Welcome to the Jordan Hater Club

 

Dear Angry Moms: 

Hello.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jordan Burch.
But you may know me as the “IF YOU SERVE YOUR KIDS LUNCHABLES YOU ARE A TERRIBLE MOTHER ” screenshot.
JORDAN BURCH LUNCHABLES MOM

 

While this definitely was not my finest moment, before I get to that, I’d like to ask you to take a moment of your time and get to know the person behind the unending ridicule, memes and hateful comments stemming from this post.

I moved to this little town of Pace, Florida from West Pensacola in the fourth grade and it was absolutely life shattering.

Pensacola and the small baptist church I grew up in–the one where my grandpa drove the school bus and my Grandma taught Sunday school–was the only life I had ever known.

My grandparents did everything with me and for me. I was never alone.
I had lived with them for most of my life and even at age nine, I still slept with them nightly.

Moving to a new town that my mom’s new boyfriend lived in was super scary, especially since she didn’t have the best track record with men. However, my mom was very firm that she had to get me “OUT” and “AWAY” from my current living environment. At the time, I had no idea what it was we were trying to escape from.

At my new school, kids had cheerleading uniforms and football jerseys.

They had all grown up together. Their families vacationed together. (I had never even been on a vacation).
They lived in gated neighborhoods with pools and were allowed to listen to rap music.
Their moms were nurses or teachers and their dads wore business suits.

Most of all, many of them had two dedicated, loving and involved parents. 

I stuck out–and not in a good way.
Wasn’t really sure of my race.
So much so my mom let me “choose”’my nationality whilst registering because even she wasn’t sure what to “mark” me as. 

No college team.
Never been a cheerleader.
Never been to a nail salon.
Didn’t own a single Bath and Body Works lotion. 

I was no one. And for the first time in my life I felt truly LOST and alone. 

It was then though, seeing a new world of opportunities in a town where no one knew me, that I decided to suck it up and just become exactly who I needed to be in order to fit in. 

My new neighbor Tana was kind enough to let me wear her “old” cheer uniform on Fridays like all the girls did. You can imagine how that went over…

All of the girls made fun of me as I made my way to walk the track before school started. “UHM, YOU ARE NOT A CHEERLEADER! That isn’t even this year’s uniform, it’s the old one FROM LAST YEAR!!!” I was shattered.

So my mom did what any good mom would do and signed me up for cheer.

Although she could never drop me off, or pick me up, and I was frustrated that other girls’ moms volunteered, brought snacks and chauffeured me while I listened to them plan their annual trips to Disney…she did her best to make sure I had the same shoes, socks, bows, warm up gear…the works. 

It still wasn’t enough. I began to beg my mom to buy an SUV like the other moms had, because her two door Mustang she’d worked incredibly hard for wasn’t a cool vehicle for the rare occasion she was able to come and watch me cheer.

How could she haul me and all my friends to lunch afterwards, like the other moms did in their suburbans? And while I tried as hard as I could to fit in and be like the rest of them, it was the day she picked me up from aftercare in fifth grade and witnessed my desk covered in tears that she decided to have the ”big” talk with me. 

She whisked me to the Ford Explorer SUV she had just purchased, started it up and then left it in park. 

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU JORDAN?

YOU ARE IN A GOOD SCHOOL. 

YOU ARE STARTING CHEER. 

WE BOUGHT YOU SOME NEW SURFER SHIRTS. 

YOU HAVE PAINTED TOES AND BATH AND BODY LOTION. 

WE HAVE DINNER EVERY NIGHT AS A FAMILY. YOU HAVE A HOME WITH YOUR OWN BED. 

WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” 

“Mom…they made a ‘Jordan Hater Club.’” 

“A WHAT?” she exclaimed.

I told her again, sobbing uncontrollably. 

“They turned the playhouse at the playground into a ‘Jordan Hater club’ with a sheet of paper and told me I couldn’t come in. I will never be good enough to fit in here! I want to go back to grandma’s!”

What she said next was something that would stay with me for the rest of my life.
Much different than what most would probably do if presented with the same challenges in today’s society.
But I am forever grateful for it. . . 

“How other people treat you has absolutely nothing to do with you.” 

 & although this isn’t what a ten-year-old whose entire life was just uprooted wanted to hear…it was what I needed. 

She would repeat it in sixth grade, when the first time I made the honor roll and sat down with a table of girls in the lunchroom to celebrate “ALL A’S” and every single girl immediately moved to another table as soon as I sat down, so I would have to sit alone.

Or in eighth grade when my computer lab teacher told me the boy I was dating was too good for me, and that I “really needed a pedicure.”

And again in ninth grade when a group of eleventh grade girls called and left horrible voicemails on my personal answering machine about how I was such a worthless sl*t for not saying yes to a guy who asked to take me to homecoming (One of whom now helps chair a “Mom’s Collective” in our area with her own young children).

She’d express it again as a 21-year-old with my first “real” job, when I found myself as the constant target of ridicule from an upper female manager who told me I could not have a successful career and be a great mom, “so to choose wisely.”

And she has told me COUNTLESS times since.

What I never understood all of those times she expressed this sentiment is that my mom had dealt with worse…so much worse.

You see, my mom came from nothing.
She met my biological father whilst working at Waffle House, right up the road from my grandparents. She was molested her entire childhood…something she never shared with me until I was much older in hopes it would never negatively affect me.

I found out the truth about my real dad in late elementary school.

We just learned how to search for child molesters in our neighborhoods from a local policeman who had come to the school and I decided to type in my last name just for fun…(something I wouldn’t imagine they do any longer now either).

& up until that day, my family had let him be a “good guy who just made some bad choices,” but one who still sent Christmas presents.

BUT from that day forward he was not only my biological father who maybe made a few small mistakes.
He was a repeat felon.
The crimes?
LEWD,LASCIVIOUS ACT CHILD UNDER 16, Statute: FL031

It changed my life.

But, life went on. I’d navigated up until age 21 the best I knew how, but once I had two children of my own, a husband, once we moved from low income apartments to our own little house in a culdesac, I decided to stop trying to fit in. To stop worrying about what everyone else had, and what they were doing and thinking. I would still NEVER be enough if I continued to view everyone else as so much better off than I was, having had such a better start than the one I was given.

I decided then, that I wanted to create an amazing family, the one I had always dreamed of.

I decided then, that I would always put them and their wellbeing first and live in my truth so they could proudly embrace theirs.

– – – – – –

This week, there is a new club, launched ON MY BEHALF known as the
“BAD MOMS CLUB” or the “MOMS WHO FEED THEIR KIDS LUNCHABLES CLUB.”

It’s spearheaded by people I went to school with, people I have worked with as clients, people who are parents to kids that my kids know, along with hundreds of complete strangers whom I’ve never met and who don’t know more to me than 2 screenshots and a comment section full of mostly well-deserved bashing of all of my shortcomings on this long road I have walked to find happiness.

When we met for coffee this morning, my mom sat me down and said “Are you ok?”

“Never better” I told her, and I meant it.

“Mom, I’m not that girl in fifth grade anymore who doesn’t know who she is, what her worth is or if she belongs in this world.”

My mom teared up, “But that is who you are to me. My tender-hearted girl who just wants to be loved.”

When I posted about Lunchables, I was doing what I usually do on social media.
What I have done for years and years. 

I was sharing my opinion, ranting about life–the world right now, how hard it is to keep my husband and my kids happy and also be cute while running several empires. . . I spoke of how I loved wide trousers now and how I am looking forward to taking my daughter to NYC this year…and how getting a vaccine card to be able to get into shows just seems ludicrous.

BUT I WOULD DO IT.
I would go and get the vaccine.
((only after a CBC))
For me.
And for her. 

I digressed on my instastory, as to how wild it was, that a Government who has shut down an entire economy for a virus and a vaccine, would allow a disease (heart disease) to continue to spread rapidly killing more than 50,000 people per month.

“Could you imagine” I wrote “If we treated THE NUMBER ONE KILLER IN AMERICA, LIKE WE ARE TREATING COVID?”
Like instead of “NO VACCINE, SORRY YOU CAN’T EAT HERE” saying “I am sorry, you are obese? You can’t eat here!” 

Instead of the in-context post of how absurd I thought that would actually be, a single screen shot was made that convinced unknowing people that I was a fat-shamer– & someone who didn’t believe obese people should be allowed to eat in restaurants.

“And then we give lunchables to our kids every single day with enough sodium to kill them, but now here I am, a TERRIBLE mom for not being vaccinated or wearing a mask, meanwhile, they are far more likely to die of heart disease from a poor diet than they are covid.

So now… IF YOU FEED YOUR KIDS LUNCHABLES, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE MOTHER.”

Another Screenshot. 

– – – – – –

The basis of my post was that people are dying…but they won’t stop.
There will always be death.
The vaccine, while good willed and intentioned will absolutely save lives, BUT IT WILL NOT STOP DEATH.
Many of us will lose loved ones in the coming future, if not from COVID, then from something else.

Statistics prove this. 
SO much so, that in 2020, more than 700,000 people died of heart disease. It is BY FAR the leading killer, even during a global pandemic. 

More than DOUBLE that of respiratory illness deaths.
HEART DISEASE, IS ALSO MOSTLY PREVENTABLE.

But there is no vaccine and no pharmaceutical company fighting to cure it.
And that got me all worked up, mid conversation. . .

Why can’t we save us all?!?!

When Jason and I were young,
we lived on less than 40K a year with two small kids, and for New Years, we gave up FOUR things: Soda. Mcdonalds. Lunchables. Hotdogs..

“I can’t do everything, but I can do something” was my motto
and so we eliminated them.
It wasn’t easy.
Or the most affordable. But it was something we both felt we could and should commit to. 

& we did.

At the time raising two small kids, both working full time, trying to make ends meet,
I’d had NO IDEA how terrible lunchables actually were for my kids’ health. But then I researched, and I learned. 

& I TRULY THOUGHT in a moment of discussion,
that by sharing the information, it may help another mom, who had no idea, like It had me.

That was my intention.

I was sharing my passion for the fact that the Government isn’t going to start posting ads anytime soon saying “DON’T BUY THESE, THEY’RE TOXIC”…even though they are.

& At the end of the day, what I wanted to come across and what came across is not the same.

I am the first to admit that the delivery to those thousand followers was not without flaw.

If I could have a do-over, I absolutely would…so that no one would feel hurt or shameful for how they live.
I, more than anyone, know that hurt. & am horribly sorry for those who truly felt like an unworthy or less than mom for serving their children lunchables. 

But it’s done and today is a new day.
I absolutely own that I said it, and am thankful to all of those who have shared their support in these times.

here is what I ALSO know:

I came home yesterday after a wild day of literally thousands upon thousands of comments directed at me personally.

Comments regarding my own weight, surgeries, my mothering skills, threats to all of my businesses, every wrong I have ever committed and so much more…

…to my anti-social media, completely-ignorant-of-the-entire-ordeal husband who had cleaned our bathroom before heading into work, to “surprise me” having no clue, the type of things I had just endured > > > Jason doesn’t do flowers, even though he knows they’re my love language>>>
& while admiring the clean bathroom, I noticed something on the back of our toilet.
He had taken the time to roll toilet paper rolls into flowers, like they do on cruises with towels.
And just like that, I was brought back to my reality.
The one that matters the very most to me.

I never thought a girl like me could live a life like this one that I have, with a family like my own family. 

Coming from an abused mother, who tried so hard to get me out of dodge, only for me to resent her for it without knowing all the details.
As a young girl, never really knowing what true love was and questioning everything I thought it was.
Feeling so ashamed of the kind of life that I was born into, and thinking that someone like me could ever do more, or be more.

You would NEVER find me intentionally inflicting that kind of hurt onto someone.
But I am human and I can only take so much of people pushing me into a corner and feeling like those same people haven’t considered what their own public jabs without recourse have done to me…

I have seen everything from discussing my miscarriages to posting comments about and photos of my own children > > > & just like most everyone, I have certain triggers that make me throw my “bigger person hat” down like a real savage and make even more comments I know I may wake up to regret.

But thanks to soul searching, my incredible husband and family, solid friendships, lots of counseling and growing up, I am here.
Right here.

A real person, with real thoughts, feelings, opinions, problems, and more.
BUT THIS IS THE PLACE that I have always wanted to be.

I do have a loving husband, who accepts all of me.
Normal me. Happy me. Sad me. Quiet me.
Facebook drama me (even if the latter is his least favorite).

I have Wonderful, healthy kids who are kind to everyone they meet.
I own successful businesses that I started from the ground up and fiercely struggled with, only to build them over and over again. I have a network of people, who, even if they aren’t as loud as the others, support me and encourage me to keep going.
((( I LOVE YOU GUYS )))

My life is so, so full.
My heart is so full of joy.
& even in such uncertain times, I’d hate to think that something I said would be the reason someone else
‘s isn’t.

THE ONLY REASON I share my daily life, is in hopes of inspiring someone who feels like they will never have it all.
Or encouraging someone who feels like they don’t deserve it all. 

To that fifth grade girl who has no “club”, the ninth grade girl who has “no purpose” , that businesswoman who is facing her first real “failure”, the mom who can’t figure out how to be everything to everyone without sacrificing who she is…

I simply want to say to them, if I CAN.
You can.
If I can overcome all of these things in life.
So can you!

But unfortunately, when the visibility of what I choose to share on my social media platforms, that’s meant at the very minimum to inform, starts to actually disrupt the wonderful world we’ve worked so hard to create within our own family, it is very easy to choose which one I’ll let go of and it is without a doubt, a platform, that I never truly asked for in the first place.

I am going to continue, to just do me…and be me.
I am always learning.
Growing.
And yes…failing.

I was made from hard times and I know that the plan for my life is far greater than teaching the world about how little nutritional value lunchables have, even if that’s been one of the biggest ones yet. 

Thanks to those of you who never wavered in your support.
It truly means more to me than you will ever know. 

& for those of you who didn’t know me, now you do.

JB

JB

 

 

  • Kelsey - For awhile, you drove me nuts.
    Then I did some heart work and realized why. You now, at this stage in your life have sooo much of what I’ve always wanted. Then I realized… how can I have such a loathsome attitude towards someone when they are simply doing what I want to be doing?

    The reality. I can’t. It’s wrong.

    I took time, I stepped back and let go of the frustration of not being there YET*.
    Instead, I’ve shifted my view of you, to see your a real person, first off, and that you don’t live a pedestal in my mind. You are now one of a select number of women I look to for encouragement and as a reminder to keep going. Even if I don’t have all the money and things I need to make it happen right now or even by x age like so and so.

    It will happen. In just the right amount of time. And my story will be exactly what it’s meant to be, it won’t be just like yours or anyone else’s. I’ll have my things that I do totally different from you and others.

    I want to continue to see you succeed, because the more success you reach, the more I can see myself doing too.

    The whole world doesn’t know yet, but I’m a momma to be now. And I can say without a doubt I never planned to feel my kids lunchables. Or foods with too much red 40 or cereal or blah blah blah. I’m a steward of my home, it’s my job to make sure what comes in is wholesome and good. Things that are meant to nourish and not cause problem later on. Am I perfect at this already, HELL NO. But I refuse to allow myself to fall into blissful ignorance.

    You are a stellar creative, business woman and a badass momma.

    Keep your head high! Thanks for speaking the truth even when people don’t like it. I plan to do the same!

    Much Love + God Bless

    Kelsey
    PhotographerReplyCancel

  • Anna Weaver - Love you, Jordan. You are a good mama, a good wife and an amazing business person. Don’t let the haters get you down. 💕ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - I relate to you, somehow. I was angry with you yesterday. I didn’t post anywhere or give you a bad review because that’s stupid. But after reading this, NO ONE deserves the lengths that people went to talking about your heartbreaking miscarriages or your children and family. I’m so sorry for that. There is no such thing as a perfect person JB. God works in mysterious ways. I wish you a full life of happiness and peace. Just be careful with how you say things is my only ask ❤️ & pay kindness forward always.ReplyCancel

  • Gemma Gatdula - Hi Jordan!

    I first met you (gorgeous in your red dress) at a Gulf Breeze Chamber of Commerce Gala some 10 years ago (even longer?) you were with the Portofino Group, and I was with my husband, Jojo. My employer at that time were serious about maximizing our chamber membership by encouraging me to attend every event/meeting where I can talk about our service. Although I’m always excited and grateful for the opportunity to meet and get to know people, I am awkward at initiating introductions and small talks – I’m better at forming and maintaining lasting relationships. Surrounded by amazing people dressed in their “gala formals” that evening was exciting and intimidating at the same time – THANK GOD Jojo and I were assigned to sit at the same table with your group and the group from Envie. You made everyone comfortable by initiating the introductions around the table, you kept the “small talk” going around the table which included Jojo and I. You even offered to take our picture, now deemed priceless, as every JB photo should be 😊, it is also the only pic I have of us “looking pretty” since that was the only GBC gala Jojo agreed to attend with me, “just not my scene”, he says! We learn to compromise. 😊
    I was in awe of your courage, confidence, and warmth; traits rarely seen in action from one person. You had on a fancy dress like everyone else that evening but there was nothing “fancy or bougie, conceit or FAKE in your actions and words that evening, and all the other times we met. 😊 I’m wishing for another wedding soon since that seems to be the only time, we get to see your lovely self 😊 I admire your decision to apologize to those you have “offended” despite the fact that “truth hurts” – Yes, talents and skills comes with a huge responsibility especially when it comes to sharing your thoughts and insights but do not forget that they are simply YOUR thoughts, not a reflection of who you truly are! Thank you for staying honest, continue to be an inspiration to all by keeping it REAL, that’s what we admire about you!
    I want to share these words from Emma Watson as they made me think of you!
    “If you truly put your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing
    Things can and will happen”
    It’s often easier to melt into the crowd than show off the things that set us apart. But those are the very things that can be our strength. Being authentically you and showing your vulnerabilities isn’t being weak but being beautifully human. Let your soft spots show. Honor your unique dreams and experiences. Live by your strengths. We all have fears and flaws that fight to hold us back, but when you stand before them with courage, you’ll shine brighter than you ever thought possible.ReplyCancel

I feel as if I’m in a constant state of improving. 

Improving myself. 

Improving my marriage. 

Improving myself as a mother.

Perhaps criticizing is a better word, as improvement usually requires some type of action.

Truth is, my criticism isn’t often based on how I actually feel, but how I feel those closest to me and those not closest to me, perceive me. 

Do my kids see a kind and patient mom, or do they see an overly stressed, anxious, somewhat disconnected one? 

Does my husband see a loving and attentive wife, or does he see a woman who is constantly annoyed, underwhelmed and never satisfied by his efforts, financially, mentally, spiritually, sexually?

How do others see me? 

As a successful business woman, who is also a wonderful mother and committed wife?

Or as a fraud, barely hanging on most days, annoyed with the trivial things much like they are, laundry, dinner, monthly bills, messy rooms, dirty cars and the inevitable crash of the economy as we know it. . .  

Also unhappy with themselves as mothers, wives, humans. . . .

But I know the truth, as I write now and I wanted to speak it to those who may not.
No one is worried about you. They’re worried about whose worried about them.

We made the Sunday service today, & my kids wanted to sit with me in the sanctuary vs going to kid’s church, so I allowed them to.
& this morning, Joe sang louder than anyone else in the auditorium.

As the worship leader encouraged us to “sing out” joe decided he’d like to sing out as if every single hymn was his own personal solo to Jesus Christ himself, because it was.
He sang loudly, off tune and also with poor timing, he didn’t care.
Even as those in front of us turned to see where this “noise” was coming from, disrupting their own worship, he sang loudly, completely unaware.  

He sang, loudly and proudly simply because he wanted to, because he felt the music deep inside of him and wanted to sing along, at the very top of his lungs. . . . 

His unawareness of onlookers wasn’t felt three seats down by his own father. . . as I could see Jason laughing in between chords,  as members started to turn their heads from all over the auditorium,
peaking to see where this loud little voice was coming from.

I wished I could take each one by the ear and tell them God would prefer if each of them focused more on their own worship,
than allowing themselves to be distracted by my six year old lifting his voice to the highest of heavens.

He didn’t have to have a perfect voice to sing loudly, if that’s what he wanted to do.
He didn’t need to be able to follow a melody to worship to be worthy of belting out the sacred hymns.

In fact, his ignorance of his own imperfections allowed him to sing exactly as I’d imagine Christ wants us all to sing.

Being imperfect, and living life anyways, knowing your worth despite all your worst days, and despite what anyone else thinks of you or speaks of you.
That’s the best part of grace.

There is no right way to worship.
Just like there is no right way to exist. 

I believe deep down, not only does God want our whole voices, as loud and off key as they may be, but that he truly desires for us to love & to really be able to love others, you must learn to love yourself.

Not because you are a perfect mom or wife, but because GRACE says you’re enough.

I’ve decided to be the wife I want to be, when I can.
Grace covers me when I can’t.
Sometimes that’s like something out of the wildest films a man could purchase
& sometimes that’s just a wife who simply doesn’t sleep with other men.
Sometimes I am the wife who has the entire house cleaned (not often)
and sometimes I am  simply the wife who didn’t take all of her antidepressants at one time because life felt too heavy and she felt unappreciated in any / all aspects of her life and thought her family may actually be far better off without her. 

I’ve decided to be the mom that I want to be, when I can.
Grace covers me when I can’t.

Sometimes that’s the patient loving mother who encourages her off key son to sing at the top of his lungs, and sometimes it’s the mom who doesn’t go to church at all.
Sometimes it’s the mom who plans the funnest day, filled with all of the activities and sometimes it’s the mom who stays on the sofa under a blanket and pays her own children to keep their siblings alive while she sleeps off the seasonal depression or failed business venture.

& I’m not happy because my life is absolutely wonderful & my voice is always on pitch, I’m happy because I choose to be.
Thus, my life is wonderful because I’ve chosen to be happy, despite all the shortcomings and dissappointments.
& in spite of how other people / the world / social media tells me I should be. .

My hope is that you’ll find from my posts, a perfectly imperfect woman, but also a happy one,
and one who is worthy of an incredible life as a wife and mom, during the highs and the lows and all the in betweens.  
I want to be intentional about not only who I want to be, but that my worth as a human,
as a woman, a mom, a wife, doesn’t change depending on which version of myself I am that day. . . 

& neither does yours.

Joe is worthy of singing loudly. 

It’s inspirational honestly.

His complete ignorance of anyone or anything else during worship was the highlight of my morning.

But the truth is, he won’t grow up beside many other kids / adults who are as intentional. 

& neither will you.


In 2022, my hope is that you know, that you deserve to sing loudly in a sanctuary, whether you’re musically inclined or not.
And to remember that anyone who turns back and looks at you is simply deflecting from their own insecurities.

So sing louder. 

Just like you’re allowed to live the life of your dreams, even if you’ve messed up.

Even if you got pregnant in high school.
Or have been divorced 4 times.

Even if you were arrested or addicted or had to move back home.

No one should EVER make you feel as if you don’t deserve to be on stage or live the life that is out there waiting for you, just because of your past, and if they do, I hope you choose in 2022 to distance yourself from them.


Be an encouragement and be true to YOU, no matter how the world and how others view you,
or even how you view yourself on your worst days>>>
knowing that your emotions don’t dictate your worth . . .
& the world’s approval, doesn’t have to dictate your decisions. 


Real life is singing off key, figuring out what’s for dinner, arguing, and messy spaces.
It’s failed friendships, struggling marriages, complicated diseases, mental illness and so much more.

& I am saying this aloud, to myself, because this is one of my most important goals of 2022. . . 
Maybe I don’t sing loud, or even at all some days, but either way, it won’t be because I am worried about what those around me may think>>>

and more importantly, I hope that if you look to me or any of mine,
for an encouraging glance while singing your own tunes, that you find it.
That you’ll see us, living our best lives, because we know deep down we are worthy of it, off key and all
just like you


Happy 2022
oxox
JB



CHRISTMAS 2021

The magic of the mixie, or lack thereof.




Santa didn’t come until after 1AM > > >

I know this because #dearjason and I went to bed around 1AM and he hadn’t stopped by yet, so it must have been within the next (3) hours because the kids burst into our bedroom at 4AM, ecstatic it was Christmas and seemingly well rested.

Being the good wife I am, I whispered > > >
“I’ll go and try and get them back to bed, you just rest ” as my snoring husband covered his face back with his pillow.

When I entered the living room, the magic was undeniable.

A new computer chair, laptop bag, cast iron pan for smothering ribeyes in butter and a few gift cards, for Jackson.
A new pink computer chair, a pink desk, fidgets and more for sis.
A new xbox, a headset, a soccer ball & robucks for Joe.
A new bike, a train and the 2021 most coveted gift of the year (followed closely by the PS5) THE MAGIC MIXIE sat waiting for Jesse.




The stockings were overflowing with all kinds of treats & sissy quickly noticed that Santa even snagged the weird marble glass bottle drink she had enjoyed in ramen shop inn NYC.

Yes, it was a lot to take in > > >
& was very exciting. . . still I attempted > >>

“Hey guys, I know it’s all very exciting, but how about we go back to bed for a few more hours and then we will wake back up and do all of the other presents” I pleaded. . . honestly thinking they may consider it.
Sissy spoke up “No way mom. They have been asking me to wake y’all up since midnight and  I have kept them in bed as long as I can ” she groaned . . .

“WAKE UP JASON”
I yelled from the sofa.
“THEY’RE NOT GOING BACK TO BED”

Once he meandered in what felt like hours later, the kids began to carefully dissect their Santa piles & their stockings.

Jesse asked to do his magic mixie at approx 415AM, which was the same time Jackson ate a cricket, Joe asked to use his robucks for what would be the first of many times and Juliana cracked her Japanese soda open.

Jason and I laid lifelessly on the sofa, half-watching, half sleeping.

The kids quickly moved on to the tree, where they tore through their perfectly-wrapped-gifts that had been sitting under the tree  as my decor for the last week, and by 6AM they were all finished and ready for their first breakfast of the day.

Jackson cooked up French toast sticks in his new air fryer while Juliana took on the very important and tedious job of the magic mixie with Jesse.
Jason asked us to wait, while he made sure Jackson knew how to operate his new kitchen gadget, but the excitement was too much to stand.

There were approximately 8 steps, and so I watched/supervised with my camera that every step was done correctly, while Juliana and Jesse began their “witchcraft” as Jackson called it.

Step 1. Pour the magic potion, tap the wand three times.

Step 2. Put in the magic star, tap three more times.
Step 3-8 were kind of a blur but Juliana being the best big sis she is,  made sure Jesse did exactly as instructed and only tapped 3 times.

We sat for what felt like an hour and aside from a few random noises and flashes of light, nothing else happened.

Jason started to pipe up from the kitchen.

“If y’all would have waited for Daddy to finish, I would have helped make sure y’all did it right”
“We did it RIGHT DAD” sissy shouted back, annoyed.

“I doubt it” he said “I know how everyone but daddy likes to skip over instructions but daddy”

He had now waged war on our entire family. . . and it was only 7AM.


My cellphone kept recording the underwhelming excitement of  Jesse staring blankly at his “non magical mixie”, while in the background Jackson asked for help to find the  nonexistent tongs that were needed to flip his French toast sticks over, along with Joe Douglas begging for someone to PLEASE load his ROBUCKS to he could start spending them on God only knows what and me mumbling about how selfrigheous my husband was acting on Christmas Day assuming he is the only one capable of following the “8 steps” on a toy designed for kids under 12.

He stripped the instructions that had been perfectly unfolded from the dining table and retreated to his leather recliner to see where exactly we’d gone wrong. . .
It didn’t take him long.

He read  out loud, in that sarcastic voice of his that tends to haunt me in my dreams
 “ IT SAYS, BEFORE STEP ONE, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MAGIC MIXIE IS REMOVED FROM THE BOX AND CHARGED FOR 60-90 MINUTES”

Sissy and I glared at him, then each other, knowing we had unintentionally ruined the baby of our family’s MOST EXCITING CHRISTMAS PRESENT.


There his magic mixie sat, the only thing he’d truly asked for, filled with water, 18 potions, 21 taps of the magic wand and every single ounce of Christmas Spirit we had left. & IT WAS RUINED


Jason continued to mumble to himself about how we always skip steps, don’t read instructions, don’t follow directions and more > > >
while the rest of us began to eat Jackson’s freshly prepared French toast sticks that he’d decided to “skip” flipping halfway through because we didn’t have proper kitchen tools.
Afterwards we had all but completely disassembled the magic mixie, which was now dripping it’s contents all over the dining table, as we tried to remove it from the box and plug it in to charge.

It would certainly be a miracle if anything, mist or a creature appeared out of the cauldron once properly charging.
But it was $70 and I wasn’t about to toss it as a wasted cause without following the step, that was listed in italics, prior to doing step one that sissy and I had somehow missed.

It charged for nearly 9 hours, while we rage cleaned, drank 981 cups of coffee, loaded approximately 7,000 ROBUCKS to Joe’s xbox, threw away 79 amazon boxes, took a well deserved but underwhelming 2 hour power nap, prepped a large Christmas dinner. I even managed to change out of my Christmas PJS into my new SKIMS pjs and brush my hair, apply under eye concealer and perfume so my kids would hopefully remember their mom how I actually wanted to be remembered on Christmas Day, ((at least for Christmas dinner)) since up to that point, I’d been a walking zombie with a matted weave.

Before sitting down, we decided to set the magic mixie back on the dining table and repeat the steps (without the potions) to see if the magic would come.

Jesse happily poured his empty potions back into the cauldron, and tapped like a pro.
 
Sissy and I glared at each other while Jason sipped his miller light in the living room, waiting to gloat in our failure.
It made lots of noise, flashed random colors.

But nothing happened.
Still, we watched and waiting.

Jesse decided to tap some more and at this point, we let him play it like a drum, seeing it as a lost cause, when finally, we heard a noise that we hadn’t.
“Turn the lights off” Jackson yelled “Let’s see if we can see any mist”
The lights went off, and my ISO went up.
The cauldron turned pink, then purple, and then a sea of rainbow lights flooded the dimly lit dining room.

Then, like something out of a fairytale, the magical mist started to rise. . . 


All of the kids gathered in excitement.
“IT’S HAPPENING” sissy squealed ! ! ! !
Jesse was ECSTATIC.


Jason peeled his legs from our leather recliner, where the Florida temps had helped “stick” them, grabbed his beer and  wandered over to see the magic for himself.
“THERE IT ISSSSS” sissy yelled, peaking over the side of the cauldron. . .
“It needs assistance” Jason laughed, heading to the kitchen for hand towel.

“After being stuck in the canal for the last few hours, daddy is going to have to help remove it” and I secretly prayed Jesse’s magical mixie wouldn’t be born missing limbs after watching Jason RIP it from the cauldron with his bare, boozy hands.

Then it was there, and we were a family of 7.

We’d done it.

Jesse cradled his new baby, that he’d named “batman” after his favorite toy he had opened what felt like days earlier, and we all relaxed that Christmas hadn’t been ruined after all.
((though deep down, I never worried because I knew I had a backup mixie in a container in the garage that I’d saved secretly as backup incase anything happened with the first))

We sat down to dinner.

Jesse in only a Christmas pj shirt, covered in potions and his tighty-white-ies.

Joe, in only Christmas pj pants, which I assume were the ones Jesse had taken off because they were approx 8 inches too short. . . 


Juliana in a purple lounge set she’d changed into while we were napping. . .

Jackson in a nike shirt, still sporting his matching pj bottoms.

Jason in his tee and basketball shorts, and me, now in my favorite new white SKIMS set, featuring a now “sold out online” shorts and tank, with a matching robe, some fresh makeup and my Tory Burch perfume, because I was too tired to find and  open my new Chanel perfume that was buried deep somewhere in the sea of wrapping paper, boxes and several loads of neglected clean laundry on our bedroom floor.

Jesse refused to eat anything but a few bites of chicken, which was actually jalapeño infused smoked turkey, cooked perfectly by my husband who never ever skips any steps.

Joe ate two helpings of my sweet potato casserole, that was more like dessert, but made me feel good about myself & my baking skills, that he loved it so much.

Jackson skipped the ham, enjoying his dad’s smoked turkey more than anyone, and also finishing off all of the sister schumpert rolls.

Sissy ate all of momma’s (two sticks of butter, pre-skinny Paula Dean recipe) mashed potatoes, and eagerly left room so that we could  do her fondue kit she’d received, with the turtle recipe from Melting Pot after dinner, for Christmas dessert.

I ate two bites of everything, which made my plate match Jesse’s, and looked as if I hadn’t even touched it, while Jason ate multiple plates of everything, except his grandma’s stuffing recipe which I’d failed to cook because I honestly I totally forgot about it, along with all of his stocking stuffers of car cleaning supplies, still in the backseat of my car.

But it was all magical.
& I want to remember it, for as long as I live.

From the “decor” of the perfectly wrapped presents, to the failed first attempt of the magical mixie.

The  magic of my husband washing all the dishes without hesitation,  assembling all of the toys, perfectly, even if not wearing matching pjs. . . or pjs at all & how pretty he made me feel in my PJS (both sets), offering multiple advances throughout the day & late evening, even despite our exhaustion.

How Joe, first thing in the morning, stopped opening his own toys, to use his “super-big-brother” strength to rip into his little brother’s spaceship toy, so he could enjoy it.

How Juliana so delicately followed each step of the mixie, and our shared disappointment at missing the “before you start” paragraph that truly should have been highlighted, or if we are being completely honest, shouldn’t even exist, for a toy that cost $70,I mean, come on!  Just charge the damn thing before selling it, like apple does!

How Jackson was so excited to cook but didn’t, because his dad was already spending every minute cleaning from the chaos of Christmas, and he didn’t want to be another one on his list of mess makers.
& how he asked for a trapper keeper, new pencils, airbuds and nikes, but spent all Christmas day playing a toy he hadn’t played with since last Christmas (his occulus)

How ironic it was when Jesse unintentionally almost shot Joe’s eye out, whilst watching the Christmas story with a “super” nerf gun that would have certainly resulted in a law suit, had it in fact been aimed 3 cm to the left and hit Joe square in the retina, vs the corner of his eye. . .  resulting in only some tears and mild swelling. Thankfully Santa had knowingly put “boo boo”  ice packs in the boy’s stockings and we quickly recovered > > >

How I got three gifts from the kids, all candles & nearly all of my other gifts from friends and family were centered around writing and stress relief.
But now, it’s over.
& this is all that is left of.


So now, I’ll drag myself into the shower, simply to use the uber expensive hairdryer (in silver) my husband somehow scored, just because I know how happy it will make him, to see me using it.
((being naked will obviously make him happier))

I’ll spritz on the new COCO perfume, which will no doubt have all of us sneezing the entire ride to church, where my two youngest children, who haven’t slept in nearly 48 hours will act like complete nut jobs.

I’ll hold my husband’s hand on the ride home,  where our kids will fight non-stop.
Then we will come home, hopefully clean the house again, eat some delicious left overs and take another long, much needed nap together.

Christmas may be over, but the magic isn’t all gone.
& I am thankful it typically lasts all year long around these parts.

I hope all of you reading this had the greatest year yet, and if not, I hope you know it’s out there, waiting for you, maybe next year, or the year after.

Or maybe it’s already passed, but lives on in your memories, like this year will for all of us.

& while I hope this wasn’t our most magical year,
if it was, it will have been enough.


I am so overwhelmed with love and happiness and fullness that I can’t really explain it to all of you,
but can only hope that it overflows from me and reaches you, with love, and hope of even better days to come, wherever you are.


Merry everything, to all of you
(except the dumbasses who package the magic mixies without charging them)
All of my love, from me and all of mine,
OX

JB

Big Brother SUPER strength
What Christmas looked like at 4AM
My husband will read every page and skip NOTHING in an instruction manual.
He will also skim over this entire blog post without hesitation.
Joe is a king amongst kings in the ROBLOX world, apparently.
#dearjason got up after this photo and drank his coffee in the dining room because he literally couldn’t stand looking at the mess,
Meanwhile, astronaut police officer Jesse pretended it was another space world for his rocketship
If there was one face for this Christmas, and how we felt about the magic mixie, sissy embodies it, here.
Santa brought this for Jesse but Jason wouldn’t let anyone touch it but HIM
Not surprisingly, Joe was extremely good at this game
When you just want to play conductor with your train but your dad won’t let you > > > >
Jesse didn’t understand that gift cards = pick your own toys.
he HATED gift cards
Magic Mixie = attempt (2)
I love her protecting him because the instructions stated “don’t let the mist get in your eyes”
the magic of the mixie
IT MADE IT! ALL IN ONE PIECE ! ! !
<3
watching “dad’s train” is fun too
Until next year, Christmas ! ! !

For fall break this year we decided to take the kid’s to the mountains.


My parents have taken us to Blue Ridge a few times but we hadn’t been since Joe was super fat and had to be carried up the steep hills attached to me at 7 months old and honestly it’s taken me 6 years to even attempt it again (and only when all of my kids could walk themselves)  > > > > >

We stayed in ASKA which is about 20 minutes outside of Blue Ridge.

I recommend making it to your airb&b before nightfall, as we got lost multiple times, though I was letting the two men (Jason + Jackson) navigate us.
It took a phone call to our hosts, and then a few u-turns to finally arrive at the right spot.

I loved our house! You can find it HERE.

It had a master on the main level when you walked in, plus a bathroom. A large bunk room (slept 6) on the bottom level attached to a massive game room, and access to a large porch that housed the hot tub and a basketball goal (I had no idea how popular the basketball goal would be).
On the top level was another master with ensuite.

The main level also had a large deck with an outdoor fire pit, a dining table, a large grill and relaxing chairs that overlooked the mountains.

We loved everything about the house, and the private driveway (shared with a few other nice houses) was breathtaking to enter and leave on. All of the walking trails in my photos are just turns up and down the long private drive to our house.

The first day we woke up and went gem mining at in Aska.
The cost was $7 per kid and overall they were super happy (though it did go very quickly)!
After they mined their gems, we walked across the street and sat at a picnic table so they could see which precious stones they’d uncovered based on the small print outs in their info packets. They also traded a few.

Then we walked over to the little bridge and threw leaves off and watched them cross under us on the river.

We made the massive mistake of not planning lunch out and driving to Blue Ridge (the town) for some sights and eats with hopes of purchasing train tickets for sometime that week.  Unfortunately the train was not available as they were filming something, and all of the restaurants were on 1 hour + waits for lunch.
We spent some time at the park (which is super nice) and ducked into a few quick stores before deciding to try our luck in downtown Ellijay.

This was a horrible idea.
Ellijay was far more congested than even Blue Ridge and we ended up waiting TWO HOURS to sit down and eat at a PUB.

((The pub was delicious but by that time we were absolutely ravaged and so I can’t really attest to how good or bad it was))
The kids were troopers but we were more than ready to head home and relax in the hottub and cook our own dinner.

Day 2 was even worse than day 1.
We woke up early to head to the river we’d seen the day before, but hadn’t gotten close to.
When Jackson was about 6 we’d come and he’d hopped on all the stones like a billy goat.
I brought a few towels incase anyone wanted to get their feet wet, having no idea Joe Douglas would be going all the way in, and under.
I was watching the big kids (taking photos of course) and Jason was holding Jesse while Joe was near him.
Joe attempted to leap from one rock to the next but lost his footing on the leap and slipped between the two rocks and into the small rapids between them.
THANKFULLY Jason was within reaching distance and fished him out like a daddy bear would a salmon, I’d imagine.
Thank God he was there, because although I know Joe would have survived, my arms / legs weren’t long enough to reach him without also going in, and honestly I can’t really let my mind go much further than that.
It was a solid lesson learned, that he isn’t invincible and a harder lesson for Jason and I, that we are completely unprepared to travel to such a locale with 4 children.
From this point forward I had to double my meds just to let the kids walk on the roads, without fearing they’d trip and tumble down the side of the mountain.

We tried to keep them off electronics as much as possible during the day (except in the car) but decided after that traumatic experience we’d go home and have a free day.
Jackson and Joe used this opportunity to play their devices while sissy and Jesse painted rocks.
Jason cooked another delicious dinner that evening, and then breakfast the next morning before we made the long trek to the pumpkin patch / apple orchards for another busy day.

I’ve been to Merciers several times and though I always enjoyed it, I figured we would try somewhere else, and we were stoked to find XXX>
They had the BEST fresh apple pies and ice cream, and I would have gone back a second time if our schedule would have allowed.
They also had a small train that went around the inside of the building, and Jesse loved watching it move from room to room.
Again, we headed home for the hot tub, dinner at home and some outdoor basketball.

I am pretty sure I also beat everyone at ping pong that night, and taught the kids how to play ERS (card game) against their father’s will.
Tomorrow would be our last day, so we headed to bed somewhat early and woke up, packed a lunch and headed to the tallest waterfall in Blue Ridge.

The waterfall was great, but we were tired and decided driving to the top was our best option.


TBH my anxiety at this point was far too high to let the kids do much of anything at that elevation, so we quickly headed back down to the very bottom and played at the park and ate our packed lunch.
I thought we would drive to Dahlonega to a farm I had read about that had bears and sloths and zebras, but this would turn out to be another not so great idea.


The place was completely empty and the sloth we’d come to see was sleeping behind some plexi glass in what looked like a room for people who’ve lost their minds.
The whole place kind of made me sad, to be honest. The monkeys were each alone in their enclosures and the two bears we saw simply paced the fence line.


There were also two white tigers sleeping out in the trees, and the entire setup reminded me of WE BOUGHT A ZOO before the rehab, and without all of the happy workers.


In fact, the only worker we saw was the girl at the front who collected our money and sold us our feed bags, which wouldn’t have been as big of an issue if we weren’t harassed by a large turkey for the majority of our exploration.
Jason was clearly terrified and demanded we “move faster” past the zebras, which up until this point were the only hooved animal we could feed our bags of grains to. The turkey made some scary noises and inched very very closely to all of us, but thankfully my husband was willing to sacrifice himself and ensured that he stayed closest to the turkey so that none of us would be spurred to death on this forgotten farm in the middle of nowhere.
We ended with a emu and fed the majority of our brown paper sack bags to him, mainly because it was fun to watch him but also because we were dehydrated and bored and had no need for feed once we got into the car.
I hopped into the driver’s seat knowing Jason would route us right home, but not wanting this abandon zoo to be our final memory of the mountains.


Thankfully, I had also researched a mining place close by, and spent $100 on 6 passes to some underground mining experience that would be the best thing we did the entire trip.


The kids were surprisingly interested and so were Jason and I.


The tour of the mine took approx 20 minutes which was just enough time to spend learning, before mining for gold in our pans.
We watched a short video and poor Joe Douglas was convinced he’d leave a millionaire, knowing how much gold was worth.
When they put two small flakes into a plastic tube for him he tossed it in my bag, completely dissappointed. 


Being the mom I am, I decided they’d really loved gem mining the first day, and this place had rave reviews for their gems, so I dished out another 50$ for a massive bucket of dirt for them to sift through before we made our way back to the cabin.  You can’t put a price on memories, ya know?
Honestly, it was the best money we’d spent the entire trip, and if I had it to do over we would have skipped the gem mining the first day and just gone here instead.
The gems were HUGE and it took the kids a solid half and hour to mine the entire bucket.
They LOVED it.
All of them.


They squeeled with excitement each time they uncovered another semi-precious stone and I knew I’d finally redeemed myself from the zoo experience. . .


Another thrill with Dahlonega was that there was a Chickfila approx 5 minutes from us, so we ate a second lunch (do packed lunches even count on vacay?) on our long and twisty ride back home to the cabin.
I was mentally exhausted and passed out on the sofa and woke up to the kids asking if we could carve pumpkins.
Anti-anxiety medicine also makes you very sleepy, incase you weren’t aware.
And between almost losing a kid in the river and then almost having a kid attacked by a turkey I was spent.

The kids carved their pumpkins and we watched Matilda while Jason cooked pork chops with some apple marinade he’d bought from the apple place the day before.


The next morning, the kids begged not to leave, but I assured them we’d definitely be back.
Maybe not until they’re all 156+, but honestly the thought of any of them driving those winding roads and steep terrains makes me even more nervous, so tbh we may be done road tripping to the mountains, for forever.

Until next time, Blue Ridge

here’s a look at the trip > > >

Blue Ridge, GA Family Vacation 2021


Blue Ridge, GA Family Vacation 2021

48 days, ladies and gentlemen.

That’s exactly how many days you have until Christmas.

Chances are, your wife is handling EVERYONE else’s gifts, but her own.
& that it’s entirely up to you.

I know you are super busy mowing the lawn, grilling, working 40+ hours providing shelter, food and more, but now is the time to ALSO start thinking about Christmas gifts for the one who takes care of everything else > > >
& I’ve been told by a very trustworthy source, that this job feels like eating nails to some.
That he’d rather “lay down on QUINTETTE ROAD in oncoming traffic” than start sourcing gifts to show his love and affection for another wonderful year of bliss.

For a man whose love language is PHYSICAL TOUCH and ACTS OF SERVICE, it’s been said that speaking his wife’s love language of GIFTS feels like an actual death sentence.

So what I am doing here, is taking one for the team.
Agreeing to all the ridicule that may come from it, in hopes that you won’t be one of the suckers who inevitably believes the amazon gift guide that tells you she TRULY wants, a velour oversized wearable sherpa blanket.
dear god.
please no.
WE NO NOT.


Thussss, I’ve created this guide FOR MY HUSBAND for anyone who may need it, as all of the results I found on my own research, via AMAZON TOP GIFT GUIDE FOR MOMS, GOOGLE TOP 2021 GIFTS FOR MOMS, came up empty for anything I’d actually wanted LEFT IN THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING wrapped neatly with a bow, under the tree, christmas morning. . . . . and know that whether they’ll admit it or not because they’re far nicer than I am, they’d much rather have one of the following, or all of the following> > >

I know many of yall have short attention spans, and scores and stats from yesterday’s games to check again for the 98th time, so let’s get to it.



1.) A relaxing Deluxe pedicure + foot massage at my fave nail spot is $50 > > >
((my fave local spot is HERBAL NAILS right over the bridges from Pace into Pensacola))

Want to make it a BIG GIFT she’ll love ?! 

Once every 6 weeks is 9 total pedicures to make it to next Christmas, with a price: $450
treat her to a YEAR of pedis, and offer to schedule it on a calendar now, and agree to watch the babes while she goes ! ! !

2.) Car wash pass: I loved this before it messed my fenders up so if you’re not worried about her ride and don’t enjoy hand washing it yourself, the monthly fee is $25 ((my fave was the one in front of walmart))

Maybe you’d rather someone lovingly care for her ride instead> > >
& in that case, a car detail after Christmas break would be super nice too!

Tony Gaines Jr ((on facebook)) is my fave detailer and it’s approx $200+ for a full detail service on your car, to have it feeling brand new! ! ! ((warning, she won’t want to drive it or let your kids in it ever again, once she sees how clean it is))

3.) Dyson blow dryer

I really didn’t understand the excitement over these things, but my sister had one and I used it on vacation and loved it.
Now that I have extensions I blow dry my ends more than usual so it could certainly come in handy but damnnnn $400 for a blow dryer has me feeling like I’d rather spend that on an actual Dyson vacuum cleaner instead 

Here is the link to the blow dryer or also a really nice vacuum. If you buy her this vacuum that’s on you though. I’d never suggest a vacuum as a christmas gift, ever.

4.) Speaking of cleaning, what’s one room she hates?!
Your laundry room?! The Pantry?! Master closet?!
The Attic?!
Would she love it organized!

Buy a gift certificate for a 4 hour organize from Emily from the OHM (Organized Home Mindset) on instagram

5.) Ok, so everything is clean. How are the towels and washcloths in your house holding up?!
These are my fave from Amazon, and having matching towels is truly a laundry game changer.

((Don’t use this as a BIG gift though. Or I wouldn’t, still, I’d much rather have $200 worth of new towels than a gift basket from Bath and Bodyworks. . .))  

BONUS Donate your used ones to your local animal shelter! 

6.) My own husband’s least fave
Honey dos are a great Christmas gift, and even better if you don’t ask for her help or complain the entire time you are leveling the 12 picture frames on the wall> > >

Last year it was the studio floor / gym floor. (Didn’t use much for either but it’s still so pretty ) !

But always a solid bet to change curtains or add a gallery wall without her begging you as a lovely Christmas surprise.

My favorite gallery wall frames are at Michael’s and are often buy one get one, and you can print b&w images from your most recent christmas pics from (Walgreens prints have really gone up in quality tbh) and they even allow upload right from your iphone! ! !



7.) Camera gear 

Every year I get tons of emails asking which camera / lens kit I suggest.
You must know, cameras are like cell phones, new ones come out each year with more features but a solid bet for this year is this one.

Skip the KIT and buy the BODY only, & then purchase a solid lens such as the 24-70 2.8, the 35mm 1.4 or the 50mm 1.4 instead!
Glass is good FOREVER!

You can also visit my friends at calagaz in Pensacola and buy as much local as you can!
They’re great with any questions you may have too!
 

8.) MY ONLINE CAMERA WORKSHOP

My Mom workshop: duh! It’s a no brainer for moms who want to take better photos with their cameras & possibly even make a six figure income on the side! ! ! ! !


9.) Luxe products: these are luxe to me (maybe way too luxe for some, and bare minimum for others)

My favorites to stock up on or wish for in my stocking are: 

Face Wash

Body lotion 

Face serum 

Deodorant 

Body Oil

Face mask 

10.) New birks, are neverrrrr a bad idea 
Unless she’s the wife that comments on my photos that birks with socks are tacky and if that’s her you prob should CX all the suggestions on this page tbh

Sizing is hard unless she owns a pair, then just buy more in that size > > > or look at her other shoe sizes and google it > > here’s the pair on my wish list this year



11.) Last name necklace is my absolute fave but you’ll need to message JEWELER’S TRADE ASAP to have in time for Christmas. Don’t stroll up there on Christmas eve and pray for a miracle > > >

12.) If you’re going to take the GIFT CARD ROUTE, at least do it where she can only spend it on herself!
Make it a Sephora or Ulta gift card, or Skims or similar!

She’s likely to spend target on groceries or more kids toys. 


13.) Luxury spa robe with this sleepy lavender rub from lush>>>> and some milky bath or other bubble bars to spice up bath night 

14.) Absolutely love this mug, that keeps coffee piping hot, but it is small and not car friendly so keep that in mind

 

15.) Forever roses! Eternity roses are a kardiashan inspired thing but I do love them and they do smell good, forever ! Super pricey but adorable and will last until next Christmas and beyond! ((if she doesn’t appreciate fresh flowers, I’d forgo this gift!))  

16.) Bedside journal, even better if you write the first page or two. . . But I’ll try and be realistic here > > >

 

17.) Louis Bumbag (my fave purse) is sold out but you can score one second hand that’s authenticated from Mercari! Make sure it comes with authenticate and also make sure if it doesn’t come with dust bag and box, you buy one to package in it yourself! 

18.) Calpak luggage carry on + checked matching set
((the hazel color is on my wish list this year!))

19.) THISSS Barefoot dreams throw blanket 

20.) Laser hair removal from GCPS
((hoping to get this for alllllll body parts from #dearjason, which would be the gift that keeps on givinggggg))

As always, you’re undying love, loyalty and commitment to her and the family you have created is the pinnacle of what Christmas is really about. If all else fails, makeout with her while riding the train seeing Christmas lights. . . Take her to a tree farm just to look at it. Ask her if she wants you to get down all her christmas decorations on November 7th. Run her a bath and light a few candles and then LEAVE HER ALONE for the rest of the evening.
Bring her her favorite starbucks coffee on a Sunday morning with her name labeled “Best Wife Ever” and so forth and so on.
ox



JB

I needed the job at the hospital because they paid for my school if I committed to work there when I graduated. I’d only earned the 75% in state scholarship and the grants for a “single mom” weren’t enough to cover the other 25%, plus my books, plus rent, plus my car payment, plus food. 

Jackson was only 2 and Jason had been nice enough to use his perfect credit score to help me get my “dream” mom car which was a Ford Expedition. 

12 MILES TO THE GALLON

The only problem was, I couldn’t afford the gas to drive it to and from our low income apartments to the hospital downtown, where I needed to put 40 hours in, at my slightly-over-minimum wage job. 

So I applied for child care benefits. 

If I coupled that assistance with my Pell grant assistance and also worked full-time while going to school full-time, I might break even every other Friday.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a $0.00 balance after working two weeks, because you owed your bank $600 in borrowed money and $200 in overdraft fees. . . 

Jason was working 10 hour days, weed eating on the side of the interstates & then going to school at night, and I was certain my “new” job in oncology was the start to a new and better life. 


(he never wore sunscreen working outside, and his skin always looked like this)


The day I dropped Jackson off to that daycare, he started sobbing, begging me not to leave. 
But I had to. 

My new manager had offered to let me park my car at her house, not far from his daycare so I could ride to & from work with her, so I’d save the gas.  ((thanks K!))

“The government wouldn’t cover daycare weekly at a place that wasn’t safe” I told myself &  nine long hours later, when I finally picked him up, he was still sobbing.

He didn’t eat dinner. 

He cried when we bathed him that night, pleading to not go back. 

It’s as if he was traumatized & even if he wasn’t, as a mother, 
I was. 

I hated myself. 

I hated our apartment. 

I hated that all of his bedroom decor was on a target credit card that I’d convinced my grandma to get, that I would never be able to pay her back for. 


(lit Target decor circa 2009, thanks GIGI)

I hated that the doctor I worked with didn’t run insurance on a close friend he was treating, but that a young mom with cancer died a few weeks later when the cancer overtook her, and we’d never failed to bill her insurance for every penny owed. 


I hated that at my new job, I came in earlier and stayed later than almost everyone in our office, and made far less than everyone, too. 

My kid deserved as much time with his mom as my co-workers kids did & when they were able to leave early for practice or came in late from doctors appointments, I was angry. 

But I knew it would take years of sacrifice to get to a place where I could afford that kind of freedom. 
Tenure, if you will. 

The time I’d have to trade would be all for nothing, as he’d be practically grown by then. 
But that’s how it works for most of us. 


The people at the bottom have to work the hardest and the longest for the least amount of money with hopes that one day they’ll work far less and for far more, but only if they  give it their ALL for the next 10, 15, 20 years. 

It’s the unwritten code of life. 


I remember when another mom I was working with, put her baby in childcare at six weeks old.
You can hardly give a puppy away at that age.”She won’t remember it,” she’d said. 
“And if it all works out, by the time she is old enough to know, I’ll be able to take her to and from ballet, pay for a vehicle to get her from point A and to point B, buy the tutus, leave work early, and so forth.” 

But chances were, she wouldn’t. 

The odds, weren’t in her favor. 

I know that, because that’s what my mom thought too. 

The thing about corporate America,
is the more they “give” you, 
the more they expect. 

When you can finally afford ballet lessons & the suv, you actually owe much more time and energy, so much in fact, that you have to have someone else take them and pick them up from ballet, while your suv sits parked because you’re stuck on a conference call until 6. 

The “middle class dream” was my life as a child & although I was thankful, I decided early on that I didn’t want that future for my own kids.

& ever since that government-funded daycare experience,

I swore I’d make my own decisions and make my own rules…
ones that always put my family and their future first.

 

(APARTMENT LIFE)

Jackson was in that daycare for less than one month before we were able to afford him private daycare.

No one gave us that > > > we worked our asses off for it. 

We were in our low-income apartment for less than a year, but only after I convinced one of our friends to go in with us on a rental house, which we shared until we could finally afford to buy a house of our own a few years later. (thanks meme)  

(IN ONE OF OUR FIRST RENTAL HOUSES
MY LOVE OF A GOOD GALLERY WALL EVIDENT, EVEN IN THE EARLY DAYS)

Some people now call me “entitled” after reading things I’ve written, not knowing just how hard I’ve worked to earn that backhanded diss. 

It’s literally my benchmark for success from those who don’t know me. 

It’s been said “It’s more fun to laugh in a kia than sob in a Lexus”
but I NEEDED to know what it felt like to smile in a Mercedes,
as I drove my kids to their private school,
Starbucks in hand with nowhere to be and nothing to do > > >
& let me tell you something > > > >

it.

feels.

amazing. 

Maybe you’re someone reading this whose never sobbed, dropping off your entire world, to a government-funded daycare, just to go and work a minimum-wage job with a couple hundred negative in your bank account. 
That’s ok.

Or

Maybe you’ve never driven a luxury car up the driveway of your dream home, furnished with white linen sofas, monogrammed hand towels & a pantry full of healthy snacks. 
No big deal.

I’VE DONE BOTH.  

& the point of all of this is, 

if I can go from there to here, 
you ABSOLUTELY can too. 

But PLEASE hear me when I say if I have learned ANYTHING on this journey this far, it’s this :::

I don’t need the house. 
Or the car. 

I only thought I did. 

All I’ve ever actually needed, was the reason, 
and as it turns out, I have had them all along. 


At first it was only one. 
Than two. 



Then I married him. 




& it became three. 
& now I’m up to FIVE of them.

 Because THEY deserved it. 
The best & only the best.


 

When I decided to NOT get an abortion at 17, people told me I was crazy and ruining my life.

When I decided to quit my third year of biology and my job at the hospital, for a high paying “risky” summer job, people told me I was crazy.


When I decided to quit that six-figure sales position with full benefits,
to spend more time with my family and work on my own hustle (a photography gig),
people told me I was a complete idiot.



&& don’t even get me started on what people thought about me buying an overgrown, mice-infested, no ac, or hot water hunting and fishing camp in the middle of Chumuckla, and turn it into an incredible wedding venue > > >



BURCH HOUSE ON CLOSING DAY

So whatever your questions are, 
about why I’m doing whatever I’m doing>>

simply know this,
that it’s the same as it has been since that day at drop off > > >

I am doing the best for them, that I know how” 

& tbh, 

best looks a lot different than it used to 

XX
jb

M o r e   i n f o