Dear Leo - 5 months!

Dear little Leona Rose, 

Hello my beautiful daughter. I have thought about writing to you for a while now I just haven't known where to start.

When it comes to the topic of parenting and being your mom there is so much I want to document and in so many different ways. I want to share my experiences and my journey as a mother but I am also terrified because your opinion of me is the most important one and one day you will read these posts. 

I have found so much joy in journalling, I just choose to do it on a blog rather than on a journal page. I go through my blog often and I am always so glad I have it documented, I dig having it public because sharing and connecting has the opportunity to help and inspire others. Vulnerable authenticity is so rare these days but it is also so refreshing. So I choose to put myself out there. 

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I want to always be truthful with you, I am not perfect. I make mistakes and I have moments I am not proud of. In my blog posts focused on parenting, you will see these mistakes and have a diary of them written out. I think the journey of accepting imperfection is a beautiful one and I think lots of moms experience the pressure and the guilt of not being perfect.

I'll be honest, starting a series focused on parenting scares the shit out of me because its one of those subjects im not experienced in. As a blogger I am a reference and like they always say "blog about what you know". Well I know parenting is hard and I don't think anyone ever feels like they are doing it "right". So this is new territory for me and its scary, but that vulnerable authenticity is what I am all about so im going for it. I hope you are cool with that and I hope one day you dig these posts and maybe they can be a resource for you when you become a mom. 

The pressure of perfection is a tough one ESPECIALLY when done publicly. I watched both my parents struggle with perfection. My mom and dad definitely felt the pressure to be a perfect example with the perfect family. When life didn't go as planned it was devastating to all of us and our family still struggles to this day 10 years later. Imperfection is part of life and its ok to be imperfect. I want you to know that and I hope maybe my example takes the pressure off of a very perfectly pressured world. Social media adds a level of perfection and I hope times adjust a little by the time you get a cellphone. I have accepted that I am going to make mistakes, I have made peace with this because I don't want the fear of imperfection to hold me back. I can promise you that I will do my best and I will always stay committed to learning and working towards being better. Thats the example I want for you. 

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So what are these posts going to be about? YOU, me, dad, our family, parenting, etc...! So what have you been up to?

You are 5 & 1/2 months old! Your first tooth just emerged a few days ago. Dad felt it when you bit him haha!

You chew on your tongue and kick your right leg like you are always jamming to music in your head just chillin'. Its hilarious!

When you see us you smile, when you see you, you giggle. You love my phone and you are obsessed with Snapchat. 

Sometimes you make karate noises, you are very vocal! I think you will be a chatty catty like both your mom and dad. You love to talk, we make up stories and just chat with you about random things.

Your laugh is my favorite, sometimes you'll just burst out laughing out of nowhere. I wonder what you are laughing at or what you are thinking about. You squeak when you laugh and its the cutest and when its too much you smile and turn away like you just cant handle it anymore. Its adorable! 

You kick when you get excited and you get super squirmy. You will make all these coughy giggle noises over and over again while you rock your body and wiggle your legs. 

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You love food and have taken baby food like a champion! So far you have eaten apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, prunes, pears, pumpkin, carrots, oatmeal, bananas, peas, and some meat. Carrots and apples are your favorite and you absolutely despise meat. It does smell like tuna so I don't blame you!

You growl while we feed you. If we don't move fast enough you get impatient. You are a bit of a chunker and typically eat 4-6 oz of formula every 4 hours with about a jar and a half of baby food a day. At night time you eat 8 oz and you are sleeping about 10 hours!!! Thank you! 

You are about the easiest most relaxed baby I have ever seen. You are so peaceful that overly crowded or super loud environments bother you. You are a sensitive soul, a sweet little gal who connects well with others. You will smile at people one on one but if 3 or more people come over to chat with you, you get fussy. Everyone at work loves you because you are obviously the cutest baby ever but also because we both work there and we met at work. People call you the CompHealth baby! 

You LOVE to snuggle! Dad and I love this about you. You sleep in the bed with us (probably more than the average baby) and you will wiggle your way into our armpit to snuggle up close. Everyone says we need to transition you to your crib and although I agree and I ask dad to be consistent in putting you in your crib, we give in almost every night. On really tired nights we take turns sleeping with you while the other goes out on the couch or creates a bed in the living room out of pillows. You love our tempurpedic mattress and quickly fall asleep when you are in it. We create a wall of pillows around you in our king size bed and you have it all to yourself while mom and dad eat pineapple in the kitchen, ice cream cookies, and joke about parenting. Sometimes we have to put a pillow up against you so you think you are snuggling. You are absolutely adorable I love how much you love, love. 

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You can sit up on your own now, sometimes you are a little wobbly but you're getting it. You are strong! Sometimes when we burp you, you push back and you get this super strength out of nowhere in your little legs! I like to sing "God Bless America" to you but just the part where the lyric says "and I proudly stand up, next to you" and you stand and start laughing so hard. You LOVE when dad makes you "fly away" and you drool all over him when you get in the air. 

You are obsessed with Moana, you and dad watch it every day at some point. This was the second movie you ever watched, he has had it on in the background from day one (the first was Lord of the Rings and we watched it in the hospital when you were born). We sing songs and change the name Moana to Leona. You love it! I go to bed singing "You're Welcome" stuck in my head and wake up singing "Shiny". It will randomly be in my head while at work and I miss you.

When I pick you up from Brandis house I cant wait to see you, when we make eye contact you smile and start kicking your legs. We'll hang out for a bit and talk with Brandi about life, family, what you are up to in Daycare, etc...When Sierra cries you just stare at her and Bexley is always trying to steal your binky. 

You love to be outside! We take you for walks all the time, i'll wrap you in the moby wrap or we'll push you in the stroller and we'll walk around the apartment complex looking at the ducks and flowers. Sitting in the grass is so much fun, you like to wiggle your toes and pull at the grass. The wind fascinates you and when we sit on the deck your eyes get big and you look around like you cant get enough of it! 

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You have this hilarious serious face we all call "The Mason Face" and then you go to an instant smile when we start laughing. Its funny because you have so much of both of us that you go from Serious Mason to smiling like your mama. You are such a perfect combo of both your dad and I. We really make a cute mix! Your eyebrow expression cracks me up, you make so many faces!! 

When we leave to go anywhere I ask you "are we going somewhere" and you kick, laugh, and try to wiggle out of your carseat. 

Our drive to and from daycare has become pretty fun. Mama listens to podcasts and sometimes we get Starbucks. You like to make random noises and i'll do them back to you like were just having casual conversation in baby talk. I cant wait until you start talking but I also wish you could stay at this stage in your life longer. Time moves too fast. 

When I hold you on my chest and you snuggle on my shoulder my heart stings a little. I know there will be a day when you don't do that anymore and it brings me to tears just thinking about it. 

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I want you to always know how much you mean to me. You are so special to both of us, we love you so much and I just cant believe that I get the joy and honor of being your mom. I am sorry you had to wait so long for us to get together, mom had to sort out her shit and dad had to mature a little. 

When Mace and I met we instantly connected, our friendship was so natural and we both felt like we had done a few rounds of life together. It was pretty incredible in the beginning. 

We had two weeks of heaven with each other when we first started dating. I'll never forget those two weeks with your dad, thats when I fell in love with him. More on that later!

Mason is the most incredible dad, you adore him and both of your eyes light up when you see each other. He calls you Muffin and has since you were born. The little kids in our family think your name is actually muffin...The love he has for you is so fun to witness. You deserve that, a fathers love is so unique and honestly its pretty rare these days. You will have better than both of us did growing up and I am grateful for that everyday. We both make mistakes and have petty fights but we both are committed to giving you the best life and your dad expresses all the time how dedicated he is to making every day great for you. Seeing you happy is what makes him happy. That makes me happy.

I'll write more later, you are growing so fast and changing every day! I'll have more soon I promise. 

Much love my sweet sweet girl! Thank you for everything that you give us, being your mom is an incredible gift and I can't thank you enough.  

-Mama Rose

What I Am Most Thankful For

Thanksgiving in particular is a hard one for me. The holidays like I mentioned in my last post are enough to put a lot of people in a funk, but Thanksgiving for me has always been the holiday to do it.  

The other night as I was laying in bed not sleeping because I cant escape my thoughts, I was listening to my hubby snore while we snuggled. I had a pinch me moment and remembered all the times throughout my child hood that I was again not sleeping but thinking. 

When I was younger I would turn towards my wall and pretend that I was somewhere else. I figured it was just a blank wall so the background, my surroundings, and my life could be whatever I wanted it to be. 

There were so many times as a child that I wished for someone else's life. Its not because I didn't have the latest barbies or the cutest clothes because I did. I just generally didn't feel like a part of my family. Ever since I can remember I felt this underlining lack from my family. I felt misplaced, judged, misunderstood, and frustrated with the people who claimed to "love me". Starring at the wall in my current life I was reminded of this little imaginary trick when I was younger. 

November 26, 2003

I come home from school to find my Grandma in my kitchen probably making some kind of oatmeal (which is what she's famous for in my book). I love her oatmeal. My dads no where to be found and my moms at work.

Later that night before bed my mom gathers our family around our coffee table in our living room. We're told that my dad has left. After that everything became a blur. I don't even remember what was said after that. 

I go to bed that night, starring at the wall. Thinking. Sick in my own thoughts.

What did we do? What did I do? I don't understand? I have to get him back? What can I do to get him back?

My younger sister is in the background snoring. I stare at the wall. I remember thinking that I was going to fix this. I didn't know their marriage was going down hill for years before this. Sure I remember fights and arguments, I remember my 11th birthday being destroyed because of their equally bad attitudes. I remember plenty of times not feeling truly loved by either one of them. I am sure thats what both of them felt from the other. But I didnt understand why my dad would just leave, and the day before Thanksgiving. I went to bed late that night starring at my wall feeling completely abandoned. 

November 2008

My moms re-married, we live in a big over sized house that her and my step dad built together, although I never felt me and my sister were welcome there.

This house is filled with confusion, loneliness, denial, and materialism. I haven't talked to my mom in what feels like forever. I am in 10th grade, in a brand new area saturated by teenage girls who hate us. This was their territory and my part of the family was a disruption. My family stopped going to church after my parents divorce, my older siblings had there fair share of rebellion, and me and my younger sister got a kick out of saying swear words around them because it pissed them off. So my family was "evil".

School was hard. Blending two families that have completely different personalities and view points didn't work. We weren't able to talk about our emotions or our feelings. We were just moving on.

I am sleeping all day because its easier. Im not going to school because its easier. I am stuck in my room watching "The Holiday" on repeat because Jude Law made me happy. Thanksgiving is Thursday.

Tuesday 11/25 I get a knock on my door. I answer and my mom is there with 3 police men, my sister, my aunt, and a few garbage bags. She tells me to pack my things. Throws garbage bags at me and comes pushing into my room making all sorts of assumptions. She had found out I had been secretly visiting my dad. I was sick of not having a parent in my life that didn't give a shit and I wanted things to be resolved. I wanted to understand and be understood. My dad had bought me a phone so that we could communicate.

She tells me to pack my things. I ask what I need to pack. She doesn't tell me. I knew the drill. My mom had asked for a favor from her "friend" cops before. These were buddies of hers just like the time she drove me up on a school night to Primary Children's Hospital to be drug tested and "talked to". She used cops periodically to intimidate me. She wanted me to stay at the hospital over night. I remember over hearing my mom fake crying to the doctors saying I was dangerous. She was worried about her family. 

I thought I was her family.

Being misunderstood was something I was used to at this point. Although it still bugs me. I was 16 and attempting to deal with issues from when I was 11. No one wanted to do it. I was frustrated, sad, lonely, angry, and confused. I was told over and over again that we were moving on. We weren't talking about it.

We lived in a rich neighborhood and went to church every Sunday. We were normal. We were trying to be normal. But I still had feelings. I couldn't just move on like my mom pretended to do. I wasn't interested in drowning my pain with denial and drugs. 

All I wanted was to develop a relationship with my dad who I hadn't seen in 5 years. The little teenage rebellion I had was piercing my nose and skipping school to hang out with my dad. 

Its Tuesday 11/25. Thanksgiving is Thursday. I am driving with my mom, my aunt, and my sister down to southern Utah.

We pull up to a place called Falcon Ridge Ranch. We go into the office and my moms chatting with everyone. No emotion. Everything's fine. I go into someones office and I am asked a variety of questions. They take numerous photos of me because I cant hold still long enough for them to get me in focus because I am shaking and crying. I don't understand whats happening. I don't understand what I did wrong. 

We stand outside to say goodbye. I hold my older sister trying to explain that this shouldn't be happening. Its not fair, and I don't deserve it. I tell her to see through my mom's bullshit. She hugs me crying. I can tell she feels bad. But she doesn't understand the grande scheme of things. None of us do. 

All I felt was abandoned. I felt like I was someone else's problem because my mom didn't want to do it anymore. 


Thanksgiving. A day to be around your family. Your loved ones. And to be thankful. I remember my first night at Falcon. Laying there on whats essentially a pad, looking at the ceiling fan and wondering if it would actually do anything if I jumped at it. Obviously not. But maybe the physical pain would take away some of the emotional pain. I remember laying there closing my eyes wishing I was somewhere else. 

TODAY!

There have been numerous times in my life that I wished I was where I am now. The other night while I was laying there listening to Josh snore while we snuggled. I looked at the wall and had a pinch me moment. I had made it. I am safe. I am happy. And I am not alone. This was what I wished for all those years before.  

This Thanksgiving is going to be different. I am learning that these moments in life are just experiences. I am grateful for the experiences I have been through and I am grateful that I got through them. I am grateful for Josh. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate this Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

-Magnolia Rose