Monday, April 20, 2015Posted by Jena Roach
Last night, while pounding half a tube of glorious Nestle Toll House, Grahm and I were talking about life here in San Antonio. Three years ago, we moved to the land of bluebonnets and sweat with nothing but a nearly empty bank account, a full-size mattress, boxes of unopened wedding presents, and an excitement for beginning our new life. Here's the thing. When you uproot your life and leave essentially every friend and familiarity you've ever known, you wonder when you're going to be out of the woods. Out of those lonely, maneuvering-through-the-bear-shit, will-I-ever-feel-at-home-again trees that can make you disoriented and bitter and equipped with the ever-present desire to eat your feelings.
Slowly, we meandered out of the friendless forest and found community within our church. It was a painfully slow process. The transition from "Hi, we're the Roaches; please like us despite our last name and our needy expressions" to feeling comfortable inviting someone to enjoy a meal with us was no walk in donut park.
Flash forward two years later. I have this tiny, perfect infant in my arms. My milk-crusted shirt (cause mama ain't got the energy to put on a bra), eye bags the size of soccer balls, and mommy mush brain made me the poster child for NyQuil and loneliness. The desire for someone to talk to (besides hubby dearest) was as real as my hankering for my sweet baby to sleep through the night.
The need for real friendships (the "hey, can you come over because I haven't had a conversation with someone other than my four-month-old pet rock and the cashier at Target and I just really need to feel normal even though I haven't showered in three days" kind) escalated when Sawyer entered my world. When you're ankle deep in diaper changes and counting the minutes till your husband gets home, you look around your empty house and begin to beg for companionship and solidarity... despite how happy you are to be doing exactly what you're doing.
I began to pray for deep friendships, for women I could relate to and love and encourage during this wonderful and really hard life transition. And the weirdest thing happened. He answered. San Antonio doesn't look like it did three years ago. I no longer have a running mental countdown of when we can move back to familiarity and old friendships. We are happy here. We feel at home. We are finally out of those God-forsaken woods and feeling like this city is where our family is meant to be.
I guess what I'm saying, kids, is you can live anywhere as long as you have real friendships with real people who really just get you. Words cannot express how thankful I am for the women in my life, pictured and not. Friendship really is the best ship to be in.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015Posted by Jena Roach
Nothing screams success quite like eating leftover chocolate cake with your child's (dirty) plastic fork while watching someone else do your taxes. Your naked toddler is getting her loaded-diaper groove on to "Blank Space" in the corner (Who put baby in the corner?), and your husband is slowly shaking his head with each number crunch...
If there's one thing this Professional Writing major enjoys, it's a good numbers game. I speak the language of 20-percent-off sales and Hobby Lobby coupons and marked-down prices in the clearance aisle of Target. See? Numbers... ish.
But taxes? Oy to the veh.
April 14 has been the same in our household the last few years. The day of intaxication. I do my part (gathering all the necessary documents that have come in the mail the last few weeks). And Grahm does his part (everything else). Yeah, we're those people. The ones who literally wait until the very last possible minute. (In case of fire, you should probably call someone else.)
As I watched that handsome guy I married stare at his computer and mutter amusing political quips about Obama (cause everything's his fault, duh), I stewed on how grateful I am to have someone who a) knows his way around Turbo Tax and b) doesn't treat me like the IR-No.
Maybe I've been eating too much of this yummy chocolate cake, but I think there's a tendency in all of us to view our relationships like paying taxes. There's a sense of obligation, entitlement, and return. We feel like we've been serving and serving our spouses and our friends and our children. Our money has been continuously taken out of our checks. Day in and day out, we've poured our time, our energy, and slivers of our souls into people. And by golly, they better pay us back. A big ass return check better be in the mail.
I wonder what it would look like if we loved people without wanting or expecting a return check? What if we abandoned our agendas and our tit-for-tat perspectives and just got on our knees to wash one another's feet? Tonight (and every night) I'm thankful for a husband who gives me a better picture of what a servant really should be,* even through something as dreary as paying Uncle Sam for his math-incompetent wife.
Loving me can be pretty darn taxing (ba dum tshhhh).
*Gal 5:13-14 and 1 Peter 4:10-11
Monday, April 13, 2015Posted by Jena Roach
Testing, testing... is this thing on?
In an unlikely turn of events, blogging has managed to seduce me back to her quirky world of open letters, hodgepodge tutorials, GIFs, and house tours that make you want to set your furniture on fire for the chance to buy something more Pinterest-board worthy. (Oh, just me?) Instead of running away as a sane person probably should, I found myself flocking to her temptation like that girl unable to resist a Saturday-morning trip to the donut shop. What can I say? I love a good apple fritter.
Recently Roached, like my pre-stretchmark self, is still a whisper of the past.
This little space now has a new name, because I am not who I was when I began this documenting adventure in our 400-square-foot apartment so long ago. I am no longer a newlywed, learning the nuances of sharing a bed with (gasp!) a boy or attempting dinner for (gasp!) a hungry boy. Though "she burned meals" and "he stole the cubbies" will probably be intricately carved on our headstones when we're pushing up daisies, I wanted the chance to begin anew. A fresh page for our bustlin' and ever hustlin' family of three. Plus, my buggy last name is already part of our Wifi name (Roach Motel), so I feel fairly certain I've fully covered all of my insect obligations for this lifetime.
We are a nest full of many things. A nest full of laughter. Chipotle bowls. Sticky floors. DIY attempts. Unfolded laundry. Panera runs. Grace upon grace upon grace. Baby giggles. Naps. Netflix binges. Meal planning and meal burning. Aggressive cuddling. And an hourly need for Jesus.
I don't pretend to know a lot. And I won't pretend to say anything that hasn't already been said by every other mommy blogger on the stratosphere. But maybe, in my own fart-joke, slap-yo-mamma kind of way, I can make you laugh as you read about our journey through parenting our red-headed wild child, home ownership, marriage, and every frozen pizza in between. So stick around, and I promise to blog as infrequently as I darn well please.
I was all, "Babe, can you take pictures of me?"
And he was all, "Only if you do that melodramatic half-smirk thing."
Happy to oblige.
at 9:17 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2014Posted by Jena Roach
I have a new boss, a new little lady that I'll be answering to every day.
She's a bit demanding at times. I mean, she eats a lot. She needs my help getting anywhere. She even needs me to wipe her fanny... but she sure looks cute in a headband. And her snuggles are like a warm slice of heaven that I can't seem to get enough of.
I'm officially a stay-at-home mom now, which (unless you have a really weird relationship with your boss) you probably guessed.
Since Grahm and I made this decision last week, it's amazing how much my eyes have been opened to the negativity surrounding it. It's obviously not something that our culture necessary applauds. What? You want to stay home all day and change diapers? You want to give up adult interactions? You want to abandon your career for something so seemingly trivial? What a waste.
This attitude is even dominant with stay-at-home moms themselves, who constantly talk about how difficult, exhausting, and lonely it is to raise children "for a living." And I get that. I've only been with Sawyer for 6 weeks, and I already understand the hardships of the job. No one is denying the challenges. In fact, I think there is something to be said of being honest about them: "Hey I don't have it all together. My house is a wreck. I don't get to shower until my husband gets home, and that's if I get one. When Sawyer cries, I don't always know what to do. And sometimes my greatest accomplishment of the day is brushing my teeth and taking a nap with my daughter."
There's power in dropping the pretenses.
But sometimes I wonder if, in the desire to be transparent, we aren't focusing on the wrong things.
I think of my own mother who stayed at home with three little ones, three and under. I have no idea how that worked. Can you imagine what a trip to the grocery store would have been like? Remaining sane, let alone happy, sounds like a challenge. But she didn't complain about how hard it was... she just did it, and she was truly overjoyed to do so. Even today she tells me those were the best years of her life.
Being a stay-at-home mom is not something I have to do, it's something I get to do. I already know it's going to be hard, so why let that be my only focus each day? It'll be difficult, but it'll be worth it and I want to focus on the "worth it" part of motherhood. I want to enjoy the days I'm blessed to spend snuggling with my sweet baby girl, not concentrate on the challenges.
There are enough stay-at-home moms complaining; the world doesn't need another one.
at 9:36 AM
Thursday, March 6, 2014Posted by Jena Roach
Sawyer is officially a month old, and I'm just now posting pictures of the nursery. Mom of the year over here. I know y'all have been on the edge of your pantaloons to see it. (Ha.) Let's just pretend the lighting is good in these photos cause Sawyer unfortunately doesn't nap at ideal picture-taking opportunities. Silly little lady.
I've grown to love this little space--my daughter's room--still a weird but wonderful thing for me to say. It's loud. Colorful. And unmistakingly a girl's room, which I will probably regret when we have a boy next... but whaddya gonna do.
This room has already seen tears, contractions, laughter, lullabies, feedings, and poop. Lots and lots of poop... I'm excited to see what other dandy things her nursery has in store.
I could not have done this without my amazingly crafty mamma. She sewed the crib skirt and those fabulous curtains for the bay window. She also helped me make the flower mobile. Seriously, she has more talent in her left nostril than I will ever have.
WeShe should start an Etsy shop or something...
So here ya have it. More pictures of Sawyer's nursery than you ever wanted to see...
Bookcase: Land of Nod
Crib: Jenny Lind via Target
Rocker: Layla Grayce (no longer available)
End Table: Kirklands
Ottoman: Rug USA
Elephant Hamper: Home Decorators
Crib Skirt: Land of Nod
Changing pad Cover: Land of Nod
Throw pillows: Home Goods
Pallet Art: DIY
Headband Holder: DIY
Floral Curtains: DIY (Thanks, Mommy!)
Crib Skirt: DIY (Thanks again, Mommy!)
Felt Floral Mobile: DIY
at 8:30 AM