Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, the year of chaos

i've been thinking a lot about the year 2012 today. it's only natural i suppose, with it being the last day and all.

but as i sit here browsing society6, drinking my hot tea, and knowing i definitely won't last be awake to kiss my man at midnight i'm having trouble remembering much of anything.

i know i turned 32 this year.
i know all my kids got older.
i know i was gone nearly every weekend making awkward conversation with mostly kind families, begging their children to smile. and in doing so, i missed out on so much.

the year 2012 could be coined the year of chaos.

i learned to love my body, then drifted back into hating it again.

elliott learned how to read.

otto learned how to poop on the toilet. finally. 

faith knows how to do 3 digit subtraction, addition, and the importance of multiplication. 

cory is nearing the end of his degree. 

4 people my age or younger that i was connected to in one way or another passed away.

all of these things are facts. i know they happened. yet they feel like they're hidden behind a cloudy haze. 

i think 2012 brought a certain amount of cynicism to my life. 

people tried to squander me out of earning a living to help support my family. hurry hurry hurry. rush rush rush. why can't you work faster? 

it was all a huge lesson in life. spending so much time getting walked on means it's become difficult for me to trust. 

this next year will be spent with me trying to find that soft edge again. 

i think the most exciting thing about january 1st is the word possibility. 

nothing is decided yet. everything is wibbly wobbly. 

job situations will likely change. dreams may be realized. milestones will happen. as i type at this very moment elliott has his first loose tooth and it's moments from falling out of his sweet little mouth. 

we all know there will be births. and deaths. illnesses and happiness. 

i used to proclaim that i hated change. yet i find myself being more open to it as time marches on.

2013 means 10 years of marriage. 10 years of love. 

and a cabin with a hot tub that i'm quite certain i'll refuse to leave. 

i'm having visions of hiking, water, geocaching and sleeping. so much sleeping. 

what books will be read? 

what movies will be seen? 

will sherlock come back to me? 

will 11 regenerate into 12? 

there are so many unanswered questions that i can't wait to discover the answers to. 

i know 2013 will bring new experiences. i'm counting on it really.

i never set resolutions. commitment issues...i have them. 

wait, scratch that. i'm setting some resolutions this year. but really, we'll just call them things i'd like to do, but will only do if i have the time...resolutions....

which leads me to resolution #1...

slow the fuck down. 
busy busy busy busy. 2012, the year of chaos. 
2013, the year of slowing the fuck down. 

2. learn how to play the guitar already.
because in my head i'm a super duper awesome folk star anyway.

3. take up running again. 
3 1/2. get to a size that enables me to walk into any store and find something i can wear. 

4. have enough of a personal portfolio by the end of the year to do a show.
whether i actually do a show or not is irrelevant. 

5. start writing a freaking book already.

6. read 35 books. 
one of my biggest accomplishments for 2012 was reading 30.
you guys, i read 30 books in the year of chaos. 

7. alone time. take it. and refuse to feel guilty about it.

8. attempt to make french macaroons from scratch.
this is the one that scares me the most.

9. quit drinking diet coke.
i'm thinking of replacing that bad habit with smoking.

10. lighten up.
while we were dating cory once told me i was a fun sucker.
and i was. i was the worst fun sucker of all time. 

2012 was the year when i started sucking all the fun out of things again. 

this directly relates to resolution #1. 

slowing down & taking time to just fucking breathe will help me stick with resolution #10. 

it's a cycle really.

busy = stress
stress = the mom/wife/friend that no one wants to be around. 

the humming dryer, the lorax dvd being stuck on the menu in the next room, the fan on the laptop.
these are the sounds around me. 

good night, 2012. 

2013, you're lookin' fantastic.

our visit to the toy & action figure museum

this weekend my baby turned 4. and i'll say the cliche oh it's going by too quickly! but really in a lot of ways time has literally dragged by as slow as it possibly could.

i have such mixed feelings when it comes to the kids growing older. while i miss the feel of a tiny baby and other things they bring, i don't miss the lack of sleep or certain amount of freedom that i'm starting to feel.

but really the only point of this post will be to share pictures from our day with you.

we've been on our way to visit this place for years and finally made it on otto's birthday. and we'll definitely be going back, despite the surly girl at the register in the gift store. excuse me, surly girl, but look at where you work. it might be the coolest place in the freaking state so yea, smile k?

my baby's face when we walked in. new goal: get him to make this face at least once a day.

they totally had an entire area designated for costumes that the boys could try on. it was their dream come true.

and even an area set up with a doll house. this deer in the headlights look is totally authentic.

i was in the midst of reading the deathly hallows when we went, so seeing these was like seeing my best friends hanging out. 

they had an area with vintage western toys...and i've decided that i need to have another baby then come steal these.

the epic amount of batman shit? a giant bat cave. 

and basically cory was just as excited as the boys. maybe even more so.

totally worth the 6 bucks per person we paid for admission. 
and my favorite part, you guys? the big sign at the entrance that said "we welcome cameras". 
i took so many pictures and could back to take like 500 more. 

hooray for nerds!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

just share

so there are a few conversations i have way too often with people.

they vary in frequency depending on life situations.

the parenting discussions don't happen quite as frequently now that my kids are bigger. there are no longer the talks of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, vaccinations and blah blah blah things that don't really matter because in the end every mother mothers the way that she feels is right.

but discussions often lead to three things:
my parenting
my finances
how all homeless people/people on welfare are looking for free handouts because they're too lazy to work

back when faith was a tiny babe i belonged to the nest, which is a follow up to the knot...that site where brides pat each other on the back for being pretty enough to have captured a man.

there was a discussion on food stamps and i immediately got bashed for collecting them at the time.
never mind that cory was working full time, we were both going to school full time, and the only way for me to go to work would be to dump faith in a dhs approved day care because there was no way we could've afforded it. it was one of the worst internet experiences i've ever had. i was a new mother doing the best she could and here were these other privileged women who had never known what it was to go without telling me that what i was doing was shameful. that i was letting them support me because i was too lazy to go out & get a job.

ever since then i've kept it quiet when we've gone through hard times and collected food benefits.
going through the line at the grocery store with 3 kids in tow means i hang my head low & turn on super stealth mode so that no one around me sees i'm using an ebt card.

but people never stop to hear my story. instead they judge me because they think i shouldn't have children if i can't afford to feed them without assistance. and these are the same pro-life nut jobs who would've judged me should i have chosen to not have those children. and the thing is that fuck you, my kids are amazing. they're going to grow up, do wonderful things and make an impact in their community. if my body could handle it i'd go full dugger and pop out dozens more. so basically this argument is completely invalid.

and that's enough ranting about my situation. but really my only goal was to use our family as an example.

the numbers of people sitting on street corners with signs and cups asking for help has increased drastically. it's impossible to drive through downtown okc and not see them huddled in their sleeping bags, crowding around the bus station hoping for some warmth on their bodies and in their bellies.

about 3 weeks ago a beautiful woman struck up a conversation with me. i was sitting by the fountains in one of our city gardens, reading. she was snacking on some crackers and drinking a bottle of water.

i remembered seeing someone i greatly admire on twitter say "sometimes homeless people just want someone to talk to" and i immediately put down my book, ignored my phone and gave her my full attention.

she had come here from trinidad to find a job and have a better life. she'd come with a friend & they had great plans. now she's found herself here, with an expired green card and nowhere to go. green card means no job. no job means no money. and money, of course, means no housing. she had nothing more than the clothes on her back and those snacks that some kind soul had bought her earlier in the day.

she didn't ask me for money. she didn't ask me for food. she just wanted to talk. she tearfully told me that none of the three churches she tried that morning could help her and she didn't know where she was going to go.

i gave her all i had on me, which was $4 in cash, a handful of change, and a free drink voucher to starbucks. that free drink voucher, you guys. her eyes lit up & she exclaimed "i can get a hot chocolate!"

and hers is another story that should be heard. it's not a case of being lazy, a junkie needing another fix, or someone trying to swindle you out your obviously hard earned 20 dollar bill. she was a friendly young woman who was down on her luck and just needed a helping hand.

we put so much of our self worth in our things, don't we? our money, our houses, our cars, our clothes. and in the end does it really matter? if someone is sitting there asking for our help it's not our job to judge them publicly or humiliate them. it's not our job to interrogate them or hand them job applications telling them to get a job. our job is to love.

and love is one of those things that so many of us are lacking. it never ceases to amaze me how many people have lost basic human compassion. they forget that they're just a few bad circumstances from being in the exact same place others are.

lumping everyone into the same category does them such a disservice. and it actually hurts us more than anyone else. to find ourselves so calloused and angry that we can't just let our guard down and trust that to those people a cold bottle of water, or whatever small amount of change you have in your car won't be appreciated.

i can't tell you how many countless times i've rolled down my window and given someone whatever i had on me, whether it was a 10 dollar bill, a granola bar, a free voucher to some food somewhere along with a smile that i haven't been thanked over and over again.

and you know what? my children see that. they witness cory and i spread love when we can. and that means that they will grow to be compassionate people who will hopefully do the same some day.

because in a world where so much is wasted we really do have so much to give.

and a side note: all these thoughts were spawned by a local business that exchanged hateful words of judgment towards those in need using their public business named social media. it shocked me, saddened me, and has been at the forefront of my mind for the last 2 days.

but the irony of the situation is that she did nothing but solidify my feelings. i'm using her as an example to my children today as to why love is so much more powerful than hate. why we should never judge a book by its cover, and to always remember compassion.

so really maybe i should be thanking her. and the people of this city should be thanking her. because she can be damn sure i'll be giving as much as we possibly can to everyone i come across that's in need.

love, guys. it's all that matters... so cliche to say, but so true.

and to quote a friend on facebook "It is just food..share it".

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

christmas when you're broke

it's trying to make memories that don't require dozens of gifts under the tree.

it's making as many gifts as you can from the things you have laying around.

it's hoping that they'll hold onto the memories of making hot chocolate from a mix they made themselves, eating cookies i made them from scratch and won't remember the lack of extravagant gifts.

it's being grateful that the grandparents always go overboard, and trying not to feel like total shit because they only have 2 presents each to open from us.

it's stuffing their stockings with dollars trinkets and hoping that will help things feel more full.

it's knowing that you strive every day to teach them that love and kindness are oh so important, and that things don't really matter in the end.

all these thoughts have been running through my head after talking with friends who had about 20 dollars to spend on each of their kids.

every time i talk to my mom lately she commends me on being tough & not complaining about our financial situation. and the thing is that i actually feel fortunate most of the time.

we have what we need. we can never be homeless. and we have more time to spend together than most families do.

i wouldn't trade this for a life of cory being gone all the time, only seeing him for half an hour each day, the kids never knowing what it's like to lounge on the couch in the afternoon and watch movies with him.

but at times like christmas it makes the life we've chosen a tad more difficult.

i'm having to force myself to focus on the good. our beautiful tree, the hand me down decorations that make me smile because of their history, the fact that my kids ask to watch "nightmare before christmas" at least once a day.

my house is warm, my fridge is full of delicious junk food, and we can afford toilet paper.

what more can a girl ask for really?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

smart. i am.

life is a never ending circle of something err something that means something that makes you go "wowwww that was deep" and repeat it to everyone you know while simultaneously posting them to all your social media.

i'm not a very deep person. pretty house pretty tree syndrome. is that a real thing? because it's what cory tells me i have.

i married a really smart guy. and sometimes that comes back to bite me in the ass.

growing up with a mom whose third language is english and a dad who's a redneck from muskogee, oklahoma means i have like the worst grammar ever. i say y'all, call my kids darlin' and sugar, and use words that i think are really smart & shit that actually mean something completely different.

it's a problem.

and it's only a problem because i'm an extremely self conscious person. to be laughed at ruins my entire day. which probably means i'm emotionally imbalanced. not really all that surprising.

cory made this really genius comic worthy of its own graphic novel with our friend tessa. in it he describes his most embarrassing moment. my most embarrassing moment? it involves my first day of junior high, the day after aunt flo appeared for the very first time, period blood and a denim jumper. i haven't made a comic worthy of its own graphic novel detailing my most embarrassing moment. because it's tragic is why. it's even too tragic for a humorous montage in a judd apatow movie.

then this one time when i was a budding pre-teen who knew nothing about boys my best friend had me stand look out outside her bathroom while she did god knows what with a boy in the shower stall. that basically sums up my entire adolescence. clueless third wheel.

see? self conscious. not really all that surprising.

it's so funny to me that a naive, prude little private school girl grew up to be, well, me.

the woman who shaved her head & not her legs for a good solid year just to make people uncomfortable.
the woman whose mother would disown her if she knew just how liberal she is.
pro-choice, pro-gays, pro-people are allowed to make their own fucking decisions. it's shocking, right?
i high school & the first year of college i definitely had a hoodie that said "abortion is homicide".
when i think about that girl who wore that thing it makes me wanna punch her in the tit.
how insensitive was i? i mean, really. i wish i could write everyone who ever had to see that a lengthy apology including footnotes on my childhood.

and i no longer try to pretend like i'm a deep thinking philosopher of life & all.

that was so community college...

i know what's important to me.
i know the kind of children i want to raise.
i know i like bacon.
i know i love to drink beer.
i know i will always picture my things in other people's houses.
i know my family is better than anyone else's.
and i know all these things define who i am as a person.

and for some reason it felt really important to write all that down today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

dear me..

the draw to write is something that's always there inside of me. it never goes away. i constantly have words running through my head. there are even more of them when i'm reading on a more frequent basis, which i have been lately.

dear vanessa,
write more

i've been a giant ball of stress for the last year and change. and i can't seem to make myself to slow down. i keep taking on more obligations...looking for more to do. then i immediately regret it. what the hell am i doing?

dear vanessa,
slow down

i want to play with my children
learn how to play the guitar
write a song
take an art class
play with my camera every day
go on daily trips somewhere familiar, warm and comforting
i want somewhere to belong

home is wonderful. home is magic, don't get me wrong. i'm over my loathing of this trailer and have been slowly transforming it into somewhere i love to be. baby steps.

but a place away from home that feels like home? where there are no chores to be done? it's something my heart is constantly screaming for.

dear vanessa,
find that place if it's the last thing you do

i love my curvy body. i'm so proud of my curvy body.

jesus i'm fat.

i want to listen to nothing but folk & christmas music for the rest of my life. with a little dubstep mixed in on days when i'm in the kitchen wearing nothing but underwear. that's right, i said it.

and i want to be surrounded by camp fires, flannel and warm drinks in novelty mugs.

dear world,
i'm not a hipster. i was doin' this shit 15 years ago

i'm plagued by a series of up's and down's. highs and lows. do up's and down's actually require apostrophes  i would be a horrible english teacher.
i would like to full heartedly blame my lack of grammar and spelling knowledge on the religious privated school hell i was raised in.

i've come to the realization that i can write almost nothing but totally disjointed blog posts. maybe this is why i haven't been able to pull thoughts together for a book. they make drugs that would help me pull my thoughts together don't they? health insurance would be really sweet right about now.

dear vanessa,

blog more frequently

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


i voted today. for the first time in years. my kids walked in with me, watched me, and saw it happen.

cory pointed at his "i voted" sticker and said it was a license to bitch.

otto has lost the ability to control his volume. it's non-stop shouting all day. i'm starting to lose the last teaspoon of patience i had left.

john green and kimya dawson both conversed with me on twitter today. i believe i can fly..and take over the world..and die a happy woman.

it was decided that spaghetti would be consumed tonight. i have yet to make that happen and am rethinking this whole cooking thing.

i've been listening to the new mumford & sons album more than the new avett brothers. i'm not really sure who i am any more in light of this realization.

i sing really loudly in the car, and every time think about how i missed my calling as a folk singer. then i remember that i lack the balls to actually sing in front of anyone the way that i do in the car. and that i can't play an instrument. or write a song.

christmas music has already been played in this house. and i regret nothing. as soon as november arrives it's christmas time. at least in my world.

i'm coming to realize that i tend to be overly sensitive to things that don't really matter at all. like the feeling that adele betrayed me by losing weight & being on the cover of cosmo.

i really need to take better care of myself.

i need this in my life.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

an open letter to my husband

dear cory,

when i met you you weren't even legal yet.
there i was. 19 and wise to the ways of the world. and you, a baby faced 17 year old just weeks away from your birthday.

i'll never forget that first birthday i celebrated with you.

it was loud.
there were so many people.
and me, so unpopular.

yet you loved me.
you've always loved me. even though i make it impossible at times.

and here i was today.
losing my mind...swirling around in a stressed out we have to clean circle.
a crazed woman in the midst of a tornado. too much to do. no time to do it.

and you reminded me to take a step back.
you always remind me to take a step back.

reevaluate. concentrate on the good things around me.

and this is just one of the things i'm most grateful for.
you keep me centered.

life has dealt us moment after moment.
happiness upon depression.
times of plenty upon times of oh my god how are we going to eat this month?
no privacy upon stolen moments behind closed doors.

i don't always take the time to say it, but i like you.
we say i love you every day. some days multiple times a day because i think it's one of those little things that help us stay centered.
but i really really like you. seriously.

love and like,
your wife

Thursday, October 18, 2012

hi, privacy

i don't know if you guys realize it or not, but i'm a really kick ass mom. and cory? he's a really kick ass dad. 

and it's so hard sometimes to live up to that kick assness. 

some days i want to crawl into the cave shaped like my bedroom and hide. i want to eat junk food, watch tv, and pretend i'm all alone in my private space.

privacy. hello, privacy.
my long lost friend.
we used to spend so much time alone together with our good friend bed. 
remember bed? she was such a little slut, always flashing her flannel sheets at us. 
"join me," she'd say. get inside me. 
and you, privacy...well, you could never resist. so we'd let her wrap her arms around us and carry us off to ecstasy.
i haven't seen you in so long.
have you found a new lover? some 18 year old blond with no job and classes to skip?
i can only hope you saved my number. 
things won't be this way forever. 
give me fifteen years. wow, fifteen years.
i mean, yea it's a long time. but remember the times we used to have?
walks in the park..
trips to the book store..
when our good friends blanket and book used to come over to hang..
i'll write again when i have some free time.
and oh yea, my name's changed.
it's "mom" now.

today i have done the following:
velcro-ed an estimated 17 costumes on two little boys
eaten a bowl of peppermint ice cream
drank a giant iced coffee
played outside 
avoided cooking at all costs (thank you, papa murphy)
avoided housework at all costs. i'll pay for this one tomorrow.
answered phone call upon phone call from groupon clients
kissed my husband. a lot.

every day should be so beautiful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

for posterity

every waking moment lately finds me so tired.

exhaustion. kind of overwhelmed. scratch kind of and replace it with super duper.

today at 2:35pm (estimated time, mind you) i looked down at my fingernails to check and make sure they didn't need to be clipped. tonight at 9:01pm (exact time, i'm looking directly at the clock on the laptop) my nails seem grotesquely long and are making it difficult to type.

i'm creatively stunted. growth hasn't happened in quite some time.

mint green and red country, so comforting.

right now as i'm typing i'm looking down at my arms. they've grown in size an exponential amount in the last few months. but i lack the care of self motivation to do jack shit about it.

i've been stalking petfinder for a pug. and i won't stop until we get one.

i've been watching "felicity" again. and it reminded me that i used to lust after her expansive sweater wardrobe and hair. those feelings are still there. and i'm also adding "work as a barista" to my bucket list.

cory found old photos at a thrift store today for $6. and there are at least 2 dozen of them. these are the things that make me incredibly happy.

this post is for posterity. because obviously my future grandchildren will care about my meaningless dribble.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

pointless entry

i have a problem with dwelling on the past at times. that's a lie. i have a problem with dwelling on the past all the time.

and it's difficult for me to not focus on the things that i regret.

i regret not being more outspoken about what i wanted at my wedding.
i regret not waiting longer to have children.
i regret not fishing college. directly related to the regret above.
i regret not being more aware of my health and physical activity.
i regret not being more self aware in high school & my 20's.
i regret spending so much time letting others take advantage.

it's difficult to not let these things turn me into a bitter, selfish bitch. in some ways i feel like i was cheated out of things that should've been important moments in my life. and i need to let go.

maybe i even need to write them all down, put them in balloons, and let them fly away. but i won't because a. that visual therapy shit has never worked on me and b. i'm too cheap to buy balloons then just let them fly away.

the only way to right the past is live my life without regrets here, in the now.

and that, my friends, is the reason why i haven't folded laundry in weeks.

just thought i'd share.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

just some reassurance

there has been an awful lot of discussion here lately about babies. the fact that so many friends have been having beautiful little spit machines isn't helping.

after having otto i knew that we needed to take permanent measures to guard against any more pregnancies. because i have this problem...every time a kid grows too big i yearn for another.

and that yearning has been there for a good 3 years, with our otto nearing 4.

i've been content this whole time with it just being a wish...a desire...but knowing that everyone was with me in otto being our final creation. it'll be fine. we'll get a puppy, and everything will be just fine.

then people start talking about babies. people being cory. and he hasn't actually said "i want another baby" but when i talk about it he just gets quiet..and damnit, man..i've been married to you for nearly 10 years. i know what that means.

before you all think that 4 weeks from now i'll be announcing a pregnancy, there are definitely no plans to have unprotected sex at the moment. it's the absolute wrong just is....

and my biggest fear? the darkness that comes after baby.

i think that post partum depression is still one of those taboo things that people rarely talk about.

and when they do it gets shrugged off as something that's just one of those just happens. baby blues. you'll be fine. shake it off.

while discussing babies last night cory confirmed what i was afraid of...
"you haven't been the same since otto"

and it's true.

everyone praises me on my honesty, but this is on the verge of being too raw for me to share... because it's something i fight within myself every single day.

i still don't think i'm back to myself. i've been feeling incredibly nostalgic lately. which means i've been dusting off the oldest pictures in flickr and our old youtube account. the smile i had before having him were so genuine. now everything feels so..just, not real.

and don't get me wrong. most days are good. but some days are still a serious struggle. and it can be anything that sets me off. a sad news story, a sad movie... any number of things.

even life itself can do it.

right now it's the stress of dealing with angry groupon customers because i'm not returning their calls fast enough even though i have a dozen voicemails waiting for returned calls. it's just too much right now.

it's money. money always comes into play. having bare cabinets two days before the end of the month..biding our time with spaghetti night after night.

i don't regret otto. i would never ever. i was just expressing my deep gratitude for birthing him the other night. and telling cory that i felt sorry for men..that they would never know that feeling. that rush of oxytocin. the feeling that if you can do that you can very literally do anything. his dimples make everything worth it. that child is my joy. 

but it was so hard to see... and some days i find myself in that haze again. when i think about what life would be like without me here. if everyone would be okay. and the answer is always no. my children need a mother. my husband needs a wife. 

and i wonder why it is that we, as women, rarely talk about our experience. whether it's baby blues, post partum depression, or even psychosis. it's not something we should be ashamed of. we need to be in it all together, not against each other.

the thing that really amazes me is our readiness to discuss child birth and breastfeeding, but when we talk about the low that comes after those 9-10 months are over it's always done in hushed tones. 

i long for some realness.. for us to reassure each other. it'll be okay. the fog will lift. or maybe it won't, but we'll find ways to deal with it.

dwell on the good, not the bad. because there's so much good around us. and to take care of ourselves. it's okay to spend a day laying in bed being sad. and it's okay to make yourself go outside and face life, because otherwise you'll drown. 

i'm still normal. it's all okay.