New beginnings and goals

For the first time ever I have picked a focus word for the year.

We have lived in our new home for several months now. Owen moved up in November, and due to some generosity on the part of Owens parents, all of our belongings came with him. We loaded everything into the bonus room and I started unpacking. I unpacked all the books I could fit on our selves and then I pretty much stopped.

Part of the problem is a serious lack of storage space in this house. When it was built most people didn’t have much excess belongings. You just didn’t own 10 throw blankets and two sets of sheets for 6 beds. Nor did you own two weeks worth of clothes. Also, if you owned a drawer full of paperwork, you could afford to buy storage because paperwork equaled money.

Now people need more storage. Or at least they think they do. My first goal for the year is going to be to sort through all the stuff we don’t have storage for. We have boxes and boxes of clothes that don’t currently fit anyone and, since we are not having more children, it is time to pull one or two favorite outfits to keep as memorabilia and donate the rest. It’s also time to donate the baby bassinet. Every one of my children slept in it, and it is in perfect condition. Then I can start on the hard things… the “stuff” we have acquired over the years.

While I am getting the house organized I am also planning to make a concentrated effort to get our lives themselves more organized. To help with this I have started a bullet journal! I also bought a large wall calendar to keep everyone’s schedules sorted. We haven’t had one since California, and we keep missing events we wanted to attend. Or I miss performances at the kids schools. The calendar should be here this week and I already have the perfect place in mind to hang it up!

So that’s my first big goal for the new year! Do you have a focus word or a big goal you are working towards? Do you have a bullet journal you love to talk about?


Life Restarted

Sometimes something makes it necessary to restart the life you are living. It can be almost anything. It could be a failed marriage. It could be the death of a loved one. It can be a natural disaster.

In my family it was finding out without a shadow of a doubt that your daughter is being verbally and emotionally abused by someone close to them. That information sped up our two year plan to get the heck out of California, a state we could not afford to live in with our large family.

So we did it. First, we started a GoFundMe to get as much money as we could in a desperate attempt to have the money to move. We packed up our family with almost no money, only bringing what fit into the Suburban my parents gifted me days before our move. We drove up the I-5 and ended our journey in Washington state. We had nowhere to live, so we camped for the first week we were here. We had promises from Wounded Warrior Project that they had connections with a Vet care charity that would get us into a house when we got here… but while we were driving up here that charity switched all current funding to Hurricane Harvey survivors… or so we were mistakenly told. We started looking for other options to get the almost $3000 we would need to move into a house, but were struggling to come up with it.

We kept looking and finally found a place with a very understanding landlord who was willing to hold the house for us for a week if we could come up with the money. Owen had to leave the kids and I alone in an iffy-at-best motel to return to his job at the Downtown Los Angeles Kaiser. As panic that we were going to be homeless in a Washington winter began to set in a Friend, who I know for a fact doesn’t want their name advertised publicly, called Owen. Our Friend called him and basically informed him he was giving us the money (on loan) to get into our house and pay to transfer Owens MA to Washington so he could get a job here in Washington and rejoin his family.

Three days later we moved into our new home in a little town called Hoquiam, WA.

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The house was built in 1907, which is freaking awesome. Anybody that knows me knows I prefer to live in older homes or maybe someday build an off-grid tiny home or Earthship home. The iffy looking home on the left of this picture is looking much better now than it did in this picture. That home is in the process of being flipped by the guy who owns it currently. They found out we had small kids and did an amazing job of getting up basically every scrap of wood or paint or nails that they had dropped.

Anyways. So that is where we are. The kids are all in school. I am home alone all day every day. I find I don’t like it. Once my health stabilizes post move I will be looking for a part time or full time job. Owen just got a job at a Kaiser clinic in Olympia. Its far in distance, but the morning commute takes the same time or a little less time than the morning commute into LA is. He will be rejoining us right around the beginning of November. The kids are bummed he won’t be here for Halloween, but they knew there was a chance he wouldn’t be here in time for Christmas… So they are stoked he isn’t going to miss the birthday/holiday gauntlet that starts with Alexander’s birthday on November 21st, goes straight to Thanksgiving a few days later, then to Aeddon’s birthday on December 16th, Christmas, then Owen’s birthday and New Years eve, both of which are on December 31st. We are also trying to decide as a family if we will be celebrating Hanukkah this year even though we cannot celebrate it with the Leventhals. Its also going to feel very wrong to not celebrate Thanksgiving with them. We will figure it all out though.

We are also trying to figure out how we are going to get all of the rest of our belongings to Washington. Owen, the two cats, my fish, and a ton of clothes, toys, books and a large TV, two bookshelves are Not all going to fit in our van…. which is also in California with Owen. Because we were not expecting his job search to go so fast we don’t have enough money saved up yet for him to rent a moving truck and a vehicle tow trailer. We need around $2500 to get it all up with Owen. The other option is to have Owen put what he can in the van, the rest into storage and then find another $100 or so a month in our budget to keep it in storage for the next six months minimum it will take us to save up that much money.

I also want to take a minute to thank everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe and to the people who either bought my children books (ours are all still in California) or helped us in some other way. I want to thank the friend who sent us a gift that enabled me to buy a used full size washing machine and dryer. Washing the clothes in the tub and hang drying them over heater vents was impractical to say the least. You have all made this move better and smoother and I am  extremely grateful to every one of you that contributed, whether through money or the time to pray for us or send us good vibes.


I am going to do my best to start blogging regularly. I need something to at least mentally get me out of my lonely-during-the-daytime house and I need to at least feel like I am communicating with other adults. I also tend to actually leave my house more when I have a reason.

So that is where I am and where my family is.

Talk to you all later.

I failed a lot, and that is ok!

This year was extremely hard for me. I tried to keep track of this year better by keeping a planner like I used to when I was younger.

I bought all the things I would need to keep a Travelers Notebook planner, and for a while I did a good job!

As the year continued I grew more and more dissatisfied with the Travelers Notebook, and by July I had completely removed it from my purse and it had taken up residence on my dresser. Every day I look at my beautiful Mellonjournal personalized Fabridori covered Travelers Notebook and I feel like I failed at the simple task of keeping track of what I did each day. I have thought about it a lot and I think that my problem is that the TN wants me to be too in charge of how I keep track.

I am going to try again next year, but I am going to try a new format. My dream format to try next is an Erin Condren Life Planner. I like that the monthly calendar for each month is at the beginning of that months weekly/daily pages. Less flipping from section to section that way! The hardest part for me is picking which gorgeous cover I want and bringing myself to pull the trigger on that price tag. I know I easily spent that much trying different things with my TN this year, but I have a harder time spending lots of money on myself all at once than I do spending a lot in little bits here and there.

These are the two covers that I am leaning towards. I think both are very me. Both options would end up with the vertical layout in the Neutral color scheme. Both would end up with a black coil.

So that is my planner/life organizing failure for the year.

Then there is my failed reading goals for the year. I set myself a goal for a book a week. I read less than one a month. I know that my biggest problem with reading is that I hate doing it in little snippets. I want to sit and read for hours at a time, and that is often not possible due to being a mom to 5. At night once they are in bed I feel bad for reading instead of spending what little time I get with my husband. Here is my year of reading according to Goodreads.  I feel a lot worse about this than I should because I have acquired enough new books this year to almost have finished my reading challenge… all the books that came in my OwlCrate subscription and a *few* more I found myself purchasing at Barnes and Noble. My name is Jaclyn Bailey and I am a book and yarn hoarder.


Heartless was probably my favorite read of the year.

Another goal failure for this year was my knitting/crocheting goals for the year. I wanted to complete 4 small projects or one large project worth of work every month. I have 8 completed projects total and 6 WIPs! Not my best year as a knitter/crocheter.


This baby blanket I have been crocheting for a friends baby is probably one of my favorite things I have made this year, and it isn’t even done yet! I got it mostly done and then proceeded to lose all of my darning needles. I really do need to pick it back up and get to work on it again…. I just haven’t.

My last big goal I failed at this year is my weight loss goal. I wanted to lose weight this year. I am big enough that I qualify as morbidly obese. I am not ashamed of my weight since mine was come by honestly due to 85% health issues and only 15% bad eating proportions. I know that losing weight would help some of my pain issues, but I hurt too bad to do much more than barely function most of the time and strenuous activity typically leads to days of recover afterwards. It is getting to be enough of a problem that I am considering medical intervention, but there is no way I will do that while we are still on Medi-Cal. I just don’t trust that system enough since I am still trying to get diagnosed with whatever caused my stroke.


You know what though? I am ok with all of this. I spent a ton of quality time with my kids. I got myself completely out of my wheelchair. I only spent 1/3 of my year bedbound as opposed to last year where I was bedbound 3/4 of the year. I have helped Owen get through a personal slump and into a job that will help him achieve his goals for his own career and his goals to support is family. I got out there and lived my life the best I could with the cards I had in my hand and that is ok. A new year will start soon and I chose to look at it as a fresh start to try harder and achieve better! Maybe I will even stop finding excuses to not blog! One can hope!

I really want to blog

I really want to blog everyday. I do. I sit here and plan out posts…
And then I never type them up. I don’t remember when I developed anxiety. I know it was before my stroke, but I am not sure how it happened either! Did it start slowly? Was I always anxious and just unaware of it?

I wish I could be more like Macavity. He is not a nervous cat. He goes and does whatever he wants. When something doesn’t go as he planned, he just moves on. 

Instead I’m like these fireworks… In a constant state of upheaval, until I run out of get up and go! 

I felt better after we went camping in June. Whitney Portals Camp Grounds is where my parents used to take us camping, so this year we took the kids. They declared it to be the best mountain camping trip ever!!!!!! 

Maybe that is the secret! Maybe I just need to get out in nature more…

Subscription Box Fever

I don’t know about you, but I have been bit hard by the subscription box fever. It started because friends of mine were always posting cute unboxing videos to youtube or cute pictures to Instagram. Then, in October, when Owen got his first big school check of the year I did it. I subscribed to the two boxes I felt would interest me the most. The first one is Owlcrate, a YA reader subscription box. Every month they have a theme. They send you a book and several bookish items in that theme. For me, I did the month to month at first. I wasn’t positive I would love the boxes and I wanted to be able to opt out at any time, without feeling like I wasted a bunch of money up front if I was unhappy.


My first Owlcrate did not disappoint.


My second Owlcrate did not disappoint.


My third Owlcrate did not disappoint.

Maybe it is because I live in the USA, but I typically get my box from Owlcrate within two and a half weeks of me auto paying them through my bank. I think I am going to discuss paying for a full six months up front with Owen… I love that the card that comes with each box tells me where my items are from, including the vendors/craftpersons they came from so that I can go check out their other stuff.


Then there is the Spooky box club subscription. I have much love for and a few complaints about this box.

I am going to start of with my complaints so I end with the good. First of all I don’t like that they charge on the 13th of the month. It doesn’t matter if you pay for a year up front, on the first of August. That money isn’t coming out until the 13th. Now I realize this is a personal problem. We have one income and it only pays us on the first of every month. I know that the money for this box is going to come out, but sometimes in all the chaos I forget that it won’t be coming out until the 13th and I plan the rest of the month like it went out on the first, like EVERYTHING ELSE we autopay. I know it is my responsibility to keep track of where every penny of our money goes. I said this one was a personal preference thing. I mean they tell you up front that it will not come out till the 13th. Of course what they don’t make super clear unless you specifically ask them is that you are not paying for the same months box. You are paying for the next months box… which may not come for more than 6 weeks, closer to 8 weeks if you are like me and you have to wait for it to clear customs in San Francisco. As an example: My first payment was paid October 13. My first box arrived December 16th. My second box arrived January 4th…. it was a “Hexmas” themed box filled with Spooky Christmas goodies…. that immediately got sorted into things that got put away with the Christmas decor and things I kept out to be used either year round or close to it. I have not received my third box yet. I do not know when I will get it. I like reliability. Especially in something I am spending so much money on. I am also not a fan of how expensive shipping is. I wish there was an American goth subscription box as nice as this one (Which is shipped from the UK) because spending $22 a box on shipping is a lot.

Well that is more than enough of negativity. There are a lot of things to like about this box, which is why I have not cancelled my subscription already. First of all, everything in the boxes is really cool. A lot of it is things you cannot get anywhere else. Or maybe you could if they told you who their suppliers are like Owlcrate does. I don’t know. They may have almost everything specially made for them. I have no idea. I feel like what I got is worth either more or close to as much as I pay for the subscription and the shipping. So that makes the shipping easier to pay. I think the things put in the boxes to match each months theme has really fit the theme as well. Maybe I should just show you how cool the stuff in the boxes is!


This was my first box. The theme was “Victorian Boudoir” (I think).


This was the Hexmas box. The sparkly ghost and bat ornaments are so adorable that I am considering putting together a Nightmare Before Christmas tree together for next year that I would put up on November 1st and leave up until Christmas. I don’t know how my Mother in Law would take that though, so I am still thinking it over.

There are several other subscription boxes I would really love to get, but I can’t currently financially justify them. Poststitch sends out a knitting project with all the supplies you need included every month. You can pick a sock subscription or a “big” project subscription plan. Lootcrate has several types of geeky boxes to choose from. Owen receives their Starwars box, which comes every other month. They also just started a geeky pet box that I would love to get for our house full of cats and dogs. Tea Sparrow sends tea. MISTER GHOST’S HIGHLY ENVIABLE MONTHLY PARCEL OF SIMPLE YET AMAZING WONDERMENTS is a gothy stationary supplies box. Planner Packs sends out planner supplies like washi tapes and pens and other cool stuff from Etsy sellers, etc. Uppercase Box is another YA reader box.

Then of course there are always clubs from indie yarn dyers, bag makers, stationary makers and so much more!

Maybe some day I will get more. For now I am trying these two.


The Holidays are Hard.

The Holidays are hard on our family. First of all, Owen is a full time student. This means that our resources are limited and we choose not to spend them living lavishly.

We have been getting new family portraits taken each year though! I wanted them done last year because we didn’t have one with Oliver in it. Then I had my stroke, and all the issues that have come with that, and it became very important to me to take lots of pictures of the kids and me and Owen and all of us together as often as I could.

This year’s family photo shoot was a bit of a disaster. I wanted us to look like it was fall, because they were taken in fall…. but this has been an odd year, weather-wise, and so it was 100 degrees fahrenheit the day we had our pictures taken. Everyone was overheated. I was feeling ill, so I had to be in my chair most of the time. Nobody wanted their pictures taken.

Luckily for us our family photographer, Kristy Collins of HaileyGrace Photography, is a saint and a genius! She managed to take/composite several fantastic photographs of us all!


This is all of us, right before I became wheelchair bound for the day.


This is post wheelchair. In most ways I like this picture the best out of the two, I just wish part of Alexander’s face wasn’t obstructed by Mikaela’s head.

Then of course there are the individual shots of the kids and the couple shot of Owen and Me.












Me and Owen. He is basically holding me up in this shot…

Poor Owen is all scrunched down in this shot and as a result looks like he has multiple chins and no neck. If you know Owen at all, you know he has about half a foot of neck and only one chin! He looks so happy though!

SO the holidays may be hard for us, but at least we are a photogenic family, Right???



A Rocky Start

I started this blog and then my tablet and cell phone both refused to cooperate with me using them to create posts. My laptop died more than a year ago, so my tablet and phone were all I had. Well, I have been told I need to get back to blogging, so I allowed Owen to talk me into buying a new laptop. I think he is also hoping I will take online classes. Something, anything, to get me out of the funk I have been in.

You see, a month and a half after I wrote my first post I had a stroke. Yes, that is right. I had a stroke at the age of 32. Nobody had any idea why because neither obesity nor Fibromyalgia cause strokes. I had not sustained any injuries recently that would have caused a clot large enough to cause a stroke. The doctors were stumped.

That bright white spot in the middle? That is where my stroke happened.

That bright white spot in the middle? That is where my stroke happened.

Then, about two weeks after I proved to them that I could eat without choking (my stroke affects the left side of my body and sometimes gives me issues with swallowing due to the fact that it is hard to swallow if only one side of your throat tries to do its job.) and that I could walk at least small distances, which got me home about 5 days after my stroke…. I lost consciousness at one of Aeddon’s baseball games. I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Lucky for me, this stay was shorter due to the fact that I had not had a second stroke. I had instead had a Hemipeligic Migraine. It acts like a stroke at first, but with a migraine attached. 48 hours or so after you get the migraine under control the stroke symptoms subside and you feel relatively normal.


Another week or so after that I had another stroke-like episode. I was diagnosed with Complex Migraine Syndrome. It basically means I get several different types of migraines, most of which can be bad enough to send me to the hospital if I am not extremely careful.

Another week or so after my third hospitalization for the year I saw my Rheumatologist. While she and I were talking about how my stroke and CMS would affect my Fibromyalgia treatment she noticed something. For a few moments my leg turned a slightly purpley color and swelled a bit. Then the purpley color vanished along with the swelling, but I suddenly had petechiael bruising all over my leg from the knee down. All of a sudden she was extremely excited and (almost too) happily proclaimed that she knew what had caused all of my unexplained health problems in the last year. She had two new diagnosis for me, but the testing would take a long time (especially since my insurance doesn’t want to approve the tests.) before we could officially put them in my medical history. Lupus and Antiphospolipid Syndrome. Those two in combination with my Fibromyalgia explained everything odd that happened to me physically.

So now I wait for my insurance to stop being jerks. And I do my best to live my life while I wait. Here is some of what I have filled my life with in the mean time!

I made Plum jam.

I made Plum jam.

I keep taking the kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific. We have a membership and we all love it.

I keep taking the kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific. We have a membership and we all love it.

Owen took me to see Rent. Due to my frequent need to be in a wheelchair, we got upgraded seats. We went from nosebleed section to 10 rows from the front.

Owen took me to see Rent. Due to my frequent need to be in a wheelchair, we got upgraded seats. We went from nosebleed section to 10 rows from the front.

We went on a group camping trip that had a rocky start and ended up far from our original destination. Lake Nacimiento was an odd place to camp and I don't think we will return.

We went on a group camping trip that had a rocky start and ended up far from our original destination. Lake Nacimiento was an odd place to camp and I don’t think we will return.

Immediately after our group camping trip we went on a family camping trip to San Onofre State Beach. That was a magical trip and I am almost positive it will be repeated ASAP.

Immediately after our group camping trip we went on a family camping trip to San Onofre State Beach. That was a magical trip and I am almost positive it will be repeated ASAP.

We took the kids to the LA County Fair.

We took the kids to the LA County Fair.

We have also been doing our best to give Oliver "Adventures" while the kids are in school. This is his first year home alone with me every day.

We have also been doing our best to give Oliver “Adventures” while the kids are in school. This is his first year home alone with me every day.

Then there is the crafting. At first I didn’t want to try my crafts because I was worried that my stroke would have negatively impacted my ability to do all my different crafty things. Turns out it only effects how long I can craft at a time before I get tired.

Pretty exciting, right? So that is what I have going on, and it is why Owen pretty much insisted that I needed to get back to blogging. Even though I partially stopped because he used to tease me about it.

That is all I have for now. I am still unsure what my blogging schedule will be like, but I am hoping to post at least 3 times a week. We shall see how I do!


Hello, and welcome to my first blog post.

Hmmmm. Maybe that’s wrong. It is not my first blog post. It is my first post on this blog. I had a different blog before, but life changed and I changed. After all that change I just could not bring myself to pick back up and start writing on my old blog anymore.

So I am not going to. I am going to start fresh and new! New blog, new website, new outlook.

I suppose the best place to start is with an introduction.


This is my family. From left to right is Owen (husband), Liam (4th born), Mikaela (3rd born and our only girl!), Aeddon (2nd born), Alexander (1st born), Jaclyn (that’s me) and in my lap is Oliver (the baby).

I am not sure right now what my posting schedule will be, but I am glad you are here for the journey.