Tag Archives: momlife

Parenting Class for Communication

Recently, I took a parenting class in the evening in an effort to improve communication skills within our complicated family. It was strongly suggested and I’m glad I took it. It was tough to enroll because it was only offered  in the evening, deep in NE Portland and only on my parenting night. But, I did it! I hired a sitter and schlep my 3 little kids to her house in jammies at 5pm before I drove the 45 min in heavy traffic. There were about 15 people in my class and we were from all walks of life. Some were remarried and brought their new partner to the class. Most of us were single and trying to navigate a complicated family life. All of us were involved with high conflict divorce with shared little kids. It was strangely comforting to hear personal experiences that mirrored my situation. It didn’t explain or justify behavior but did feel good to know I’m not alone.IMG_7185This picture says it all-LOVE! (Even Kai smiled) haha! Summer 2017 at Jameson Square Park

These 3 cuties are why I continue to do my best and make the most of every situation.

 

Back to the class-it took no less than 25 email exchanges to get enrolled in the class. I’ll spare the details. But it was a feat just to register for the class for all sorts of reasons.

Beyond Conflict Parenting Class was upstairs in an old Portland house in a small room with uncomfortable church folding chairs. The instructor isn’t married and doesn’t have children. She’s been teaching this class for maybe 20 years? I can’t remember the actual number but long enough to see a lot of different situations and people.

Funny thing is that I always felt better leaving that class than I did when I arrived. That is a good sign. I was surprised to feel this way because my expectations were low. Kinda like online dating. You do it, you put your best effort out there but you’re okay if nothing pans out. Yes, it spoke to the general public and wasn’t specific in handling high conflict divorce. However, the messages were good reminders to “do the right thing” no matter what. Some parents shared horror stories (not me of course for privacy reasons) and Judith never deviated from advising the “higher road” no matter what! I mean the stories were so bad that I can’t even repeat them here. But, Judith reiterated again and again focus on the kids and respond by respecting the kids.

And, the best thing I learned in this class is that I’m only 1 parent. In essence, I’m potentially 50% of the solution and 50% of the problem. For example, if I do my very best and communicate clearly with kindness, it can only be 50% effective for communication.  Depending on how the other parent chooses to respond is out of my hands.  Wow, this was eye opening for me. I already know this as I love self help books and seminars but it’s a different beast when someone f*cks with your little kids. Anyway, simple advice to stay the course but a good reminder for me. Healthy, positive co-parenting takes 2 willing people. It is what it is.

Facts I learned from this class is that less than 10% of families get divorced through family court. That means most families 90% or more are able to mediate and/or reach an agreement outside the courtroom. Hey, even Brad and Jolina chose to settle out of court. There were lots of books and handouts shared to help navigate this tricky family situation.

And the most important take away from Judith Sweeney’s class is-When in doubt, focus on the kids! When uncertain on how to handle an unusual situation, focus on the kids!

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Divorced With Three Little Kids

The below document is the reason I’m divorced with three little kids in tow. It was given to me by my husband at the time 4 years ago. I was breastfeeding 1 year old twin girls while carrying a 3 year old little boy around. I took the document very seriously and honored the 24 hour deadline that he gave me as I chose choice number 2.

The question I ask is why the 3rd choice wasn’t listed? The 3rd choice is my current  reality called heavy litigation for 4 years. ..With a document this detailed and thorough, one would think that all “3 choices” would have been listed. 

Yes, we all have our health which is always a blessing. However, 4 years of litigation is the opposite of healthy living if you ask me.

Court hearings, motions and judgements are public record but my only response is no comment. Without sharing any details, for privacy reasons I ask for your prayers for a speedy and amicable resolution.

*I have permission from the author and thank you notes for sharing Brandy’s Choice on my blog and the internet*

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BurnCycle, I Love You

So, I came back to spin classes after a tumultuous 10 months off. The turmoil is still going but I’m tired of waiting for a “good time” to get back on the bike. So, I hopped on that spin bike 3 weeks ago and had an awesome workout with an amazing instructor.

Then I did it again. My second spin class in 10 months was 2 weeks ago. She was also an amazing instructor. Not sure if I get more physically or mentally from these classes. The jury is still out. As the NOISE rises, so does my self care. I will always take care of myself and my people-it’s in my blood.

If you are like me and in the thick of it and don’t have time, energy or desire to workout-get yourself to a group fitness class. It will change everything. Because, life is happening and waves are coming whether we like it or not. Better to have the sparkle in our heart from a great workout when the waves come crashing in.

May fitness and health be a priority this year and always, my friends.

Brandy’s Two Choices From Sean Keener

It’s been over 3 years since I was handed the 4 page document, titled Brandy’s 2 choices, with a 24 hour deadline from my husband at the time. I was a full time stay at home mama to three little people (1 year old twins and and a 4yr old). We were a busy family, living life and going on adventures!

I’m still approached regularly from friends and colleagues about my situation as a single mom. “What happened” to your family is the most  common question. Sometimes, it’s at work, sometimes yoga and often in the presence of my three little kids. In an effort to protect my kids from potentally inappropriate conversations, I decided to share “what happened.”

My truest intention of this blog post is to be honest and forthwright and explain how I became a single mom to one year old twins and a four year old almost overnight. Regardless of how it happened, I’m eternally grateful for my three amazing kids and the role that their dad played in creating them.

It was Saturday, December 28th 2013 around 4:30pm. I had returned to work a few weeks prior and was meeting the kid’s dad for a Starbucks coffee date. After grabbing my drink, I sat down at a table and was handed the 4 page document below. With a straight face and zero emotion, the kid’s dad asked if I had any questions. No, no questions was my only response…

Just to clarify, the kids’ dad and I already had an ironclad prenuptial aggreement and were actively in marriage counseling.

I believe the rest of the document speaks for itself.

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Aloha Friday

Seeking more adventures, life balance and lots of laughs next year! Only 16 days left in 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited. 2017 rocked my world in so many ways. I’m ready to say farewell, goodbye and hello to the new year. IMG_4528Doing a 360 degree spin jump this summer

As I reflect on the past year, I shake my head. It’s like the saying goes, 2 steps forward and one step back. Or 2 steps forward and 4 steps back in my world. One big change for me is that I’m focusing on what I want, instead of what I don’t want. I used to reiterate what I don’t want because I thought that list was easier to swallow. When the noise rises, so does my self care. A friend was surprised that I did anything other than yoga. Wait, what, you go to the gym too?! Haha! Yeah, you could say that. Running, spinning and gym time is way easier for me than the yoga. However, the yoga is my best effort toward self love and self care. It’s what I need but not usually what I want. #justsayin

I’m ramping up the self care and gettin’ after the good stuff. Focusing on the fun, the travel and the mom life (the best life) this next trip around the sun.

So, I dragged my tired, puffy self to burncycle this morning. I haven’t been for over 10months and it left a mark. I will be walking funny for days… But, I’m looking for a new outcome 2018 so gotta put my money where my mouth is. There is no butt kicking quite like a cycle class. And, I LOVED it!IMG_2206Here’s to an awesome last couple of weeks of 2017 and a bigger and better 2018!

Let the good times roll, my friends.

Tinder Tales From A Single Mom

So….Where do I start? Whenever I read a magazine I start from the back. That must say something about me kind of like astrology. The people that read magazines from the back? Anyway, I first learned about Tinder from my sister at Edgefield. It was the summer of 2014 and I was seeing one of my girl crushes-Sarah McLachlan (thanks mom!). We were sitting outside on a beautiful summer night and my sister started “swiping” on her tinder I was horrified and interested at the same time. Haha! Most everyone has seen it by now but a big red NOPE pops across the page if you swipe left on someone’s picture. They don’t know you “noped” them though. If you swipe right, then a green LIKE pops up across the page. If that person you liked already liked you, then it’s a match! And you can text away via the tinder app. It’s long and arduous at best. At worst it’s crickets while you both wait for the other person to text first. If you like that person and it’s not immediately a match either they haven’t seen you yet or they didn’t like you. You just don’t’ know and really don’t care. The choices are overwhelming. Seems like everyone is on there. But not gunna lie, there’s SO MUCH WEIRD on there! I used to compare online dating to shopping at Ross. You have to go through so much sh*t to find one decent top. And usually I walk out of there exhausted and empty handed. IMG_3499This is how it feels for a girl when you start online dating. So MANY choices coming at you hard!  (just trying not to lose my hat) Haha! Most of the choices aren’t great but you take a second look and do the “weeelllllll, maybe?!” #truth

The best part about tinder for me is that no one can message you unless you both like each other! Back in the day when I did match. com and ok cupid, I would get inundated with messages from people that didn’t fit my criteria at all. I would get long, personal emails from people living in Florida. Long, life stories if you will and I’d get sucked into their random story before I noticed that they lived in Florida or worse they were still married. Wait, what?! Sometimes, I think boobs are the only prerequisite for a lot of guys. Sad, but true. Sure, the attention might feel flattering for a hot minute and then it gets creepy and overwhelming very fast. So, that’s why I prefer “the tinder” as I like to call it.

The second best thing about tinder for me is that you don’t have to be out at the bars to meet other single people. Or at least sort of single people. There are so many “open relationships” these days in Portland. It almost seems like tattoo sleeves, cool and really common. I’m old school and think that one guy and one girl is plenty for me. Of course, I would love to meet someone at yoga or Trader Joes but I’m not holding my breath.

So, like the rest of the single people I suck it up, swallow my pride and make my tinder profile. At least I use my “real name.” #justsayin

The last thing I like about tinder is that its not a huge time suck. You can look a little or a lot and feel like you’re “dating” or at least putting yourself out there.

Sooooo. Back to the tinder tales. My first tinder date a couple years ago was a high school chemistry teacher. We had a lot of mutual friends on facebook so it seemed pretty safe. It’s always tough to be the first one and especially after a divorce. I know that I run from anyone newly divorced as I don’t want to be their “first date.”

We saw each other probably 8 times over 2 months.  We always met up at restaurants so don’t think I ever rode in his car? Looking back, I definitely kept him at arm’s length. Again, being the first one sucks. Haha! He was pretty uptight now that I think back about him. He was in his 40’s, never married and no kids. One time I wanted to sit outside at a restaurant and it was nice but the patio chairs were wet. I offered for him to sit on my jacket and he accepted it. Haha! Oh dear! I made a quick joke about being a mom and can deal with a wet seat. Not sure why those uptight ones like me but they usually do. And I’m NOT talking about the kids’ dad-no one is talking about him just to be clear.

When I first met the chemistry teacher, he met his last girlfriend on tinder and she was from Medford.  Long distance was the demise of their relationship-she had kids so wasn’t moving and he loved his job in Portland. One Sunday afternoon, I was out for a trail run. He had told me that he was going on a hike with his friend “John.” Anyway, the last time I saw him he was on that hike with his friend “John” but “John” had boobs and “Medford hair.” His eyes were as big as saucers as I ran by him and his Medford girlfriend holding hands. I’m not sure who was more surprised me or him?

 

Kid Pedicures Rock

IMG_9897This is Five!IMG_9872.jpgBirthday Pedi’s!

IMG_9924Pepper LOVED every part of birthday mani and pedis- especially the massage. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Haha!