Category Archives: The Two Of Us

Stories related to the two of us as a couple – just Jarrod and Shauna.

A Year Of Change

For me, 2017 started in a very stressful, dark way. The photos I posted of the party with my friends is only what I put out there. It was not the whole truth of the night… not even remotely. You see, I was in an abusive relationship. I had made it clear I wanted to spend that time with the guy I was seeing, but when he refused, I decided to spend time with my friends. So in return, he was blowing up my phone with absurd, wildly inaccurate accusations, insults, and shaming for enjoying a night without him, and more so, a night with people other than him. I was miserable. And yet I allowed it to continue.

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Happy New Year! 2017

A month later, in February, I lost the job I loved as a Veterinary Assistant. I had finally been able to get to the cause for my chronic hip pain, and a diagnosis of a permanent and progressive condition (hip dysplsia) was enough for my boss to fire me. Legal? Probly not. It was discrimination for a disability. Especially since I had requested a very reasonable and possible accommodation and was refused.ย  But the fact was, I couldn’t do the job the same anymore. I couldn’t be on my feet for 8 hours, and so I was let go to pursue other avenues.

At the end March I had my first skin removal surgery, my Panniculectomy, followed by a 6-week recovery period. During my healing process I was actively looking for a job, including attending several interviews. All I could really find where I didn’t have to be on my feet all day was office work. Tele-sales, mostly. I interviewed at 3 or 4 different places and none of them offered me a job, saying I needed direct sales experience. After just so long, and so many refusals, I started widening my options. I started applying at places I’d have to stand but could be accommodated. Pizza Hut was one of those places. I figured being a delivery driver, not only would I be able to sit (driving) most of the time, but I could also be outside, and not have to stay in a stuffy building day after day.

In June I was hired by Pizza Hut as a driver, which is where I’m still working today. It’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere most days. The management isn’t too strict, and the majority of the customers are pretty chill. I definitely have the flexibility to accommodate the hip pain and still earn a paycheck, and that’s what matters to me.

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Me, at the Freedom Rally – July 2017

In July, after months of persuading him, I was allowed to go to the Freedom Rally with the guy I was seeing.ย  The rally itself was a blast, but it was then I finally realized I needed to get away.ย  Why it took me nearly a year for that to actually click in my head, I’m not sure.ย  But it was then that it did.ย  I deeply enjoyed the weekend – the atmosphere, the bikes, the concerts, and everything else the rally had to offer.ย  But I knew that when the weekend was over, it was time to start planning the end of that relationship.ย  It took me a few weeks to finally build up the nerve to do it because I knew he would be very harsh, loud, threatening, and insulting…. but one night in August I told him it was over, and that he needed to move out.ย  It was a very dramatic 3-4 days, but once all of his stuff was moved out, I was free to be myself again, and my boys were free to be themselves again.ย  A big sigh of relief.

The next day, I confessed my attraction to a co-worker of mine…. one I had been talking to and building a very strong friendship with.ย  That co-worker just happened to be Jarrod – so as you can see, that turned out well!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ In less than 10 days of non-stop texting and spending every waking moment together (which was a lot because we couldn’t shut up long enough to sleep much), we ran off to Colorado and got married.ย  Our families and friends really didn’t get it, and they likely still don’t, but we both KNEW within the first 48 hours that we were meant to be together.ย  We’ve never been so sure of anything in our lives.

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Just Married!

When we got back from Colorado, I had another skin removal surgery.ย  This time a revision of my Panniculectomy and a breast reduction.ย  And then Jarrod and his 3 daughters moved in with me and my 3 sons.ย  Over the last 4 months its been an interesting set of challenges blending our families.ย  And though there will likely always be some sort of “us vs. them” mentality between the boys and the girls, it is certain all 6 of the kids can see the love and respect Jarrod and I have for one another, and that has brought about a level of acceptance that has made everyone settle in pretty well.

Our families have now celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together.ย  Blended.ย  Successfully, with very little opposition.ย  No big arguments.ย  No family feuds.ย  And now we are about to end 2017, and begin 2018 together.ย  A new year.ย  New challenges and goals.ย  A new chapter.

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Thanksgiving 2017

The year started off dark and hopeless, and has ended completely the opposite – bright and hopeful!ย  My family has doubled in size, and the man I am sharing my life with is my best friend.ย  We laugh together, dream together, complain about the same stuff together, plan for our future together, and spend every waking (and sleeping) moment by each other’s side.ย  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Other happenings in 2017:
– Surgery on my back to remove a lump
– Traveled to St. Augustine, FL, and back home north through Ohio and back west to Iowa, hitting 14 states en route.
– Attended a Pop Evil Concert
– Got my voodoo doll tattoo (by Barron @ Hot Rod’s in Newton, IA)
– Moved back to Newton out of Otley
– My friend Amber got veeery sick, but then got better after a couple months.
– I had a Panniculectomy (tummy tuck)
– Attended a Highly Suspect concert
– Attended a Def Leppart / Tesla / Poison concert
– Threw Andy a birthday party – age 15!
– Attended a Stone Sour concert
– Got hired at Pizza Hut
– Attended the Freedom Rally
– Threw Evan a birthday party – age 13!
– Took the boys to Adventureland
– Set off our own fireworksย legally on the 4th of July
– Threw a birthday party for Cory – age 12!
– Witnessed a solar eclipse.
– Ended a very bad relationship.
– Attended the Rocky Horror Picture Show reunion
– Traveled to Colorado and saw the Rockies for the first time AND…
– Fell madly in love and got married to the best man ever!
– Became a grandma!
– I had a Panniculectomy revision (tummy tuck again), and a breast reduction
– Went to Chicago with Jarrod for an entire weekend for RiotFest
– Also in Chicago, visited the Gallagher house (Shameless)
– Got matching tattoos with Jarrod
– Started dreadlocks
– Took Evan to his first concert to see Hollywood Undead
– Got a Halloween tattoo (and so did Jarrod)
– Took all the kids trick-or-treating
– Went to a Highly Suspect concert again. ๐Ÿ™‚
– Hosting a very LARGE family Thanksgiving
– Attended a Seether concert
– Spent weeks planning Christmas gifts for the family and making the purchases.
– Started this joint blog with my dear hubby
– Celebrated not only one, but TWO successful Christmases with our whole family
– I got my lip pierced twice (snakebites)
– And finally…. NYE at home with the family!

Shauna’s 30 Days of Thankful

So, in November I did the 30 days of thankful on my Facebook profile.ย  I got behind a couple times, but I did end up doing every single day.ย  I thought I’d just compile them here all in one place:

IMG_1340Day #1 – I am thankful for my sons. These wonderful humans that made me a mother. Every single one of them is so unique, individual, loving, intelligent, and amazing. My life is so rich, having them be a part of it.

Day #2 – I am thankful for my vehicle. With such a big family, with all our appointments and the need for rides to school and work, itโ€™s VERY needed. Iโ€™ve gone times in my life without wheels, and having them makes life so much easier.

Day #3 – I am thankful for my bird, Snickers. I never thought myself to be a bird person, but when she decided I was her human, it opened a whole new part of pet-human companionship that I had never experienced. I love it!

Day #4 – I am incredibly thankful for my husband. We had both been through a lot of bad relationships when we found each other, which made our appreciation for one another so much more! Heโ€™s the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I donโ€™t even want to imagine what my life would be without him. I love you so much, Jarrod!

Day #5 – I am thankful for the internet. It seems like a pretty broad thing to be thankful for, but without it I wouldn’t have met many of my friends who I have contact with every day, and I wouldn’t know about most of the goings-on in the world around me.

Day #6 – I am thankful for TV/film entertainment. I have watched way too many TV shows and movies to count, resulting in days, weeks, even months of my life of entertainment. Its been a way to bond with people, have things to talk about together or something to do together. Its also been a good way to entertain myself when I’m alone. They have taught me lessons about life, opened my mind to new ideas, or just made me laugh.

Day #7 – I am thankful to have my freedom of speech. To be able to say what I want not only on public forums, but within my family, group of friends, and in my own home. I hold some pretty controversial opinions on some topics, and a lot of my beliefs are not mainstream whatsoever. I am thankful to be able to be myself, without fear.

IMG_0058Day #8 – I am thankful for our new washer and dryer. Never have new appliances been so needed or appreciated in my home. We had used ones for years, and they never worked the way they should, with the most recent ones leaking water everywhere all the time. Thanks to a rent-to-own place, we were able to get a brand new pair and they are heavenly!

Day #9 – I am thankful that I have been able to make it to about 96% of all my kids’ events. Whether they were sports games, concerts, parent-teacher conferences, meetings, etc. Not all parents are able to take time away from work or other obligations to be able to do so. I am very grateful to have been able to.

Day #10 – I am thankful for my mom. Since birth she has been my best friend. She has taught me how to be a woman… she’s taught me how to be independent, how to stand up for myself and do what’s right. How to follow my own dreams, and also how to be an awesome mom, myself. Along with a million other things I could never possibly list here. Thank you for giving me life, mom!

Day #11 – I am thankful for the opportunity to be a step-mom. It’s an opportunity I’ve never had before. It’s not always easy, but I love it! Zoey, Autumn and Willow are all such beautiful, individual, and unique young ladies, and I’m proud and blessed to be a part of their lives.

Day #12 – I am thankful for my job. I may hate it sometimes, and I may feel under-appreciated. But I get to work with Jarrod (which we both LOVE), and I get to deliver rather than being stuck in a building during my shifts. Not to mention, time away from home is sometimes much needed, as I’ve discovered these last few years of no longer being a stay-at-home-mom.

Day #13 – I am so very thankful for the blessing of being in Malia’s life pretty much from the start. I never dreamed I’d be a grandma so early (and I’m glad it’s not my young boys that made me that way), but I am so very blessed to have a beautiful, cheerful, amazing granddaughter. And of course to call her momma my step-daughter.

Day #14 – I am thankful for being able to go see my favorite bands LIVE in concert. Seeing live shows is so much better than listening to music on the radio or iTunes. Seeing the passion for the music in the band members and the fans is priceless. Jarrod and I are going to see a sold out Highly Suspect show tonight, which Iโ€™ve had the tickets for since July, and Iโ€™m so excited to see them again!!

Day #15 – I am thankful for independence from others. Depending on others has very rarely ever turned out in my favor, so having independence now, Jarrod and I together, is quite refreshing. All our bills, utilities and expenses are 100% covered by US now, no one else.

Day #16 – Jarrod is getting a second day of thankfulness from me. We have been through a LOT these last few days, and rather than take that stress and turn on each other, we have stuck together and become a stronger team, he and I against the world. That kind of amazing strength and dedication deserves its own mentioning and recognition. Jarrod, you are absolutely amazing. I am so thankful for you, and I love you.

Day #17 – I am thankful for my newfound ability to laugh at myself.ย  I was far too uptight and wrapped up in my anxiety and self-esteem issues, for far too long.ย  Now I feel confident and content with life and am able to find humor in the things I do.

Day #18 – I am thankful that I no longer feel obligated to make wither gift-giving a big deal.ย  I made an agreement with my boys a few years ago that we will celebrate big for birthdays and go smaller for “Christmas.”ย  Takes the burden off the winter budget and gives everyone their own special day.ย  Its perfect for us all.

Day #19 – I am thankful to have a great big bathtub!ย  I have never been one to enjoy baths all that much, but since I lost weight AND have a big bathtub, it’s quite relaxing.ย  I love it!

Day #20 – I am thankful for the changing seasons.ย  I don’t like midwestern winters, but the colors of the falling leaves in Autumn, the blankets of fresh, white snow on the ground (seeing it out my window), and the fresh newness of emerging leaves and flowers in the spring are pretty great to witness.ย  All things I’ll likely miss once I move to a warmer climate.

Day #21 – I am thankful for my mother-in-law, Connie.ย  Not only did she raise the wonderful man who became my husband, but she is also always so generous and helpful, and awesome grandma, and a great cook!

Day #22 – I am thankful for the team of people, professional, family, friends, and even online strangers, who have supported me for the last 22 months of my weight loss journey.ย  I was able to go from a very unhealthy weight, where I couldn’t even tie my shoes very easily or walk across my home without losing my breathe, to being so comfortable in my own body that I could go for a job (if only my hips would allow me to do so), and wear a 2-piece swimsuit in public.ย  It’s been a short and drastic change, and I’m still adjusting, but I feel SO MUCH BETTER, and I’ll be forever thankful for all the support I’ve had.ย  I couldn’t have done it without.

Day #23 – I am so very thankful for the entire family!ย  We had quite a large turnout today for our Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful for each and every one who came to share the day and good food.

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Day #24 – I am thankful for the times we get to spend together as a family.ย  As the kiddos become teenagers, they want less and less family time, and more independence.ย  So the times we have all together are precious.

Day #25 – I am thankful for the education I have gotten from school, from life experiences, and from research I’ve done myself.ย  I am ever-curious about the things that affect my life and the lives of those I’m closest with, and I’m thankful to have the brain power to be able to learn about and understand those things.

Day #26 – I am thankful for all the bad times, trauma, and sickness I have experience and been around.ย  If it wasn’t for the bad times, I wouldn’t see the priceless value in all the good in life.

Day #27 – I am thankful for the ability to pay my bills and support my family.ย  It has not ever been easy for me, but I finally was able to get past enough of my anxiety to hold a job and contribute more than I ever thought I would.ย  I am also thankful for those who have helped me along the way, during the times I was unable to help myself.

Day #28 – I am thankful for the awesome weather!ย  Having an extended autumn is great, as I really dislike the cold of winter.ย  It’s been great to be able to do my job, run errands, and do yard work without freezing!

Day #29 – I am thankful for all the family and friends I have lost… thankful for the time I was blessed with, with them.ย  There have been some amazing people who have left this life far too early, and I learned quite a lot from each and every one of them, both in their lives, and in the loss of them.ย  Their memories with be forever treasured.

Day #30 – I am thankful for my life.ย  ALL of it.ย  The good, the bad.ย  The troubles, the joys.ย  The friends, lovers, enemies, haters, the best and the worst of times.ย  All of my experiences have molded me into person I am today, and I love the woman I have become.

2 Months

It has been two whole months.ย  Two months since my husband and I tied the knot after being together for only 8 days.ย  And two months since I had my final weight loss related surgery.

I couldn’t possibly ask for a better husband and example of a real man for my boys.ย  I knew immediately when we confessed our feelings to each other that he would be my forever, and that feeling has only gotten stronger every single day since then.ย  He’s the best friend I’ve ever had!ย  We lay awake at night and talk about everything.ย  We intend often to watch TV or a movie, get housework done together, or take care of other errands, and often it gets put on the back burner to our conversations, or the conversations continue through it all.ย  We are attached at the hip and prefer to do anything we need to do, together.ย  We even prefer to work the same shifts together at work, just to be in each other’s presence.ย  We understand and are comfortable with each other on the deepest level.ย  I’ve honestly never felt anything like this before, and it’s the best!ย  He is wonderful with my kids, and they become more and more open to him each day.ย  His kids are pretty awesome as well, and I love how our family is blending.ย  Jarrod is my heart, my soul, my life.ย  This is my forever, and I couldn’t be happier or more content.

As far as my surgical recovery and body image goes, I’m quite satisfied now!ย  I started my weight loss journey in January of 2016 at 270 pounds.ย  Around summer of 2016 I had already lost enough weight to disqualify myself from bariatric weight loss surgery by getting down to around 230 pounds.ย  I had changed my lifestyle enough to take off the weight myself, by eating less fat and carbs, more protein, and cutting out sugary soda.ย  Then once I reached about 225 pounds I qualified for skin removal surgery, and got approved for my Panniculectomy (tummy tuck) in March 2017, which is when it was done.ย  I wasn’t satisfied with the results as it healed because I still had quite a bit of sag, my bellybutton was off-center, and a couple other details I was dissatisfied with.ย  So when I had my breast reduction and lift on September 1st, I was able to get my tummy tuck revised.ย  Now it’s been two months since I had that last surgery, and though nothing is perfect, I am VERY satisfied with my results.ย  I am now hovering right around 200 pounds, and still want to lose about 15.ย  I haven’t had the willpower to just buckle down and take off that last 15 yet, but I know I will and am not too concerned with it anyway.ย  I’m happy with the way I look now, with the way my clothes fit, and with my appearance in the mirror. Really, I feel I just need to tone up now.ย  I’m very proud of myself for having come this far without bariatric surgery.ย  And I plan to continue this healthier lifestyle forever.ย  I NEVER want to gain that weight back.ย  I have so much less body ache and pain now, I am more flexible and don’t lose my breath going up and down stairs, I have more stamina and am all around a much happier person.ย  I love it.

Two months since my life made some permanent changes for the better.ย  I am so happy to have had these opportunities come to me, and to have been able to grab ahold of them.ย  I am so happy with my life!

Matching Tattoos

Jarrod and I got matching tattoos today.ย  We both felt lost at sea in stormy waters (our exes, life) and we somehow found each other through it all (lighthouses), and we really anchor each other, ground each other.ย  Plus we are co-captains of this ship – our family.ย  This is our story.ย  And we wear it proudly.

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We took our original idea and a few images from online for a brand new, original design.ย  These tattoos are original art by Barron Bon-Chance McCollum at Hot Rod’s Underground Lounge in Newton, IA.

Riotfest 2017

Jarrod and I attended Riotfest in Douglas Park, Chicago, IL!ย  Here’s the lineup:

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My main reason for wanting to go was Nine Inch Nails, which I had wanted to see since my high school years – and they were AMAZING!ย  Totally worth the 20-year wait.ย  But Jarrod has gone quite a few years, and has sortof made a tradition out of it.ย  There were many bands there he enjoyed seeing.ย  Hopefully he will write a bit about it so you can hear his point of view.

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Dinosaur Jr.
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Ministry
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Nine Inch Nails

And just as a bonus, while Jarrod and I were driving around one night after the show was over, trying to find the nearest Wal-Mart in Chicago, I realized at one moment that we were in the neighborhood where the show Shameless takes place… which I was quite excited about!ย  So the next day we stopped at the Gallagher house before we went back to Douglas Park.

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Kev & V’s house, me in the front of the Gallagher house, under the L train bridge, and me in the back yard of the Gallagher house.
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Jarrod & I on the porch of the Gallagher house.

Besides the weekend-long concert that was pretty damn awesome, and the Shameless sight-seeing, we had a pretty good time as well.ย  We spent most of the rest of our time in our hotel room, just hanging out, watching Shameless, talking, and eating delivery food.ย  The trip there and back was pretty great too.ย  Jarrod and I always have some pretty intense conversations, and it really makes the time fly!

Also, here’s a link to the entire video playlist of what I recorded while we were there.ย  Enjoy! YouTube videos of Riotfest 2017

So In Love!

Throughout my life I have involved myself in a few romantic relationships. ย Some seemed good at first and withered. ย Some were bad from the start but I settled anyway. ย Some were out of loneliness or desperation. ย Some were out of boredom and the desire for company. ย But ultimately, none of them worked out in the long run.

There’s that saying “someday someone will come along that will make you understand why it never worked out with anyone else.” ย I always wanted to believe that, but thought it to be a fantasy; an inspirational quote to keep people’s spirits up. ย Until it happened to me.

And now, now there’s this guy Jarrod, and he’s like no one I’ve ever met before. ย It started off very casually, working together and associating with each other only at work. ย But as time went on, we talked more and more during our shared shifts. ย We discovered through our conversations that we have been through a lot of the same troubles in relationships, parenting, just life in general. ย We discovered that we have the same beliefs on the big things, like religion and politics. ย We share a very similar parenting style, with a great love and appreciation for our children and family.

Then we started talking and spending time together outside of work once my ex and I split up, which is where things started to move very quickly. ย Days have blended together, nights have flown by, just talking and discussing our lives, and finding strong similarities at every turn, which is still continuing today. ย It was sudden, and crazy, but we know with absolute certainty that this will be forever. ย Kindred spirits, soul mates. ย There’s no denying it. ย The similarities, the comfort we find in one another, the deepest unexplainable connection we share. ย Being with him makes me realize why it never worked with anyone else, for real. ย No fantasy. ย And he feels the same way. ย It feels like we were born for each other.

We have had our children all spend time together which went well, as we both expected it to go. ย And we are moving quickly on moving in together. ย And the big news – we ran off to Colorado and got married on August 30th! ย Because face it, life is too short and unexpected things happen, and neither one of us wanted to waste time getting wrapped up in overthinking and hesitation over something we both know will certainly last the rest of our lifetime. ย We had a very private ceremony – only the 2 of us, and later on will throw a wedding for all of our friends and family… likely on our 1- or 2-year anniversary.

The trip was great! I had never been to Colorado, and Jarrod hadn’t been in many years. We drove there and back, and stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast called Meadow Creek Mountain Lodge. ย It’s just southwest of Denver. ย The bed and breakfast had a hot tub, a heavenly king sized bed, and the owner was a pretty great guy too, and made a wonderful breakfast for us. ย We were able to run around Denver a bit and shop for our rings, and have supper there in Denver. ย Then we enjoyed alone time and slept in before we had to head back to Iowa.

We have both agreed to put this blog post out there for the public because we both know there will be people in our lives who will not understand why we would move so fast, or make such a crazy, bold, impulsive decision. ย We are both very aware that is what we are doing. ย But we are here to say that it is OUR decision to make, and we would love your support and understanding, whether or not you understand our reasoning. ย We are very thrilled with our decision, and don’t regret a thing!