustrating, but nice. Over the next 8 months, his relationship ended and our friendship began to grow. I remember being completely against the idea of dating him, because he never followed any rules or he would get as close as he could without breaking them for the sake of fun. It annoyed me and frustrated me, but in the end its the quality I probably enjoy most about him, the part of him that balances me. What was the most attractive quality about John, which is probably a major turn-off and con for most women, is that he was so strong-willed. I’m a very opinionated person, and most guys just rolled over when it came to decision making and I was in the room. But, he never let me be the decision maker. He always had to have the last say, and I knew that I needed that. He was attracted to how smart I was as well, which I have mentioned before has always intimidated people but not him. We began an intentional friendship in January 2011, and began dating in July 2011. By May 2012, we were expecting our first child which threw our relationship through the ringer. It challenged us so deeply to accept the fact that we had to grow up. I was 19, he was 21. We went through a lot over the next year or so. Part of the thing about having a kid so young is having to grow up with your partner. Grown ups have babies, and when you are not there yet, you have to get there together. You have to learn responsibility together.

I can describe our relationship in one word: balance. We are opposites, in most everything in our relationship. He’s the ultra-modern, movie guy. I’m the hippie, home-made, vegan. He’s very street smart. I’m book smart. I like to take walks, he, well…. he doesn’t. And as frustrating as it can be for us at times to find something to do together that we both will enjoy, it’s the part of our relationship that has saved us and kept us together for so long.

We are still so young, I’m 21 and he’s 24. And we both admittedly have so much to learn. We both get impatient with each others immaturity but we both understand that we are becoming grown ups together and we cant be expected to act like it just yet. But we have come a long way. I don’t think we have actually had a big blow up in over a year, no threats to leave and imagining life without each other. We are committed to one another, which I think is so rare.

Our relationship is so special to me. It’s not perfect but that’s ok, perfect isn’t good for me. I used to strive for perfection in all the little things in my life until I finally surrendered to what this relationship gave me. It broke down so many ugly things in me, and has changed me into a person that I really like. This relationship has created in me a “go with the flow” personality. I have become so accepting of people’s flaws I can actually enjoy being with imperfect people. I love Johnathan for what his love has taught me. And I am beyond thankful for him everyday.

His sacrifice for his kids and I is tremendous. He works full time (more than full time!) and supports us so that I can be home with Juliette, and attend school at night. He has put his dreams aside (just for the time being) so that I can go reach mine until the tables can reverse and I can support him while he chases his. He pushes me and encourages me and wants so much success for us that it’s contagious. I want success for us. He relaxes me when I stress and helps me think when I’m being unreasonable.

I’m a lucky girl, I will never deny that.
xo, Rhea


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My 3 Fears.

This is post #2 of the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me. Describe 3 legitimate fears of yours, and how they became your fears.

1. Having to parent my children by myself.
This fear comes from multiple places. a.) having divorced parents b.) a long history of insecurity with whether people even like me or not c.) damaging my children by not being the one who is pouring into them the lessons they need to know about life.
So, starting with the divorced parents thing. I am lucky that I didn’t have a very nasty divorce between my parents, largely in fact to my step-mothers influence in my father’s life and advocating for me not to have to live through that. But nonetheless, divorces are damaging to children whether amicable or not. I had this revelation at the age of 17, when I was living in Texas with some roommates that it was the first time in my life I wasn’t packing up a ton of my stuff to go stay with another parent every weekend. That was really hard for me to get used to. Even now at 21 years old I FINALLY don’t want to move from where we are, at least not for a while anyway. Going back and forth between houses really messed me up. I never learned how to be content. I also didn’t learn how to deal with issues until I was an adult. I had a tense relationship with my step father but I never had to learn how to deal with them or change myself because I only saw him for 2 or 3 days at a time. It also damaged my relationships with people. I didn’t have the most social teenage years because when friends were going out for the weekend, I had to make sure I was spending time with my mom because she didn’t see me all week. Which leads to the second part of that, whether people even like me.

Outside of my relationship with Johnathan, I have never had a real relationship. Something I am proud of but could also be a big handicap if anything were to happen to him. Growing up I was always the annoying kid. In high school, I was still annoying. As an adult, I ave become way more reserved and less social, because I still have that fear that I am still annoying. I can count the friends I have on one hand (honestly there’s probably only one or two) and I don’t always know how I feel about that. I’m opinionated and smart (not to be cocky, but I really enjoy reading and learning new things). A lot of people are turned off by my knowledge. Somehow the smart thing has worked for my dad and sister, as they are very social and have lots of friends, but for me, not so much. So If anything were to happen to Johnathan I feel as though I would surely be a single parent, because no one could love me. He’s the only guy I have ever met that was attracted and not intimidated by my knowledge. I think that’s pretty sweet though!

The last part of this fear comes from an over-controlling-mama-bear place. I don’t trust people. I read too much and have too much of a opinion to just let other people raise my kids. If I was a single parent I would have to be the income for my family, taking away from time with my children and having to let other people raise them, and spend a majority of the time with them. I chose to have kids so that I could be there with them and watch them grow and raise to be kind, compassionate, world-changers. I didn’t have kids so that I could grow in my career, or that they could be in daycare (though I’m not bashing any momma who does, because for some moms that fulfills them) I am most fulfilled when teaching my 14-month-old new words and sounds, or when we go on walks, or when we eat lunch together and she feeds me grapes. I’m so fulfilled being a mother. To hand that position over to someone else gives me so much anxiety. My spine tingles just thinking about it.

2. Being “poor”.

I’m nervous with how to write this because I don’t want to sound pretentious or spoiled. I was blessed growing up to live without ever needing anything. Not that we were like rolling in dough, but our basics needs were always met. We were never hungry, always had clean clothes, always had power to our home, and when things broke we could afford to fix them. That is all I want in my life. I don’t need to have the best of everything, I just need good food, clean clothes and a warm home. So when money gets a little tight, I stress out. I just want my babies to have full tummies and clothes that fit. I don’t feel wrong in wanting this. I don’t feel any shame, but I feel that shortening it could be misleading.

I have seen a lot of less fortunate families, and lots of kids who wore clothes that were too small, and stained, and when they came into our home they were HUNGRY. I have seen kids just shovel cereal into their mouths and it broke my heart to wonder when they last ate. I never want that for my kids and I think its a great motivator for me.

3. Loosing my kids.

I feel like this is self explanatory. Sickness, kidnappings, or just plain they don’t want to talk to me anymore and cut me out of their lives. A lot of this is just a momma fear. No mom wants their children to be sick or taken away from them, but choosing to cut me out of their lives comes from a personal place. I spent a long time not talking to my parents, because we differed in opinions in life, but I feel it is always the parents responsibility to mend the gap and create the compromise. No matter how old the child is. Parents are parents until death. Parents put their lives aside for the child until death. I never understood how my parents were “ok” with me refusing to speak to them. I never understood why they gave up calling me and trying to fix things. I could never do that. It’s part of the reason John and I are so big on the gentle parenting approach because that relationship starts now. My kids are their own people, with their own thoughts and opinions and one day they will become world-changers. I have decided now to start listening to my children. It’s their life, they are free to live how they choose. I am here to guide them, keep them safe and out of trouble, and to equip them with the knowledge of right and wrong so that when I am not around they will choose the right thing (side note: they are going to choose right because its right, not because they fear the consequence of doing wrong) I’m not here to control them and stifle who they are. I’m here to foster those wild fires of personality into controlled burns. To teach them to harness their power (that sounds lame, but I mean you catch my drift). This is going of on a tangent but maybe I will turn this into another blog post one day!

 

This blog didn’t take me nearly as long to write, score! But it is super revealing, and vulnerable and that was difficult.

xo, Rhea.