4th of July Bliss

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I’ve been scarce lately and it’s because we are incredibly busy. And I don’t need to apologize for that 🙂

We spent four days on the other side of the state at a conference and came home late Saturday night, gathering the kiddos early Sunday morning before church.
Which for me, was exhausting. There are struggles each week to get to church- one of them hates it and it’s evident, but he goes anyway. This weekend, their mom let them stay up until about 5:00AM Sunday morning and then came to our house at 8:30AM for church. So both of them fell asleep during service and in the car and on the way home and everywhere else and I was furious. And they wore basketball shorts because 13 won’t do their laundry.
So i was grumpy and mad because I had just spent 4 days with 2500+ people and then was awoken by 2 snotty kids at 8:30am, while we should have been away for one more day (we came home early). I was unhappy.
13 had a ‘tude all day long and i couldn’t handle being in the same room as him. and that makes my Prince upset and he gets angry and cold toward me.
17 came over for the day. and the next day. and the next day.

a lot of kids.

But yesterday, the fourth of July. We woke up before 9am (20 mins before we were supposed to leave because my alarm didn’t go off!) and headed to the beach. We packed lunches and sunscreen and headed out. We got there and the beach was practically empty (10:30AM, it’s to be expected). The kids all played. Hard. They built a huge sand sea turtle (see below). People stopped and took pictures of it, took pictures with it, put their kids on it. eventually they let their kids climb on it and stab the turtle’s head, which i thought was pretty rude haha.

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We all left after we were sufficiently fried. More than fried. We were all red and crispy. And we only have one bottle of Aloe Vera.

We drove home and tried to sneak into a couple ice cream shops- one was rude when my husband asked to use a restroom, they did the Pretty Woman thing where they sort of told him he was too garbage to use their bathroom, so we chose to eat ice cream elsewhere. Then we found the second shop and they’d closed! So we finally drove the long way around town, almost home, and found ice cream.
The kids started craving Pizza. Real bad. And we told them no 500 times. but when we walked into the restaurant, I pulled my prince aside and said “come on babe, lets just get some pizza and then have ice cream later.” and he smiled and sat at a table. He’s starting to enjoy tricking them, too. We didn’t let them look at menus, we just waited to see how long they could stand it before we ordered.

and it was good. it was doughy and saucy and fresh from the oven. and the ice cream was perfect. and we got it all for about $35 which is pretty neat, since there’s 5 of us.

And 13 said that he had just had the best fourth of july he can ever remember. and there weren’t even fireworks yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teeter Totter summer update 2. [the one that you should read.]

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Okay my posts aren’t always going to be about a teeter totter summer, but this week it is because its week 1 and everything is upside down.

Last night was …dun dun duuuun.. report card night.
9’s is almost glowing, it’s so good. he has 2 areas he can improve on, but the teacher even said “I think he’ll figure it out. He’s a leader in our class. He is an example. He works well with others, etc.” Everything a parent wants to read about their kid. He is GIDDY with his end of year grades and the positive report his teacher gave him.

13 has had this impending doom hanging above his head for the entire last trimester- he’s known it was coming. Long story short, he barely passed his year at school and we’re searching for summer school as a sort of bonus punishment. He’s lost privileges like television, tablets, cell phones, video games- all of it. very strictly for 3 weeks.

We came to this agreement about 6 minutes after we got the letter in the mail. The kids’ mom came over and my Prince kept saying, before she arrived, that “We would all discuss this and figure it out.” and i questioned him- “You keep saying we. does that mean i get to be a part of this?”
“Unless she outright won’t meet and talk about this if you’re here, yes. I want you to be a part of this.”
*huge internal smile*
Immediately after, she arrives. We all gather on the porch and she even says hi to me before i get on the porch. that’s strange.
we have our discussion and she actually listens to my input, which i am mindful to not add unless i think its very important, since this is the first time i’ve been tolerated. this is going well…

she admits a lot of her own faults in why 13 didnt succeed this year. she admits to a lot and basically reaches her hands out asking for help.
Eventually the conversation is wrapped up. I sent the boys in the house to find a book that they  were playing with the other day, it was their mom’s and her sisters from when they were kids- we gave it back to her and she smiled so big! she said she really appreciated it and held it close. and then the  boys go off to swim.
She doesn’t run off the porch.
Instead she thanks me.

SHE THANKED ME.
and she apologized for the way the last two years have been and blamed it on “momma bear.” and i just told her i understood and i thanked her.
and i told her how much i love those boys. and how much i care for them and just want the best for them. and she just said “Stepmomma, i know. they love you. and care for you. and i’m just grateful to have a support system for them. Thank you for all that you do for them and all you have done. i think things are going to be a lot better from here on out.”

WHAT!

and once she left, i walked right out to the pool and told my prince what she said, and he hopped out like “Should we talk somewhere else?” like the boys shouldn’t hear. and i said no. i intentionally came here for them to hear that their mom came to me and apologized. there was a tangible tension between us the last two years and they have openly talked about her disdain for me. I think it’d be good for them to hear that things are better. and he just smiled, like “You’re right.”

And then we took the boys to Taco Bell as a little surprise, but also because it was hot and we didn’t want to cook.

and then we took them to play tennis and 13, the one who hates all physical activity and outdoors, LOVED IT. he had fun. he smiled and laughed and ran around and then i smoked him in a real game of tennis (PS it was his first day ever of tennis, but still i won.) and then i crushed my Prince in another game of tennis that he tried, so hard, to get me to redo, but i scored on him in all 3 redo rounds. and i won again.

we all giggled and we all smiled hugely and came home feeling good.

this was my favorite day in a very long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A time for everything.

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A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Lord, You are good. Even when it seems dark.

New Years Check In

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I am slow to post these days and I am fine with it.
I am spending my days at work a lot busier (most of the time).
I am spending my lunch hours raising the bar and lifting weights.
I am spending my evenings taking walks with my husband and recouping from the day. Cooking more. Cleaning. Enjoying my time with him when it is there.
So blogging is low on the priority list and I hope I haven’t upset you by not being here.

I realized I’ve only checked in once on my 2017 goals and now is a great time to do so again!

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  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.

Some of these are a work in progress- like decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, and having more family time. They always will be. As long as there is progress in these areas, I am so happy.

We have been boxing up as much as we can. We’ve found a couple items we wished we wouldnt have boxed up yet, but we will NOT pull them back out. Prince Charming almost boxed up our TV, but I’m not ready for that. We like watching movies on the weekends and we love our Wii lately.

Two weeks ago I talked to my dad on the phone and somehow he suggested we do a weight loss challenge, because my entire family is overweight, unhealthy, and making no signs of positive changes. I jumped on it. I like challenges and I need someone to hold me accountable. I invited my husband to join in and he will, once school is over. So right now, my dad, husband and I are in the battle of the fittest. Except we are all going to win if we commit to making better choices. I don’t really care about a certain number that I get down to- but I did set a goal for myself. I’m happy to see myself change. The first week I lost 10 pounds! Then another five, but those came back. So i have steadily lost 10 pounds in 2.5 weeks and I am happy about that. If I know that I am eating better foods and I am working out steadily- I don’t really care what my scale says. I know that I am doing good things because I can lift more than I did last week and I can drum longer without stopping for a drink. I can see change in this short amount of time and that in itself is encouraging. I have been to the gym 12 times in 2.5 weeks and the days I didn’t hit the gym, I worked out at home or went for walks with my husband. I think there’s only been one day of inactivity and in reality, I got my butt kicked at work that day and was lifting heavy equipment all day long- I count it as a workout almost.

We have successfully paid off all but one debt (which we are making payments on) and are now working toward student loan debt, too. It is so exciting to get statements with zeros on them! It’s tough to do when both of us aren’t working full time, but I am so grateful for even widdling them down.

We have spent a LOT of time together as a family lately. So much that I have been in need of some real s.p.a.c.e. lately. or a lot of time with just my husband. one or the other is rejuvenating to me. Two weeks ago we had the younger two kids on our Wednesday, the weekend, the following Monday. Then 17 came over on Tuesday, we had the youngest two on Wednesday and 20 came over, too. The two youngest came again on Thursday. So we had them every day for an entire week and I almost lost it. It’s so hard for me to not get a break. It’s so hard to come home and be drained from work and feel no release or sense of rest. To not be able to put a load of laundry in the washer without being nagged.. it can be daunting. I feel awful about it, but I can’t help it. My Prince questions whether I truly want a family. If I want kids of my own. And I can’t explain to him enough that it will not be the same. He just doesn’t get it. There is a difference in the longing that kids have for their mother and the type of attention they crave from me. It is so incredibly different that I can’t even explain it. They crave time with me but when they realize it’s happening, they put up walls and they scoot away. I do the same thing.

They get excited and want to share with me or play with me and I sort of freak out over the type of intimacy that I’m experiencing with them. Afraid that they’ll shut me out again or their mom will rip them from me, their dad will interfere. That they’ll look up and realize I’m not their parent and they shouldn’t be giggling with me so much. I don’t want to do that to my kids. But it’s how I function.

I have mastered a few meals! I just had my dad over on Sunday and cooked Honey Balsalmic Chicken and green beans for him. Prince Charming made some potatoes and a tarte for them. My dad was so pleased. he was so impressed to see me cooking something and that the seasoning that went on the chicken was homemade, not from a bottle. That i blended spices together to get this delicious tasting sauce to coat the chicken and beans in. It was so good. I felt so accomplished.

I haven’t worn jeans since January.

I have still only read two books this year, but I am working on a third and just taking my time doing so. What recommendations do you have?

 

how are your goals coming along?

[loop devotional reblog]

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To Go Forward, It’s Time to Go Back

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me—Psalm 139: 7-10

Oh, restless one, I bring you peace now. These years go by, and I stay. These images in your memory, pages you flip through from the past, I make them beautiful. I show you beauty , and I want to show you more.

You can’t change the past, no. But you can look at it differently. You can’t change those moments when you were little, when you were the little girl with the tender skin and pink lips you used to bite. You can’t change that time, the one that hurts so much. Or, that one, the one you say you’d give anything to rewrite.

Oh, daughter, I want to show you what I see.

So, while the past can’t be rewritten, it can be made beautiful, even now, as you look back. I know what it means to not see one thing beautiful about a moment, to be filled with pain and sadness about circumstances. There are things that break my heart, too, you know.

But I forgive—and I will help you know how to forgive, too: as you look back at the pages of moments you wished you could change, the people involved. And yourself, my love. I need you to forgive yourself.

Let Me come for you like you need Me to. You can’t even know how much you need Me until you get a taste of what I have to offer you: healing for your heart, a past washed white. I make you clean, my daughter. I bend low and wash you clean with my very hands, my heart beating for you, my love. My grace covers you. My love covers you. My life restores you and makes all that you carry so light, so light.

You are made to be free. You are made to see and live in the beauty of you I created. You are beauty because I made you, and you were not meant to live in fear and regret and sadness—especially about the past. Close the old book now. A new one is written for you. I have new pages to show you. The pages of your past are in this new book, with a fresh, clean cover, white pages, pressed new.

And then turn the page.

There is so much more to write in this book, so many more stories and pictures to add these pages are not flat; they are not one-dimensional. For you are in the story, my love. You are the story I am writing. You are the love I have made. You are the daughter who stirs my heart and who I have redeemed and who I show is worthy and beloved and whole.

So, grasp hold of my hand. For the new book to be presented to you, you need to let Me take you back to the places where you haven’t let Me go with you before. You need to let Me show you the light in the dark places, the hope in the despair, the presence of Me in all the times you felt so hurt, so sad, so alone.

And I will be holding your hand the whole time.

The whole time.

I promise.

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The Liebster Award!

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okay guys. I love this stuff. i love that you take 30 seconds to read my blog, let alone a few minutes to try to learn more about me ❤ i love it. thank you for the nomination Sissy Mack!!

Finding bloggers that have less than 200 followers is tough!

Mack’s Questions are as follows:

1.  What is your favorite thing about yourself? I really like that i’m not judgmental and that I think I try my hardest to see the entire situation before I figure out how to approach it.

2.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Germany ❤

3.  What is your favorite creative medium? Photography and painting. but i’m really bad at painting.

4.  What is your geeky secret? Geeky? I have no idea. I’m really crazy about office supplies.

5.  How would you describe your style? colorful and fun. clean and tidy.

6.  When did you start writing? ive always written and it’s always been a secret.

7.  Why did you start writing? i wanted to be famous like Anne Frank and have one of my diaries discovered, but because i ended up doing something really cool. (this is my geeky fact, i guess haha)

8.  What is your favorite dessert? I really love mint chocolate chip ice cream but i am lactose intolerant, so i guess… cookies?

9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? oh gosh it depends! i love it all.

10.  What was the last movie you watched? Logan. it was grusome.

11.  Which continent do you live on? North American continent!

 

***Eleven Random Facts About Me***

1.  Mustard is slowly becoming my favorite color.

2. I am overly addicted to the clothing line LuLaRoe

3. I don’t have a lot of close friends

4.  I’m a 26 year old grandma.

5. The craziest thing i’ve ever done is become a step mom.

6. I really want to raise goats.

7.  My husband and I are working our way to become DeBt FrEe!

8. House hunting is actually one of my favorite things to do

9.  I am obsessed with my dogs.

10. I really love reading, now that I’m no longer a student.

11.  Cleaning is therapy. Clean house = clean mind.

Now I get to nominate some of my favorite small blogs.  I love following each of you and just want you all to know that you inspire me.

1.  Redneck Lena

2. Newish Wife

3. Marajudah

4. Dorky Mom Doodles

5. Not From Your Average Joe

6. The Canadian’s Wife

7. The Opinionated Dad

8. Stepmom Warrior

9. Tilly The Blogger

10. Single Dads Are Cool

11. The StepMomster

 

Now it’s my turn to ask the questions!

1.  Dogs or cats?

2.  What’s your DREAM job, no strings attached?

3.  When did you start writing?

4.  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

5.  What’s one thing you’d like to improve about yourself?

6.  What is your favorite movie?

7.  What’s the first vehicle you owned?

8.  Do you have any creative hobbies (aside from writing)?

9. Do you have any children?

10.  What’s the one thing you’d like to be known for?

11.  Where are you from?