Monthly Archives: October 2014

Product Review: Jamberry Nail Wraps

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Jamberry.

If you are on FaceBook these days, (and who isn’t? Even God has his own FaceBook. )you have probably heard of the name Jamberry.

What exactly ARE Jamberry nail wraps?

Jamberry nail wraps are these awesome little nail wraps, individual stickers if you will with an adhesive backing to them that, when heated, gets very sticky and when pressed to your own nails, creates a tough bond. They come in a slew of designs and colors.j2 j3 j4

Even Mommy and Me matching sets! (Yes. yes i squeed. I waited through 6 sons to have my baby daughter. I want to do ALL THE MOMMY AND ME STUFFS!!!!!!)

mam

They have sets to show support for autism awareness. And for every set they sell, they donate $2 to the Autism Society!

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Holiday designs.

fall

xmas

The possibilities are endless.

Here’s the basic rundown. And here’s what I did when I tried the Jamberry wraps.

Wash your hands/nails with a bit of dish soap after removing any polish from your nails. the dishsoap helps to remove any oils on your nails so the wraps can adhere more securely and last longer. Each shet of wraps comes with enough wraps for 2-3 full sets for both fingers and toes! (At $15 per sheet THAT is an INCREDIBLE deal!!!) Line up your nails to the different size wraps to get a best match. (You don’t want the wraps to touch any skin, only nail.) Using a hair dryer or a Jamberry mini heater (as a product reviewer, I got hooked up with the heater. I strongly suggest getting one. It makes your job even easier than it already is!) You peel the wrap off the plastic sheet with a cuticle tool, so as not to touch it with your fingers, hold it in front of the heat from your hair dryer/heater for just 5 seconds, and gently place on your nail. Press down, Trim with nail scissors any excess wrap, then use your emery board to ensure a smooth tip after trimming. I did a little trick to be sure mine stayed in place longer by wrapping a baggie around my nail after applying the wrap and then holding my finger in front of the heater for an additional 5 seconds. It’s not a neccesary step, but it’s a great little trick for people like me who spend all day scrubbing thing, washing dishes, etc. I use my hands A LOT and these things really stood up in comparison to even my most pricey, so called “long lasting” nail polish. And being a person who uses her hands all day long and doesn’t exactly pamper them, I have never gotten a manicure because I saw it as a waste of money. I envied the perfectly polished and decorated nails of my friends, but it just wasn’t something I could make work. Until now. And like I said, at just $15 per sheet, it more than pays for itself! Seriously!

The Jamberry Company was started by 3 sisters, after spending a day at the nail salon, they vowed to find a cheaper way to have fabulous nails. And they really nailed it. (Yes, pun TOTALLY intended. High five.)

You can order Jam berry from any Susie Q. BUt personally, I would like to pimp out MY Jamberry goddess…..uh, I mean consultant. When I told her I was interested in testing the product and doing a blog review she loaded me down with a bunch of different wraps, all the tools needed and a follow up of a super bubbly, optimistic attitude. Seriously, the girl stands 120% behind her products. And her nails are always immaculate and adorable. I’m basically a moron when it comes to stuff like this (I’ve been raising 6 boys for so long I think I forgot how to be a girl.) but she walked me through the process, gave me some great tips and was just awesome. Her name is Holly Smith and her site is http://hollyamber.jamberrynails.net. You can also reach her by phone at 713-702-8232 and ask her to send you a catalog. And here’s another great deal. as if $15 isn’t cheap enough (and remember, that makes 2-3 full sets!) , if you order any 3 designs of your choice, you get to choose a FREE 4th sheet!!!! Buy 3, get one free! Get your sister, your mom and your friend at work to each buy a set and you get yours free! And then you can all get together and share and mix and match. $45 for 2-3 manis and pedis EACH for 4 women is a pretty awesomesauce deal!

If you’re interested, contact Holly today and order a set! You won’t be sorry! I am 100% in love with the concept of these nail wraps and I think you will be too! ūüôā

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Down Came The Rain

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I think it was pretty clear to me how rock bottom I had hit when I found myself standing in the aisle of Wal Mart by myself a little over a week ago crying.

I’ve battled with Postpartum Depression ¬†twice before. After I had my first son 5 weeks early, with a labor that was a mess of interventions followed by a ¬†9-day stay in the NICU for my son. And again after my second son was born, his conception occurring so soon after losing my daughter at 20 weeks pregnant that I was still a cluster fuck of emotions at his birth.

So, it only made sense I would have some issues. It was pretty logical. It was really a “Well, no shit.” type of scenario.

But this……

joy

How selfish and whiny and petty I must be. Look at my life. Actually, let’s rewind for a minute. Look at what my life was a couple of years ago. My weekly income was approximately $180. For a family of 8. We lived in the shit hole trailer that needed so much work done it really should have been burnt down. In a marriage with a miserable man. Struggling, broke, stressed. Was I unhappy and starving for change? Hell to the YES. Was I depressed? Honestly, no. I held on to my faith, my strength, the joy of being a mom.

Fast forward to now. Now I am engaged to the most amazing, gentle, kind, smart man. He is my best friend and provides fr our family financially in such a way that I don’t ever have to worry about bills again. We live comfortably. We have two vehicles. A 4 bedroom house with hardwood floors and a fenced in yard with a clothesline and a huge trampoline in the backyard. 2.5 dogs. Sunny days. Trips to the beach or the zoo or the park. Love and laughter. Security and stability. And the icing on the cake: I finally got that little baby princess I always wanted. I literally have every thing I ever wanted/needed in my life. I am blessed. And grateful. And depressed.

See? It doesn’t fit. And it really just makes me feel all the more shittier. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m all “C’mon girl, shake that shit off. Quit being such a baby about everything. You have it GOOD. What do you have to be sad about?”

The answer is partly circumstancial. Not NOW…but shit I am still working through from my past. And partly hormonal. An influx of crossed wires due to hormones smash-crashing into one another and dipping downdowndown after that beautiful baby girl was born.

And I’m ashamed. Angry with myself. Not proud of the fact I think I ought to be strong enough to get OVER it. As if that is even a possibility. Ashamed to admit how I am really feeling in case I look like a spoiled brat demanding attention or like a bad mom. I don’t want to hear “I told you so.” I don’t want pity. I don’t want people KNOWING.

I don’t want people knowing how often I have been picking fights with this amazing man whom I love. I don’t MEAN to. BUt sometimes I get to hating myself so deeply and he just doesn’t understand that I have all these sharp edges that have the potential of cutting him if he reaches out. I don’t want people to know that the kids have taken to apologizing if they make any loud, sudden noises. That they are accustomed to mom sleeping in until 10 because she was up all night with racing thoughts.That they have probably changed as many diapers as I have recently. Prepared meals. Done extra chores because I can’t find the fucking energy it takes to get up off the damn couch and brush my teeth or change out of pajamas, so how in the HELL can I POSSIBLY prepare a meal to feed 9 people and then clean up the kitchen afterwards? You might as well tell a man with no legs to drag himself up Mount Everest by his fingernails. And the worst part…..the part I am the very most extra ashamed to admit to anyone: I am not as close to Lucy as I want to be. She cries sometimes and it takes me a couple minutes to realize she is crying, I dont hear it, don’t register it. I’ve been giving her formula and my milk dried up and now I am trying my damnedest to get it back, oh the guilt in that. But the simple act of sitting on my ass and nursing her was too difficult (Yes. Yes I DO know how ass backwards that is) so I got into the habit of making her bottles and asking the kids to feed her. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to harm her in ANY way at all, let me reassure you. BUt the desire to hold her and love on her and be with her wasn’t really there any more. And when the kids quit wanting to help feed her I started propping bottles in her mouth with a blanket. And maybe some of you do that and maybe it works for you and that’s great. But me? I have NEVER. I don’t do that. I practice Attachment Parenting. I babywear and nurse on demand and hold and snuggle and nurture. I believe so strongly in Attachment Parenting that I started a page on FaceBook all about it. I know what is best for my baby. But now….I can’t do it.

And all of this only leads me deeper down that rabbit hole. Look at all this failure, my mind says, making a grand sweeping gesture with my arm at my whole life. Look at all this failure.

It’s not 24-7. I’m lucky for that. I have been treating it. Eating better, taking supplements, talk therapy, sunshine and exercise. And small glimpses of the real me come out to play sometimes. I laugh with my kids ¬†or manage to cook a whole big meal that they all enjoy eating or snuggle Lucy close and get overwhelmed with how LUCKY I am to be holding her precious pink little body in my arms. I make love to Justin. I marvel at how far my life has come. And it is THOSE moments that give me HOPE.

hope

And that is the KEY…..that hope never stops singing. Ever. Sometimes it gets muffled by all of the noise in my mind from my doubt and guilt and shame and fear…..but it never stops. And as long as I have that hope…I know I can believe it will not always be that way. Someday I will realize it’s been a long time since I felt stuck or alone or defeated. Right now, I need life to be a bit more gentle. I don’t need any extra responsibility. I am barely handling what I have on my plate right now. I need prayer. I need to know people understand and don’t judge me.

If I don’t reply back to your private message, if I don’t interact with you, if I cut off mid-conversation…please understand, I am doing my best to hold myself together and right now that is very hard and my own well being is my #1 priority. Number 2 is my children. Everything else is just going to have to wait. It’s a process and I am still finding what is helping and what is not. But if I don’t take care of myself right now I am of absolutely no good at all to my children. If I am not the greatest friend or sister or daughter right now, please forgive me. But if Lucy cries, I want to hear it and go to her and hold her close to my heart. If my oldest son wants to talk, I refuse to miss it because I only have a little over 4 more years before he moves out on his own and I have gotten into this awful habit of scrolling on FB all day just to avoid the dark feelings inside of myself and it might be a handy distraction but it’s making me miss the important stuff too. And it’s helping me avoid actually getting better.

So, I won’t be around much for awhile. If you want to send me a message or anything, my email is zenprincess80@yahoo.com. I might not reply back right away but I can tell you right now, I do read every single message I get on FB and my emails. And during this hiatus on FB Justin told me how many people messaged him asking if I was okay. And though I wasn’t up to talking to anyone at the time, it touched my heart to know that people even noticed my presence was lacking in their lives. Because when depression is in your head telling you how invalueable, worthless and pointless your existence is…it is an amazing amount of help to be reminded that people DO notice. I felt your prayers and love and I am grateful. THANK YOU.

So, sorry for being a shitty FaceBook page owner. Sorry for sucking as a friend. Sorry for lacking as a legit family member in all shapes, sizes and forms. (2 of my most favorite people in my family had birthdays last month and I missed acknowledging either.) But I’m working on myself right now and that’s just where I am. If it’s not something you can respect, please just keep your opinion to yourself on the matter and move along. Believe me, there is nothing you can say to make me feel worse than my own thoughts make me feel every day. I don’t need advice or pity. Just some love, some faith, and some prayers/vibes/positive energy.

breathe

Thank you for understanding like the amazing, awesome, groovy, beautiful creatures you are.

I love you.

And this song…….Well, it encapsulates my entire being right now. ‚̧

Placing Blame Where Blame Is Due

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Demons rattle the bars of the cage from time to time but the nice thing about healing….real true healing inside as well as outside….is that they can rattle those bars all they want but they just can’t get out and touch your life any more.

Last week, my ex husbands name was listed in his small town local paper. In the arrest report. The charge was listed as “Assault On A Female.” No bond set. This is his 3rd charge.

I have no idea who the female is. I currently live half a country away. What I have come to learn from my stumbling across that arrest report online has shaken my core a bit, helped me settle some things within myself, and guided me through the next process of this journey as a Domestic Violence survivor.

You see, the abuse began a little over a week before the wedding. But I married him anyway. Because he was stressed, he didn’t mean to, he had a lot on his mind, he said he was sorry, I could help him.

And within the span of a two year time period it continued. A roller coaster marriage. And I felt obligated to stay. Because good christian girls don’t give up, they pray. Because love can fix anything. Because I could help heal him, help sooth the savage beast in him that was really just a scared, lost, hurting little boy. No one understood him the way I did.

Here’s the funny thing, I can look back now and see how wrong it was, how twisted I had it all in my head. I can tell other women now who are in their own tangled web of violence to get out GET OUT Dear God please just get away from him because he won’t stop won’t change you can’t save him take your babies get in your damn car and go. I see the weariness in scared eyes, the timid way their eyes dart around as they whisper confessions in heavy shame. I see bruises in the old familear shape of fingertips on upper arms. (It has been 18 months now since I last wore fingertip bruises on my upper arm.) I tell them my story so they know I am not judging, that I DO understand, I truly do. How it feels to love a man who only knows to show you love in spits and spurts, starts and jolting stops, slaps and clenched fists curled in much like the fetus in our belly that we pray will change who he is, draw out the gentle calmness in him. I tell them my story and then I tell them to get out. It’s easy for me to say. I understand it’s not easy to do, taking that first step, but it’s so beautiful to be safe and happy and unhindered these days. So I tell them my story and I tell them to go.

But…..here is the funny part…..often, when I am alone with my thoughts, I ponder my past and that tiny voice down deep in me whispers “What if?” What if this was my failure? Maybe I didn’t stay long enough. Maybe I lost faith too soon. Maybe I could have saved him. Maybe if I had given him more freedom, more space, more time away, more allowance to do as he pleased, not insisted the drugs stay out, not demanded he lay off the drinking, maybe I WAS ¬†controlling bitch, fun-killer, maybe it WAS my fault…..

No ¬†no no. I KNOW that’s utter horse shi. I swear I DO. I know better, am smarter than all that noise.

But still……

The funny thing about abuse

No matter what kind it is…

verbal, physical, emotional, mental, financial, sexual…..it’s all basically on the same damn track with one sole purpose. TO. BREAK. YOU. DOWN.

Piece by piece by piece it chips away all of your self confidence and courage and it dulls your shine and knocks the bounce out of your step and basically implements all it’s tools to convince you THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

And I am so damn happy now. And life is good. And this man by my side is wonderful. He would never hurt me. Not even a shove or a verbal threat. Not a chance, not on your life. I am secure and safe.

But still….

the funny thing is, sometimes I feel like that broken girl I was before 18 months ago. Back when I walked on egg shells and apologized for the world and all of it’s ways. Sometimes I feel totally unworthy of Justins love. When Justin and I first got together he asked me “Why do you apologize for everything?” It was a question that confused me. Well, why WOULDN’T I , when everything was always my fault? I have learned over time to let that go. But still……the scars on ones soul from a person they loved and trusted hurting them, are there forever.

I had never had a fractured bone within this skin until I met Dave. Had never known how futile defending yourself and throwing a punch really is when you are a 5 foot tall 110 pound woman and your opponent is a drunk giant. (Hint: You don’t win. He’ll pick you up by your dreadlocks and shake you like a ragdoll and your mind will half feel the pain and half be in awe that your hair doesn’t rip clean out of your scalp.) And see? That right there. My mind says “Well, you know, in retrospect…if you hasn’t have tried to hit him BACK…….” Not that it mattered. I got my ass kicked whether I walked away or begged him to stop or fought back.

The funny thing is this: it is so easy for me to tell others to get out because they do not deserve it and IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT.

It is far harder to not feel like I deserved it.

But you guys don’t know me. You don’t know how hard I can be to live with. How frustrating living with someone with anxiety and depression can get. How stressful this many kids can get. I’m not fun. I’m too busy cleaning and cooking and diaper changing to want to go out and smoke meth or get wasted. I havent been wasted in ages. I nag sometimes. I can’t let things go. I have grouchy days. I PMS. I get sleep deprived and cranky. I’d rather stay home watching Netflix than go out. I’m not 21 anymore. I’m tired and old and worn out and used up and not pretty enough fun enough anything enough. Of course he hit me. Of course he said those words. Of course. And someday soon Justin will realize how much better he can do. He will see how he is throwing away his life, wasting his heart on this messy pile of broken pieces of what used to be a wonderful girl, he will realize his mistake because OH I don’t deserve him.

Those soul scars.

They shout loudly sometimes.

It hurts my ears.

Makes me want to curl up in a ball on myself just like that little fetus in my belly that never really mattered to him any more than my tears did when his hands were curled into fists, curl in and just cry because all I feel is ugly. Still. After all this time.

Not all of the time. But sometimes. Still.

Until 2 days ago.

When I saw that arrest report.

And I don’t know who the female was he assaulted. But I do know it was not ME. No. I am here. Unbattered. So, that shakes things up a bit, you see? I always put myself as the deciding factor. But I am removed from this equation now and still the same damn answer keeps coming out. Which tells me only one thing:

IT. WASN’T. MY. FAULT.

Do you understand how it moves my heart to type those words?

To read them?

To think them?

I read that arrest report a half dozen times and that epiphany washed over me and I cried. It was such a weight being lifted from my shoulders.

It was not my fault. Not my failure. I could never save him or change him. That was not my place. I am not God. I am just a girl who loved the wrong guy for awhile and knows better now.

It wasn’t my fault.

(I get tears in my eyes every time I type that. I’m still healing, see? It’s a process, see?)

I don’t know who the female is whom he assaulted but I do hope she is a faster learner than I was. I hope she gets out and stays out. I hope she is safe tonight and forever and never knows his angry fists again.

What I have learned is that sometimes….sometimes healing hurts just as much as what we are trying to heal from.

This right here. This encapsulates pretty well how I feel.

Of Me But Not Of Me

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Being a mother is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my life. Ever. I knew that I would play this role back when I was a small child. And I am so amazed every day with the way I have been blessed. It is always a bit disgruntling when people pity me or stare at me in awe as if I am some superhero because I have 7 children. I suppose because so many get it twisted in their head and think parenting is all about molding, training, teaching, discipline. They think I spend all day taking these potential globs of clay and shaping them into proper members of society. I must be sweaty and red-faced, determined and busy, exhausted and worn out. I obviously want for my children all I never had myself as a child. I must have a to-do list of intentions and dreams and plans for each of them in turn. How could I not? Isn’t that what being a good parent entails?

But no. Not for me, anyway. These young humans that came right straight through me and reside with me are not truly mine to shape and form and push and force. That is not my place in their world. I am simply here as a tour guide so to speak. I hold my own experiences in my hands and I can open my fists and show them, but this cannot stop them from their own choices. I cannot demand that they pay some penance for my past sins. They have just as much right as I do to make choices, to choose new paths. They have so very much potential and it is not my right to trample on that garden of freshly sprouted hopes and passions and wonders just because they may not fit into my pre conceived notions and beliefs.

So, I let them be. I let them grow. This is their journey. I wish for them experiences. Broken hearts and bruised wings. Beautiful friendships. Racing hearts. Rushing head on into a cave of lions with a holler of determination. A heart filled with creedance. A heart filled with empathy for humanity. Hunger. Desire. Skinned knees. Dreams that take shape and then change shape a dozen different times. LIFE.

These children are of me, but not OF me. They are not fragments of my very own soul broken off to roam around this world. They are their OWN soul. So, as much as is possible I allow them to think for themselves, read what fascinates them, listen to what moves their feet, decide for themselves who they are and fall madly in love with that person.

I already have. I have this great honor of watching them grow. And I am in awe. I love them so deeply that it makes my heart ache sometimes. In the most lovely of ways.

Zane, my eldest, at 13, is teetering uncertainly some days on the edge of unsung heroes and uncharted territories. He is a man already in some cultures and is shining through that way in front of me in many ways. He sees a need and is the first to jump in and fill that need. The other day I let him babysit for his youngest two siblings. I arrived back home to find the toddler playing contentedly, the baby sitting happily in her Bumbo seat in the kitchen watching her biggest brother wash dishes. He had cleaned the house and was finishing off the dishes. I had not even asked him to do anything more than change a diaper or two and feed a bottle if needed. ¬†I don’t worry about his future. I don’t fret over his teenage years. I can see what type of decision-making skills he has, how responsible he is. The boy has had his future planned out for ages now. He is teaching himself Japanese so he can move to Japan after college. It is amazing to me that a squalling pink 6 pound pile of potential can form into something this awesome. He is all awkward giraffe legs and arms and red hair that sticks up straight on his head as if it is shocked and appalled at the world. He is silliness and energy and motivation and mono-focus. He is my first draft and the final draft is going to be incredible.

Aidan is 11 now. That boy was born with fire water in his veins. He has always been fiery and determined and stubborn. These traits could look potentially negative but I know they were given to him by God to be used in beautiful ways. Someday he will be a litigator or those without a voice, He will fight for rights and justice. He will stand on the front lines of the battle fields of this life. He has an obsession for order and organization. He carries quite a bit of empathy within himself and will be the first to speak up when he sees someone being hurt by fists or words. He is a warrior.

Bailey is 9. Bailey sees details where no one else does. He tastes flavors in food stronger than most. He sees facial expressions, curl of lip, squint of eye in people a mile away. He picks up on other’s energies and is uncomfortable stepping into their auras. He considers things deeply, contemplates potential in everything. He will sit quietly in a chair in the living room with his thoughts while his brothers run around outside shrieking like banshees. He has a sweetness to him that draws people in in a way they are unaware of on the surface.

Creed is 7. Creed has decided that this world can be challenging, frustrating. He finds himself doing a lot of yelling, a lot of shutting down, a lot of feeling like he cannot fit in no matter how hard he tries. I can understand this better than he knows. I myself have always been a bit of a triangle trying so damn hard to fit into a circle hole. It can’t be done. He will realize this someday. His brain never stops, his thoughts tend to overflow and spill out of his mouth. He has a way of looking at things from a completely different angle than anyone else does. And for this, he has great vision.

Drezdyn is 5. Drezdyn, who will do a headstand as a way to deal with stress. Anytime he is being scolded or has been naughty, he will immediatly flip upside down. “Now Drezdyn, you know we don’t hit people. You need to say sor…” *FLIP* Now I am scolding an upside down child. His facial expression stays the same, he listens to me intently from his flipped perch. For some reason he is less overwhelmed by strong emotion in himself if he is head down, feet up. My walls have subtle scuff marks from his feet and I am okay with that. At 5 he has a coping mechanism. I know some adults who don’t have that. He has a memory that goes back forever. His Daddy passed away a week after he turned 2. He still comes to me and says “Remember when Daddy did this…?” He recalls things I forget. He holds me accountable. He brings me flowers and hugs. Sometimes when he gets really mad he throws things. So do I. We are learning together to stop doing that.

Blaze. Blaze is at the age of terrific 2. Yes, being 2 means he requires a bit more energy exerted on his behalf, a bit more attention paid. But I would NEVER call it the terrible twos. There is nothing terrible about it. Like all other things in parenting, it is all a matter of perspective. He is my little scientist. Curious. Fascinated. Filled with adventure and bravery and wonder. He is independent and dependent. A paradox of oxymorons and what-it-to-be-expected. He has baby dreadlocks in the midst of his curls and a smile to melt the coldest of hearts.My little hippie boy.

Lucy. Brand new Lucy. Lucy is 6 months old now. And she is a joy. She looks just like her oldest brother and her smile lights up whenever he walks in the room. She gives the best hugs around your neck with a slobbery kiss to the cheek for good measure. She mimes gum-chewing in her sleep. She has so many smiles to hand out. She is our little ray of sunshine in the middle of the house. She fits in nicely in our land of controlled chaos and we say welcome home.

Welcome home to each of them. This planet is their home. This life waiting to be carved out with their hopes and dreams. I am simply here to be sure no one leaves a light on when they leave a room, to remind them maybe it’s a good idea to bring a extra pair of gloves when they climb that mountain, or an extra bandage to help soothe an aching heart of a friend. My job is not to force or push or shove, but simply to let them BE. Be what they want, who they are deep within. To help them dust off what layers may be hiding their true selves. To never ever ever dull their sparkle or shine.

They are of me, but not OF me. It’s a world of difference.