Labor Of Love


Sometimes I forget about the beauty in humanity, we are fed negativity, everywhere we look. I can get pulled into that deep dark place, where all I see is the ugliness people are capable of. It can be daunting, wondering, never knowing who to trust. Betrayal is a constant. Keeping my guard up is so exhausting, and there is nothing more comforting than finding true friends.

Last week two of my friends, Aimee and Alexis, took it upon themselves to give me a break. They knew I am emotionally run down, that I have too much on my plate and more responsibility than ever before. I was under the impression that our life would slow down, and the stress ease after the wedding was finally over. Well, it didn’t. We were thrown into the new responsibilities of school and homework (seriously, homework is a 3 hour event, that often involves tears, frustration and tantrums). So they decided to take me out to lunch (sushi, duh). Unfortunately Alexis was having “one of THOSE days”, her baby is teething, and they had no sleep, nap time just wasn’t happening and she has a home business, is a breast feeding mama, and needed to get some work done. Aimee and I were already at the restaurant when we found out that Alexis was not going to be able to make it. So we ordered her a golf pro hand roll, and took it back to the house, poured her (and us) a glass of wine, and Aimee immediately called dibs on the baby, so I was able to sit down with Alexis and help her get some work done. As we sat their chatting, I was blown away by the love and support friends so willingly give to each other. The simplicity, and and really the perfect circle this made, I needed time off from my stresses, my kiddos, and all of the baggage that I have adopted for my loved ones. (I have an inability to look at a friends difficulties and not somehow own some of it. I am empathetic to a fault, and I need to work on it). Aimee is also a fixer, and she had seen my frustrations, (and I think she also missed me, we used to see each other 3+ times a week!) and, let’s be honest, she LOVES BABIES! So Aimee was able to get her cuddly baby fix. Alexis needed a break, and to not feel so overwhelmed by everything she needed to do. It really was the perfect, almost therapeutic situation. And to top it off, I was able to be a part of Alexis’ dream job. I feel like it is something that every woman can relate to, whether you are a mother, pregnant, or simply have friends that may need a little encouragement. I was so inspired as I sat there and really grasped the beauty of her work, and felt compelled to share it.


This is directly from her website

“My name is Alexis Baxley and I am a new mom and creative jewelry maker located by the beaches in Oxnard, CA. I believe that childbirth is a rite of passage and that each birth is a unique experience for each mother…the path to motherhood is a highly personal journey. As I started to go to more and more friends’ baby showers, I realized that there was something missing. The baby gifts and games were fun but I always left wishing I could leave the mom-to-be with something to remind her of the love and support that her friends and family want to ‘shower’ her with. As much as the parties are about baby gifts, I feel that they should also be about connection and support.

When the time came for my own baby shower, I wanted to have a ‘blessingway’, something special to empower me for my labor. So I went to a few craft stores and put together my own bracelet making kit. It took some doing and quite a lot of measuring and testing to ensure that everyone would have enough beads, any skill level could participate, and each could be done in under 15 minutes or so. This is when it dawned on me that I was meant to produce a ready-made kit for others who want to create an empowering experience for their labor and the birth of their baby!

What better way to show support of a mom’s journey than by coming together to create a personalized gift through beading. When Mom wears her bracelets, she is reminded of those who created them and their loving support.

I had 16 bracelets from 16 different friends that I wore during my labor. After over 40 hours of hard work, I needed all of the strength that I could find. When I was slumped over my couch during contractions thinking “this is so hard! I don’t think I can do it”, I looked down at my wrists and saw my bracelets. That reminder of support that “I can do this” was what I needed to keep going. My baby girl, Harper Reese was born soon after and is to this day the greatest gift I have ever received! We believe in the power of giving back. Ten percent of each purchase is donated to the Bumi Sehat Foundation, a non-profit, village-based organization that runs two by-donation community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. ”


While I sat with these two amazing women, we each made one for ourselves, and as I type I keep glancing at this beautiful bracelet made of blessings. It is MY constant reminder that not only is there good out there, but I have the honor of knowing some of the most beautiful, women, with even more beautiful hearts. Women who make an effort for each other for no other reason than, we may not understand exactly what the others are going through, but we can ease the burden.

Having had a particularly difficult few weeks, I can’t help but think of my loved ones who need such a simple, yet powerful reminder, that they are not alone.



*All of these photos are directly from*

**Feel free to check out Alexis on facebook

and her amazing website **

Weddings: a wolf in sheep’s clothing

I am getting married in a few weeks, I have been meaning to blog about all of the stresses of wedding planning, but thanks to all the planning and stresses… I have not found time to blog! I have heard stories, and seen movies about Bridezilla’s, and I wondered if that would be me. I would hope no one would use that word to describe me, but to be honest, it has taken every ounce of self control not to lose my shit. Let me tell you why…

We have been engaged since May 2012, it is now July 2013. We had many possible plans leading up to this point, but nothing stuck. We were barely making ends meet and the thought of spending $10,000 (or more) on a wedding was daunting and outrageous, really. We hardly had any savings, and every time we added to our savings account something happened and we needed that money. While I was perfectly content just being together, we were engaged, and wanted to take that next step. Never in my life had I wanted to legally bind myself to someone, until James asked me to marry him. It was in that moment that I thought, “Yes! I want to be with you. I want to be stuck with you, to be legally and spiritually bound to you, and this isn’t a scary thought!” I have been in relationships before, where marriage talk happened, and every time I had nauseating anxiety. With James, it was so freeing. It helps, too, that we both have kids, and we want to have a ceremony that includes them, a moment where we all officially become family. I wouldn’t have minded this happening very privately… but you know how parents are! They want the wedding, they want to share in the celebration. To be honest it was surprising to me that my parents were so supportive, and I was excited to have them on my side. So when I suggested a private City Hall wedding, and my step mom said, “OK, but if you do that, can we at least buy you a dress?” I said, “OK!” And then when she said, “Well, since you’ll have a dress, can we have a photo shoot in a garden?” I said, “Sure!” And then when she said, “Well if we are doing that, we may as well have a small ceremony.” … So here we are, a “small” 100 guest wedding on a golf course in 18 days. (If you are thinking 100 guests isn’t small, you haven’t met my ginormous family, between all the divorces, remarriages and children, we could form our own town!)

At this point we were hardly able to keep our savings account over $600, and what happens? James got laid off. I am pretty sure, if I had time I would have literally had a heart attack, or in the very least, a mental break down. Luckily, and oddly, We stepped up our game. I worked harder, I followed up, I must have sent out thousands of text messages to clients and friends. We NEEDED to make extra income. And, you know what, I unloaded on the universe! I completely unleashed all of my insecurities, anger, and frustrations, and asked for what I needed, and wanted. Thankfully, we didn’t have to cancel the wedding… I honestly do not know what we would have done, my parents had already put a non refundable down payment on the venue, and I had a dress! Meanwhile, it’s summer, the kids are out of school, and we are doing everything we can think of to keep them occupied, because bored children, are the most annoying little people on the planet, especially to stressed out parents! As if parenting over the summer isn’t stressful enough, we are also planning a wedding and working a home business.

There are so many itty bitty details, that if forgotten are extreme etiquette breaches, so my poor brain is lost in zillions of check lists. There are so many things you have to do for other people, and they keep saying, “It’s your day.” I don’t like corsages or boutineers, but for whatever reason they “honor” the family members. And which family members do you give them to? Our families are big, and like I mentioned divorces and remarriages just adds to the confusion, not to mention the people who may or may not show up, do we get them a corsage/boutineer? Won’t it be a waste if they don’t come? Won’t it be frustrating if they do? Do you deserve a “special” gift if you are not actively participating in our wedding? Then of course you have to tip your vendors, while they quote you a price, you need to remember to add $100 to each one. We also have people who we love dearly in our wedding party, but they are EXTREMELY unreliable, I mean these people have yet to buy or order their wedding attire (some of which takes a month to arrive).

There has also been anxiety dreams that have woken me up in the middle of the night out of breath! I dreamed that zombies attacked my wedding, and my dad chopped off one of their heads. A dream where I walked down the isle wearing a Spongebob t shirt, and my dad forgot his pants, and the only beverage served was red wine (which is a dangerous choice when you’re wearing white!… and when a lot of your guests are recovering alcoholics). Another where a guest arrived wearing HER wedding dress. And in another I lost my shoes! The list goes on!

Let’s not stop there, what’s a wedding without a little family drama? I actually cannot explain the ridiculous and childish situations that have happened over the last few weeks because people like to read my blog for the sole purpose of judging, taking personal offense, and shit talking. I will, however give you a taste: One “important” family member has announced *they* will not be attending the wedding, for no reason… at least no reason we are aware of. I got into a huge fight with my sister and she almost decided not to come (she’s my maid of honor, and is kind of imperative to the whole ordeal), another “important” family member completely ignored that we are even getting married at all. I have had several people tell us they will not be attending if their significant other is not invited, and remember how this is a small wedding, so we are not able to accommodate “plus one’s” unless the couple is married, or we happen to be friends with BOTH. Even my wedding party is not bringing dates, but somehow, it’s OK to either give me an ultimatum, or simply not attend my first (and only) wedding. Codependent much? I really wish I could get into all of the bullshit that has happened, it would feel really nice to let it out.

However, this is not the point of my blog today. I had a little spark of perspective today, and I wanted to share it with you. A friend of mine said this to me today: “Truth be told, the wedding is for everyone else. the honeymoon is for you. You should definitely look forward to your wedding, but the true value is the marriage itself, not the event.” Reading those words my jaw dropped and I immediately began my phases of acceptance.

DENIAL: NO! It IS my day! Everyone has said it’s my day! Every time someone tells me what to do, gives me an ultimatum or upsets me, someone else is there to say, “It’s your day.” If the honeymoon is “our” time, then why are we even having a wedding?

ANGER: WTF?!? Everyone KNEW this wasn’t my day, but they all pretended it was just to get their way? They lied to me? This IS MY DAY, and I will make the decisions! How dare you all hijack my wedding? Fuck it, I don’t want a wedding, I never wanted a damn wedding.

BARGAINING: Well, almost everything is paid for, and I do actually WANT to marry him… maybe we can just fix everything and make it “my day”, like everyone says? Maybe we can find a way to make everyone happy?

DEPRESSION: I feel used, and like people have been hating me and laughing at me. Like no one except James is here for me. And he is all I wanted anyways. Everyone was so excited, but it wasn’t for me, it was for them. I’ll bet they hate all my plans, colors and ideas and are just going with it so they can have their wedding… I’m over it…

ACCEPTANCE: OMG, this wedding isn’t just about James and me, it’s a day for everyone who loves us to come together and have a part, for all of us to have a special piece of today, to be a part of the memories. It’s not about the bride and groom, we get the honeymoon, the wedding is to bond us all. This day is as much for James and I, as it is for our guests.

To be honest, I’m still pissed. I’m pissed that no one told me that It’s not my day. I’m pissed that people lied. I’m pissed that I can’t really be pissed because people put so much time energy and money into this day, that is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I will be the ungrateful one if I actually feel my feelings. I’m pissed that I am excited about it because now I feel like I don’t know what my place is, and I don’t feel comfortable. I’m pissed that I should have known better than to this, oh but to rob you all of my wedding? How could I? I’m pissed that I have to add “weddings” to the list of events that are supposed to be beautiful. Let’s think back…

Pregnancy: I was told over and over how beautiful pregnancy is, and how amazing some women feel. The “glow”, that I would be “all belly”… OK the truth is, I gained almost 80 pounds, I threw up every day (LITERALLY), I got horrible acne. I also was depressed the entire time! It was a horrible experience.

Labor: I was told how beautiful it is, and how the epidural was great, and that the second I held my baby in my arms I would be in love and it would all be worth it. OK, not so much, I was in painful labor for hours before the epidural was offered, 23 hours later, AFTER the epidural wore off the baby came, and, no I was no where near in love with it, I had no idea what to do with it. (It took about 24 hours for me to feel any sort of bond with her, funny because NOW she is my favorite human being!)

Breastfeeding: I was told its bonding a beautiful and natural. I spent 3 weeks in pain, trying to figure out the proper latch, crying every time I fed her, and pumping after each feeding. 3 weeks is a long time. Although I must admit that breast feeding was one of the better experiences, and I would do it all over again if I had to.

And here we are at weddings! So far, while it hasn’t all been horrible, I NEVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN. I wish people would just be honest. Maybe they knew it wouldn’t happen if they told the truth. I really don’t think all of the drama, heartache, tears and anxiety is worth it. I’d like to think that it is, and you know what, maybe it will be for our family and friends, maybe, hopefully they will all look back on our wedding and think, “Wow! What a beautiful day, it was so amazing, I am so happy we were a part of it.” If that happens, I guess that’s the point. Maybe I’ll have great time, too?



Last night as I was skimming through my Facebook news feed I came across an adorable picture, It was a box with herbal soap, a face mask, nail polish, and a few other things, and there was a card that said, “I can’t say “I do” without you”, and in the lid it said, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” I thought it was the cutest way to ask your friends to be a part of one of the biggest days of your life.

I’m getting married, so of course I thought, who will I build my boxes for, and what will they look like? I was very immediately crushed when I realized that I don’t have my friends anymore. I’m not saying I don’t have friends, I’m just saying, things have changed. When I got engaged I immediately planned about 6 bridesmaids, there was no question in my head, these women have been supportive, and have stuck by me, they love me, they love my daughter… who better to share these awesome experiences with?

Unfortunately, my little fairy tale wedding plans went down the drain very quickly. Within weeks the thought of my wedding gave me anxiety, and conversations about it often ended in tears. I couldn’t understand, I was so happy, I was finally going to marry the man of my dreams, I had the fairy tale engagement! Things were supposed to be happy! But they were terrible. My friends all had their own ideas, and were not willing to work together, one friend all but hated 4 of my bridesmaid choices, one of them lives out of town and felt left out and bitter because she really couldn’t be involved in the plans as much as she wanted to, and she didn’t like 3 of my bridesmaid choices. Me and most of my potential bridesmaids dislike (to say the least) one of my bridesmaid’s husbands, so much, in fact that I have no intention of even inviting him to the wedding, which will cause problems, and the last thing I want to do is force her to choose between us… but he no doubt will give her an ultimatum, one that I won’t be competing with. In the past I have lost, and I can’t take that kind of heart break, especially over my wedding.

Fast forward to today… I’m not even on speaking terms with my potential maid of honor, I’m only superficial friends with one of them. The one with the husband doesn’t feel like she can be honest with me, although she tries… and thanks to this new development, who knows if she will even be able to attend my wedding. I don’t even know what’s going on with my out of town friend, but if my dreams are any indication… I don’t have high hopes. Another one has pulled away because she owes me money (that I don’t care that much about, but the fact that she is blowing me off over it… that’s just wrong.)

If you had seen me with any one of these women a few months ago, you’d think nothing could separate us. Now I’m afraid to pick up my phone to call them. I have responsibility to take. The past few months have been so busy! I recently became a step mom, and a work at home mom. I did not have a decent phone for months, so I could not even talk to my friends on the phone. I don’t have a car so I had to end my usual Saturday happy hour/shopping girl time plans, plus I started working weekends to save up for the wedding. Not to mention, I had a few melt downs that effected my friendships negatively. Looking back I see it clearly, my wedding was basically a battle field, and I felt like I was caught between 6 people. I started lashing out, I must have been subconsciously trying to make them hate me so I wouldn’t have to keep up with so many high maintenance relationships.

I miss my friends. Thanks to all of this, there may not be any bridesmaid boxes. In fact, we have decided to have a destination wedding. It’s simpler this way, and it won’t hurt as bad when 6 of the women that I love so much are not there. But it hurts now, it hurts whenever I get a chance to actually pick up my phone, when I want to share my life, ask advice, laugh. I don’t have anyone to call anymore. I mean, yes, there are people I’m sure I could call, but a few months ago I had 6 people on speed dial, they were my life lines. Granted I am not in need of as much venting time anymore, I’m a lot happier than I was. I also don’t have as much time, but I would gladly make some time to catch up with my friends.

To the 6 of you, I want you to know that I am sorry I did not appreciate you when I had you, and I love you.

***DISCLAIMER: I am super excited about our wedding plans!!! I’ll write a whole blog about the beautiful tropical location we chose!***

***ALSO, I did not include my sisters in the 6 because neither of them caused drama, and they go without saying***