I had intended to write about how we finally bought the house we’ve been living in for more than three years, but I just feel so yuck today I thought I’d vomit here for the world to read instead.

We’ve been on a specific course for the last couple of years and it’s been slowly harder and harder until a month or two ago when all that energy dissipated. Jason had been in school and I had been going to school full-time and that’s all our brains could handle besides raising four kids and trying to keep our marriage healthy. Now, however, he’s done with school and I’m half-time with zero art classes. Who the fuck are we? I’m so serious.

We now have evenings where we can spend time together. We don’t because I’m watching Big Bang Theory and he’s piddledinking in his office, but not doing school. We do watch a movie some nights, but it’s not like we can go party or have the energy to have actual conversations after yelling at kids to go to bed for two hours after their bedtime. Henry is still in Preschool getting ready for Kindergarten in August, so I have ample time during the day to get things done, those things I’ve been ignoring because school, and what am I doing? I’m watching TV. I’m living vicariously through doctor’s residencies and sibling rivalries and totally do not enjoy when the kids come home because it is just so hard with them right now. So much attitude from tiny bodies! I’m uncomfortable in my own house because I haven’t spent much time there and have yet to develop a good routine.

I am complaining, but I know that this feeling is temporary. Much like that first week or two of Summer break where you’re relearning how to be with your kids 24/7. It’s just such an unsettling feeling to be out of place, but still in the same environment. I went to Bardo today (the art department) and saw friends and it just wasn’t the same. I’m not making anything there or entranced in the art world and no longer truly belong. The people in my Spanish class are *imitate raspberry sound here* and super adorable with their shiny knowledge of one semester of Spanish and 2-3 years left at WCU.

I am excited about graduating and excited to be graduating with friends in May, but right now things feel out of sorts. The only way through it is through it and this too shall pass and all that goodness. Sometimes, you just gotta sit in it or blog about it and acknowledge that life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns right now. And I miss my dad today, which is so weird to miss someone you didn’t really know, but it is what it is.

This is us trying to figure out the new normal. I’m not upset about having more knitters in the house.

Losing my Father

It seems strange to think about losing someone that you really only spent a handful of years with, but the pain is the same…from my perspective anyway.

A little background: My mom and dad split up before I was born and my father was somewhat in my life until I was three (or so I’ve been told). He tried to get to know me when I was 11, but I was scared and after a period of time, I stopped seeing him and his wife, Bobbie, and kids. I was an emotional kid and I think too much time had passed for that to be an easy transition. After Noah was born, my aunt came across my father’s father’s obituary in the local newspaper and I decided to go see him at the funeral. I was young and bold and gave no fucks apparently. That began a year or so of healing. I realized that I would never get the childhood with my dad that my heart longed for and for whatever reason (likely his drinking) we didn’t fully connect. I was glad to meet him again and spend time with his wife and kids and catch-up. Shortly after that, my life blew up with the divorce and major changes and we didn’t speak until recently. Bobbie tracked down my mom and friended her on fb and eventually spoke with her on the phone. Bobbie informed my mother that my father was dying and likely wouldn’t make it to Christmas.

Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and work digging out and shining light on the deep dark stuff and taking responsibility for my choices and ignorance. Learning that my father was dying was heartbreaking. It did not matter that I barely knew him. He was a beacon in my life. We weren’t close, but I knew he cared for me. I decided to go see him as soon as I was able. I don’t think I hesitated, there was no question that I wanted to see him one last time and say goodbye. I wanted him to know too, that I didn’t hate him or hold a grudge for how life worked out.

I took a trip to Florida the following week and I’m so glad I did. When I went to him after Noah was born, I was still a child. I was needy in every way and took whatever he would give me and left without caring about their feelings. Now, I’m grown, standing on my own two feet as healthy as I can be and wanting only to tell him I loved him face to face. I spent as much time with him as I could. He was in and out mentally, but we had a few good conversations and I met some of his siblings and got to talk with Bobbie and Lucas (my step-brother) again. It dawned on me after talking with Bobbie, that I had a stepmom. It gave me some new perspective on how the kids relate to Heather, their stepmom. They are a healing balm, for sure.

He passed away on New Year’s Eve, surrounded by family and hopefully at peace.

Grief is not logical. I’m so thankful that Bobbie reached out and did the work to find me, to give me time to see him again. It was precious.

I really don’t have any pictures of him, but my mom had an old photo album with a few from their time together many years ago. I like to think I was conceived in love, just as my children were, and life happened the way it was meant.

Conflict and Confrontation

Growing up I noticed tension in our household, but I knew that it wasn’t okay to say anything. The Phelps motto, when it comes to conflict, is don’t say anything and never apologize. Through my teen years I held tight to this belief, but it didn’t serve me well. Patrick and I married and joined a church that was very legalistic and confrontational. They believed that it was their right as a christian to rebuke you in the name of Jesus. If they saw “sin” or there was an issue of any sort, it was pointed out to you sometimes in front of other people and you were made to feel ashamed. Even with all of that practice, I still was terrible at confrontation and passive aggressive to boot. I sent some awesome emails to people since writing is easier for me which caused a lot of problems, hurt feelings and ultimately was brushed off as me just being a bitch or having misplaced anger. Both partly true.

Meeting Jason and having someone in my life who didn’t get offended by my frankness caused me to pause and reflect. We had a lot of long conversations that were mostly silent patience as we learned to navigate feelings and forgiveness in the early days. I learned the value of vulnerability and to wait until I wasn’t angry to breach a subject that needed mending. That man has taught me so much simply by loving me as I am and allowing me to figure things out myself rather than criticizing me.

One thing has stayed the same which is my ability to see when something is fundamentally wrong or broken and needs attention. I would still rather talk about something than ignore it. Ignoring it makes it worse. Most people don’t see it that way. In my experience, even when confrontation turned into a fight with hurt feelings, good came of it. I believe the road to peace is paved with confrontation.

Fast forward to my time in Franklin. In the few years that we’ve been here, I’ve learned that people operate in denial and sometimes there is just absolutely nothing you can do about it. They live there, cozy and comfy in their lies to themselves and each other and if you try to uncover or bring to light any of these lies, they really don’t appreciate it. Some people enjoy being a victim. I’m still occasionally expected to pretend, but now I refuse. It drives me absolutely batty. I don’t pretend well. I can try, but I’m really bad at it. It comes out in my expressions and body language and I’m not interested in learning how to get better at pretending everything is fine when it clearly isn’t.

I’ve since learned the art of moderation, boundaries and tolerance. In short, I learned to be completely happy with myself, not needing everyone to like me and giving people space while they deal with their shit. Even though I see the problem and can offer them the solution, people need time, just like I did, to see things for themselves. We all grow at our own pace– if at all. Perhaps all those years ago I was projecting and trying to change things in other people because I wasn’t yet ready to deal with my own problems. That’s part of living in society, I guess. I love a quote I heard recently, “you don’t see thing how they are, you see things how you are”. I’ve also learned the art of gentle honesty with someone. The wording of sharing my observations, feelings and perspective doesn’t have to be harsh unless I choose it to be and sometimes I do.

The last thing I’m still learning is letting go. Not everyone wants to have hard conversations. Not everyone wants reconciliation. I’ll wait. What I won’t do is subject myself to hatred forever. What I won’t do is apologize repeatedly for being me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, apparently, and that’s okay.

Thoughts and Tribulations


I changed my peek a boo. I’ve been coloring my streak for about a year now, can you believe it? It was aqua for a long, long, time and then when I went to the salon my stylist dyed it a deeper blue. I didn’t love it, but it gave my hair time to grow and calm down after too much bleaching. I was ready for a change. This color is called Fuchsia and it’s pinky-purple and bright and fun to me. I need some bright amidst the cloudiness that has become my days.

These past few months have been rough. We’ve had a lot going on with moving and making that decision as well as some personal stuff. I’ve had a few crazy things happen like being dragged into a court judgement for having the same first and last name as the defendant’s wife and other stuff I won’t go into, but suffice it to say I’ve felt the universe is against me or I’m supposed to be learning how to be easy-breezy and unprovoked. Everything that has happened to me has felt out of my control, either another person’s mistake or judgement or personal issue. I’m learning to be okay with other people’s opinions of me. (So hard!) I want so much to defend myself, but some people cannot be persuaded. I have to learn to be okay with that, apparently.

It’s easy to get down on myself. Jason is very busy with school and working on the new house, so we are still not communicating very well. Staying at home is hard for me sometimes because I feel so easily lost in the day to day especially lately when all of my creative items are packed up and I can’t yet work towards anything. All of that should change this weekend *crosses fingers* as we finish moving. We took a lot of stuff to the house last weekend, so the house here is quite empty. It’s kind of nice not to have a lot of clutter! A lot easier to keep clean too!

After my hope to cut back on my fb usage I found myself back in the habit. Fb makes me a little crazy, as I have already told you, so I deleted the app on my phone completely and I took it off of my bookmarks. My new mantra, which I found while researching how to take a break from fb is, “I don’t need Facebook and Facebook doesn’t need me”. It’s perfect. Posting things on fb feels to me like a shout in the void. It’s a blip on the screen and then it is gone. I’m not adding anything to anyone’s life. I would much rather use my time productively or gather more than one random thought in this space. I still have not deactivated my account and I don’t plan to either because I’m involved in a couple of groups that keep people updated via fb and deactivating it is not what would keep me away and I’ve found that It’s easier for me to stay away from fb entirely rather than limit the usage.

HenryI hope to post pictures soon of the new house. We’ve been back and forth with boxes and things and one of those times I grabbed a picture of Henry on the porch. I love the natural light and look forward to seeing more sunshine!

Lately, Contemplating

A few things have come to my attention lately that have me questioning my choices. This Summer, after our vacation, we did nothing. I am a fun planner mom for our breaks from school, but this last half of the school year was rough. We were SO busy and then Jason got a job in Asheville and I had to take on more. It about broke me. Maybe it did because we stayed home and never made it to the zoo or the beach and rarely the pool in town. While we were home we watched a little more tv than normal and I was either on my phone or reading books. I was in full-on escape mode. I drained my battery so much playing games that it now trickle charges and is dead before dinner. The last week or two gearing up for the start of the new school year I finally became aware of how much I was on my phone. I couldn’t walk by it sitting on the island without checking it. If I have a second of waiting or a stop light or a commercial it is in my hands. While someone is talking to me; my husband, my kids, my mom, I’m on it looking at fb, my blog reader, playing a game, or reading into the wee hours because (hey!) my kindle app syncs to my real kindle!

Yesterday I stumbled upon an article that talks about 7 Amazing Things that Happened When I Got Off Facebook. It had some interesting points beyond “I actually played with my kids”. Go, read it. I’ll wait.

Did you read it?

Senor Jason

The first point is her relationship with her husband improved. Jason and I heart technology and the internet. We both have smartphones, tablet, ipad, laptops, not to mention neat-o gadgets like the Chromecast. We are always hooked up. After my Summer fog, I looked up to notice that we don’t talk TO each other much. We talk at our phones and sortof listen to what we’re saying, but it isn’t deep and it’s mostly kid stuff or errands that need doing. Even if we are watching a movie together, I’m on my phone and he’s on his tablet. We’re passively together. Our communication is breaking down and we’re beginning to snap at each other and not be as gentle with each other as we’d like. Sarcasm is running rampant and our connection is a bit fragile.

Her second point is about looking people in the eyes. I have noticed that it makes me uncomfortable to look people in the eye. I’m not lying to them or uninterested in what they are saying, yet it is difficult to hold their gaze. That doesn’t happen on fb, which has become my sole means of interaction with people. I’m no longer used to it. It’s almost like they are penetrating my soul instead of just listening to me.

Nora and Cookie Dough

Her third point is she started having real friendships again. That’s a given, but what she said about “you can’t grow real friendships over social media”, I’ve found to be true. I can somewhat maintain the shell of a friendship, but more than likely, I’ll end up destroying it. Why? Because friendships need real connection and one phrase taken the wrong way no matter the intention can cause a rift that’s hard to come back from, especially if you can’t make it right by meeting face-to-face. Even a long time, solid friendship can be hurt by posts to fb.

The last point that really resonated with me (they were all good) is that her business grew. She says it’s because she has more time, but I equate it to having more creative energy. I don’t technically have a business, but I used to blog. It’s been a while since I was consistently sharing on here and Mamabluebird. Mostly because it’s so much easier to just upload a bunch of photos in real time or share snippets of what’s going on right then.

Lorelei and Henry

Have you heard of Timehop? It’s a neat app that takes your fb posts and lists them from one year ago (up to whenever you joined fb) on that day. “It’s like #tbt everyday!” I’ve been using it for a little while and although it was fun to see that 5 years ago we got engaged or the adorable pictures of our kids as babies for the most part, my status updates have contributed nothing to the internet. “Watching the Bee movie with the kids.”, “Going to Ikea today!”, and amazing epiphanies like, “Nutmeg in my scrambled eggs! Yum!”. I’m sure those things make others feel like we are connecting, but I blog (or I used to) to share my life with others and hopefully help them if they are in a similar situation. I miss doing that.

One last thing I’ve noticed is that I enjoy looking at fb. Maybe too much. For the minute it takes me to read through what people have posted I learn a lot. The people I follow post articles and funnies, they post pictures and rants, when I’m done I have a smile on my face, because I’ve gotten a bit of a connection with the world and my friends. Then, I’m back to reality; waiting in a carline, listening to whining kids, standing in the hot sun at the park while the kids play. I’ve disconnected from the present and come back to it a little depressed. A high and then a low. How many times a day do I do that to myself? Enough to make me have a love/hate relationship with facebook. Enough to make me unproductive due to energy depletion. Enough to make me want to put my phone down and break that connection. I haven’t made any decisions. I’m not threatening to deactivate my account or anything like that, but I am trying to be a little more present. I’m trying to notice that knee-jerk reaction to check my phone and resist it. A day or so of resisting gives me a more even feeling, not high or low. I like it! Along with feeling a little more productive and a little more present. I hope to spend more time here as well.

The kids

Waiting and Preparing

I just can’t seem to write here. I don’t do well with writing in my journal either. It seems I’m in a period of waiting and preparing. I have a lot of ideas for creating and I’ve been reading a lot and am still going to the gym. I just haven’t managed to figure out when to get my ideas accomplished. Here are some thoughts on what’s been going on in my head.

Things I’ve been noticing:

  • Going to the gym is constant, but what I do there fluctuates. I was crazy into cardio there for a while. Then I started doing this weight class and recently I have been enjoying yoga. I’ve just been listening to my body and what it needs. It also seems to be telling me to cut out unhealthy treats. I am pretty addicted to Dove chocolates. Lately, I will grab a handful after the kids go down and although they are delicious, my body doesn’t need it. For the past few days I have not eaten any. Instead I’ll have two raspberry chocolate milanos (have you tried those? yummy!) and sit in the wanting. It’s amazing to me that choosing to deprive yourself and wallowing in that pain, however slight or ginormous, can actually be liberating.
  • I’ve discovered Enneagrams. It’s a bit like Meyers Briggs, but more emotional, less professional. I would bank on myself being a 7. Apparently I like to avoid pain and am very enthusiastic.
  • I’m still learning to be a better mom. I will never be perfect, but there is always room for improvement! By “better” I mean kinder, gentler, more forgiving of myself and making choices that will encourage my kids to grow and be better themselves as well.
  • I heart making wreaths. Jason encourages me to make them and sell them. If that ever happens I’ll let you know. ;o)

bluebird wreath

Spring is coming! I will be ordering rain jackets soon because apparently this is to be the wettest Spring yet. I’m excited to get things cleaned up around here. I know the first year with a new baby is for the baby and soon I’ll be crafting and writing and missing these baby days. While I’m waiting and preparing, I’m also enjoying and delighting in this time with my sweet baby boy. Hope to be back here soon!

I Hate Walmart and Other Ramblings

Yesterday was my busy day in Clayton. Oh, how I do not like Walmart. I’m considering paying more for items, buying online or holding off for one big trip to Target to avoid shopping there. They have low prices for the most part, but I am finding if I just wait for sales at Ingles or go to Target I pay the same price or less.

Commence long story about Walmart (feel free to skip ahead to avoid the rant):
We plan on getting Lorelei a LeapPad for Christmas. While I was looking for something else in the toy department I noticed a big sign saying bonus $15 gift card for buying certain LeapPads (there were about ten different ones on there, so I figured the one we want was on there). Since Walmart’s price is the same as Amazon’s I grabbed one. I get to the register, no gift card prompt. I pay for my stuff and drag Lorelei and Henry back to the toy department to check if the LeapPad I wanted was one of the items listed (I should have done this first, I know, but I was being sneaky, so Lorelei wouldn’t see the LeapPad! Anyway, what I found was all of the item numbers matched ZERO of the Leapster products. Like, the items listed for the GC all started with 55 and the item numbers of ALL of the Leapsters started with 54 or some other obscure number. What’s up with that?? I go to Layaway since they have the same sign in their area and wait a long time, probably five minutes for someone to stumble by and ask if anyone has helped us yet. They have no clue and tell me customer service or electronics would know. Electronics? I go all the way back up to customer service asking Lorelei to come on, pulling her out from clothes racks etc and finally make it up there. The customer service chick has no clue about the promotion, tells me to go to electronics and ask for Ron or Christy, the managers of that department who also take care of the toy department. (I forgot to mention that I had already asked someone in the toy department when I picked up the LeapPad about the GC and she assured me it was instant yada yada.) Drag the kids all the way BACK to electronics super pissed and grumbling. Then have to endure listening to a customer ask all the questions about straight talk that they could learn from this new-fangled thing called the internet. As well as hear the 12 year old behind the counter give her incorrect information. He goes to get someone else who is an “expert” on Straight Talk (har har) and I quickly ask to speak to Ron or Christy, who aren’t in today. OMG, I give up and leave at that point. Still fuming, sitting in the car eating our packed lunch and feeding Henry, I call Walmart and ask to speak to the Store Manager, he ain’t in either, but the Assistant is, so I agree to speak to him. I quickly go over my experience and he decides that they must be “out” of those listed, but if I wanna come back in he’ll give me the GC. I say ok and intend to drag the kids in after we’re done eating, but by that point, I say (in my mind) “no, thanks”. I still had gas to get and Ingles to go to and I did not want to bring the kids in the store again and go through the hassle…again.

How is Walmart still operating? Such horrible training, customer service skills, not to mention the way they treat their employees, should not be rewarded. The employees at the service desk are trained to do returns and that’s it. They do not care. Why should I spend our money there? It’s not about the GC. It’s about the mentality of getting the lowest price is all that matters. I want a bargain. I want to pay the lowest price for something. Is it worth it, though? Is it worth supporting a horrible company? I’m not sure anymore.

End rant.


I’m sick again and Henry had better grow two inches and two pounds for all of the eating he is doing around the clock. I’m so tired. This too shall pass, right? Meanwhile, who could stay upset with such beautiful trees giving up their leaves all around us?


The Connecticut school shooting, while horribly tragic, leaves me pondering more than just the sadness of the families who were affected. It makes me think about society as a whole including the man who did the shooting and his family, social media’s role and what we are left with after something like this happens.

What has transpired to lead children once raised or almost raised to turn around and kill their parents and then themselves?

We point fingers at anybody and anything to try to make sense of this tragedy and the most popular is Gun Control. I did a research paper and presentation on Gun Control in college and what I took away from what I found was education. When the second amendment was put in place, everyone had a gun. It was commonplace to teach your children at a young age how to use one and the responsibility of protecting yourself and your family. Times have changed and guns have become cool and popularized by media and although guns are still readily accessible to almost anybody, we’ve taken away the responsibility for their use. They are toys now or at the very least a fun hobby. So, no, I don’t agree that a ban is the appropriate response to this tragedy. I personally think a ban on assault weapons will work about as well as Prohibition did on drinking.

As my heart was heavy Saturday morning and my systematic brain was trying to come up with a solution to something that really cannot be helped in anyway by the government, I decided to leave the kids with Jason and take a much-needed break from home life and get some alone time to try and process. I went to my local yarn shop to get a skein for a planned gift for a friend. There was no talk of the murders between patrons and workers and the owner (who is always very helpful) commented on my cowl. We talked knitting and patterns and reveled in the beauty of a particular yarn. It was very refreshing.

I realized afterwards that all we can really do is continue living; hold our loved ones close, create, share, throw out positivity and try to make a difference if we get the opportunity.

Unfortunately, these tragedies will continue to happen. We’d love to prevent them and the heartache, but there are things out of our control and other people and their actions are one of those things. I read an article posted about our response to these events and one of the suggestions was to realize that society has not changed overnight. Don’t panic and induce fear in and around you. I can see that truth, but I can’t help but think about society as a whole, which starts the ponderings all over again…

I’ve done a monthly update for almost a year now and I’ve decided to begin using this space again as a family blog. Especially since we will have a new little one in June of next year and because I thoroughly enjoy writing and sharing with you all. This break has done me wonders and I feel like I can begin writing here with a clear head. I will continue to write over at mamabluebird, but that blog is focused on creativity. I hope everyone has a great Christmas! I hope to be here with one last monthly update before the new year. We will be in Florida the first week in January, so let us know if you’d like to get together!

Warm Thoughts

It just keeps getting colder. This thought might sink in by the time Spring arrives. It isn’t yet 30 degrees today and I’ve already had my one cup of coffee that I allow myself daily. Two cups keeps the baby up all night. I’m thinking that I am going to have to start drinking herbal (decaffeinated) teas. Hot chocolate just doesn’t seem healthy on a daily basis, with or without those little marshmallows.

One thing this cool weather has given me (besides a runny nose) is the inspiration to knit. I’ve knit a few projects that have certainly stretched my knitting skills. It really helps to have a local yarn shop downtown. I can get the correct needles or yarn and some help if needed. They have a knit night complete with wine and cheese on Thursday evenings. I was thinking about working it out to be able to go there a couple of times a month. The baby is getting a little more independent (and sleeping more at night, yay!) and Daddy is getting a little more confident with her, so…hopefully.

Christmas is just a couple of weeks away. It feels a little strange (not really like “Christmas”) I think because we are in a new place, but we are enjoying the cold weather and look forward to seeing snow. Then I’ll really be racking my brain trying to think of ways to keep warm! Oh well, I’ll keep my trusty heater close and a blanket on my lap or boots on my feet. Warm thoughts and a smile on my face would be nice too. :o)

Limits and Limitations

We’ve got this little spreadsheet going of the things we would like to do to the house in NC, a little reno list. We can’t do it all, of course, such is the trap of owning a home (or so I’ve been told). There is always more to do or get or change. I think even if we did do it all, I would find a way to improve each room pretty quickly.

I was told about a new blog that the chick who did our wedding pictures started this year. She has decided not to buy anything personal for herself for a full year; clothes, accessories, etc. This would be the equivalent of me giving up coffee. I have been catching up and have really enjoyed her writing as well as the insight she has acquired on this journey. We are very similar in personality and compulsions.

When I think about the house (oh so very often) I have it all planned out in my head. Paint colors, furniture, organized spaces and areas for each person in the house. I look forward to putting the colors and items together and seeing the complete picture. Jason, however, is not on the same page as me. He grounds me for sure and not in the “2 weeks” way, but in reality. Sometimes I disagree -okay most times I disagree- but it has sparked a bit of frugality in me as my dear friend Misty pointed out just the other day. Here is an example: we use the toaster over often, but it is small and old and, well, dirty. I would love to get a new one that is larger and pretty and clean, but I looked at our old one just yesterday and I heard in my head “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” We can clean that stupid toaster oven and make it do! I don’t think I have ever thought this way. It is either really annoying or quite freeing

We recently purchased a coffee maker that I simply love and have pared down my Sbux consumption to maybe twice a week. Considering I normally go there on a daily basis it is much improved. But! Now I drink 2 cups of coffee a day! Which is why I am still up at midnight when I should be sleeping. I’m thinking it is all about balance which I am desperately trying to obtain. I mentioned that I got a mommy and me yoga dvd, right? Well, I am still enjoying it and have seen some improvement. Yay! I enjoy the stretching and breathing and the playfulness with Lorelei. It keeps me home for 45 minutes more when I would usually be out the door to Starbucks or Target before picking up Nora. I’ve been home this week, but ventured out to Target today and Publix and took out $20 for what I am hoping will last until next Thursday at least. I am trying to learn to pare down my whimsical shopping to once a week. That’s the max I will get when we move to NC unless I want to frequent Wal-Mart or Big Lots. With gas still climbing upwards of $4.00 a gallon, even driving seems like a luxury. Quick trips take their toll when it takes $40 to get over half a tank! Which doesn’t last long.

We are unsure completely of what the future holds, but I know this time of preparation will definitely serve us well.