Posted in Adam

To Bus, or not to Bus…

I have – at least to some extent – a nomadic heart.

While I can easily grow feelings of fondness toward places and want to maintain the ability to come back to them regularly, I have yet to feel any underlying urge to put down permanent roots in one place. For years I have dreamed of various ways for me to explore and travel. At times I dreamed of only owning what I could fit in a vehicle. I dreamed of spending my days camping and hiking and visiting all the national parks I could reach. Other times I dreamed of converting a van into a tiny little home on wheels. I’ve dreamed of summer days on the road, driving with the windows down, music loud, on some grand adventure to some remote destination I’d only ever seen in pictures…

But I had previously only ever imagined doing it on my own. Who would be crazy enough to do anything like that with someone like me?

Well, a similar bug has officially taken a big ol’ bite out of Rife and Ali, too.

Enter, stage left: Buslife

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain. Bus life is basically like the tiny-home craze that’s sweeping the country, except on wheels. People buy buses (sometimes new, but usually retired school/city/tour buses), gut them out, and rebuild them for long-term living. They install kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, dining areas… Think “RV” except built by hand in a gutted-out bus.

Photo from The Wild Drive – Click the photo to visit their page

I’m willing to bet that many of you already think we’re nuts. That’s okay. The way I see it, you have to be at least some kind of nuts for this type of thing. But let’s be honest – doesn’t it sound thrilling? We don’t intend to live and travel in our bus full-time forever. This is more of a stepping stone between us and our more distant dreams. We may possibly be living in the bus for at least some span of time, however. The goal with the bus is to get out of the ever-looming shadow of monthly, over-expensive rent/utility payments. That way we can do more than just slowly chip away at our boulder of debt over the span of 5+ years.

It’s daunting – to say the least – but even through everything we’ve found to be nervous about, our excitement has always overcome our fear at the end of the day.

So here we are; interestingly poised to possibly be ready to leap head-first into this dreamy new project, but also with a lot of things still unsteady and scary. Do we make the leap? Or do we find another safer but undoubtedly much longer route around to our end goal?

Time will tell for sure, but until then, we’d love to hear what you think! Have any of you ever had similar dreams? Have any of you ever actually done anything like this? Do you know someone who has? Let us know! Oh, and if you can spare any extra good vibes, we’d wholeheartedly appreciate them being sent our way. We’re gonna need ’em.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Our Love in Motion

Hello loves! Instead of a regular blog post this week, we decided to get a little more personal. As much as we love writing about polyamory and all the different ways it can work, we want the main theme to be a little more intimate: the beautiful alchemy that is our triad. We hope you enjoy this video and that it gives you a little more insight into our family. (Featuring a Humane Society’s worth of dogs.)

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Inked!

Hello friends! So today we are sitting in Starbucks as we write this (and file quarterly business taxes which are due tomorrow). Let me tell you babes, there is not enough coffee in the world this week, but I’m so excited to be able to relax for a bit and write this post. We had a sweet follower ask about our tattoos over Instagram, and we realized that we hadn’t really shared our body art or the meanings behind any of the pieces! We are all pretty inked up, so we’re each just going to pick some of our favorites to share and elaborate on.

Ali

I love my wedding ring tattoos. Even though legally we can’t all be married, I know that these two are stuck with me forever. I have a leaf for Rife and a bear paw for Adam. They both have three dots under them (past, present, and future), and let me just say, finger tattoos hurt. But they are my favorite. I got them tattooed instead of just wearing rings because massage therapists aren’t allowed to wear rings while working and I didn’t want to take them off. I also have a triad tattoo on my chest, a triangle made up of purple (Rife), blue (Adam), and green (me) lines.

If you know me at all, you know Firefly is my absolute favorite show ever. It’s more than just a story to me, but a way of life, and it got me through so many hard times. When I got kicked out I watched the episodes on my phone repetitively, remembering to “keep flying” no matter what. I got the words “you can’t take the sky from me” (part of the theme song) across my chest while I was in a very unhealthy relationship. It was my small, rebellious way of saying, you aren’t going to keep me down. I will make it out of this. I can make it out of anything.

The very first tattoo I ever got was when I was 18. It was an autumn leaf on my left hip and I kept it a secret for years. Desperately in need of a touch-up, it’s still one of my favorites to this day. I also have an elephant with sacred geometry on my thigh, “I’m enough” on my inner arm, and a half sleeve on one arm and a full sleeve on the other of a woodland scene. We’re still working on the full sleeve but I’m crazy excited about it.

Rife

The first tattoo I ever got were the words “rescue is possible” across my right shoulder blade; I got it as a reminder that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, for when my mental health was too poor to remember on my own. I was 19 at the time, and a lot of things have changed since then; I can look back and see how much I’ve grown and the trials I’ve overcome, and know that I can make it through whatever I’m struggling with at the time.

On my left shoulder, I have a clock with gears, a symbol of the grandfather that helped raise and shape me into the person I am today. I feel lucky to have inherited his methodical and tenacious mind, and his giving nature.

The mandala on my calf is a symbol present in a great many different spiritualities, as well as various fields of discipline, from science to psychology. Carl Jung said, “a mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of self.” For me, it represents the sacred and constant work of my journey as a person.

I have a sea-themed thigh piece and a mountain-themed forearm piece, both revolving around my deep love of nature. The more tattoos I get, the less important it is to me that they mean something deep or impactful. To me, my mountain tattoo is one of my favorites simply because it is an aesthetically wonderful piece of art, and portrays one of my happiest places.

Last but not least, I also have a triad tattoo identical to Ali’s, but on my hand. The triangle is an equal and stable geometric form, like our relationship: together we are strongest. It’s a philosophy I strive towards all the time.

Adam

I have fourteen tattoos total. I got my first one at 18 and I’ve been addicted ever since. The range of meaningfulness of my ink is wide and varied; from my son’s name in his mom’s handwriting on the inside of my upper arm, to these two four-leaf clovers (that look like broccoli) on my collar bones just because I was bored and wanted more work done.

My favorites change a lot. Right now my favorite is the mountain scene on my upper right arm. It’s the beginning of a sleeve I’ve been planning for a few years now, though I haven’t picked an artist to finish it for me yet. I plan to make it themed around the rocky mountains, where my wild heart first learned to run free.

I think I’ve actually been the opposite of Rife, in that my first few tattoos were nearly meaningless. As a teenager I was impulsive and had no real concept of the long term future. I lived most of my life in the present and treated every day like I may not get another. But as I’ve grown older, slowed down a bit, and run out of space to put fresh ink, the meanings of the tattoos have become more important.

Though I don’t necessarily regret any of my tattoos, there are a few I plan on covering up when I can. Some are linked to parts of my life I’m ready to let go of, some are taking up space that I’d simply rather have something else, and some are just not very pretty or well done and I’d rather have something that looks better.


As you can see, we’ve got a lot of tattoos between the three of us. Tattoos can be based on anything from a deep and life changing event to just something you thought was pretty. Please feel free to share your own tattoos! Post about them in the comments below or send us an email. Either way, we’d love to see them!

Posted in Adam

I am a Crazy Dog Person

I have always been around dogs. When I was a baby my parents had a Malamute/Lab mutt named Shithead (his real name was “Mr. Magoo” but no one ever called him that). Growing up we had various mixes of Malamute constantly. Mostly Malamute/Wolf crosses. I can’t remember a time frame longer than a couple months where we didn’t have at least one dog, but we mostly always had two at a time.


I have fond memories of all the dogs my parents had, and I have since grown quite the soft spot for the Malamute breed, but when I finally got a dog that was really mine I didn’t get a Malamute. For reasons unknown, I got a Dachshund.

I was used to having dogs that were 80 – 120 lbs and often mistaken for wolves at first glance, but somehow I fell for a 12-week-old Dachshund puppy.


I named him Zim (his full name was Invader Zimmerman Strauss) and he weighed all of about 5 lbs when I got him. Right from day 1, though, he had no idea how small he was. His heart was easily as rambunctious, curious, and determined as any dog 20 times his size. His voracious appetite for life was infectious and I adored him.

Zim and I got 7 years together before his health deteriorated to a point where it was kinder to euthanize him than it was to try to hang onto him. It was very likely poor breeding that ultimately did him in, as he should have lived much longer. He’s the only purebred dog I’ve ever had, and will be the last. He will also be the only Dachshund I ever have.

After he passed I got his paw-print tattooed on my wrist, and while I’ve had many dogs since him, he was the first to truly settle permanently into my heart in a way that no other dog had before him.

[Click to enlarge photos!]

I’ve had small dogs, medium dogs, and big dogs. I’ve had terrier mixes, bully breed mixes, shepherd mixes, and mutts beyond recognition. I want to take my dogs with me everywhere. If they aren’t with me, I’m thinking and worrying about them. I like to hide treats for them to find while I’m gone, or leave the TV on so they have something to watch. I give each dog I know about 100 different nicknames and call them by them regularly. I let my dogs on the couch. I let my dogs in the bed. My love for them all runs deep and I happily count myself among the crazy dog people. I couldn’t imagine a life without them.

As of right now there are currently seven bodies on our couch (me included) and four of them are dogs. If you’ve checked out our About Us page, then you’re at least briefly familiar with Rory, Ryder, Aspen, and now Zoe. Between the four of them, there’s a total of roughly 200lbs of dog. Many people would call us crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

[Click to enlarge photos!]

I hope that I never stop being able to allow a new dog to make a difference in my life. The bonds I have formed with and the lessons I have been taught by the dogs that have come into my life are all uniquely important and beautiful. I remember and cherish every one of them and yet still somehow have endless room for more. I figure the least we can do for an animal so full of love and forgiveness is to love them back in every way possible, and I’m gonna keep doing it for as long as I can.

Who knows? Maybe after our lives end here on Earth, there really is a place that we go. If there is, then I hope to be greeted by every dog I’ve ever had, because I’m sure all dogs really do go to heaven and I can’t imagine a happier greeting for the afterlife. 

Posted in Adam

How I Knew… I Was Polyamorous

I should have known I was polyamorous many years before I finally put the pieces together.

Looking back, the only reason I think I didn’t figure it out sooner is I just wasn’t exposed to the idea. I didn’t know that polyamorous was a thing that I could be. Most of us grow up conditioned to think that committed, long-term relationships between two people (usually between a man and a woman, specifically) are the ultimate goal and the truest relationship model. We are taught that anything else is somehow inherently less true and less valid.

I was lucky enough to have parents who didn’t really contribute to that “normal” vs. “other” conditioning, at least not in any intentional way. We talked a lot as I was growing up of being open-minded, questioning everything, and actively seeking new experiences and perspectives in life. A phrase I remember well from my parents during childhood is “weird is wonderful.” It was said loudly and often, teaching me to embrace any “otherness” type feelings I came across instead of being ashamed of them. I am intensely grateful for that phrase, even to this day. That being said, I was still vastly unaware of many life experiences. As open and accepting as my childhood was, I still didn’t get exposure to anything other than monogamy.

So I spent years in the dark.

For as long as I can remember having feelings of romantic love, I can also remember there being a lot of it.

As in, I have long had feelings of a love more vast and open than I understood. It was always beyond what I could fit into the only relationship structure I thought there was: Monogamy. Unfortunately for everyone I loved during that time, I didn’t understand those feelings. I kept trying to build meaningful relationships with the only blueprints I had, but that meant trying to trim away at myself so that the pieces would fit. Of course, all the relationships I tried to build that way were destined to crumble. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I was trying to love them in a way I wasn’t capable of.

Throughout my teenage years I struggled through relationship after relationship, always following a (now) recognizable pattern.  They would start off promising – full of energy and commitment – but they burned too hot and too fast and quickly turned to ash. I didn’t understand it. I had so much love to give, but I somehow kept making people feel like they weren’t enough. When I tried to love them in the way that made sense to them, it didn’t make sense to me. I would inevitably feel like I wasn’t being true to myself, and once that happened, the relationship was in its last days. I never tolerated not living my whole truth for very long, and I was always gone soon after.

Fast forward a few years (and a disappointingly high number of failed relationships) later.

When I finally learned what polyamory was, things very suddenly started to make sense. I realized there were other people out there who had feelings like mine and who still had loving, successful relationships. This knowledge launched me into a trip of self-discovery.

Those times were filled with many late nights spent logging hours at a time on the internet. I clicked my way through Google searches, polyamory articles, and support forums. I read story after story about all different kinds of relationships. Everyone navigated them slightly differently so as to make sure the structure worked for them. While most of the stories and relationship structures I read about still didn’t quite feel right to me personally, just knowing there was something more was instrumental in my growth. The blueprints for different relationship structures were within my reach.

It didn’t take me long to accept this new knowledge of myself.

It did, however, take some time for me to figure out how to put it into practice. I was in a 7-year, monogamous relationship at the time, and coming out to my partner was a disaster. Neither of us knew what we were doing, mistakes were made, and feelings were inevitably seriously hurt. The relationship ended shortly thereafter. Sadly, that relationship was already failing and had been for some time by then.  So before you ask: No, polyamory isn’t what killed it. The mess that resulted from my coming-out surely played a role in its last breaths, but polyamory itself isn’t to blame.

Now that I’ve found Rife and Ali, things are brighter, but ultimately I’m still on this journey. The way I see it, the journey never really ends, but I am comfortable and happy identifying as polyamorous now. I am especially comfortable and happy in this beautiful poly triad we have. I’ve never felt a love quite like this – so safe and supportive and unconditional.

My only words of advice?

Don’t wait as long as I did. I’ve learned that lesson multiple times now. Waiting – trying to bury the truth you feel in your chest – never turns out to be the right choice. Whether it’s polyamory, sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else – just go for it! Research, embrace, and try the things that feel right. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Personal, Rife

Our Love is like an Octopus

This week, Ali and Adam learned that octopuses have three hearts. Now, we all enjoy a bit of useless trivia, but this particular tidbit of information struck a chord. We have a longtime joke that poly is really just being sassed in surround sound, but truly, it must be closer to the existence of an octopus: three hearts and a lot of arms. We are all pretty funny people(though Rife may disagree and think that he isn’t), but we’ve suspended the usual wit for a bit of sentimental squish in honor of Valentine’s month.

If you do not enjoy the lovey-dovey, squishy romance that this month represents, turn back now. Run. Flee! For this week we have decided to each answer some questions of the squishy romance variety. 

1. What is your favorite thing about your partners?

Rife: Adam is so easy to just be myself with; I never have to put on a show for him. He’s like the master of unconditional positive regard. There’s not a part of myself I worry he won’t love. And Ali, she just has this beautiful childlike wonder and optimism. Everything feels brighter through her eyes.

Ali: My favorite thing about Rife is his softness. He is always so gentle and caring. The world is such a harsh place and he is so sweet despite it all. My favorite thing about Adam is his passion. He loves with all of his heart and wants so much out of life. He chases his dreams no matter what obstacles are in his way.

Adam: Honestly it’s really tough to choose a favorite thing about either of them, but I’m going to give it a go. For Rife, I’d have to say my favorite thing is his steadiness. He isn’t prone to panic and flitting between things the way I tend to be. He holds the course, and when I find myself lost and drifting, I can always look to him to find my way back. For Ali, it’s the magic she brings back into life. Remember the way the world felt when you were a kid? That’s what Ali breathes back into in these jaded old bones of mine.

2. What is one of your favorite memories with your partners?

Rife: Almost too many to choose, I feel like this isn’t fair. The first that comes to mind is from my very first trip to Colorado, and the first time I met Adam. We spent those few days desperately trying to hold onto the moment. I remember sitting on top of this ridge, overlooking the hills and the interstate, holding hands, and wanting to stay so much longer than I knew we could. And Ali, I think one of my most favorite experiences was the time we got stuck hiking in the middle of a crazy summer storm. We’d hiked probably two miles down to the river at Raven’s Run when the sky started to grow dark. We turned back, but too late. First the rain came, and then the severe weather sirens. We ran back through the mud and lighting and wind, soaked to the bone, holding hands and laughing like we weren’t in danger.

Ali: One of my favorite memories with Rife is our spring hike in the Pinnacles last year. There were wild flowers everywhere and the weather was perfect. We spent all day playing and taking a hundred pictures and soaking up the sunshine. It was amazing. One of my favorite memories with Adam is the day we spent in the Arboretum. We took the good camera and took silly pictures of each other, caught Pokemon, and spent almost an entire hour trying to find what I called “the faery spot,” a few wooden pews in the middle of the woods that looked like magical ceremonies took place there.

Adam: Our cross country road trip. This applies to both of them. Not only was that the trip when I moved to finally be living with them, but it was our first road trip together and the longest road trip I had ever been on. They flew out to Utah to help me load Ryder and the last of my few possessions into my Pathfinder before the four of us made the drive from southern Utah to central Kentucky. The miles we logged on that trip will forever be some of my favorite miles traveled. Even Kansas. We joke now about how awful driving through Kansas (the long way, from the western border to the eastern border) was, but let’s be honest: if your relationship can survive being stuck in a car together all the way through Kansas, it’s a solid relationship. I’ve got a heart full of wanderlust, and getting to share that long of a trip out on the open road with two of the most important people in my life is definitely making it on my highlight reel.

3. What are some of your favorite things to do together?

Rife: I always love exploring with both of them, usually some dirt trail in the middle of a tiny town. I love making things with them too: sewing shirts, planting things, taking photos.

Ali: Rife and I love to hike together. We find beautiful places to explore, spend the day getting lost there, and dream of the day we can live in the middle of it all. Adam and I like to camp out in coffee shops, catching Pokemon and comparing our highest CPs while talking each other’s head off for hours. I absolutely love it.

Adam: Hiking, exploring, traveling, napping, snugging up on the couch to watch TV or read, preparing meals together, laughing at the dogs when they do weird things… Honestly, how am I supposed to pick? Anything we do together, whether trivial or adventurous, is made better and brighter when we do it together.

4. What is your favorite physical feature of your partners?

Rife: Ali has the best smile, it lights up her entire face. Gosh, and her eyes too. Such bright eyes. Adam’s got bright eyes, too. Both of them looking at me with these striking eyes and beautiful smiles. Adam’s also got these perpetually soft lips.

Ali: My favorite physical feature of Rife’s is his smile. He has the most gentle and genuine smile I’ve ever seen. For Adam, it’s his eyes. His eyes are so bright and so blue, and light up when he sees something he loves. He looks like a kid on Christmas morning when the first snow falls or there is a particularly cute puppy in the car next to us.

Adam: Butts. Both of ’em. You can’t just not acknowledge butts that great.

5. What is something you’re looking forward to doing with your partners in the future?

Rife:I feel like our future is full of bright plans. Live somewhere where we’re surrounded by nature, grow some things, maybe make some things and sell them. Be together and just take it all in.

Ali: I absolutely cannot wait to homestead together. Find a big plot of land, build a house that’s perfect for the three of us, and raise some babies on this wild earth.

Adam: Carving a small space out of this planet that’s just for us. Always having Ali and Rife to come home to any time my wanderlust builds up and I need to venture out. Naming newly rescued dogs. Being the one to teach any and all kids in our lives to be rebellious but kind, and to never stop yearning for more adventure and knowledge. 

We hope your Monday was a good one and that the rest of the week goes well! Love to you and yours.

Posted in Adam

Journaling as a form of Self-Care

Hey everyone! It’s Monday again, which means another new blog post from your favorite poly family! This week it’s my turn to type for a while, and I’ve chosen the topic of journaling as a form of self-care.

The History

I’ve been journaling in some way since I was about 13-years-old.

At first I was just writing every angsty thought that crossed my mind and slapping a date on it. I burnt through 5 or 6 journals that way. Some time around age 16 I picked up a Composition notebook and entered my next phase of journaling. This phase consisted almost entirely of cryptic, vaguely poetic thought vomit, and random objects glued onto the pages scrap-book style. I used nothing but wide-ruled Composition notebooks(they were cheap) through this period. Today there is a pile of 10-15 of them boxed up in a closet silently bearing witness to the darkest period of my life.

I often wonder if I would have made it through that darkness if not for my journaling. Working on those notebooks allowed me to vent all my intense emotions in a contained, healthy manner. 

The Current Phase

My current journaling phase began as an attempt to start bullet journaling. I failed sort of miserably at bullet journaling and it has since evolved well beyond that definition. Now I use elements of a bullet journal, a passion planner, and a good ol’ fashioned regular journal. Though I don’t know what to call it exactly, it has become an integral part of my daily life. My stress management and self-care skills would be severely lacking without it.

I’ve kept the index, the yearly/monthly/weekly spreads, and a bit of the bullet noting system from the bullet journal concept. The minimalist look and feel of a true bullet journal just didn’t quite do it for me, however. I wanted something warmer and a little more eclectic to fit my style and personality. To solve that, I’ve added trackers of different sorts and some artsy elements to liven things up a bit. Those trackers and the spaces I’ve intentionally left for creating art is where the self-care bit really shines through.

Self-Care

Each year/month/week I draw out a new spread, and every spread has a different color scheme/doodle/feel to it. This gives me a chance on a regular basis to tune everything else out and create some type of art for a minimum of about 20 minutes. For me personally, this is incredibly relaxing and rewarding. Allowing myself the time and space to be creative has proven to be a necessity in my mental health, so of course integrating that into my journaling experience was going to be a given.

The trackers I’ve added are for things like mood, weight, and health. For example: I have a seizure disorder that I recently started getting medical attention for, so I track when seizures occur. My mood tracker is laid out over an entire year with a block for each day. At the end of every day, the block for that day gets colored in with a color that matches my code for the mood that prevailed. Green for “good,” yellow for “okay,” orange for “bleh,” and red for “sh*t.”

The trackers are particularly useful for keeping an eye on patterns in your mood/health/finances/etc. This allows you to easily look back on them and reflect. Self-reflection has been a really important thing for me these days as I focus on healing and recovering. I’ve realized that I am particularly inept at listening to my body when it’s trying to tell me something and my trackers have been instrumental in allowing me to pay more attention. Even just the act of filling in the trackers on a regular basis is really helpful because it keeps me more aware of those things throughout the day.

My Setup

The setup I have right now is mostly a mismatched collection of things we already had around the house. Things like a cheap ball-point pen, a set of Cra-Z-Art colored pencils, and sometimes my Staedtler marker pens (though they have a tendency to show/bleed through). I did purchase a Moleskine dot-grid notebook, which is the one I’m using now, because I wanted to try the dot-grid style and I’ve always been a bit partial to Moleskine notebooks. I definitely enjoy and recommend dot-grid notebooks for this type of journaling, but any notebook will do. It all just depends on what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

Of course if you do any kind of online research for journaling, you’re going to see a very wide variety of things that other people have done. Especially on Pinterest. Everything from clean, simple, minimalistic stuff, all the way to almost entirely art notebooks with watercolors, markers, paints, etc. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start off simple. Then, as you get more comfortable in the routine, you can add more things as you please. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be tempted to try everything all at once. Resist that urge. Just trust me on this. Allow yourself the time and wiggle room to try new methods slowly, so that you can find exactly what it is that works for you.

And that’s it for now!
Until next Monday, cheers to you and yours and happy journaling!