30 Days of Truth, Family, Friends, Happiness, Truth, Victory!, work

30 Days of what the hell…

I’m back to dreading this and I was just remembering how much peace I found in clearing my head with a thousand typed words.

That 30 days of truth shit is no joke… and I’ve been in a particularly difficult head-space. With bills piling up and a surplus of coworkers during a shortage of tables, I’ve been extremely overwhelmed.

I have been at the same restaurant for nearly 4 years. Things have been rough lately and I’m in a place I never dreamed I’d be. I’m burned out, but tied inexplicably to the little old lady with an avocado allergy, who loves how I make her drink, the little kid who comes in when he gets good grades and brings his spelling test to show me, the family that drives hours to catch me up on their winter and their college kids, and the wonderful woman who made me an incredible gingerbread house this Christmas. customerloveI love the customers, and they love me right back. I get requested a lot. It would be easy to write off as me having lived in our small town forever, but I’ve met all these affectionate strangers, over their first bowl of rice with us. I always wanted a big family, and serving has given me one, because I adopt each of my favorites.

One of those customers has become a dear friend, both in appreciating my taking good care of them during their dinner, and outside of work, as a mother and friend. When I was offered a job in their restaurant, with completely different food, etc, I agreed immediately and panicked afterward.

I hate being the new girl. But.

The bills aren’t paying themselves, and as the months tick by, it isn’t getting any easier. I’m ready for a change of scenery if only to cure the cabin fever that sets in during the lengthy grey season. I had just agreed to take the job, when the phone rang with the nanny job of my dreams.

Isn’t it funny how the whole damn world stops on its axis when it realizes you’re willing to get your shit together and do something to help yourself be happier?

Ask and ye shall receive…and receive…aaaand receive.

I started the new job and it’s wonderful. A breath of fresh air with a small menu, friendly helpful staff and spectacular food. Exactly what I needed to shake off my server burnout.

Ooooh and the nanny job. Be still my heart. A 2 year old dumpling to match my own, and a squishy pink newborn gentleman. I was born to rock babies and play tea party. That’s all there is to it.

Thank you, Universe.

Now if I could just get through the remaining 25 days of excruciating truth.

Blogging, Children, Family, Farming, Happiness, Victory!

Write on…

It’s been a long year. In fact…it’s been a long decade.

I finished planting my garden earlier than ever last year. My corn was a huge success for the first time! The pumpkin patch of my dreams, was a reality. Through morning and afternoon baby naps, I managed to get it planted and weeded. It was actually beautiful… but sobering. I CAN grow an acre of vegetables and bottle enough to feed an army, but I don’t NEED to. I’ve given up on the fantasy of my children loving to garden, and I remember clearly how much I hated it as a child. I’m determined to cut back this year so that it’s a blessing, not a burden.

I figured it may be relaxing to write again, if only for myself. I get the nicest emails from people, asking me why I don’t write anymore. I’m not sure how to answer that?

I’m a different person than I used to be. Growing up, and more importantly fucking up; changes you. I guess you could say that I finally learned from my mistakes. As a result of my relationship failing, finding myself as a single mother with a teenager AND a newborn and a side of heartache… I grew up. I’m slowly finding my footing again, while carefully choosing each step with the knowledge that the wrong one can have lasting consequences.

I’m a little sad to see my tiny one grow so fast and I miss her infancy when I see newborns. She lights the whole world up with her constant smile, hilarious laughter and baby chatter. I don’t know how we ever lived without the joy and love she brings to everyone and everywhere. She’s nothing short of magical. I’m that annoying friend on Facebook who shamelessly inundates everyone with baby pictures and videos.

The teenager is absolutely frustratingly normal. Most days I’m the stupidest person in the world and live purely to thwart her plans for part of the day, and her best friend the other half. I am proud of the young lady I know that she is, and hopeful she’ll escape our small town after graduation to pursue her dreams. I’m grateful for the friendship I have with her dad and step-mother.

All in all, and in every aspect; life has calmed down. The custody war has long ended and my relationship with my baby girl’s dad is peaceful and friendly. He’s dating an old friend and has moved back to Colorado to live with her. He calls regularly and I hang pictures of him around the house so she sees his face. She’s just begun to say Daddy. I’m grateful she will grow up surrounded with love, not hostility. I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be raising a baby alone, but I treasure every single second and appreciate that he does everything he can do from thousands of miles away.

We’ve learned to coexist, sleep, love and make the most of every moment in the last year. We’ve weathered financial devastation, laughed through a lot of creative pasta and rice dishes and have found a new-found peace in being carnivorous vegetarians. We all love a good steak but we can afford veggies, and I grew enough to feed us all winter.

Life has changed and it isn’t what I thought it would be, but it is absolutely joyous and full of everything simple and sweet that I treasure most.

The last vestiges of babyhood have been hard to pack away. A long-outgrown bassinet stands in the corner of my room, because I love it too much to part with it. Baby shoes, pacifiers and miniature socks clutter the top of my dresser. It’s a strange mix, no matter where you look. My black work apron, a few pens, a wine key and wilted gardenia still hooked by the bobby pin that held it in my hair all night. A school progress report for Little Red, lipgloss and an antique jar of buttons. My latest knitting pattern, some industrial foot cream for my mangled server feet and a stack of bills. As always, my crafts create a happy clutter that reminds me to take time to create. My vices are all healthy, and I am definitely guilty of being a little boring these days. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m only growing three varieties of tomatoes this year. I did away with my whimsical round garden and have practical, straight rows. I wouldn’t say I’m disenchanted… more so that I’ve gotten an epic reality check. I don’t want to be bitter and jaded, but my fairy-tales turn into nightmares when I least expect them to and my heart is not a good judge of character. Consequently… I have taken myself out of the pool, entirely, and permanently.

Never. Another. Boyfriend. I have two cats… and I’d be delighted to adopt a dozen more.

IMG_7334Being boring is awesome. ♥

Family, Farming, Food, Happiness, Victory!

Fresh Butternutty Goodness

I love love love seeing 10 hits on my blog. I feel like celebrating.

Gone are those 1000+ days. Amen.

I deleted all the baggage and cut all my ties.

I’ve been watching Hoarders lately and felt the same way about my blog. It had piles of shit I didn’t like, recognize or want anymore. It was so infested with douche bags and liars that the clean up would have been exhausting and endless- so instead I just burnt the whole fucker down- like most of the people on that show should do with their houses!

🙂 Ahhh. Peace. Clean sheets, new socks and your favorite sweatpants, sort of cozy freshness.

I’d documented my midlife crisis and sad attempts at having faith in the worst of humanity and took the last, very necessary response… and threw it all into the fire.

When you don’t like the view in the rear-view mirror anymore, you need a change of scenery and a fresh perspective.

Now I don’t mind writing anymore, though I may bore everyone to death with recipes, teething woes and too much gardening…

but at the very least… you’ll get to eat great food because I’m a domestic whirlwind these days. Behold! The perfect butternut squash soup, in my not-so-humble opinion… to celebrate this nice clean house.

My Better Butternut soup

8 cups good chicken stock. I make mine- you can do the same easily or buy it pre-made. Buy the organic one, really… because commercial chickens are perhaps the least respected meat raised and you should do your part to stop it. Even if your part is lazy- it counts. Ish.

1/2 c. Butter

2 c. Shallots. They’re the Filet Mignon of onions- trust me- spend the extra $.

3 cloves Garlic, minced, and while you’re at it- plant some! Garlic goes in to the ground this week and it’s so delicious home grown!

3.5-4 lb Butternut squash. Peel, seed and chop it into cubes. It’s a smooth textured winter squash and its glorious if you’re type A like me and want to see perfect orange cubes in a big white bowl.

2 c. Pumpkin puree. Finally something to make with all those pumpkins from the garden or in a can from the store- it all tastes the same.

1 c. Half & half

Just typing this recipe up makes me want to go make some more, and I just finished the batch I made this week for breakfast this morning.

s1

Dice your shallots and garlic while the butter melts in your stock pot. Let them soften over low-medium heat until they’re translucent. Add your chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add your butternut squash cubes and pumpkin puree.  Simmer until the cubes of squash are soft and use your stick blender (don’t tell me you don’t have one. Go buy one!) until roughly half the cubes of butternut squash are blended. It will be a creamy lumpy texture and smell like heaven. Salt & pepper to taste.

s2

Add your half & half and stir, stir, stir. I usually make some naan or croutons to go along with it, but it’s good all by itself too. Enjoy a fresh & happy fall!

mmm

Blogging, Family, Friends, Halloween, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!, Yarden

Grandma

I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

Children, Family, Friends, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!

And then there was Baby.

I watched my due date come and go. It really didn’t matter that I was due on my birthday because I wanted a baby more than anything. Cake was nice… but I’d have given a limb for some bone crushing contractions and a shared birthday.

It wasn’t to be… and the 5th came and went with a nice dinner on my parent’s houseboat on the lake, a pretty sunset and my best friend and lovely Little Red.

I sunk into my overdue status with exasperation. Still perfectly healthy but frustrated by my inability to do as much as I wanted to get done in the garden and battling devastating heartburn. The 6th ticked by without so much as a contraction. The 7th was equally uneventful. I had to relinquish my darling daughter to her dad the afternoon of the 8th and I watched her get out of the car and walk up to the house with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. I’d gotten to the point that I was feeling awfully lonely waiting impatiently for the baby on my own. I blew her a kiss and wiped my tears… and drove home to resign myself to be the first woman to be pregnant forever.

6:00 PM

My dear Miss Classy, my best friend in the world stopped by on her way home from work after I sent her a “I’M SO BORED” text whining about my eternal gestation and inability to weed the carrots. She hugged me, assured me I would not be pregnant forever and she would indeed come out eventually. We laughed and I realized I was having contractions. They were insignificant, but noticeable. It’d been 13 years since I’d felt one, but I noticed the rhythmic tightening. I laughed and mentioned them offhandedly. She went home to make dinner and relax. I went out to weed the dreaded carrots after a dose of Zantac.

I got three feet into the carrot patch when the mosquitos began feasting on me. I realized after I started to truly get pissed off about the mosquitos, that I was having more contractions. I smiled widely and struggled to keep going. After another 2 feet… I gave up and came inside. I fired up the fancy pink iPhone contraction timer my Little Red had loaded on my phone and started timing them.

Twelve minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute. Easy… not painful… and I had some things to get done if it was an indication that the baby might come that night.

8:30 PM

I called Miss Classy.

J- I think I’m in labor. I know I’ve said it forever, but I think tonight’s the night. Seriously. Don’t panic.

MC- I’m not panicking. Do you want me to come now?

J- Nooooo. I’m going to mop and maybe go back out to weed the carrots some more. I need to bleach the sinks again and I’d really love to shave my legs.

MC- Ok, well call me and keep me updated. I love you. Hooray!!!

I got off the phone and turned the music on to dance with my unborn baby girl one more time. The dogs barked excitedly. The cat meowed at me for more cat food. I decided to take a shower.

I called the midwife first.

J- I’m in labor!!! I’m the happiest person in pain, ever!

M- Should I come check you?

J- No, I’m going to mop and make something to eat, I’ll call you when it gets intense.

M- Hooray! We are so excited! We’ve been looking forward to this birth so much! I’ll call the other midwife!

J- No rush, I’m just enjoying it finally being the day!

I hung up and texted to see if my Little Red could come on over.

J- I think it’s the night… can LR come over soon?

X- Sure! They just went to the store, is 45 minutes ok?

J- Absolutely! See you soon!

I called my mama.

J- I’m in labor!!!!

M- OH! I’ll come now!

J- No I’m fine, I’m just excited! I’ll call you when it gets serious. Love you!

M- I love you baby. Congratulations!

As much as I try to deny it…I’m a closet high maintenance girl. I shave… everything. Now that said, there are certain things that are more difficult during pregnancy and shaving is at the top of that list. So I took my time, got a new blade out and shaved. I put my favorite lotion on. Slipped into my favorite clothes and smiled at every contraction… now coming every 5 minutes according to the fancy timer.

9:30 PM

I decided to change my sheets, and was too out of breath. I was hot and my back hurt. I called my dear Miss Classy.
As soon as I heard her voice I started to cry.

J- I think I need you.

MC- I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon.

I called my mom next.

J- Mommy.

M- I’m turning the water off and getting out of my garden clothes. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.

J- I don’t think I can do this.

M- Don’t be silly, of course you can. I love you. I’ll see you soon.

I sent a text to my ex-hubby.

J- Coming soon?

and they arrived in minutes.

I called the midwife.

J- Hi… I don’t know if I’m being wimpy or if I just forgot after 13 years… but this is worse than I remember it and I think you should come check me. I’m sorry if it’s a false alarm.

MW- I’ll come right now. Don’t apologize, I’m happy to see you. Are you out of breath?

J- … … …

MW- Are you having a contraction?

J- Mmmhmmm.

In three minutes, she was walking up to my front door, little midwife bag in hand. I was overjoyed to see her. She was smiling and looked happy and serene.

I was hit by a contraction as soon as she stepped inside the door and I leaned against the edge of my bed and counted backwards from 70. Not sure why… but anything to focus and relax. I smiled at her and she looked a little more concerned. She checked my blood pressure, my pulse and baby Quinn’s heart rate. Then she actually checked me and I saw the surprise flash across her face.

MW- Oh. Honey. You’re already dilated to an 8… closer to an 8 1/2. You don’t have time to fill the birth tub.

J- I’m having her in the bath tub then.

I didn’t wait for an answer, just walked to my sparkling bleach-y clean bathroom and started the water. Another monster contraction, and I saw my Little Red walk in, smiling proudly. I knew in my heart of hearts that the most important thing in my life was to show this young lady love of mine that birth is natural, that women can handle pain effectively, and that birth can be peaceful and on your own terms. She sat down on the toilet seat and I sunk into the water, giggling.

J- Are you worried? Are you afraid? Is it too much? Are you ok?

LR- Don’t be silly. I’m fine. Are you ok? Is it bad? I’m sorry it hurts.

J- It’s the most rewarding pain in the world. I learned that with you and your brother. This pain has the biggest payoff imaginable. I”m sorry if it gets scary. I’m probably going to scream. Hitting a certain tone in your throat helps ease the pain of the contraction. I’m sorry if it scares you.

LR- Mama you can do this and it’s ok if you scream. I would too. I believe in you.

I had another contraction and my dear midwife sat on the edge of the bathtub and checked me, telling me to warn her when I felt pressure… a pressure I was already feeling.

MW- You’re full term so you’re going to be pushing longer than you did before.

J- I pushed for 2 1/2 hours with my son, and 3 times with my daughter.

MW- I’m just preparing you.

And then the vortex opened and sucked me in.

I turned the other way and put my hands on the cool porcelain. I closed my eyes and thought of my dear Grandma Afton, who my baby daughter was going to be named after. She was fearless and feisty. She was the first red haired green eyed woman in my life who told me from infancy that the rules didn’t apply to me. She was the first person to push me to be better than I thought I wanted to be. Waves of excruciating pain tore through me and I forced my hands into relaxed open palms and pictured her sitting next to me, laughing at my doubting myself.

MW- Sink into the water. Breathe. Relax. Believe. You’ve got this.

I heard my grandma laugh.

I squeezed my eyes shut hoping she’d say something to help me survive the impending crash of another contraction.

I heard my dear friend Vera threaten me.

V- Don’t you dare name that baby after me. I hate my name.

I laughed and smiled at my Little Red, who was laughing back at me and shaking her head. The next contraction hit me and my eyes closed again for the last time and I began to push.

I listened only for the voice of my midwife. The woman captain of my lost and tortured ship fighting its way through the biggest storm on record. I heard her guide me. I asked for my dear friend, who put a towel under my head and a cold washcloth on my forehead.

MW- Push right here. Good. Ok, now blow… don’t push… breath… her head is almost out.

J- OUCH OUCH OUCH

MW- Breathe… now push. Now wait. Her head is out, you have to wait for the next contraction.

J- I can’t. I don’t want to have another contraction. I’ll push her out without it.

MW- NO. Wait. Ok, you’re having another one, PUSH.

I felt her leave me. I was momentarily sad. She was like a mermaid in the water and my midwife guided her deftly onto my chest… where I opened my eyes.

10:50 PM  8 lbs 4 ounces, 20″ long

Sweet baby girl ❤️

QVA

There she was. My little beauty. All wide eyes and alert with her tiny hand extended and her fingers curling around the center of my sports bra.

I smiled at the beautiful women I’d chosen to support and love me through the hardest battle us women fight, and they were all beaming and cooing at the bubble gum pink newborn resting on my chest under my favorite towels.

Looking up at me with dusky blue newborn eyes and the promise of more love than I ever dared to hope for.

There she was. At last.

happybirthdayQNaturally made and delivered, at home ♥