08/ 18/ 2016
A few weeks ago, Cory nominated me for an “I’m a Mom” video series. In his application he told them about me and what my motherhood looked like. A few days later we had a video call scheduled so the company could get to know me better. During the interview, I was asked what a typical day looked like for me.
Here’s a basic rundown:
I wake up between 6:30-7:30. The kids eat breakfast while I feed Zeke. I empty the dishwasher from the night before while they finish up breakfast, then they play while I eat. It should be noted that 90% of the time, Jude and Ezra turn into little beggars when I eat. We eat the same thing almost every morning, but according to them, anything from my plate is more delicious than anything from theirs. This same rule applies to floor food. Floor food is infinitely better than plate food. After my first and their second breakfast, we get dressed and, depending on the day, go do something. We’ll go to Dinosaur Park, have play dates, visit my mom, run errands, play in the backyard, or clean the house. After lunch, I try to shoot for a triple nap time. Life is so, so great when they all nap at the same time. I love them all the time, but I swear I love them a little bit more when I’m able to sneak in two hours of alone time during the day. It’s a blur of backyard play, dinner prep and tantrums until Cory comes home. Then we have dinner, play outside, give them baths, read books, say prayers, give hugs and kisses and tuck them in. Whew!
When I finished my synopsis, I was met with some blinks, a nod and an awkward transition into another topic. Later in the conversation, he asked me if I had any hobbies. I told him I liked to write and read but spent the majority of my time with my three kids two and under and he just stared at me again. Before the interview ended, he asked one more time if I had any fun hobbies. Probably hoping I’d taken up free climbing in the three minutes that’d passed since he last asked. I smiled and repeated my love of writing and reading and threw in Netflix for good measure. I joked that they were great hobbies but made terrible B-roll and hoped my sense of humor would make up for my lack of kayaking skills.
I’m good at interviews. I smile well, I have good rapport and I can sell the crap out of myself. I honestly can’t recall having a bad interview. I may not have always landed the job, but I always left a good impression. This was the first time in my life I felt uneasy after an interview. I know my life isn’t boring, but that interview left me feeling so insecure. After I put Zeke down, I asked Cory if I was a boring person with a boring life. He squeezed me tight and assured me I wasn’t. He said even though my interests aren’t adventurous, they’re fun to me and I’m good at them. He’s so good to me.
Am I busy? Yes.
Are my days exciting? Sometimes.
Is my life boring? No.
Jude can count to 13. She knows her ABCs. She knows more than just her basic shapes. I’m talking crescents and hexagons, people! Ezra says new words every day and his comprehension is through the roof. He has a crazy strong arm and will undoubtedly be the best quarterback the Coug’s have had in years. Zeke is the happiest little chunk who clicks his tongue, rolls all over the place and laughs when you look at him. These ordinary things may not mean much to others but they mean everything to me.
I may have been too boring for a video on motherhood, but I honestly don’t understand what they were looking for. How is any mom is “too boring”? Everyone’s experience with motherhood is unique. My motherhood is covered in snotty peanut butter kisses. It’s grocery shopping as fast as I can between breakfast and nap time. It’s lying on the grass and looking for kangaroo clouds. It’s finding a way to stay calm when everyone’s crying and clinging to me and I just want space.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your motherhood looks like because we can all agree motherhood is wonderful and exhausting. The days are long and the focus is hardly ever on yourself. So it’s okay if all I can manage to do at the end of the day is sit down and watch Bachelor in Paradise. It’s okay to write down my feelings instead of punching them out. It’s okay that my version of sanity looks different than yours. Just because my every day may seem boring to an outsider, doesn’t mean it is and it doesn’t mean I am. I hate that a 10-minute interview made me doubt that.
I’m not going to apologize for my “boring” hobbies or my ordinary days. I’m not going to apologize for loving the Bachelor franchise- even though I probably should. And I’m definitely not going to apologize for a life I love so completely. It’s been a few weeks since it happened and while I’m (mostly) over it, sometimes I think about how bored that interviewer was by me. After all his blinks and stares and talk of exciting hobbies, I bet you five bucks he went home and binged Stranger Things like the adventurer he is.
07/ 06/ 2016
Every year for the 4th of July, we go to the parade and then have a big pool party/barbecue with Cory’s family. Every year I stress about shaving my legs and trying to get all the invisible thigh hairs I haven’t been able to find since before I got married.
But this year was going to be different.
This year I was going to take a stand and show those hairs who was boss.
This year I bought a wax kit and decided to DIY the crap out of my body hair.
Apparently my lack of DIY skills doesn’t stop at macrame. No, my failure extends all the way down my patchy legs. But mostly just the front of my legs because the backs were impossible to get. I’m not made of rubber, people!
While I don’t have any secret tips or tricks on how to get a gr8 wax @ h0me, I did learn a few things during my long night in the bathroom catching up on The Bachelorette and regretting my decision with each strip of muslin.
I’m probably making at home waxing sound like the worst thing in the world – it wasn’t. Cleaning up after waxing was the worst thing in the world. My poor, poor towels. Skin clean up went a lot better. My legs were sticky from residual wax so I hopped in the shower, rubbed them down with some coconut oil and lightly exfoliated. My skin didn’t have any redness or irritation the following morning and the parts I did manage to get felt smooth and looked great. I’m giving myself a huge pat on the back and dubbing this experiment a success. I tried, failed a little and know what to do better next time.
I’m heartbroken my dreams of having smooth legs for the 4th didn’t come true. I’m sure the universe is LOL’ing so hard because I did all this scheming to beat the system and I still had to shave my freaking legs.
06/ 17/ 2016
Jude and Ezra splash and laugh while I rinse the day away. Waterfalls wash the sand out of their hair. Bubble beards loosen the food and dirt caked on their faces after a day outside. They take turns lying on their backs, pretending to be mermaids while the water laps around their ears.
The biggest and best mystery of summer is how dirt manages to make its way under every fingernail and into every roll. I take extra care to scrub their hands each night. Jude’s are long and slender and don’t collect dirt like they used to. Another reminder she’s turning more into a “big gul” each day. Ezra’s always have the most dirt. Even though he’s a year and a half, he still has the chubby, dimpled hands of a baby.
I never thought I’d be grateful for dirt. For the chance it gives me to look at their hands and remember how small they once were. To remember how they used to hold onto my collar as they fell asleep. Or how they clutched my fingers when they learned to balance. Now those hands drag me around the yard chasing after bugs and kitty-cat clouds.
Bath time is my favorite part of every day because it brings my babies back—if only for a moment.
05/ 25/ 2016
This is the longest I have gone without getting pregnant since Jude’s been born.
What a weird way to start a conversation. “Hey. I’m Brissa. It’s May and I’m not pregnant and that’s the first time that’s happened since 2013 and I don’t know what to do about it.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If we’re being completely honest, I’m nervous. It’s like making plans with a friend you haven’t seen in years and wondering if it’s going to be like old times or if it’ll be awkward because you’ve both changed. So much of my identity these past three years has been wrapped up in my pregnancies. I haven’t been able to focus on myself as a “me” instead of a “we” and it’s throwing me for a loop.
Because my pregnancies have been back-to-back, I haven’t had a “typical” postpartum experience. This is the first time I have to think about losing baby weight. It’s the first time I can actually focus on the baby in my arms without thinking about the one in my belly. The first time I can’t use my pregnancy as a blanket excuse for anything. How will I ever survive?!! I think postpartum life is going to be a bigger adjustment than pregnancy was.
The biggest thing I’m going to miss is the self-confidence that came with each of my pregnancies. Pregnancy taught me to love and appreciate my body. I’m worried all that confidence will be lost without a belly to remind me to work (work work work work work) it and love myself as I am. I’m in a better place than I was five years ago, so the hill isn’t as steep but it’s still a climb.
My hormones (and periods) are all over the place. When I called the nurse line at my doctor’s office to ask if irregular monthly’s were normal after having a baby, she told me it was. When I told her I’d been pregnant for the past three years she laughed at me and said, “Oooh yeah. Your hormones are going crazy right now.” Whaaattt?! I had no ideaaaaa!!!!!
Crazy hormones aside, I’m so grateful for the chance I have to be me again. It’s just weird to actually BE ALONE when I’m alone. Weird and kind of great. For the first time in forever all the ice cream I’m eating is for me and no one else. I can’t tell you how amazing that is.
05/ 23/ 2016
On my way back from my parents last Friday, ‘Roar’ came on the radio. Katy was belting her little tiger heart out and I started to cry. I don’t know when I started holding myself back, but it took that dang song to make me realize I had been.
I don’t know how many times I have to preach about overcoming the fear of failure before it actually sticks. I know I haven’t lost my voice but I do know it’s playing a crazy game of hide-and-seek. I keep getting caught up in this self-inflicted comparison trap and it’s killing me. I feel like I have to be someone else. I feel like I have to create tutorials or how-to’s or write advice. I feel like I have to “give the people” something when all I want to do is write. I feel like I have to have a brand because it’s 2016 and if you don’t have a brand you might as well be dead to the internet. But the more I think about what my brand is, the more it feels like I’m trying to box myself in.
I’m done. I’m sick of quitting before I start. I’m sick of trying to think of ideas for clickable content. I’m just going to do what I do. And what I do is write. I’m not writing for you, or Pinterest, or free Blue Apron meals. I’m writing for me. For my sanity. For my heart. I’m writing about what I know and what I live and what I love.
I’m going back to basics. Word by word and hope they eventually flow as organically as they once did. I’m not going to feel dumb writing about the shallowest things like my serious lust for Kim K’s bronde hair. I’m not going to be afraid to write about the afternoons I’ve spent sitting on my couch sobbing. I can’t let the fear of what people might think hold me back.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve announced a comeback, but this time I’m sticking with it.
I’m letting go of everything I think I need to be and letting my freak flag fly.
02/ 17/ 2016
I debated long and hard about whether I should space these pictures out between posts. But then I gave up and decided they’re best seen in spam form. So feast your eyes on my family of F I V E (that’s still so weird to me).
02/ 15/ 2016
My heart is too full for words.
These are my people.
They are my home.
They are my everything.
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Thank you, Madi.
Thank you for these treasures and for always knowing how to make me cry.
02/ 04/ 2016
I’m not the type of person to prematurely announce things. Or announce them at all, really. The internet didn’t know I was in a relationship until Cory and I got engaged. I don’t announce the births of my babies until I’ve had a few days to soak up their newborn goodness. So WHHHHHYY did I think it was a good idea to put the “super top secret” name of our third baby on our Christmas card?
Well, joke’s on me. The week we sent out our cards I thought, “but what if everyone gets their cards and then we change his name?” I chalked it up to hormones and didn’t tell Cory about my mini freak-out. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that Aksel wasn’t his name. I have never been unsure about a baby name before. Jude was always Jude and Erza was always Ezra. One of the perks of picking family names.
One night after Cory and I finished Star Wars III, I told him. He paused and said, “I felt the same thing on Sunday. I don’t know what we should name him but I know he isn’t supposed to be Aksel.” Cory told me it was such a quick thought that he wasn’t going to say anything about it. So my “lol guess what I thought the other day” story turned into a bigger deal than I thought.
We stayed up late trying to find a name we loved. We exhausted our only good family boy name on Ezra. Lyman, Bernard, Welby, and Jesper were not going to cut it. We love our ancestors but they could have done a little better on their names. I mean, come ooon guys.
We had no idea how stressful it was to find a baby name “from scratch.” I’d suggest a name Cory didn’t like and he’d suggest a name I didn’t like. We searched ALL the baby name forums. “Names that go well with Ezra.” “Names that go well with Jude.” Which was funny because Jude and Ezra were the most popular sibling names (aww yeeeah). The only thing we knew for sure was that his middle name would be Paul, after my dad. So we needed a name that would pair well with Paul and sound good with Jude and Ezra.
Cory kept suggesting Isaac and I kept turning it down because I wasn’t feeling it. Ike was a decent nickname but not one I was in love with. I loved the name Zeke but couldn’t have an Ezra and an Ezekiel in the family. Too many Ez’s going on. We met in the middle and decided Isaac could go by Zeke. We’re really into naming our kids one thing and calling them something else. I guess you could say it’s our brand.
It was a totally different experience than what we were used to. If we’re being completely honest, I was a little worried that he’d get here and Isaac wouldn’t feel right. We’d prayed about it together and individually several times and both felt good about it, but I was still nervous. But the first time I held him, all my worries disappeared.
I held him and I knew.
He was Zeke.
He was always supposed to be Zeke.
Photo cred: Madi
02/ 02/ 2016
The thing about being the third child is you kind of get forgotten. Now before you go and call CPS on me, let me explain. Sweet baby Zeke had his “newborn” shoot when he was six and a half weeks. Recommended age for optimal newborn squish is two weeks. Instead of buying him a crisp, white onesie, I looked through the ones we had THE DAY OF and prayed one of them didn’t have spit up stains from its previous owners. Luckily I found one and luckily it fit. You have no idea what a relief that was. I’m not even going to tell you how many pictures I took of Jude and Ezra as newborns vs. how many pictures I’ve taken of Zeke. Just know it’s embarrassingly low. Life is so much busier now and I’ve had to accept the fact that it’s o k a y to spend more time snuggling Zeke and wrangling Jude and Ez than I do taking pictures.
Even though we went way over the suggested age for newborn shots, I’m so glad we got them done. Madi came over on Saturday and worked some serious magic in our home. Madi and I have been friends for years (thanks, Internet) and she is my go-to person for baby videos and pictures. She is so easy to work with and talk to and she always captures us so honestly. I feel like it’s a true gift to be able to hang out with a family for an hour or two and capture quiet, every day moments that reflect them so perfectly. I know I’ll be able to look back when my babies are grown and say, “Yes. This was us.” I never want to forget Jude and her homeless bangs she never wanted trimmed. Or that when Ezra smiled you could only see his cute little vampire fangs. Or how Zeke has been smiling since day one and he saves the biggest ones for his daddy.
If preview shots can make me cry like this, I can’t wait to see the treasures she captured on film. Yeah, you heard me. These aren’t even the “real” shots. Can you believe it? I’m afraid I’m going to die from happiness when I see the rest of them. I know I’m going to die when I see the video. My heart just can’t handle all the cute aggression I have for my babies.
01/ 07/ 2016
We’re three weeks in to this three kids deal and it’s been pretty good. Jude and Ezra have been mostly sweet to each other and always sweet with Zeke. My patience is, for the most part, good. But kids will be kids and moms are still human, so patience gets lost and voices get raised. Just trying to keep it rill up in here.
Our days are quiet and spent at home. I’m that winter mom who’s too worried about RSV and colds and sick people so I don’t really take my newborns out for the first few months. Heavens knows that paranoia only increased after having Ezra come early and needing a NICU stay. We visit our families, we go to check-ups, we might go to the store, but other than that we’re mostly quarantined. I am thinking about spicing things up and setting up some play dates soon. Because I’m rebellious like that. But also, mama’s gotta live! I’m starting to get restless and having bouts of insanity where I think I could TOTALLY handle a two year-old, a one year-old and a newborn at Costco or Target just so I can get out of the house. And honestly, I probably could, but I don’t want to be overly-confident and have it blow up in my face and scar me from ever going to Target again. The horror!!!
And what’s newborn talk without including some thoughts on body image. I’m so grateful for the closeness of my pregnancies because I really believe they’ve helped me overcome a lot in the self-confidence department. My body grew three babies in two years. It’s exhausted, overworked and in dire need of a 100-hour nap. My hips are a little wider, my stomach a bit doughier and my milk makers have adopted the theme song, “swing loooooow sweet chariot.” But that’s not getting me down like it used to. My body is a champion. I’ll admit I’m nervous about exercising again. Nervous I won’t remember how and my body will be so confused by all the aerobic activity it might actually shut down on me (jk. But also kind of not…). My least favorite part about exercise is waiting for results. Like, HIIIII I just rode a bike for thirty minutes, why isn’t my booty up where it should be?
I’m not going at this fitness venture (I hate myself for saying that) with the mindset of needing to be a size 6 and wear only smalls. Because focusing on size and numbers is the start of a really unhealthy weight-loss obsessed spiral, IMO. For me it’s all about feeling good, having energy and being able to play tag with my kids without getting winded. I’m doing this for me and while fitting into my beloved pre-pregnancy skirts and jeans would be great, I’m going to focus my attention on feeling good not worry about anything else.
And now it’s time for me to go because Jude’s eating crayons and Zeke’s waking up from his nap ready to eat. lolololol. Momlyfe, amirite?