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Friday, December 17, 2010

'Tis the Season.

Back in November I set up some guidelines for Holiday season sanity, to refresh:


-No crying (at least not of the sad, we-have-no-money kind, tears of joy are allowed.)
-No stressing (aka no skipping the gym for this girl.)
-No present buying for anyone but the 'rents and the kids. Period. (I have a problem with gift giving...I enjoy it way too much.)

I can't say I haven't cried since this was posted, but I can say the times its happened has been because of my job/my own personal crap....so I guess that's a half-hearted success?


I may have given up on going to the gym where I work every night but I've been on the treadmill in our living room at least 3 times a week (and that will change to at least 5 times a week since I'm off work starting Monday til January 3rd...not my choice, but my employer's who is hemorrhaging money and cutting our budget with furlough) and I can tell it is keeping me balanced. Who knows, maybe I'll start 2011 5 pounds lighter....but I won't know, since we don't own a scale (because I would obsess every fluctuation) so I'll just have to pay attention to the way my pants fit. Which I already do that pretty obsessively anyways. Good times.

We definitely have only shopped for the kids and the parents. So good job us. Even if I am being a baby and am secretly really sad for no presents from the husband. They are always my favorite at Christmas time....but we have so many Christmas futures, and when I think about it that way, it is not a big deal. Just the fact that we get to spend so much time together this year is pretty awesome. And it probably won't happen again for a long time so I'll enjoy it while I can.

The husband is on his 3rd interview for one job, and is waiting on a call back for a teaching position he open interviewed for last night AND a friend of ours just emailed him about a possible opening at his work. There is a good chance he will have something by January, which would be a great way to start 2011.

Now, if the insane baby dreams would stop, I could have a freakin' Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ('s Eve Party....New Year's Eve is my FAVORITE.)

Til Next time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Toughie.

Do step-parenting support groups exist? If so, I need to know when and where and if there isn't, I should start one.

It is not an easy job...being a part-time-sort-of-parental-type-person. You (think you) know what you are getting yourself into, but at the same time, you don't at all; every family is as different as its individuals.

You have to remember why you chose to be with your partner AND their child(ren, in my case) when the going gets tough. You are allowed to provide basic care (ie: feeding, grooming, purchasing of things to feed and clothe them with) but beyond that, it gets murky, especially if the child's other biological parent goes out of their way to be difficult on a regular basis.

You can love the child(ren) immensely, but don't expect to be well received if things come up about how they are being raised and/or taken care of when with the other parent. You can worry about them, but you can't do more than volunteer solutions to your partner when it comes to problem solving issues with the other parent.

I always said I didn't want kids, but here I am, step-parenting away, which I am honest-to-goodness starting to believe can be harder than parenting in its own way. I am convinced being a parent is the hardest role anyone can have in life, but emotionally step-parenting has to be at least, on the same page as parenting, if not more confusing at times. At least I could be 50% of the decision making if they were biologically mine. Right now, I'm about 10% of one half (I suck at math, so you figure that one out) and all I can do is give my opinion to my husband, whether he takes it or not is completely up to him....and even if he does, the mom still has veto power.

My husband and his girls were a packaged deal from day one, and I thought long and hard before we got serious about how him having kids adds an additional layer of life-complicating situations. I wouldn't trade my life right now for anything, but some sort of step-parenting manual would be helpful. Perhaps there exists a "Step-Parenting for Dummies" manual? I need to research this.

Bottom line: It is hard to care so much but keep your mouth shut at certain times. It is something I am still learning how to do 100% of the time. I try my best to be a positive role model for the girls, and enjoy the fleeting moments we get to spend as a family of four; every other weekend never seems to come soon enough.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Uterus,

I would REALLY appreciate it if you stopped making me yearn for something I have adamantly opposed as long as I understood the concept. It is really annoying and it is giving me crazy ass dreams to boot.

I'm a logic person, uterus, and the cons of reproducing always out weigh the pros for me, so in case you didn't get the memo, I DON"T WANT TO USE YOU TO GROW LIFE, EVER.

So if you could please stop making me weepy over babies' photos (besides my niece, I'll allow that) it would really help me....also if you stopped nagging at the back of my brain day and night that would also be nice. The rest of my brain does not agree, nor does it appreciate the constant conflicting ideas.



Signed,
Mrs. Melberry

PS- I know you know what "they" say....but I'm on to you, so I'm going to contradict you til the cows come home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Thirty: Letter.

Dear Me,

Somewhere, somehow you grew up. You became self-reliant and (even more) independent than you had always been. You make sure the bills are paid and that there's food to eat and even though it has become apparent how grown up you are, I love how you remember being a kid, especially where your step-daughters are involved.

In the past year you have began to learn how to worry less and live more; you have learned that how you envision something is very rarely ends up in real life.... and you have accepted that you might as well stop thinking ahead on EVERYTHING. You can only plan so much, because then life happens and things will be different. Often things are so different, but still fabulous.

I love how you are learning to embrace the unknown.....you used to say you enjoyed it, but the truth was it terrified you, now you see uncharted territory as endless possibilities.

I love how you have began to be comfortable with who you are inside and out...which isn't an attainable goal to you but something that is a skill to hone and change as you change. I love how you have began to look at exercise as part of your lifestyle, not as something to do for a certain time span to achieve weight loss. I love how you have finally admitted you may never be smaller than you were on your wedding day, but that is okay.

I love how you focus on the positive and in an effort to make the negative melt away...life is too short to remember the bad times.

I love how much you go above and beyond for the people who are most important to you; that you know the best thing you can do is compromise when someone doesn't see eye to eye with you and that you are slowly but surely learning how to admit you were wrong, and mean it.

Basically, I love how you have opened up to change....most people don't like change but you have admitted to yourself that people can change for the better and things you used to think you didn't want for your life are starting to make more sense....even if they scare you. A lot.

You have so much living left to do, so don't be afraid to forget the details (for once) and live in the now, because it passes faster each year.

Much Love,
You

So although it took me a bit longer than anticipated, I completed the 30 Days of Truth thing. I think it was a learning experience....so woo-hoo for personal growth.

Day TwentyNine: Change.

Change happens all the time, whether you like or not....whether you want it or not. I know I am different than I was a year ago, two years ago etc....although at my core I'm the same, or am I?

Driving to work this morning, after I dusted powdery snow off my car, I wasn't a ball of nerves like winter's past. The car I currently drive (and the previous one) is very compact and while I have good tires, it still isn't exactly made for snow. The past couple winters have been pretty snowy and I spent many mornings/evenings taking the long way to work; being nervous when it comes to driving in inclement weather. Not today. It didn't even hit me that I should be worried until I was almost to work on my local NPR station was broadcasting school delays. Then I didn't bother.

I want to continue this change in me....this letting go of constant, nagging worries that consume me to the point of sickness from time to time. Life is too precious to whittle it away with worrying. I'm just glad I've FINALLY accepted this, and now I can move forward and enjoy each day, even the mundane ones, to it's fullest.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reunited.




Saturday Little One came to visit and to see her sister for the first time since 2007. It was a good day, besides being a little weird. Husband and I both talked to Kiddo after Little One left and she admitted it was strange, but we told her over time it wouldn't be.

I can't wait until it is just the 4 of us again....Saturday included Kiddo's Mom and my in-laws, just to cushion things a bit. The best part was when Little One asked "can I sit with you?" and we took the picture of the two of us. It is funny to think how she used to sit with me all the time when she was just over a year old....

Day TwentyEight:Prego.

What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

According to my subconscious, I'd birth a boy child, be sad for a second about it being a boy and argue with my husband over the name (he wanted Tyler Joseph, I wanted Tyson Joseph, we would call him Ty for short, in the real-awake world, I don't even like either.) Yeah, I had my first real, live I'm pregnant dream this week. I woke up sweating and relieved. And freaked out, because of how happy I was in the dream.

I've been sitting on the procreation-is-not-for-me wagon since my girlfriends started talking about having babies when I was a teenager (not having them 16-and-pregnant style, but you know, after they married some dreamy guy, while wearing big poofy dress). I still feel this way. All the pressure to shape someone's personality and oh the worry....I can only imagine the anxiety. I worry enough about my step-daughters, and they are even babies anymore. I have a laundry list of reasons of why I don't want to be pregnant/do the mom thing and won't go out of my way to put myself in that situation, but if it were to happen unplanned is completely uncharted territory.

I used to shrug it off and simply say, I don't want kids, until people sort of got what I meant (or I just completely avoided answering if it were someone I didn't know well) but now....I have no friggen idea what I would do.

***

It has started simply enough. I admitted to myself I am jealous there are two women in the world who have something with my husband that I don't: offspring. It is in the back of my mind 95% of the time.

Then I remember my own childhood. The teasing and name calling and bullying and the self-hate that started at an age in the lower single digits. I don't want my (proverbial) kid to go through anything like that.

Then I remember how amazing it was to see my niece all tiny and pink minutes after she was born.

Then I think about this: what's the point of having kids and then paying someone else to watch them 40 hours a week? While at the same time thinking: I would lose my damn mind being a stay at home Mom....then I think, well, maybe I would work part time.....

Then I think of how amazing my husband is with his girls and my heart nearly explodes because it is something I really love about him.

Then I think about how fantastic our marriage is right now. And how a new study just came out that 90% of parents reported decreased marital satisfaction after having a baby. That doesn't really bode well with me.

I will admit to being a bit of a control freak. I like to plan things. Babies (once they are conceived) can only be planned in naming and preparing for them but there are so many variables: you could have a fantastic pregnancy where you feel amazing all the time or you could be puking for the first two trimesters (like my sister). Your baby could be pretty much perfect (like my niece) or a mean baby (like one of my sister's friends little one, I swear, she was scowling at my sister in a photo, no joke) you could be supremely happy in the months/year following delivering a child or plagued with postpartum depression.

So I guess I can say, in all honesty, I have absolutely no clue what I would do if I got knocked up tomorrow. And since I've been on the pill for years now....the real question is: what would I do if I WANTED to get pregnant tomorrow? And the real answer is freak the eff out, cry, and tell my husband. That is all that is for sure.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Day TwentySeven: Best.

I feel like the best thing going for me right now is the compilation of all the small things going well, considering our circumstances. Or perhaps my ability to accentuate the positive? Either way, here's a list of the good:

I have a job with decent benefits that is paying our bills. My family is amazing and the fact that tomorrow my oldest step-daughter will be seeing her sister for the first time in 3 years makes my heart swell. It won't be long until we get to spend time as a family of four again.

I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. We recently pulled off a surprise benefit for one of the sweetest women I know who is battling cancer where we made over $6700. They keep me laughing and remind me of how important it is to let loose and have fun sometimes.

I've convinced myself exercise is something I just need to do each day, sort of like brushing my teeth in the morning and before bed. Just another part of the routine. This is already helping my mood, which usually takes a nose dive when it gets cold...and then another after Christmas, since its cold AND all the holiday crap is over and there isn't much to look forward to besides spring, which sometimes doesn't come until April or May. Since I've started now, I'll continue through the dead of winter and who knows maybe even drop a size or two in the process.

You see, its all good, if you look at things in the right way.

Day TwentyFive/TwentySix: Life.

(I tend to suck at writing over the weekends, so here is two more posts to keep me on track)

The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

Besides the biological fact that my body is functioning and keeping me alive? I think I am still here because of a few very important people.

First, my bff since the 8th grade. Adolescence was hard on me, but having one person who always took my side and often defended me to others really made things bearable. Now that we are adults (so weird to say still) and I look back and feel so damn lucky to have had her. I don't know if I would have made it through high school without her. Her house was my second home, and her mom is my second mom. We don't see each other nearly as often as either of us would like, but when we do get together it always feels like it used to...besides that we work 40 hour weeks and both have husbands.

Second, my sister. I remember being 6 years old and I got to ride along with her on a errand to the grocery store (she was 16 at the time). I didn't talk much, because I didn't know what to say to her but I remember thinking to myself, someday we'll be great friends and have so much talk about. And then we were. I was 16 and she was 26 and I would spend the night with her on the weekends mostly to not have to worry about a curfew, but also just to hang out. And to get advice on things I couldn't talk to our mom about. Now I'm 26 and she's 36 and I talk to her every day, either on the phone or through messaging. She's a mom and I'm a step-mom but I sometimes spend the night at her place still, but now it's so I can play with my niece. I'm pretty much obsessed with her, and I feel like I am supposed to be here to support my sister as she raises her.....but I still get advice on things I can't talk to my mom about.

Third, my husband. I've written more times than I probably should about how we met and how he balances me so well so I won't go there again. We don't have much money, we have more scheduling/event planning issues than a conference center and our relationship isn't perfect by any means (he does this pouty-child face while he stares at the floor and doesn't say anything whenever we have a disagreement, it drives me nuts) but at the end of the day, we love each other and we face all the problems together and that makes all the difference. I still get excited to see him when I get home from work every day. He has brought me more joy than I've ever known and he's allowed me to be the part of two little girls lives in the process, which I feel like is another part of the reason I am here. I know it can't be easy on kids when their parents are not together, so I really try to be a positive influence/role model for them as much as possible and I feel like that is part of why I met the husband, it be a positive female in the lives of these little girls.

Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Yes. Junior year of high school and because I was very depressed.

Looking back, I wish I could have known then what I know now....about how much stuff in high school doesn't matter, but I didn't. And it did matter back then; it was all that mattered. All that matters now though, is I didn't give up, I made it through, and life is so much more than 4 years spent in high school.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day TwentyFour: Playlist.

Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow-Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole
You've Got a Friend-James Taylor
All You Need is Love-The Beatles

Dear Lilly,

Growing up, I read all the Wizard of Oz books and watched the movie more times than I could count. That being said, Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a song about wishes and dreams and how great it would be to make those things come true. I hope it reminds you how important it is to dream and how wonderful dreams can be.

You've Got a Friend is a guide to knowing when someone you meet is truly a friend or foe. If this song applies to them, then you are lucky, because sometimes good, true friends can be hard to see through the fake ones. Listen to the words and then you will know.

I'm sure you will be well educated on the Beatles as you get older, but All You Need is Love is a song I hope you remember when things get rough. I hope it reminds you of where are you from and of what is truly important in life: the relationships with the people you love.

I can't wait to watch you grow up.

Love,
Auntie

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day TwentyThree: Undone.

(So last week was a complete fail, once again, at getting back on track with 30DaysofTruth. Now I'm just going to stick to once a day again, just a bit off schedule.)

Something you wish you had done in your life. I feel like I am too young to have a lot of major regrets about my life thus far but the one thing that comes to mind is: living solo. I moved from my parents to college, where I never lived with less than two other people. Then in 2007 the husband and I moved in together (which looking back, was sort of insane, we had only been together for about a year and a half, and we only saw each other once a week good thing that worked out I guess!).

Before I met the husband, I dreamed of living in my own little place (mostly on the days my roommates were driving me crazy) but also just because I thought it would be nice to do my own thing whenever I wanted; to not have to always be surrounded by people. It was something I always thought I would end up doing that did not happen. I couldn't imagine not living with my husband though. I always say he is the best roommate I've ever had because he never borrows my clothes and always takes out the trash :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day TwentyTwo: Regret.

Something you wish you hadn't done in your life.

I don't regret many things. I learn from the bad experiences and move on. Except for one gigantic time period that is: adolescence.

I wish I wouldn't have been so sensitive to the bullies. I wish I hadn't spent night after night crying in high school, cutting myself (with a lady bic razor no less) to dull the pain. I wish I could look back on those years and smile with nostalgia instead of grimacing with thoughts of how painful things were. I wish I hadn't let it all get to me so much, because really, it all seems so far away now, so not worth the tears and heartache.

Yet still, after all those painful years, I wear my heart on my sleeve but I do it proudly at this point. I don't see it as a bad thing, I see it as something that is a part of who I am; something that lets me experience life in a way that many people never will.

Epic 30DaysofTruth Fail.

I failed at this around Day 18 (in my defense, work was crazy AND a benefit for a good friend happened this weekend, so out of work time was crazy and then Kiddo was over and yeah I suck....) but here is my shortened version of each to play catch up:

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

To each his/her own. In a time where half of all marriage fail in this country, I feel like anyone, no matter their sexual orientation should have a crack at it. Plus, all those "marriage is sacred" people are usually on their 4 or 5 one (example: Rush Limbaugh is on his 4th where the 59 year old married a 33 year old girl. Nuff said.) Plus my first best friend in the 3rd grade was a boy who later came out in high school. We played barbies together as kids, so I always knew. I love me some gay dudes. In grad school, I had a girl crush on the cutest lesbian ever...we worked together on a project and she called me pretty. How flipping flattering is that?! Basically, whatever floats your boat is my credo on love in the romantic sense.

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics? (I choose to discuss religion....politics are annoying, at best. Religion talk is the lesser of two evils to me.)

I see religion as something that gets so many people through each day and through tough times of life. I see the point and why there are so many different ones, but growing up Catholic I found little solace in my faith. I dabbled in being Methodist for a while. Then I went to college, became an Anthropology Minor and learned so much about evolution that I can't believe in God and all that jazz. I also took an Eastern Religions course where I decided if I did ever decide to pursue one again, it would be Buddhism.

Currently I like to think we aren't all just floating around on a whim, and that things to do happen for a reason, but I don't think God is that reason. I don't think praying to this God results in things happening or not happening, but I do think it makes people feel better to believe such a thing, so again, to each his/her own. Wouldn't it be nice of religious extremists (of all faiths, mind you) could say the same?

I also think religion is used by the powerful to undermine the weak, and that it has NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in government (even though it continues to crop up again, an again and yet again.)

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

Ehhhhhhhh, this is tricky, because I used to partake in smoking a certain plant (and when legalized, I would probably again) AND I have a very love/hate relationship with booze. But let the truth be told......

I am a high strung individual. I don't decompress easily so I sort of used to use a little maryjane for medicinal reasons. It made me such a nicer person to be around. And yeah, it was smoked a lot just for the hell of it as well. After a while though, it got boring, and all I would want to do is nap afterwards, and that's not exactly conducive to getting homework done in college. I don't think Marijuana is addictive. At all. I think some people just really, really like to get high all the time. I have friends who have jobs, pay their bills and taxes and are awesome people, plus they like to get high. I think the government should legalize and tax the crap out of it (much like Alcohol and cigarettes) and get on with it.

Besides that, I've never done any other drugs, or any "hard" drugs......with one single time of snorting coke. I was not impressed and never did it again. Addiction is a scary thing, and I am very careful when prescribed any strong painkillers because having an Alcoholic father and a somewhat addictive personality could equal very bad things. This also kept me away from anything crazy, along with good common sense that putting something in my body that could potentially make all my teeth fall out (ie: meth) is a BAD idea, no matter the high.

Drinking IN MODERATION is something I am A-OK with. When an individual loses control, time and time again, I have a major problem with it. It can be a very bad thing for some people. I've seen it, first hand, deteriorate relationships and cause so many problems that would have never been without intoxication. Alcoholism is a disease, and if you know me well, I tend to stop drinking altogether whenever something dramatic happens with my dad and the sauce. I haven't felt out of control with it since before I met my husband though, so I think I am doing just fine with occasionally, socially drinking.

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

First off, my best friend and I are grown ups and we rarely fight anymore. I'm talking it has been YEARS since we have argued. We have agreed to disagree on certain things, but we never fight anymore. We don't live near each other to see each other a lot, so we just tend to have a good time catching up when we do.

If it would have happened when we were in high school, I would have cried a bunch and then headed to the hospital to make sure she was okay. If she was I would have apologized, and if she wasn't, I would probably be a much different person today. She is the best friend I've ever had.

So that catches me up. Hopefully from here on out I can keep on track!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day Seventeen: Book.

The day we picked up my first set of glasses when I was 6 years old is a day I still remember clearly. I was mostly nervous but a little bit of me was excited. I brought a book (Bearenstein Bears) and read the whole thing out loud to my mom on the way home. My mother said from that day on she would find me in my room, reading out loud to my stuffed animals and later I would spend hours curled up on the couch with a book. Once I started a book, I couldn't put it down and once it was finished I wanted more.

My first book report in the fourth grade was on a biography about Jackie Kennedy. I read it twice just because I was sad when it was over.

I read 10 or 15 V.C. Andrews books the summer between 8th and 9th grade simply because my older sister had left them behind in what was now my room after she moved out. I thought it was weird to have them in my room but to have never read them.

So I did. And then after I read all of them, I took them to a used bookstore and traded them in for more. I was on a first name basis with the lady who owned that store by the end of the summer.

I love books. I've spent countless hours reading in my lifetime but one that stands out on changing my view about something is Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. It tells the story of a little girl who's family takes in her friend from school during the war. I read it in the sixth grade and it was my first exposure (that I remember) to learning about World War II and the Holocaust. Once I was done, I felt like the world was a different place; that not only good things happen, but also the bad. I remember thinking how my grandparents were alive when these things were happening and I was in complete awe of how big the world really is.

***

My thirst for books will probably never be quenched. I go through phases with types and genres. I've been known to wander libraries for hours, reading backs of books and jacket flaps to find the right one. Reading is such a great escape, plus it's free!

Day Sixteen: Without.

Someone or something you definitely could live without.

One word that didn't exist 10 years ago: Facebook.

I have written here and here about how I love to hate the social networking site to end all social networking sites. Just last night, I begrudgingly logged on, because I needed to do something besides sit on the couch and vegetate, to find a friend request from my most recent (circa 2004) ex. It is bad enough he has moved back to the area and I have to see him in person again, but now he wants to be present online as well. I'm letting him dangle in friend-limbo (Frimbo, perhaps?) for a while. Eventually I will approve and then hide him from my newsfeed. I could really care less what is he up to, but I don't want to be that girl who denies friendships on Facebook. (Do you see why I hate it? I shouldn't care about being that girl, but I do.)

I've recently become friends with Little One's mom on there, which I am still sort of paranoid about choosing to do so, but its too late now. The damage is done, the friendship requested and approved. No turning back. I saw it as a peace offering, and as a chance to let her put together that I am the same girl she used to stalk on Myspace so many years ago.

I have seriously considered deleting it multiple times in the past 6 months, but then my healthy dose of "I won't know what's going on" fear kicks in, so I just tend to limit time I spend on there.

Cue U2 singing With or without you....because that's me and the Facebook.

In all seriousness, I could live without it, but I choose not to. I'm too invested at this point....too many pictures of my adorable niece have been uploaded, so some days I pretend like it doesn't exist and I actually, you know, spend time with my friends in person.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Fifteen: Without.

Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.


I'm going to do both...even if the second one is a stretch.

Something: coffee.

I relocated my coffee pot to my office, because previously more often than not, I was buying coffee every single morning while a perfectly good pot went unused at home. Now if I don't go out and buy some on the weekends I end up sleeping most of the day away. Most Saturdays aren't a problem, since I am usually out doing something or other anyways but Sundays are different. One Sunday I didn't go anywhere I think I fell asleep 4 different times between the hours of 1pm and 9pm. It was ridiculous. I got a hair up my a$$ a couple winters ago to quit drinking coffee and it sucked. So never again.

I only drink one cup in the morning....which is actually 16 ounces so it is technically two but that is all I have.

Someone: my husband.

Back when we were dating, we lived an hour apart and only saw each other once a week for the first 2 years. It first it was fine but after a while it was rough. Sometimes I missed him so much it hurt and I even got fired from a job (it was only my second day, and they tricked me. I mentioned how I hadn't seen him in 2 weeks and they said, do you want to leave early then? and I said yes. Next time I came in I was told it wasn't going to work out because I wasn't dedicated to the job.) because I left early to go see him. I hated how most of my friends never saw him and we spent very little time with my family back then. There were a few times I almost ended it because I wanted a boyfriend who I saw all the time but I always talked myself down from that proverbial ledge by remembering how good we were when we were together.

Once we moved in together (which was mostly his idea) things only got better, so while I haven't had to go from living with him to living without him, going from barely seeing him to living with him makes me think this applies?

Even if it doesn't, I don't think it matters...

Day Fourteen: Fallen.

A hero that has let you down. (letter)


Growing up, I idolized you. Even if you didn't know it and I didn't always show it. All I wanted was your approval an acceptance. Even when you were mean to me in front of your friends, even when you wouldn't defend me when I was getting picked on in school.

We are 26 and 29 and most days I still don't believe I have either from you, but I don't care anymore. Somewhere through those years I gave up on you. I grew up and I see you for what you are, for who you are and I pity you most days. It must be sad living so far from your family but then again, you must feel like royalty when the world stops turning (at least to them) when you are back in town.

I sometimes wonder what could have been and am sad for it for a moment, but its a waste, since that's not reality and never will be.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Thirteen: Music.

A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Dear Andrew McMahon,

Where would I be without the musical genius that is Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin? It is a fact of my existence these two bands have spoke to me more consistently and longer than any other. Somehow you have created music I relate to on so many different levels.

Namely, Dark Blue from Everything in Transit and Swim from The Glass Passenger. I have clung to these two songs like a life preserver lately. What else can you do when your life has become this thing where all those things you expected to do....the things you expected to be are so far away from reality? If you are anything like me, you get in the car and sing a song at the top of your lungs that explains how you feel better than you could ever put into your own words....or you go for a walk on a deserted bike path and you sing and you feel better knowing there are thousands of other fans that do the very same thing.

Thank you for making music with just the right combination of melancholy and hope, it has helped me and continues to do so more than you will ever know.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nevi.

Yesterday I saw you for the first time in over 3 years. It was amazing to see the little lady you have become. I somehow held it together and didn't cry (even though it kept me quiet for the first 30 minutes you were there). You hair is darker, longer and full of ringlet curls, but your face, especially your eyes, are exactly the same.

I'm not sure if you really grasp who I am yet, but that is okay. Your mom said you remembered her telling you about me, and I know it is probably different to see Mommy, Daddy and this other lady all in the same room, but we all love you so that is the important part.

Your imagination is almost unbelievable and it was a joy to watch you and your daddy interact. I can't wait for you to see your sister again.
I don't know if your mommy knows I met you when you were barely one month old, or how I fed you bottles and later bananas and rice cereal. I don't know if she knows that I saw you last when you were just over a year old and how you so sweetly fell asleep in my arms...she doesn't really need to know, but hopefully someday you will.

Day Twelve: Never.

Something you never get compliments on.

My singing voice. Not that I spend all that much time singing in front of people...but when I do, it is not something encouraged by others. Which is a shame since if I hear a song two or three times the lyrics are forever cemented in my brain. I would rock those singing shows where you have to finish the lyrics and you win money, but I would never, ever sing on tv in front of all those people. And I love to sing. It is so much fun and such a release...but it is censored to in my car, in groups of girls acting silly or to my niece when I'm watching her by myself.

Every once in a blue moon I'll sing in front of the husband (usually in the car and half of the time, acting silly) and I get reminded of how tone deaf I am. He would be one to know; he can sing, play guitar/bass and play keyboard/piano by ear....oh and he can draw too. The guy is oozing artistic skills out of his behind.

I tell him I have an artistic mind which produces different ways of thinking about things...so there's my hidden talent :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Eleven: Compliment Part One.

Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

The first thing that came to my mind was my skin, specifically my face. (side note: it is sort of funny since I have a strange zit/mole/wart blemish thingy...not sure what exactly it is...that has appeared on my cheek and it is freaking me out since it came out of nowhere.)

"How is your skin so clear? What products do you use? OMG you have the prettiest ivory skin tone" (Sometimes I think the last one is just trying to make my pasty Irish-German genes feel better in the dead of winter, but who knows) It is the strangest thing to me, since I never thought much of my skin, negative or positive, besides that I notice new wrinkles every now and then and hate them....and I have a never ending search for under-eye dark circle concealer, since I have them pretty bad.

I was at a party back in the spring, and a guy friend of mine had brought some chick he had just met. She had been drinking, a lot, and would not shut up about my skin. It was on the verge of creepy, like I started to think she wanted to hide-me-at-the-bottom-of-a-pit-and-make-me-put-the-lotion-on-the-skin-creepy. Then she started talking about how she always breaks out and tries every concealer she can find (ummm maybe why you break out all the time perhaps?) and how she is so ugly and I am so pretty and at that point I exited the room saying I needed to go find my husband. Talk about awkward. I was reassured by the guy friend I would never have to see hear again. He is classy.

Anyways, I don't really have a routine with skin care....besides washing my face in the shower and whenever else it feels gross (sometimes in the mornings, sometimes in the evenings but not always) and I try to remember to wear moisturizer with sunblock. I use the following:

Clean&Clear Daily face wash--the kind with the micro scrubbers, yeah I should probably graduate to something a bit more adult, but why fix what isn't broken? Plus its cheap!
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Moisturizer with SPF 15
Bare Minerals foundation, bronzer and Mineral Veil (if and when I wear makeup, which isn't every day)
Clean&Clear zit cream for whenever a random zit pops up. I dot it on before bed. It usually does the trick.

It is a nice compliment, and I always say thank you and attribute it to not wearing a ton of makeup all the time which is one part lazy and one part I know it breaks me out, so I just don't do it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day Ten: let go.

Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know.

I honest-to-goodness do not have a person for this topic, but for the sake of the writing exercise (and since I'm going to see Little One and her mother tomorrow) a stretch would be Little One's mom.

I wish I didn't know her. She made the first year of the husband and I's relationship a lot more complicated than it should have been. I wish she could just be a crazy ex of my now husband, instead of the mother of his youngest child. I wish I would have pursued him right after I met him in September of 2005 (Little One was conceived in late November). But I didn't. And who's to say we would have made it if I had? Plus Little One would not be, and that would just be messed up. She was a part of our early relationship and seeing him with her, being there for the first night he kept her overnight....that was sort of something special.

Husband and Little One's mom are communicating well and getting along right now. I hope that continues...especially after I am added to the mix of things. Tomorrow. I'm nervous already.

The same thing can be said about Kiddo's mom, but there would be no Kiddo without her. So I'm learning to live with her frustratingly illogical, self-centered behavior; to take the road less traveled and not react when she does impossibly selfish things and obviously is not putting her daughter first. Or when Kiddo comes over stinky, time and time again. (She tells us she gets a bath once a week, Wednesdays when she is at her grandma's. Did I mention she is 8? Yeah.....that's a whole other post.)

So while I wish I didn't know these ladies, they are each one half of two little girls that I love. So I choose to deal with them with a smile on face knowing someday we won't have to see them nearly as much....and someday all of this could make a really good book.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day Nine: Drifted.

Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted.

Without a doubt, this is my sorority big. (Yeah, I was active in a sorority for about a year and a half in college, deal with it.) She was/is the sweetest thing in the world, and we became friends that hung out all the time pretty fast. Once she graduated and had a really bad break-up all at the same time, she sort of disappeared for a while. Then she moved farther away, and farther still and got married and I saw her less and less. The last time I saw her was April, when she was about 6 months pregnant (and adorable, since she is about 5''2 and 115 pounds soaking wet) and now she's a mom and I haven't even met the little guy. Which I think about all the time.

We had some really great times together, and I wish we saw each other more, but older I get, the more life seems to get in the way of things.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holi-don'ts.

I have already began dreading the next two months. I feel like it starts earlier each year, with Christmas nonsense already filling shelves of every store I've entered since last Sunday, and the TV commercials constantly reminding us of the things to come: Day after Thanksgiving sales, BIG DEALS, consume, Consume, COOOOONNNNNSUMMMME!

We are on a very extremely tight budget this year. With the husband losing his job and I being required to take furlough (long story short: campus will be closed from the week before Christmas until the Monday after New Years and one day of pay each month will be taken off my paycheck until next june, hurrah.) things could get hairy but we have a pretty exact plan of action when it comes to present buying. Mostly, not buying anyone anything besides the girls, Baby M. (my niece) and our parents (ONLY if we can figure out frugal joint presents for each set).

I'm also refusing to become stressed about family obligations. Plain and simple. If the girls can't be there, it will make me sad but I won't get all worked up over it. I'm already expecting my brother to muck everything up, with his "surprise" visit or ever changing arrival date (he is known for both, and while I know he doesn't do it on purpose, it always messes up already planned things....and when he's in another country with the Army its one thing, but he's in South Carolina for Pete's sake!)

So to re-cap Holiday Season 2010 Don'ts:

-No crying (at least not of the sad, we-have-no-money kind, tears of joy are allowed.)
-No stressing (aka no skipping the gym for this girl.)
-No present buying for anyone but the 'rents and the kids. Period. (I have a problem with gift giving...I enjoy it way too much.)

Did I use parentheses enough in this post or what?

Day Eight: Life Part Two.

Someone who has made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

And the award goes to.....................................my college roommate. Well, one of the 11. Every time I lived with roommates, there were always at least 3 of us (for two years there were 4) and there was always one that things would go sour with eventually. I guess that's what happens when there's a bunch of chicks living together.

This specific roomie was an exception. It wasn't the usual roommate issues that drove us apart, it was much more. We became friends when she still lived in the dorms, and things were good for a time, but over that time I started to notice things. And then she treated me worse, and worse until I just couldn't deal with her and her issues anymore. It was hurting me to continue letting her be a part of my life. I really cared about her, but her actions showed she didn't give a shit about me in return.


I wrote this really long, drawn out narrative of her damage to me, but then I decided, she doesn't deserve a long post.

She is no longer in my life for a reason, and my life is that much better without her.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day Seven: Life Part One.

Someone who has made your life worth living for.

Not to be redundant but I am going to be anyway because this also goes to the husband.

Before I met him, I wasn't lost or depressed......you could say I was happy but man, I was bored. I wasn't quite sure why, but I felt like something was missing. I had all these single girl plans but deep down they freaked me out a little, to do them all by myself. I had not experienced a successful relationship since I was 19. And if I remember correctly, I didn't know shit about life at 19 or my self for that matter. (Not that I have all the answers at 26, but I at least have my head on semi-straight at this point. So there's that.)

He's my favorite part of every day, my constant comic relief, bug-killer and laundry-mat a-goer. He's my Lukey and I am so grateful to spend my life with him.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day Six: Never.

Something you hope to never have to do.

In all honesty (this is after all, 30 days of truth) I had a hard time thinking of an answer for this. I've been thinking about it for a few days, and the best I can come up with is: I hope I never bury my husband. Then I feel like an a**hole and selfish for some reason. Then the more I think about it, the more it makes sense....I hope to never have to live in a world where he doesn't exist. And then I think about it some more and get all panicky since, being the sociology major that I was, I know women's life expectancy is around 7 years longer than men on average. But then I remember a study I read once about how left handed people are prone to die before right handed people (I'm a lefty)....then I remind myself shit happens all the time, and we're only in our twenties and to stop thinking these things. It doesn't get you anywhere and it keeps you from living in the present.

I digress (I haven't had any coffee today and I just got up from a nap, so that could be why.....)

I've spent more time single than in a relationship at this point in my life, mostly because I was picky. HAH wait the honest explanation: the guys I actually wanted to be with just wanted to be friends, and most of the time we were. I was sort of famous for trying to date my guy friends and I was usually cool enough of a person to not be weird about it afterwards. So when I found the husband, back at the end of 2005, on one level I knew things were different; mostly because despite gigantic red flags (i.e. baby mama drama) that would have kept most girls from getting romantically involved did nothing for me but mostly because it just felt different and right whenever we were together. Almost 6 years later and I can't imagine him not being here. I can't imagine having to tell the girls he's gone.

So I plan on us living forever, so far it's working.....ooooor we'll go out in a painfully romantic way a la the Notebook...although the more realistic version is how Johnny Cash died less than 4 months after his wife, June Carter Cash.

Until then I'm thankful every day for the time we have together....even on the days he drives me crazy, I'm happy to have him here, doing so.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day five: Hope.

Something you hope to do in your life.

I used to say get my PhD when asked this question....but the longer I am out of school the less I think that will actually happen, so I'm going to go another direction completely with this: I want to travel, like take-a-year-and-see-the-world-and-do-it-off-the-beaten-path-travel.

I did not come from money, but somehow my parents scraped together their pennies and sent me to Europe for two weeks when I was 15 years old. Both my siblings have also been (my sister to England and my brother to France) on similar trips, you know, the ones organized by language courses and in my sister's case, her civics class, during high school. I took German in high school, so off to Germany I went (we also visited the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary.) It was amazing, and all I have thought as I've gotten older is how much more amazing it would be as an adult. That trip opened my eyes to how big the world is and is a huge factor in why I chose to study Anthropology and Sociology in college. (Side note: When I was still single, I thought about joining the Peace Corps after getting my degree but then life happened, I had a reason to not live outside the U.S. and that didn't. C'est la vie.)

There is so much to see and do outside of this country, and I want to see and do those things. Someday, somehow it will happen, most likely in approximately 15 years, when both the girls will be of age and (hopefully) in college.

I should probably start saving my own pennies now....I don't want to think about how much a year of world wide travel will cost in 15 years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day Four: Forgiveness Part Two.

Something you have to forgive someone for.

This one is heavy. This one is going to suck to write. A lot. I have to forgive my father for being an Alcoholic. Which is huge, since my reaction to his drinking has always been anger. I've been angry at my dad for being an alcoholic since before I realized he was an alcoholic.

The complex part of things is he has always been a functional alcoholic. He went to work, provided us with the basics, and even spent time with us on the weekends. He taught us right from wrong as well as any high school graduate with trade school training could do. He took us to mass every Sunday and Grandmas's every Sunday afternoon for supper without fail. He projected the epitome of lower-middle class fatherhood. He has never met a stranger, and is friendly as you can imagine.

Yet my fondest memories with my dad were the Saturday afternoons I'd go with him to do his "sign ups". There I would sit, in smoky VFW and Legion Tap Rooms where I would spend a few hours playing songs on the jukebox, drinking Shirley Temple's and eating popcorn. It took me until I was about 22 to realize this wasn't normal quality time with a parent. I was getting impatient one day and a poured the rest of a can of beer into a clear glass with about 4 inches of golden liquid in it (I assumed they were both beer and was trying to speed up the process). Nope, it was whiskey. My dad sort of laughed at me for it, and downed it anyway.

I was never physically abused (and for that I am so grateful) but there was a great deal of emotional/psychological abuse. There was a time he was really wasted one afternoon when I was in high school. We got into an argument about something or other (which was usually a combo of three things: the speed at which I talked, him being hard of hearing AND being intoxicated) and I got scared. So scared I locked myself in the bathroom, crying. When asked why I had locked myself in the bathroom, I told him he was scaring me and he proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs on the other side of the door about how could I ever think he would lay a finger on me? He would NEVER do that. And he never did, but I can't count the amount of times things resulted in screaming and crying. I would say at least once a week during my teenage years and I witnessed it earlier than that, while my older brother still lived at home.

Since I moved out and we've all gotten older, there have been multiple times he's almost drank himself to death. The first is what made me finally realize he is an Alcoholic. The last time it came out that he switched to vodka because my mom wouldn't be able to smell it on him (whiskey was always his drink of choice with a beer....or four) and the people at the bar thought he was having a stroke before he lost consciousness.

I do not want to get that call one day....that he is gone because of booze. So even though I know, for a fact, my anger doesn't stop the drinking, I cling to it, because I don't know what else to be about it because it is so frustrating and I'm so stubborn (so much like him) about things.

The anger I feel about it is dumb. I know its a disease, I know it is so much harder than just stopping. I know he is now retired after working over 35 years and he doesn't know what to do with himself. I know there is probably some mental health issues he has and has never confronted. I know I have to forgive him for it, for being loaded most evenings of my childhood, for the memories of my parents fighting about it, resulting in him walking to the bar a few blocks from our house, for putting my mother through dealing with him all these years, its just hard. Hard to let go of anger I have been brewing for over half my life.

He hasn't drank since the last "episode" with the vodka (as far as I've been told) so I'm hoping things stay that way. Although it is very hard to be optimistic when he has "quit" more times than I can count and he always goes back and he never tries AA.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's War.

Dear Ohio Winter,

I know it is still officially the best season ever but I'm on to you, and your cold temperatures, and this year, I am prepared. You may have won the battle that was Winter 09-10 but you have not won the war that will ensue this 10-11 season. You like to sneak attack after New Year's, with your holiday weight gain showing, minimal sunshine shining and snowy conditions....snowing (Dr. Seuss would be proud) but I have a plan.

I am equipped with boots and leggings and gloves and (as soon as I locate it), I'll be sporting my winter hat most mornings. I am reminding myself how lovely it feels to sweat it out in the dead of winter, and how taking a lunch break on those sunny days to get a bit of vitamin D is crucial. I'm going to remember how nice the snow is on those days I call off due to road conditions (and I will not feel guilty for doing so, since I almost died at least 6 times driving to and from my work on BFE country roads covered in the white death) and maybe take my step-daughters sledding. I AM NOT GOING TO FALL DOWN THE BACK STAIRS OF MY APARTMENT (that's a definite no-go.)

Winter, you won't get me this year!

Signed,
Mrs. Melberry

Day Three: Forgiveness Part One

Something you have to forgive yourself for.

I have to forgive myself for being overweight. It feels so juvenile to still be carrying around these self-image issues I have had for as long as I can remember; so long that the last time I didn't think of myself as "overweight/fat" I was 6 years old.

I was my heaviest in October of 2007 weighing in at just under 220 pounds. I joined Weight Watchers and lost almost 50 pounds by summer 2008. I got bored with the program so I quit going, then I re-joined that fall, suprised that I had only gained around 8 pounds over the summer. I got engaged Christmas of 2008 and quit going to Weight Watchers due to money by April of 2009. I told myself I was going to keep eating right and exercising because I wanted to, not because I was getting married ( ha!). It is a wonder what a silly white dress can do to your workout motivation. I dropped down to the smallest I've been in my adult life, around 185 and had never felt better. Then I turned 25. I had a crappy winter. I slept too much, ate too much and socialized too little. I gained at least 15 pounds from September 09 to January 10 (I know this because I ordered a bridesmaid dress in September and when it arrived in January it barely zipped). I was depressed. It was not fun times.

I have spent many years of my life being told I was fat and being made fun of because of my size and appearance. Due to this my weight is directly related to my happiness. Still, even as an adult, I torment myself about my size. Everything I eat I think about if I should be or not, when I don't exercise, I beat myself up. My very unhealthy relationship with food requires more time than I have to write at the moment and the worst part of all of this? The reason I need have to forgive myself for this? I have a husband who loves me exactly how I am and I have friends who just want me to be happy no matter what I look like. I have to let the past rest. I have spent way too many years hanging on to the painful memories of an awkward youth.

So hello, my name is Melberry, and I'm overweight. Deal with it. I am finally ready to.

Tomorrow: Something you have to forgive someone for.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day Two: Lurve.

Something you love about yourself.....I feel so emo, I had such an easy time writing the hate post and now I have no clue where to go with this. My nose doesn't bother me too much in life, but I wouldn't go as far as to say I love it, plus who really wants to read about someone's love for their nose??
(I guess?) I love my ability to look at the bright side of everything.

Husband loses his job? It was a dead-end job anyways. Dad almost has a stroke because he can't stop drinking? Dad quits drinking because he almost has a stroke. Kiddo's mom restricts her time with her dad? Makes the time she spends with us that much more valuable and usually, that much more fun. Have to begin paying child-support on Little One? Husband gets to see his daughter (finally!) AND her mother is being overly helpful and flexible.

Somewhere between all the bullshit I've been through in life, I've learned to approach things (even if its only to make them seem less awful) with a "things could be worse" attitude. In turn that makes me pick out the diamond in the rough (times).

And of course, this song comes to mind....




Tomorrow's topic: Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day One: Hate

Thanks to Tabulous I've been introduced to The Thirty Days of Truth. This is an experiment where every day for the next 30 I'm going to blog about something or other in a most earnest way. I think it will be a good learning experience, so I'm going to give it a try.

Day One: Something you hate about yourself

As a perpetual perfectionist, I could create a detailed list of my shortfalls, but that's not the point of this experiment, so I'm going to pick a biggie and go with it. I hate how much I worry about what other people think.

Growing up, I can't fathom the number of times I said, "I don't care what they think anyway" even though on the inside, I did. All I wanted was to be liked, but at the same time, I was sort of a weirdo who did my own thing and that wasn't always the status quo. That made my adolescence a time of ridicule leaving me to forgive but to never forget how I was treated. It has a lot to do with why I don't want kids (well and the fact that I just plain don't feel the need to procreate) but it has also taught me to be wary of my actions, because people react to them, sometimes negatively, and that can hurt.

Now as an adult (I guess you can call me that?) this problem has become specific to certain people in my life, mostly the moms and my co-worker's. I have this never-ending internal editor going, before I do many things (ie: say/do much of anything with the girls, get dressed, pipe up at work, etc...) and the worst part is, it exhausting, but it is also something I don't even realize I'm doing at this point. It has became interwoven into my normal thought pattern; I let it become a part of who I am. If I wanted to attempt to pseudo-psycho-analyze myself, I could say I worry the most about what those people who I know don't accept/like me think. Which is so stupid since who cares what people who don't like me, for whatever reason I can't really control, think?

I do, that's who. It is not without good reason (at least from my perspective) that I worry about the moms of my step-kids and the people I work with. The moms have every reason to not like me: I'm the one He chose to be with forever. And at work....well, I am the minority, and I definitely feel it a lot of the time.

Most of the time, I still tell myself "I don't care what they think" even though it is me trying to convince myself of just that.

So.....there is that, now on to Day Two: Something you love about yourself.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It strikes again.

Stupid Facebook.

I knew it was going to happen, just not this soon. Little One's mom (who used to stalk Husband on another social networking site, and stalk me and send me emails with lies trying to get to me to break up with him) wants to be friends with us on Facebook. Husband wanted to say "we can be friendly but I wouldn't call us friends" but he didn't know how, so he told her he would be alright with it, but maybe wait until we see each other more (as in, the mom and me). I told him whenever she requests/he approves, he needs to get into his settings and make some changes for what she can see. I know her type. She will be all up in our business. I think he is so glad they are getting along so well he doesn't want to rock the boat, and I am in the same opinion, plus we would get to see pictures of Little One and what not, its just scary? Nerve-racking? Stress-inducing? (All of the above.) I don't update my every move on Facebook anyway, but with her in the mix, I'm going to feel the need to censor myself. And I worry the crazy will come back. I worry the same girl who sent me messages telling me that she's sorry but my (then) boyfriend cheated on me with her and how "they were really serious about getting married some day" (which wasn't the least bit true) will reappear and cause a bunch of unneeded drama in my life.

Maybe she is a changed woman. Maybe she'll continue to play nice and eventually we will turn into some 21st century thing that sort of resembles a quasi-family. I would actually really enjoy that scenario, but the worry is still there, and probably will be there for a few years.

So there you have it, yet another reason Facebook is the devil.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Little things.

They make me really happy sometimes. for example....

I'm not trying to take credit for this, (hah, who am I kidding??) buuuuuuut Kiddo's "new favorite animal" is the owl. They are doing reports on animals at school and she's chosen the Snowy Owl. I've sort of had this thing with them for years, beginning when I was very small and was gifted my great-grandmothers turquoise double owl necklace after she passed. Now that they have become quasi-trendy once again probably has something to do with Kiddo's new affinity for them, but I like to pretend I may have had some influence as well.

Will I ever admit this tiny victory to anyone else? No but it is nice to know I have an impact on her likes, (or at least I like to think so?) even if its something as trivial as "favorite animal" which will probably change 10 more times in the coming years, but oh well. Score one for step-moms every where.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

(Pleasantly)Surprised.

Child support procedures are pretty messed up these days. The amount my husband is responsible for paying each month was established on September 13. Approximately a week after this, he received a letter stating he was past due and owed X amount of dollars by the following Wednesday. After some quick math and a Monday morning call to the Child Support Enforcement Agency(CSEA for short) the reason was established: he owed back payments from the date he received the court papers. That was Father's Day. I guess they expect people to pull a number out of their hineys and save moolah whilst they wait 3 months for their court date where the actual amount of support to be paid is established?? I definitely gained a few wrinkles trying to make sense of that injustice.

(disclaimer: I know there are scumbags out there who don't care about seeing their children and/or financially supporting them, but the same rules applying to good fathers is a bunch of archaic bullshit that really needs to be reformed.)

But wait, this post was titled '(Pleasantly)Surprised' although there is nothing pleasant about that scenario. I know this, the previously described turn of events was scary, especially since once he talked to CSEA he found out he owed for September as well, which was not included on the back balance and to top it off, we were going into the first month of no paychecks for him due to getting downsized. Fantastic! I had more than one angry crying moment due to it all. It has been handled and he is current (for now) but it was not fun times for a couple weeks.

Moving on to the good part. Yesterday the husband got a phone call from Little One's mom thanking (whaaaaa? this is unheard of in our world) him for the money. She said she was very surprised at the amount and she told him its all going into a savings account she has for Little One. She also suggested meeting at a Chuck E. Cheese 15 minutes from us (they usually meet half way between where we live and where they live, which is 45 minutes away) for this week's visit and that it's all on her. This is coming from the woman who kept husband from seeing his child for years. I'm not sure why or how this change of heart has happened, but it is absolutely amazing.

The part about her thanking him really floored me. It makes me believe she doesn't feel entitled to the money, she feels grateful for it and that makes paying it each month a lot easier. This is much unlike Kiddo's mom, so it is nice to know someone appreciates it.

There was a brief conversation about me coming today, because the Chuck E. Cheese they are meeting at was the one I first met Kiddo at in March of 2007 but they are meeting at 4 so I'll still be at work. Plus I really want her mother to be alright with it, and have time to be ready for me to be there, so it will wait a bit longer. Plus I'm hoping for a sunny fall day/a trip to the park for me being there, because I'll probably cry and then I can hide it with sunglasses at least. I'm a crier, and the last time I saw this child she was a bebe still, and she fell asleep on me at his parents house, and it was precious, so there will most likely be tears.

I was guardedly happy at first at how well things are going with Little One, but that guard is just about gone. I'm sick of having to be so cynical; having to expect the worst, so its nice to see things continually getting better.

Now, if someplace would call the husband back about a job....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Money CAN buy Happiness....

Or it can at least buy the husband the right to see his child and that makes us both really happy, especially since (in my completely biased opinion) she is pretty stinking cute:

Little One (who isn't so little anymore!) Last Thursday

She is outgoing and full of energy and I love hearing the stories of his weekly visits. Her favorite animal is a skunk and she loves to swing and draw. In November I'll be going with him to visit/"meet" her. (I use quotations, because I knew her from two weeks old to September of 2007, but we are not sure if her mother knows this, and Little One of course won't remember) He wants me to be there when we reintroduce the girls to each other, since Kiddo is pretty reserved around people she doesn't know and Little One is so extroverted and the last time they saw each other, Kiddo was 5 and Little One was about a year and very blonde. I'm sure it might be uncomfortable at first, but once Kiddo warms up to her, they will probably have tons of fun. Or not. Either way, we are a family, albeit a very non conventional one, but a family nonetheless.

***

We are just as poor as when I was still in college but man, are we happy. Husband job hunts every day, and has taken to Frisbee Golfing a few times a week to get him out of the apartment. I am not looking for a job anymore right now, because I can't take a pay cut with Husband not working. Also when I interviewed at a local private college last week and was told the pay was minimum wage I decided its time to put my job search on hold, and just worry about paying the bills and keeping current on things. And living life and not getting caught up on the problems so much, because really, who wants to waste their time on the bad parts? Not me. I have step-daughters to play with, an adorable baby niece to tickle, a husband to laugh with and great friends to see me through and right now, that's about all I can ask for.

Monday, September 20, 2010

TwentySix

25 was a rough birthday. My 25th year was rough. Here's to a much better 26th.

***

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Epic.

The first Monday of my husband's unemployment we were at a county courthouse, filled with anxiety that had been building over the course of the last two years. His youngest child's mother and grandfather were also there. This woman, who has caused my husband all this strife saw me and gave a small smile and in that second, I decided to return the favor. Now, I'm not trying to take credit for how unbelievably well things went, but I don't think my presence and playing nice hurt a thing. I think it was good for husband I was there, and I feel a thousand times better about everything since I got to tell her myself how I have nothing but the best intentions for Little One. I even showed them a couple pictures of Kiddo as well.

Yes, she is crazy and hasn't told Little One this man she married, moved them out of state with and is now divorcing is NOT her dad yet (and they have been separated since November of last year) but a court ordered visitation schedule is in place (we should have a copy by next week via snail mail) and he is going to see her for the first time in almost 3 years next week. That makes me cry a little, both from happiness that things are finally back on the right track and sadness for the time they have both lost.

Husband and Little One, the last time he saw her, September 2007

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Year One.





I could not ask for a better person to share forever with. Happy Anniversary to us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Facebook.

Facebook is the devil. I've been saying this for some time now, but recently it has really hit home. Why you ask? I'll tell you in this handy list:

-I know way too much about people I haven't seen in person in over 5 years. So and so got a new car? Awesome. Whatshisname just got hitched? Cool! (Actually, I don't give a shit.)
-Just when you think TMI has reached its highest level, someone else shares something no one needs to know.
-I've gotten more "wow I haven't seen you since high school, you look great!" than one person needs in a lifetime. Thank you, Random Person From High School, for reminding me of my awkward youth. Congrats on birthing multiple children, working at the same job you had back in the day and still living in our hometown. Keep on living the dream!
-People from college "who love their life and are SO blessed and lucky and about to go on their 15th vacation of the year and then create an album called Sweet Summertime with 150 pictures of them and their girls in bars and in bikinis blah blah blah" are driving my slowly insane. I'm all about being thankful, but can we say narcissistic? And seriously, where the hell are these people getting their money from?? Is there some secret underground money laundering going on that I am missing out on?

Why don't I leave the Facebook, you say? It's not that easy. I've contemplated this long and hard, and you can't just walk away from it. People will talk. Statuses will go un-updated. Birthday wishes will not be given! Invites will not be rsvp-ed to! No, when it all boils down, I'm a bit narcissistic myself, which is why I ended up with all these Random People From High School as "friends" online. I wanted to toot my own horn so to speak. Awkward youth be damned! I'm all grown up with a job and a hubby!

Is that so wrong? (yeah I know, I'm no better than Whasthername and her Summertime album...)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Seriously?

People I don't know in real life read this poor excuse for a blog? Really?

Wow, that sort of made my morning....so thanks to whoever from where ever that has ever stumbled upon my page. And a preemptive thanks to those who may do so in the future.

I love you long time. (Even if the main purpose of this thing is borderline selfish and just a place for me to vent and be random, thanks for reading).

Monday, August 23, 2010

One Year.

A year ago I was in the home stretch week before my wedding. I was ready to be married and even more ready to be in Florida for the honeymoon. Life was good and that week in Florida was spectacular.

So much can happen in a year. So much to make you realize what marriage is really all about.

Since I've became a wife I've also became a stepmother, an aunt and a godmother. Also a person who is capable of caring for a baby for extended lengths of time (I hadn't ever been alone with a baby for longer than a few hours before). I've become that married woman who doesn't want her own babies and I'm okay with it, even though society tends to freak out whenever it comes up. I'm learning how to bite my tongue occasionally and just be supportive but also how to ask him for help when I need it. I've learned how the dishes are not a valid reason to be angry, ever.

In 3 weeks I'll become the solitary earner in our household. To me, this is the scariest scenario to date. Just when I had finally gotten to a place where our finances were not a constant on my mind worry, his company decides to downsize the graphics department and relocate it to an office an hour and half away. Yes, he'll file for unemployment and yes, I'm sure he'll get it, but it is only a percentage and then there's Kiddo's child support to pay and the court date for Little One is the Monday after his last day of work, which we are responsible for the court fees. And Christmas will be impossible and the possibility of not being able to stay afloat which is very real makes my chest tighten and my eyes water and the room spins and I don't even know where to start or what to do to make this better.

***

I have a job interview tomorrow. The money is better, the job similar to what I do now but (hopefully) with less of the BS. If it goes well and a job offer comes of it, I'm taking it and we'll be moving shortly after once again. There are more jobs in Columbus for Husband to pursue and as much as I LOVE where we live now, driving one hour both ways to work every day isn't very appealing. Things are bad, but could be worse, right? Right.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just call us Gypsies.

I have dedicated some serious time in the very recent past to google maps. Why you ask? I'm trying to map out the best place between work(not my current place, but the state capital where a majority of Ohio's jobs are right now, where I may or may not have interviews in the next month, stay tuned), Kiddo and Little One (who live approximately an hour apart) and our families (which is hard since I'm from 30 miles north of Cincy and he's from 30 minutes west of Columbus).

There is no place that is a neutral good in-between place for us to be.

Right now, we are 30 minutes from Kiddo, 45 minutes from my parents, 1 hour from my niece, 1 hour 20 min from my in-laws and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Little One.

The closer we go towards the kids and his parents, the farther we become from mine. I have come to accept this, but it doesn't make the idea of being even farther away from them any easier....especially since I've become increasingly attached to my sister's offspring.

Even factoring out the distance to my side of the fam, it is hard to come up with the best place between the kids (in two different towns, mind you) and Columbus.

Then there is my need to be within a 20 minute drive to a Target that further complicates things, since its Blue Signed Department Store Country, excluding the ritzy burbs of the state capital.

I'm on the verge of suggesting RV living for us, because really, thinking of all the driving and the cost of gas to do that driving, makes me ill.

A friend on Twitter even informed me the particular Blue Signed Department Store welcomes overnight RV parking for free. Parking Lot-Sweet-Parking Lot.

I guess I need to accept the fact that we will be spending some major time in cars for the rest of our lives....and then start saving for something roomier but gas efficient, since my car hit 100,000 miles earlier this summer and really isn't all that great for Ohio winters.

It sucks to grow up.........

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DearBff,

You are such a breath of fresh air.....even if its only getting together for a few hours after work. That's the beauty of our friendship, the amount of time spent together doesn't matter, as long as it happens from time to time. Don't get me wrong here....there are days where I wish I wouldn't have relocated almost an hour away, but I was never set on staying in our hometown, and we really are only a phone call/45 minute drive away.

Don't let people who are drama-filled and negative pull you down, but perhaps remind them its their life and they can choose to either deal with things and move on or dwell and be miserable.

Did you ever think we'd both be married in 2010? It's crazy to think about, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Until next time, keep on livin, l-i-v-i-n!

ps-I'm sure everyone and both the mothers have began asking about babies, I'm cool with whenever, since you know I love me some other-people's-babies :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lack of Words.

I don't have many words lately. Shocking I know.

I feel like I babble on and on too often about where I am going, and what's wrong and blah blah blah and I needed a break from all that self-reflection; some time to just be. It is not an easy task for someone who is constantly doing something, even if the something is worrying about x, y and z.

It seems to be working for the most part. I've been walking in the evenings after work, so I have someplace to go, something to be doing, something productive. I made it out 5 out of 7 days last week and I'm shooting for 6 this week.

Our one year wedding anniversary is coming up at the end of the month. I am hoping we can keep up good spending habits until then to go to a nice dinner at a local seafood place to honor our Florida honeymoon we took last year. Originally we had planned on going back for that week, but life happened and now we are going in February. I'm excited we'll be getting away from cold Ohio for a week, even if its still approximately 200 days away. Time seems to slip away much faster with each passing year of my life, so 200 days doesn't seem like such a long time anymore.

I feel like I almost have my head on straight again for the first time in a while and it is nice.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Husband,

You are phenomenal. You own your mistakes. You somehow don't let the small stuff bug you. You are patient and kind. Even when no one would have blamed you for taking the "easy way" out, you wouldn't do it because you are such a wonderful father. You love your kids regardless of what their mothers have/will put you through.

I couldn't be more proud to be your wife.

Happy Father's Day. We'll get through this.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Revisions.

Most of the time, I appear to be a genuinely happy person. I have good friends, family and all that jazz but more so than not, I've got a lot of dark and twisty (Grey's Anatomy fans know what I'm talking about here) going on beneath the surface.

I have an insistent and neverending urge to worry and be constantly anxious about damn near everything around me. It's exhausting. It makes me crabby and one giant Negative Nancy when it surfaces, usually around events I have little to no control over. I feel like its my masochistic job to carry these worries around, constantly rolling over them in my head. It's ridiculous, yes, but telling me not to worry is like telling a dog not to bark. It's a waste of air.

So when I wrote this post last week, I was in full dark and twisty mode. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, I was anxious and worried to say the least.

Over the weekend, I had a talk with my husband about everything and I finally got how he is feeling about all of this out of him. And the weight seems a little less heavy and I seem a little less worried.

The I don't want babies of my own thing is a lot more complex than ever....and I'm trying to figure out the best way own it, and not let it bother me when people try and tell me, "oh that could/will change blah blah blah" because I'm going to hear it for the next 20 years. And I'm already sick of explaining myself. In a few years I can just start lying and saying I can't have kids...that should shut people up a bit faster on the subject.

Maybe if I can get over my own issues from childhood (try being chubby with gigantic early 90's glasses, frizzy hair AND a speech impediment and NOT coming out scarred) I may want to procreate, but right now, the thought of creating a little person to possibly go through what I did just seems wrong.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Contrary.

I am full of giant contradictions.

I am bothered by how there are two women in this world who have something with my husband that I do not have. Plus its something I don't think I want. I won't even try to explain this...because I don't even understand it. I try to not think about it often, but with Little One finally coming back into the picture, it is hard not to right now.

I love my step-daughters ferociously, more than I think my husband realizes, or even thinks is possible since, you know, I've always said I don't want kids...how could I possibly love someone else's so much? That answer is easy: they are his and I love him more than anything else, so in my world, that means I have the same feelings towards them. They are part of who he is. That part is simple to me.

I want to be strong and be an unfaltering support system to him as we go through this head on, but that is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I don't feel strong. I have so many worries and anxieties about all of this and I have my own amazing support system, but it is pretty much an unprecedented situation to them as well as me, so its frightening.

I feel like I'm allowed to be emotionally invested with these kids on certain levels but not all, (not that it has stopped me, because it hasn't) I get the feeling I'm not supposed to have any say in any of this, but I'm allowed to bathe, clothe, feed, hug, play with etc. Most people would not see this as a bad thing, but I feel like since I am a presence in the life of this child, a legally acknowledged presence that will be there every step of their lives, all the milestones and I'm allowed to do many of the day to day parenting why can't I be part of things more?

***

When you are the other woman, (the childless other woman in my case) in a situation like this, its so hard to sit back and watch someone tell your husband when he will and will not see his kid and not react to it. And to not tell him "that's bullshit" and that he needs to "try harder and do x,y, and z" even if he's done it a million times in the past and it doesn't get him anywhere. He really wants me to not react. That makes me worry he doesn't know me nearly as well as I thought he did. I'm feisty, and stubborn and I stand up for things when I feel like people are being wronged. He has been wronged a 1,000 times over when it comes to these girls and I hate that he has basically given up, because he learned when he went through this with Kiddo, the system doesn't care about the father, or his bills or life, just as long as he pays that precious child support.

We're going to make it through this, and hopefully he will see Little One again and we'll come out on the other side wiser and stronger but its going to be hard and right now, the high road has never seemed longer or more unattainable to me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Post Secret steal.


via Post Secret. Happy Belated Monday (aka Tuesday of a four day work week).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parenting (or lack thereof)

Here's a tidbit of common sense: If you can not/do not want to take care of your kids, DO NOT HAVE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. If you are in a situation that involves an unplanned pregnancy when you are 15, 16, 17 years old, you know your options. There are so many people in this world willing to adopt your baby because they can't have their own who can give them the love and attention they deserve.

***

My oldest step-daughter's (Kiddo) mom drives me crazy. She makes me blind with rage and emotion and all my husband does is shrugs his shoulders and tells me there's no point in getting upset and that he has been dealing with her for 10 years now. He has created a very tough armor against her (even though about twice a year, she cracks him and he gets really upset, when this happens, I have a very strong desire to physically harm her, something I've never felt before) which I have yet to form. Plus I am a woman. I am emotional by default of my wiring. I may not have my own children nor do I plan on ever having them, but I love my step-daughter dearly. I feel like she is getting shafted in the Momma department, big time.

Her mother doesn't ever stay home with her when she is sick, her mother calls Husband or her mom to stay home with her (Husband is always more than willing to do so, but its the blatant fact that she doesn't want to have to use her time off work), she doesn't take her to any of the activities we are constantly asked for money for (on top of the child support my husband pays), she doesn't feed her breakfast in the mornings nor does she make sure she brushes her teeth at night. She's 8 years old, you have to tell them to do that! Once a week Kiddo spends the night with her maternal grandparents and every other weekend she is not with us in the summer, she spends it with them, regardless of where her mother is.

Whenever we try and plan things to do with Kiddo, she is difficult. She makes plans during our weekends on a constant basis. She took Kiddo out of school two weeks AFTER spring break, for an entire week to take her to DisneyWorld. This kept her out of town on one of our weekends, and next week they leave to go to Florida for a second vacation that will be over another one of our weekends.

I really wanted to plan a day trip to a local amusement park for the Monday after Father's Day weekend, thinking it would be so fun for Kiddo to spend a Friday-Tuesday with us, then Husband reminded me her Mom's brother's wedding is Father's Day weekend, so we probably won't see her at all.

It's so frustrating. I wish we could all get along like adults. I truly do, but that is definitely not the case with her. I wish she gave Kiddo the attention she deserves. I never, ever want anyone to think I am trying to replace her mom, I mean, its her mom! I just want her to be happy and healthy, neither of which I feel her mother is contributing to, besides buying her expensive gifts and "taking" her on expensive vacations (her parents paid for DisneyWorld and her husband's parents are taking them to the beach next week)

I could just scream.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life Happenings.

My life in pictures as of late.

I'm still obsessed with my niece...seen here on Mother's Day....

Bff was a GORGEOUS bride who made lots of people cry many times on the 15th (myself included)...

I rocked the dress and had the skinniest day of my life (as seen above)....

Later I rocked it (quite literally) after many-a-drink from the open full bar...

The day after the wedding Kiddo got to meet her newest cousin...

Who we may see again this Sunday (most likely arriving like pictured above)

Yay for life.