DIY: Toddler (Twin Sized) Headboard on the Cheap!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Back in September I purchased some super cute fabric from Ikea that I used for the color theme of the girls bedroom. I wanted to make curtains for the room but I'm lazy and honestly never got around to do it - instead opting for other activities to do around the house instead. But yesterday I had planned for a day at home for us - and boy was it nice! No running around or being away from home - we went at our own pace and did hop out to hit the grocery store but other than that we hung out all day in the casa and I got stuff done!

One of those things was using the fabric for headboard instead of curtains! I got the idea from Pinterest after seeing a few posts about using a piece of plywood but did stumble upon one single post where the person used cardboard to make a queen sized headboard. Also - I was excited to discover that trifold poster board (purchased from Dollar Tree) was the perfect size for the twin sized bed and needed zero cutting whatsoever! This project was super easy and came out great so I'm excited to share how I made it happen!

Tools needed:

1 trifold poster board
1 yard of basic batting
1 yard of fabric of your choice
hot glue gun and glue sticks
adhesive spray
needle and thread

optional - buttons, nails to secure to wall

First I laid out the trifold posterboard flat on the floor and sprayed with fabric adhesive. The idea was to then fold the batting in half (long-ways) to make some extra padding. Once I laid down the batting on the posterboard, I then took the hot glue gun and glued the ends of the batting to the back of the posterboard - wrapping it around the outer edges.

I then took needle and thread and "tied" down the ends even more secure by sewing them into the edges. Then I took the fabric and sprayed adhesive all over the batting, placed the fabric on the batting and then flipped the posterboard over. Here I grabbed the edges of the fabric and hot glued them to the posterboard which worked our really well the secure the ends and the fabric itself to the posterboard. 

Then I strung a small button to the tops of the headboard for a more decorative feature - and I did attach a string to the back of the posterboard to hang on a picture frame hanger.

When I went to put the headboard up though, on the frame hanger, the ends (because it's a trifold) fanned out a tad and I didn't like that. So I did take two small nails and nail the top corners to the wall. They're barely noticeable and secures the headboard to the wall better! 

I'm super happy with the way they turned out! Cost estimate for two twin sized headboards:

2 trifold posterboards - $2
Roll of basic batting - $10
2 yards of fabric - $9

Total: $21

I already owned the adhesive, nails, and glue and glue gun! 

Ups & Downs

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I don't want you all to think that there won't be ups and downs post-divorce. Sure, a lot of terrific things have happened in the past 2 years. But I'm still battling a lot of internal emotional stuff that I am known to bury deep inside. And lately? I've been eating my feelings. So although I seem like I'm happy, have things together, etc. - I'm still very much struggling. I just don't deal with it. And I AM happy - but I know I'm not completely happy - and I know that by the increasing number on the scale.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I gained 56 lbs. I was already a tad over 200 lbs (at 5'8") and I suffered from pregnancy induced hypertension/pre-eclampsia. I still battle high blood pressure issues to this day - mainly because of the weight that's stuck around. I had the baby blues after the girls were born, and then my marriage fell a part and subsequent divorce. Not to make excuses but my health wasn't priority for me, and hasn't been, while I try to wade through my onslaught of emotions.

I've jumped from gaining weight to losing weight and was at my lowest (post-baby) at 210 lbs last October, where I ate better, tracked calories and hit the gym. But then the holidays hit, and I found out my ex-wife was engaged and moving in with her new fiance and things just unraveled for me. My weight ticked back up, I stopped eating well, and I started consuming lots of therapeutic wine. So tick tick tick back up it went. In June I was at 224 lbs and now in November? I'm at 230 lbs. Only 26 lbs away from when I was fully pregnant with two little humans - now I'm pregnant with carbohydrates. 

Why is this important? 

I'm not happy at this size, and I swore to myself that I wouldn't be an overweight mom unable to keep up with my kids. I don't want to continue the cycle of eating myself into a grave. I DESERVE better for myself - and only I can give myself that. Every day that goes by, I get closer to the last day I'll ever have. And although I don't believe that weight is the entire package to happiness, I know that it helps when you feel better and are healthier when it comes to your confidence and other areas of your life. I don't want to be ultra thin - I'm perfectly fine in my size 14 jeans. I just want to feel healthy in those jeans (and I do want to get below 200 lbs lol). 

So I'm sharing this with you. I'm going to get serious about Weight Watchers (again) and start with my diet. I recently injured my knee so I'm not sure how much working out I can do - but I can eat better ... so that's an immediate impact. Hold me accountable. Check in with me. Be my friend on WW if you're on the program too.

Share with me your tips to getting healthy and staying motivated. I need it! 

Trick or Treat

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

We just finished our first official holiday in the new house and it was a FUN one! Halloween! We have had a good time decorating our house and the outside and I was excited for the girls first official door-to-door trick or treating! We made it two whole blocks and then the girls were done with the activity and ready to go home and eat their candy! And since we are THREE and wanted to get out and about before the bigger kids took over the neighborhood, we scored some extras for being the first trick or treaters at a few homes!

Cutest little hot dog and Spiderman in class!

Then - we came back and kicked back and watched some kid friendly Halloween movies and enjoyed some non-spicy chili that I had cooking up all day. The girls zonked out at about 6:45 pm - don't blame them - we had a LONG day!!

Can't wait for the holiday season in our new home! What have you been up to?

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sorry I've been a bit MIA lately. Life has literally been CRAY-ZEEEE. Because last week, I bought a house!! Yep, I purchased a single family home for me and the little ladies and I've been moving and painting and all that fun stuff!

When I got divorced, one of the hardest things to deal with was that my family "dream" was no longer. But I've worked hard over the past few years to financially still stay on the track of where I want to be for myself and my daughters to still have the life I've always envisioned for us. And that's been not only a life-saver but just has motivated me to continue being a strong mom, as well.

So, anyways - back in July I put an offer on a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom split level home in a quiet neighborhood with great schools. I closed last week and have already met our neighbors and neighbor-kids. It'll be awhile before I get the house where I want it to be - but I'm excited to be on the journey to make it all our own!

If you're at the beginning of your divorce or separation journey, I just want you to know there IS life at the end of the tunnel. Continue to work hard, put yourself and your children first, build goals and keep trucking towards them!

Being Too Hard on Myself

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lately I've been extremely hard on myself. I've always been my own worst critic. I feel like I've lived a super happy, drama-free summer and therefore have eaten all of the eats and drank of the dranks and now am out of shape and chubby. And it makes me sad. I've been trying really hard to be body positive, give myself a break (like - girl, you'll get there, chill!) but it isn't working and then I eat all the chips and all the salsa and I don't deal. I'm a non-dealer. When things bug me or hurt me, I run to aversion tendencies and shove the bad feeling deep down and do something else to distract myself.

And it's really only when I'm alone or snag a glimpse of my body before I get into the shower, or try to pull on any "real" clothes (ie. non-athletic or sleeping clothes).  I've had a GREAT summer and I've been trying so hard to not let my fear of my body prevent me from enjoying life and taking pictures and just celebrating goodness with my friends and girls all summer.

I know I've come a long way since my divorce. I've pushed through, focused on work and my girls. I've reinvested in previous lost or dwindled friendships. I've maintained life goals and paid off debt and am in the process of buying a home for me and the girls - I've been successful! I've been good! But then I stress myself out and get down on myself for still being single and that no one will love me at my current size, especially if I can't love myself and I'll just be chubby and single forever. And then I get sad.

I know I'm being too hard on myself, but just wanted to share. You ever have those days, weeks, months? You know things are good, are ok ... but you're still expecting so much more from yourself?

Keeping Portland Weird

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sometimes you have to do stuff for you, mom. Recently I traveled to Portland on a pre-planned trip with a good friend. We wanted to go somewhere we both had neither been before and since I had a friend in the Portland area - we picked there! And wouldn't you know it - the area had 99% totality for the eclipse that hit the United States and although the entire Oregon area was packed and crazy busy - since we booked way in advance we were able to snag a deal on a car and an Airbnb rental without getting into the crazy rate skyrocketing!

Eclipsing with 99% totality
We flew into Portland on a Saturday and went straight to the little "downtown" area and met up with my travel partner's local friends for a drink and dinner. We settled at North 45 and ate outdoors in their patio area, enjoying some happy hour drinks and yummy burgers and IPA beer! It was fun meeting some locals and learning about their favorite parts of Portland and what they did for fun during the week!

Yummy burger, rosemary garlic fries and local organic ketchup from North 45
After dinner we made our way to some local thrift stores to peruse (because I thrift everywhere!) and then headed to the suburbs where we were staying with my friend and her family for the weekend.

While in the burbs, we did so much! Brunched at Pine State Biscuits - holy hannah it was amazing and well worth the wait!! Then we headed to Council Crest Park for some mountain viewing. It's an amazing little area where you can view all of the big mountains that surround the Portland area including Mount St. Helens, Mt Hood, Mt Rainier, Mt Jefferson and Mt Adams. It's pretty breathtaking - even on a slightly foggy day that we had.

Amazing biscuits and gravy at Pine State Biscuits
Views at Council Crest Park
Then we headed to the Nike employee store. Nike is based in Beaverton, OR and my friend works for their corporate office. We were able to get passes into the store and get some great deals on some Nike swag! Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a wine flight at a local winery, Rex Hill. Nestled on a hill, it had amazing views of the vineyard, and surrounding area. We were blessed with warm sunshine and enjoyed their rose and select pinot noirs. Then grabbed some food and were totally cashed for the night.

Enjoying some rose all day!
Monday was the big eclipse day! People were asked not to drive and so we stuck around my friend's house and shared their glasses to snag some glimpses of the sun - it was surreal moreso to see how eery the atmosphere was (dark, animals quiet, etc.) and watch everyone in her complex sitting outside in their glasses looking up. Was kinda like a sci-fi movie! But such a unique experience and once the eclipse was over my buddy and I headed into the city of Portland for our touristy stuff.

We snagged some donuts at Voodoo Donuts - what a unique place (that had a line at 11 am on a Tuesday!) with some yummy treats! Then enjoyed lunch and a drink at Pints brewery where I had a salad, free fries and an IPA! Clearly I like IPAs :) I had the Awesome Sauce New England Style IPA and it was delicious! Then we got to walking and made our way to the famous Powell's Book store and it did not disappoint! It's the world's largest independent book store and sells new and used books. To say it's massive is an understatement. It's gigantic with colored neighborhoods featuring every single genre of book you could imagine. I snagged the twins two books - a Curious George selection and Sisters ( a cute book about two sister who love each other but are different!). I also picked up an Oregon sticker for my macbook and a used fiction novel for myself! We finished out the day by checking into our Airbnb a few miles from the downtown area, relaxed for a bit and the ventured out for dinner at Kelly's Olympian which is a garage style themed bar/restaurant with motorcycles dangling from the ceiling and local brews on tap.
Standing in line at Voodoo!

Kelly's Olympian bar
We were pretty wiped after dinner and had an early night in (plus we were living 2 hours ahead of the time we normally live sooooo we were pooped!). On our final full day we planned to get up early and get naturistic. We drove to Multnomah Falls, a beautiful waterfall snuggled into the ultra high cliffs right off the interstate. You can walk up the the falls, over a bridge and then up to the very very top of the falls. It's great for a hike, people watching, and just enjoying some peaceful parts of nature. After the falls we headed back into Portland for lunch where we walked up and down the Nob Hill area checking out the shops and finally settling for lunch at the Fireside. And because I HAD to - I snagged a cone from Salt & Straw on our way out of the neighbor hood. I indulged on honey lavender ice cream with a second scoop of strawberry balsamic and black pepper. It was heavenly.

Enjoying the Multnomah Falls

Brunch at Fireside restaurant
Since we were up early that morning adventuring, we decided to go back to the Airbnb and do our own thing for the early afternoon. I went thrifting :) And then when I got back we had our last Portland meal at Bamboo sushi which was less than a mile from our stay. It was delicious but spicy! I had some tempura avocado which was an interesting taste and gosh their rolls were nommmmms. Then back to the Airbnb to pack and relax - and dread our super early morning wake up to catch our 8 am flight back to reality.

Overall it was a terrific trip - I would recommend Portland to ANYONE! The weather was great in the summer - warm but not humid. There's so much to do and it's such a free , unique place to adventure all of the areas the city has to offer. There's enough to do for 48 hours in PDX or up to a week in the area. PLUS the food and the beer is to die for!! Fantastic!

Single Mom Adventures: Road Trip Tips with Toddlers

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Since the girls and I went on our 7+ hour road trip last month, I thought I’d share some of my tips to keep your parental sanity in tact, the kiddos happy and family adventures continuing. Road tripping with little people, especially when driving solo (like no other adult) can be stressful! You’re trying to pay attention to the traffic, the directions, have people demanding things from you (juice! Movie! Snacks!) … plus it’s just a super long drive.

First things first - know where you’re going. I used to map out my drive and take a look at about how long it would take to get there, which areas we’d drive through, and get a general idea of things that we’d find along our drive. The site is neat because you can see restaurants, points of interest, gas stations, places to stay, etc. all along your preferred route. I was able to find a route that didn’t tack on too much time to our trip, and allowed us to pit stop in a fun place with lots of stuff to do - even if it was a short stop mid-trip!

Another big thing is to just know your kids. You know what they can tolerate and what they can’t. What snacks they like, movies, etc. I packed some snack favorites, made sure my potty-training daughters were wearing a pull up on the long drive, had their favorite movies and some new toys for them to fiddle around with. It wasn’t perfect, I won’t lie. The last 1.5 hour of the trip was trying. They were over it, I was over and we just wanted to all get out and stretch our legs. I did have to resort to my final-final bribe and that’s handing a cell phone over to them to watch Netflix. But that’s my last resort and I only had to use it once for about 30 minutes.

Pack a go-to back. I used a Thirty One brand organizing tote and made sure to have wipes, extra clothes for the girls, my wallet, snacks, etc. in the front seat with me. It was nice having everything at arms reach and when we did make a pit stop I just slung the bag over my shoulder for whatever adventure we went on.

Plan a stop … or several. Using, I did plan a “bigger” stop mid-way through our drive which from Chicago to northern MN put us in Wisconsin Dells. The Dells is a mega-resort area with TONS of family stuff to do. It was a perfect place for us to find some entertainment, stretch our legs and grab some food and then get back on the road. In the Dells we visited the Wisconsin Deer Park. It’s a park that has “tame” deer that roam around the property which you can feed from your hand! There are also goats, chickens, elk and tons of other animals too. It was the perfect toddler activity because they could interact with the animals, walk around, have lots to see.

Getting our wiggles out on our stop at the Dells!
And that put me at my final tip - plan nap time. Toddlers still need lots of sleep. And I knew that my kiddos could stay up and entertained for the first leg of the trip. So if we could make it to the Dells, do our activity and grab lunch, then by the time we hit our road again they’d be primed up for a snooze fest. And I was right! They zonked out for about an hour which was peace and quiet time for mom and much needed rest for the kiddos.

What are your favorite road trip tips with kids? I’d love to hear them!

Tell Me Something Good

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"Tell me something good."

That question was posed in a divorcee Facebook group I'm in this week. Amidst the tragedy smacking the US/world left and right this year, someone was desperate to see what good has come into the world to those of us on the other side of divorce. At first I rolled my eyes. Things aren't terrific. What good to I have to share?

But duh. Tons.

Here's the thing. Divorce sucks balls. I read once that you get 1 year to grieve the end of the relationship/marriage. You get 1 year to whine about it, obsess about it, eat chocolate ice cream and binge on Netflix. One year to do nothing. And then that's it. Get your shit together and keep moving. If you don't, life will leave you behind.

So what's my good? I may not have found the love of my life, but I have had smaller relationships and dates and realized what I don't want, what I won't settle for and was strong enough to walk away (which is HUGE for me) because I didn't want that type of relationship even if that meant I would be alone. I received a promotion in my dream job and with the flexibility I need/want for my work/life balance. I chipped away at my debt (student loans, etc.) and am nearly debt free. Very very nearly. I just bought a home! I close at the end of September and it's in a terrific school district and is a single family home for me and my girls. In two years from my divorce, life moved along and I was moving with it.

So here's my advice to you. Take your time and grieve your loss. You need to process it and work through it. But life doesn't stop moving just because your marriage ended. I need you to be strong and figure things out for yourself (and your kids). I need you to be smart and think about your future. Guess what - you still have one! I need you to realize what you want in your life, for your kids, what you image things could be like. When you're sitting in the bottom of that shower weeping (guilty), I need you to start making a plan. When you're running out your anger and your tears hit you at mile six, I need you to start planning. I need you to know that you can do this.

Been stuck at home? Get a job. Get your resume out there, tweak the sh*t out of it, join LinkedIn, network, etc. DO IT. Don't whine to me that I don't know anything about anything. Just do it.

Drowning in debt? Make a plan. I follow Dave Ramsey but there are a few financial plans out there. Find one that works and attack the crap out of it. <here's where you tell me there's no moves you can make> Sell your car and get rid of the car payment. (Guilty! did that!) Find a reliable, older car with no car payment that can get you from point A to point B (did that too). Pick up a side gig (Lyft, eBay sales, babysitting, dog sitting) and put any extra money to your debt. Create a budget and stick to it.

No one is going to do this stuff for you except for you. So when you feel like everything is impossible and your heart is breaking in two - I need you to rise up and be stronger than that. I need you to be smart and find a way. I need you to realize that things won't be perfect and they sure as hell won't look like you thought they would - but they'll be okay. Freaking out about time with out your kids? (visitation or splitting custody with your ex?) DO SOMETHING to keep yourself busy when they aren't with you. Work out, bake, go out with friends, repaint your bedroom a color your ex hated (guilty) - do stuff for YOU! Take this time to do something for yourself. Your kids will be okay. Use that time to help mom be okay.

I'm not saying my life is terrific or anywhere I thought it'd be. But my train is moving and it's headed in the direction that I planned for it. Things are good now - and it's amazing to know that things can be even better. So keep trucking along. You can do this. You're strong enough to move forward.

It's Okay to Be Single

Friday, August 11, 2017

I usually have to remind myself this time and time again. As I see others move on, people truck along with their lives, and I'm moving ahead as well - albeit alone ... I have to remind myself that it's okay to be single. My heart is still healing, and I know I have a ton to still learn. But it does suck to not have that support person or someone to love and join me in the day to day stuff of life.

It's okay to be single because sometimes you have to be strong on your own first before you can be strong in a relationship.

It's okay to be single because you're willing to wait for the *right* person and not just *any* person.

It's okay to be single because you're standing on your own two feet and showing your children what a strong mom looks like.

It's okay to be single because you're proving to yourself that you are a survivor.

It's okay to be single because you have other things to focus on right now; your children, your career, your self-care.

It's okay to be single because you said so.

Single Mom Adventure: Car Ride Up North!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Recently, I tracked 7.5 hours to the great white north with my two kiddos in tow. We packed up some necessities and stuffed our belongings into my sensible sedan and headed for a weekend of fun on the lake with some of my closest friends from college and their families.

It was a magical weekend and guess what - my kids (and myself!) survived our solo drive there!! I was pretty worried because the girls are 3 and would be stuck in the car for over 7 hours and are notorious for demanding snacks, toys, and anything and everything under the moon while I'm trying to safely get us to our destination. Luckily, I preplanned and had a movie and their headphones all ready to go for the first leg of our trip from Chicago into the Wisconsin Dells. It was a 3.5 hour drive and when we arrived we did a pit stop for food and walking around a Deer Park where we were able to feed docile Bambi's right from our hands! It was a great activity that allowed us to stretch our legs, have a chill activity and then hop back into the car where the girls promptly passed out for the beginning of our longest 4.5 hour trek into Minnesota.

Feeding a sweet deer.

Hello, dude! This goat was hangry!
The last hour or so of the drive was a bit brutal. The girls were over the car, I was over the car, we hit some traffic, etc. But once we arrived and they were able to meet new people, play with friends and get relaxed it was much much better!

We spent the weekend enjoying the company of my best friends, swimming in the lake, boating and even just relaxing and watching Moana 875 times with the other kids. It was so great to have the fresh air, the relaxation and seeing my little girls meet some of my favorite people in the planet. They slept well, ate well, got along with others - it was truly amazing!

This cabin, though! :)

Ready to swim!
Our ride back we had some help with my friend and her gf riding back to Chicago with us. It was nice to have some company and someone to help wrangle the twins and their needs in the car ride so I could focus on getting us back home safely! 

Can't wait for our next adventure! 

Finding Your Life Raft

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This past week I was thinking about heartbreak and tragedy. Not my own personal stuff - but just overall hurt that human beings go through. It's like sinking in a large body of water - full of rough waves or rip tides tugging down on you trying to pull you in. As issues get deeper, or the pain gets more complicated, the water gets deeper. And it takes every single thing in yourself to stay afloat. I understand and I've been there.

The key to surviving this wave upon wave of heartache is to find your life raft. Is it a close friend you can confide in? Is it an Instagram account that's positivity brings your heart comfort? Is it a hobby that can get your mind off of things? Running or other exercise? But it's finding something positive that can add value to your life and also ease the ache in your heart. Finding your life raft will keep you afloat. It will help create a light in a dark, dark tunnel. And if you're a parent, like me, you'll need a life raft to keep yourself active and focused while around your kids.

There were times, when I was going through my divorce, where I'd sit under a hot shower until the water ran cold. I'd sob and sob and my mind would race with desperately trying to figure out how I could save things, where I went wrong. And on the days I had my daughters, and couldn't sit in the shower, I still craved it. The hot water healed my aching heart and provided comfort. But mommy couldn't sit in the shower for a bulk of time when the girls were with me and I had to figure out other ways to deal with my pain and grief, that still allowed me to be happy and positive and "moving" around my children.

You need to keep moving. Whatever is breaking your heart cannot break you. Find something you can cling to, that will help you ride out this wave. Hang on, feel the pain, take the ride, but allow yourself to be held up and eventually you'll wash ashore.

Summer Holidays + Other Celebrations

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I can't believe it's already been the 4th of July - we are knee-deep in summer ya'll. Why does this year feel like it's flying by so quickly? This is the first summer where I've been truly happy. One year I was battling the end of my marriage, the second year I was fighting for someone completely different to love me and this year? Well this year has been pretty drama free and I have loved every moment of it.

When I have the girls, I try to do fun things with them. So they get the benefit of fun things with both families since I know my ex does the same. Such lucky little ladies that have two parents that love them so much! If we're not swimming in the apartment complex pool, or hitting the local park, we have been adventuring to new places like a toddler amusement park, a forest preserve and even overnight in a hotel where we spent the entire day visiting and playing with new friends (my friends from college's kids)!! This is also the first year where I feel like the girls are old enough to be more mobile and experience new things. This "older" toddler phase has them more independent, and getting better at actual play with other kids that are around there age!

Walking around with nature!

Wrangling two wiggling toddlers for pictures!

Fun with boats at the toddler amusement park!
I'm so excited for the rest of our summer - we still have lots of fun activities planned and I can't wait to experience it all with them! Watching them have fun, learn new things and enjoy our time together is priceless!

How has your summer been?

Someone New

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

After being with 1 partner for so long - allowing someone else into your life to hold your heart and love on your mind and body can be a foreign concept for some. For me it frets me with anxiety. I think if you're not comfortable with yourself, it can be even worse. The problem we can run into though, is we are pushing the potential for love away because we cannot love ourselves - or because we tell ourselves that WE lost love before so we're not worthy of keeping love ever. God, divorce is a mental eff game that messes with you for a while.

I'm not built to love more than 1 person at a time. So if I love you - sometimes I can't love me. The fear of getting into a relationship without loving myself has been really tough. I question every move, I have no idea how I feel half the time, but I try to pluck along with a guarded heart - because if I don't then I'm running ... and that unleashes a whole slew of other questions.

I want a simple love. I want to love someone deeply, but know that she loves me in return. I don't want to worry about other people or the way I look or say or do that could drive someone away. I want the comfort of knowing that my person is my person. And every new relationship you start post-divorce causes you to tip tow around with that idea. Could this be my person? Could this person love me in a way that my ex was unable to? So. much. thought. But why can't I love myself in the ways that my ex was unable to? Life is all about growth and learning ... so here we go ... keep the lessons coming.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Last week, I celebrated my 34th birthday. It was honestly the best birthday that I've had in years. The people I loved were there, the weather was fantastic, and it was just an overall good day. Birthdays have always been a huge thing for me. And thinking back on my last few, they were always overshadowed by something else going on. Not to say I need to be the center of attention - but meaning there were dark clouds over my personal life occurring around the same time so I wasn't able to fully appreciate the efforts by others when they did happen.

These first few years into my 30s have been nothing short of full of events. The year I turned 30, I got married. The year I turned 31, I had the twins. The year I turned 32, I was divorced. The year I turned 33, I shared my birthday with the first person who wasn't my ex-wife in 8 years. And then this year? 34? Well this year was perfectly normal. No drama happening, no distractions occurring, sweet nothing rocking the boat. And it was great to be able to relax, enjoy my time with my friends and my girls and just have a normal birthday.

I'm hoping 34 will be a great year - full of peace, self reflection, self-work and self-love. I deserve to have some time brought back into myself. To figure out what my mind and body need, and to focus on serving myself in the best way possible so that I can be the best me and the best mom for my girls. Who knows what's in store for my future. But I'm just really grateful that in the here and now - 34 is feeling pretty sweet.

I Cried Myself to Sleep

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Last night, I cried myself to sleep. It was the first time in a super long time that I was upset enough, and my inner demons won out. I'm not happy with my body. I feel stuck in my life. I feel like everyone is full steam ahead and I've decided to step off the train and stand on the podium and just wait for the next train to arrive. Who knows if it ever will.

I don't know why now. I know some crossroads are on the horizon - still a year out - and I'm nervous about them. I'm nervous about continuing on this life adventure on my own. There's still so much work to do - to get where I want to be physically and mentally and gosh it just feels so overwhelming sometimes.

We are our own worst critic. But when the time is right, we're also the only one that will ever truly show up for ourselves. When does it click where you are finally content with the path you're on and where you're headed? My divorce rocked my life plan and I feel like I'm constantly planning for what my future is - yet it's also a big mystery. And it's lonely. And sometimes feels unfair.

And then the tears come.

What Are You Living For?

Monday, May 22, 2017

I've been feeling stuck, lately. That I'm just moving ahead in life at a snail's pace - and not really living with color or passion. Surely, there's no drama in my life right now, no exciting build up working it's way into something, there's no electricity in the air around me. It's gotten me down - wondering what I'm living for? (not in the death way ... but in the what's my "why" way ... so relax!)

Life is about discovering your purpose. Some people learn this early on. Maybe they were born to be a musician and put their creative spirit out into the world. Maybe they were born to be a parent and raise super amazing human beings. Maybe their purpose is in enjoying the world's offerings and traveling so much that they've touched every corner of the world. Some of us - take a while to figure out what our "calling" is. I'm not religious at all - so I don't know if I believe in like God's purpose for us. But I do believe that we're here for something, right? I mean - otherwise, what's the point? But I digress.

So I've felt stuck. I heard a quote a while ago, "What is your why?" And it wasn't actually pertaining to our life's purpose but pertaining to our goals and why we are doing the things we're doing in life - or why we want certain things. Such as, "I want to lose weight" - ok, but why? What's driving that desire? And supposedly when you dig down deep into that - you'll discover your inner true motives and hopefully can start to work towards that better. I want to practice this with you.

Here's my thing - I DO want to lose weight. Why?

  • To feel good in my own skin
  • To not worry about how clothes fit
  • To chase after my kids in the long run
  • To be off medications that I've been on since giving birth nearly 3 years ago
  • To feel desirable to another human being
  • To be confident enough that my daughters see me as a role model
  • Because I don't feel like myself with my extra weight I'm carrying around
Looking at that list above, I notice that a big theme is self-esteem and confidence. So yes, I want to lose weight but really what I want is a better self-esteem, self-love and more confidence in my external appearance. Will losing weight fix all of that? Nope. It'll help, surely. But that's not the root of the issue, and I'm aware of that. I know that I have a lot of work to do in that arena - but I can take care of myself in the interim and that means taking care of my body. 

So what's your "thing"? What's your why? Let's dig in together.

Single Mom Money: An Update

Friday, May 19, 2017

My last update on Single Mom Money was from March of last year! What! Sorry guys - it's been a year but I promise I'm still working on my finances.

So what's the same?

  • Still following the Dave Ramsey plan and on Baby Step 2 (Snowball debt)
What's different?
  • I traded in my car (and $606 monthly payment!)
  • Paid off debt - about $20,000 worth
Yep - you read that right, I debated over and over if I was going to trade in my beloved CRV in. I had a crazy high payment and about a year and a half to two years left to pay on it. Roughly translated to $13,000 worth of debt left on the car. I wasn't originally planning on trading in my car. I loved it and wanted to keep it. But something clicked in me in November 2016 and I was perusing the internet and stumbling upon a Hyundai Sonata with only 62,000 miles ... but it was a 2007 (nearly 10 years old). I decided to take the girls out with me and test drive it. Hoping to shake it out of my system and carry on my way. 

I pulled up, told them exactly what car I wanted to see, looked at it inside and out, put my car seats in the car and took myself, the twins and the car salesman on a test drive. Afterwards we walked in and chatted about the car and price. And I walked out of the place putting $2,000 down and retrieving a very small loan from a credit union where my interest payment was only $170. I had a $200 car payment since October but have since paid off the loan in full last month. So today - NO CAR PAYMENT. The Hyundai is not my dream car at all - but it works and is a good size for me and the girls. I nicknamed her Sally as in Sensible Sally - because she's legit, like a sensible mom-car. It has less miles than my CRV had when I traded it in, and I've had no problems with it so far. And again - NO CAR PAYMENT.

I've also been diligent about paying off the rest of my debt which is mostly student loans and one small credit card. In 2016 I paid off over $20,000 worth of debt - getting rid of 3 out of my 7 student loans. I'll be paying off another student loan by June and will be left with my small credit card ($3,000) and two student loans. I should be in a good position to start saving all throughout 2018 for a down payment on a home just in time for the twins to start kindergarten - fingers crossed in my ideal neighborhood. 

So whew! I've been quiet but you can see I've been up to a lot! I hope you're taking care of your single mama money too! 

Favorite Podcasts

Monday, May 15, 2017

I love podcasts - I need to listen to something while working, to be productive. Whether it's people talking, or soothing sounds, or music - something needs to keep the back of my busy head busy while I'm plucking away trying to be productive. And yes, I realize that's strange. I got into podcasts about 2 years ago when the twins were around 8 months old and we started going on walks around our neighborhood. They were babies then - so didn't demand too much attention while we perused and didn't speak to me back so instead of getting lost in my thoughts, I found that I liked listening to other people chat about random topics.

Around that time, I did a post on my favorite podcasts and some of them are still relevant. You can check out that list here. But I wanted to do an update of which podcasts I'm currently digging.

Young House Love Has a Blog - I love John and Sherry Petersik and their blog was such a huge home improvement hit. They've scaled back on the home improvements and blogging and have shifted to published two books (covering great DIY ideas!) and now a new podcast. I can listen to this married couple talk all day - they cover tips and tricks of things around the home, interview well-known designers, and their favorite products.

S-Town - A newish "whodunnit" podcast covering a small town and a murder of a local teen. All while the narrator hangs out with a colorful character - John B. Macklemore. 

Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Tiffany Han - All about empowering women through a variety of tools in the creative process. Can't start? Unmotivated? Need to speak up? Tiffany connects with a variety of guests to discuss some of the basic steps we need to clear the clutter and get more creative.

Stuff You Should Know - Interested in why people itch? Or if someone can actually die from a broken heart? This podcast takes a deep dive into a variety of topics and things that we might never know the inner workings of. Super informative and great to have running while cleaning around the house ... like I use it for :) 

What are your favorite podcasts?

Getting Older ...

Monday, May 8, 2017

This year has been a doozy, so far! Luckily in 3 short weeks, I'll start a whole near of life - year 34!

At the age of the 33 I found my first gray hairs, and yes I know I'm lucky since there are many women who find those suckers a lot earlier in life. I also grew gray hair in my EYEBROWS! Like what?! And now the final straw - seasonal allergies! I have never had allergies before in my life, and I rarely get sick. I attribute it to my father - we're built like brick houses.

Then this past weekend, I got a terrible sore throat and had so much post-nasal drippage that I was starting to wonder if I was getting sick, yet again since I was just "sick" a few weeks ago. We were outside a lot on Saturday and my eyes were watering, my nose dripping and even the girls were concerned that mommy was "sicky". But we persevered! Made it through a local touch-a-truck event and then onto lunch with family.

Running in a semi!

But I've been a mess. I'm on claritin D and nasal spray. I feel like the walking dead and a big baby since people have allergies all of the time. I'm not the first person to have allergies!! So now I'm attributing it all to the fact that I'm aging. (feel sorry for me, okay?)

Anyways - it's funny. Our bodies are always changing. Just like life, right? Moving forward, upward, downward, whatever - things are never ever the same. That's just part of life. So we pop in some pills and hope for the best - so that we can keep trucking along in the adventure!

Missing the Boat ... Or not?

Friday, May 5, 2017

You ever look back on something and just wonder ... did I miss my ship? Did I close a door that was actually meant for me? Maayyyybeeee my gut wasn't right and I walked away from something meant to be in my life.

I'm here to tell you - you didn't miss your ship. Not even a little bit. I recently had this happened. My gut told me "No" and I walked away from something. And ever since then I've been curious. Maybe if I had given this relationship a try - maybe that was my person and I totally walked away from her. So not surprisingly (because I'm a communicator) I reached out. We chatted a bit and I realized (yet again - not my ship). I think, though, that she was meant to be a friend and maybe that's what I was missing.

Either way - I'm in a point in my life where I feel like I'm coasting. I have said this a few times to my friends, that I feel like I'm not "living" - there's no color in my life. And I'm grasping at things that will turn that around for me. This person was another "thing" that I was hoping would bring me to life. But guess what - my gut was 100% right and I should have listened to it in the first place. Not my ship.

I just want to tell you to listen to yourself. Try to get in tune with your needs and wants. And sometimes that takes a ton of patience and practice and it won't come over night - but you do intrinsically know what you need. Even if you need to remind yourself a second time.

YOUR ship won't leave the dock without you. I promise you that. Stay strong.

One Step Closer Every Day

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Every single day, I get one step closer to the life I want to live and farther away from the life I was in/that I imagined my future would be. Every single day, I move forward and away from the person I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. Every day I get a little stronger, a little more focused on my personal goals, a little more confident in doing this "life" by myself.

Almost two years ago, my world fell a part. I've talked about this in past posts - where I was confused, in a daze, heartbroken and desperate to put it all back together. I was met with resistance, and was trying to make it work with a partner who wanted out of the marriage I didn't even know was crumbling down to the ground. Never in a million years I'd guess that I'd be "okay" any time soon - but it was somewhere, emotionally, I was desperate to be. "Just get through the first year" I'd mutter to myself over and over. And then I'd see a post on social media from my friends - new babies born (happy families expanding), a happy birthday wish (a couple totally in love), a family barbecue (normal family activities), and even the online rant from a woman mad that her husband didn't help with XYZ (at least you have a partner). And I'd feel this anger in the pit of my stomach - I felt like everything was stolen from me.

A little cloud followed me around a lot that year. I can't even tell you that I overcame anything - because honestly I just survived. And I still feel like some days are like that. Just get through it.

But, every day is a day farther away from that life, that person I used to be, that person I used to be with - and closer to what my future is supposed to hold. I don't break down and cry any more. I'm not jealous or deeply sad any more. I'm not lost on faith and "what could be" - I'm *as* bitter at what was "supposed to be and isn't". I do still hold a lot of anger in my heart and that's just stuff I need to continue to process through as I move forward in my new life.

So I take a step forward each and every day. Keep moving and keep growing. And each and every day I become more of who I should be and less of what was.

It Doesn't Get Easier - You Just Get Better

Monday, April 17, 2017

At the playground the other day, I saw a father juggling two toddler babies by himself. Were the only parents at the park and my twin-mom instinct kicked in and I knew his kiddos were twins too. We ended up talking and I found out his boy/girl twins were 15 months old. One was walking, one wasn't. They weren't able to really navigate the playground by themselves well - because they're babies, so dad had to do a lot of hands-on slide holding and swing pushing. His wife wasn't with him but he mentioned she told him there was a toddler friendly park nearby and that's how they ended up there.

Of course I told him my two crazy pants girls were twins too and that they would be 3 this summer. He sighed and looked at me, "Does it get any easier?" I can't tell you how many times a twin parent has asked this. But I have a standard response and gave it to him too, "It doesn't get better - you do. It gets harder but in different ways. It gets easier but in different ways. Every stage is different." At that moment one of my twins melted into a puddle in the middle of the playground as part of her daily 2.5 year old toddler tantrums. See - case in point.

via unsplash

And that got me thinking about divorce and single parenting. It's hard doing it yourself, even if you have 50/50 physical custody. Those days where it's you 24/7 with no one to tag you out or send in relief ... it's brutal sometimes. I can't even start to imagine those that have no help from the other parent. You are truly rockstars.

The first year of single parenting was difficult. I didn't want my girls to miss things (Santa, Easter Bunny, trick or treating) so I jointly did things with my ex that ended up not really being good for my mental well-being. I was stressed out thinking about taking them places solo, yet it depressed me to stay home all of the time. So I FORCED myself out that door, juggling two babies that were barely learning to walk. We went to restaurants, the library, neighborhood activities and the grocery store together. I learned what to bring with to entertain and keep tantrums at a minimum, as well as learned my kids threshold for boring activities. Incidentally - they love Target. Those are my girls!!!

It wasn't easy at first. How do you get two kids in a cart safely, plus groceries, and in and out of the car into your apartment? What do you do when you have to go to the bathroom and have to take everyone with you? And god-forbid there are dual toddler meltdowns and everyone wants to be picked up at the same time. But guess what - you don't let that deter you. You get out there and you practice. And before you know it, you'll start packing you diaper bag or kid essentials smarter, you'll learn which times of day work best for your kids, what restaurants they do better in or what their cue is to get out of there before they turn nuts. And it doesn't get easier by any means. Full-on toddlers RUN and they're fast, and unpredictable sometimes. But you'll get better at sensing when the tantrum is coming, or what to pack to alleviate some of the stress. You'll get more confident.

So just like parenting - single parenting doesn't necessarily get easier. You just get better at it. You get better at navigating your little family the way that works for you. You get less fearful, more confident. You grow right along with your child and get into a rhythm that works. It won't always be sunshine and rainbows. There will be time when you literally are at your wits end, or feel stranded on an island with no help. And bitterness can quickly sweep in and ruin your day. Don't let it. Be strong. Know you'll have another chance and another to practice this. You're getting better with every day.

You Are Strong

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Looking back on your life and see where you are at now. Maybe you're in a bad spot in your marriage, maybe you and your soon-to-be-ex have decided to move ahead with a separation or divorce, or maybe you're on the other side of it all. You need to remember you traveled a long distance to get here. You opened your heart, you loved another, and you're battling heartbreak and a huge change in your life. That's major.

Never for one second think you're not strong enough or that you can't handle it. You can and you will.

There was a time during my divorce and separation that I couldn't imagine what the other side looked like. I couldn't imagine finding happiness again - only sitting in embarrassment and heartbreak for the rest of my adult life. I couldn't imagine loving someone other than my ex - I couldn't see a life by myself. I didn't want a life by myself.

But as time passed, guess what - it happened. Before I knew it, people were coming to me, asking me for advice. I didn't break down in tears every time I saw my ex or news of her life came to my ears. I started planning for MY future - imagining the things I wanted to achieve. I loved another person. I'm working on loving myself, too. It'll happen when you don't even realize it. It's a subtle change but you will get there. You just need patience, you need to FEEL the pain, work through it and focus on living your best life.

You're strong. You'll get through this.

Dating Post-Divorce Sucks ...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dating post-divorce sucks ... if you don't have enough self love and self confidence to move through it.

Recently I went on a first date. A real one! With a woman I met from a dating app. We messaged/texted really well and seemed to like a lot of similar things. She's a mom too so she wasn't constantly messaging me all of the time (which I appreciated) but also understood what goes into parenting young children. All of the boxes on whatever mental checklist I keep were probably checked off prior to us meeting. But something interesting happened - I wasn't nervous or a wreck beforehand. I felt like the one in control and while out at a local brewery, I selected what we drank (beer flights) and even ordered a pizza. And that's when I knew there was a problem. I ate in front of her.

Weird, right?

Well, when I'm super into someone romantically or super worked-up/nervous, I cannot eat. I clam up (and I'm talker!!) and I move inward into myself. I let the other person make many of the decisions and control the date/outing. Butterflies literally will be knocking against my rib-cage. What's more interesting in this is that you would think that by being comfortable with this woman would be a good sign! I could relax! Things would be easy! And even though I had a great time out with her - at the end of it, I just didn't feel anything inside. I didn't reflect back much on the date on my 30 minute drive home. I texted her to make sure she got home safe, but not because I was yearning to talk with her.

And then the next day I told her that I had a great time but wanted to be just friends. And I felt like absolute shit about it. I was sad all day. Part of it is because I honestly don't want to hurt anyone or reject them - she actually was terrific. She just wasn't for me. And the other part of it, is that I wonder a few things; a) will I ever find my person? The one that gives me butterflies? b) do I only feel butterflies with women who are not good for me? c) do I reject good people because they're not dysfunctional enough for me?

I still haven't figured out those answers. I'm glad I went on that date. It was nice to meet someone new and have that experience. But all of this "work" figuring me out and what I want and trying to not be afraid to close doors I know are not for me kinda stinks.

Anyone having luck with dating?

Is Co-Parenting Really Single Parenting?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recently I came across an article on Facebook that addressed a recent interview actress Hillary Duff had with a magazine, where she discussed co-parenting with her ex-husband and single motherhood. She talked about the guilt associated with balancing a career and motherhood - which I think is a challenge many moms struggle with, as well as how splitting time with her son's father is never easy but having a great co-parenting relationship with her ex has alleviated some of the stress.

I decided to check out the comments, since as a single mom myself, I was interested in what people thought about this topic. A lot of moms were impressed with Hillary's relationship with her ex and supported a strong co-parenting relationship, some questioned her actual struggle with a career and motherhood since she's a celebrity and is presumed to have more financial stability than your average single mom. And others? Well they struggled with the idea that Hillary was even a single mom since she still had her son's father active and participating in his life. These moms were true single parents - doing it alone with no help or support from the other father/parent - and in some cases, even unaware of where he actually is.

Can Hillary be a single mom if she still has parenting help from the other parent? Since I'm in a similar situation to her - here are my thoughts...

Does my ex co-parent physically 50% of the time and work with me to make all of our children's major life decisions? Absolutely.

Does my ex alleviate some of the financial burden associated with raising two children by contributing her share of expenses? Absolutely.

Am I experiencing all of my children's activities or milestones solo? No.

But I still consider myself a single parent. Why? Because I am going at it alone. When I have my children, it's me 24/7. I do not have anyone to tap me out or alleviate the burden on a daily basis. I'm responsible for paying for diapers and feeding my children - as I do not receive child support from my ex (we pick up our share of clothing, diaper expenses when our children are in our care). I do not have someone on my team day in and day out. And the bulk of our activities? I do alone, as my ex and I share really just the bigger stuff like Pre-K registration.

I'm making all of the day-to-day decisions in my household. I'm balancing a career and motherhood. I'm responsible for making sure my children are fed and clothed and have what they need. And guess what? I do that all while co-parenting with someone that I no longer wish to even have in my life (if we didn't have kids). I'm so tired of the "who has it worse" argument. Parenting is hard in general. We all have different resources at our fingertips - some of us have a support network or family close (I do not), some of us are in a good financial position, some of us receive child support, some of us don't, some of split time with our ex, some of us have our kids literally 365 days a year. We're all making decisions that impact these tiny people's lives and doing the best we can with what we have. That's not to say my single parenting is no better or worse than the single mother without her ex in her life. I mean - I can see why it would be more difficult - but again, we all have a different story to tell.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Also - let's remember, comments are fantastic, but this is a still a forum where we should practice kindness.

The Thief of Joy

Monday, March 6, 2017

Image result for comparison is the thief of joy

We have all heard this saying, right? That the more you compare yourself to others, the more you'll find you're unhappy with what you have or your situation. I've been thinking about this saying a lot over the past week. It's something every single one of us  - no matter if we are envious of another marriage, a body type, a job someone has, financial standing, etc. We all find ourselves with eyes glued into what we see of someone else's life and immediately begin to measure ourselves against that portrait - many, many times we do not measure up in our own mind.

But here's the thing - no matter how much we try to compare ourselves to someone else - we will NEVER measure up. We can NEVER compare. Why? Because we are two COMPLETELY different people on two COMPLETELY different journeys. We have different life experiences, we have different things we, ourselves, battle with. Just because "Susan and John" are in marital bliss and we agonize over why they are so happy and we're sitting in a heaping pile of divorce - we don't realize that maybe they spend their nights crying over infertility. Just because Lisa has the perfect hair and such a perfect, athletic body and why can't we just look like her (but we had kids)??? We don't realize that maybe Lisa is drowning in debt and feels stuck in her life and career. Who knows?

We latch onto one tiny part of someone that we are envious of and we compare. Why am I not enough? But there are a million tiny pieces associated with each and everyone of us that makes us whole. We all have our insecurities, our goals, things that motivate us. And they're completely different than everyone else in this world.

Last summer I dated the first girl since my ex-wife. The first person who I absolutely connected with, was attracted to, and thoroughly enjoyed being around since I was hooked on my ex-wife. This girl not only brought out the emoji heart eyes in me but gosh, she felt like freedom from a nightmare I was trapped for so long. But as our little "relationship" progressed, she realized she still had feelings for her ex-girlfriend. Well, she always had those feelings but it was something she couldn't ignore and still give part of herself to me. She had none of herself she could give me. I was devastated. I literally agonized over the why for months. Why not me? Why her? Am I not pretty enough? Not skinny enough? Not successful enough? What is it about me is not enough to pull the girl I liked away from someone she ended a relationship from? What's sooooo great about this other girl that I'm not enough???? It drove me crazy and I cried so many tears over this.

But here's the thing. It's not that I'm not enough for her. It's not that the ex-girlfriend is more, has more, appeals more. It's that I wasn't FOR the girl I liked. Plain and simple. She liked me. We connected. We had a great few months - but at the end of the day she needed something that I just couldn't provide. And it wasn't that I wasn't enough. It was that I was different. We talked about this, her and I - I was one path and the other girl was a completely different path. And the girl I liked needed to pick the path that matched what she wanted in her life.

And what does that mean for me? It doesn't mean that I'm too fat or ugly compared to someone else. It's that I have completely different offerings and attributes that WILL be a match for someone else that comes along some day.

I'm an apple. The ex-girlfriend is an orange. Seriously, can we compare apples to oranges? Yes they're both fruit but they have completely different tastes. Maybe you want to pair peanut butter with a great fruit and an orange won't cut it ... but guess what goes perfectly? An apple. Maybe you want to enjoy a nice refreshing Blue Moon beer and need the perfect garnish - which is dun dun dun .... an orange! An apple doesn't go with a Blue Moon. But an orange does every single time. (I think my metaphor is getting out of control)

Anyways - the more I found myself comparing to someone else and measuring myself against a girl with literally a completely different life than myself - I found myself getting more depressed and beating myself down. This girl that had no idea that I probably even existed had become "the end all be all" of amazingness and what we should aim to be in life. But that's not the case. I'm sure she has her issues and her struggles. WE ALL DO. And I wish them both a super happy life with or without each other - I truly do.

I've been working on trying to stop the comparison. Stopping letting something like that steal my joy. Being comfortable in my own skin and knowing the only person I need to impress or measure up to is my damn self. Don't let anyone else steal your joy. Don't let someone's "perfect" story make you find cracks in your own.

The Shower

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Each and every one of us copes with difficult things in our own way. Whether it's comfort through food, drugs, booze or sex. Or healthier options like self-love, massages, weekend getaways or even venting to a close friend - we heal and we work through stuff in different ways. My "drug' of choice? Water. Specifically a hot shower.

Last night, I wasn't feeling well. I had gotten back from an outing with my dad and my stomach hurt, I had the chills and my face and ears were super warm. I couldn't fall asleep and was both shivering and desperate for reprieve from the warmth emanating from my head. Eventually, I decided to get up and take a shower. To me, a shower has always offered a safe space. Calming, relaxing, quiet.

In the 8 years I spent with my ex, many of those years were spent in turmoil. My heart being shattered to pieces and I had little ability to deal with those tough and confusing emotions. I won't sit here and say that a shower helps me work through all of life's hardest battles. Because I've been told I do not actually "sit" in my pain and feel it. I numb it til it goes away and I can move on and feel strong again. And that's what a shower had always served to me - a way to numb the pain, to feel that grief for a moment but to shove it away so I could re-emerge and continue on with my day.

I can remember every single shower that I have sat in over the past 8+ years. Everything from super small stand up showers (and I'm 5"8 so I was crammed in there) to nicely tiled "fancy" showers to your basic tubs ... and even a  tub with jets a few times. I've spent a lot of time sitting on a bathroom floor in grief and pain. And last night, it was interesting to reflect back on that as I found myself in that spot but for a different reason (because I felt ill not in heartbreak).

Human emotion is interesting, isn't it? How we feel, how we process, how we put ourselves back together. The comfort a shower brings me is peace- and the hotter the water, the better. I've known myself to jump into that comfort zone for as little as 10 minutes (because I just needed a reprieve and didn't have much time) to sometimes upwards of an hour. Whatever would help me feel better and time would allow. I had time to think, to sit, to "feel better" and re-emerged (not 100% better) but feeling a tad bit more comforted. And honestly, that's all programmed in me from other emotional trauma that I've survived. Water (hot water) is my comfort zone. It's my drug, my close friend, my cozy blanket. A shower is where I can wash away all of the bad stuff, process my thoughts more clearly and at least emerge a bit stronger than I did when I entered that shower.

I know you're probably going through a hard time. You wouldn't have found me or this blog if you didn't. And you're coping the best way you know how. Hang in there. Find your shower - your healthy way to at least handle what's thrown at you. You do not need to process it right now. You are allowed to feel weak. You're allowed to comfort yourself. You will get to where you need to be - eventually. I promise you that. But for now ... find a healthy way to take care of yourself. You'll make it through.

Hi! Welcome! And a Re-introduction!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hi there! I've noticed a ton more traffic on this site which I have, unfortunately, been negligent of posting to. So - if you're new here - welcome!

Although I'm not sure how you got here, I can guess what you're searching for. Answers.

Maybe answers to help you grasp what's happening in your marriage. Maybe answer of if there's a so-called "light at the end of the tunnel"? Maybe answers of what others have gone through that have been in your shoes. Regardless, I understand. It's difficult and painful and there's nothing fun or happy when going through a divorce - even if you're the one initiating. It's a massive life-change, it's a physical separation along with emotional, financial, etc. It's something that literally impacts your daily life. And if you have kids - it's only harder. So, I get you.

So who am I? My name is Ashley, I'm 33 years old and I was with my now ex-wife (yep, you read that right ... I like girls!) for about 8 years. We were married for 2 years and have twin toddler daughters from our marriage. Our relationship ended in the summer of 2015 and divorced finalized that December (so I just got through the full first year of being divorced).

This is me - pregnant with twins in 2014 :) 
 To me, why were divorced, is still a big part of my life because I have to co-parent with her. But for you, it's kinda irrelevant now. You can read past posts if you're curious - but I don't know if I dove too deep into things as I know her family may read this from time to time.

So what has the past year been like? Well, a rollercoaster. I've had super highs and super lows. I've had a relationship begin and end in that year. I've re-invested in my lost friendships and am *now* starting to do things that I LOVE. I think I'm finally to the point of being more comfortable with myself and not being a couple. Yes, it's hard sometimes ... especially since my ex has moved on ... to want to be in a relationship. But I know for myself it's just not the right time and I'm not actively looking for that. I'm planning trips with friends, and enjoying my time with my daughters when I have them. I'm focused on my future and paying off debt and purchasing a home. I'm getting re-invested in my healthy and all that good stuff.

It hasn't been easy. I've had a TON of tears and negativity this past year. I think a lot of the time I was just coasting and not "growing". And I felt stuck. Why does my ex get to move on and I'm sitting here still picking up the pieces? I spent a lot of time (and still do this) feeling sorry for myself and not empowered. I struggle a lot with seeing the worthiness and loveableness that I deserve. I've done therapy and life coaching. I've lost weight and gained weight. I've cried. A lot.
One of my girls and I - summer 2016

Single mom life - adventuring with my girls!
But it's all part of my journey and I KNOW this is my path to take in my life. I finally feel like I'm headed where I'm meant to go and I needed to get off the path that my ex was on. It's taken me a LONG time (like 8 years!) to accept that and unstick myself.

So that's a snapshot. I update this blog from time to time ... mostly when I feel like I have something to express. Which clearly hasn't been that often lately.

Feel free to say hi! I hope your heart heals. It will. But I hope it happens for you soon. You're strong, don't forget that. Ok? :)