[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.

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[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?

 

[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!

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 ūüôā

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNE UPDATE

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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.

JUNE UPDATE IS HERE!

I can tell you that we are doing well in so many of these and I can’t hardly take it.
In the past month, we have finally gotten a storage unit. We’ve filled about 1/4 of it and have seventeen years worth of belongings to go through still, but we will get there. We have a perpetual pile of junk that needs to go to the unit each week, which sits in our corner and it makes me so happy. I’m happy to move it. Happy to pack it. Happy to throw it away.¬† The kids have been willing to go through their toys and get rid of the ones that they don’t need immediately.¬† It’s so nice.

Friday, we got a text saying that a step at house A was broken and needed attention. Sunday, my Prince put in a brand new set of steps and it looks amazing. We had this on our To-Do list, knowing it would need repairing at some point, just hadn’t been a necessity. So sometimes, those late calls turn into blessings because they force us to check items off our lists!

Thursday, I came home from work and my Prince Charming was standing on top of our roof. He decided it was the day! He would finally, after 8 months of having roof sheets lie in our yard, put the roof on the house. In his defense, you cannot start a roofing project during a Michigan Winter and you cannot start a roofing project in a Michigan fall or spring: Snow, Rain, Rain. Day 2 of the roof being off of our house it rained slightly, for the first time in weeks, and now is blazing hot and we have record breaking heat right now. My poor husband. He is so red. But this afternoon, we will have a brand new, maroon roof on our green house. I am so very thankful for our friends and the church family we have- four men in our church came to help us out and lend hands on the hottest weekend of the year. We fed them taco salad and gave them lots of water and iced tea, but i know it’s not near enough. Now that this giant project is out of the way, a lot of other projects can begin. It’s hard to start projects when there is a huge one staring you in the eye every day.

We keep eating healthy. I cheat and eat pizza and I’ll never stop drinking pop because i just plain like it. But i drink less of it and more water. I get shock tarts every couple weeks and enjoy one bag for a few days. It’s the only way to live. I really don’t care to be 100% green all the time. It’s fun to indulge, you just have to do it responsibly. Just like anything else. PS I’m down 20 pounds and I can see it and feel it and my shirts reflect it. That means that the last shirt I bought was 2 sizes smaller than the previous one I was wearing. I also just want to say that I am down 20 pounds after pretty much quitting (i got bored) and after my step dad died, when i didn’t work out once in 10 days and ate what i wanted and sat on my couch in mourning. I’m still down 20 pounds. I’m 1/3 of the way to my December 31 goal with my dad. It’s a lot of weight, but it’ll be worth it. I started the 21 day fix, but did it my way. I am intentionally using it for the portion control, not because I overeat, but honestly because I under-eat and I don’t know what a cup of greens looks like compared to a cup of fruit, or what an appropriate serving of each would be. So using the containers helps me to see what MY body really needs every day. Using their app allows me to track my food and see when I’ve indulged too much or when it’s been 3 day since I’ve had any fruit. I struggle with fruit. So I’m being intentional with drinking it- in smoothies or in V8 Fusion, where you get 1 serving of Fruit AND veggies in 1 can. Some added sugar, but I lack in fruit so much that it seems worth it to me.

Saving more moolah is hard. We have bills, for sure. And now it’s summer. And I really like shopping. And i just spent two weeks in a grueling depression that I didn’t think had an end, until i forced my husband to kneel on the ground and hug me until i stopped crying. It broke the next day. Freedom came with that cry. So anyway, when i’m sad i shop………… and i spent a little bit of money in those two weeks. But yesterday, I got a raise at work and my second job just gave me a raise, too! So the extra money can get put towards the last couple of non-mortgage/student loan debts we have and will get us closer to a new house.

I’ve still only worn jeans 3 times this year and life is so good because of it.

 

Bye for now!

 

 

a step mom- on mother’s day.

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Apparently everyone is jumping on the Mother’s Day bandwagon right now, even though we’re more than a week out from it. I guess this is when I should write about it, too.

imagesMother’s day is a really, extremely sore spot for me. I’m not excited for it. I don’t have a wish list. I don’t look forward to any part of it. It hurts me. Mother’s day feels like a giant loss for me and there are no possible words for me to even explain this to you, without giving you miles and miles of explanations. So for short:

Mother’s day is a trying time for me. My own mother lives on the other side of the country and told us she was leaving only 10 days before she drove off. Her job didn’t call her there, she convinced them she needed to move. She took a pay cut, drove her own, personal car through the mountains, and increased her monthly bills tremendously. This was 6 years ago.moving-company-reviews-clipart

In these six years, my own mother, who I used to view as this immense source of strength and beauty in a way I couldn’t understand, this woman who had it all and had it all together- she has cracked. She is broken. and she is lost.

 

My own mother suffers from some manic depressive habits and probably schizophrenia, if not a multiple personality disorder. I can’t give you a real diagnosis because she won’t visit a doctor to receive any help. Through these debilitating mental disorders, she has lost the job that she chased after, 2300 miles away. She has lost her home, she has lost her car. and she’s lost a lot of dignity. While there isn’t much else to lose, she is very rapidly losing her children. It’s hard to even say that. I’m not going to go in to grave detail here because it’s far too extravagant to try to explain.

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I have felt, for 6 years, the way a young child with a parent who walked out of their life feels. Abandoned. A little worthless, since it was so simple to just leave. A lot forgotten. But I’m an adult and I was an adult when she left and I do still have contact with her. But it feels so strange. This is the first year I didn’t call my own mother on Easter. I just couldn’t.

As a step-mom, mother’s day is naturally strange. Two years ago, Mother’s day was only a few days before my Prince and i’s wedding day. So he had the kids make me Mother’s day cards. I got one that said “Happy Mother’s Day-ish” and “Thanks, StepMomma (with my real name inserted.) And it was cute the first time because they still didn’t really know what it meant to have a step mom or what was happening. I’m not sure they really realized I was moving in until I didn’t go home the first night we returned from our honeymoon.

The second Mother’s day, I directly asked them to not send me an “ish” card. That I’d rather have nothing than an “ish” card. Because in all honesty, that “Ish” hurt.. pretty bad. They couldn’t even call me their step mother. i was just Ish. My Prince had them buy me flowers and they picked some out for their mom, too. Snuck into her house and left them on her windowsill. Our church has a Mother’s Day thing every year, where sometimes the kids deliver the flowers to their moms or sometimes they call everyone up in front of the church to have flowers given to them, or sometimes an adult will pass them out while we watch a slideshow of memories of little babies in hospitals and moms kissing their babies cheeks.

I don’t want to stand there. I feel like an outcast. My kids don’t want to buy me flowers, they correct the servers at restaurants that say “Maybe Mom will…”. They can’t stand the idea of me as their mom or as a mother-like influence. And it really crushes me sometimes.

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Mother’s day hurts. And i know that for you, it might hurt in different ways. This year feels different and feels like my kids may actually like me better than they did last year, but i am still a little bit broken on Mother’s day, grieving the loss of my own mother. She’s still alive but she is very much not here. She doesn’t know the names of my kids and hardly knows what I do for a living.

For mother’s day this year, I don’t want a thing. i don’t need a thing. Except maybe a giant hug from my Prince and an “I love you anyway.”

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writehard

THE LONELY POST

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If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you’ve seen my teaser posts leading up to this: Loneliness in Step Parenting. I just want to start out by saying that I really, honestly don’t know how to talk about it. But it needs to be talked about.

There is this stigma that I think a lot of step parents falsely believe when they enter into marriage- that they will be an equal to their partner in parenting. I do NOT mean when it comes to the other parent, by any means. But I DO mean within the household. And it just isn’t true, at least not in my house- and I don’t think we are abnormal.

There’s a lot that goes into this statement, though. It’s not a one-size-fits-all category. In our case, I had been around the kiddos the entire time we were dating, I knew them from church before we dated- I was comfortable with them and they were¬†getting comfortable with me. It took them a long time to realize that I was their dad’s girlfriend and then fiance, and then soon to be.. roommate. But i was still there.

We started sort of implementing some roles for me, on accident, before we got married. I started taking them to their bus stop in the mornings so that my Prince could go to work on time and not have to miss out on hours just to make a couple runs to the bus around the corner. So for me, I woke up 3 hours earlier than I needed and trekked myself 20 minutes out of the way with the intent to help my future husband out. To have some one on one time with my future step kids. To try to do something positive. They saw that things were changing and that new things were happening.

When I became The Step Momma, I sort of expected to be a partner in decision making for the kids. I KNOW that I am not their mother. I am not their mom. I am new. I am the newest. but it is also my house and i have a role in their lives.

When the ugly step parent card rears its ugly face, the Step Momma falls. Fast. It’s easy for me to feel ¬†isolated or lonesome. I feel left out. ¬†It’s hard when my prince even plays with the kiddos instead of speaking to me. It. all. crashes. down. I get reminded of my new-ness, how fresh I am to this family. And I know I can’t be alone in these feelings. At the end of the day, I can be completely drained from the kids fighting or just the constant pull they can have- not that they are naggy, but just that it is a new life that I am still not used to.

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The loneliness creeps in when they have been with us for 1 night and 12 calls his mom because he misses her, but he can spend 6 nights away from us and never call us to check in once. again, i get the mom/son connection, but sometimes that stings too.

How about when the issue of¬†time and¬†visitation¬†comes into play. ALL I have ever asked is that I am notified if there are changes. This is typical in the summer that we will get extra nights with the kids. When ¬†I come home I am¬†aching for quiet, solitude. If things are out of the norm, it is difficult for me to even function, really. If we pick up extra nights, I want to be involved in that decision. My plans are important, too. What if I planned a date for us? Or planned to do something different? Or what if I just need a break and some time with my husband? Spring break is approaching, so the Time¬†questions are surfacing. I don’t get to answer because I don’t know 100% of what bio mom has said or what her impact is on the kids.¬†i do know what it’s like to be ¬†a step kid. I do know what it’s like to be the voice of reason between two parents who can’t¬†get along.¬† Tonight, I mouthed off and said “let me know what’s acceptable for me to say.” and walked away. I am more easily hurt as a step parent than i ever have been in any other role in my life. ever. the person who holds my heart and shares the same dreams and goals that i have is the only one who has the ability to shake my emotions, and he doesn’t even know when he does it. which makes it tougher.

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I don’t know how to explain it.

It’s hard for me to see them have father/child chats and not get updated on what they’re “chit chatting” about. I’m important too.
When they come back from the store and get special treats and nothing for me, I get jealous. I get¬†lonesome when they don’t think of me.

When they haven’t seen their dad or i in almost a week and they, sometimes, come through the door excited to see him. They hug him and get in wrestling matches and i stand to the side. I don’t get much of a hello. I don’t get told good night. I certainly can’t be told I love you. and the last and only hug i have ever gotten was when i specifically asked for one when their mom ripped them away from me. 9 has sat on my lap twice this weekend, but he knows he’s doing something risky- he’s cautious when he does it.

This weekend, we created Mii’s on our Wii gaming system, my step dad gave us his old one a couple weeks ago so we are still customizing and learning new things. They made Mii’s for each kid, my prince and for me. When my Mii showed up on the screen, 9 said “NO. YOU LOOK LIKE THE MOM.” and resorted the entire group of Mii’s and kicked me out. it. hurts.

We are silent because we have to be strong. We endure a lot that other parents don’t. We see a lot. We feel a lot. We are in roles that are unnatural and that’s why it’s so damn hard.

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The quote that has been hitting me hard lately is something like, “Why is it so hard to believe that parents can love multiple children, but children cannot love multiple parents?”

 

Are ya with me? Does this sound like your walk as a step?