10/ 12/ 2016
INSERT EYE ROLL HERE
I gave myself an at-home gel manicure last week and it’s already chipping at the ends.
I’m working on a new project and it’s making me all sorts of unsure.
When practicing and thinking goes so much better than the actual executing.
Jude and Ezra fighting nap time so hard and falling asleep the minute they hit their beds.
That 6:30 alarm clock every morning.
Literally any kid show on Netflix right now.
ALL THE HEART EYES
Fresh flannel sheets.
Creamy chicken and wild rice soup.
Ez and Zeke in matching jeans.
Jude in her new fall boots.
Cory in everything flannel.
Pumpkin. Spice. Bread.
Waking up to the heater.
Watching Cory read books to the kids before bed.
SUN GLASS GUY (aka: my favorite & most used emoji)
Earlier sunsets which translate to earlier bed times.
Making a big pot of soup on Tuesday that will feed us the rest of the week.
My blonde hair and slow transformation into Kimberly Noel Kardashian.
Needing a new fall/winter wardrobe because everything I own is maternity.
Jude asking to snack on celery at Costco.
My spooky chic spiderweb witch cloak.
And last but not least, and honestly most important…
The beginning of neighborhood treat season.
*Cue the hallelujah chorus*
09/ 29/ 2016
21-month Ezra is my favorite Ezra. He’s teetering the line between baby and boy and it’s the best balance of both. While the rest of him is stretching and leaning out, his dimpled baby hands and potato feet are still hanging on. His droopy eye is more pronounced when he’s tired. We went to the doctor a few months ago for a sick visit, the doctor on call asked me how long his eye had been swollen. I looked at her puzzled and she repeated herself, pointing to his droopy eye. “Oh, he was just born that way.” She looked at me like I was crazy but really she’s the crazy one for having that fancy degree and not realizing a cute eye droop when she sees one.
He follows Jude everywhere and copies everything she does. He wants so badly to be big enough to play 100% on her level. His vocabulary is growing and his comprehension is amazing but he still can’t express himself as well as he wants. He just started to form two word sentences and listening to him bark commands is the cutest thing. Especially when Jude’s in time out and he stands behind her wagging his finger and saying, “No JuJu!”
As much as he wants to be big, I often find him gravitating toward Zeke. On Monday we went to Dinosaur Park with some friends and while the big kids played in the sand, Ez sat with Zeke and Moses. He handed them leaves (that they both immediately put in their mouths) and kept patting their backs saying, “Ya kay?” He’s always the first to run to whoever is crying and pat their back and kiss their sadness away. Bless that sweet bull of a boy and his tender heart.
Ez is the first to wake up from the synchronized afternoon nap. Every day he stops at the foot of the stairs and holds out his hand for me so we can climb the steps together. We spend the rest of nap time snuggled in bed, sharing “nacks” and waiting for Jude and Zeke to wake up. Even though life is more exciting with all three kids awake, I think Ez keeps waking up early because he knows nap time is our time. Before bed he grabs his “bak” (blanket) buries his face in it and runs toward me saying, “Nuggle! Nuggle!” Cory, Jude, Ezra and I snuggle on the couch and read our pile of books, waiting for Ezzy to interrupt us halfway through for prayers.
As sweet and snuggly as he is, he is definitely entering the toddler phase. Homeboy can go from playful puppy to hulk in less than a second. He’s been really into screaming until his face matches his hair. It’s a high pitched wail I’m sure can be heard three streets over and is usually accompanied by a body slam to the floor. I forgot how much *fun* almost two-year-old’s can be. His rage is balanced by the sweetest apologies and it’s literally impossible for me to be angry at him for more than three minutes. How can I be when I’ve got those big brown eyes staring up at me while he squeaks out, “Sooowwy mama” and pats my back? Seriously, how?!?!?!
Instead of beeping like a car he “vrooooms” and instead of neighing like a horse he clickity-clacks like their hooves. When he meows like a cat he uses his whole face. He scrunches it up for the me- and drops his jaw to the floor for the -ow. He’ll snack on apple and if I’m not actively watching, he’ll eat the whole thing. The only show he requests these days is Beat Bugs, but he’ll clap with the best of them for the Little Einstein’s rocket. His favorite song is “Monster Mash” and whenever he hears it, he stomps his feet over and over while chanting, “mashmashmashmash.” Sometimes he stops to shake his head really fast, but he’s usually just stomping and mashing and laughing like a maniac.
Ezra at 21 months is the best Ezra. He’s funny and sweet and stubborn and strong. He’s shaping out to be as great as Cory and there’s really nothing more I could hope for. Except that maybe I’ll always be his favorite and he’ll never want to leave home because I’m the best mom with the best snuggles and the best snacks. (It’s going to be a dark day in the Christensen household when Ezra moves out. Lots of crying. Lots of wallowing. Lots of “Monster Mash-ing” in an attempt to stomp my tears away. I can’t wait.)
09/ 12/ 2016
Earlier this year Cory and I talked about celebrating our anniversaries with experiences instead of gifts. When he asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted to “go somewhere” for our anniversary. That’s it. I’m so fun to work with. He asked me if I wanted something fancy or fun. I picked fun and he told me we were going camping. It was completely unexpected and absolutely perfect for us. He’d been planning this trip for months and last month we finally got to go.
I dropped the kids off at my parents and Cory picked me up. We headed to his office to switch out trucks and load up the trailer. Before heading out he surprised me with a mixed tape (can I call it a tape even though it’s a CD? Whatever, I’m going to) titled “Campy Annivers4ry”. The tape was a clear violation of our “no gift” rule but it was so sweet I didn’t even care. Also, who’s crazy enough to complain about a thoughtful, surprise gift?! When Cory and I were dating, he made me one and it was one of the sweetest things. All I ever want are mixed tapes. I might be getting a little cheesy here, but I love them so much because I consider them declarations of love. They always make me cry and I feel so special and loved every time I listen to them.
We loaded up the truck and the trailer and headed up to Evanston for the night. We stopped at Taggart’s for some dinner on the way. Taggart’s is a must-eat in my opinion. Their fries are battered and fried to crispy perfection. Their ham & apple wrap on a homemade pita is Cory’s favorite. I got a wrap this time but kept eyeing the burgers a table over. The buns looked like buttery pillows and have haunted my dreams ever since. I need to make another Taggart’s trip before winter just to get my hands on that bread.
When I say we went camping I mean, we went camping. The kind of camping Ron Swanson would be proud of. We didn’t have a trailer or any BIFFY’s nearby. We slept in a tent (on a queen-size cot with an inflatable mattress. We may be outdoorsy, but we’re not crazy!), cooked on a camp chef and dutch oven and peed in the open. I became a self-proclaimed forest potty expert over the weekend. I learned it’s best to full-on crouch/squat instead of attempting a wall-sit position. Squatting allows a more direct flow and honestly helps cure any stage fright you might have when peeing in a forest. And trust me, there is going to be some stage fright when peeing in a forest. I’m not going to apologize for being TMI because one day you’re going to have to pee in a forest and you’re going to remember I told you to squat not sit and you’re going to be *so* grateful.
We found a great spot tucked behind the main road and close enough to hear the river. We set up camp, made a fire and roasted hot dogs for lunch. Then we loaded Babe the Bronco up with our fishing gear to go catch us some supper. (I feel like you have to say supper instead of dinner when you’re camping or doing anything pioneer related. Saying supper when referring to a regular dinner at home comes off pretentious and not pioneer-y. So if you’re not camping or catching your own dinner, don’t call it supper. Ever.) I caught the first fish but Cory caught the most. I’d never fished a day in my life before I met Cory and was honestly surprised I loved it as much as I did. Even though we’ve been married for four years, I still refuse to touch the fish but that doesn’t stop me from trying catch as many as I can. And by “can” I mean the proper amount I am allotted each day by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Fishing isn’t as quick or glamorous as the movies make it seem. There’s a lot of waiting and hoping and reeling and casting and waiting and hoping. Waiting for a bite gives you so much time to think and Lilly Lake is one of the prettiest places to think. I thought of the first time Cory took me fishing. It was my first birthday after we were married and at the same lake. Lilly Lake and the Uinta’s will always have a special place in my heart because of that trip. It’s where I really felt myself starting to become a Christensen. Where I saw what summers would look like with our new family. Where I learned to cast and caught my first fish and fell more in love with my patient husband as he taught me how to fish and continually pulled moss off my line.
My favorite part of every day was taking the Bronco out for a drive. We zipped past the quakies and bounced with each rock. On Friday we loaded her up with soda, snacks and shooting supplies. We found this great area overgrown with grass and surrounded by trees. We propped our soda cans on a felled tree and practiced our aim. Again, I shot the first can but Cory shot the most. I almost wish we’d camped in that area because it was so lush and calm and green. I guess that’s just a good excuse for us to go back. On our way back to camp, we hunted for firewood on the side of the road. Anytime we saw a promising pile, we’d stop the car, jump out and load it up.
Camping breakfasts are the best breakfasts. There’s something about pancakes, eggs and bacon cooked in the outdoors that make them so much better. Actually, I should rephrase my statement: camping food is the best food. Anything cooked over an open flame is dynamite in my book. This was our first time cooking dutch oven and, not to brag, but we totally killed it. We made chicken cordon bleu and it was out of this world. We figured out how to cook crescent rolls over the fire and felt so fancy.
I’m so grateful Cory planned this trip for us. It was exactly what we needed. A quiet few days with no distractions, no kids and no schedule. It gave us a chance to connect and relax and enjoy this beautiful world. Cory and I have never been camping together and I think he was surprised to see how well I took to it. I know he was impressed when he saw me hiking down the mountain with a giant log in each arm and kicking another ahead of me for firewood. I may not look it, but I’m a pretty woodsy woman.
I know I’m a month and three days late getting to this, but, Happy Anniversary, Cory. I love you forever and ever. Thank you for always making me laugh and keeping me sane. Thank you for holding me together when I’m falling apart. These last few months have thrown me for a loop and your endless patience and love have helped me find my footing again. There is no one else I would pee in the woods for and there is no one else I would rather build a life with.
I love you, Zin. Always, always, always.
09/ 08/ 2016
I’m doing that thing where I ignore the 20 drafts I have waiting for me to finish and starting something fresh. I’m almost too embarrassed to post about the Fourth or our anniversary or my birthday because summer’s over and no one cares. But I care so I guess that has to count for something. One day I’ll get around to posting about Jude and Ezra dressed as Minnie and Mickey for Halloween last year, but today is not the day. Today I’m going to ramble and that’s okay.
I’m at the stage of organizing the house where everything’s a mess because you need to pull it all out before you can put it back together. I remember being able to spell together normally until one day in fourth grade a girl named Carrie told me her mom taught her to break it up. Her mom told her and she told me to spell it “to-get-her” and now whenever I go to spell it I always break it up. Forever ruined from spelling it as one big word thanks to Carrie and her mom. It should be noted Carrie and her mom were very nice people, but breaking up a big word I could successfully spell into three little words feels like a failure to me.
It’s kind of silly what we think of as failure, isn’t it? At the end of the day everyone can be fed and happy and asleep but I’ll feel awful for our hodgepodge dinner of EZ-Mac and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Pasta for the kids and cereal for the adults. I’m not dumb enough to give them a bowl of straight sugar right before bedtime. Not saying you’re dumb if you do give your kids sugar bowls right before dinner, I’m just saying what works for me. But sometimes they sneak really long sips from Cory’s mug of DDP right before dinner. I guess we’re all dumb when it comes to parenting.
Zeke’s napping right now and I’m watching him on the monitor. He’s longer than the width of the crib and has to curl into a ball in order to fit. Please note, width is the hamburger measuring method. Not the hot dog. He is not longer than the length of the crib. My (almost!!) nine-month-old is not a giant. Even though he’s not a giant-giant, he’s still huge. He’s the first baby I’ve had who will be the baby the longest. He doesn’t have a sibling on the horizon ready to steal the spotlight. I find my heart breaking with each milestone he hits because I know how fast it all goes and I want to keep him little forever. If I’m this bad with him I can only imagine how dramatic I’ll be with our last.
Like I said, Zeke’s napping. It’s his third one of the day because, like me, he’s sick. Angel, my angel mother-in-law, has Jude and Ezra today. Zeke had an appointment to check on his helmet so she offered to watch the kids all day so we could get some rest. I promised Cory I wouldn’t do any cleaning and I haven’t, but it’s hard to just let my body rest. I should probably take a nap but it’s almost four o’clock and I know I’d just regret it in the long run. I’d regret it like I regret not getting a Big Mac on my way home from the doctor’s. Do you guys remember Big Mac Monday? When they were basically giving away Big Mac’s for free? I was in Jr. High and didn’t understand how truly amazing that was. *Cue Big Yellow Taxi while I cry over all the Big Macs that could have been*
Well this was fun. And a good reminder to me that it’s okay to write about nothing so long as it means I’m writing again. I better get off the couch and save myself before this pile of tissues turns into a mountain and I’m buried alive by my own snot. Forgive me for the visual. I regretted it as soon as I wrote it but I won’t erase it because if I have to live with that disgusting thought forever, I’m taking you down with me. No need to thank me.
09/ 07/ 2016
I’ve been in this mom game long enough to say things like, “It should be illegal for mom’s to get sick!” It’s useless at this point. I’ve learned that kids will always have more energy and mom’s will always be tired and we’ll always get sick at the most inconvenient times. I remember having strep two weeks before we found out I was pregnant with Zeke. Jude was 16 months, Zeke was 4 months, I was secretly pregnant and dying. It was the worst kind of double whammy.
I find myself in a similar situation today. It’s not strep and I’m not pregnant (REPEAT: I AM NOT PREGNANT), but I am sick and tired and my voice has moved past that perfect sick rasp right into drag-queen territory. Even though my kids are great, my patience is short when I’m sick and having to feed and take care of three needy humans is the last thing I want to do. All I want is a service where someone comes to my house and takes care of my kids and makes me ramen and cleans my house and does my laundry and keeps my water bottle filled. I’ve never wanted to be a Kardashian more than right now.
Can you imagine how glamorous their sick days are? Kim with a mountain of pillows and made from scratch ramen. She can lie in bed all day because Kanye’s installed a TV in their ceiling so she only has to move when she’s eating or needs to use the restroom. She still has her glam team come in but only has them do a natural no make-up, make-up look with perfectly curled “bedhead.” What a dream.
While I can’t recover like a Kardashian, I can try to channel their sick-day look in my camo joggers and one of those half-up sumo buns. Now if only I could channel Mother Teresa’s patience… Mostly because yelling tickles my ears which triggers a cough which makes my throat worse which turns my voice more froggy than draggy. Like I said, I’m too smart to wish I never got sick but I’m definitely not smart enough to not complain about it.
This is literally how I felt when I read through this post. I’m so dramatic and whiny but I don’t even care because I’m DYING OVER HERE. PEOPLE.
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.