Two Weeks Is Not Enough Time

Have you ever had so many conflicting emotions? Feeling all the feels all at once? So many different things pulling at you that you don’t know which way is up? Thats been me the last few weeks. I feel so emotionally drained and raw right now. I feel like emotionally hung over. It is so hard to explain. So bare with me as I try.

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An old picture of all 4 kids together. With my daughter actually sitting on the lap of my oldest sons (adoptive) moms lap. This picture means the world to me.

I got to spend 2 weeks with my oldest son. My son I gave up for adoption. I am so blessed to have a relationship with him. To get to know him, see him, talk to him. I am forever thankful that his mom allows him to come visit us. She is truly the most incredible woman ever.

My 3 younger kids absolutely love it when their big brother comes to visit. They look up to him so much. They all get along SO well. It’s amazing to see them together. It makes my heart so incredibly happy to see them all together. But it also hurts so much. It is so cliche to say that its bitter sweet, but basically, yeah it is. I am so happy to see them all together, to have all my kids under one roof, to sit down to family meals. I feel complete. But I also feel like there is a giant hole in my chest. I feel like my chest is being ripped apart with every breathe I take.

Here is my son. Someone I carried within me for 9 months. Someone who I love so fiercely. Someone who looks like me. Sounds like me. Someone who is apart of me. And yet that isn’t my son. I didn’t raise him. I don’t know him the way I know my other kids. I don’t get to hold him like I can my other kids. He doesn’t call me mom, because again, I’m not his mom. I see a scar on him and I have no clue how he got it. Yet when I look at my other kids I can tell you every story behind every scar. I don’t know his likes and dislikes. I don’t know what those subtile faces mean. I’m looking at my son who isn’t my son. It’s hard. So incredibly freakin hard.

I love having him here. I love being around him. I love spending time with him. I’m over joyed every time he comes to visit. There are no words to properly describe the love and joy I feel. But there are also no words to describe how equally heart wrenching it is. How much it breaks me every time I say goodbye to him. How much is breaks me when he’s here and seeing him with his siblings, sitting at our family table and knowing it won’t last, knowings it is only for a few days.

I got to spend two awesome weeks with all my kids together. Two weeks that went by in the blink of an eye. Two weeks I will forever be thankful for.

~ Michelle

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Why I Consider Myself an Overland

Why do I consider myself an Overlander?

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Ever since I got my drivers license, I’ve been on the road travelling as much as I physically could. I love talking long drives, finding roads less travelled and seeing where they take me. I love the outdoors; camping, fishing, hiking & outdoor photography. The most basic definition of Overlanding is self reliant travel to remote destinations where the journey is the goal & my hobbies fit right in with this.
I may not be tackling tough trails that haven’t seen travel in decades, bushwhacking my way from point A to B, nor crossing many country borders but I am out there, enjoying the drive and places/people I meet along the way. Also, it is a pretty cool way of teaching your kids all of the things that they don’t learn while stuck within 4 walls at school everyday. It’s cool to watch those ‘lucky’ ones on YouTube that can Overland full-time (as they’ve found a niche way to fund their journey while on the road) and dream of exotic locations with super-cool rigs loaded with the latest gear and gadgets, you have to remember that you don’t need any of that to hit the road and explore.
Use what you have, improvise with what you’ve got and slowly build out as you go. It doesn’t take much other than some very basic camping gear and a reliable vehicle to drive.

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Jason

When my kids asked me not to post their photos

I blog, clearly. I am also on InstagramFacebook and even on Twitter. I post photos almost daily. I share on some form of social media almost daily. Two years ago I wrote a post about not sharing my kids faces and personal stories on social media. You can read that post here.

My 13 year old and soon to be 12 year old don’t have any social media accounts. Shocking, I know. A lot of their friends do however. So when my son turned 13 I asked him if he wanted an account. We talked about it. He asked me about the kind of stuff I post, so I told him. As we were talking it come up that he knows a lot of kids who’s parents have posted about them for years, pictures and stories, including personal and embarrassing stories and photos. During the conversation my son thanked me. He explained how he was so thankful to not have his life put out there for everyone else to know before he could share it himself.

In the conversation I asked him how he would feel if I did start posting photos of him on social media. He thought about it, and ended up asking me not to. And I totally respect that and my childs decision.

So when you look at my photos and wondering why my kids aren’t in them, why their backs are turned or I full on cropped their heads out of the photos, you know why. Its a fine balance trying to share my stories, my life, my motherhood journey without actually sharing information and pictures of them. But out of respect for them and their wishes, I will continue to crop their heads out of pictures. At least just the pictures I post online. Not to worry I have plenty (thousands and thousands) of pictures of them. In realty I am basically my kids own personal paparazzi.

Like this photo: 

I really wish I could show the world how incredibly happy she was. The giant smile on her face as she jumped and splashed us all. But the picture I’m showing you, I had to crop out her head. But trust me when I say her smile was radiant and she was having a blast.

Until the day my kids decide to share their own photos and stories, I will crop their heads out or take double the amount of photos trying to stage them so you can’t see their faces.

~ Michelle

Half a Lifetime in Motherhood

 

As I approach my 34th birthday I am reflecting a lot on my life, on what I have accomplished, what I still want to accomplish, my family, my kids, life in general. And that’s when it hit me; I have been a mother for half my life. Half my life.

For those doing the math, let me help you, when I was 16 I was living in Kenya, I was in grade 11, I met a guy, an older guy from another school, he was a senior. So of course it was super cool to be dating an ‘older guy’ from another school. Well one thing lead to another, and I ended up pregnant. Just after my 17th birthday I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy (ok, 1 of the 3 most beautiful boys, because all my boys were of course the most beautiful ever. I’m not bias at all!).
When I was 16 and pregnant I had to start making choices I never dreamed I would have to do at that age. As my belly grew, my responsibilities grew as well. I made the choice to give my son up for adoption. You can read about that here.

Since that day in a friends basement bathroom when the stick showed two lines, my life and my choices have always had to factor in someone else. Now I have to factor in 4 kids and a husband.

For half my life I have been a mother. For half my life my heart has been walking outside my body. For half my life my decisions have been about other people. For half my life someone else, and a growing number of someone else’s, have been put first ahead of myself.

And do you know what I have learned from all this motherhood-ing (that is totally a word), is that I don’t know a damn thing about motherhood. Just when I think I got a handle on it the kids go ahead and grow up and things change.

I’m still trying to figure out how anyone can really call themselves a “parenting expert”.

I have given birth to 4 incredible humans. Four drastically different humans. Four people that are constantly changing, growing and evolving. Four humans that constantly surprise me, challenge me, push me to be a better person, show me what unconditional love is, push my patience to its breaking point, make me laugh, make me cry (happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, a lot of sleep deprived tears), and make me the proudest mother ever.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I can’t imagine not being a mother.

Half my life has been spent navigating motherhood, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

~ Michelle

Self Care Ideas

Why is Self Care so damn hard? I often wonder if I honestly just some how suck at it, or if its Mommy Guilt that stops me, or some misconstrued idea that Self Care is some how selfish? I honestly can’t tell you what the reason is, but all I know is that I suck at it. So this year, I am determined to practice more Self Care. For the good of my mental health. For me so I can feel better. For my kids so I can be a better mom for them. And for my husband so… basically so maybe he won’t get on my nerves so much. Kidding. I want to practice Self Care so I can be a better person for myself and for all those around me.

So, I present you with a list of easy Self Care Ideas. Maybe you are struggling to and this will help you as well.

Here we go.

1. Bubble bath.
2. Read a book.
3. Journal.
4. Color. Seriously, I am obsessed with the adult colouring books. I love them.
5. Dance. Put on some headphones, blast some of your favourite songs and just dance. Dance like no one is watching.
6. Go for a walk, or hike. Just get outside and get some fresh air.
7. Workout.
8. Yoga.
9. Mediate. Or try to, there are a lot of apps and great websites out there for beginners.
10. Clean or reorganize a room.
11. Watch your favourite tv show/ movie.
12. Drink water. Maybe add some fruit to it or something.
13. Cook your favourite meal.
14. Learn something new, language, learn a new skill.
15. Unplug/ turn off electronics for a day / or maybe just an afternoon.
16. Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep.
17. Do a facemask, paint your nails, wash and style your hair.
18. Do a random act of kindness.
19. Avoid toxic people.
20. Drink a hot cup of Coffee/ Tea.

And dont forget, it is completely ok to take a day to yourself. Take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, the afternoon, or the whole day. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself!

Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments!

~ Michelle

Perspective

This week I don’t know if the planets have aligned just so, or the moon is in the perfect location or bigger forces are at work here. I am going to go with bigger forces are at work here. This week has been insane. This week has been all about putting my life and my situations into perspective.

We’ve all heard the sayings “You better eat your food, there are starving kids in this world you know” or “don’t be so upset, you know someone out there in the world has it worse than you”. I’ve heard those sayings so much, that honestly I am kind of desensitized to them. Of course there is always something going on in the world, there are what like 7 billion people. So of course the chances that at this very moment someone is finding out good news, finding out bad news, welcoming a new life, saying goodbye, having a great time, having a bad time, someone is laughing while someone else is crying and hurting. Just because someone else out there is having a worse time, or a better time, doesn’t under value what you are experiencing at this moment.

In saying all that, I do think that sometimes other experiences can help put your own into perspective. Not undermine them, but give you a chance to come to terms and deal with your emotions and to reevaluate and adjust you’re point of view.

This week I forgot to pay for school pizza lunch for my kids. Not that we couldn’t afford it, but I just forgot to pay for it. And my kids were super upset at first. And honestly I stepped back and looked at them. This was their biggest issue. Not getting pizza lunch at school. They still had a lunch to take, but it wasn’t a pizza lunch. And this is what my kids have to get upset about? Damn, my kids have it pretty good if this is their biggest problem right now. My kids don’t have to worry about their next meal, they don’t have to worry about being taken out of their home, about being hurt, or scared. They are safe and happy, and they know it, because lack of pizza lunch one time is their biggest problem.

Then I was doing the endless piles of laundry. Like seriously people have to be living here that I don’t know about for the endless supply of clothes I have to wash and fold every freakin week. And I was folding a pile of my daughters clothes and something hit me. I was overcome with emotions. I am actually sitting here complaining about this?! About clothes?! I was actually complaining about folding clothes for a child that my husband and I tried for for so many years. We fought with fertility issues for years. We miscarried. We had our hearts broken. And then we were blessed with our beautiful daughter after a high risk pregnancy, where we thought we would lose her multiple times. And here I am, after going through all that, complaining about her clothes?! Seems kind of ridiculous in comparison doesn’t it? Don’t get my wrong, I still hate doing laundry. But that laundry represents the tiny lives I fought to bring into this world, all my pregnancies were high risk. And as much as I hate it, I am so thankful for my kids, and the ability to be their mom, to be home during the day so I can do the laundry while listening to my own music and dancing around like an idiot.

Its all the mundane things around the house. All the things I complain about, the things I hate, all those things I get to do because I have 3 beautiful children that I have been blessed with and an amazing hard working husband, that makes all this possible. The mess, the endless laundry, the forever filled sink with dirty dishes, the mess of toys every where, the sleepless nights, the list goes on.

I have anxiety and depression, so it is super easy for me to get wrapped up in my head with my emotions. Sometimes they are very big, very scary emotions. So for all these things to come together this week to get me out of my head, its been pretty eye opening. It doesn’t mean I will stop complaining about the endless messes, the dirty dishes I find all over the house, it just means I know why those things are happening and I love and appreciate the tiny humans behind the messes. I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for the chance to do all these mundane things. It’s all about perspective. Finding joy in the little things. Enjoying the moment.

~Michelle

Hello 2019

Its a new year. I know its cliche to say it, but I can not believe how quickly last year went. I had so many plans. Many of those plans included blogging here, but clearly those plans didn’t work out. Oh well. Onward and upwards. No time to look back. 2019 is going to be different. Its going to be great, amazing, wonderful. 2019 is going to be my year. There I said it, and I meant it.

Maybe I’m just drunk on New Years promises of change, and resolutions and new beginnings. Yesterday I did go and cut off 9 inches of hair. You know, the whole “new year, new me” thing. And as my head starts to clear, I am realizing it may not have been the best idea. but its hair, it will grow back. Like I said before, onwards and upwards. No time to look back.

This year, I honestly don’t know what I want. I don’t have a word for the year. I don’t have a plan. I actually have a lot of plans all jumbled together right now. I want to do it all. I want to workout more, I want to drink more water, I want to get more organized, I want purge the house, I want to blog more, I want to meet all my work goals (that’s whole other long list). Basically, I just want this year to be great for me and my family.

I don’t know what this year will hold. I don’t know how often I will get to blog. I don’t know how many days I will for sure drink the right amount of water. I don’t know how many days will be Pinterest or Instagram worthy, but I do know this year will be great. One way or another. This year will be amazing.

So I hope you will follow along with me, here, or on Facebook or even on Instagram.

~ Michelle