Friday, November 29, 2013

dear alex.

it's late.
the man i love most is sound asleep upstairs in my bed. i say "my bed" because it's the little full size bed i grew up with.
i just checked on our sweet boy, who is also fast asleep. probably dreaming dreams about soy milk or possibly cheese, as i let him a piece tonight. (he wasn't a fan of extra sharp cheddar.)

i am awake because i can't sleep.

those nights when you are worried about things and then are consumed with feelings. i am having one of those nights.

first it was because i stumbled onto mormon women bare and yes it's all about nudity, so if you don't like that, don't click.

then it was because i was worrying about a big thing that has been going on in my life.
i stopped going to church.
i stopped wearing my garments.
i stopped believing in most of the things i grew up with.

it's hard to do things that you know are hurting your parents.
it's scary to type that truth out to the world wide web.
more on that later when i'm ready to get it all out.

no, what i want to talk about tonight has to do with finding out that my first love just got engaged.

you know instagram?
well once in a while i insta-stalk my old boyfriend, just to see what he is up to.

is it weird to admit that? i know i'm not the only one.

and it's not because i'm unhappy with the choice of husband i made. i am very confident and happy with my choice. it's just that i hate when things are left unfinished and boy, were things left unfinished with alex.

yeah, that's right alex. i said your name. i'm not going to write sad and terrible songs about being dumped by a girl who is now with the wrong guy and then never have the guts to say her name and pretend like they aren't about her and sing them publicly to all her old friends who you got in the "divorce."

which is what alex did right after i got married.

alex, you got your response to me getting married.
here's mine to you.

dear alex.

tonight i was cruising the social network, trying to wind down before bed. tonight was one of those nights when i decided to see what you are up to. possibly hoping your life is terrible, that you've gotten ugly and that you aren't going anywhere with your life. i wonder if you've ever stalked my instagram account. if you've seen my beautiful family. i know you probably hate my short hair, as you always told me to keep growing it out. i hope you see how happy i am and realize that travis is right for me in ways that you weren't.

well tonight i saw that you posted a picture of a left hand with a ring. i have been expecting this, as you've been dating a girl for a while now. part of me felt happy to see you dating someone, and part of me wanted you to be alone and miserable forever. i had a feeling about this girl, that she would end up being your wife. but seeing you posting about being engaged to someone else, that was a strange feeling. happy for you, happy you found someone good for you. but a little strange, to remember back to how we planned to marry and talked about our babies and the dog we'd have. we were so sure then, that young puppy love seemed so real and strong.

then i moved away to college and we dated long distance. our relationship was challenged. we fought a lot, but never for long. i think i loved you in a way that was unhealthy. both of us drifted from friends and families. we spent all our time together. you didn't like my dad. my dad really didn't like you.

you didn't go to church when we first started dating. you started going with me and pretty soon you decided you wanted to serve a mission. i never told you to serve, but i think i helped you go back to church. funny, because during your mission, you started treating me differently. oh i was so heartbroken when you left. i'll be honest, i felt completely abandoned. i felt that you loved "the church" more than you loved me. which is the complete opposite of how the missionary girlfriend is supposed to feel. she is supposed to support her missionary, send packages, wait for him. all the attention was on you. i was in the background. at your farewell, your family members had the video camera out and were saying the recording of us hugging would be played at our wedding. when i tried to suggest to you that i might date while you were away, you told me, "i'm not allowed to date, so neither are you." days before you left, you told me you were going to give me a priesthood blessing. i didn't ask you; you told me i needed one. during the blessing, you mentioned things like, "God will give you strength while i'm gone." i started feeling our relationship shift, felt a control from you i wasn't sure about.

but i was so in love! we had songs, we had jokes. we kissed in the park. you called me "honey." we went train watching late at night.  after you dropped me off, i'd call you and we would talk for hours. you were in a band and i was your girl. you were the only thing i wanted, the only thing that felt safe to me. i'm sure it had to do with you being my first real boyfriend and first person i trusted after the sexual assault. even though you were always late picking me up, like hours late, even though you honked the horn at me on our first date and my dad refused to let me go until you came to the door, even though on my last night before moving out and i was freaking out and you took me out to dinner but then told me i had to pay and so i used my birthday money, even though you wrecked my car and then refused to take care of the damage,  i was so very in love with you.

then you left and i was alone.
i'd listen to the voicemails you had left me over and over and over and over and over at night.
my roommates would invite me places, but i'd stay in and write you letters.
i hounded the mailman. i worried about your packages getting out on time.

and then you sent our mutual friend an email telling him to, "not let me go out on halloween looking like a slut."

i realized you were changing. that guy i had fallen for, the guy who wasn't all that religious, was now inferring i'd be a slut.

oh how my heart broke.
i wrote you about it, and you apologized, but the damage was done.
my letters became fewer and you started asking questions. when i told you i was dating someone else, you told me that a girl you were teaching, who happened to be a cheerleader, had a crush on you. tit for tat.

on christmas eve, i kissed another boy. we were out sledding. it was romantic. until i heard a train whistle go off, and was reminded of all the nights we sat watching trains. i talked to you on the phone the next day at your parents' and felt such guilt. slut.

our friends told me they'd take me on dates while you were gone, to keep me company.
they didn't.

a few months later, i wrote you to tell you, stop writing.
you were furious and you kept writing, even though i stopped.

i moved to hawaii and cut off all my hair. i wrote you to tell you. you said you weren't worried, that it would grow back by the time you came home.
i dated a lot of guys. i kissed most of them.
i missed you.
i stopped listening to all the music we loved because it hurt too much.
i dated someone who reminded me of you, just because he reminded me of you.

you came home and i had just started dating travis. your mom kept calling, saying that it didn't matter if i'd gained weight, that you would still love me. saying that we belonged together. my mom asked her to stop calling.

we went for a drive and talked about a lot of things. you told me you'd felt like God wanted you to keep writing me. you told me i had to tell you how many guys i had kissed while you were gone. i told you, and you said you could forgive me for it. i told you it was over. you told me that travis was a bad guy, that he drank alcohol and lied to me about it. i said goodbye to you.

that's when you really turned nasty. once when we were hanging out with friends, you shoved me. you said said that i looked guilty at your homecoming talk, the talk where you literally got out of your seat and interrupted the guy speaking about leaving on his mission. you interrupted him at the pulpit and told him what to say because you felt so important. you started texting me nightly to ask if i'd read my scriptures for the day. you said i had repenting to do. you point blank asked me if i had an STD.

it's hard when you realize you were wrong about the person you thought you loved most.
you wonder what else you are wrong about in your life.
i couldn't understand how your mission had turned you into this self righteous douchebag.

i missed hawaii so much.
i missed the old you so much.

you know the rest. my mom asked you to stop harassing me. you called her crazy, but then left me alone. until the day i got engaged, when you texted me saying how happy you were for me.

then our friends became your friends.
you started writing songs about me. i cried a lot. i even drove by your house at night, wanting to throw things at your door. but mostly wanting you to come outside and tell me it was okay, that we had a great love, but that it ended and that it was okay. i knew i had hurt you. but alex, you hurt me first.

now you are in love with someone else. i'm sure she is great, that she loves that you're a night owl and loves your jokes about rap music. you asked her to marry you and she said yes. i saw that you proposed with a mood ring, which made me laugh because you gave me a promise ring before you left that was also a mood ring. i really am happy that you found someone. i really do wish you well.

i don't know what i'm trying to say to you. thank you for being my first love. but you really broke my heart there for a while. and i never got to tell you that. you told me once that around your house, my name was synonymous with "bitch." that hurt too, because i really loved your family.

i know i won't get my tidy, finished ending where we shake hands and forgive each other out loud, making everything okay and wishing each other well. sorry i hurt you.

but mostly i'm just sorry that you were an assface.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

ermergersh, lerserng ther berber weirght.

before i got pregnant, the thing i was most afraid of besides acne flaring up, was losing my body. i had worked my butt off, literally off, getting into the best shape of my life. my abs were finally less blabs and more ABS. 

one time in church i had this conversation with some women who already had children. 

woman who just had her 4th baby: "oh i just signed up for a pole dancing class to lose this baby weight. i have about 40 pounds to lose. uhhhhggggg!" 

me: "oh that sounds fun! i lost about that much about a year ago and it was tough but if you stick with it, it will come right off." 

another woman, who was about 40 years older than me chimes in, uninvited: "well honey, you don't have kids yet. losing baby weight is much different than just losing weight." 

first of all, i HATE the whole, "you don't know anything until you have children" thing. i swear to you, i used to get it every sunday before getting pregnant, not being able to go to church, and now having a baby and choosing not to go to church. ironic, now that i've finally joined the mommy-club-of-all-knowing-wiseness, and i've stopped going to church. 

secondly, i was like, wait, isn't weight loss just like, exercise and eat healthy, burn more carbs than you take in, simple math? of course there's the matter of the giant belly to shrink down, but really, weight loss is weight loss right? 

yes. i was right. when i lost that roughly 40 pounds before getting married it felt the same as losing the baby weight this summer. and it came off pretty much the same, too. 

in your face woman at church who chimed in uninvited. 

(i'm such a b word guys.) 

anyway. i promised myself i would be back in my pants by fall. hallelujah, with the help of hypermemsis, post partum depression, and lots of gym time, i made it. 

also, can i say. for me, the gym is the place i feel most powerful and invincible. it's much harder now that i have a small child who needs tending, so thank you! to my mom and trav's mom who always watch remy when travis is at the fire station. i'm almost ready to take remy to the gym day care. still a little freaked out to leave him in there, but i know he'll be fine. 

yes, it is much harder to motivate yourself to work out when you have a small baby. yes, you would rather sleep sometimes than go push yourself physically. but i never regret going and enjoying that hour of time to myself to only worry about reps or how high i can jump or how long i can plank. 

i try to work out 4 or 5 times a week, usually a mixture of stroller running, yoga, pilates, weights, kickboxing, and recently, zumba. working out is my stress relief. i love secretly competing with all the other class members. i love getting sweaty and disgusting. my body is strong and powerful and i can do anything! when i'm in gym mode. 

here's some picture proof of my labors. 

this was the last bare belly shot i took, a couple weeks before birthing. it's weird, your belly gets veiny. i also got that "line niegra" or however it's spelled. it's still there, but fading now. 

here's ten days after remy was born. it's the weirdest feeling having that empty belly. you keep expecting to feel kicks, but instead it's just soft and flabby emptiness. 

one month out. man my knockers were enormous. kinda wish i could have kept those. 

6 weeks. about to head to the pool, proudly baring my post baby bod. 

this was 9 weeks. sorry, there was no rhyme or reason to these pictures, just whenever i suited up. 

this is after my first time to kickboxing and then my first time doing insanity. i only just stopped crying at every kickbox class. it means so much to have a healthy body. 

here's a comparison of 2 months post baby and 6. 

women are so strong! boom, here i'll grow a baby while being malnourished and dehydrated. boom, all my organs will move around so that the parasite / baby living in my body can take up all the space. boom, my uterus, cervix, and vagina will push out a living human into the cold, dry air of earth. boom, my body will shrink back down to prepregnancy size. 

side note: there is a ton of internet/blog posting about fat shaming and loving your body the way it is. i agree! and we shouldn't be celebrating women losing baby weight over celebrating the fact that women can GROW babies. but, i think it's okay to want to be in the best shape you can and to celebrate the hard work it takes to get there. love your body, whatever shape it is. cause women's bodies are the coolest. 


snow day, part II.

remington is seven months old. seven!
i am just now starting to feel like i know how to take care of a baby.
i don't feel like i'm drowning on a daily basis.
(we also upped one of my meds, which i'm sure is playing a part.)

not only do i not feel like i'm drowning, but i am thoroughly enjoying remington. all the sudden he is brimming with personality. his gummy smile melts me. you know that expression, tugs at your heartstrings? there is a physical tugging sensation in my heart when he smiles at me like that.
every day he learns something new, like a few days ago all the sudden he could push himself up to a sitting up position all by himself. there was much cheering going on at the charles-bodtcher house.

the other morning, we woke up to snow. i propped remy up on the couch in front of the window and watched him stare at all the white. told him, "look remington! it snowed!"  and i remembered last year around this time, when i wrote this post.

snow day.

oh hey. 
there is snow on the ground this morning.
i'm listening to my feist/hem pandora station.
it was a rough night. throwing up (yeah, the zofran isn't working so well anymore), trying to choke something down so i could go to sleep, then waking up 18767634 times to pee, then having a nightmare at 3am, being convinced a man was hiding somewhere in my house to torture and kill me, freaking out that i left the oven on, wandering around looking for the killer, and the word "looking" being used lightly because i'm blind as a bat and don't own any glasses.yeah, that's going to work, wandering around in your underwear, no weapon, and legally blind. what would you do if someone actually was there? get owned, that's what. 

i called travis and asked him to say a prayer on the phone with me because of how freaked out i felt. he fell asleep during his prayer a few times, bless him. oh the joys of being married to a fireman. 

all night i tossed and turned and  gagged and tried really hard not to throw up in bed. woo, i didn't. 
morning came and i began my daily countdown. 13 hours until you can go back to bed. 

then i put my contacts in, looked out the windows, and saw all this white fluff on rooftops and lawns. on my way down to the kitchen, i walked by the baby room and caught a glance of the yellow onsie we bought right after the positive pregnancy test. and the rocking chair my mom found secondhand. and i remembered that by christmas next year, we will have a seven month old baby scooting around, playing with decorations, and demanding all our attention. how exciting it will be hold that baby up to the window, point outside and say, "see that white stuff? that's snow!" 

mostly, i spend my days in survival mode. figure out something to eat, force myself to eat it, stay close to the toilet because i'll probably be kneeling over it soon, and trying to hold as still as possible. emotions like excitement, love, hope? yeah those are pretty dulled by nausea.  i forget that there's a reason i'm doing all this surviving. forget that in six months, the yellow onsie we bought will be all filled up with a newborn. 

i'm thankful for the snow today, reminding me i won't be stuck like this forever, and that something wonderful is coming. 

realizing i had made it, i survived to see that scene i had dreamed of last year. 
it was a moment of great triumph. 

as the months are passing, the horror of my pregnancy is starting to feel less fresh, less like an open wound. at least day to day. things will remind me, and i'll be angry and afraid all over again. 

recently i finally faced up to going to the dentist for a cleaning. mostly because of all the pain i've been experiencing when my teeth touch. it's been going on since my pregnancy, but i couldn't take it anymore. 

the dentist informed me that a huge amount of my enamel is gone, especially on the back side of my teeth. 
from vomiting. 
hence all the pain. 

also, my pretty pearly whites are now, as the dentist delicately phrased it, "stained." 

it hurts. remembering that scared, sick girl just plain hurts. 

there are times i really have no idea who i am. 
i was a college student for six years. 
then i became a sick person for almost a year, whose every day existence was all about survival. 
then the whole "losing my mind" bit didn't help. 

some days i look at myself and have no idea who i am anymore. 
some days i just feel ragged. 

that moment though, with remington and the snow. it really was wonderful. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

being mom.

being a mom.
a job unlike any other job i've ever had. (and i've had a lot of jobs.)
no one trains you.
you aren't paid in money and you don't get raises or promotions.
usually your greatest successes happen when it's just you and baby, with no one around to congratulate you.
it's hard to explain to others why it was so exciting and rewarding to see your baby rolling over or eating solids for the first time. and usually, it's not as exciting to anyone else but you.
sometimes you wish for easier and more adventurous times in your life, like living far from home and going out late at night with friends.
sometimes you wish you were still in college, feeling that sense of superiority that you were learning important things and preparing for an exciting career changing the world.
speaking of college, sometimes you just want to shout to the entire grocery store that you aren't just a stay at home mom, that you have a real college degree and are a smart person.
sometimes you feel angry that you feel like you have to justify being a stay at home mom as being a real job.
every day is different.
just as soon as you think you've figured out how to take care of your baby, he gets sick and doesn't sleep. he is diagnosed with acid reflux and screams all the time. or he refuses to eat in your arms anymore. or he starts scooting around and getting into things. and life is changed yet again.
the word 'mom' should be changed to 'problem solver.'
there are days when you want to wear fancy clothes and high heels and feel sexy and be looked at by people your own age, but it's just easier to wear sweatpants. because babies have a lot of messy liquids that seem to cover your whole body.
you miss carrying your stylish purse, a purse that seems very light and small compared to the suitcase full of diaperswipesformulachangeofclothesbinkytoyblanketburpragbottlesprevacidgasdropstylenol that you lug everywhere.
at the mall, anyone can find you because there is a trail of spit up behind where you walked. you swore you'd be a mom who cleaned up after her child, and then you realized that people are paid to clean public places.
when you get naked to take a shower, which by the way has to be done at light speed, so it seems you always miss a spot shaving, and who am i kidding, that's when you do shave, you glance at your body in the mirror and sigh. you miss your perkier boobs, your flatter stomach.
you become as stealthy as a ninja. you can clean the house, check on the napping baby, have sex, eat lunch, and check on the baby again without making a single noise.
speaking of sex, you wish you would have known that it would hurt for 6 months after having your baby. you don't even want to know what it looks like down there, now that you have ragged vagina scar.
you miss being spontaneous and feeling sexy with your husband, because being tired, feeling unappreciated by the world, and missing your old body aren't really a recipe for intimacy.
you surrender your nights of sleep to the control of a tiny human.
your beautifully decorated, previously spotless house is now covered in bumbos, play mats, blankets, dirty bottles, and baby drool.
you master a new language, one that no one else in the world speaks but your baby. you can tell if your baby is crying for food, company, exhaustion, or boredom. you deserve an award for mastering this skill that no one else could.
sometimes you hear moms criticize other new moms and you wonder how these moms have time to even care about what other moms are doing.
sometimes other moms criticize your choices and you wonder why all of us moms who know, who understand how hard it is, could ever want to be anything other than bffs with each other.
when you go out, people love to talk to you about your baby. it's the best ice breaker of all time and you love feeling like you're "part of the club."
you take your baby to the park and instead of ignoring the woman next to you, you engage her in conversation about her child. you make new friends much more easily now.
you constantly hear people tell your husband he is amazing for what he does at work. you agree with them, but you wonder why you don't constantly hear people telling you how amazing you are that you grew a life, brought it through your body, and are teaching it literally every single thing.
you try to make time for yourself, but something always comes up.
you obsessively worry about your baby's nutrition, while you forget to eat or don't have time.
whenever people tell you "just wait until you have two or three" you want to punch them, because the word "just" makes you feel like no one gets how hard being a mom to your first one is.
you watch your friends doing fancy things, like traveling, getting their master's, or working prestigious jobs, and you envy them.
for the first time in your life, you sometimes would rather talk to another mom than your husband. because no one else gets it like another mom.
you have thousands of pictures of him, and most of them are in terrible lighting doing the same things over and over and over.
you realize that you speak high pitched, annoying "motherese" in public and you do not care who is listening.
you worry that you're doing everything wrong, that you're ruining your child by sometimes feeding him baby food out of the jar, letting him watch tv, not breastfeeding him, putting him to bed too late because you wanted to stay out, not always remembering to read him a book, not giving him a bath on the days you are too tired. 
you feel anxious about his safety and well being every second of every day.
some days you want to drop him off with anyone and drive far away.
sometimes you feel ashamed that you need to take medications to feel happy doing your job as a mom.
the last thing you do before leaving the house, if you remember, is try to wash off the white spit up spots from your jeans.

why on earth do you still do it.

because of the way your child smells.
because of how intoxicating it is to nuzzle his tiny feet.
because you will do anything for a giggle.
because you are obsessed with every single thing about him. every expression, every new sound, the way he turns red when he pushes out a poop, how his hair looks when it's wet in the tub, how excited he is to watch cars drive by, the look of pure joy on his face when he swings at the park, watching him learn how to use his hands, seeing him look around for you when he's being held by someone else, holding him in your arms while he sleeps, the way you want to show him off to the world, encouraging him to kiss your cheek and being covered in slobber, listening to him jabber to himself in his crib while you wake up, when you're the only one who can get him to stop crying.

it's because you of the intense love you feel for your baby, and watching him show you he loves you back.

dear moms, the new and the experienced,
you are incredible and so am i.


Monday, November 11, 2013


this halloween morning i woke up remembering last year's halloween.

i hadn't curled my hair or put on make up in a looooooong time, and i remember so wishing to enjoy the holiday. i made the effort to shower, and then sat on the bathroom counter to gussy myself up, because i was too exhausted to stand for that long. i hadn't thrown up that day, and i was hopeful that as i neared the second trimester, i would start getting better. i was very nauseated as i drove myself to my parents' (travis was at the fire station) and i kept my puke bowl handy in my lap. my mom made her annual meat hand, and i had to breathe through my mouth to be able to sit at the table with the family. later, visiting trav's family, i had to hold my breath from the overwhelming smell of broccoli cheese soup. i had a fake smile plastered on my face, thinking in my head, what on earth am i going to be able to eat. i am so hungry.

it was horrible.

after remembering that awful day, triggered by yet another dream about vomiting, i heard the sounds of remington waking up and chattering to himself in his room. "ahh bah bah bah dah dah dah!" i reminded myself that the nightmare of last year is over, and mentally sent that girl from last halloween a hug and told her, see, you made it. then i headed to remy's room and was greeted with a giant, gummy grin.

this year's halloween was much improved. travis had to work, which was poop city, but remy and i had a great day together, and even had a coordinating costume.

goldilocks and the baby bear!
cool yarn wig my mom whipped up in ten minutes. 
adorable huh. 

we even went trick or treating! just to a few houses in my parents' neighborhood. had to show off the boy, ya know. i felt like a thief though, because, come on, remy wasn't eating any candy. everyone kept telling me, "that's the perk of having a kid! free candy!" alright, i'll take whatever perks i can. 

but really, how is he so adorable. 

he kept smearing his face paint lipstick and eyeliner. probably ingested most of it from licking his fingers. 
somehow they survive, right? 

of course my mom made her meat hand for dinner and i was able to eat some this year! 

remy was pretty into the bright colored candy stash. next year, kid. 

we visited travis at the station later, but he was coming down with a cold and felt yucky. yucky. being a mom has apparently taken over my vernacular. 

stopped by the bodtchers' and hung with the in laws. overall a good holiday. what 'they' say is true, holidays are much more fun with children, and mine isn't even old enough to understand why he had to wear a bear suit and have rouge smeared on his face. 

happy halloweener! 


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