Two Years Later

I can’t believe it has been over two years since I last posted, publicly at least. The last post which I just released was written 2/28/2016 after my world was shattered by my ex-wife requesting a divorce. Things had been rough for a while, more so after Jaxson was born, but we both trudged through as long as we could. Trudging through, however, is not how a marriage should be lived, and therefore the choice to separate and ultimately divorce was for the best. We had both lost ourselves in our marriage and now at least we have the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves instead. We spent the better part of a year disentangling our lives and finally making our separation legal. The wounds have (mostly) healed, though I suspect we both still have some lingering scars that itch from time to time. For the most part our split was amicable and we are working it out as best we can in regards to Jaxson and his life, but there will always be some issues from time to time.

I will not speak ill of her whatsoever, however this blog will no longer be “Keeping Up With The Joneses”. Instead, it will be me writing about my life, about Jaxson still, and about what comes next. I can’t promise that I will be super active here and I even contemplated deleting the blog altogether (or at least setting it to private in the archives), however I wanted fellow TODDlings to still be able to find us for Jaxson’s sake. We are up to over 25 children we have found so far and we have a Facebook group where most of us collaborate and share pictures and we have even had some meet-ups. It is all very cool and different and a little scary, but in a good way. Jaxson has met two of his half-siblings so far and has even had the revelation that yes, this person shares a part of you, and look she has two moms just like you.

He has had a rough time with the transition from a two-mom home to having two moms separately. He has been in therapy for about 5 months now and things are slowly getting better. He is strong-willed, independent, but such a big love with a great big heart. He is the sweetest when he wants to be, and brilliant – absolutely, wildly intelligent. I know he is going to accomplish great things one day, and I also know all parents think this but we do especially think he is something special.

The first year after the divorce was hard, like possibly the hardest thing I’ve had to go through. We got together when I was 21, and I had never lived alone (roommates, but never by myself), and I not only had to live alone but move to a new city altogether! I ended up moving to Orlando to be close to my job and we sold our home and she moved to South Orlando so that we were closer but not too close so that I could see Jaxson more. She is ultimately moving again but that’s another post for another day.

After the first year of the separation went by, we finally had paid the court fees off and it was legal. We were officially 100% done and single. I had been lonely, I had looked online a couple times the year prior but I was quickly disgusted and turned off the dating apps. I just couldn’t yet. I wasn’t ready to even think about dating or being close to anyone again. I spent a year working on myself, losing weight, getting healthier, learning to be alone and getting to know me – the real me – and coming face to face with some truths that should have been apparent all along.

After the divorce was finalized I felt as if I were released. It was okay. I could go out and meet people and try to figure out how to date…since I’d never really done that but once before almost a decade ago. I signed up for two dating apps. I even met a nice girl and we talked for a little bit but then it fizzled and didn’t go anywhere. I had the option to search for girls and guys in this app…and one day I decided I’d check both boxes. It was something I’d known for a long time, but I am so black-and-white sometimes that I thought “Well I’m with a woman, so I must be a lesbian!” Meanwhile anyone prior to her had been men that I had been attracted to, aside from my best friend when I was 6. So I liked both genders? Well, yeah, I did. Because you know what, I fall for a¬†person not their genitals. And so I embraced that I was bisexual and therefore embraced myself for who I am 100% and lo and behold, he walked in to my life.

I saw the profile picture of Brandon with his cat and thought, aww that’s cute. You can always like a guy that likes cats. ūüôā I couldn’t think of anything to say and so I just favorited him. It was getting late and I couldn’t think of anything witty to say. A few minutes later I got a message saying hello and he had seen that I had favorited him and it was nice to meet me. We chatted for a few minutes since it was almost bedtime, but the ball had already started rolling. The whole next day we messaged each other, learning each others ins and outs and likes and dislikes. We spent the better part of the weekend chatting and I told him that I wanted to meet him. He was perfect on paper, I had to see it to believe he was real (he won me over saying for PB&J he holds the J and adds honey instead – a match made in heaven!). I had been upfront with him about having a child and that I was recently divorced, but I had one more thing to tell him and this would his test. I told him I had a secret, something I hadn’t told him yet and he asked me what it was. I told him that before I met him and wasted his time, I had to tell him that the reason Jaxson didn’t live with me was because he lived with his biological mom…my ex-wife. Brandon didn’t miss a beat and accepted it and told me he had a secret too. His secret was not a deal-breaker whatsoever, and so we met and went on our first date the following Tuesday.

It went perfectly. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and then walked around the area for almost 5 hours. I was worried we would have nothing to talk about and yet neither of us could get enough conversation with the other. And when the night was over, he walked me to my car and I half expected him to try to kiss me, but instead he just asked if a hug was okay. And when I felt his arms around me I knew that I had found home. Fast forward to today and we have been together for over a year now, and we are getting married next year on our 2nd anniversary. When you know, you know. Just like I knew I was supposed to marry Jenn, I knew I was going to marry Brandon too.

Brandon’s accepted me, my past, my child and resulting family structure, and everything else with grace and kindness. He is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is never jealous or worried about me or what I’m doing. He lets me be independent and free. He will join me on adventures by ourselves and outings with my friends, all of whom he has accepted as his own. He loves Jaxson and seeing them play together or read stories warms my heart.

As for Jaxson, he is adamant that he “does not want a dad because he does not like dads”. They will have their own relationship at one point I’m sure. They get along for the most part, aside from Jaxson’s strong-willed personality of wanting to do what he wants, when he wants to and not listening – but he does this with me as well, testing boundaries. He says it is my house so he only listens to me, however he doesn’t do that very well sometimes either. Part of this is typical strong-willed 5 year old, part of this is trying to withstand the changes happening in his life and family. I have asked him if he is okay with me getting married to Brandon and Brandon being around forever, and he says yes, but he doesn’t want to call him dad. I told him I would never expect him to unless he wanted to, and I know this is far from over but we are s l o w l y making progress with him transitioning to having two moms that are now separate plus a Brandon. He said he is worried Brandon will replace Mama (Jenn), but I assured him that was not the case and that he would always have Mama and Mommy, just not together. He’ll get there eventually. I was resistant to my step-dad coming into my life, and now I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Now this post ended up much longer than I was hoping, but I wanted you all to know that yes I am still here, we are still alive, and I’ll be back with more soon. I have many updates for Jaxson over the past two years!


Where Do We Go From Here?

Yesterday, Jax went to our friend’s house for the morning so that J and I could have an adult conversation. I had been “forewarned” about the conversation the day before at work, and I was all nerves about what it could be. I knew it had been a rough two weeks since I had started my new job 2 hours away, and I knew it was a strain on her being the sole caregiver all day every day. I also knew she’d been unhappy for quite some time and despite trying to go out with friends more to “find the fun”, she was still miserable. I tried to be accommodating and let her go out as much as she wanted, but I was starting to feel lonely. I got one day a week to stay and hang out with a friend after work, and it made me so happy. We both got to play at being single and we both liked it. It was easy, easier than it should have been.

And so at our talk yesterday, there were so many tears. And she broke my heart. She is my first love and now, my first loss. We have decided to separate, with the intent to divorce in mind. I never wanted this to happen. I was raised that you grow up, find ” the one”, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. And yesterday that ended.

Now my future is terrifying, unclear, and completely different than what it was supposed to be. We still love each other, which makes it harder I think than if we hated each other, although that would be worse for Jaxson. We are on the same page as to how to handle him and co-parenting. We are on the same page when it comes to taking care of him the rest of his life and how to handle expenses in the future like braces, activities, and college. We are both still his parents, and always will be.

She told me she was worried that I would just leave once she told me. I told her she was ridiculous, that I would never jeopardize Jaxson being okay, nor would I hurt her like that. But I will be moving closer to work during the week, coming home once during the week and then on weekends so I can see and spend time with Jax and so she can have a mid-week break.

For now…we don’t even know where to start. She moved into our spare room on Jaxson’s side of the house and let me keep the master at least while I still have to get up and travel to work daily so I don’t wake him up. That’s about all we know right now. I just feel so lost and alone and so so scared.

My entire future started 8 years ago, and now it’s going to be completely different. We were going to have another baby…now I’ll have to do it alone. Everyone keeps saying, don’t think that way, you could find someone else, but right now it just feels like I won’t. And I don’t want to. I found the person I wanted to spend my life with and now I’ve lost her. I feel like I failed in some way at our marriage, and being a straight A student I’m very upset about this F.

I just feel so lost and confused and just broken hearted. She was my first relationship and now my first heart break. I feel like a 13 year old girl who just lost her first love and I’m just so tired of crying.


So, today is Thanksgiving…

My wife hates Thanksgiving, always has, always will. I know some people balk when we say that, but hear me out. We’re not huge fans of the food and my wife’s birthday is Nov. 26 and so nearly always falls right near Thanksgiving (or like this year, it’s actually ON Thanksgiving). This meant a childhood¬†of no birthday parties with friends since everyone’s usually travelling or spending time with family during the holidays, having a meal for your birthday that you don’t really care about (steak please?!), not to mention desserts that give you no joy (she’s not a pumpkin fan either). And talk about stress getting everything presentable and spending the day in the kitchen! Plus, its an awful holiday. Shouldn’t we be thankful¬†every day? It’s not even about giving thanks anymore, its about stuffing your face as quickly as possible so you can get out and go shopping that evening (because Black Friday has now become Black Thursday). Anyway…

I wish I could say this year is different for her…but her birthday actually falls on Thanksgiving. We somehow ended up putting on dinner again this year. At least we control the food so we can keep the sugar and carbs in check, but it sucks because she’s upset with the whole Thanksgiving thing. I wanted to buy her a steak for her birthday and grill it without her knowing, but there was just no way I could pull that off! I wanted to give her something good this year, so¬†I asked her what dessert she wanted me to make for her “cake” and she¬†decided on a Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! So she’s excited about that. She’s not excited about the stress of cooking that huge of a meal (24 lb turkey!) and having 4 kids and 10 adults crammed into our smallish house (where do we seat everyone?! at least we have a large porch!) on a day that¬†should be all about her.

So to me, today is not Thanksgiving, it is her birthday. The day to celebrate that she came into this world so she could grow up and I could fall in love with her! Without her, there would be no Jaxson. Without her, there would be no Bubba (our cat). Without her, there would not be the home we share or the large family to share this Thanksgiving with. And so for her Thanksgiving, just like everyday, I am just so thankful for my beautiful wife. She is truly amazing and I am so lucky to have her. She busts her ass every day to take care of our son and keep our house running smoothly. She shops, prepares, and cooks all of our meals. She cleans our home and keeps it pristine! All this while making sure our son is a well-adjusted human and gets the proper social interaction and physical activity every single day. She has the most thankless full-time-with-mandatory-overtime-24/7 job in the world Рnot to say being a stay at home mom is not rewarding in its own way Рbut so many times the importance of her job and the contributions she makes to our family is vastly unappreciated and overlooked by virtually everyone.

Even I, sometimes, forget to say thank you. Of course I am always grateful for her and the amazing things she accomplishes every day, and I am thankful for the sacrifices we have made so she can¬†stay home with Jaxson. I know its not easy for her, just like its not easy for me to get up and go to work every day, but she doesn’t get a choice of going to work or having a sick day – her job is 24/7. Her job is nights, weekends, overnight…endless dishes and cooking and playdates…with no time for herself.

I wish we weren’t struggling financially, so that for her birthday I could have given¬†her the massage and the haircut and the day that is only¬†about her. The day she deserves! I hate that I wasn’t able to do these things for her, because she gives so much of herself to do so much for us. I hate that I could only get her a card from me, a card from Jaxson, and a chocolate bar. I hate that our gift is¬†so¬†minuscule¬†in scale to the gift she gives our family every day. She deserves the world on a platter, not¬†just a candy bar.

So, Wife (since I know you’re reading this ;)), I want you to know that not for Thanksgiving, not just for your birthday, but every single day, I am so thankful for you. I am so thankful that you came into my life when you did, that you love me like you do, that you gave us our beautiful son, that you have literally sacrificed everything to stay home with him, and that you have¬†so selflessly taken on this role in our family. I just want you to know that I truly appreciate everything you do for us and I love you so much! From the bottom of my heart,¬†THANK YOU!¬†You are my everything and I’m so glad you were born!



P.S. Just to update, our Thanksgiving was awesome. Everyone got along great, had a nice time, and all the food came out at the same time. I busted my ass today and cooked everything (except the dressing!) and kept kicking J out of the kitchen so she didn’t have to do anything. Inadvertently, I gave her the gift of a day where she didn’t have to lift a finger, and she said that was the best gift I could have given her. Success! It was a wonderful day, and J also got lots of Starbucks cards so she was excited about that! And she liked the chocolate bar Jax and I got her very much. Yay! ūüôā

Truck or Treat

Today was Truck or Treat Day at our library and they had so many cool things for Jax to see! They had a power truck, a tractor, a bulldozer, two fire trucks (one with a ladder!), an ambulance, a semi, a dump truck, a stretch Escalade limo, a bomb squad truck, a big truck with a crane, and a police car!

Jaxson didn’t like the loud horns  honking but he did love seeing the fire trucks. He kept waving and saying hi to the firemen and wanted to go in the fire truck twice. We asked him if he wanted to be a fireman when he got bigger and he said yes. ūüôā

He came away with some yummy candy too, which of course he was excited for. It was great to get outside and enjoy this “cool” weather (it was only 84* out today) with a nice breeze. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, we sure are!








Quick Little Updates

I got a job! And just in time since J’s job ends in October. I had my first day and orientation today and I’m excited. My mom works there too so it will be nice to be back working with her again (I’ve followed her from job to job for the past ten years lol). There are also lots of former coworkers there so lots of familiar faces.

As you know, our last cycle was negative. We decided to sit this cycle out, in case J had cysts from last cycle and also because we don’t have a new donor picked out yet. Plus this month is going to be very stressful adjusting to different income and gaining/losing employment.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to cut out sugar from our diets. We are two days in now and already feeling better. My cousin helped us out with a meal plan and recipes. She’s had great success and looks fabulous now! Since we were already breaking from baby making this month, it seemed like a good idea to get set up now and up our chances when we do try again.

Which will be soon, I hope. We are so ready for this baby. Our little man isn’t so little anymore and is constantly on the go. He’s such a joy (and sometimes frustration). He’s so amazing and sweet and good too. Just a genuinely good kid. We are so lucky.




Fucking Ridiculous

I found out on June 17th that I’m losing my job on June 30th. Count ’em – that’s only 9 working days notice! I’ll be honest, I’m not shocked, but I am surprised they gave us such short notice. They sent us some bullshit letter about how they sort of knew but didn’t want to tell anyone. What?! At least we could have been planning this whole time instead of being blindsided. I’ve been doing contract-based work for about a year and half, since our company bought our building from a large financial institution that was looking to cut some costs. I’ve been on 3 different projects since they took over, had benefits whose costs keep escalating, and lived in constant fear that “this would be the month” that they let us all go. Over the past few months, I’ve watched numerous co-workers and friends flee the company to more stable jobs or be let go (they like to call it “furloughed” and then they never bring you back), always clinging on to some stupid hope that it wouldn’t happen to me. My pay is phenomenal – thanks to the large financial institution hiring me in at that pay (we haven’t gotten raises in close to 3 years) which our current company kept paying us. So we’re a little stressed out that I’m losing my pay. But I’m not stressed about losing this place. Honestly, I’m rather relieved.

It’s awful to have to come to work at a place you absolutely loathe, that offers you no incentive or enrichment. Sure the pay was great, but the mental stress of having to deal with fearing for your job on the daily has taken its toll. I’m tired. I’ve already started putting in job applications and started cutting back on some of our monthly costs to hopefully keep us floating above water until my unemployment pay kicks in. I hope I can move into another job quickly so it won’t get too bad. We’ll figure it out though, we always do. At least my company decided to open up overtime for us to finish out our work before the 30th, so I’m banking in on some 13-14 hour days next week to get as much as I can, plus working 8-5 today.

This all wouldn’t be as bad if J wasn’t also losing her job toward the end of the year. We actually found out at the beginning of June that this was happening, but at least she had four months’ notice. We were planning around me still having my job, so of course those plans had to be thrown out of the window and completely rewritten. Even through all of this stress, we both agree that it feels like we’re being “guided” in some direction, toward some other path. I know that things will work out in the end, they always do, but its still just frustrating and stressful to have to deal with it at all.

On the bright side is Jaxson. He’s so amazing, when he’s not hitting or kicking us or being a “naughty boy” on purpose. He’ll even tell you: “I’m not nice boy, I’m naughty boy” like in Walmart last night when he would. not. cooperate. Mostly though, he really is a nice, good boy. He has such a kind heart and such love for his mommies. He gives the best snuggles and kisses and ugga-muggas (rubbing noses). He loves his stuffed animals, and bring them everywhere. Swimming is one of his favorite activities, and he can now swim around both grandparents’ pools on his own (with floaties of course). He can have full conversations with you now, and you can understand so much of what he says. He knows all of his colors, shapes, and ABCs, and about half his numbers 1-10. The thing that comes along with this boost in vocabulary, however, is that he is now repeating literally everything we say. In fact, last night, Jaxson says: “That’s fucking ridiculous!” Well, yes it is buddy, but I think it’s time we implement some censorship for J and I. ūüôā

Plans, They Change Again (and Again)

We got my negative results on May 28. I was a wreck, both of us were. We were so sure it would be a positive, despite all the negative home pregnancy tests. I cried for days, I couldn’t sleep, I hated my body and the Universe for making my body so damn difficult. I was grieving, for all intents and purposes, for the baby my body wanted but didn’t have. I think the blow was harder, too, because we literally have no way to pay for another IUI cycle for me with injectables or even IVF, and we don’t want to put baby #2 on hold for an unknown amount of time to save up for it. We were stuck and devastated and wondering what we’d do next. Once reason returned and the tears dried, we could finally sit down and make a decision that made sense to our heads as well as our hearts.

In the week leading up to my negative blood test, we had started weighing our options again if this cycle didn’t work out. Originally, we had 6 vials of our donor sperm left. We had wanted to try four times with me and then if I didn’t get pregnant, we’d switch to trying twice with J. Since we had that crappy vial, we only have two left in storage. (At least we got our refund for our dud vial and in a strange turn of events, found out that our sperm bank has relocated to Orlando! Now we can just go and pick up our vials for $50 versus the $175 shipping cost from their prior location in NYC, which is just awesome.) If I were to try again right now, my next step is an injectables-only IUI cycle, which means loads of money we just don’t have to pay for the medication and the cycle, and the risk that we wouldn’t get pregnant again and we’d only have one vial left. We don’t like our chances with IUI + injectables and would rather just go for it with IVF if I’m going to have do an injectables-only cycle. Either way, we can’t afford that right now.

We have almost enough left in savings to do another Clomid IUI cycle, so when we are ready to get back to it, I won’t be the one trying to get pregnant. Since J was such a straightforward case at the RE, we’re going to try with our remaining two vials of sperm with her instead. We may still end up needing to borrow money from family to keep going, but one more try for me with injectables would essentially cost the same as two more Clomid tries for her – the same number of vials remaining. Obviously I’m not responding well to the medication/protocol at a level we’re comfortable with since I can only get one follicle each time and it takes FOREVER (for comparison, J had 4 the first time and 2 the time we got pregnant with Jaxson). So we don’t want to waste these last two vials of our donor on me when I’m having such a hard time responding properly and not getting pregnant. Not to mention, the side-effects from some of the medication and the numerous doctor’s appointments have me missing work which means no pay. Additionally, my job doesn’t offer any type of maternity leave aside from 6 weeks of short-term disability at 60% of my pay, which would not be enough to pay our bills. And since I already have FMLA that I use for my chronic health condition, we’d run the risk of me not having enough left to offer job protection during my pregnancy/maternity leave. Since J already works from home, basically has guaranteed pay/job security (and flexibility!), and is already taking care of Jaxson at home, it just seems like the smarter choice to have her get pregnant since she can still work, get paid, and stay home with our babies.

Sure, we could just wait a few years and try to save up for IVF, but that’s not a guarantee that we’d be able to save up enough. Plus, we are ready for another baby now and J’s only getting older, so we’ve decided to take the next two months or so to get back on track diet-wise and get her body ready to do this so we can move forward. J’s actually really excited to get the chance to have a “do-over” since her pregnancy with Jax was so stressful and she didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it. She even told me the other day that I was so great to her while she was pregnant, and I’m excited to be there to support her again while she grows our next baby! I’m thinking/hoping it will be the end of July/beginning of August when we’ll be ready to start trying again and while it means that I won’t be getting pregnant, it does mean that we have a chance at having another baby sooner rather than later and we are so lucky to have two uteruses in this relationship!

This isn’t necessarily the end of the road for me, though. We’ve also discussed in great length that we would not be opposed to having more than two children should our circumstances allow us to afford IVF for me to get pregnant in the future. We both want me to be able to have this experience but since I need the “big guns” of injectables, we’d rather do IVF to up our chances even more than just doing injectables with IUI again. I’m sad that I won’t be pregnant right now, but at least we don’t have to completely say no to me getting pregnant in the future instead. I’ve still got 7 years until I’m 35 after all! I’m just so glad that J is willing to carry again to give us our next baby. We’re just hoping she’ll have no problem getting pregnant this time around, and hey – maybe it’ll work on the first try and we’ll have that last vial left over for me in the future!

It’s not what we had planned, but we’re quickly learning that our lives are never going to go according to our plans and we need to learn to adapt and let go. The end result is still baby #2 and that’s really all we want, no matter whose uterus it comes from! I just think its funny how I always wanted to be a Pinteresty-type Mom and she always wanted to be a working woman, and here we are with our roles reversed – her being a stay-at-home mom (although she is a working woman too!) and me breadwinning with my bank job. God sure does have a sense of humor, doesn’t he?

Written June 1, 2015.

Update 6/2/15: Well, we just found out today that J will no longer have her work-at-home job by the end of this year. While we are freaking out and wondering how on earth we’ll make it, we know that we’ll figure it out. We are already taking steps and making plans so that she can continue to stay home, versus finding an out of home job to basically just pay for daycare for Jaxson. We are going to go ahead and try to get her pregnant with our last two vials in the meantime, and we are really hoping at least one try will work! She’s really been down on her job lately and hating how much time its taking away from her spending time with Jaxson, so at least on that front it will be better to no longer have it. She said she felt so guilty that she wanted to stay home, and I told her that in that case, I feel guilty that I want her to stay home, too. We really don’t want Jax to go into daycare just yet, so anything I/we can do to prevent that would be awesome. Wish us luck…we’re going to need it!

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