Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So I quit my job the other day

Ok I didn't quit. I put in notice. Ok, I put in 7 weeks notice, that's, like, not even close to quitting. BUT when on Wednesday you decide that 5.5 years is plenty, and Friday you put in notice, it feels a lot like quitting. Like a rash decision, like you haven't really thought it out.

Worry not, friends, it was thought out!

I've been thinking about not working there for a year. We've had many many conversations about our family making some changes. We just didn't know really which changes would be first.

We got a car to fit more than 4 people=I need to keep working.
We want to save for a house=I need to keep working.
We want to have more steady income bc Brad is commission& the months are feast/famine=I need to keep working.
I make a RIDICULOUS amount of money for what I do = why would I quit???


This year has been rough. Rough mentally, physically, work has been crazy busy, stressful. I just feel done. Cooked, like a turkey. There is nothing more I can give. Which, when you have a family is not an option.

I finally just told Brad this job is drowning me. I can't give what I need to our home and family AND handle the stress and responsibilities of my job. I choose my family.

I feel AMAZING about it! The best part is how light I feel. I feel like I've been carrying a huge burden and all the sudden it's gone. I'm ready for a new challenge!

JMB has been my home for many years. It is the reason I up-and-moved to the beach& met my husband 3 weeks later. I am grateful for my time there. It has been a source of income, stability and pleasure. I've grown up. I've learned soooo much. I discovered talents I didn't know I had. I will always love it there.

This year everything was so off balance. I think the Fat Baby came to our family &all the sudden something indefinable changed. I think he came to test my limits and I've definitely reached them. Something needed to change& I'm finally READY to make it.

I'm excited. I'm ready. I'm happy. I'm relieved.

Oh and I'm working with my brother as his office manger, doing contract project work from home, tutoring math and nannying my brother's 2 kids 2 days a week, sooo... don't worry-i'll be keeping busy!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jimmy Boy

It has come as quite a surprise me, but it may be that Jimmy Barttels is the glue keeping me together at the moment.

For the first portion of his short life, he caused me more tears, pain, and lost sleep. Shattered any confidence I had as a mother, wife, caretaker. I lost all patience, any joy in motherhood. I learned to yell. I never yelled at Faye. There was no need. All Jimmy did was yell at me. Loudly. Work suffered. Marriage suffered. Faye suffered. He was, quite frankly, a little pooper. Sometimes I wished he had never come to our home, bc it seemed he only brought suffering and crying where 'ere he went.

The last couple months for me have been rough. Physical and emotional rollercoaster. And you know what is keeping me all together? The person who is keeping me the most grounded and keeps clearing the rubble from the end of the tunnel so the light can keep shining, even ever so little? Fatty McFatty Early Walker Happy Jimmy Barttels Guy.

He is so happy nowadays. And giggly. And learning new things. And just about the tubbiest, chubbiest, most kissable thing on the block! He brings light and joy into my life that I have needed. When Faye is having a hard day being two, this guy is a rolly-poly ray of sunshine. I feel like he and I are finally on the same wavelength. That there is some kind of relationship there. That we understand each other. Especially in the last week, on the worst days, when the worst things have happened (or not happened) in every other part of my life, this boy starts walking. He gives kisses. He takes ridiculously cute pictures that I just want to look at for hours. He brings pure joy to me when I need it most.

So, Jimmy, when your reputation in our family as being the most horrid, loudest, screamiest, shriekiest baby follows you around to adulthood, remember: You saved your mom and carried her through the darkest, hardest days. That even tho I fear there will be much grief to your mother at your hand, you will also bring her much joy and strength in trials. The prophetic words of your father in your baby blessing will ring true.
""Bless you that you will love your mother throughout your life. That you will see the strength in her and you will a strength unto her also."

Love you, Baby.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another new experience? Check.

So I found out I was pregnant.
(I know.)

Jimmy was 6 months old.
(I know, right?! I know.)

It's amazing how quickly I was cool with it. Not cool- excited. Stoked. Ready. Willing. An hour after finding out, I had a new budget, and had already mentally thrown away, moved, organized, purchased bunk beds, saved money, stopped working, and had 3 kids. Kids come to our home. We love them. We will take them.

Grandmothers were informed. For excitement purposes and to make sure next year they knew they were going to have to help. A lot. (Both were excited.)

Fast forward a few weeks.
(I know you know what is coming.)

Bleeding& cramps. Died a little inside. I knew.

Fast forward 3 days. Go get an ultrasound I had scheduled previously. Turns into long tiring, stressful, two days of tests & wondering. Verdict: Ectopic pregnancy.

I mean, can't I just mourn in peace? Can't I just move on with my life without extra needles?! "No, I'm sorry," they say.

I guess it does make it easier that there was never going to be a baby anyway. Either I was going to miscarry or it could've killed me. Either way, same non-baby outcome.

I caught it so early we completely avoided surgery or long-lasting health effects. HUGE BLESSING. Please don't think for a second I don't think about that every minute. (That would be awfully ungrateful, no?)

I'm still recovering. The only word to describe it is EXHAUSTION. Mentally, physically. I seesaw between feeling tired&a little sorry for myself, and then feeling guilty for not being more grateful. (And let's face it, a touch of relief. Who doesn't want kids 15 months apart?)

I am tired of having to explain why I didn't go to work & disappeared for over a week & can't function lately, but at the same time I am dying to tell everyone so they can tell me it's ok and so they can cut me some more slack. (What a low opinion I must have of my fantastic friends& co-workers. Like they don't cut me& everyone more slack than they deserve?!)

I definitely feel like I've joined a club. The Miscarriage Club. Women who have had a similar experience know me better than I knew myself this week. The secret is there are actually TWO clubs with the same name/qualifications. I think everyone starts in the Emotionally attached/sad/wondering Club...and then most, quietly and without realizing it, move into the Closure Club. I'm not a member of that club...yet. It will come.

Hopefully more babies come to our home. Hopefully maybe less-soon.
Hopefully I can start sleeping better& stop being so tired& start feeling like myself again.

Experiences make us stronger. New experiences, especially. I'm learning to share more of my feelings with Brad. To trust him instead of just stare at HGTV all day. (Or Food Network. I mean, Beat Bobby Flay?! I love tv!)

Anyway, I think this year has been crazy. From start to finish I feel like I've been in washing machine. I really hope I can come up for air sometime soon. Perhaps there are some greater lessons to be learned from all this. (Duh. Of course there are some greater lessons to be learned.) If I am humble enough to learn them is another story.

Aaannd...that's it.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I am that. very.

I love my job. I love my office. I love the feelings of accomplishment, trust and confidence I feel there. I love that I am valued. I love that it's been the source of steady income in our marriage. Somedays I call Brad on my way home and I've literally said "I ROCK AT MY JOB! I am awesome!"
I also love my family. My kids make me laugh, my husband is a comfort  and strength. I care about my home. I know they all love me. BUT I do all the bills, the organization, projects, and  most of the cleaning and parenting and child-rearing. It quickly becomes a lot. I rarely feel like I can put a stamp on my time being a mother with "I WAS AWESOME TODAY!" Potty-training alone can really put a damper on your self-worth as a mother- it's THE WORST.

I had a conversation with a friend and she said she got annoyed that her husband doesn't vacuum the edges when he vacuums the floor. I sat there thinking "When was the last time I EVER vacuumed the edges???" A year ago? Probably longer, let's be honest. And for half a second I felt a bit inferior, or less of a housewife. BUT then I remembered: I WORK. Who the hell has time to vacuum edges when 20 hours of the week (or more) is completely unavailable??? I'm lucky that I vacuum at all some weeks!! PLUS I work from home, so I am literally LIVING IN MY OFFICE. I am checking emails in between diaper changes, filling out forms when people are watching tv, taking/making phone calls when people are napping. If I haven't finished a project, it's not like I can leave the office & go home & say "well, we can finish tomorrow, nothing more I can do today!" I can't ever say that. Every moment I sit and snuggle with Brad watching Doctor Who after kids are in bed has subconcious guilt that THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE I SHOULD BE DOING.
It is awful somedays. With one kid, working from home was easy, manageable, fun, the best of both worlds! It was the answer to prayers and the best decision ever.
But with two kids came not only two kids, but also a job description change. More hours, more responsibility, more stress. My office workload and my home workload both doubled at the same time. I'm surprised I haven't had a breadkdown. Seriously. Instead I hide from my feelings, I yell at my kids at the end of a long day of the baby crying non-stop, I miss out on all beach days, park play dates, and just stopped getting invited to anything bc I can never go.
I have very few friends who are moms and work. And when I see those friends, I feel like I have to cling on for dear life. They understand. They know what it's like!!! The problem is I never see any of those friends... well bc we BOTH WORK. sigh.
I guess I'm just venting. Not sure what the point of this post was to begin with.
I am just overwhelmed. No matter what I do something I getting neglected. I either play with my kids and take care of my home responsibilites to the best of my ability and my work falls behind; or I get a ton of work done and live in a disaster area where the dishes get done once a week and my kids get neglected. No matter what I do, I ALWAYS LOSE.
And it's getting old. I thought that in a few months all the changes would kind of settle in and it would get more manageable, but it hasn't. Can anyone shed some light on how to better manage time, responsibilites, guilt??

Liebster award

I actually have no idea what a liebster award is, but i like shawna, and she gave me one, so i'll answer her questions :) better late than never!
1. Do you love where you live?  Why or why not?
YES. i love HB. i love the weather, i love the city, i love our church, i love the beach, i love the community, i live 4th of July, i love that it's our home.
2. If you could change your name what would you choose? You can't say you'd keep your existing name-c'mon!
my whole childhood i wanted to be named rachel. no idea why, just always did. even in spanish class when you have to pick a new name i picked raquel. luckily i have a darling niece named rachel!
3. Do you have a New Years Resolution that you are working on or goal you made at the beginning of 2013 and what is it?
 yes. a few. brad & i made a goal to go on 2 dates a month, at which we have been fairly successful (except for january- if you count a night together in a hospital with a newborn as a date)
4. Who is the funniest person you know? oh man, there are a few. my friend vanessa & her husband jared are hilarious, also i feel like sara is always making me laugh. i can't think of anyone else. i should probably say brad, but then i would be lying ;)
5. What is your favorite restaurant? athen's west. i could live on their greek salad. in fact, whilst pregnant with jimmy i ate there at least once a week...sometimes more. if i can add my two cents to the celestial food court- we def need athens west.
6. If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?  that i could be more happy with it. 
7. If you could change one thing about our country in an instant what would it be? that we would be solvent. that people would realize that in order to help people the MOST, to have great healthcare, roads, schools, money should be spent responsibly. if there is no money, the problems cannot be solved. 
8. What is your favorite hairstyle?  my hair is short, straight, thin & fine. i have few options... i did like it when it was really short and red/brown in high school, that was fun!
9. If you could do service all day long what would you choose to do? i would tutor kids in math. sounds silly, but i miss teaching. or mentoring teenagers. i love teenagers. i probably won't love mine too much when they get there, but i loved teaching and spending time in young women. 
10.  What is your favorite store to shop at? target. hands down. i could spend hours in there. and i have. 
11. What do you love about yourself?  I work hard and have solid, honest, work ethic (thanks, dad!)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jimmy is a pro at grabbing & getting to his mouth. anything else within reach(and everything I think isn't within reach, but suddenly is...)
He rolled over on Sunday & during tummy time usually scoots really far off the blanket or play mat. (Not that he's crawling, he's not, it's just that he is really strong & wiggly at the moment!)
He is 3.5 months already??

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 months

Hello, World!
I am three months old. I weigh in at 16.3 pounds(with a new dry diaper, naked & fed 3 hours prior-mom wanted to make sure it wasn't a padded measurement) and I eat anywhere from 6 to 9 ounces a feeding. I am a horse. Mom & dad are starting me on rice cereal this week bc they say it's out of control.
I am much happier these days. I smile and smile and SMILE. I laugh and giggle. I love to be held, tickled, and to hold toys& eat them. I also love to eat my hands, just like my sister.
I was blessed on Sunday by my daddy, but that's a post for another day.
I still scream pretty loud, and I love my mom& dad so much I can't be away from them for more than 4 hours at a time, including at night, but overall I've gotten used to being on Earth!
Gotta go, there's a bottle with my name on it...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


This foot has a fat roll on top.
That is awesome.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Luck o' the Irish!!

We try to have people over for dinner often. It's just usually not this cute.
Corned beef takes waaay longer to cook than I thought.
Pandora has an amazing assortment of Irish folk music. It made me want to dance a jig whilst washing dishes & cutting potatoes. (You also better believe I did!)
I took ZERO pictures of the food, friends or babies bc we were so busy enjoying their company in our home.
Throw away dishes make clean up in a tiny apartment kitchen AWESOME.
Grateful for an Irish Great-grandfather who wooed & baptized a British great-grandmother & took her to the States for religious freedom. Heritage is bomb.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 5

Today is day 5 on sensitive formula. 
Today is also day 5 of increased sanity. 
Today he only cried for an hour.   
Today he was happy & smiling. 
Today he also slept better. 
Today he went on his first happy trip to Disneyland. 
Today is day 5 of feeling empowered as a mother instead of helpless. 

It is a lot easier to love a sweet snuggly baby who does not constantly, and without ceasing, scream in your face. I decided I am now going to refer to recent time periods as "Boob Jimmy" and "Bottle Jimmy." haha

I love Bottle Jimmy. If the last 5 days are any indication of the future, we may survive & even enjoy this whole baby thing! I am grateful for modern science that has produced healthy, safe & helpful alternatives to Mother Nature. Mother Nature sometimes loses her touch & needs some help & that's ok. I am grateful to feel little to no guilt about it. I feel relieved- like a huge burden has been taken off my shoulders. The first 6 weeks of Jimmy's life nearly killed me (as I'm sure you've all figured out by my sad blogging) and I am happy to feel some HOPE.

Is this REALLY MY BABY?? A week ago I would have said "You cray-cray, yo. My baby isn't happy, so that can't be my baby." BUT IT IS!!! HOORAY!!

The Happiest Place on Earth

We are super spoiled living in HB, CA.
We can walk on the beach anytime we want. 
We have amazing weather.
We have lovely neighbors.
We have Disneyland season passes.

I love the Happiest Place on Earth. I will be many of the people waiting in line to hug Walt Disney when I die. I fell in love with Brad going on a weekly date to Dland, and have spent many MANY happy days with friends & family pounding the pavement of Main Street. 

Last week on Faye's birthday we took her & took Jimmy for his first time! Jimmy wasn't very happy the whole time (bummer) but Faye LOVED the parade & rides (as usual.) 

Today I braved it again. I gave myself no expectations except to get some sunshine & get out of the house. It was even better than I could have imagined!!! Baby was an ANGEL in the carrier, Faye was happy & it was even more sunny & warm than expected. Hooray!! I went with one friend & her one baby & it was a strictly "no pressure" gig. Fantastic. 
I am so grateful today that we get to enjoy such wonderful surroundings. I absolutely love our home in the OC! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

People are nice & supportive

Dear General populous,

Most of you are very nice & understanding & I appreciate it.

People with (and without) hard babies have come out of the wood work to hug me& tell me it's ok. Almost everyone I've told about the switch to formula has been a cheerleader& super supportive.
So, thanks! I need it. More of it. As much as you can give me & I promise someday I will pay it forward as best I can.

P.s. Shauna K, I love love love your blog comments-keep'em coming! If you can have 7 kids I surely can survive 2!

Keep in mind I got 3 hours of sleep last night

Sometimes I wish Faye had a little girl friend just her age who she could have as a little companion. All her friends her age are boys so they are starting to be interested in different things, and any girl friends who play dress up& dance are older& she is kinda the caboose. She is always the third wheel. I know she doesn't mind, bc she mostly plays by herself anyway, but it makes me sad. Just one friend in the same demographic would be nice.
It's a big worry for me that she will have the same debilitating insecurities that her mom has about friends.  (Course, I'm pretty sure she will not be torn from all her friends& everything she knows& loves at 15, be bullied at her new school by the Mormon girls & have issues with making new friends forever, but I digress.)
It won't matter til she is much older, but as a mom I still worry.
Anyway,I love her. Maybe bc she is my little companion& friend!

Oh baby Jimmy...

Dear Jimmy,

You are so hard. You cry pretty much anytime you are not sleeping. You have lots of pains in the digestion process. I feel so bad, bc you are a strong eater, but nothing seems to make your belly NOT hurt. Sometimes, right after fighting& screaming yourself to sleep, you wake up ten minutes later crying & writhing in pain. It makes Mommy & Daddy very sad. It's hard to know what to do.
We decided to give you ultra sensitive formula& you seem to do much better. I think we all feel a lot less frustration when you are feeling happy.

You are sure a smiley talkative baby, tho, when we have a good minute! You are easy to love & talk & coo at anyone who looks at you. Big smiles. Although big sister smiled a lot less at 6 weeks, you look so much like her when you smile!
I hope in the next weeks we can figure out how to help you feel better& sleep better. I think the bottles& formula are going to help your little system work a bit better.
Since we didn't sleep last night, let's take a good nap today so I can sleep, maybe?
Love you very much, my tiny man,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tiny man who looks a lot like his big sister

Watch "Jimmy" on YouTube

How is your day?


I say, "Faye, wanna help me clean the house?!"
She answers, "Yes!!" And this is what happens...
I give credit to my awesome housekeeping skills...and Walt Disney.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Baby blues

Random post. Need to say something to help me feel better.

Baby blues are killer. Maybe it's bc I had postpartum depression last time & I'm not sleeping enough, but seriously, it's just hard to stay positive sometimes...

It's hard describe how it feels to people who haven't felt this way, but it's like all your regular faults, failings, insecurities,etc, are magnified by about 1000x. If you feel like being lazy about dinner on a regular day, with baby blues or postpartum it's like a horrible, terrible chore you can't even find the energy to do. If you have trouble with friends, money, it just feels like those insecurities are insurmountable, you will never get ahead.

So if you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. I'm trying to be really proactive this time to fend off the blues; exercising, eating better, staying busy, getting out of the house, but it's still a huge struggle. At least today.

Maybe there are other moms who feel this way & need to feel consolation, and if you haven't, send some good vibes my way :-)