I never thought I’d have a farm…

You wouldn’t know it by the life I live now, but I did not grow up in the country. I grew up in a subdivision. The strangest pet we ever had was a hamster named Pita and a cockatiel that used to spit water at my dad. I always thought I would like to live on a farm, kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I never really wanted to WORK on the farm just wander through it petting the animals and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. šŸ™‚

When I moved out to the country I realized I could never again live in a subdivision. There is something so peaceful about sitting on your deck and not seeingĀ a single house or opening your windows at night and hearing frogs and crickets instead of the sounds of traffic. Jim didn’t grow up in the country either, in fact when we first moved in together we lived in an apartment right in the heart of Fairview Heights, no peace there. So when we started looking for a house we knew we wanted something with some land and privacy. We looked at a lot of houses and there were a few we liked but they didn’t have the country feel we were looking for. The first time we walked through our house we knew it was ours. Our living room is windows on 2 sides and it looks out on 5 acres of land. The only time you can see a house from our house is in the dead of winter and you have to look pretty hard. I love it.

I don’t remember what made Jim decide he wanted chickens but he did. So we got 20 chickens and he built them the biggest, baddest chicken coop ever. They live in a chicken palace. Then we got the goats. There “pen” (for lack of a better word) was bigger and better than the chicken coop. Complete with huge tires and ramps to climb and jump on. Jim doesn’t half-ass anything. When he starts a project he goes all out. The chickens are fun and the goats are adorable and sweet but I have always wanted a little pig. I really wanted one of those little teacup pigs that you can carry around in your purse, but they are very expensive and after I thought about it, I don’t really want a pig in the house. They are pretty clean and very smart. I don’t know who ever decided pigs were dumb. They aren’t. But considering I already clean up after a two-year-old, a teenager, a grown man and a dog the size of a horse, the last thing I need is a pig in my house. So I had kind of given up on the idea of getting a pig, although I brought it up every now and then.

Last night when I got home from work Jim asked me to go out to the shed with him to see what he found in the goats water bucket. I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t sure I really wanted to see what he found in the goats water bucket. Rodents have been known to drown themselves in there a time or two and if it was a snake I was going to pee my pants. But, reluctantly, I went with him. When I walked in the shed I saw two little pigs in a fenced area inside the goat pen. To say I freaked out is an understatement.Ā I have never been that excited over an animal in my adult life. They are SO CUTE! ImageI named them Wilbur and Charlotte (Charlie for short) from Charlotte’s Web. They are still so scared they won’t let us touch them but when I go out to the shed the little girl takes a few steps towards me and clicks at me and I click back at her. I cannot wait for them to get a little more comfortable and let us hold them. They will get about as big as the pig in the move Babe. Best surprise ever! After we went back inside last night Jim said to me “I think we officially have a farm”.Ā I am pretty sure 1 horse sized dog, 18 baby chicks, 1 hen, 2 goats, and 2 baby pigs qualifies.

Before I met Jim I had never known anyone who likes to surprise people as much as he does. He has surprised me with some great things over the years but this one is by far my favorite.

I now have everything I have ever really wanted. I just might carry little Charlie around in my purse if she will let me. šŸ™‚

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The real story of Cinderella….

I am a firm believe that fairy tales, romantic movies and books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” are responsible for the unrealistic expectations some women have for relationships and life in general, me included.

My sister said it best when she said she had to stop reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” because she was getting so mad at her boyfriend for not being affectionate enough or thoughtful enough. I mean, what man can live up to Christian Grey?

Maybe it would be helpful if they made sequels to movies like Cinderella, showing Cinderella after her and Prince Charming had children. She would beĀ dressed again in her rag clothing, carrying laundry baskets and breakfast trays up the stairs to her kids and husband. She would spend her days cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, giving baths, she would yell at the Prince for not pulling his weight around the house or helping with the kids and after the kids went to bed she would collapse in a heap on the couch, exhausted. It would portray an adult relationship how it actually is, with fightingĀ and making up. It would show women that a real relationship, no matter how much of a fairy tale falling in loveĀ is, matures into something much more complex. You both will have your fair share of doubts and hopefully you will be able to turn to each otherĀ during those times.Ā A relationship isn’t looking at each other across the room and falling madly in love, it’s choosing to build a life together and intertwining every aspect of yourself with another person.

I have learned there are more important, REAL,Ā things that I want in a relationship.

I want a man who, when our kid throws up all over the floor and then falls into it, cleans it all up with no complaints. That’s my idea of Prince Charming!

I want inside jokes, to be able to communicate from across the room with a look, I want warm arms to fall into after a long day. Above all I want someone who I have fun with. No relationship is perfect, every relationship has weak spots and problems, in the long run you have to chose the qualities in a relationship that are important to you.

Every person has different things they need from a relationship. You can’t judge whether or not someone’s relationship is good or bad unless you are in it. What you need from your partner might be completely different from what someone else needs. No two relationships are the same. It’s up to you to decide what is right for you.

I say it all the time, you are responsible for your own happiness. FigureĀ out what it is you want andĀ don’t settle for anything less. Even if you have toĀ go through something unbelievably hard to find happiness, I promise you it’s worth it in the end. Ā At least it was for me. šŸ™‚

Wow – where did the time go?

Last night I wrote a check for my “stepson’s” 8th grade graduation pictures. I wrote it, handed it to him and thought ‘Holy Crap! When did this happen?’

When Jim and I moved in together Aaron was 8 years old, he was in 3rd grade, he was just a kid. I have had the privilege of watching him grow into a remarkable young man. It astounds me that even with all the mistakes the adults in his life made, he has turned out to be respectful and polite and surprisingly non-whiney for a 13-year-old. He went from being an only child to having me, a step dad, 2 baby sisters and a baby brother in a 5 year time period. He seemed to take it all in stride and he is an amazing big brother. I could not have asked for a better big brother for Tyler, they adore each other.

I will admit that when Jim and I got together I had given very little thought to what it would be like to be in the role of someone’s step mom. It’s a fine line to walk and in the beginning it is especially difficult. I have great respect for any person who helps to raise a child that is not their own.Ā I never went into this wanting to be a ‘Mom’ figure for Aaron. He has a mom and I would never expect him to think of me like that. I think through the years we have developed our own kind of relationship. It’s not really a child/parent dynamic (unless I’m telling him to clean his room or help do the dishes) but it’s more like we are friends. When Aaron was younger we spent more time together than we do now. I would take him to Michael’s and we would do art project after art project. He really liked stuff like that and I loved it. After Jim and I had Tyler, we didn’t do that kind of stuff as often asĀ I wish we would have.

I hope that as he starts high school he knows that I am proud of him and will always be there if he needs a non-parent to talk to. I look forward to seeing what life has in store for him in the future. I know it will be something great.

I love a good thunderstorm…

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain and thunder. Spring has arrived and it could not have come soon enough! I miss thunderstorms during the winter. It is one of my favorite things about Spring. I am not a fan of rainy days really, but a good loud thunderstorm immediately followed by sun and warmth is my idea of the perfect Spring day. I know a lot of people who are afraid of storms, I don’t see the scary in them. To me they are romantic and relaxing. There is something very powerful about the sky letting loose. Then afterwards, the birds start chirping again and everything is clean. It’s like Mothers Natures way of wiping the slate clean after a nasty winter.

I texted Jim this morning and said if it’s still raining tonight, I want to go play in the rain. I love running around outside in the rain. I might even take Tyler out in it. Although, Tyler is not a fan of anything that gets him wet or dirty. I bet I could convince him with a few puddle stomps!

I have a lot of great memories of Jim and I that involve storms. There was the night he put the futon mattress out in the driveway, it was only sprinkling and it was really warm out. All of a sudden it started pouring, sheets of rain. I got up to run into the house and he pulled me back down and we kissed in the downpour. One of the best things about Jim is that he can pull off some really romantic stuff and he doesn’t even realize it. He didn’t put that mattress out there to be romantic, he did it because he thought it would be fun. I knew Jim was right for me when I asked him to run through the park with me in the rain and he didn’t even hesitate. He just took off. He didn’t care that we looked totally insane.

One of the things I hope to teach Tyler is not to take life to seriously. Don’t not do something because you are afraid of how you will look or because you don’t want to get your clothes dirty. Life isn’t about looking perfect or acting perfect all the time, it’s about the experiences you have. It’s about having fun! In a world that is so serious all the time, sometimes you just have to go outside and play in the rain.

Appreciating the good things….

In July it will be 5 years since Jim and I moved in together. It’s crazy to think of all we have been through in the time we have known each other. Most of the time it seems like he has always been in my life. But when I think back to the night we met, it seems like it was yesterday. I am amazed we have made it to where we are today. There were so many times in our past neither of us imagined we would make it, but we did. There are a lot of things in my life I regret, and I consider myself incredibly lucky my life has turned out the way that it has. It’s not perfect by any means. Jim and I both have our faults and there are times we probably don’t like each other very much, I think that is the case for most relationships. But at the end of the day there is no one I would rather come home to.

I knew the first night Jim and I met that we were supposed be in each other’s lives. We have both said that. There was just a feeling, a connection. Jim makes me feel special and sexy, he values my opinion. I have found in him what some people never find in a relationship. Five years into our relationship we have the same passion we did in the beginning. I still get butterflies when he reaches for me at night, when he leans in to kiss me, or sends me a sweet text during the day. If we go dancing it feels like we are the only people on the dance floor, we shared our New Years Eve kiss surrounded by thousands of people, but to us it felt like we were the only people in the room. I knew once I had felt that connection, I couldn’t live without it.

There have been times over the years we have taken each other for granted, it is so easy to do. When you go from it being just the two of you, most of the time, to being a 24/7 family it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day monotony and forget to tell each other how much you appreciate them. We are all guilty of it. We are all guilty of spouting off about the negative things in our lives and our relationships because we are frustrated, tired or angry. I used to always be so positive but I have noticed myself focusing on the negative so much more lately. I know this winter has taken a toll on my mood. It always does, this year has been worse than the previous years. It’s been hard to pull myself out of this funk. But spring is coming and I am really going to try to get my positive attitude back. I am going to focus more on the things that make me happy and showing appreciation for all the good things in my life.

1798819_10151864111057191_1810181003_nJim does this thing where he occasionally finds a heart shaped potato chip and leaves it some random place in the house so I will find it. Every time I find one it makes me smile. He knows it and that makes it that much better. It shows me he was thinking about me. It’s a little thing that feels like a big thing. That’s what life is all about, the little things.

 

Tonight I was laying in bed with Tyler and Jim watching Monsters University. Jim was tickling Tyler and Tyler was laughing so hard, saying “again daddy again”, I was smiling the whole time. I am so incredibly lucky. Jim is a wonderful, loving dad and an amazing partner in life. Our son is beyond words incredible. He is adorable, funny and so smart. Every single day he says something that cracks me up and he is learning something new every 5 minutes. I love being his mom.

I am hoping Spring returns to stay sometime soon. I’m ready for green grass, long walks, trips to the park, suntans, and flip flops. All things that bring good moods to everyone and after the winter we all have endured we have earned it!

 

Preparing for parenthood…..

It’s amazing how one ridiculous evening with your out of control toddler can make you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you are doing with this whole parenting thing. Nothing makes you feel more like an inadequate parent than a 2 year old having one meltdown after another. For the most part, Tyler is a really good kid but he is 2 and a product of Jim and myself, which means he is stubborn, hard headed and has a bit of a temper. So occasionally, when he is tired or crabby, he can be very challenging. Last night was an especially challenging evening, combined with the fact that sleep has been hard to come by lately, I had reached my limit. Every time I reach that point, I think about how much harder it would be to have had a child as a teenager. At least at 28 I had an idea what I was getting into. That’s not even true, I had no idea what I was getting into but I think being a little older makes you more prepared to handle it. Plus, being in a strong relationship and being more financially stable sure makes it easier.

I was watchIng Teen Mom 2 today, it’s one of those shows I DVR to watch while I fold laundry. It always makes me laugh because it claims to portray what it is like to be a teen mom and discourage teen pregnancies. Yet every person on that show has a brand new car, a house of their own, and not many of them have jobs. Almost all of them have family around so they can hangout with their friends or take weekend vacations child free. It absolutely kills me. Most parents, no matter how ready you are to have a child, don’t have it that easy. It reminds me of when I was in 8th grade and we did the “bag of flour” project. Where you carry around a bag of flour for a week and pretend it’s your baby. I’m not really sure what the point of that project was. It taught you about as much about having a baby as remembering to bring your math notebook to school everyday. In fact, I’m pretty sure I forgot my flour baby one morning and had to call my mom to bring it to me. I hope that doesn’t say to much about the kind of parent I am today.

I’m not sure there is anything that can prepare you for having a child. I think I was equally as surprised by the challenges of parenting as I was about the joys. It’s one of the only times complete aggravation, exhaustion and frustration can be wiped away with some snuggles and a sweet smile from your little one. As hard as it is some days the rewards are so much greater.

Tyler is getting big so fast and I know someday I will miss this age but it’s hard right now to imagine missing being woken up every day at 5:30, power struggles, temper tantrums and time outs. Watching him learn new things, playing, being silly with him and those sweet snuggles, they make it worth it, almost all of it. šŸ˜‰

On a side note, if anyone has a teenager they would like to teach about how it really is to be a parent, feel free to send them to my house around 5:30am.

As if parents are not tired enough…lets talk about the time change!

Oh. My. God. I am tired!

I literally just stared at that sentence for like a minute wondering if I had the energy to come up with anything more than that.

As a parent of a highly energized toddler I am usually tired, but lately our little angel has taken to getting up at 5:15-5:45 in the morning, and by lately I mean for the last month. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen with the time change on Sunday. The last time change totally screwed us. (Extra hour of sleep….HA!) ButĀ considering we lost an hour of sleepĀ on Sunday, Tyler slept until 6:30 Sunday and Monday. I thought we actually had gotten lucky for once in the sleep department and the time change had tricked him into sleeping an hour later. After a month of getting up at 5:30, 6:30 felt GREAT! He came home from “school” last night super cranky and tired, we played outside all afternoon so he had to be exhausted. He went to bed around 7:45 and at 5:15 this morning I hear “Mom” coming from the hallway. Of course, I had already been up all night – damn insomnia – so I was extra exhausted as I drug myself into his room and told him it was way to early to get up. He screamed for about 10 minutes and then got quiet. That lasted only a few minutes when I heard the door to his room open and “Mom” again. He must have realized I wasn’t kidding the second time because he laid back down until 6:00. It really made no difference at that point. I was awake.

I have read numerous articles on toddler sleep habits, we have tried putting him to bed later, it actually makes him get up earlier. We have tried putting him to bed earlier, he still gets up at 5:30. I have tried nightlight vs. no nightlight, sound machine on and off, we bought room darkening shades, we turn his fan on….NOTHING WORKS! I have read articles about parents who buy a nightlight on a timer and teach their child to not get up until the nightlight comes on. Jim and I agree that if he is awake in his room he will be talking and we will be awake anyway. Plus, I read an article about a toddler who was playing in her room while her mom slept in the morning and she pulled a dresser over on herself and died so I am not comfortable with that idea.

I think for now I am going to try putting him to bed earlier so he at least gets moreĀ sleep, that’s harder now that it stays light later andĀ we want to be able to enjoy our time together in the evenings. We already have so little time with him by the time we get home from work.

Jim said this morning that we need to start going to bed at 8:00 so we can catch up on our sleep, we are so tired because we stayĀ upĀ spending time together. After Tyler goes to bed is the only time we have for usĀ but ifĀ we don’t get some sleep soon ourĀ whole house is going to implode! I am notĀ  a good tired person, I get crabby and then I cry. IĀ can always tell when I am way too tired because I cry. It isn’t pretty.

If anyone has any suggestions on getting him to sleep later I am open to them. I will try anything at thisĀ point!