Thinking about life without Brandon every day is sad. No Brandon quirks, no gawking at my boobs, no pinky promises, no goodnight kisses, no random gropes, and no beard to stroke.
Our love is one of a kind. It’s deep, passionate, everlasting, forgiving, kind, sweet, honest, gentle, and pure.
If Brandon was buried in a cemetery his grave would be a campsite. Don’t put it past our love.
Life would stop for me.
Days would not be the same without talking to Brandon. He doesn’t have to answer, he doesn’t have to voice an opinion, he doesn’t have to agree with me. He lends his ears when needed and that’s enough.
Listening has always been enough.
Brandon can be around for pillow talk, someone to turn to when the sky turns gray, or when a heart smiles. He can be there through it all -forever- if he’d agree to be cremated.
He wanted to be buried.
Brandon is allowing cremation if he gets flashed daily. He needs to gawk after death.
Recently I had the honor of working along side 4 of the greatest bloggers while launching our new publishing site, Original Bunker Punks.
Since the site went live I feel like everyone who has been a part of this, in one way or another, has had their blogging stats boost.
We’re famous, Bunker Punks!
What else is there to do but go on tour?
What is your most prized possession?
I cherish my wedding ring. It symbolizes Brandon’s everlasting love and devotion to me. His love has no boundaries or stipulations that accompany it. It’s true love.
A relationship like ours doesn’t come often and I am well aware of that. I feel like everything in my life came together the moment he placed that ring on my finger.
How do you unwind after a long day?
Immediately after the kids go to bed I sit in my big chair, prop my feet up on the ottoman, and catch up on Life with the Bearded J’s or Original Bunker Punks business.
Once I get caught up I try to put my phone down and spend some quality time with Brandon. We usually cuddle up on the couch, talk to each other and watch TV. It’s my favorite part of the whole day.
Recently I started drinking wine. I’m literally 4 days into my new habit. I enjoy a bottle glass of wine after the kids go to bed. It’s very relaxing.
What is one song that has followed you throughout your whole life?
I feel like most of my life was spent trying to find love. I bounced from one heartache to the next trying to find a place to fit in. It wasn’t until Brandon that I finally felt like I belonged somewhere, with him.
I would have to say “How to Love” by Lil Wayne pretty much sums up my life. There isn’t one word that doesn’t describe me. I don’t like the music video but whatever, there it is. It’s the lyrics I relate too.
If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers in your field, what would it be?
Don’t put much thought into what other writers in your field are doing or saying. Remember where you came from and how or why you started. Don’t lose yourself because every time you hit publish you are putting yourself out there for the world to see, and the world can see through phonies.
Now that you’re famous, we need a quote from you.
“Never love one of your children more than another, love them all differently- the way they need to be loved.” -Jenny Miller
Mommy always wanted to have a daughter. “Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.” Your kind heart, sassy attitude and generous soul are qualities people know you already posses. Those are the qualities you should work hard to maintain.
Mommy couldn’t wait to introduce you to tea parties, Barbies and makeup. You enjoying those thing’s makes life much sweeter. Every morning you come down for breakfast with freshly applied blue eyeshadow and bright red lipstick, Mommy’s heart smiles. When it comes to make up, less is more, but no rush, apply your makeup how your heart wants. Always do what makes you happy, even if others gawk.
Mommy looks forward to your first dance, your first date and your first heartache. The world isn’t ready for you to date, please feel sorry for your Daddy and don’t rush boys. You have your whole life to handle them. For now, Daddy and your Brothers are the only boys you need to worry about. They’re the ones who’ll never let you down, they will always be there for you.
Purple bows, frilly tutus, high heels and red lipstick have always found their way into Mommy’s heart. They found their way into yours too. Mommy was worried -while Daddy was hoping- you would be a tomboy. If you decide to be one later in life, Mommy will always support and love you as well as be your biggest fan. You could never disappoint Mommy or Daddy.
The thought of lace bras, tampons and thongs makes Mommy cringe. The time for those will eventually come, please don’t rush them. Cherish your childhood. When the time is right you know who to turn to, you know who will be there. Just like everything else, Mommy will teach you about becoming a woman.
Mommy looks forward to experiencing life alongside you, the good and the bad, we can conquer all. Mommy’s words may not seem wise now but one day you will understand, a Mother should be her Daughter’s best friend.
Growing up from a sweet little girl into a mature woman is going to be the hardest thing you ever do in your life. Society puts a lot of mental stipulations on girls, please don’t fall into societies vortex. You are a strong minded child, do not let that quality fade. The world needs you to grow into that role, the world needs more strong minded women.
Your body, your mind and your soul are always going to be yours. No one can take those things from you unless you allow it. Please don’t allow them to do that. Always be who you want to be, you owe it to yourself. Mommy promises you won’t regret it later in life.
If you don’t remember anything else from this letter, please remember this-
If you have sex too early in life, you can get a STD and die.
I’ve been wanting to share Jaelyn’s first medical experience with everyone for awhile. I wasn’t sure how to write it. I needed you guys to understand having my 3 month old child go through surgery was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I wasn’t sure I could produce the words to describe it.
On a recent road trip to Michigan, I was able to sit in the back of a minivan and write. I decided to tell Jaelyn’s journey. I remember the tears streaming down my face as my fingers clicked away on the laptop. I secretly cried while I wrote about the scariest moment of my life.
Jaelyn has had numerous health issues in his 7 years of life. All have puzzled my mind and broke my heart. They do not define who he is, but they do allow some insight into his life.
Click here to read my featured piece about Jaelyns first surgery,
I was caught off guard with this award. How could I inspire anyone? I don’t know how I did it, but A Shot of Common Sense was inspired enough to think of me. That alone makes my heart smile. Thank you so much. I wish I had some fabulous speech prepared but I really have nothing, I am completely speechless, which never happens.
In accepting my award there are a couple of things I must do. First, I must complete my interview. These questions were super hard and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone so I went with the first thing that popped in my head and just wrote everything I thought.
Welcome to my brain…
1. Why did you start your blog?
I started “Life With the Bearded J’s” as a place to tell my story. My life is full of crazy moments that I try to see the humor in. Facing really crappy situations with a smile and a joke is my way of coping. Writing about it and sharing it with you guys is an added bonus.
2. What book has touched you the most?
I have a huge confession, I hardly ever read anymore. There was a time in my life I lived in books. I escaped reality through them. Lately, reality has been better than any book. So I haven’t had to escape.
I remember my junior year in high school I took a literature class that required us to read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s full of life lessons and I believe every teenager should be required to read it.
One of the biggest things I took away from that book was how important it is to stand up for what’s right, even if you’re standing alone. I live by that motto everyday.
3. If you could eat dinner with any famous person who is still alive, whom would you choose?
This is a hard question to answer. Famous people intimidate me, and I’m a Taco Bell drive thru kind of girl. I only enjoy sit down restaurants with Brandon. Generally we reserve sit down restaurants for special occasions.
I guess I’d be down to take Norman Reedus to the Taco Bell drive thru with me, if I MUST. -I swear I was forced Brandon-
4. Where is the one place you have visited that gives you complete calmness?
Brandon and I rent a cabin for our anniversary weekend. We slip away to Brown County State Park. We leave all sense of responsibility behind and reconnect with each other. It’s really nice to have each others undivided attention.
The whole cabin in the woods isn’t usually my cup of tea. Every time we go I visualize the beginning of a cheesy horror movie. Bugs, dirt and wild animals generally freak me out but with Brandon by my side, its actually quite fun.
5. Are you a bucket list person? If so, name one thing on it?
I’m not really a bucket list person. When I want to do something, I do it. No need to wait till I’m on my death bed.
6. What is the goal of your blog?
I honestly don’t have a goal. I guess one day it would be nice to generate income but if that never happens, I’m ok with it. Right now, I write for fun. I write because it eases my heart and relieves stress. That’s all I ever wanted to do, so I feel like I have already met the goal I set for it.
7. What is a well day spent to you?
A day spent vegging out on junk reality TV shows. No regrets.
8. How do you start your day?
By checking my Facebook notifications. I lay in bed, clear out my notifications and wait for the kids to wake up. Once they’re up I go into full mommy mode for me. Get breakfast going, get Jaelyn to school and start my daily cleaning schedule. Yeah, I have a cleaning schedule.
9. What is your favorite holiday?
Fourth of July holds a special place in my heart. It was the night I told Brandon I loved him for the first time. I had no idea until recently but it’s also a favorite holiday for my parents because of similar reasons. Screw Valentines Day, fireworks is where the real romance lies.
10. Are you where you want to be professionally and if not, what will you do about it?
I’m a SAHM. I’m finally doing something that makes me happy and feel complete, every day. I’m my own boss, when the kids allow me to be. I work my own hours, as long as the kids say it’s ok. I do what I want, as long as it makes my kids happy. I’m exactly where I need to be, at home with my kids because that’s where they want me.
11. What is your favorite quote?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings It’s kind of self explanatory, right?
The other thing I must do is nominate 5 other bloggers for this award
The author behind Platypus Reviews is a very close friend of mine. He’s so nifty with technology it blows my mind away. His grumpy remarks would allow him to easily fit in at family dinner.
Recently I found out I am not the only one who struggles with texting and walking. So Very Shay, made me feel normal within the first 5 minutes of knowing her and that’s not easy to do.
Mother of Serendipity holds a special place in my heart. I adore her, her blog and her Facebook page. She’s always been super sweet and that is inspiring when you’re up against the mean girls on a daily basis.
I was excited when Jaelyn asked for an Easy Bake Oven. I was even more excited when his Grandma bought him one.
After Jaelyn opened the gift, he started promising everyone delicious treats. “I’ll bake a cake for Jenna, brownies for Jace and I’ll bake Mommy cookies!” Do you see why I was excited? Cookies get me everytime.
The first thing he said to me this morning was, “can we bake using my Easy Bake Oven today?” I never turn down cookies.
I opened the box and pulled the oven out. It was so cute, much cuter than my old Easy Bake Oven. Jaelyn and I read the instructions together. Every new step brought a new level of excitement. I think in his head he was screaming, “lets bake these cookies, bitch!” I know I was.
We went to work. Preheated the oven, measured out water, formed dough balls, flatten said dough balls, and slid them suckers in the oven. The instructions said to bake the cookies for 9 minutes. We set a timer.
During the 9 minutes of bake time, Jaelyn was clearly on edge. He kept checking the timer, talking about the cookies and saying how he couldn’t wait to bake cakes. “Do you think it will have frosting? I like frosting, they should have frosting.”
When the timer went off he flew into the kitchen screaming, “COOKIES ARE READY!” I had to remind him they needed to be pushed into the cooling chamber for a 5 minute cool down period. He wasn’t impressed and Mommy wasn’t either. I was ready to eat my share of heat lamp cooked cookies but directions said we couldn’t. My old Easy Bake Oven didn’t have a cooling chamber, why did this one need it? Whatever.
When the 5 minute timer went off he was more excited than before and so was Mommy. We got our little purple wand and pulled the tray of cookies out….
“What the heck happened?” Jaelyn asked.
I replied, “I don’t know, we followed the directions.”
Jaelyn and I had a good laugh, compared our final product to the picture. I declined my share of cookies and gave them all to him.
He sat down at the kitchen table and started to eat his creation. I heard him talking to himself, “oh boy, what did I get myself into? The cake will be better, I never really liked cookies anyway.”
Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. I loved the smells, the food and the togetherness. I loved the smile on people’s faces when they open gifts from me. I loved the Christmas Eve party with my family. Maybe it has something to do with my first real buzz coming from swigging the adults leftover booze. Ahh, the childhood memories.
This year it feels different. I’m not quite sure what it is but the spirits not there for me. The decorations around the house are annoying me as I try to keep them safe from Jaces grubby little hands. All I hear from my older 2 kids is “I want, I want, I want.” They aren’t spoiled but lately they sound like they may be getting there. I’m not looking forward to scrounging together cash to fill 12 cards for our nieces and nephews. All these things once brought me such joy.
Maybe it’s the major changes we’re all going through as a family. We are all adjusting to my Aunt moving in and not knowing if it’s forever or just temporary is hard. We are all getting to know eachother still. We never know what the next day will bring.
Maybe it’s the fact that this is the first year we have to scrounge together money for gifts. Robbing Peter to buy Paul a gift is no fun. Especially knowing that the money SHOULD be spent on paying off bills. But I can’t deny any of the kids in our family a gift. It may not be much but at least it’s something.
I need my funk to go away. I want to enjoy this time of the year. This is the first year in almost 4 years that my Grandparents will be in town. This will be the first year since I was around 12 that I will be opening gifts Christmas morning along side my Aunt. All reasons to have the holiday spirit, but I don’t. And I don’t know exactly why.
Maybe if I bake a bunch of Christmas cookies and eat all of them, I will feel better… or worse. Whatever, it’s a risk worth taking.
I remember it like it happened yesterday, even though it was actually 23 years ago. I was shopping with my mom, my grandma and my aunt, we were standing in line at the registers. The family in front of us had a little girl around my age.
The little girl looked at my Aunt Lisa, turned to her mom and said, “she looks funny. What’s wrong with her?”
I looked up at my mom, I think she heard the little girl, but she wasn’t acknowledging her. My grandma was examining items in her cart, I don’t think she heard her. I looked at Lisa, she was smiling and looking around. She was in her own peaceful world. Then I looked at the little girl and said, “shes special.”
I didn’t know the medical term for what Lisa was born with (Down Syndrome) but I knew she was special. Lisa was my buddy, it made me sad to hear the little girl say such a mean thing about her.
That was the day I asked my mom more about Lisa’s condition. That was also the day I loved Lisa more than before.
Lisa and I have always been best buddies. We played card games, board games and we would color for hours at a time. It never felt like she was 27 years old, it always felt like she was my age. (8)
Today my Aunt Lisa is coming to live with us. I’m very excited. I feel like her and I share an unspoken bond. I don’t know how long she’ll be with us or if she’ll even be happy here. I just know that we need to give it a shot because she’s still my buddy.
While pregnant with Jaelyn I was a single waitress living with my parents. My pregnancy was a complete shock. I had declared, 2 weeks prior to finding out, I was NEVER having kids.I always jinx myself.
During my pregnancy with Jaelyn I inguired about a hysterectomy. Yes, a hysterectomy. I wanted EVERYTHING gone. At the time, Jaelyn was more than I had bargained for.
Since I would be down for the count during Jaelyns delivery and they might go in for a tubal ligation, they could go ahead and take the whole shabang. No more kids or periods, that life sounded amazing.
I am thankful I didn’t meet the criteria for a hysterectomy or tubal ligation, at that time. After marrying Brandon I couldn’t wait to have more babies and grow our family.
Brandon begged me not to have a tubal ligation after Jenna was born. He wasn’t done making babies. I agreed. Despite being done making babies before I ever started but whatever. I am thankful everyone talked me out of it but I was even more thankful no one spoke out against it after Jace. Hallelujah!
When I was pregnant withJace my OBGYN asked me if I was interested in any kind of birth control after delivery. I repied, “yes, I ‘m interested in the kind that prevents this from ever happening again.” The doctor laughed at me. I wasn’t joking, I was dead serious.
Recently I’ve been having baby fever. Leave me alone, my uterus aches. Their sweet little heads, the smell of their body, the whimper in their cries, I miss cuddling up to a newborn. I yearn to be the only one who can make the baby stop crying. I want to smell baby lotion again and make bottles. I want itty bitty diapers that accompany those tiny baby tushies. Oh, and those little gas smiles that make your heart melt even though you know they aren’t real. I miss all those sweet moments.
Then reality hits and I remember.
I remember the bad times. The time Jaelyn peed in my mouth, while smearing poop all over my arms. I remember the projectile vomit that made him look like a scene out of the Exorcists. He was our “sickly” baby
I remember Jenna turning her butthole into a water spout and clearing two feet with her poop stream. I remember her gas belly aches, all overs of the night. She was our “gas drop” baby.
I remember Jace waking up at 4am, ready to play. I remember him not holding his bottle until he was 10 months old. He was the “baby of the family” and suffered from all the symptoms.
I remember the cycle of 2 hour feedings in the middle of the night. I remember the endless ear infections because of teething. The antibiotics side effects were horrid.
The bad times are such vivid memories.
Everyone says the good times outweigh the bad and they make it all worth it in the end. That statement is only partially true in my eyes. The good times do not outweigh the bad.
I have often found myself thinking back to when the kids were smaller. I always remember the poopy situations and the rough times. I can’t recall the first time any of the kids gave me a gas smile but I can recall every night they peed on me. I don’t think the good outweigh the bad but one way or another I do think it’s all worth it in the end.
With that being said, I am thankful my baby fever passed before I did something that would put me elbow deep in pea-green baby shit again.
When people ask me what I think my best physical feature is, the only hesitation I have is which facial feature I’m going to spotlight. I love my smile. It’s not a perfect she must have had braces (I didn’t) smile but it’s warm and always sincere. My eyes are amazing. They’re so dark brown they look black. They say your eyes are the window to your soul; my soul must be dark and intense yet beautiful. My nose fits perfectly within the rest of my features. It’s not a bad nose at all; it can smell a poopy diaper from 10 feet away. It’s a damn good nose. I know hair isn’t a facial feature but I just want everyone to know that my hair is often the recipient of many compliments as well, when it’s fixed.
I don’t want you to think I’m conceited because that is not at all the case. You see my whole life I’ve been pleasantly plump, a little thicker than most girls. I’ve always heard, “oh you have such a beautiful face.” I grew up only embracing my face because that’s what everyone complimented me on. I knew I was bigger than most girls but it was never an issue until I seen pictures of myself.
I remember looking at pictures from my first wedding and being completely disgusted with my body. It was the first time I had ever looked at my full body in a picture and I didn’t like what I saw. It wasn’t horrible but I could see why no one ever complimented me on anything else.
In every picture, I was smiling and my eyes were shining so bright you could see the happiness oozing out of my face. I could finally see what everyone else seen. I only had a beautiful face. The rest of me wasn’t cute at all. My arms were chubby, my butt was flat and lets not talk about my gut the “bone girdle” couldn’t even contain.
Every time I look at those wedding pictures my eyes immediately go to all my problem areas. I hate the way it makes me feel about myself. Looking at my reflection in a mirror is completely different to me than seeing myself in a picture. Those images haunt me.
When I recieved my first digital camera, I learned to take selfies. They became my favorite pictures of myself. They focused on the one part of my body that I was comfortable with, my face. I’ve never taken a selfie I didn’t like. I should give lessons. Picking the right pose, knowing your angle, getting the lighting just right, Sometimes I view it as an art form. I tried to teach my sister how to take a cute selfie but it was an epic fail. She wound up looking more like Meg (from Family guy) than ever before. Wait, this isn’t about my sister, this is about me and my body image issues. Back to me…
I’m coming to terms with being who I am. I still don’t like pictures of my full body. For the past 5 years family pictures are always done right after I have a kid. They all have that extra 100 pounds I gained during every pregnancy. Family pictures are never taken when I’m thinner and feel better about myself; which makes my full-body-image-photo-phobia even worse.
Please don’t take this wrong. I love myself and I don’t hide from family pictures. I just don’t like to throw them all over the internet. I know what my body could look like and those are the pictures I enjoy. For now, I love my selfies. They show all my best features and those are the pictures I enjoy sharing.
So next time you see me on Selfie Club posting about how I’m the #SelfieQueen, please don’t shake your head and pass judgment on me. Just smile and wait for the day that I feel comfortable enough with you to share my full body photos. That day will come, I promise.