[still here.bonus mama updates]

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hi friends

Sorry i have been so quiet.

I am someone who cannot handle a pause. I like to have my hands dripping in sweat because I’m involved in so many things, so here, in nutshell, is what life has looked like as of late:

-Slingin’ Makeup (Younique babies- if you need a refill lemmmme know!)
-Keeping up with the chickens
-Dog Mommin’
-Photographing everything and everything (9 sessions in June, 4 in July)
-Working full time
-Church/soul searching
-House Cleaning aka finally making sense to the boxes of our stuff that have wound up on shelves
-Beating the heat (or trying to)
-Loads and loads of laughs.

So last year, at the beginning of summer- you might remember me having a little bit of a meltdown about going week on/week off with the kids. I was terrified. It was daunting. Well, I had similar feelings this summer. In the midst of trying to acclimate myself to new scenery, churches, towns, I wasn’t ready to take on kids for that long. Selfish? Maybe. Self- Aware? Definitely.

I know that when I get overloaded, i either crack or i burst. When it’s with kids, it’s usually bursting. As in I burst my emotions all over everything, I yell, i cry, I fight, i everything -not- productive. So i was terrified to have this huge switch. This back and forth-ness that we experience. The drama, the headaches. i was terrified. I couldn’t do it again.

This summer has been different.

I’ve been telling my Prince that I have noticed some huge changes. Some weird little things that honestly, make my day.

Prince and i have stopped carpooling, due to overtime schedules and me not wanting to wake up at 4:30AM for my 7:30AM start time. No shame in my sleep game. So we get home at different times. Almost every day that I get home, 14 will stop what he’s doing and come to greet me. A few times, he’s been mowing the lawn and will wave at me from the moment I get in the driveway until I stop and can actually call out a “hi!” to him. Sometimes he even gets off the mower and comes to say hey.

WHAT?

10 isn’t as excited, but certainly does come to say hi and acknowledge that I’m home. They give me a recap of what chores they did and wait for their “good job!”s. or critiques, whatever there is.

Even more of a wow, 14 has been himself lately. He finally broke up with his crummy girlfriend that we are convinced was the reason he failed 7th grade and barely scraped by in 8th, even though she is a successful student. He laughs again and seems to have fun with his brother- which is so neat.

But most recently, the most amazing thing happened.
14 and i were standing in the toy aisle at Wal mart, they were shopping with their chore money, and he just looked at me and said “Stepmomma, I think we should keep doing the week on/week off thing.”

See, we mentioned it ONCE about 3 weeks ago. Just to get a feel for how they like this setup. there was no push back. They seemed fine with it. 14 suggested we do a ‘trial’ once school starts… little does he realize that the summer is the trial.

We haven’t talked to their mom about it. There is always some fear in approaching changing schedules. It has never gone our way.

Last year, my Prince wanted to take a course that was on Wednesday nights. I told him I’d handle the kids but it wouldn’t really be fair because they’d only get to see him to say goodnight, so we inquired with their mom if we could trade nights for just one semester. Her response? Find another class. and that was it.
No matter that this class was only available in this particular time slot and is required for graduation. That doesn’t matter. What mattered is that she has a beer league she plays for and didn’t want to change that up for us for 8 weeks.

Here’s the thing:

14 has failed school the last 2 years
10 isn’t required to read at all this summer, even though their mom enrolled him in a summer reading program.
They don’t have chores at her house
They don’t have responsibilities at her house
they cook for themselves most of the time and have no limit on sugars/sweets.
They don’t have a bed time
And they have a caring, supportive, involved dad who deserves more.

So as scary as it is to say, I think if she disagrees, there might be court to come.

Pretty soon, 14 will be driving and I’m certain we will see less of him. We want to take advantage of the time we have left before girls and cars become the most important things in his life.

When we were at the store on Sunday, we were teasing in the aisles, and he said “You’re a great step mom you know that?” sarcastically.
And I said, “Yeah. I know. Or you wouldn’t have made a replica of me out of legos for Mother’s day.”
His response was finger guns.
Which means “you’re right.”
At lunch on Sunday, which the kids prepared for US, 14 led us in prayer and thanked God for helping us to find a church, find a home, and for being where we are.

He has been warming my heart so much, lately. I surely hope this lasts.

For 14,

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love,

“bonus mom”
As he affectionately calls me.

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Exciting Things are Happening Here!

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Friends, I bring good news and exciting happenings around thestepmommablog!

First, you can subscribe to my blog via e-mail now! There is a sign up button on the sidebar of my home page, or you can let me know via e-mail at thestepmomablog@gmail.com that you want to hear more from me! More than just blog posts- there will be updates, challenges, and more exciting things coming your way in 2017!

Recently, I was approached by a fellow blogger, Joey at Fruitland Home, to collaborate with other step monsters like us and create a new series on blended homes. We would love your help.

You who are step parents, divorced biological parents, step children, half siblings, other step-relative (aunt, grandparent, etc.), impressed/impacted/ from a blended family. You can help.

But how? Create a post by January 31st and e-mail it to thestepmommablog@gmail.com!

You who has felt hurts, you who has been pained and felt alone or unsure of your position- you can reach others who are in the same shoes as you. We are linking arms and creating something beautiful here. Together, with Fruitland Home we are building a place to share real life instances. Real stories, feelings, emotions and maybe even some tears. Stories from the heart and from real places in our lives. Stories that will build up and encourage others in our shoes- not tear them down. This is a place that will not tolerate cut downs or judgments on other parents, we are here to encourage and to build one another up. We are so excited to hear your stories.

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Need some inspiration on what to write? Here’s a list that Joey & I have come up with:

  • To My Husband’s Ex-Wife- An Open Letter
  • To My Kids’ Other Mother- An Open Letter
  • Why This Works
  • FAQ About Our Family
  • 10 Things No One Tells You About Being a Step-________
  • Communication Tips for Blended Families
  • Being a Blended Family With No Experience
  • Skipping the Honeymoon – Married with Children
  • Respect You. Respect Me. Respect Us.
  • Teaching Kids About Love
  • Who’s Home for the Holidays – Planning Traditions for Alternating Holidays
  • Remember: We’re All Human
  • Balancing Two Homes
  • Allowing Kids to Be Kids
  • The Fears of Being a Step-________
  • Recognizing God’s Role in Our Family
  • Blending Your New Family With Your Old Life
  • Being a Step-_______ is ________
  • Blending a Family With No Experience
  • You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation
  • Why Does “Step” Feel So Bad?
  • Comparing Yourself to _________
  • Mom of This House
  • 10 Things Not to Say to a Step ________
  • Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Step Parent
  • Learning to Cope With a Second Family
  • To My Ex-Husband and His Other Family- An Open Letter

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I can’t wait to hear from you.

thestepmomma

Getting Busy

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This is a really terrible picture of my planner from last month. If you’re not able to tell from all of the scribbles, arrows, highlighter marks, pinned notes, stickers and more. Last month was busy. In fact, life has been busy for too long.

I recently graduated with my Bachelors in Business Administration and expected to have down-time, and to be bored in the extra hours I should have had free up post-graduation. It seems that, if possible, life has gotten even busier. Like the things that I wasn’t quite able to tackle when I was a full time student, part time employee (35 hours/week) with another side job that rears its head at the most inconvenient times, volunteer and having kids at the house- they came out of the woodwork! In full force! I can’t even pinpoint what these things are- it seems like I’m doing the same things i always have done.

This weekend was very similar to the past 9 weeks. Wake up early, work, come home for lunch, work more, come home after dark. Sleep for 6 hours, wake up and repeat. and now i am feeling it. Busy-ness.png

I am feeling the aches of not sleeping well. I feel the lingering cold/bronchitis/death sickness that I had for 3 weeks.. never leaving. I feel fatigued. I feel distance from my husband who is just as overworked as I am and craves recoup time, while I crave his time.

We have been challenged with the command of Sabbath days. I used to practice them regularly, it was simple when I lived alone and only had to take care of myself. It was simple when I could manipulate my coursework to fit into the needs of a sabbath day. Now, the day we have “off” is usually replaced with side work. It’s hard to turn down when we are attempting to pay off some student debt and purchase a new house. Even if we don’t have side work, we have to play catch up at our house. Sundays are usually filled with meetings or work days after church- we often are gone from 9am-5pm, even on Sunday.

I’m challenged with prioritizing what is important. If I look at my schedule, it’s honestly difficult to find something that isn’t worth my time. Everything I do is either work related or spiritual growth. I hardly have social outings that aren’t tailored toward ministry or outreach.  How do we find a balance? How do we say that “extra work” is too much work?

How do we find balances? Sometimes, we come home and we are too tired to even try to talk over top of the television- which is really only on as something mindless to help us wind down from the day. We eat dinner together 99% of the time, I can probably count on one hand how many times we have not sat together and ate (unless one of us isn’t home). We really value that time.

Here’s a regular weekly schedule. Please remember to factor in house cleaning- laundry, dishes, mopping, sweeping, dusting, trash collecting, organizing, dog bathing/grooming, etc. I try to attempt at least 2 of these things/day so that I’m not overwhelmed by it at the end of the week.

So here I am, maybe this is just a confession or maybe it’s me taking a real step toward cutting some out of my life.

How do you practice the Sabbath day? How do you make your time Holy time, like we are commanded?

 

Bet the title of this made you think this post was going to be about something different, huh. 😉

 

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