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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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?

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?

New Years Check in-2

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Checking in and keeping you updated on my New Years Progress is a really great way to hold myself accountable. If I’d written my goals down just for myself, I probably would have already lost the paper and forgotten my goals. Yay technology! Here they are:

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.

in February’s Post you saw me do most of these things, the ones marked in yellow were already achieved or are things that are a work in progress. Decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, pursuing my LLC (now that i’m a DBA), all things that are daily choices.

number 11 is something new, though. With 17 committing 6 nights/month to us, it’s really helped us to spend time together. The younger two are so happy to have a committed night with gbaby- i think this will be so good. now just to get 20 on a regular basis! I keep suggesting to PC that we ask 20 to come to ONE of the every other friday nights that 17 and gbaby are over, one night per month. all four kids and the g baby. it would be so nice.

I’ve successfully cooked 4 new dishes that i have never attempted before. Honey Garlic Baked Chicken , Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm., home made hamburgers with sweet potato fries (that was the new thing) and asparagus, and last night I made pasta salad with chicken and homemade bread. it was so good. I took step by step photos and then ran out of time and forgot to take a final photo. I was going to take a leftover photo but THERE WAS NONE! 17 ate 3 helpings of it and took every last noodle. so. good. i dont even like pasta salad! until now 🙂

I’m reading more- I’ve finished two books this year, which isn’t crazy, but I am in the process of my third book! I’m just happy to be able to dedicate some spare time to something I enjoy and not have to write book reports or take quizzes on it!

Can’t say I’ve read my bible all the way through this year yet, but i’ve been doing The Matthew Challenge and that’s kept my nose in the book.. most days. We’re also pursuing the home bible study, but it won’t be feasible until the summer.

it’s exciting to check in and see more things marked off the list or areas that I’ve made progress on!

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how are your new years’ goals? still attainable? or did you throw ’em away a while ago? happy wednesday, y’all!

Honey Garlic Baked Chicken

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Ok guys. It happened again. and this time, it was really tasty. Like, I openly, blatantly took photos of this entire meal because it looked THAT good. I sent pictures to my dad and posted them on my Instagram before I told anyone our food was ready and I am darn proud of this meal. One- because I changed the recipe up and it didn’t ruin the meal. Two- because it was delicious on all accounts. Also it was super simple.

Going into this, you should know that I hate skin on chicken. I only eat boneless, skinless chicken. So this recipe was perfect.

What you will need:

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For the chicken/glaze:
2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken
1-2 tablespoons Garlic (I used minced, you could do 2-3 cloves).
2 tablespoons olive oil- we use extra virgin but you don’t have to.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
S&P as you wish
2 tablespoons parsley (for garnishing, optional.)

For the green beans/veggies/sides:
12 oz of your fav. green vegetable (I used green beans because I am quite possibly obsessed with them.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
S&P
Parsley

You can serve this meal on one pan!

So here it is. It’s so simple mamas:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To give your chicken a nice color, do this little trick. Get oil hot in a pan, add chicken, let it sear one side for about 3 minutes. It should be an even golden color when it is ready.20170224_17174420170224_17203620170224_172042

Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. You could cover your sheet with foil and grease that for easy clean up, too!

In a small bowl, put all of your chicken/glaze ingredients together (excluding chicken). Add S&P to taste and put this aside.
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Put your chicken on the baking sheet and use a spoon to cover it with the glaze you have just made. Do not contaminate the remaining glaze with raw chicken- use a separate utensil to remove from bowl than you will to spread it on your chicken. Raw chicken is dangerous!
How much you cover it is really up to you. I practically caked mine on there, making sure it was in every nook and cranny. Results were delicious.

Put chicken in oven and roast for 20 minutes.

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I’m a neat freak, so I use bake time as a way to clean up the mess I’ve begun to make. Spices go back in the cabinet, counter gets wiped down for step 2, Dirty dishes get rinsed and put in the sink. Clear surface- clear mind in my world.

When your workspace is tidy and you are ready to proceed, grab your veggies! Chop off the tails/vines. Cover them with the chicken glaze (and a clean spoon). Be generous. I used every drop of glaze I could. It spread well, it was thick, it is so delicious, i can’t wait to eat it again.

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When your timer goes off for the chicken, add your green beans to the same baking tray. Bake for about 15 minutes.

You will have a sloppy mess of a glaze dripping all over your pan. Use this. Dip your chicken in it, pour it on your veggies. Do not let this go to waste. It is so good.

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We had ONE piece of chicken left over after everyone had seconds. I never have received as many compliments on a dish as i did this one. You will LOVE it.

Bon Apetit!

Recipe Adopted From

Forgive me for crappy photos, all i had was my terrible phone.

 

Finding the Middle Ground

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Okay steps. How do you do it? How do you balance the excitement and joy that comes when you realize that the kids are finally taking to you in new ways? How do you not let that exude out of every part of your body and scream it off rooftops?

The littles sit closer, sometimes on top of my head. They pull me down the hallway by my hand and don’t flinch when they realize they are touching me. They compliment things that I do.

Here’s the best one: 17 invited me to an event with her next week. Just me.
She goes with her boyfriend’s mom and some of their family. And she wants me to join. So OF COURSE I’M GOING.

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So on Monday night, I’m going to be a Cardio Drummer. I guess. Whatever. I’m going to be hanging out with my SD.

She’s recently committed Tuesday nights to us. We get to see her, her boyfriend and gbaby every Tuesday. Just us. Just them. And she will also come each Friday night that the other kids are here, to ensure that they can see their nephew. My heart is so full. I am so incredibly happy that they want to spend time with us. me.

Y’all, I thought it was going to be crazy being a 26 year old grandma, but its not. its so perfect and i love every second of it.

So now I’m trying to balance how to respond- over eagerly? non-chelantly? or do i just tell her, TAKE MY MONEY, I’M COMING!?!

 

let’s be honest, i asked her how much, when and where and what it would take for me to get there. I am so happy.