Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well Christmas 2010 is over. Ernie argued that its still the Christmas season, and I suppose it is. There's still Christmas music playing on the radio, and our Christmas decorations are for sure still up (like I'd be on the ball enough to have taken them down by now). The kids have opened their presents and we've had our Christmas dinners. It was different this year because we had "Christmas day" a few days early, so we could celebrate with Gavin. It was exciting to see it through Sophie's 2 1/2 year old point of view. She understood a lot more this year. Last year she was of course excited, but this year she seemed to really get into it. Its so much more magical, the holiday season, when you have kids. We teach them the real meaning of Christmas, and that Jesus is the biggest gift to us, and that's why we give gifts, to celebrate that ultimate gift to us. But its also okay to get into all the magical wonderful fun stuff. Like decorating the Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, and watching Christmas movies. Playing games together as a family and having hot chocolate...its a much different kind of celebration when you have kids! A wonderful kind of different, in my opinion. And take New Years...I'm looking forward to it, but I bet our celebration seems kind of boring. We will have Gavin. We're going to go to the ocean to go clam digging, then coming back home and hanging out with the kids. I don't think of New Years Eve as some big party night anymore. And I feel better off because of it. I don't know how my life would be specifically different if we didn't have these kids. I do know that overall, it would be. It would be *completely* 100% different. Just like those jobs like nurses or doctors...no matter what you are doing, you are always a doctor. Well no matter what I am doing, where I am, who I am with, I am always a mom. Can't change it. Every single part of my life is affected by that title. The way we celebrate the holidays, the way we make sure we get to spend a little bit of time with each part of the family so the kids can see them, the way we arrange bedtimes around activities we want to do with the kids. What we watch, what we eat, where we go...the activities we plan definitely are different. And I am a much better person. The first person on my mind when I make a decision isn't myself. Its the kids. What will I make for dinner? Well I'll tell you its not always going to be what my first choice would be if I was the only one who was important. I have to take their little kid tastes into mind. What show do I want to watch? Well I think about the little observant eyes and tuned in ears that can pick up so much more than you would think. How am I going to decorate? Well maybe this homemade garland isn't my first choice, but the kids sure liked helping make it and they love seeing it displayed where everyone can see. And what is the meaning of Christmas? I don't want them seeing that the most important part is Santa Claus, and how many presents you can get for yourself and who gets the coolest toys. While I'm not against all of that, because the kids for sure got some cool stuff (Gavin got the Harry Potter Lego Castle...awesome. I mean, you know...for him...), we make conscious decisions to let them see that "getting" isn't what's most important to us for Christmas. Because we could tell them all we want, do what I say, not what I do. But I see in the way my little Sophie copies things I say, uses the same facial expressions I do, that my example has the most impact. So for this coming year, 2011, I am going to try to set the best example I can. And I'm thankful, so thankful, to these kids for making me want to be the best person I can be.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
At this time of year, everyone starts thinking more about what they're thankful for. That's a great thing -- I wish I could remember to be more thankful throughout the year. The first thing that comes to mind as I sit here in front of my computer to type this is that I am thankful we finally have a working computer again. That's a little thing, sure, but if you'll look back to the last time I posted a blog entry, that is the last time we had a functional computer. I don't like to think we rely on this technology so much but its felt like we've been really out of touch. I love keeping up with my family and friends on facebook. For a lot of people, its the only way I do get to have contact with them because they are far away. I like being able to post about life and the kids on here, for people who actually are interested in reading about us. :) I am very thankful for a cousin who has so much computer knowledge, and a caring heart, who took our computer home with him and worked on it, not once, but twice, until it was working again. He's very busy with work and his own kids, but he took time out to work hard on it for us...especially since for a while, we thought everything on the computer was gone. Pictures from our whole life together, essentially, starting with our wedding. Pictures of Sophie's entire life are on this thing. Not only that, he didn't even charge us. I am very thankful for that! Isn't it great that there are still kind people in the world? This year has been trying. This time last year, it would have been very easy to say things couldn't get much worse for us, at least financially. We were dealing with legal stuff over Gavin and Ernie had been laid off. Oddly enough, this year, things haven't changed with the legal stuff...but now a much bigger financial burden has been added. I guess I shouldn't say "well at least we know it can't get any worse!" Last year I didn't know how we'd make it, but we've made it though a whole year. We have even had happy times during that year! Somehow, we are still making it. It is amazing what God can do. It shows what little faith I have, for sure. I start to panic, thinking this is it, this is finally the time when things will stop being okay -- and then something happens, at just the right time, to get us through. My faith in God has grown so much during this time, and our bond as a family has definitely strengthened, as well. So I will be thankful for that. I am thankful for all this stuff we've been going through. While I wouldn't wish it even on my enemy, I can still thank God for it because it has made us better, stronger people. And really, when I think about it...if you take away the joblessness, the incorrect back child support that is putting huge financial stress on us, the court stress and uncertainty of our situation with Gavin...we have a lot to be thankful for! We have a house to live in. It may not be my dream house, but we have enough room for all of us. We have lights and heat. We have 2 cars that work and that we don't owe any money on. We have a sweet dog that brings a lot of joy to our kids. We have extended family that loves us. We have friends who care about us. We have 2 sweet, loving kids who are healthy! And I am so very thankful for my husband, who works his butt off to take care of us, no matter what, and who loves me unconditionally and is the best father I have ever known. I don't see it being the norm for guys in our age group to put the biggest emphasis on family, but the most important thing in Ernie's life is his family: me and the kids. And that means more to me than anything. And lastly...today I am going to try to be thankful that people have enough confidence in me to think I can cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I will say I don't agree with them...but too late to back out now! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. ...oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! -Psalm 30:12
Friday, June 18, 2010
"Many people say, "who will show us better times?" Let the smile of Your face shine on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests... I will lie down in peace and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. ~Psalm 4:6-8~ Led me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn. My enemies cannot speak one truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others... O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they rebel against You. But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love Your name may be filled with you. For You bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with Your shield of love. ~Psalm 5:8-12~ My family and I are going through a really hard time right now. When I say this, you need to know how much I mean it. In the months since my husband got laid off, I have said many times "well at least we know things can only get better!" We thought so many times that we were at the bottom. I have been shown time and again that I was wrong! September 25th last year, on my birthday, we moved. On that same day, Ernie was laid off. Less than 2 weeks later, we got served papers that affected our lives quite a bit. Now I'm not going to talk about court/custody/child support issues here, because this is, after all, public. But lets just say, its been a scary, stressful time. Just recently, the small amount of unemployment my husband has been getting was reduced because of an old child support order. We thought wow, there's no way we can do this! Then this week, it was reduced more. It is so easy to lose faith in these situations. It is more than easy to panic. I am so thankful that I have a strong husband who can see past the scary, terrible things and look for the good. I am so thankful we have good friends who love God and follow His will. I am so thankful for a God who loves us and wants to protect us. The verses I posted above are a huge part of what is getting me through this. I believe those words. I claim them for my family. I know many people who I love may not agree. I know many don't believe in my God. But my God has come through for us time and time again. When we thought there was no hope...there He was, in one form or another, getting us through. I know that we couldn't do this as a family without our faith in God. That is for sure. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance... Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. ~James 1:2 and 12~
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Last week I celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband Ernie. It was a nice and different kind of anniversary for us, because 2 days after our 1st anniversary, my water broke and we went to the hospital to have our baby girl Sophie. So of course, the same week as our 2nd anniversary, Sophie had her big important 1st birthday! This year, though, we got to celebrate together for a whole weekend, kid-free, and that was wonderful. This time I wasn't big fat pregnant and really uncomfortable (and who knew it was so hot in June here?!), and we weren't planning Sophie's birthday party. Sophie went to grandma's house for the weekend, and Ernie and I got up at the ridiculous hour of 4 am to go crabbing. The reason I know this is a ridiculous hour, is because Starbucks wasn't even open! If I have to wake up before Starbucks can serve me coffee, in my book that is too early. Regardless, that's when we got up and got on the road to the ocean. After I got over my sadness over having to ride the entire way to the ocean with no caffeine, I was excited. Maybe a lot of women don't see the draw of going crabbing for their anniversary, but I had a lot of fun. Its a nice wholesome hobby to share with my husband. I'm glad we are into "ocean" stuff as a family. It was even more enjoyable because I didn't have to continually run interference on Sophie trying to jump right off the dock into the water, where I'm sure a sea lion would love the opportunity for that kind of snack. I finally got my Starbucks (which is a requirement for any kind of special day for me...Mother's Day, birthday, etc...get me a coffee and I'm happy), we bundled up and we were the first one on the docks. We got our crab pots out in the water and then got to spend a lot of quality time together. It was nice and peaceful (until everyone else showed up...). We saw sea lions, pelicans, caught tons of red rock crabs, and the very last crab we pulled up before we went home was dungeness, which is my favorite. :) It was a really nice time to just spend together, with no tv, or internet, or distractions of life to get in the way of being together.
I love my sweetheart. Before you get married, so many people tell you "marriage is hard". Have you heard that? If you haven't heard that, I'm surprised. And sad for you, because what a shock that will be to have to find out yourself! I heard it a lot. I knew it. I got the idea! I am not sure if anyone heard that more than I did, honestly. But let me tell you, this is one of those situations where you cannot completely grasp the concept until you experience it yourself. You may be as prepared as you think anyone else can be. Which is great. It is far better to prepare and try to understand that what people are saying is true, than to just wear rose-colored glasses and think there must be something wrong with everyone who is telling you being married is hard. It really really is. Getting used to sharing your entire life with someone takes a lot of adjustment. Its a big difference between being single and getting to make your decisions without consulting someone else first, and having to consider someone else in everything. Staying true to the vows you take at your wedding will always take work, no matter how great of a person you are. Think about that...in good times and bad, in sickness and health...that means through everything. No matter what. You have to take that seriously. If you are lucky, you will enter into marriage with just these things to focus on. Nowadays, though, most people have a lot more baggage they will bring with them. Which only makes it that much harder.
Starting marriage with just yourselves to worry about is hard enough. And I know that is how God intended for you to start off. In our case, I said I do and became a wife and step-mom in one instant. And as a friend of mine recently said "its the hardest job I'll ever love"...which is true. I am not wishing for it to be different, I am just truthfully saying that it makes it many times harder. We have had alot of stuff to deal with in these 3 years. A lot more than some people do. I dont think our situation is the hardest, by any means. But we have gone through step-parenting and everything that goes along with that...court, fighting, sadness, heartache, etc. We had to deal with a hard pregnancy, which was stressful. Then we both had to deal with me having post-partum depression, which may have been harder on my husband than it was on me. Having a baby puts stress on any marriage. We've dealt with (and are continuing to deal with) the loss of a job, which was our sole income, and everything that goes along with that. It is all very difficult. But along with the difficulty of marriage comes infinite blessings. It is so easy for people these days to give up. I dont know if most people enter into marriage truely believing it will be "till death do us part". It seems to be "until I don't feel like it any more". If I didn't have my Ernie to experience any of this with, who is to say I wouldn't be experiencing hard times alone? That is something I have to remind myself of often.
Our wedding was the best day of my life. I know most people say the birth of their child is the best...but without my wedding day, I wouldn't have had the day we met Sophie, so I look back at my wedding as the best day. The day I married my best friend, in a small wedding that was perfect. In just 3 short years we have experienced the good and the bad, sickness and health, happiness and sadness...I know there are going to be a lot more bad times. And I trust God that the happiness and blessings will outweigh the dark times. But either way, I am happy to go through this with my wonderful, sweet, loving, funny, supportive husband, who I love with all my heart.
This song was played at our wedding...
For My Love
Walk towards me
I want to hear the heavens singing over you
When you breathe, and look at me
I want to be captured by you
Gaze into my eyes
and let me know you'd fight
thousands, for my love
slip your hand in mine
ask me to dance with you tonight
just ask me
for my love...
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I may ramble. Well, strike the word may. What makes a real woman? I've been thinking about this since seeing new fan pages on facebook -- real women have curves, real women aren't a size zero...etc. At first thought, I was inclined to "like" these pages. However, I don't really think that's something I want to support. Believe me, I'm all for supporting curvy women and letting bigger girls get past feeling like crap by only seeing stick thin models in magazines. But I was reminded by some thin friends of mine, who are both gorgeous, that being thin doesn't automatically make you happy with your body. Would I feel bad about myself if I saw a friend of mine "like" a page entitled "curvy girls are cows"? YES. Well, maybe girls who aren't "curvy" are offended by these pages that are meant, I guess, to empower bigger women. Probably because from what I've seen, these pages don't celebrate big girls, they bash small ones. Just as us bigger girls hate feeling judged. Maybe it makes them even more insecure than they already may be. While its hard for me to understand the other side, that doesn't mean their body image problems are any less justified than mine. I feel judged, quite a bit. I've been at Target recently and had some skinny woman and her daughter whispering behind me because I was buying junk food for a road trip. Probably thinking, well, she's fat because that's what she eats. That is their view of me, from one sighting. They know nothing about me. Just like you know nothing about the super skinny girl you see and think "oh she must not eat", or comment that she looks like a boy. There are so many things that contribute to a woman's size and shape. And while I think that society as a whole is more inclined to view fat people in a negative light, it doesn't mean that a woman who is a size 2 doesn't get negative feedback. I know women of all shapes and sizes, and for the most part it seems that every one is just as unhappy with their bodies. Especially mothers. I know so many beautiful, talented, sweet, intelligent women who have given birth. And all of them hate something about what pregnancy and childbirth did to their bodies. We see models who have been photo-shopped and airbrushed so much in magazines that they look "perfect", and beautiful. But who decided that their flawless skin and flat belly had to be what was the most beautiful? What about the stretch marks that mean that you gave life to a child? What about some gray hairs? Does that mean you're past your prime? My husband said one of the most wonderful things recently when I was of course stressed over some gray hairs I saw on my head. He said they were beautiful to him. Now that may seem like a line, but he seemed to genuinely mean it when he said that is just a reminder of all the things I have gone through to give him a precious daughter. No doubt the worrying and sickness during my pregnancy and then depression and a difficult baby added to the production of those gray hairs. What if people could learn to love our flaws because of the story they tell? What if you see a woman in the grocery store who's maybe overweight, and her chest looks uneven. What if instead of whispering about her, or looking at her in disgust, you think about the fact that she is a survivor...maybe that woman had breast cancer and had to lose a breast but kept her life? Do you think she minds the way she looks right now, or is she just happy to have beaten that disease? What about the girl you see who is skin and bones? And you talk behind her back about how she must be anorexic, or on drugs. Maybe instead, you realize that maybe she is heartbroken because she has just lost her husband, who was overseas, and because of sacrifices like this, we can live free? I wish we could all stop and think. And see the flaws...the extra weight, the lack of "curves", the gray hairs, bags under eyes, stretch marks...as part of what has shaped that person's life. I'm guilty of judging on first glance. After all, that is what we are programmed to do. But I'm just asking people to think about it. A woman who is a size 2 with a flat chest is no less a woman than her voluptuous neighbor. She is just as capable of love, just as capable of caring for her children...she experiences joy the same, and pain. Its not the outside, but the inside that counts.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I will be the first to say I know nothing about politics. The reason for that is...I have no interest in them. I'm sure that I should. I'm an adult and an American so I should know what's going on in our country. But we can't change that right now, so let's get past that. I don't think that anyone can come in and have a magic fix-all to VOILA make everything in our country sunshine and rainbows. I don't know the specifics of this new healthcare bill, because I haven't wanted to research it. However. I daily read statuses and comments on facebook that get under my skin. I in no way think it is a true statement to say that people who don't have, or can't afford, health insurance, don't deserve it. Not everyone on government assistance is a low life. Not everyone without a job, or receiving aid from the government is lazy, or a criminal. And I think sometimes, people fail to realize this. I may not have understood this until I was in the situation. I'm not asking people to change their beliefs, at all. I'm just asking for some understanding. And some courtesy. Everyone I'm friends with on facebook is there for a reason. Its because I actually, at some point, have actually liked the person. Reading such mean things makes me like them a little less. I'm not singling out the people against this healthcare reform as the only ones who bug me. But this is the most recent thing, and something that people seem to be most passionate about lately, and its a subject that I am sensitive about. Say you disagree, that is great! I love living in a country where everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want! Can you just try and put yourself in someone else's shoes? I don't have healthcare. Neither does my husband. We can't afford it. Our kids have healthcare, luckily, because we receive it for them through state assistance. I am not saying this is ideal, because its not, but I am very thankful that they aren't without coverage. According to the government, we make too much money to have state assistance for myself or my husband. Yes, even though we are on unemployment right now. There is a program where you can get state assistance healthcare that you pay for each month, unfortunately, they are no longer taking applications because they are full. When my husband was working his full time job, his company did not even offer a healthcare plan. We were pretty much stuck. I had insurance at my job. Which I had to quit, on my doctor's advice, when I was just a few months pregnant because I was so sick that I couldn't work. We don't need to discuss my family's decisions or anything like that. I do want to say that we are good people. We aren't criminals, we are law-abiding citizens. I don't even download music illegally. :P We pay taxes. We pay our bills on time and we take really good care of our kids. We teach them to follow rules and be kind to others. And I just wish everyone else could be kind, as well. Please think about how you would feel if you had no access to healthcare. Its pretty scary. If something went terribly wrong, we have no coverage. If I got a serious illness, we have no coverage. Do you think that makes me feel good? Or secure? I just don't want to read how in some people eyes, I suck. I'm not on the side of the liberals, I'm not on the side of the conservatives. And personally, I think to be so set in one way or the other is missing the point. I would really hope that people could budge a little, if "their side" wasn't going the right way. I know many Republicans who would really believe a Republican leader if they said it rains lemonade. I know Democrats who are the same way...if Obama said the sky is green, they would be the first to try to convince everyone that that statement is true. I'm sure this is a little rambling. I just feel sensitive about the whole issue. Can I say it again? Let's just try and put ourselves in the "other side's" shoes sometimes.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Has anyone else wondered why there isn't a Stepmom's Day? If you automatically dismiss this idea, then you are definitely not a stepmom, or you are not close to anyone who is a stepmom. I can tell you, from personal experience and also from observation, that it is an extremely tough job. I have the priviledge of being both a stepmom and a "regular" mom, so I can compare the two roles. First off, you have to deal with being in a child's life when their mom may not really want you there. This is their prerogotive to feel this way, I suppose. I mean, I don't think I'd like some woman filling a mom role in Sophie's life, I can't really judge because I've never been in that situation. However, it is still very, very hard to deal with. Let's face it, women have strong emotions. This is not the point of my post though, so we won't discuss whether its right or wrong for them to fight your role in their child's life. Let's just say its a very hard part of being a stepmom. Secondly, you have to deal with loving a child more than you feel you're allowed to. Does that make sense? In my situation, this is the case. I feel like in the eyes of my stepson's other household, I'm not really allowed to love him. Which is sad, because I of course do. I know he is not my biological child, but he is my husband's son, my daughter's brother...and a sweet little boy. So I love him as part of our family. You have to deal with having a part of your family leave for periods at a time. That is a really hard one. Holidays are never "normal". I have to figure out how to convey to my daughter why her Bubba leaves for nine days at a time, and, recently, we have to get her to not be afraid to hug and kiss him, because hugging and kissing him, to her, means he's leaving. We have to deal with his hurt because he doesn't understand why his little sissy is acting that way toward him. You have to fill the mom role...making school lunches, making sure teeth get brushed and baths get taken, taking temperatures and kissing owies, while not getting the same recognition and reward as "Mom". Who else thinks we need a Stepmom Day? I think it should be in January. Right after having to deal with the drama surrounding the major holidays that definitely comes with this role. I'm not trying to say I, as a stepmom, am entitled to more than moms. I am a mom, too. They are just very different roles to play in life. I never realized how it would be to have this title. Growing up many, many friends of mine had step-parents. Its something that just seemed normal. Of course you never think about what a hard experience it is until you go through it first hand. All this being said (complained about?) I would not change my involvement in Gavin's life for anything. Sure being a stepmom brings extra headaches, heartaches, problems, etc. But it also brings so much more love than I could have experienced otherwise! Just before I started writing this, we had an indepth conversation about a Lego coffeemaker he had just put together. Who would want to miss out on that?!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Today is Easter. Yesterday on a trip to Target, I noticed how commercial Easter has become. The store was packed, and most of the traffic was grumpy, rushed looking people. I saw countless people in the toy section, buying enough that you'd think it was Christmas (which has become too commercial, as well, but not the topic today), and the special Easter section (mostly candy) was stuffed with people frantically digging through what was left of the bags of candy, yelling at their kids, and giving the evil eye to anyone who cut in front of them. I even saw a lady give my sweet little girl a mean look for geting in her way. Is this really the point?? Did Jesus get crucified, and on the third day, rise again as the Easter bunny? The answer to that is of course no, and everyone knows that, but does everyone remember the point of Easter in the first place? I think not. Easter isn't to celebrate spring, and it isn't to fill up on sugar, buy new dresses, and get lots of toys. In the words of a good friend of mine, Jesus didn't die on the cross so I could get a new iPod. Do you know how important this day is? Christmas is important, because its the celebration of Jesus' birth. But Jesus birth wouldn't mean nearly as much to us without Easter. Jesus, God's son, was without sin, perfect. He took our sins upon himself and paid our debt by dying on the cross. In that way, our sins, which we could never pay for, were erased. He did this, something none of us deserve, and rose again on the third day so that no one needs to be separated from God's love. No one is good enough for that gift, but now everyone can receive it. No matter what you've done, said, felt, thought, let happen...Jesus paid it off for you. I'm forgiven, because He was forsaken. That to me means more than any candy or presents. That is reason to celebrate. I'm not saying you can't celebrate this fact and have some delicious Cadbury eggs as well, but lets spend a little less time focusing on ourselves and our wants, and focus on the new life we've been given. Christ the Lord is risen today! Happy Easter!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Wow! A lot of time has passed since I last updated. Its hard to keep on top of things. The holiday season is over now and its a new year. Its hard to believe its 2010. Sophie has been growing and acting older and older. She seems much more like a kid and much less like a baby nowadays. In fact, in a little more than 4 months, she will be 2 years old! That's a crazy thought. I guess not a lot has changed in the past few months...just busy with the same old stuff. We still don't know where our life is headed. Ernie is still laid off and court issues still haven't been resolved with Gavin. The bright side with all of that though, is that the kids have bene getting to spend a ton of time with their daddy! We wish he was getting to work, but man, it sure has been nice to get to spend whole days watching Sophie and Ernie play together. Also with the uncertainty regarding our time with Gavin, it has been nice to get to use the time we have with him now to its fullest. We have been doing a lot of family activities. Last night, we had Ernie's parents over and had a movie night with the kids, watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Its easy to see how much older Sophie is now when even she can enjoy a whole movie with us. Before, she really couldn't care less and would just go about her business. Now she will pay attention and interact with everyone. That is a fun thing to watch for sure. Her new favorite word is "awesome" and that is a good way to describe her! So I guess not much of an update for 2010 so far. We are just trying to rely on God and trust that His plan for our lives is something wonderful...even though we can't see it at the moment. As long as we keep trusting Him and being faithful to Him, we will be okay. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9
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