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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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?

Competitive Me.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been competitive.

Whether it was who could clean their room quicker, sister vs sister

Winning soccer and softball games.

Getting my name called first to be a helper in school.

Having the best baked cookies.

I don’t “take it easy” when we play board games with kids. I play to win.

Whatever it is- I will race you at it and I sure as heck plan to win.

But how does that work out when you’re a parent? How does that work out as a step parent? Simple: It doesn’t. Competition doesn’t belong within our four walls. Competition should stop there. It shouldn’t be a race to see who can wake the kids up the quickest or in the best manner. Shouldn’t be a game to see who can fold the most clothes or do the most tasks for the kids. Shouldn’t be a contest who the 12 year old will spill his guts to first. Or who 17 will text message first. But for me, it sort of is.

It’s somehow become a game. If Prince Charming walks through the door, I’m the winner if he greets me first. If he hugs 9 before me, I’ve failed. Something is wrong. I’ve told him it bugs me. That if he says I’m first than he needs to show it too. That he is happy to come home to his wife. and that things are different now that we are married. The kids cannot speak over top of me to get their dad’s attention. things are different.

So what do I do? How do I stop?

How do I change the way that it feels when I am aching for attention from my husband who works almost full time and goes to school full time and spends 25 hours in his office studying… and he reaches for the kids first? How do I respond when he misses the kids but I am breathing a breath of relief that I get 2 hours alone with my husband and don’t have children climbing on me asking for their next meal (because they know I can cook now.) How do I not get upset when he wants to spend one on one time with them but doesn’t have time for me? How has this become a competition? Who am I?

I don’t want to outweigh the kids. I don’t want him to not spend time with them. I don’t want him to ignore them. I think I expect him to be superman and it’s disappointing when he can’t be. When he can’t fill 19 roles like I hope he can. Because I have to fill a lot of gaps right now and I think I always expect him to swoop in and say, “No babe, I got this tonight.” So when I overexert myself and try to make everything work out, it’s his call at the end of the day whether the quality time was spent with the littles or spent with his wife. They both like to do different things. One doesn’t like to play board games with the other because of the age gap. One doesn’t like the outdoors and the other wants to be active and live a little bit outside of our own four walls. One I butt heads with and the other can be my best little friend at times. How do we mix ourselves together and act like a regular family who can handle having time away from other members of the family and get quality time when we can?

 

Do you struggle with this? Competition? How do you fight it? How do you win against it?

Blended Family Series

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http://joeyhtracy.com/relationship-step-childrens-mother/

[During Marriage Having an amicable relationship with your step-children’s mother is important.

I married a man with 4 children. This seemed ideal since I have fertility issues and don‚Äôt know if I will ever be able to have children of my own. He is an absolutely wonderful father, although fidelity is not one of his strong suits. I found this out after 2 years of marriage. When I married this man I knew he came with 4 beautiful children. This also meant that there would be an ex-wife to deal with…………….]

The big, green monster

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Proverbs 27:4New International Version (NIV)

4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Jealousy is something I’ve never struggled with, until now. I’m not sure how to handle it- but Proverbs has said it perfectly. Who can stand before jealousy? Who can even try to compete. Who can win against it? No one. Your mind eats at you. Your thoughts are overcome by negativity- worst case scenarios. It creeps in and spews darkness in all of the wrong places. Lord, help me.