Turning chaos into healthy living is a task that most families struggle to achieve. Lord knows we have our own issues, but it’s getting easier day by day. We’re sharing our journey with you in hopes that our trials, tribulations and successes may help you on your own personal journey.
Before we actually begin our journey with you, we would love to tell you a little bit about ourselves, our history, and why we’re attempting to conquer the chaos in the first place. It’s going to be a long journey, so let’s start at the beginning.
How Jessie and Patrick Met
We were both in long term relationships for many years. Jessie had been dating her son’s father for 16 years when they split up. I had been married to my daughter’s mother for 15 years when we divorced.
We met on Tinder, oddly enough. After just a few conversations, we found out we had a lot in common. We agreed on most everything, and we were looking for the same thing in a relationship. Initially, it was not marriage. We wanted someone we could get along with even if we disagreed on things, and we found that in each other.
We fell in love and decided quickly that we wanted to take things to the next level, so we moved in together.
…and then the pandemic hit.
You would think that two people who met and moved in together in a few months that then had to be quarantined might not get along after a while, but it was just the opposite for us. In fact, we got along better and better every single day. While we don’t always agree on every little thing, we don’t argue about it, either. Compromise on what needs to be compromised on, and the rest is all opinion.
Here we are a little over a year later, and we’re engaged to be married – never say never, am I right? We’re extremely happy,
The Chaotic Healthy Kids
Our kids are the silliest, funniest people we know, but sometimes it gets out of hand and swings the wrong way. That’s when their chaos begins. Every child in the world has “special needs” to a point as no two kids require the same level of attention and assistance – but we’ve got more than a handful to deal with… and we do so with as much grace as we can. We make a great team, because when one of us reaches the point of overwhelming exhaustion in a given situation, the other steps in to steer things back into the right direction.
Maggi (Patrick’s daughter) has Trisomy 9 Mosaic Syndrome. That means her number nine chromosome is tripled (trisomy) in some of her cells (mosaic). She does not walk or talk, she’s still in diapers (and probably will be for life), and she has other issues that affect her daily life differently than most people (like the rod in her back to help correct her scoliosis).
Because she cannot effectively communicate what she’s thinking or how she’s feeling, she sometimes gets frustrated. She gets aggressive when she gets frustrated, which leads to pinching, thrashing, and sometimes biting. Imagine having so much that you want to say, and no way to actually say it. She does very well, though, despite her struggles with her limited ability to communicate, and she usually finds a way through her limited sign language to let us know what she wants.
Mac has ADHD and is high functioning Autistic. He has participated in FFA and loves to take care of pigs and other farm animals. The year of the pandemic, he did eLearning (at home schooling via computer). It was rough, but it was necessary for everyone’s health. Mac did really well, though. Luckily, since everyone in the house has been vaccinated (and because he is a diligent mask wearer), he will be attending school in-person this coming year.
Mac also deals with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, which makes life even more “interesting” for everyone. He’s an emotional kid that doesn’t always know how to express his emotions, so we’re sometimes blindsided by how he acts, but we’ve learned how to reign it in and get him to open up about how he’s feeling.
Zack and Michael
Patrick also has two children from his first marriage. Zack lives with his fiancée in Georgia, while Michael lives in Tennessee. We don’t get to visit with them as often as we would like due to everyone’s work schedules (including theirs).
We’re hoping to be able to work them into some of our future videos, as well. Zack is a photographer, and has gotten into gardening recently, so you can definitely look forward to seeing him. When Michael isn’t working on cars, he’s creating music as an aspiring rapper, so not much time for gardening, there.
Kids Will Be Kids
We love Maggi and Mac so dearly, and we do everything in our power to maintain structure in the home to help keep them as at ease as is humanly possible. They’re pretty good at adapting when things need to change, too, so that’s a bonus for all of us. It definitely makes our journey of turning chaos into healthy living a lot easier when they adapt quickly.
Why Our Life is So Chaotic
Our kids and their special needs always keep us on our toes. However, sometimes that interferes with our work. We both work from home. A standard 9 to 5 job just isn’t in the stars for us, nor will it ever be, really. The problem is, we never really “stop working”. We’re always thinking of new and creative things to do.
Jessie is a creator on Amazon. She does vinyl products (like the stickers you see on people’s back windshields), t-shirts, and other such products. She has recently taken up sewing and posting those products on her own website!
Patrick is a streamer on Twitch, and has been streaming video game play for the last 3 years or so. Before that, he was a web and graphic designer working with WordPress and Photoshop on a daily basis.
While we’re resolved to being our own bosses, the chaos begins after we’ve had our morning coffee. Work starts, and the children still need our attention. Mac is able to do everything for himself, but still requires a bit of guidance. Maggi, on the other hand, needs constant supervision and assistance with everything. So while we’re trying to work, we’re also managing the children and the tasks they need to have done or done for them.
Won’t this new venture into blogging and making videos add to the chaos? Well, yes and no. More than adding chaos to an already chaotic life, it will help us vent, organize our thoughts, and release some of the chaos. We’re excited for this new venture and hope to do big things with it.
How We’re Turning Chaos Into Healthy Living
We’re both overweight, suffer from depression, and need a certain level of structure to maintain our sanity. That’s where the gardening comes in. Since we’re trying to lose weight and become more healthy, we’ve adapted the keto lifestyle. We’re (for the most part) avoiding grains and sugars, and only eating whole foods. Sure, we slip from time to time, but we’re all about “progress, not perfection.”
What we grow in the garden, we eat. What we can’t eat before it starts to turn bad, we can in Mason jars and dehydrate. We are also discovering new ways all the time on how to preserve our harvest. Couple that with whole foods grown locally that we pick up from farmer’s markets, and we have a bright outlook for a healthy future!
Follow Us On Our Chaotic Healthy Journey
We’re all so happy that you have taken an interest in our family and our journey. We would like to invite you to join us everywhere! We’ll be sharing pictures on Instagram, videos on YouTube, blog posts, and random little thoughts about life in general often. You’ll have the chance to see us in every part of our lives and on every step of our journey.
We’d also love to hear from you! Leave comments on blog posts and interact with us on our social media posts. Feel free to tag us in your social media posts when you have something to share with us as well. If you have the need, please contact us directly through the website for a more personal interaction. Let us know how you’re turning chaos into healthy living!
(09/01/2021 – Edit: While our lives may still be a bit chaotic, and we’re still trying to get healthier, we’ve decided to change the name of our blog/YouTube channel. We are now known as “Southern Dreams Homestead.”)
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Patrick & Jessie homestead in Middle Georgia with two of their four children and their three dogs. They love gardening, food preservation, and keeping their family prepared for any disaster that may come.