Sometimes You Just Fix It

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There was a viral video that came out a couple of years ago in which a woman is complaining to her husband about a problem and was upset because he just kept trying to fix the problem instead of listening to her. It would cut to her husband intermittently, and he would exhaustively plead with her to simply fix the problem and that the solution was so obvious. In the middle of the video, we see that she has a nail stuck in her head, and her husband was trying to get her to stop complaining about the pain and simply remove the nail. They go on to argue about the situation and he finally gives in and “listens” to her talk about the problem some more.

Here, you can just watch it for yourself.

This is a bit sexist, pretty funny, and sadly, painfully true.

My husband is a pretty patient man. He has been there for me through now two pregnancies, two c-sections, and 4 ongoing attempts at child-rearing. It has not and is not pretty.

On Saturday, I had a meltdown that I wish I could blame on hormones, but it pretty much only stems from my own impatience and pettiness for my body to get “back to normal.” (2 weeks postpartum/post-op… seems reasonable, right?) Give me a break, feeling comfortable and somewhat attractive in clothes is a big deal! Anyway,  I was complaining that I didn’t have a lot to wear and that I was tired of looking this way and bah blah blah. I cried, you guys. Bryan sat patiently and waited for me to finish blubbering and then calmly responded:

“Ok, lets go get you a couple of things then.”

Like oh ok.

Why do I make things so difficult?

We drove the three minutes it takes to get to Old Navy where they happen to have been running a Mothers’ Day sale with BOGO free t-shirts and 20% off shorts (Which is what I needed the most). I was a happy camper. I feel 100% better knowing that I have a couple of things that actually fit me right now. Just whatever if they will be too big soon. You can take that logic and hit the road, sir. Alls I know is that I have crap to wear now.

Sometimes, the answer really is black and white. Sometimes, we need to shut up, stop talking about the problem, and just freaking fix it.

(Yes, Mom, I know you’ve been telling me this for years.)

Love, Alex

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What I Learned about God from Gilmore Girls

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I’m really bad about being distracted from God. Part of me has come to accept this and feels like God is telling me that He is and I should give myself some grace because of the season of life that I am in and the whole sacrificial obedience thing we have going on. That is not at all meant to come across as self-righteous, it’s just something that I feel like God is giving me the go-ahead to give myself a break on right now. The other part of me really wants to be better and has intense moments of trying to be. God tends to send me little moments that remind me of how awesome and how present He is even when I’m distracted by being climbed on or spit-up on or by falling asleep at 9 pm.

One of those moments came while watching one of my favorite tv shows, Gilmore Girls. I really don’t think of myself as a “basic white girl” in many areas. I don’t like pumkin spice lattes (#psl), I do not own the Urban Decay “Naked” pallet, and I have never worn a pair of Ugg boots. However, if you were to pay attention to my tv-watching habits, you would believe that I was a BWG with full intensity. Friends? Love ’em all. And Gilmore Girls? If there were a real Stars Hollow (And not just that town they

 based it off of), I would be saving up for my vacation home ASAP. I’ve already seen almost every episode (I have not seen almost all of season 7, part of which is because I know how it goes until the end and I am fiercely #TeamLuke, and part of it is because I have a weird fear of watching the endings of things. But that’s another topic for another day.), but I re-watch it during feedings or when I’m getting in bed, etc.

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The real bummer about this little message from God is that I didn’t get it. Until like a week later that is. Here’s how it all went down:

So the episode was the one in season 2 where Lorelei is graduating from business school and Rory convinces her to go to the ceremony and celebrate herself a little bit. Fast-forward to the middle-ish part where Rory skips school on a whim to go see Jess (#TeamJess forever) in NYC. Her bus gets stuck and she misses the very ceremony that was her idea in the first place. When Lorelei gets home, Rory is waiting for her and goes on a long rant about how crappy she is and how much Lorelei must hate her and says she’s sorry about a billion times and then goes on to ground herself and send herself to bed without supper. Lorelei then stops her and says that she still wants to celebrate with her by going to grab dinner. Rory quickly tells her no, that she doesn’t deserve it. Lorelei responds with “No, but I do.” (The clip is terrible quality, but if you need a visual…)

So I thought nothing of this until church this Sunday, when we were singing a song called “Ever Be.” You can find the whole song at that link, and I really hate it when bloggers put parts of music lyrics in their posts (Maybe I just get bored easily?), but I’m going to be one of those bloggers today, sorry.

Now you’re making me like you
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride

So only then is when it dawned on me, that the Gilmore Girls thing was for me, too. I realized that God was trying to reiterate a point that I have understood in theory for as long as I can remember, but, as I stated earlier, I tend to become distracted from. I’ve never been one of those people who has struggled with feeling like I had to earn God’s love, but I do get caught up in the perfection game quite often. I always feel like I am being a bad daughter or friend or whatever all-encompassing relationship with God that I feel I should be better at holding up my end of the deal on. I suck at “praying without ceasing,” I find myself guiltily checking ahead on my Bible app to see how much more there is to read, I talk way too much about my worries and stresses instead of actually praying about them, and I rarely feel so connected to God that I can’t help but talk about Him in every conversation I have. I envy people that do, and I compare myself to them a lot. I compare without ceasing. That I can manage, apparently.

When I heard this song, I realized that God was probably like “Alright Alex, let’s try this again. You’re always going to suck it up on your end of our relationship. Everyone is, no matter how holy the grass on the other side must look. The bottom line is that while you are (most certainly) not, I am perfect and I love you and I deserve to have you as my child.

How can something meant to be so freeing and flattering feel like so much pressure? God was telling me that nothing I do or have is something that I deserve or am entitled to or accomplished without His guidance. There is zero point to striving for perfection apart from Him. I often feel like if I work hard enough or stay busy enough or am productive enough, then I can forge happiness. I still, after all of these years of Christianity under my belt, find myself trying to make tick-marks on a checklist to feel like I am good-enough. I’m glad that the God of the freaking universe loves me enough to hit me over the head with reality and force me to get my head out of my own butt.

Anyway, this may or may not interest other people, but I thought it was pretty cool to get a Jesus-moment from Gilmore Girls. In closing, I’ll get this stuck in your head too:

Love, Alex

I Be Missin’ You

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I’m writing this while listening to my 1-year old cry because the poor thing is surrounded by toys in his playpen, but is PISSED that I put him in there instead of continuing to chase him around and keep him from physically harming himself at almost 8 months pregnant. The audacity. He’s just lucky it’s not cheerios in his high chair while Curious George does the entertaining for me. Or perhaps he would like that more. Maybe that’ll be my after-nap strategy.

If this isn’t an indicator to why I have had trouble making it to my computer to actually put ALL OF THESE WORDS into blog-form, I don’t know what is. I feel like my eyes are permanently on the crazy setting now.

Anyway, HERE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME. I actually have been really missing this. I’ve been tossing the idea around to try and create blog content every day for a while just because I need to. Like for me. And my sanity. I’ve been holding back because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through, and then I would be embarrassed in my failure…because that’s a thing I do. BUT I’m going to try it anyway. So basically, get ready for a lot of boring blog posts with daily (or not) ramblings about our turned-upside-down life.

I really don’t know how to do an update without organizing and categorizing it, so that’s what I’m going to do, sorry for you free spirits who don’t understand the NEED for bullet points and numbered lists (but how?).

Me: Since Jane is still a part of me for now, this update is really about the both of us. I have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms that I felt toward the end of my last pregnancy when I got pre-eclampsia. I’m a lot less far along than then, so it’s been worrying me. At one point, I felt so bad that we ended up going to my clinic’s ER (it was like 10 pm on a Friday night). It was a pretty terrible experience in which I was made to feel really stupid for daring to believe that something could be wrong outside of normal pregnancy symptoms. This is super different from our usual experiences with this clinic and hospital. So yesterday at my regular pre-natal appointment, my doctor took me seriously and has placed me on a tighter appointment schedule, as well as some extra testing to be on the safe side. We set her c-section (!!!) to be April 21st, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it that far. We’ll see! Other than that, I’m just trying to keep up with everything without going crazy. The norm. Bryan would prefer if I sat around all day and literally ate bon-bons, but I have trouble sitting down long enough to feed the 3-month-old. So this is going well.

Bryan: Still running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Always dreaming and scheming. I love this about him, I really do. Now just to get him to sit still and finish something. You guys he is just so cute to watch be a dad though. We now have 3 boys, and while I always saw him as more of a girl-dad, he truly has so much fun with the dudes. It helps that we gender-swap in a lot of areas, so while I could cry actual tears while being forced to snuggle for an extended period of time, he is a rock star with the middle of the night baby breakdowns. I and my body-heat-thermometer thank him.

El Oso: He started at a new high school at semester, which was both scary and exciting for him. He’s getting a lot more one-on-one attention from teachers, but it’s the #1 school in the state, so the stakes are a lot higher for him. His grades are a constant battle for us, but we’re working through them little by little.

Grady: You guys, no one told me how fun of an age *1* is. He is an absolute mess, stubborn as a mule (or his mama), and gets into EVERYTHING, but watching him learn new things every day and figure stuff out on his own is so much fun. It helps that he is so good-natured and thinks things like pretending to drink out of his sippy cup could be slaying material for comedians everywhere, but I digress. SO MUCH FUN. It makes me sad that he will eventually get sassy and develop an attitude. Can he just stay this small and adorable, but learn to spoon/fork-feed himself?

Osito: He is making leaps and bounds in the medical realm. He has appo

intments on appointments on appointments lately, but everything is improving and not getting worse, so we will happily take it. He’s a smiling fool now and JUST LAUGHED FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY OMG. He’s also just so handsome. He has these dimples and when he smiles I can just tell he is going to be on every girl’s crush list. I’ll of course tell them all to back up off asap, but I doubt it will work. It’s crazy that he will start solid foods soon and move to a new nap schedule that will match Grady’s for a while (Thank the good Lord above). I’m excited for that stability before the new baby comes though. Perfect timing.

So that’s us right now…the very abridged version anyway. Congrats to the people who read this far! Hopefully my creativity will pick back up and I’ll be able to write actual meaningful posts soon.

Love, Alex

Nothing in It for Me

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I’m a feely person. I am 100% an external processor, it is difficult for me to “let things go” (how does one even just “let something go?”), and hormones are sooooo not my friend. SO this whole raising a baby-turned-toddler/adoption/growing another baby/adoption again thing has really taken a toll on my emotional state.

People say a lot of things about me. Lately, most of those things have been positive. “You guys are just so awesome.” “I’m so thankful for your calling.” “I don’t know how you do it, but God is really blessing you guys.” “She is a super-mom.” This is all very flattering, but do you want to know how I feel? I feel like a piece of crap. I feel like a selfish, whiny, brat of a person and I wish I could feel a lot stronger. 

The truth is that I am not a strong person, and for the first time in my life I can say that I can’t do this alone. That’s not to say that I could before, but I think God has been stringing me along for my entire life letting me think that I had it so hard and that I was handling everything so nicely, only to teach me a lesson that I apparently badly needed to learn, and with nothing short of grandeur. This lesson has come in loud and clear from the Big Guy. Are you ready?

“This isn’t about you, Alex.”

Ugh. Ouch.

You see, I didn’t even know it, but all of this excitement and pushing forward and all of the things that kept me (and both of us) going through this process was all about how it made me feel. It made me feel like a baller who was just doing the Lord’s work with grace and ease. Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks and it hurt. Badly. Having a teenager is hard. Teenage boys are gross and bonding with one in a maternal way isn’t as natural as I thought it would be. It often feels like all I am getting out of this is more laundry and less food. This is real-talk, you guys. THIS CRAP IS HARD. I don’t really know how to eloquently put it. Throw in a new baby with his own set of health problems and who cries all of the time, and my eyes have only one setting now: crazy.

This reality set in on day one. I sat in my closet alone on move-in day and realized that this didn’t feel as good as I thought it would. I asked God what was wrong. How could something I was so excited about not feel all that exciting after all? Every time I have asked Him that question, which is all the time, His answer has come in loud and clear (which for me is a rare occasion. As you may remember, I am not a sweet whispers from God kind of person. I am a kick-in-the-pants kind of person for dang sure.):

“This is still My plan, even if there’s nothing in it for you.”

So this is not necessarily a sweet blog post in which the lesson or message can be wrapped up neatly with a bow. This crap is still hard. I am not nearly refined enough to take that message from God and allow peace to fall upon me or something. I am getting by a day at a time with the help of those closest to me (including God), and lots of crying and chocolate. I am a firm believer in the power of a good cry. My husband, on the other hand, wishes I would learn another coping mechanism that doesn’t stress him out quite as much. FAT CHANCE DUDE.

PS: Please don’t think I have gone off of the rails and am against foster-care and adoption now. That is the opposite of the truth. I am still 100% in and think that (most of) you should be too. Please still ask me questions about all of that, you can just trust that my answers will be raw and real and honest, which is really better, right?

Love, Alex

That Time at Mentor Camp

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This is April Seggebruch. She owns a company called Movista. She also played basketball for the Razorbacks. Soooo yeah, it was a pretty cool interview.

This is probably going to totally embarrass my husband, but let’s be honest, when has that ever stopped me? (That was a joke, it has actually stopped me a lot, believe it or not. Oh the stories I could tell…)

On Wednesday, I went with him to Mentor Camp, which is a thing that happens in different cities around the world (for reals) where people who are successful in business and entrepreneurship come together and meet with less seasoned companies and coach them. The founder, Permjot Valia, chose Northwest Arkansas as one of these cities. We’re officially the cool kids. Forbes thinks so too.

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Anyway, because my husband does cool things, namely, The Go Rogue Podcast, he and our friend Jason from Red Barn Studio  were able to set up a mock studio at the event and interview some really cool people from all over the world. I’m not gunna lie, you guys, seeing my husband talk shop with the big timers was pret-ty sexy. The sexiest part, however, is that he is super respected in this field. There were plenty of times where he was asked a difficult question or put on the spot in a way that made me nervous for him, but every single time, he handled himself so gracefully that I was impressed with him all over again.

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This is Bryan interviewing Joe Stump from Portland, Oregon. PORTLAND! Needless to say, Bryan had much to talk to him about his favorite city.

Uh, here's me "helping" with mic check. It was really just a lot of snarky answers to Bryan's test questions.

Uh, here’s me “helping” with mic check. It was really just a lot of snarky answers to Bryan’s test questions.

There have been lots of times recently where I have questioned how thinly Bryan spreads himself. He does a lot of stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I still hold to the fact that he needs to learn to manage his time with all of his side ventures in a better way, but it’s reminders like this that remind me to encourage him to keep going.

It’s only recently that I’ve been able to admit to myself that my husband is cooler than me. This is a pretty deep subject to delve into, but let’s explore it a little. There are two different reasons why this statement is not bad, but actually a good thing.

First, it helps me see the division of responsibilities that must exist between us. After working together on our businesses for almost 5 years now, we have finally started learning the importance if roles. I am not as outgoing or “Salesman-y” as Bryan, and that doesn’t make me less-than or a slacker. I’m good at the administrate stuff. And that has to be ok with me.

Second, it shows me the areas in my life where I could stand to be less afraid. Bryan is cooler than I am, he has less fear, I’ve written before about how much of a dreamer and eternal optimist he is, and that’s true in every facet of his life. He is doing such amazing things, and instead of thinking that he has worked hard to get to where he is and that he has earned it, he feels just so truly honored to get to be there with all of these successful people. It makes me want to be more like him. More brave. Less fearful. More carefree. Less cautious.

I strongly encourage all of you to support your significant other. Sure, we have to keep our dreamers grounded sometimes, but I never want to tether his soul too close to the earth. I needed this reminder, Mentor Camp. You keep doing you.

Love, Alex

P.S: Keep checking in at goroguepodcast.com to hear all of the interviews from Mentor Camp, including Stephanie McCratic (Who I LOVE), Permjot Valia, Joe Stump, April Seggebruch, Ross Webb, and Abby Kiefer.

With Baby Comes…

This is one of those things that I know no one reeeeeally cares about reading, but I neeeeeed to talk about it.

Weight.

So I had a baby, in case anyone reading this doesn’t already know that from my bombardment of photos on the interwebs. And with a baby comes extra weight. It’s a fact of life. When you’re pregnant, however, you can be smart about it, or, like me, be stupid about eating and healthy weight gain.

I had packed on a few pounds before I got pregnant, and was in the process of trying to lose it, and failing miserably. I just love food ok? When I saw the double line on the pee stick, I was all “Great! No more having to worry about losing weight!” And I ate…and ate…and ate…and gained a lot more weight.

Y’all.

*Swallows pride.*

I weighed well over 200 pounds at the end of my pregnancy.

It was hard for me to accept. I wanted to badly to be able to control it, but losing weight has always been difficult for me.

Before I move on, I just want to say that I am not at all trying to be one of those people who isn’t that big, but is going to complain about it anyway. If there’s nothing we women get more annoyed with, its skinny girls talking about how fat they are, meanwhile we are sitting here, obviously heavier than them, eating a burger. No, I am not trying to be that woman. Just talking about my personal story, and although I was and still am overweight, I try not to think of myself as “fat.”

Losing weight has NEVER been easy for me. I can exercise, but I am unwilling to change my diet much if at all, so when exercise doesn’t cut it (10% exercise/90% diet right?), I give up and feel even worse about myself. I like carbs, cheese, and sauces. Those are my vices. Plus I love to cook, it’s a creative outlet for me, and cooking some variation of chicken, again, gets old. When given the choice at a restaurant, I will always choose something I want instead of something healthy. Why pay for a salad when I can make that at home, right? It’s a real problem. I use food for comfort too. I have a hard time sitting and watching a tv show or movie without having something to snack on. I tend to break the golden rule of dieting by drinking my calories as well. Coke is like sweet nectar of the gods on my mouth. I could go on and on.

The point is, it has always been a problem, but a bigger problem is feeling down about myself. This is hard crap you guys. I hardly have time to dress myself and keep laundry washed, let alone to spend 2 hours of my day working out. Because let’s be honest, doing  45-minute work out is only a small part of it. For me, It means pumping, because, you know…jumping around and stuff, squeezing into a sports bra and still-too-small work out clothes, making sure the kid is asleep or otherwise occupied, doing the work-out, showering (maybe), and changing again. THAT’S LIKE HALF THE DAY YOU GUYS.

Ugh.

I do love the #MomBod movement over the past few weeks, and I am all over giving grace to moms to get their bodies back, but that doesn’t mean that I should just do nothing. I want to be able to run and play with my kids and get down on the floor and color without it hurting. I want to be able to…gosh just to wear MY OWN CLOTHES again. We like to paint a pretty picture of how beautiful childbirth is, but rarely do we have honest feelings about how hard and sucky it is to accept that our bodies will never be the same. I don’t want to feel like I am body-shaming or mom-shaming by saying that it is sucks to have stretch marks all over my body and to accept that it’s just how my body looks now. Or can we just talk about boobs? Or extra skin? Or just all of it?

I want to feel healthy and good about myself again. I want the fat in my face to go away so I can stop hating every single photo of me. And sure, there’s a part of me that needs to learn to love myself and my body more, but there’s another part that needs to suck it up, get her act together, and eat better.

All of this to say, I am on a diet. *Shudder.* Even I hate those words. I wish I could be one of those women that’s all “HAHA what’s a diet??” but no, I did not win the “Bounce-back-after-childbirth lottery,” and something’s gotta give. I don’t like diets. They rarely work and I never want to have to buy a bunch of shakes, drops, bands, wraps, and whatever other diet fad is going around now. Just no. I am doing the 17-day diet. I like it because it’s structured, but simple. I can have as much as I want of certain things, so I am never hungry, and it’s easy to wrap my mind around. I am down about 6 pounds since starting, and I am 2/3 of the way through cycle 1 (It consists of four 17-day cycles). That puts me at (crap is there still pride I need to swallow??) 174 currently. My goal is 140.

As far as eating out goes, that’s where Bryan comes in. I asked him to be in charge of my diet for the time being. He was all “Nope nope nope nope this is a trap nope.” But I talked him down and explained that I don’t have enough self-control to eat well, so could he please order for me at restaurants and slap chips out of my hand when necessary. He has been great so far! I think showing him that I wouldn’t fight him on it in the moment (bites tongue) really helped him to not feel like this was a lose-lose for him.

I may post updates as I go, but maybe not. I know this stuff isn’t exactly riveting, but it’s a big part of my life right now. Food is so hard for me that when I limit myself, it occupies roughly 97% of my thoughts. So I’m just trying to hang in there…for now.

Love, Alex

So much to do and I’m doing this instead.

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In the wise words of Jim Gaffigan, “you ever have so much to do that you just take a nap?” That’s where I’m at, you guys. My house looks like a tornado went through it, we’re going on vacation next week WITH A BABY FOR THE FIRST TIME, I’ve done zero packing or purchasing the necessary items to TAKE A BABY ON VACATION TO THE BEACH because even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know where anything is in my house because it looks like a tornado went through it. We’ve come full circle. So now you can see why I am sitting at my bar on my laptop instead of doing I don’t know, anything productive. (Even if you can’t, please just nod and smile.)

I’m also slightly distracted by the fact that a very important conversation regarding that whole adoption thing is happening at some point today. If you’re the praying type, we could use it.

Speaking of the house. I’m still in that honeymoon phase where I get in bed every night and say to Bryan “I can’t believe we get to live here.” I want to stay this way. I really don’t want to get complacent and start thinking of this house as anything besides such a blessing that isn’t really mine, but is God’s to be used for His glory. So bring on the parties, bring on the small groups, bring on the bridal/baby/wedding showers, the guests, the students needing a place to crash, and on and on.

The next subject on my mind: vacation WITH A BABY. You guys. I’m kind of stressed about this, which I realize is ironic given the fact that it’s vacation. This is Grady’s first time outside of like a 100 mile radius and most definitely his first overnight trip besides to my parents’ house. And it’s the beach, and the ocean. I need your tips! What’s your best advice for babies at the beach? Especially babies at a beach I’ve never been to. Also, babies on long road trips? Bring it on, readers!