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.

 

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[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.

[more book reviews]

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I’m excited to say that I’ve been asked to review the She Reads Truth Bible.

It hasn’t shipped yet, I just got approved. and I. Can’t. Wait.

Genesis

As a visual learner who also needs to hear, touch, feel things before I really get it, I think this Bible is going to be amazing. I’m posting my hopes for this Bible before I even get to feel it with my own hands. Maybe you’ll get one of these first copies, too?

They’re equipped with things like devotionals- which is something that I NEED. and i can’t wait to dive in.

Who is looking forward to hearing more about it?

 

[closing time]

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You guys remember this right?

“So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits, I hope you have found a Friend. Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
I feel every ounce of this song. Though I’ve usually thought of it as the bar keep saying “Get out of my bar, I’m tired” and not in the sense of Closing on a house, packing up our belongings and moving along. Making an end at one residence and allowing it to be someone else’s new start.

We got the e-mail that we can close next week and I SCREAMED when I read it and called my husband to make sure he saw it (he didn’t. he was driving.)

1 down. 2 to go.
We should be able to close on the house we are moving to in just a few days after we sign the documents on house 1.
We should have house 2 up to snuff in a week or two and have that on the market, then we will cross our fingers and keep praying that God will show us some mercy and good grace and sell the house quickly. It will be hard to manage a second house from an hour away. Please join us in praying that we sell my college home quickly.
WE ARE SO EXCITED.

[things to come]

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We’re getting ready to close on the house that we have lived in for the past two years, our first years as a married couple and as a family. There’s an eensy weensy little spot of me that is sort of sad to see it go. Most of me is relieved. I had these huge fears that we would be trapped there for the rest of our lives and I would feel cramped and tired and stuck. But we’re not even living there now. And it feels like I can breathe again.

We’re staying in the house that I owned before we got married. Sleeping in a room I’d never slept in before, remodeling rooms I’ve dreamed about but didn’t have the know-how to be able to do. Painting, cleaning, continually boxing items. Always finding out that we have TOO MUCH STUFF and our storage unit is TOO full. There have only been a handful of items we have *really* wished we had on hand, that were packed away. one of them we bought to replace while we wait to unpack all our items- a mini food processor, from an estate sale, in mint condition with all the accessories for $2. It was really hard to pass up. And I mean, we’ve definitely desired to have two of them a time or two before. So now we have two.

We’re trying to renovate and continue living our lives, but really, we’re tired. My husband especially. Because my Prince is a dreamboat and he works all day at his office and then comes home, puts on his boots and goes upstairs to build walls, tear out dividers, hang mirrors, paint things, put in trim and more. I ache from sitting at a desk all day, to a point that I don’t WANT to do physical things unless it’s as simple as walking. I clean the house and then I’m over-exerted. Depression and anxiety are running high right now and are never more than an arm’s length away, hello fall season- i see you.

We’re also only three weeks away from closing on our dream house. our farm. we’ve met the owners of the house and fell in love with them. the wife is so sweet. she cried when we met and reached out for a hug but realized we’d only known each other a few seconds and pulled back. I hope she comes back to visit in a few years. The thought of moving is dreadful. I can’t envision spending one more day messing with our belongings and moving them again. It feels so laborious. I just want to be settled in our home.

It feels like we are always busy. Always doing something, even on the nights that we have to veg out and watch a tv show and eat on the couch because we are so tired. Our emotions are tired, or mine are at least. I can’t deal with my overworked husband who spits out words like fire and doesn’t realize how crushing they can be. I can’t handle it. And I can’t handle the ins and outs of parenthood right now. I just can’t. I am at a point where I need a safe place and I need a cozy chair and blanket and a book or 10 to curl up with and recoup, but there is no time for it.

I’m looking forward to learning to garden and learning to be the canning queen of 2018.
I can’t wait for goats, chickens and some day cows, even though i don’t really want cows.
I can’t wait to build the photo studio of my dreams, right on my land.
I can’t wait to take walks in our back yard through our hills.
To wake up and see deer feeding from our trees.
To have our home.
To create our farm.
I can’t believe we’re really doing it!

[breaking old habits]

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this is not step parent related. at all.

im an avid nail biter. like. the worst of them all.

my nails are shorter than my finger tips. my pinky nails are smaller than my 9 year olds nails.

my husband literally will grab my hands in church and hold them down if he sees me biting.
or rub my leg.
Or grab my arm
Or just scowl.
he HATES it.

and it makes him cringe.

 

so i’m on day 4 of no biting and my nails are shiny and clean and are driving me BONKERS. Lord help me.

[on teenagers]

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First off, let me just say this: I can’t deal with teenagers.

Maybe it’s because I was technically still a teenager less than a decade ago.
Maybe it’s because we seem to live on different planets.
Maybe it’s because I still have some teenager-like tendencies (queue the rolling eyes and temper tantrums that rear their head when i least expect it.)
Maybe it’s a lot of things.

I can’t deal with constant bickering and fighting. I can’t deal with being disrespected. I can’t deal with life not being good enough, while we are trying SO HARD to provide so much for them.

We are in the process of selling house 1, living in house 2 (fixing up as we stay) and purchasing house 3. My prince, 9 and I can’t wait. Prince Charming and I dream about it every single day. We smile and get giddy and I cannot hardly contain how excited I am.

13 hates it. He actually likes the house. He likes the land. He hates the thought of having to work on a farm with us. (Big surprise.)

He is a downer whenever we bring up this thing, this thing we have worked for and saved for and dreamed about and spent so much time, energy, and freaking MONEY on. And he sucks the joy out of anything we mention about it. I can’t handle being lifeless.

When we pick him up from school, his first request is to get snacks.
No. We have some at home.
Pop?
No. You’ve had enough today.
Okay, how about we order pizza (always pizza).
Well, considering dad is in the kitchen right now, sweating over our dinner. Probably not. And probably not because we ate out last night with you. So…… definitely not two nights in a row, thanks.
Can we watch this R Rated movie as a family? Or just send 9 to his room?
……..No? You’re 13? and No.
Can I call my girlfriend at 9:30pm.
……………………..no? what? no. its Wednesday. No. Do you not know what common decency is? Don’t call anyone past 9:00pm. No.

But I’m the monster.

I gave and I gave and I poured out my everything into these kids the first two years of our marriage. And before that, when we were dating. I sacrificed hours at work, sleep- when I’d wake up at 5am to come to my Prince’s house to help him get kids on the bus so HE could work. When I took on three new person’s laundry. When I became a grandma at 26. yeah, I have given a lot of me.

The only thing I hope for in return is an occasional “glad to be here” or a “love you too” when we send them off to bed or off to their mom’s for a week. Some sort of acknowledgement of my existence.

It gets hard to feel like I’m unheard.  It gets hard to feel like I am on my own.

Feel like waving my white flag.