[independence in step parenting]

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Let me just start off by laughing at my title, “Independence in Step Parenting,” because this is not a thing. It’s so far from being a thing, I can’t believe I even typed it out like it was a thing.

Step Parenting is hard because yes, you love your kids. Yes, you care for them. Yes, you financially provide for them and might even be their health care supplier. You wake up with them in the middle of the night, pack their lunches, check their pockets before you wash their clothes, make them dinner and remind them to brush their teeth at night. But you can’t really do any of that on your own.

If you care for them differently than their biological parents want them to be cared for, you are wrong. You are inferior. You are the wrong. It is not ever the fault of the terrible teen or the moody pre-teen. It is not appropriate to share your disappointment in the failure of the kids, even if the rest of the world is disappointed, too. You are to be the friend and never the parent, unless the parent wants help. You don’t really want to be their friend though. You want to parent because you are a parent. Maybe not by birth, but you are a parent.

Just like normal families, mom and dad come from different backgrounds and have different parenting styles and different techniques. But you are step, so it doesn’t matter. Your upbringing is wrong. Your family is wrong. Your ways are wrong.

When it comes to celebrations, they are done in the way of the biological parent because, haha, after all it is their child. Not yours. And this is how it’s always been done.

If you don’t agree, it is appropriate to stop talking and to submit immediately.

We are throwing 9 a 10th birthday party against my wishes. We just moved. We’re finally in a month that doesn’t have a lot of extras- you know, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have seen an entire month of bills at our new house and can set expectations for what we need to shell out in order to operate. I can’t justify spending $125 on a party for someone who has 3 friends and is an hour away. I could justify doing a big, giant, fun present for this birthday but, who am I?

I say no. Then eventually just say f*ck it, do what you want. We’re having a party. It’s listed at $125, but I know it will not cost $125. We already have to pay for us to bowl + the older kids if they show. We will have to pay for food for the parents who come. We’ll have to pay for 13’s friend that his mother invited but didn’t consult us about. Us who is paying for the party and planned the entirety of it without an ounce of her help.

13 who is failing his grade for the second time and still has a tablet, a cell phone and a girlfriend. 13 who has an attitude and drives me up the wall. 13 who thinks he is 19 but refuses to take on any responsibility. 13 who took 2.5 hours to wash 1 sink of dishes on Saturday. 13 who cried when I gave him his SECOND chore of the day- to clean the small bathroom. Which he deep cleaned 2 weeks ago, so really will only take 6 minutes in its entirety. 13 who is a pompous as*hole.

I am tired of my opinions not really mattering, even when my prince says they do. I am tired of their mother having more weight than i in my own house and in my pocket book. I am sicked that she can call FOC and demand an evaluation, 30 days after we move to our new house. Why can’t we have ANYTHING to ourselves? The kids are happy. Let it be.

I am so irritated and so beaten down by this parenting gig.

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100 questions

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100 QUESTIONS NO ONE EVER ASKS

1. DO YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR CLOSET DOORS OPEN OR CLOSED?

I prefer them closed, but they can’t right now

2. DO YOU TAKE THE SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONER BOTTLES FROM HOTELS?

YES

3. DO YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR SHEETS TUCKED IN OR OUT?

Out

4. HAVE YOU STOLEN A STREET SIGN BEFORE?

no

5. DO YOU LIKE TO USE POST-IT NOTES?

YESSSSS

6. DO YOU CUT OUT COUPONS BUT THEN NEVER USE THEM?

yes

7. WOULD YOU RATHER BE ATTACKED BY A BIG BEAR OR A SWARM OF BEES?

a big bear, i think. get it done.

8. DO YOU HAVE FRECKLES?

yes!

9. DO YOU ALWAYS SMILE FOR PICTURES?

yes

10. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE?

there are too many to list.

11. DO YOU EVER COUNT YOUR STEPS WHEN YOU WALK?

only if i’m REAL bored

12. HAVE YOU PEED IN THE WOODS?

yes

13. HAVE YOU EVER POOPED IN THE WOODS?

no. unless you count when we go camping and we use the porta potty……. thats basically just got a hole to the ground underneath it.

14. DO YOU EVER DANCE EVEN IF THERES NO MUSIC PLAYING?

yes

15. DO YOU CHEW YOUR PENS AND PENCILS?

no. my mom always did and i hate it.

16. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU SLEPT WITH THIS WEEK?

my husband.

17. WHAT SIZE IS YOUR BED?

queen.

18. WHAT IS YOUR SONG OF THE WEEK?

anything Khalid

19. IS IT OK FOR GUYS TO WEAR PINK?

yes

20. DO YOU STILL WATCH CARTOONS?

not often but yes.

21. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE?

elf is slowly becoming one of my least…

22. WHERE WOULD YOU BURY HIDDEN TREASURE IF YOU HAD SOME?

i wouldn’t tell you

23. WHAT DO YOU DRINK WITH DINNER?

water usually

24. WHAT DO YOU DIP A CHICKEN NUGGET IN?

sweet and sour sauce or a ranch/bbq mix

25. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?

chicken

26. WHAT MOVIES COULD YOU WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND STILL LOVE?

the holiday. maid in manhatten. monsters university haha

27. LAST PERSON YOU KISSED/KISSED YOU?

my husband.

28. WERE YOU EVER A BOY/GIRL SCOUT?

no

29. WOULD YOU EVER STRIP OR POSE NUDE IN A MAGAZINE?

no

30. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WROTE A LETTER TO SOMEONE ON PAPER?

its been a while

31. CAN YOU CHANGE THE OIL ON A CAR?

no

32. EVER GOTTEN A SPEEDING TICKET?

yes, not since i was 16 though

33. EVER RAN OUT OF GAS?

ONCE

34. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF SANDWICH?

egg

35. BEST THING TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST?

everything. bacon, eggs, sausage, toast. fried potatoes

36. WHAT IS YOUR USUAL BEDTIME?

10:30

37. ARE YOU LAZY?

it feels like it right now

38. WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WHAT DID YOU DRESS UP AS FOR HALLOWEEN?

cats, barney, m&m, i dont know

39. WHAT IS YOUR CHINESE ASTROLOGICAL SIGN?

i have no idea

40. HOW MANY LANGUAGES CAN YOU SPEAK?

1.25

english and some german

41. DO YOU HAVE ANY MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS?

no

42. WHICH ARE BETTER: LEGOS OR LINCOLN LOGS?

legos

43. ARE YOU STUBBORN?

yes

44. WHO IS BETTER: LENO OR LETTERMAN?

letterman

45. EVER WATCH SOAP OPERAS?

only with my grandma

46. ARE YOU AFRAID OF HEIGHTS?

yes

47. DO YOU SING IN THE CAR?

is that even a question?

48. DO YOU SING IN THE SHOWER?

no

49. DO YOU DANCE IN THE CAR?

yes

50. EVER USED A GUN?

yes

—————————–

51. LAST TIME YOU GOT A PORTRAIT TAKEN BY A PHOTOGRAPHER?

february

52. DO YOU THINK MUSICALS ARE CHEESY?

yes

53. IS CHRISTMAS STRESSFUL?

yes

54. EVER EAT A PIEROGI?

no

55. FAVORITE TYPE OF FRUIT PIE?

none

56. OCCUPATIONS YOU WANTED TO BE WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

psychologist

57. DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS?

no

58. EVER HAVE A DEJA-VU FEELING?

yes

59. DO YOU TAKE A VITAMIN DAILY?

im supposed to

60. DO YOU WEAR SLIPPERS?

now i do!

61. DO YOU WEAR A BATH ROBE?

when i let the dogs out

62. WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO BED?

tank top and shorts

63. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CONCERT?

i think goo goo dolls

64. WALMART, TARGET, OR KMART?

target

65. NIKE OR ADIDAS?

nike

66. CHEETOS OR FRITOS?

cheetos

67. PEANUTS OR SUNFLOWER SEEDS?

neither

68. EVER HEAR OF THE GROUP TRES BIEN?

no

69. EVER TAKE DANCE LESSONS?

yes

70. IS THERE A PROFESSION YOU PICTURE YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE DOING?

yes

71. CAN YOU CURL YOUR TONGUE?

no

72. EVER WON A SPELLING BEE?

NO. i was in 13th place in our district lmao. i missed Amethyst.

73. HAVE YOU EVER CRIED BECAUSE YOU WERE SO HAPPY?

yes

74. OWN ANY RECORD ALBUMS?

no

75. OWN A RECORD PLAYER?

no but i want one and my prince wont let me.

76. DO YOU REGULARLY BURN INCENSE?

yes. my husbands poo is stinky

77. EVER BEEN IN LOVE?

well yeah

78. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN CONCERT?

a lot of people. idk.

79. WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

third eye blind

80. HOT TEA OR COLD TEA?

hot

81. TEA OR COFFEE?

tea

82. SUGAR COOKIES OR SNICKERDOODLES?

sugar

83. CAN YOU SWIM WELL?

decent enough

84. CAN YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH WITHOUT HOLDING YOUR NOSE?

yes

85. ARE YOU PATIENT?

depends 🙂

86. DJ OR BAND AT A WEDDING?

dj

87. EVER WON A CONTEST?

yes

88. HAVE YOU EVER HAD PLASTIC SURGERY?

no

89. WHICH ARE BETTER: BLACK OR GREEN OLIVES?

neither

90. CAN YOU KNIT OR CROCHET?

no

91. BEST ROOM FOR A FIREPLACE?

living room

92. DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED?

i am

93. IF MARRIED, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED?

almost 3 years

94. WHO WAS YOUR HIGH SCHOOL CRUSH?

Jimmy.

95. DO YOU CRY AND THROW A FIT UNTIL YOU GET YOUR OWN WAY?

no

96. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?

yes

97. DO YOU WANT KIDS?

yes

 

98. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?

teal

99. DO YOU MISS ANYONE RIGHT NOW?

yes

100. WHO ARE YOU GOING TO TAG TO DO THIS  NEXT?

nobody

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The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals [RECAP]

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

 

I set a lot of goals last year. I’m really happy that 10/14 of these are marked off. Here’s my annual update.

1) We decluttered SO MUCH while we were moving. and now that we’re HOME, we can see what we really.. still don’t need. and it feels SO GOOD. I have a box of dishes I’m giving to 21 when he gets his house, he and his girlfriend are working on it.

2) House A is fixed up and SOLD in October

3) House B is fixed up and has been on the market since opening week of Deer Season. 11 showings. Hoping someone will love it and call it home soon.

4) making healthier choices is a daily choice. Yesterday I ate pizza rolls and pretzels. Tonight I’m eating soup for dinner. It’s a choice every day. But this time last year, I never would have touched a bowl of freshly made turkey soup. Ever.

7) We’re still working on this. But the first year my prince and i started talking, not even dating really, he got me this Beth Moore devotional, i don’t even remember what it’s called. but we’ve started reading it with the kids every night they’re over. It talks about the birth of Christ and is real simple. It helps us to spend 10 minutes with them and get their thoughts or opinions. or just tick them off. Either way, we’ve started.

10) CHECK

11) Now that we’ve moved, we get to hang out as often as we want. it’s so nice.

12) I can make  several chicken dishes. I made a B.A. Lasagna, I make a few pasta dishes. I need to keep learning.

13) I probably wore jeans 2 total days in 2017. I win.

14) This is also a daily struggle. but most days at work, i begin with a few blog posts about topics that are intriguing to me and appealing. I count this as reading, even if it’s not hard, physical books. Now that we’re moved and settling, i want to finish the Magnolia Story and the rest of the other couple books I’ve got open.

 

2018 goals to come.

[God things]

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I was just reminded with a little flutter. More like a giant shove.

 

You are not dust.

               Even if you were made from it.

You are not dust.

God makes

                 [ B. E. A. U. T. Y. ]

From the ashes.

[she reads truth–review]

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GUYS. ITS HERE.

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

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I can’t tell you how excited I was/am to be chosen to review this Bible. Because first, me? My little blog? And second? I’ve been dying to have it for as long as I’ve known about it. I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media.  While I was given the Bible for free all thoughts and opinions are my own and I can’t wait to share them with you. I carried it around with me for a week because I was so proud to have it! haha.

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Okay, I failed miserably and always left my real camera somewhere else (except in this picture it’s just tucked away in my backpack on the table) and never took good pictures and it’s shameful because I’m a stinkin’ photographer and I love using my camera. nonetheless, here’s my blurry cell phone pic.)20171125_084348
Things that I adore about this bible:
1) the color. I was secretly hoping I’d get the coral one and when I tore open my package, I about squealed. They grey one is gorgeous, too but……… CORAL!
2) I love that it has a case. I really enjoy preserving my bibles- I really enjoy keeping them beautiful. I love that I can keep it in a case when I travel with it and keep it solid and as it should be. I also love that it’s a hardcover and I can’t wait to break the bind on it some day!
3) I love that it is simple to use- the glossary is laid out simply, I absolutely love the introduction to each chapter- how there are graphs, maps, charts- everything the visual learner needs.  (See below)2
4) I love the size of it and the room left over on the margins- I’m a note taker/doodler and need that space! I wish i could transfer all my old bible notes into this one and keep it all in one place.

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Morning study of Matthew- I can’t ever get enough of hearing the way that God has/can/will/DOES miraculously heal His kids.23548184_10210798770666400_783487580_n
I promise this is a different book, it just happened to be chapter 10 as well. In church, we are walking through Ecclesiastes- here’s a snap of my set up during the sermon.23549606_10210798774546497_394324692_n
I love these little devotions on the side. They tie directly to the scripture at hand, they’re simple enough but also have enough punch to stop you dead in your tracks. I’m someone who NEEDS simple application placed throughout my Bible. I struggle with reading, applying, comprehending what is written sometimes because of the verbiage and I struggle with determining what is a parable and what is a true story that Jesus is sharing. These devotions pull me out of my confusion and help me to apply the lesson right then and there. It’s 100% what I look for in a bible when I’m choosing my own. 23549743_10210798774106486_421303398_n

Each Book of the bible comes with artwork and it’s BEAUTIFUL. I get excited to find new books so that I can see what piece of art they included. Here’s some examples.

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My pooch, Lyla, hanging out and trying to soak in some Jesus with me.

Win 1 of 5 Copies SRT

Want a chance to win your own #SheReadsTruth Bible? Enter here!:

https://www.blessedfreebies.com/she-reads-truth.html

Overall, I seriously LOVE this bible and can’t wait to dig in more. Do you have a #SheReadsTruth bible? Want help learning how to #readyourbible ? THIS ONE WILL HELP. It’s helped me.

Need your copy today? Here’s the link:  http://shereadstruthbible.com

What is Thanksgiving?

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Lets be honest. Nobody really celebrates the real meaning of Thanksgiving. You know, the pigrims, the hats, the journey to America things. We just don’t. We celebrate family. Days off. Shopping. Having jobs. You know, we celebrate what we like.

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But what about the holidays has made it so tough for those of us who have lost? I read on a former teacher’s Facebook page the other day that “grief is what happens when you still have love for someone and nowhere else for it to go.” it’s like your heart is bubbling over for someone and there’s no where to put the goop that runs over. And it feels so true.

I feel like there is a giant hole. There is. Having lost my step dad this year has been so odd. There are times that i don’t really.. remember or think about it and that kills me when i finally say, “Guess that CAN’T happen.” Today, driving to my dad’s house, about 8 minutes from arrival my eyes welled up. The kids were all laughing and having fun in the car. my husband was talking to me. and it just hit me. I thought i was going to lose it and i just wasn’t ready to walk in and sob. But i pulled myself together and just said out loud, ” i don’t really want to cry today.” Too bad.

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I wanted to walk in and see my dear old marvin sitting in the corner seat of my dad’s purple couch, one leg tucked under his arm. Probably in a t shirt and sweat pants or a t shirt and jeans. very casual. A warm, “Hi, sweetie” would have followed as we walked in. I miss his black hair. I miss his funny moustache. I miss teasing him about what ethnicity he was because he ALWAYS said he wasn’t mexican but there is no way he wasn’t. I miss how casual he was. I miss his laugh and his smile. I miss the way he teased my dad. And i miss him a whole lot today.

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What is thanksgiving if your family has a hole in it? Is it a day where everyone tip toes around, trying not to bring up the sad reality we all know? Is it a day where we openly weep? Where we save a spot for dear old marvin and hope that somehow, his joyful heart will have a presence there? What is it?

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Sometimes it’s hard to see through the tough times and find joy. Today i’m struggling. And i’m sorry.
I have a brand new, amazing home, which is bigger than what we need and has more land than we’ve ever even dreamed of. My husband is hunting on it right now. We have two running vehicles and each have jobs. Our kids are safe, with their mom. We have love. We have good relationships. All our parents are alive and so are our siblings. We’re all relatively healthy. Our cupboards are FULL and the heat is on. I can turn the lights on (But am currently sitting by candlelight). I have happy puppies and both have a good bill of health, finally. How can I not be grateful? How can I not be full?

We were almost home and we saw a homeless man standing in shorts on the side of the road. It’s not even 40 degrees out and there is a good amount of sharp wind. It’s thanksgiving and he’s outside, begging for help. Now, i am NOT one to pass my dollars to every homeless guy i see. by no means. but he pulled at my heart strings. where are his pants? why did i empty the clothes out of the back seat, he could use that shirt i don’t want! i have a blanket, stop the car and let me get out to give it to him “calm down.” I ask my husband for all his cash and we give this man $20 and find out he’s got a friend he’s staying with. his mom had a heart attack and they lost the house shortly after. We told him to be safe. happy thanksgiving. and he told us God bless you. we pulled away and i sobbed.

my mom doesn’t own her own car. she doesn’t have a home. she’s living out of her work vehicle and drives a taxi for a living. she’s been homeless for two years and i haven’t seen her in a long time. my heart is just broken today.

i’m so sad that i’m not full of joy and thanksgiving today, and i don’t know how to share this but in here.

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Thanksgiving isn’t the same when your family isn’t near by.

It’s not the same when you blog, alone at your kitchen table.

I miss my mom and i miss my marvin.

i am so grateful for the things i mentioned a minute ago. we had a nice dinner last night and breakfast today. i saw my family and our kids. and i am so grateful for them. today i am just very, incredibly sad.

 

[changes are coming]

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Monday has come and gone so quickly. I worked my way through lunch and left an hour and a half early to go to the closing on house #1. We met the buyers- they’re SO excited. It’s such a weird feeling because we are so ready to be done with that house. The mildew smell in the bedrooms, even after we ran a dehumidifier and my Prince crawled under the house to put visqueen around the edges of the house, to keep moisture out.
The lack of closets.
The dank smell it gets after having windows shut for one day.
Not having a kitchen table
The bathroom fan that doesn’t work well enough for our hot showers.
The pergo floors that slide from one side to another
Using the back door as the front door (I HATE THAT).

We’re so done. We’ve invested so much time and energy into getting that house ready to sell and when we sat in the realtor’s office waiting to sign, it was just an odd feeling to know that we have moved on from it and there are so many parts that I just hate about the house.. that this couple is incredibly excited about. They probably love that it is tiny quaint. I never have and I never will.

And after about forty minutes, we left with a check in our hands and giant smiles. It’s over. One house down.
We only own one house right now! For a few days.

We close on our new house, our farm, on Friday. We only have two nights to pack the rest of our house up and get it in the sun room, ready to go. I think we can do it. My husband is almost done with the “construction” phase of the house and if he helps me tonight, we could knock it out so quickly. Except we have kids. And they are needy. They will not help us pack, they will not help clean, they will not help with the dogs, and God forbid they have to cook something. (13 could make spaghetti or something simple). And I’m supposed to bake cookies with 9. Because he left on Sunday and was gone for 6 hours unexpectedly. Fun.

And my Prince dropped a ball on me a couple weeks ago saying we’ll get them more. And when he said it I started crying immediately.
I think i’m still overwhelmed from summer,when we had them MORE than half of the time. I am not ready for more nights with these two yet.
Yes, I love them.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, I’m scared.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, I’m anxious.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, It makes me want to stay away on those nights
No, I won’t tell my husband no.

More nights. More fighting. More crying. More whining. More CLOTHES and more getting in trouble (ME) over not doing the kids’ laundry. (THEY’RE 13 AND 9 THEY CAN DO IT THEMSELVES). More angst.

I am not ready. I am not ready. I am not ready.
But the life of a step mom rule book says: You don’t have a life anymore. You have a husband and you have to do whatever you possibly can to help him see his kids more. Even if it makes you want to jump off the closest bridge.

Not because the kids are awful all the time. But because I don’t have the skills to handle them. And because I am different when they are around, as is my Prince. Life is different with kids.

I’m gonna see a counselor.