Friedman Fam Update – January 2023

It’s been a minute since I’ve given a life update and there are many reasons for that.

First of all, I am on the struggle bus. I feel like I’m swimming through pudding. I feel like I can’t get caught up, I feel like my attention is being pulled in 80 different directions, my plate is very full right now. Someone told me the transition from 2 kids to 3 kids is the worst and holy cow, I’m FEELING it.

I’ve been so overwhelmed that Craig even took a day off work last week to watch the kids so I could sleep after night shift (Mom had her cancer appointments), he took the dog to the vet, cleaned house, and was just there for me. I didn’t even have to ask him to. I’m so thankful for him.

I’m back to work now (officially), I have been since the first weekend in January. I don’t know how I ever worked three shifts in a week, let alone when I used to work 6 shifts in 7 days. 2 shifts is already too much for me to manage. Night shift is harder, napping before work is harder, everything just got harder.

The kids have had some colds and missed some school, the kids have had snow days, Gannon has had Iowa City follow ups, Mom has had cancer follow ups, we are working on taxes and getting our finances lined up, it’s just. been. wild.

Many people have asked how Gannon is. Gannon is wonderful. Gannon is more prone to choking, I would say we have 3-4 choking episodes per week but beyond that, you’d never be able to tell how sick he was just a month ago. He can (and does) eat EVERYTHING. Gannon did regress a little over the month he was really sick. Gannon was super independent, could zip his coat, get dressed, buckle his car seat, he was doing AWESOME. Now it’s really difficult to get him to do things on his own. It’s something we are working on.

Anders turned 4 months, he’s started rolling over. Carver has really matured since Gannon got sick. He’s been SUCH a good helper and big brother. I can rely on Carver to help me out when things go haywire. He’s just been wonderful. Craig is the best teammate I could ask for. He’s just been there for me the past month. I picked a good one guys.

Craig and I are trying something new, we don’t keep alcohol in the house. No beer, no seltzers, nada. We drink if it’s a special occasion or maybe we go out with friends but other than that, no alcohol at home. We both felt like we were mis using it as a coping mechanism during stressful times. It’s cut down a ton on our grocery bill. Craig says he feels better but I don’t notice a huge difference in how I feel. We both like to have a little carbonation around 1700 – a sparkling water does it for me and then Craig has an non-alcoholic beer and that seems to satisfy the craving. Craig has ALSO kicked his 2 energy drink per day habit (YAY!) and we are now coffee nuts. Lots of changes in the New Year.

And why not START A LAUNDRY ROOM REMODEL WHILE WE ARE AT IT! For real guys, we are GUTTING our laundry room to the studs as of today at about 11 AM. The contractors will be in and out this week and hopefully its a quick and painless process from there. I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

The good news is, I’m in therapy. I see my counselor on Monday. I’ve got good support. I’ve got coping mechanisms. I’ve got a coffee date with my friend Gabe on Monday, I don’t work until next weekend so I’ve got some time to turn this all around. Don’t worry too much about me just yet.

Thanks for checking in, for all the messages and comments wondering where I was. You can keep up with me on a more day to day basis over on instagram – @kalissageorgia

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Something New: Social Media Management!

I have been on to something new! In October a local business asked if I could help spruce up their social media. I’ve been having SO MUCH fun working with them and we’ve really made some progress. I’ve learned SO MUCH in the past few months. 

In September I started helping my mom with some of her blogging and social media management. We went to a business conference together and it really lit us up and motivated us to keep trying new things, experimenting, recycling older quality content etc. Things have been going great. Maybe you can tell she’s more active on social media making reels and updating stories! 

I’ve also reached a point on my own social media platform, I’m getting paid by Facebook to create and share content! I’ve been doing it for a few months and that’s also been going great! I’m taking a small step back from my Etsy shop as I’m helping manage these platforms and also return back to work as a nurse after my maternity leave. 

All that being said, I wanted to make a post to explain a little bit about what I’ve learned and what the algorithm seems to be favoring. People have also been commenting they haven’t been seeing my mom’s blog posts on Facebook as much so I thought I’d give a few tips!

First of all, the goal of all platforms and apps are to keep you on the app and coming back to it. Instagram wants you to spend more time on Instagram. Facebook wants you to be on Facebook more. Therefore, it’s going to show you more content you like. 

TikTok REALLY has it down. If you talk to anyone who watches TikTok, they say they feel like TikTok KNOWS them and knows their interests. Really, they just take note of the content you’re watching, how long you’re watching it, if you’re commenting on it, if you’re liking it, and they show you more of that, again with the goal of keeping you on the app longer. 

Now I’m not an expert, and seriously anyone who claims to be an expert or a guru on social media may be yanking your chain. The rules are constantly changing. What works today might not work tomorrow. I can only speak to my own recent experiences. 

If you want to see more of a business, blogger, influencer, public figure, posts from a group or a page you follow, you must interact with the content. If you see, for example, a local restaurant share about a special they have and you want to know when they have other specials or events, you need to like the content they post when it comes across your feed. Even better, give it a “reaction” like a heart. Even better than that, leave a comment that says “Looks delicious!” The more you interact, the more they will appear in your feed. 

This is proving to be true for stories as well. If you enjoy watching someone’s stories on Facebook and instagram, interact with their story. Give a thumbs up, send a laughing emoji etc. When you can understand that Facebook and Instagram want to give you more of what keeps you on the app, you’re going to see less of what you DON’T want in your feed. 

If you comment on a ton of political mumbo jumbo and argue with people in the comments sections, your feed will be full of controversy trying to get you to interact with it, again with the goal of keeping you on the platform longer. 

That being said, all of the hearts, comments, likes, thumbs up, and interaction really means the world to content creators and it costs you absolutely nothing. Mom and I have gotten comments, “I don’t see your blog posts in my feed!” If you feel this way, run the experiment yourself. Go to my mom’s facebook page or even my facebook page and scroll through and LIKE or REACT or COMMENT with 5 – 10 or so posts. Then, wait some time and see if you see our content in your feed more often. 

Beyond that, if you see a post in your feed, click on the three dots next to it. You’ll see you have the option to “Prioritize their posts in News Feed.” Here are some screen shots:

So that’s a way that YOU can see more of what you want to see from people who want you to see it and less of what doesn’t really matter to you! Let me know if this helps or works for you!

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Still Here…

“Let’s go to the bar!” Craig said over the phone on his way home on Tuesday night. “I don’t feel like cooking.” To be honest, I didn’t either. It has been a huge adjustment going back to work – even just two shifts a week. I had just woken up at 4:30 and starting my “day.”

Carver got his cowboy hat and new paisley shirt we got him at the Western store. His cowboy boots completed the look. Looking in the mirror he was so proud. “I’ll bet Papa Moo would love this!” gesturing to his cowboy get up.

We all piled in the van and drove two blocks to our favorite bar. I had my 22nd birthday here. We celebrated Mom and Dad’s new house here. The owner brought us fried chicken the day after Dad died and stood outside the bar as his funeral procession moved through town in June 2019. He plays peek a boo with the boys from behind the bar and always gives M&Ms as we leave.

I remember the first time I ate at Riverside. I was probably 5 years old. We were in the West barn at the farm. I was hanging out with Dad as he finished milking. He said to me with a goofy smile – “When the cats are away the mice will play.” He loaded me up in the little ranger and took me to Riverside where I had my first taste of quality bar food.

We walk in the door, the boys fight over which booth to sit in while I get the cards. We deal while the waitress brings us our drinks. They usually don’t even have to ask what we’d like to drink, they know. Gannon asks if Grandma Jo is coming to join us, I hadn’t thought of it but she’s just down the street. I call her, take her order and she will be there in 5.

Mom walks in just after our “hodge podge” (also known as a combo basket) comes. I win the 4th round of “Junk” and put the cards away to make room for food. We all eat together and admire Carver’s “cowboy” get up. I joke that he needs a duster just like my Dad used to wear to church on Sunday’s. I can remember how heavy his authentic leather jacket weighed, I can still smell it. My mom comments, “Papa Moo would love your shirt, he loved pearl snaps.”

Craig talks about the farm, the same one my Dad worked at for 32 years. We talk about Craig’s fire meeting and the upcoming pancake breakfast, the same one I’ve worked at since I was old enough to pour milk and coffee. Dad served on the fire department and first responders my entire life.

Soon enough my brother Karl walks in the door. We didn’t know he was coming but saw our cars and stopped in as we were finishing up. He grabs a beer and a pool stick and soon enough he’s teaching Carver how to play. Mom talks about how Dad used to be in pool league as she tells Carver to “choke up” on the cue stick. Karl makes jokes about how he hates his bald spot, the same one that he inherited from Dad. Dad started losing his hair in 8th grade.

Karl pulls out a dollar bill and puts it in the juke box. He asks what we think he should play and Bat out of Hell is the first song that comes to my mind. Meat Loaf was Dad’s favorite. We listened to Bat out of Hell on cassette tape any time we were in the astro van growing up. We even all went to a Meat Loaf concert together my junior year of high school.

Soon enough I’m using my White Claw as a microphone. If Dad was here he would roll his eyes in that lovingly annoyed way. If Dad was here…that echoes in my mind for a minute. If Dad was here…

But he is. He is in everything we do but at the same time he’s not. His absence is so palpable on nights like these but also, he’s still very much here, sitting in this booth, ordering another Miller high life, stealing all the cheese curds from the basket, and telling Gannon to sit and eat his food. He would have loved a night like tonight. His absence and his presence have become one. It makes me happy and sad to think of him missing out on a night like tonight. But deep down, I don’t think he did miss it.

We pay the bill and all head home. On the way home, as we pull in the driveway, “Mom, I’m really sad Papa Moo died.” I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Gannon must have felt it too. “Me too, Gan.”

As I set Anders’ car seat down underneath Dad’s picture that hangs in our dining room, I wipe a tear from my eye. It gets harder and easier to talk about it. It gets better and worse in the same breath. I feel his presence and absence in the same moment. It stops me in my tracks and keeps me going. I can hold grief and love in the same heart. Thanks for the visit last night, Dad.

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I’ve been in counseling on and off since 2018. It’s even part of why I started this blog in the first place.

Unfortunately, my dear therapist who has seen me for the past five years has retired. I remember telling her I was pregnant with Gannon, I remember when she walked with me through a major career change, she was there for me when my Dad died, she worked through my body dysmorphic disorder with me. She was there when I got my ADHD diagnosis, and now she’s gone. I’m very bummed. I was able to drop in and drop out whenever needed. She would squeeze me in for “urgent” appointments, she’s just a wonderful human and I’m so happy for her.

I actually had one last session with her last week and she began as we always do, her calm and cheerful demeanor – “How are you, Kalissa?” Woah. I haven’t even had time to THINK about how I’ve been doing for months. It’s been survival mode. It’s been treading water and keeping my head up. Gannon and Anders are entirely dependent on me. I feel like a terrible mom to Carver as he gets left in the dust. Post partum is a rollercoaster. The long hospital stays, the constant up in the night and therapies and doctors visits, I’ve not even had a second to think, “How am I?”

With our final session, we’ve concluded I should probably start seeing someone regularly again. I snapped this picture on the way out of her office. This place will always hold such a special place in my heart.

So I’m seeing a new therapist and DANG! I just hit the therapy lottery. She’s AWESOME! I had a major breakthrough in our first session and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I gave her the rundown of what the last few months have been like. I said

“I’m trying to find time for my marriage.”

“I’m trying to give quality attention to Carver.”

“I’m trying to manage all of Gannon’s needs.”

“I’m trying to not hate my new post partum body.”

“I’m trying to breastfeed as long as I can.”

“I’m trying to cut alcohol use.”


She corrected me. She said, “I know you feel like you’re TRYING but I challenge that. I would say you ARE. You ARE doing it all, and quite successfully.”

WOAH! Perspective shift. That turned all of my swirling feelings of not good enough ness and drowning and doggy paddling and just keeping my head above water, it turned ALL of that into feeling like a back float. I can choose to struggle, or float.

I’m not trying, I’m succeeding. There’s nothing more that I can offer. I’ve only got 100% and I’m giving 100%.

I’m doing it. And I can keep doing it.

It brought me such peace, I thought I’d share it all with you.

One of my favorite podcasters shared this quote with me.

Each morning, peace arrives at your door in the form of choices.”

I’m choosing peace. I’m choosing my perspective. I’m choosing to float.

I hope you can too.

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Holiday Greetings from The Friedman Fam!

This Christmas card was supposed to be far more glamorous than just a blog post. That being said, it’s January 1st and this is all I have to offer!

Carver turned 6 years old in September. Carver was recruited to play little league this year. They were pretty desperate for players so they made an exception to the minimum age requirement. They were ALSO desperate to fill the girls little league team as well so Carver got double playing time for the boys and girls team. We had SO MUCH fun watching him play, practice, and improve. Carver has been excelling at reading and is constantly quizzing us with addition and subtraction problems. He loves playing Minecraft and Farming Simulator on the Xbox. He really enjoyed our mountain biking trip to Crosby, MN and was able to accompany Craig on the trails while I stayed behind with my big pregnant belly and Gannon.

Craig has continued to work at Achen Farms this year. They had a bit of a late start to planting that ran over into June but harvest went smoothly. Craig didn’t get as much mountain biking in this year but that’s a goal for us to hit the trails at least every other week this Summer. Craig has discovered a love for any and all board games and spends many nights while I’m working playing board games with my brother Karl and Carver.

Gannon is constantly surprising us. He turned 3 in February and started 3 year old preschool in August. He was really thriving. Gannon quickly became obsessed with coloring, drawing, and writing. We’ve learned he’s left handed, he can write his name forward and backwards. He loves to surprise us with random facts and funny phrases that come seemingly out of nowhere. I’d hate for Gannon’s medical complications to overshadow all of the joy and light and belly laughs he brings to our home but he has been hit hard this December. Gannon has had some pretty serious complications from his tonsils and adenoid removal surgery in early December that we are still navigating. Gannon has many specialist appointments in Iowa City coming up in the next few months.

Anders joined our crew on September 21st. My pregnancy with Anders went pretty smoothly after an initial trimester of pretty serious morning sickness. He was 7 pounds and 13 ounces with a full head of hair. Carver and Gannon adore him and snuggled a *little* too close when we first brought him home and gave him rhino/enterovirus. After a week long hospital stay for viral meningitis at three weeks old, Anders has been happy and healthy since! In fact, at 3 months old he’s put on 6 INCHES since he was born and is busting out of 6 month clothes! He’s the most content baby I’ve ever met. He loves his big brothers and video chatting – I know it sounds crazy but he seriously gets the BIGGEST smile whenever he’s featured on a video chat.

As for me, I had a career change in February when I took a chance on travel nursing. I took my first contract just an hour from home and I’ll continue in January about 1.5 hours from home. While I miss the ICU, I really love getting back to my roots in the ER. As per usual, I’ve picked up a few side gigs this year helping some local businesses with their social media marketing and content production. I’m still running the Etsy shop (it’ll be two years in March!) and have found a niche market in designing cross stitching and quilting shirts as well as quilting themed stationery.

A song came across my Instagram feed a few days ago, and I think the lyrics really sum everything up nicely, so I’ll close this 2022 Friedman Family Update with the chorus:

Damn, it’s been a year

And I ain’t sayin’ it ain’t been a good one

It’s been a “did a lot more than I thought I could” one

It’s been three hundred sixty-five

Of record lows and record highs

Lovin’ and losin’, fun and confusin’

Prayin’ and shiftin’ gears

For the minute you got, it’s probably a lot

More than you wanna hear

So all I’ll say is

It’s been a year

Hungry for more? Check out my latest posts!

Have you visited my Etsy Shop Lately? See what’s new!

I design and create a variety of quilting, cross stitching, and graphic tees as well as quilting themed stationery, stickers, notepads, cards, and more! I’d love for you to check it out!