“That Mom”

I’m not always ‘that mom.’ The one who brings in treat bags, cookies, cakes, games, or other thoughtful pieces of holiday goodness for little ones.  I’m not always smiling or feeling like I have my act together, because to be honest I don’t.  Most days I’m just doing my best, trying to remember all of the balls that are juggling in the air.

However, there are some days when I find the time, the little extra window in my day where I can appreciate the smallness of my children and drop into a Dollar Tree and put together silly little bags for dance class.

There’s a few reasons I felt called to write this post, and most importantly that it’s OKAY to be that mom who forgets or didn’t have time to do something extra.  It’s also OKAY to be the mom who does.

This morning as I worked out, I figured afterwards I would take Bradley over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some glow sticks for our pumpkins to light up.  I then remembered last year’s dance class “Halloween Party” and how it sent me spiraling into an emotional meltdown.  I feel that it’s important to share these things, because to some people, it may look like I have it all figured out.  I simply stay home, raise kids, cook a lot of food, run a real estate business, take care of two dogs and do most housework because my husband works crazy hours.  But the point is, I do it mostly alone, with little help here and there.  The pressure I put on myself (yup, it’s me and my mind!) can sometimes bring me to a breaking point, thus resulting in last year’s escapade.

I remember sending some friends a Marco Polo after getting home from dance class.  I just rewatched it, and man I want to hug that girl! My eyes were swollen from hysterically crying and I remember just feeling alone, like a failure and like I should just go on meds because I felt just absolutely crazy.  (Disclaimer, I do believe medicine has a purpose, I just don’t think it’s best for me, at this time.)

Why was I so upset?  Because I knew that Brooke (who was in her 4th year of dance) would be having a little Halloween party.  I knew the other moms/girls would have treats or trinkets for the girls to give out.  I also just didn’t go to the store and get some…

Prior to dance class I had been going around and around with a frustrating tenant who fell behind on the rent, and was arguing with me that he had paid x amount when my records showed differently.  I was extremely frustrated and since this was really the first tenant we had any issues with, it truly caught me off guard.  I let my emotions get in the way, some insecurities and such, and it just threw me.

But when I went to pick up Brooke at dance, I felt like she was the only one who didn’t have something to pass out to her little friends.  It killed me.  Now, I knew even then, that no one really cared about the candy (hello, they’d all be getting SO much more in another day trick-or-treating) but the fact was, that I enjoyed doing the little things for her and her dance friends.  I love holidays, even Halloween, mostly because of the magical element of innocence, simplicity and wonder it brings out in the kids.  I sat there, with tears welling in my eyes as I saw the girls exchange and Brookie looked at me like, where’s my bags to give out?  Of course her 5 year old self didn’t say anything, but it hurt and clearly still haunts me to today.  Why?  Because I was not being my authentic self that day.  It was a number of things that lead to that feeling, but I truly felt like a shell of myself this time last year.

It’s about the effort.  It’s about doing something, even if it’s little, if you can and want to.  It’s about not letting negative people who aren’t paying their rent, bring you down.  It’s about rising up even after you may have failed, and getting a second chance to do something right this time.  It’s about asking for help, whether it means paying a sitter a lot of money to have time away, or hiring a cleaning service to help you get your house back in order.  It’s about being the mom you want to be, not what anyone else may expect or want from you.  It’s about loving yourself in the moment, even if you don’t want to.

That girl a year ago had a lot of growing up to do.  It wasn’t just about not having a silly bag of Dollar Tree goodies (that may or may not end up in a dog’s mouth or the garbage) but it is more about SELF LOVE.  SELF COMPASSION.  SELF WORTH.  SELF IMPROVEMENT.  This past year I have worked on ME so much and it has made me a better, happier, stronger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human.  Anyone who tells you differently, makes fun of you for working on YOU, has more work to do on themselves.  Let me say that again, any person who tries to say anything negative about loving herself, has a lot of growing to do and it’s not up to you to fix her.  We can only change ourselves, that is all.  Other can learn by us leading by example.

I had some major changes that had to take place that were not easy. Shortly after this episode, I had to walk away from a friendship that was no longer serving me.  I had to put myself first and join the gym again.  I had to surround myself with loving, encouraging friends that lifted my spirits. . . I needed to find out what made JENN happy. (This blog from last year explains a bit more.)

Life is not always easy, nor do I expect it so.  I think one of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we can look back and truly grow from our experiences.  I write all of these words not to brag about my goodie bag, but to share that you are right where you need to be right now, friend.  Whether you’re a mom or not, whether you are struggling, or feeling high on life, everything is going to be okay.  It’s not all perfect, it’s not all going to fall into place, but each day we have the chance to be a little better than we were yesterday.

So stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t get to do, and maybe just go out and do it now.  Make the cookies.  Join the gym.  Read the book.  Cancel the cable.  Take the class.  Join the side hustle.  Whatever is speaking to your soul, listen.  The more wound up I find myself getting, the more I need to simplify and quiet my world around me so that I can hear what I am being called to do.

I hope that you can begin to listen too.

 

Introduction

Hello!!

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Photo: Summer vacation Folly Beach (I’m a Summer girl!)

If you are new here, I’m so happy you stopped by my little space here!  I’d love to connect with you, so please leave a comment!  If you’ve been following for awhile, welcome back.  I’d love to hear from you too!!  I started a blog back in 2011–(feel free to stalk me here, I totally don’t mind; I’d do it too!)

I am a 37 year old woman married to the love of my life.  We have been together 10.5 years, married for 8 and have two kiddos (a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy). We also have two crazy dogs!  I stay home and my husband works crazy hours.  We have a very 1950’s style marriage and I couldn’t be happier.  (I’m happiest in the home!)

It wasn’t always this way…back in 2011, I decided that teaching English 7-12 for 8 years was good enough, and I’d give it a go staying home as a housewife.  Boy did that get a lot of looks and comments!

My husband Joe and I decided that he worked enough hours and if anything, it’d make more sense to stay home because my district looked as though there’d be cuts in a year or so anyway.  I had driven about a 45 minute-one hour commute to and then another 45 -1 hour home each day.  It was about 2 hours of my life daily and as much as I loved the students and the school, it was a lot.

How did I spend my time? Well, I certainly enjoyed it! It was a nice buffer for what was to come, I’ll tell ya that much!  I perfected my cooking skills; think Food Network star worthy dinners 4-5x  a week. Yeah, that kind of backfired once I had kids, haha!  Hubby was like, um….and I was like, ya here’s another pasta dish!  I feel like now that we’re into a groove, my oldest is in Kindergarten and I have one in preschool 2 days a week, for 2 hours each, I have my head on a little more straight.

That said, we also decided to change up our side hustle a bit.  We had accumulated some rental properties, but decided to get into the Rent to Own business.  It’s awesome!! It’s also a lot of work; don’t be fooled.

We have a total of 9 properties and some amazing tenant buyers we are able to help out.  They are able to rent out one of our homes until they’re capable of getting a mortgage.  All they really need is a down payment & to afford the monthly rent–it’s so awesome to help people like this!

I still try to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for my family.  It’s not easy, as my husband has Crohn’s, the kids are, well, kids and don’t eat Kale & spinach readily, imagine that!! My diet works best if it’s lean proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit & complex carbs.  I enjoy food, do NOT get me wrong!  I love burgers, tacos, steaks, grits, fries–and a good old mac and cheese!  However, I’ve learned how my body best responds to food and I definitely plan on sharing that in some blogs. Stay tuned!

I am a Stella & Dot Stylist as a very part-time hustle.  I just love the accessories and helping other women feel a little more confident and cute! It’s nice to connect and talk fashion with fabulous ladies.

I absolutely love to dance; it’s probably my favorite thing ever.  I just love moving and grooving to the music. Luckily my hubby and kids love it too. In fact, that’s one of the biggest things I look forward to with the cooler months ahead: Dance parties!

I am not perfect, nor do I try to be.  I make a ton of mistakes, learn as I go and try to enjoy every moment of this crazy ride called life.  Blogging is a way for me to keep my memories alive, share in hopes of helping another, and cherish what I’ve been given.

You may find me all dolled up in red bottoms, rocking an LV, or I may be in days old hair, sweatshirt & walking our land in the country.  We are really hoping to build this coming Spring and I am beyond excited.

As for religion, all I can say is that I am spiritual.  I feel like that’s a whole post/topic in and of itself, but I’m on journey that is for sure! There’s so much ‘wrong vs right’ when it comes to “being a Christian” I honestly find it ridiculous and a bit hypocritical at times.  I do love Gangster rap, I tend to swear from time to time & I love short dresses.  According to some, I can’t love Jesus too, and if that’s true, then okay. (Yes, I love me some Rachel Hollis.)

I have put blogging on the back burner for many reasons/excuses, but here I am ready to rock and roll this October.  Here’s to an awesome week!

Don’t be shy, say hi!  I’d love to read and follow some new blogs.

Real Estate Investing: A Mini Rant

I would like to say that as I get older, I have truly started to mature.  I try to not let things get me all fired up as much as they used to.  I try to think before I speak and not let my emotions cloud my voice.

The more we grow our real estate company,  more people have started to come out of the wood work.  Now, I get it.  Rent-To-Own totally has a bad wrap in some cases.  There are bad people who take advantage of others in difficult situations.  I’ve heard horror story, after horror story, of money taken, houses sold out from under tenants etc.

Well, I’m here to say that our business is nothing like that.  If you know me (or my husband) you know our hearts.  You know we would help anyone in need and go above and beyond to take care of others.  Unfortunately, in this field we really have to state our intentions and prove ourselves, over and over and over again.  It’s okay, we totally get it and understand.

Recently we had a “Team Leader” of a local real estate agency write us.  She was concerned that one of her member’s clients were truly excited about our program and that we would be taking advantage of them.  My husband responded to the message and upon reflection, I can’t help but be disgusted by her tone.

“I sell high end properties. I don’t need to be paid for a client finding their dream home at this level.”

Yes, those are her words exactly.  As if anyone below a $500,000 home isn’t worth her time? Money? I’m not sure, but either way that kind of character is appalling.  I completely understand reaching out, checking in to see what kind of business we run etc, but to use words like that?  I’m sorry but I was raised to treat every human, just that: a human.  I don’t care what you do for a living, but when you start acting like you’re better than others, that is where I have a problem.

Interestingly enough, upon a quick Google search, it wasn’t but 5 years prior this same woman was in fact selling homes in the price ranges that we deal with.

So here’s the thing, every person’s dream home is completely different.  We tend to buy nice homes in nice areas, but are they $200,00+ homes? No.  However, we do our best to ensure that our houses have character, charm, even a cozy factor.  A nice backyard, perhaps a garage.  A fenced in yard.  Good schools. Safe environments. We create visions for families to move from the inner city or apartment buildings, to their very own homes.

While it almost could sound too good to be true, we really are here to help people.  Isn’t that what God put us on this earth to do? At the same time, yes, we are a business not a non-for profit but I can assure you that my hands get dirty, and that mine and my husband’s blood, sweat, and tears go into these homes.  The stress, the frustration, the money aspect, it’s a lot to juggle! Not to mention we do it all while he works 50+ hours, battling Crohn’s disease, and I am home raising a 3 year old and 5 year old, taking care of two dogs all with zero help from family, only paid help from sitters.

So no, maybe our homes aren’t worth a million dollars, but we are certainly making dreams come true.  From the bottom of my heart, I know what we are doing is changing lives.  As my mom put it, we are making magic.

I’d love to ask this lady if she can say that she feels the same?

Enjoying the Journey

It’s a windy day here this Wednesday of “Spring Break.”  However, the term Spring must be used loosely here in upstate New York.   It’s a chilly 39 degrees and I do believe that as I type this, there are snow flurries.  Not surprised dear April…

There’s a to do list a mile long, mountains of laundry to be folded, a workout to be done, a shower to be had, but you know what I just did? I made a cup of tea.  I made a cup of English Breakfast tea with a splash of heavy cream & a drizzle of honey. (I have a disco dress I’m preparing for, otherwise I most likely would have used a teaspoon of sugar.

I woke up this morning, not really knowing where my day would take me; the blessing and curse of a “Stay at home” lifestyle.  On one hand, I feel as free as a bird and on the other, there’s so much to do I don’t really know where to begin.

Life has been quite crazy for some time now; little ones will do that to you.  We’ve been married 7.5 years and celebrated 10 years, (a whole decade!) of dating.  Yes, I do consider that even though we are married, with two children, we are still dating.  Marriage is like any other commitment in life; you get out what you put in.  There are days and weeks where we feel like we are spinning our wheels and treading water.

Raising babies, building businesses and still staying true to oneself is not for the faint of heart.   I often times ask myself wouldn’t it just be easier if…and I could list a hundred things to remove off of my plate to try and make myself feel less ‘busy’ or ‘stressed.’ But then what?  Would I be bored?  Would I feel incomplete?  Would I be searching for that “something more” that I know creeps up when we least expect?

I’ve heard it said that the devil attacks those next in line for promotion.  That when things are hard, they tend to get really hard.  You’ll want to quit, give in, stop trying and just throw your hands in the air and scream.  Go ahead and scream dear one, it may help…but do not quit.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that the setback is often the setup for what’s next to come.  I’ve been feeling all of the things, going through a lot of emotions and feeling like OH MY GOSH WILL THIS EVER GET EASIER?  I’m talking in parenting, in relationships, in eating well, working out, feeling confident, and even in day to day things like the washing machine not working right.  I don’t know if it will get easier, but it’s all part of the plan.  If one more person tells me to “Enjoy the journey!” I may yell back “I AM!!” but that’s only because I truly am trying.  I am enjoying the snuggles of my wee ones, amongst the chaos of potty training and cleaning poo all day long.  I am loving the puppy breath and playfulness of our sweet girl, while cleaning mess after mess that she makes.  I am ecstatic to fit in any alone time with my husband, as I know that our love must come first so that our family can thrive.

But I’m also saying, damn girl, This shit is hard!

I’m just here to tell myself, and maybe you, that it’s all okay. The feelings, the tears, the stress, the laughs the joys…it’s all part of it.  One day we will look back and miss the precious moments.  I can’t say I’ll miss the poo and mess, but I will miss mostly everything else about this time.  I will probably ask myself how on earth did you not go completely insane? How did you do it?  More importantly, my kids may ask us when life is hard for them, how did it you survive?

I will them…

Faith

Gratitude

Patience 

Laughter

Love

Focus

Perseverance 

Help

The last one is the one I struggle with the most. I always try to do everything by myself, but this life is teaching me that nothing amazing is done alone.  I hope to delve further into these topics in future posts; I am always trying my hardest to be real and raw with my readers.  There is no smoke and mirrors here. No photo-shopped life snapshots. I am on this journey with you and am here with open arms and an open heart to learn alongside you.

May this first Wednesday in April bring you peace, love and comfort.

All my love,

Jenn

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