Friday, January 31, 2014

A Hero Might Not Be For Real; But A Person Is

To me, writing about one's hero(s) is a bit cheesy.  But it's today's prompt so I'll go for it.  Whatever comes into my head.

I have found that heroes are often times disappointing.

In 8th grade I moved to a new city, a new state, a new school and a new church.  I joined a youth group for the first time ever.  I was such a nerd.  I say that with fondness.  I had red pimples, tightly permed blonde hair, braces and was uncomfortable in just about every social interaction.  I blame my homeschooling background for that.  ::wink wink::

My first night at this new youth group - whom I stuck with till I moved away for college - I met my first hero.  Amy.  She was the funniest person I had ever met in my entire life.  She was weird too.  I had never met anyone who didn't shave their legs or their arm pits.  But I had also never met someone who was older and cooler than me who seemed to want to hang out with me.

She helped me make friends and brought me into my first small group with other girls my age.  I looked up to her and everything she did was perfection to me.  She could make every situation funny and turn any song into something about Jesus.  Those are two things I still carry with me today - in a good way of course.

Well, one day I found one of her text books that she had left at my house.  I'm nosy so I opened it and found a note.  I can't remember what it said... although I think it said something about smoking pot.

I was devastated.  Everything I thought I knew about her broke.  I was mad.  And hurt.  And betrayed.  I didn't understand how she could make such mistakes and still be a ... a... Christian??  Someone who goes to church?

What I didn't know then, what I do know now, is that we all, EVERYONE, falls.  We all have our secrets.  Some we share with a select few and then some stay hidden.  The pain of realizing my heroes weren't perfection incarnate was a lesson I learned over and over and over again.  Each time it hurt so much.  Each time I was confused.  Each time it felt like my world fell apart.

So that's why I have a hard time talking about heroes.  It's great to have people to look up to, people who make you want to be better.  But when I start calling that person a hero it feels like I'm about to set us both up for failure.  That person will always make a mistake and let me down in some way.

I'm not saying I don't look up to people anymore because I do.  I totally do.  But over the years I have finally started to see the balance between a hero and a human being.

That was more than 5 minutes but I really needed to finish my thoughts on this topic.  If I had stopped at 5 minutes...that wouldn't have been too great.  



Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Risk Rejection: Last Day

First of all I would like to think Amy and all the ladies who have stopped by my blog  and allowed me to be a part of this Risk Rejection series.  I have met some great ladies!

This is the last week for Risk Rejection!

My risk-thang was this blog I am writing in now.  I have been challenging myself to write openly and as honestly as I could about my life regardless of my fears and uneasiness.  Once again I am finding wonderful support from fellow writers who may not completely agree with everything I say; but they offer a kind word or gesture of support and that always means a lot.

I am starting to feel like myself again in the world of the internet.  I'm focusing on writing about what I want to write about, sharing what I want to share because it's part of who I am.  Not everyone enjoys my instagram pictures of my birthday beer.  Although I'm sure EVERYBODY likes my pictures of my baby!

I'm learning to be okay with my decisions even when I know that friends and family may disagree.  They aren't me.  They don't live in my house.  While their opinions matter because I love them; their opinions do not define me.  Allowing other's opinions define me is something I have been working through since I was...oh, I don't know... high school at least.  Middle school?  Younger?  Let's just say forever.  ::wink wink::

I feel really good about this blog.  I'm hoping this is the one that sticks and that in time - a lot of time - perhaps I can even bring in a small amount of income.  But that's neither here nor there.  I am writing because God has given me a strong desire to share my daily life struggles/blessings/ups/downs and everything-in-betweens with you.  Whoever you are.

Thanks for visiting me today!

I'm No Pinterest Mom

It's official.  I've got my hands full.

I'm homeschooling Marie who has down syndrome and we have a hard time understanding each other.  Now we have added full-time schooling into our lives.

Then there is almost-10-month old Denai who is finally on the brink of crawling.  She LOVES me.  She loves me so much she always wants to be with me.  ALWAYS.  And when she's with me she needs something because that's what I do.  I give her what she needs.  This largely consists of bread and boobs.  (She eats more than just bread but it's her FAVORITE thing right now.  She goes CrAzY over it.)    

And I have Michael who only gets to live with us half the time.  It's nice to have a break from taking Mr. Sexy to work every morning so I can take Michael to school and then pick him up three hours later.  It's nice to get a break from the tantrums and attitude that I completely blame his biological dad for (I promise to take all the blame for Denai's behavior).  When he's home my life usually feels a little more strained because he is an extra person needing something from me.  But gosh-darn-it I love that kid.  He adds a level of energy in our house that is missing when he's gone.

I say all this because today is a day where I almost freaked out.  Like really freaked out.  Crying, yelling, rum...you name it.  Like I said I ALMOST freaked out.  This means that I didn't!  I held myself together.  For the most part.

I felt completely emotionally overrun and at a standstill in that.  I couldn't move forward.  Therefore I couldn't think right.  Therefore what was starting to come out was a nasty person with a tongue of fire.

I stopped our day for the night (it was getting to be later afternoon anyways) and was able to chill for a few minutes which helped clear my head.

I am trying to do everything at one time.  

While Marie is reading through her lesson - over and over and over again - I'm playing around on my blog.  But I can't focus because I still want to correct Marie when she needs help with reading.  I try to do some laundry but that doesn't work because I'm too far away from Marie's screen meaning I can't help guide her very well.  I try to clean and organize our work spaces in here but I just end up picking up small things at random, staring at them, then putting them down again.  I have no focus whatsoever.

That basically sums up my every day of the homeschool life.

It must stop.

So I am in the process of making a plan and setting some new rules.  I really like rules.  Rules are there to help and are not supposed to be broken.  Ever.  Unless there is an amazing reason which always shows up in the movies.

I made my school schedule - finally - and it should stay the same when Michael is home.  After I made it, however, I became really nervous because according to my schedule there is no time for anything extra.  When would I clean the kitchen?  Fold the laundry? Vacuum?  Sweep?  Finish unpacking from our move this summer?

While I can indeed do some chores in the evening that isn't a good plan for me.  I need time to make dinner, spend some time with Mr. Sexy and then get the kids ready for bed.  My kids take some effort, let me tell you!  I also need some veg time to watch TV or blog or sit on the couch and stare out the windows for no reason at all.

This means EVERYONE must pitch in and we must ALL do chores on the weekends.  Awesome right?

So far I think I have a good plan and I am open for tweaking it as much as needed to fit our family.

Hopefully my new plan will help tomorrow go better, and Friday, and all of next week!

Wednesday is Picture Day!

Me and my birthday boy. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

My 3 favorite things... Hmmm....

Latest Instagram Photo Op
Instagram.  I feel like I'm an instagram FrEaK.  I actually have to tell myself: No Mrs. Sexy.  You have already uploaded 3 pictures this hour.  The rest can wait.  You need to stop.  But I just looooove it!!!  It's easy and fast and I have cute little tags that have only pics of my kids and hottie of a husband.  I really don't want to annoy people because I always post to Facebook and twitter so just know that daily I struggle with not uploading pictures all day.  Literally.  All day.

Getting my hair done.  I say this wistfully because it's been a year since I've spent a decent amount of money and given my hair a weave of highlights and auburns and cinnamons and....lots of other fancy colors.  I crave getting my hair done.  I always feel so wonderful afterwards.  It's a new, fresh look which sometimes scares me every time I pee (because there is usually a mirror by the toilet) but then I realize how beautiful my new hair is and I take bathroom breaks just so I can look at my hair in the mirror.  Deep breath.  I need to talk to Mr. Sexy about working this magic back into our budget.

Instagram again!
December, 2013

Beer.  Today I received my birthday present from Mr. Sexy!  It was a case of beer!  He signed me up on a beer-of-the-month club because he knows that I don't know very much about beer and that I never know what kind I like.  This way, every month the UPS guy delivers a case of 12 beers to my doorstep.  I can rate them online and they will be able to cater what they send me based on what I enjoy.  How awesome is that!  I get a birthday present every month!

So there's my three favorite things.  I'm not sure I can say those are even my top three favorite things.  They are just what popped into my head as I started to write.

Thanks for reading!

Linking up with Rorybore today.


Monday, January 27, 2014

The irony. Oh the irony!!

Well Gosh-Darn-Dangit.  It's late and I should be going to bed.  Instead I'm so hyped up that I can't even type correctly.  And I'll tell you why.  Just keep reading and let me tell you why I'm so hyper right now which makes me feel like giggling and talking really loudly.

A lot of my friends will remember I had a blog last year which was very emotionally charged.  I held nothing back.  Those same friends will remember that a blogger whom I had never visited before found my blog and didn't like what she read.  She left me many comments telling me I deserved to go to hell and I'm a terrible person.  Blah blah blah.  Then she started leaving links all over my page.  Links to her website.  Her blog post.  About me and my black heart.  This instigated a sort of witch hunt for me.  This woman started a frenzy which led to police involvement, CPS visits and lost friendships.  Yup.  My friends and family were harassed by this woman and her bloggy friends during that time.

I found this lady's blog tonight.  It wasn't hard for me to find it.  All I had to do was google myself.  I was curious about the kind of blogger she is.  If she's actually a nice person/blogger/writer maybe I could follower her and see if she notices or maybe we would be friends?

Yeah...NO.

She scares me.  I won't be back to her blog.

She has a kid(s) with down syndrome too.  But she still scares me.  Even her profile picture scares me.

I came across a post from December, 2013; this is about one year after I shut my blog down.  She was on a rant because she has received so much hate from her readers.  She says she is being called (insert huge list of names here) and that she hates it.  She says she doesn't understand why people bother to follow people on the internet whom they don't like.

She says that people are probably nicer face-to-face because the internet gives so much freedom for people to say whatever they want.  She says these people that are hating her don't really know her and are essentially strangers so they should back the f*** off (her words).  She says these people being mean to her must be miserable and all they are after is attention. She says she doesn't have time to follow people on the internet just so she can be mean to them.

The irony.  Oh the irony!!!!

She also says she doesn't understand why the hating has been going this past year.

Hmmm... What goes around comes around?

Mr. Sexy told me not to post the link to her blog - as much as I want to.  I just want my friends to read this lady talk about how much she hates exactly what she did to me one year ago!!!!!  

Mr. Sexy also told me not to quote anything directly.  He told me I'm playing with fire a little bit here.  He's right.  I totally am.  But I'm done now.  I really was curious on what kind of writer she was.

And frankly, she is not worth any more of my time.  Oh yeah.  And she scares me.

This has helped me move on from what happened a year ago, though.  I struggled - and still struggle - with the thoughts these strangers put in my head:  that Marie would indeed be better off without me.  We should give her away to some one who cares.  I deserve hell.  Blah blah blah.

I know now all that stuff came directly from Satan.  He was putting an end to something very positive in my life.  I was making progress in my relationship with Marie through the relationships I was building on the internet.  The love and encouragement I received helped me in ways that they will never fully realize.

I'm now disappointed in myself because I feel like I let Satan win that one by tucking tail and walking away.  But I'm back now.  I've learned a few things.  I'm a better person than I was.  Just a teensy bit smarter too.

Well, this was an amazing venting post!!  Thanks so much for venting with me.  And please, don't go seeking this woman out.  I don't need people like her catching wind of ME.

Phew.  I'm calmed down a little bit now.  It's time to have a beer and get to bed.

I will not spit.

I have too many things I want to blog about on this foggy Monday morning.

Chopping firewood in our backyard.
Speaking of fog.  It's been foggy one week straight now!  That's 7 days of zero sunshine.  Not even a glimmer (that I could find at least).  It's so depressing.  To top it off I spend most of my days in the yellow light of my basement while I watch Marie slo-o-o-wly make her way through school work.  It would be nice to take a break and visit the sunshine.

Speaking of school: Marie is starting her morning with 50 sentences that I require to be in her very best handwriting.

"I will not spit."

I checked on her before bed time last night and found wet spots on her sheets and her fingers were wet.  I thought it was snot - GROSS.  Then she told me it was spit.  Apparently she thought it would be fun to spit on her sheets and in her hands?!?!

She used to spit; I just thought we had moved on from this weird and annoying and gross issue.  At school she used to spit on kids when she got upset.  I also used to hear her spitting while she was standing at the bathroom sink.  Now she is spitting in her blankets.

I know that getting angry over something so trivial is absolutely ridiculous.  I was so mad at her that I made myself all hot and sweaty - granted, I was also in the middle of doing laundry and our wood stove downstairs keeps us pretty toasty.

I was just so, so, appalled.  I went back into her room about ten minutes later after telling her she was going to sleep with her hands behind her head for a while.  She was spitting again!  This time just letting it bubble up in her lips.

Maybe she thinks it's cool that she can gather her saliva and make a bunch of tiny bubbles that turns into something wet on her hands.  Maybe she was trying to see how many bubbles she could make or how big she could get one to be.  I just don't think that's what her brain was really thinking.  Then again, I have no idea what her brain was thinking and she could, in now way, explain to me her reasonings for spitting on her blankets and hands.

The conversations that I have been having with Mr. Sexy about Marie have been changing these last few months.  He may not see it completely but I am starting to feel less defensive about the decisions and mistakes I make when parenting Marie.  Therefore him and I are able to have a real conversation about it.

Spitting, for example.  I showed her my frustration.  I gave her consequences.  When Mr. Sexy came downstairs I explained everything and at the end told him I could undo it all if he wanted.  I don't quite trust myself when it comes to being rational with Marie.  Mr. Sexy agrees.  He also knows that when he is parenting in anger he isn't rational either.  It always makes me feel better when he tells me he understands and that he's been where I am.

Every once in a while he reminds me that my angers and frustrations at Marie are familiar to him.  He was once there because it took him years to finally accept one simple fact.

Marie has down syndrome.

So now when she does things that are completely out of the ordinary for a girl her age he can rest in the fact that she has down syndrome and that's okay.

I'm not quite there yet.  I've come a long way and I believe I am well on my way towards this kind of acceptance.

For me, however, I still strive to mold Marie into something that looks normal in my world.  Spitting into her blankets and on her hands is not normal.  It's down syndrome in my face and try as I may, I can't change a damn thing about it!

So yeah, I'm frustrated.  And Marie is writing sentences.

On the plus side she is getting a lot of work in penmanship which is improving!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Visit

Attempting to cook in my mother's kitchen is not quite so familiar.  I moved out years ago now yet I could always find my way around as if it was my own place.  Now it's getting different.  I have my own family of one husband and three kids.  I have my own sets of dishes, silverware and mixing spoons.  I have discovered - and continue to discover - how I like my kitchen to be set up.  I used to think it should be how my mom had hers set up.  My husband has shown me that it's okay to change things up though.

Apparently he thinks he has better ideas. ;)  A lot of times they actually make sense.  But every once in a while I have to fix it.

So now when I stand in my mother's kitchen I have to spend a little extra time looking for mixing bowls and Pam cooking spray.  But I don't mind.

Because now I finally feel like I'm visiting.  This may sound weird.  The fact is I like being a visitor in my childhood home.  It means I don't completely belong there anymore.  I have a home of my own with one husband, three kids and one kitchen fit perfectly for my needs.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo where we all write for 5 minutes straight from a prompt.  No editing whatsoever.  Hope you liked it!

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We're Only Human

I am struggling with my blog because I am concerned about offending people.  I can't decide if this is wisdom telling me to be careful or fear playing it's nasty little game.  So at the risk of offending my friends and family, here goes.

I struggle with letting other's words define me.  At least for a period of time.  Often I appreciate advice.  But then there is a point where either that person hasn't earned a right to speak into my life so personally or another personal boundary is being crossed. Then that advice that was meant in love turns into something different.

More often it feels as if I'm being judged.  Usually by friends and family.  Most of whom are Christians. That's kind of backwards isn't it?  We are supposed to love each other.  We are supposed to be united.  Yet so often I see relationships fail when judgements are made, conclusions are jumped to and love is forgotten.  

It's really easy for me to look into someone else's life and know what their issues are and how to fix them.  The next step is to share my wisdom in the name of love.  I'm pretty good at this. 

While there is a time and place to speak wisdom into the lives' of others, more often than not, I believe I am supposed to close my mouth and keep my judgements to myself.  What do I really know anyways?  
This can be so damn hard!  

This subject is on my heart lately because so often I feel looked down on and judged for the choices I have made for me and my family.  The fact is: What works for me might not work for someone else and that's okay.  

For me, step-parenting is the toughest and most emotionally- charged thing I have ever set out to do. 

For me, sometimes a beer or mixed drink replaces my dinner.

For me, my house in the woods is perfect because it pushes me to be better every day.

For me, church is not my religion and sometimes I enjoy staying home with my family.

For me, money is a struggle to talk about, to live with, and to live without. 

For me, anger is a learned coping mechanism and a daily battle.

For me, my blog is how I try to find my voice.

For me, faith is often difficult.




This post is part of a series called Risk Rejection where a group of bloggers are linking up and sharing their own Risk Rejection adventures.  Mine is simple.  This blog.  I am still nervous when I see notifications for new comments.  I spend a lot of time worrying and over-thinking what I want to write about and publish. However I am enjoying my new bloggy space and it's been an amazing outlet this past month.  I'm looking forward to the future of 5 Hearts, One Family. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Changing Perspective

Today I slept in because I was so tired.  This means I missed my shower and when I miss my shower that means I plan to stay home all day so why change out of my sweats and t-shirt I wore to bed?  Forget putting on makeup and brushing my hair.

Today the kitchen is a little messier than when I woke up this morning and the dining room is only slightly less cluttered.

Today I got caught up on Revenge (guilty pleasure) and took an online quiz to see which Grey's Anatomy character I am.  The quiz told me I'm April Kepner.  Eww!  I really, really don't like her character.  I think I should be more of a Meredith or a Callie.  I like tequila AND I like to dance around in my underwear (in the privacy of my own home of course.)

Today I showed Denai some of her new toys, tried coaxing her into crawling until she got mad and fed her to her hearts content.

Today I worked on Social Studies with Marie.  We spent our entire school day working on getting through half one lesson.

And lastly, today I did laundry.

I feel lazy, unaccomplished and bum-like.

As I read down my list of "accomplishments" I see a lazy-ass.  But then I get towards the bottom and I realize how much time and effort I put into my kids.  Yet I still feel lazy, unaccomplished and bum-like.

I wanted to get up on time and shower because it makes me feel good, clean and ready for the day.

I wanted to get the kitchen cleaned up and organize the dining room.

I wanted to either work on my blog or organize our work spaces downstairs.

I wanted to see Denai crawl.

I wanted Marie to get through one lesson.  Just one.

I tend to be driven by tangible accomplishments and victories.  So the fact that I spent most of my day working with Marie and I wasn't able to click "Lesson Completed" shows the world (in my mind) that nothing got accomplished.  All that can be seen is an un-showered mom, a baby who was also in pj's all day, a messy kitchen and an open Facebook page (with loads of laundry in the background).

In reality I actually accomplished a lot.  I spent the entire day sitting with Marie at her computer!  I was patient while she struggled through some harder words as she read her lesson.  I occupied myself as she cut out her study notecards.  I persevered through the laborious process of note-taking.

For the most part my accomplishments today are not tangible.  Some victories will only be shared between Marie and myself.  I'm learning that that's okay.  It's okay that I don't always get dressed and that I didn't sweep the chips off the floor.

It's okay that the biggest victories today were purely relational.


Coffee Chat: Go Away Silly Trends!

It's Coffee Chat Tuesday!  Written on a Monday night.  Oh yes, I'm sneaky like that.

This week we are filling in the blank: I would like to see               trend disappear in 2014.

There are a few "trends" I'm not a fan of but the one I'll bite from is cyber bullying.

I would like to see the cyber bullying trend disappear in 2014.

Will this happen?  Now way!  But I'd like it to.  It would  be nice.

I'll admit that I'm extra sensitive on the subject these days.  That sensitivity is what causes me to see it all over the place and sometimes in the simplest forms, perhaps with someone I know as the instigator of the negativity.

The fact is that cyber bullying, in my opinion, is easy to get involved in.  It really takes just one person to make something blow up on the internet.  Even when I don't agree with what the person being "bullied" has said/done, I still feel empathy for that person.

So often people are downright mean and dirty when it's just words typed across a screen.  I've been guilty of being that person.  I'm not proud of it.  In the moment I would say I didn't even realize the weight of my written words.

For me, writing through the internet can be very personal and liberating; yet at the same time I don't see a human being staring back at me.  I just see my own words with my tone and my expressions.  Oh yeah, you guys can't hear my tone or see my expressions.  All you can see are my words.

With twitter, instagram, Facebook, youtube and a host of other networking sites, it doesn't take much for a story to spread through the cyber space.  On the brighter side perhaps this causes some to think twice before writing something that is potentially going to be misconstrued as something different than the original intent.

Personally, in a perfect world, I hope we each would approach each other in a private message about the offense before sharing it with the general public - if it needs to shared at all.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Issues of Self-Control

A big part of my blogging journey via Risk Rejection is to continue writing as I did last year about my daily life.  I tend to write from very strong emotions and sometimes it seems I have a lot of negative emotions.  I am overall a happy person and enjoy my life (even with all the bugs in my house) but it's true: I do deal with a lot of negativity in my emotions.  Every day I learn how to deal with them in a better way, a healthier way.  And today - this morning - is a prime example.

To you, it's just a little bit of cheese.  In fact all it was were crumbs - the leftovers from my breakfast.  To me, it's not just a few crumbs of cheese.  It's disobedience.  It's ANOTHER weird food issue/incident.  It's Marie making another bad choice, one she has made countless times over the years, and when I ask her why she did it, I get the same answer: "I don't know."

It's down syndrome.  Friends can tell me it's not just down syndrome.  Other kids struggle too, kids who are perfectly "normal."  But she has down syndrome so her brain works in ways I don't think I will ever understand. Therefore, she has an obsession with food that Mr. Sexy and I have yet to figure out and overcome.

As I was brushing Marie's teeth this morning I thought it was gross that she still had bits of food on her tongue from breakfast.  Wait a minute.  That's weird.  I asked her once what she ate.  She immediately lied about it as I expected.  I asked again and this time she gave a big sigh and looked down at the counter.  Oh yeah, I was on to something.  After a few minutes she did tell me she ate cheese.

It took a split second for me to go from relatively calm to shaking and hot with anger.  An immediate time-out was in order for both of us.

"Time-out!"  

I shut the bathroom door and basically ran down the hallway to call Mr. Sexy so he could help me diffuse the situation.  Talking to him didn't really help.  (Sorry babe.)  He was pretty stressed out with work and his answer was, "We should deal with it tonight."  The thing is Marie probably wouldn't remember the incident by the end of the day.

I felt I had to do something.  But what?  I wanted to punish her and I wanted the punishment to hurt her so she would remember the pain and not make that bad choice again.  Well, that's no way to get a child to fix their mistakes.  And do I really want Marie to make good choices out of fear?  That type of obedience will never stick.

Now let me explain where I'm coming from here.

Back when Marie was just 5 years old she would get up in the middle of the night and raid the fridge.  By raid I mean she had every single item out of that fridge and ALL of it was headed to her tummy.  This habit continues today.  We currently have some safeguards in place so she can't get to food after bed time and we are hoping to work on the issue this summer.

It's not just at nighttime that she likes to grab an inappropriate snack.  Sometimes it's early in the morning on her way to the laundry room and no one is around.  Sometimes it's when Nanna turns her back in the kitchen and then a cake pop has disappeared.  And sometimes it's while I trust her to be putting away dishes and not to snack from the crumbs on the counters.  It's an issue of self-control.  She doesn't have it.

So back to my room and blood-boiling anger and feeling totally alone in the situation.  I had just used the one life-line I felt I had and it didn't help.  I paced my room and I grunted out of frustration.  That's a better choice than full out screaming in my opinion.  I took some big deep breaths which only produced frustrated tears.  I felt helpless because my emotions were so overwhelming I thought they would eventually completely take over.

I wanted so badly to come up with a good consequence for Marie that would impact her but not cross those lines into fear-parenting.  I just couldn't think straight.  I paced, I grunted, I breathed big and deep and I cried.  I was fighting against my sinful nature.  This isn't a new fight for me but that doesn't make it any less difficult.

As I used my de-stressing techniques my heart slowed and I cooled down.  Sentences.  I used to have Marie write sentences.  Yes!  That would work!  Sentences are not fun AND she could practice the correct action in her head during each one.

I was still pissed but no where near the boiling point any more.  I was the one in control.  I felt ready to get Marie, sit her down and explain her consequences.

But first, I had to tell her good job for telling me the truth.  I'm sure that bit of the conversation sounded pathetic as she was sad and I was mad.  But I tried.  Thank you so much for telling me the truth.  Telling the truth is always a good choice.  I think I said those lines like three times hoping she would see that I actually was proud of her for that.  Maybe I can talk to her about it again later and she will give me a real smile.

Then I laid out her consequences:

1. She is not allowed in the kitchen until I decide (basically when I'm ready to let go of the incident)

2.  Because she has shown she doesn't know how to handle food properly, I will be feeding her during lunch and dinner.

3.  She will write 100 sentences.

I'll bet some of you are reading this and thinking I'm a terrible mom because these consequences may
seem harsh to you.  But the fact of the matter is Marie MUST learn to control her urges to eat food.  I honestly don't care AT ALL that she snacked on cheese.  I care that it's all part of the pattern of sneaking food into her belly when no one is around.

My hope is that if Mr. Sexy and I can I have regular, serious consequences for this particular behavior then by the time she is ready to move out (this WILL happen) she will have an appropriately learned behavior of when to eat and how to eat.

Again, eating a little bit of cheese isn't a huge deal.  But eating an entire jar of peanut butter is.  Drinking an entire bottle of chocolate syrup isn't that great for you.  Eating half a bag of that cheap-o bubble gum isn't great for your stomach and neither is eating an entire jar of vitamins.  Marie has done all these things and more.

So eating a little bit of cheese, right after breakfast, while she is putting away dishes and I'm taking  care of the baby, it's a big deal.      


Disclaimer:  I understand that all our kids go through these issues.  But Marie is 12 and she still continues to eat inappropriately whether it's an entire loaf of bread she snuck to her room or crumbs of cheese she stuffed in her mouth as soon as I left the kitchen.  I truly desire her to have self-control and the ability to make wise choices. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Homeschooling: Day 1: We Survived

Let me start of by saying that I always thought I would homeschool my kids like my mom did me and brothers.

Then I thought hell no.

Then I thought, sure, I could homeschool.  I would be great. 

Then I thought hell no.

Then I thought, well, Marie's new school blows so I guess I could try it for a semester...

And then I thought, what the hell did I do?

My morning started off with Marie's IEP meeting via telephone conference.  You know how when you watch the news and the news peeps are talking to each across the country and it's awkward because there is a delay somewhere in the mix?  Well that's what phone conversations are like for me these days.  It makes things like IEP conferences very awkward.  Hopefully we can get faster internet at some point or maybe should think about a land line.  Who knows.

Marie and I almost had a rough start.  I'm not even sure why.  Oh yeah.  We were dealing with how to tell truths again.  This time it was about a napkin.  What a difficult life I lead.


Overall: Day 1 went very well.

But boy am I exhausted.

Our morning session together was smooth and even relaxing while Denai slept peacefully upstairs.  Then she woke up.  Denai, of course, wanted most of my attention.  Marie, on the other hand, NEEDED my attention.

See, Marie's first lesson was pretty quick.  Too quick.  She failed it.  I started to have her do it again but realized she would do much better simply because she had memorized the information instead of having actually learned it.

Her second lesson, math, I feel much more proud about.  We spent FOREVER on her math lesson and we didn't even finish it which means we get to start over tomorrow because the lessons apparantly don't save.  That's totally fine for me because Marie needs the practice.  Thus, we spent most of our school day on one section of her math lesson.

I feel confident that we will get in the swing of things.  I already have a nice routine thought up for our day.  I'm particularly interested, possibly even excited, about learning where Marie is actually at in her schooling.

I think today she was doing 4th grade work and sadly, I think it was too advanced for her.  But the beauty of homeschool is I can be at her level with her lessons even if her lessons aren't.  If I need to dumb them down to a first grade level for a week then I can do that.

I will be spending a lot of time talking to Marie's team about these things and I have high hopes for the rest of the semester.

But boy is it a lot of work!

Someone buy me a beer!


Part of our daily routine is going for a walk.
Top right: A small part of my driveway.
Middle right: Hoof print.  Too cool right?
Bottom right: Our mouser cats are already leaving presents.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


I Farted!

 I keep thinking that I need to write about happier things.  I'm just not that good at it.  All I want to do right now is vent about Marie's non-understanding about the basic difference between a lie and truth over something as silly as a fart.

Farts are funny in our household.  They're gross.  But they always make us laugh because of how gross they are.  I can almost tell who farted just based on the smell.  Sometimes I can tell what was eaten to make such a stench.  This is good reading material, am I right?

Marie does not seem to have a clue what the difference is between a truth and a lie.  Mr. Sexy tells me all the time that Marie will always give the answer she thinks will make that person happy.

"Marie, did you fart?"
"No."
"Marie, it's just you and I in the room.  Did you fart?"
"No."

"Marie, tell me what happened."
"I did not eat peanut butter."
The peanut butter was all over her nightgown, her sheets, her face and in her hair.  The empty jar was hidden under her bed.

"Marie, did you pee your bed?"
"No."
The entire room stank like urine.

"Marie, did you poop your pants?"
"No."
There was a huge rock looking thing in the butt of her pajama bottoms. (She was sick.)

Okay, now you're thinking, Sheesh!  Lay off the girl!  Obviously she is embarrassed or doesn't want to get in trouble because she knows she did something wrong.

Yeah, I tell myself that too.

But then things happen that I can't be sure of and I have no way of knowing whether Marie is telling me what actually happened or just what she wants to have happened.

For instance:

"Marie, what happened to your book?"
"I did not rip it."
She was by herself, in her room and reading.  What else could have happened other than her ripping it?
"Marie, I think you ripped your book.  Is that what happened?"
"Yes."
"So now you have told me two different things and I don't know what to believe.  Did you rip your book?"
"No."

I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with her that went exactly like this.  Although what you don't see displayed is the heat in my chest rising and my gut telling me to get out of that room and that conversation before I blew up about something she didn't even understand was happening.

And that's the truth of it.  She doesn't get it.  SHE DOESN'T GET IT.  You can tell me that every day.  I can write it on my mirror.  I can write about it on my blog.  I can read it in my notes.

Emotionally, however, I feel like she does get it but chooses to give the best answer she thinks possible like what Mr. Sexy said.  I want her to learn to always tell the truth which is a hard thing to do.  I still struggle with telling the truth sometimes because I'm concerned with how it will affect me.  Marie has the same concerns, no doubt.  I just want her to get past them - even in the simplest form such as coming clean about a stupid fart.

Just a reminder: I have been Marie's mom for only a few years.  Part of my blogging journey is to figure all that stuff out.  It's complicated, messy and highly emotionally charged.  Constantly.

The truth is, I see huge potential in Marie.  But there is so much of this other stuff that I feel sets her backwards.  Stuff I don't know if she will get past and therefore her future won't be what I picture.

This is a good time to remember that her future really isn't my concern.  It's not Mr. Sexy's either.  God has her future all planned out.  I think He just needs Mr. Sexy and I to continue parenting and teaching Marie to the best of our ability and trust that God will provide missing pieces.

Just, please God, give her the discernment to understand what a lie is and what a truth is.  Today that would really help me out.  Thanks!

Monday, January 13, 2014

This One Has A Little Bit Of Sex Talk

So often I have felt rejected, unloved and unwanted.  I think it's something we all go through from time to time.  Maybe that's why I had sex for the first time at 16 years old.  Maybe that's why I continued to have sexual partners after that.  I was always looking to be accepted by my family, my friends and then by boys.

My family was hard.  In so many of my decisions I seemed to be a disappointment.  Well, actually this makes total sense when you realize I used to sneak out to party; I disrespected my parents to their face and was a very good liar and manipulator.  It seemed that my mom and dad were rarely able to get past the anger phase of my poor choices.  So it's my opinion that family is hard no matter what kind you're in.

Friends I always put on a pedestal as if expecting them to fill the void left by my mom and dad.  In high school I looked to my best friend for support when I should have been looking to my mom.  That's a lot of pressure on a friend no matter the age.  When I lost (or lose) one of these precious friends I take it way too personally.  The fact is that friends come and go.

Boys were an easy scape-goat for my emotional needs.  I knew the relationships were shallow and empty but I didn't care. I wanted to feel loved.  I mean really FEEL it.  The kind of love that can almost break your heart in two because it's so strong and it's so real.  It's unconditional.  Ironically, not once did I ever initiated those sexual relationships.




I am more than the choices that I've made. 
I've been remade. 

I only came to know this as truth through my relationship with my husband.  For the first time in my life there is a person who, quite literally, knows everything there is to know about me, my past, and my secrets.  For the first time in my life I'm seeing what unconditional love can look like in human form.  For the first time in my life I am beginning to understand the depth of unconditional love that God has for my broken heart.

This is when brokenness happens.

It's such a sweet pain that hits me right in the gut.  Overwhelms my emotions.  Life. Stops.

Brokenness finds me when I have the guts to let my guard down.

It's brokenness that was is my saving grace.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Urinealysis

No matter how much I try to prepare for the smell of urine, it doesn't seem to be enough. I still feel angry, disappointed, discouraged and frustrated.

I was able to avoid the basement for most of this morning. Then I needed some logs for the fireplace.

As I left the couch headed for the stairs I still felt the smallest sparkle of 'what if?'. There is always the hope that the basement will not be engulfed with the pungent odor of Marie's urine. 

That hope disappeared.

I shut her bedroom door quietly.  I shut out the smell, the anger, disappointments, discouragements and frustrations. 

My daughter is 12 and wets her bed almost like clockwork. I say almost because over the last few months she has had short periods of staying dry.  The first time I realized this I almost cried.

 
I was incredibly proud.  I only realized she was dry because she walked by and I smelled... nothing. That's weird because when she pees the stench is in her sheets, her skin and her hair. After peeing she curls up in her blankets to continue sleeping and doesn't seem to be bothered. Anyways I smelled her sheets and they smelled like...nothing. This means not only was she dry that night but she had been dry for a while. I had still been making her clean her sheets every morning because I had lost all hope that she would ever be dry. I quit paying attention because it hurt too much.  That may sound selfish but it's the truth.

I made this a HUGE deal. We called the grandparents, we took pictures and we watched TV in our pj's because that is what you do when you don't have to wash your sheets and shower immediately.

She wasn't peeing herself anymore so she was allowed to wear whichever night gown she wanted (the One Direction nightgown is her "pee nightgown" so only one will get ruined by the urine and frequent washings). Then about a week later, as we were getting used to our new morning routine which was slow, simple and easy, Marie put on her pee nightgown for bed.  She broke the seal.

Since then it's been hit and miss. For a while it seemed that she peed when wearing her pee nightgown but not when she wore her pretty princess nightgown.  That theory got shot down. Then it seemed like she wouldn't pee when she went to bed wearing clothes.  That theory proved incorrect as well.  Now Mr. Sexy wants to start all over with her which means waking her up every two hours to pee on the toilet.  When she remains dry for a week she will get up every three hours, then four, and eventually she will be dry all night.

My opinion is that for some reason Marie makes the choice to wet her bed.  She may make the choice based upon what she wears or how she is feeling.  She may make that choice as she goes to bed or maybe she wakes up and decides to pee in bed.  Heck, Michael made that choice just the other morning.  I can understand that it seems easier to a kid to stay in bed and pee than to leave the warm blankets for a cold toilet. But every night making that choice? 

Mr. Sexy has a theory that I scoff at but he truly believes it. Honestly, he's pretty smart and excellent at reading people. He knows Marie and I better than anybody in this world. And that's his theory: Her struggles with bed wetting are completely emotional which in large part revolve around her relationship with me. He tells me all the time that Marie and I have desires to connect but neither of us have a clue on how to do it. We constantly miss the mark.

The reason I scoff at Mr. Sexy's theory is because he is pretty convinced she started staying dry after one night of drunken connection.  Wow that sounds really bad.  Let me explain.

Mr. Sexy was working that night at his second job which left me home with the girls. We had a busy day and Marie didn't have a chance to work on her homework. So I decided to keep her up and make her get it all finished. The plan was for me to grab a beer and watch TV while Marie worked upstairs.  Instead my beer and I parked at the table with Marie. It was incredible entertainment as I watched her figure out sentences to go with her spelling words.  The beer helped me to relax and ignore the imperfections I seemed to always find in her. Instead I saw a sweet girl working really hard on her homework.

I connected. We connected.

A few hours later she was done with homework and ready for bed.  That is when I laid everything out for her.  I put my heart on my sleeve for her and let her know just what I was feeling. I won't go into the details just know tears, hugs and smiles were involved.

It was about a week or so after that when I noticed Marie was dry.

Perhaps Mr. Sexy is onto something with his theory. I want to agree with him because it almost makes sense. Marie desires my approval so much and I desire emotional connection with her. Yet it's still so hard.

I'm incredibly frustrated about the bed wetting.  It's hard for me to ignore it in the mornings because I'm incredibly disappointed. She is better. She is so capable. I tell her that every morning.  But I also tell her that I am mad that she pees. I know that's wrong and not a loving way to handle the situation. That's why I shut her bedroom door in the mornings.  It gives me time to process my emotions so they aren't so hot for her.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Voldemort Update

Marie's biological mother: She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named: Voldemart: V

We needed a nickname so Mr Sexy and I could talk about 'things' around our kids and this is the most fun one we have come up with yet.

UPDATE time!

This past Monday there was another emergency conference called by the judge but only for the attorneys so we didn't have to worry about being there.  Score!!  We found out what happened only a few days ago.

She is moving back to Texas!  She told her attorney and I guess it's happening or has already happened.  The whole thing is insane!

The counseling service that has been working with us sent their recommendations to both attorneys and the judge, stating they would not be a third party for visitations until V goes through therapy and a psych eval.  Our attorney, who has been with Mr. Sexy for like ten years now and has seen a LOT of s!@# happen, was very surprised at what the counseling service had  to say about V.  I'm disappointed I haven't been able to see the letter for myself.  I'm so curious!  Even the judge voiced his opinion: She is crazy.

So that's where we're at.

V is leaving.  Again.  Thankfully Marie has had absolutely zero emotional connection with the woman so she doesn't know anything has changed.  This time, however, Mr. Sexy and I plan to be proactive.

 We won't stop until Marie turns 18 or she legally becomes my own daughter.

Phew!  For right now a HUGE stress has been lifted.  Thanks Lord.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Risking Rejection Every Day

I feel kind of silly participating in Risk Rejection because I feel completely disconnected to the blogging world.  I miss my last blog where I felt like I made actual friends whom I talked to and they talked back.

I guess I have decided to join this challenge in an effort to meet others and maybe share the challenges that come up with the risk I have chosen.

5 Hearts, One Family.

That's my risk.  I've already started.  It's a risk because last year my blog got a really bad rep.

Initially, about 3 years ago, I started blogging to talk about my relationship with my step-daughter whom I now refer to as my daughter.  I'm not a person to shy away from hard topics and my blog(s) depicted that.  My very first blog site was full of - anger.  To put it mildly.  I had absolutely nothing positive to say although I tried so, so SO hard!  I don't think anyone could see how hard I was trying, though.  So I gave up on that one site.  I can't quite remember why.  I can still look at that blog today if I want.  It's a great encouragement for me to see where I was then and how I have changed since.

I started another blog.  This one was better.  I had almost 50 followers!  I even got contacted to review products!  Woo-hoo!  Again, I was discussing my relationship with Marie and all the hard SHIT (yup, I like colorful words) that was happening to me, around me, inside me.  I poured my heart into my writing.  I can't count how many times I turned into a blubbering fool from an encouraging comment, a friend's post or my own writing.  It was that emotional for me.  I don't regret what I wrote and I would do it all over again because it was honest.

Then I got run off the internet and that was heart breaking in itself.  But it is what it is.  I understand what happened - but I don't understand why or how it got taken to the extreme levels that it did.  These bloggers basically wanted to see me in jail because apparently I was an abusive parent.  I'll be honest.  I have parented in the gray areas.  I have made choices I regret.  And maybe I deserved harassment because let's face it: I'm a very flawed person.

The fact is, however, I shared my heart on the internet.  I hid nothing.  I guess a lot of people found that to be scary so they harassed me, my family and my friends for weeks.

I'm disappointed in myself that I gave up back then.  But I'm back now and it's a scary process for me.  I'm sure that I will get negative feedback in the future.  I won't be surprised if someone from last year happens across my new blog and starts harassing me again.  But it's okay.  I'm in an even better place now than I was back then.  I'm better prepared.  I am more aware.  And I have gone through heart change this past year.

My relationship with Marie is still very fragile.

So that's my risk.  To risk judgement.  To risk hatred.  To risk friendships.  All in an effort to share my journey, my story and my heart so that those who have similar struggles won't feel as alone as I have felt.

3 Kids, 3 Directions, 1 Frazzled Mamma

Today was supposed to be day 3 of homeschooling with Marie.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I didn't even try.

I have three very different kids who need me all at the same time it seems.

Denai is 9 months old.  She needs me to survive.

Michael needs to spend  time with me whether it's watching TV, playing with his trucks or reading a book.  He craves attention and positive feedback.

Marie needs me to do school.  Right now we are just trying to get through orientation and it. Is. Sloooowwww.  Like our turtle, Shelly Sheldon Sexy.  Marie, above all else, needs my patience.

So....

Denai: Survival
Michael: Time
Marie: Patience

Of course all my kids need so much more than the one word I just typed next to their names.  It's just that one word depicts their number one need.

3 kids.  Three directions.  One frazzled mamma.

I haven't mentioned the messy kitchen, the unpacked bedroom and the carpet that has needed a vacuum for weeks.

 Oh yeah, I'm a wife, too.  So when I pick up Mr. Sexy from work I need to take a deep breath and do my best to not overrun him with my day.  He has had stresses from his own day that he has to come down from.

All this to say: I'm a little nervous about where homeschooling Marie is going to take us.  It's not like I can just set her in front of the computer and say, "Let me know when you're done!"  Well, I could.  But that wouldn't benefit her at all.  I really want homeschool to be a benefit for her and I'm actually excited to learn more about how Marie thinks, learns, and processes information.  This means that during the orientation video I sit next to her and guide her in filling out the notes she was given on the computer.

Surprisingly it wasn't as frustrating as I thought it would be.  At least, not yet.  We are only in orientation after all.  But I am already seeing her struggle and not understand simple ideas as they are shown on her video.  So I slowed things down.  What is taking most kids probably an hour has so far taken us two hours and we are just beginning.

Does that sound crazy?  I think it does.  But I don't care.  The whole point of this homeschool program is to be where Marie is.  If she is at ABC's then that's where we go.  If she is learning 5+5=10 then that's what we practice.  If it takes an entire day to read a story and understand the plot, then I open a bottle of wine and sit in front of the fire while we work through it.

I'm frustrated because Marie has been pushed through the school system in a way that I don't think is helpful for her.  It's great she is 12 and in 6th grade.  However it's not so great that she was spoon fed the information that got her to where she is today.  Let me explain:

Last semester she was coming home regularly with 6th grade homework just like the rest of her peers.  Marie couldn't do it.  My opinion on homework is that no matter the age or ability, the homework should be reinforcing what is learned at school.  This means I shouldn't have to teach the homework.  Right?  The fact was she could not do her homework.  I showed her and even tried to teach her.  She didn't get it.  Frankly, I didn't enroll her in public school so I could teach her every night when she came home.

I'm still boggled by the fact that apparently, at school, Marie did her work just fine.  Yet at home she seemed confused.  Perhaps there was a disconnect between the two places which was down syndrome related.  Okay, I can get that.  Yet, this issue had never happened before this new school in this very small town.  Hmmmm... And then her teacher tells me I'm the one doing something wrong?

So here we are, beginning this homeschool program for free.  Marie has her own computer and everything.  She already surprises me - both good and bad.

Mr. Sexy and I have already thrown a few ideas around on how to help my days feel less insane as we begin this new journey.  I'm a little worried about it but then I'm not at the same time.  One way or another we will figure this out.  Even if I have to hire a maid to vacuum that nasty carpet and clean the kitchen that has dishes from last week by the sink.  ::wink wink::  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Random Bits of Sexy

Haha.  Did my title peak your interest?  Or maybe it scared you away in which case you aren't here... reading this... hmmmm

Anyways 5 Hearts, One Family is a baby and needs to grow a little so I figure what better way to do it than link up with one of my favorite blogs and drop some Random Bits into a post.



1.  I have amazing pink sparkle slippers that make my feet stink like nobody's business.  But I love them and where them all day, every day.

2.  Today was the first day of school.  I'm completely exhausted and it's only going to get better because...

3.  I am officially homeschooling Marie.  I feel like a crazy person who doesn't know what she has gotten herself into.  Today we went through Marie's online orientation stuff and I got so confused that we are doing it all over again tomorrow!! Haha  

4.  Coffee is what gets me through my mornings and beer gets me through many evenings. 

5.  I really enjoy a good joke about flatulence and bowel movements.  

Bonus: I have an amazing streak of pink in my hair.  

I think that's enough Random Bits from now. lol Thanks for the link up Rorybore! 


Monday, January 6, 2014

Home Is Where Relationships Grow

I can't believe we moved out of our small suburban neighborhood only 5 months ago.  I feel like it's been 6 months at least.  Probably closer to 8.  But nope.  Mr. Sexy confirmed that 5 months and 5 days ago was moving day.

Now we live in a town that doesn't have it's own grocery store although we did recently discover (two months ago) that there is actually a post office here!  We had mail that had been sitting for months by the time we made it there during business hours.  The post office is a little bigger than the kid's bathroom and looks like it's connected to someone's house.  There is so much that is different here.

Driveway
Family Room
We basically live in the woods on 78 acres of property.  It's stunningly beautiful during all seasons.  We have no neighbors nearby so we can be as loud as we want as late as we want.  We see deer and elk roaming through the hills regularly and there is even a moose who visits us frequently.  It has been our dream to own property one day so this is like practice.  I'm so glad for that because living far out here has had it's many challenges!  

Home
First it was the extraordinary amount of bees outside.  At dusk I would look out the window and see a haze.  Only it wasn't a haze but millions of bees looking for humans to chase.  Okay they didn't really want to chase me but you would think they did when you saw me running and screaming from the car to the house.  No joke. Generally there are just lots of bugs.  Mites.  Stink bugs.  Black bugs that look like stink bugs but smell like cinnamon sometimes.  The winter has also brought spiders.  ::shivers::  CODE BLACK is how I let Mr. Sexy know there is something big and nasty for him to kill.  He treats me so well.

The cost to heat the house is INSANE and we simply can't afford it.  So now we have discovered the use of fire.  It's amazing.  The stove in the basement and the upstairs fireplace do a much better job than any of the wall heaters AND IT'S FREE!!!!  And comforting.  And pretty.  And good smelling.  ::sighs contentedly::

Heating our house with firewood has had its own list of challenges.  Mainly we need firewood.  And lots of it.  We were such losers when we first started to use the stove as our main source of heat.  We thought the amount of wood already cut for us would last us through the winter with no problem.  HA!  What a laugh.  I think it lasted two weeks.  So we bought a chainsaw and cut down a tree.  This is when we learned about seasoned firewood.  Apparently freshly cut wood is NOT the way to go.  Awesome.  Luckily the guy who used to live here spent a huge amount of time cutting trees and gathering piles of wood in the woods.  It's strange and we can't figure out what he was doing.  But thank the Lord!  Scavenging for wood is getting us through our cold snowy days!  And now this brings me to the heart of this blog.

This weekend was the first time we went scavenging as family.  Well, minus one.  Michael was at his dad's this weekend.  I don't like being cold or wet.  I don't like scary, bumpy rides.  I don't like bugs and I don't like hard work.  But when you gotta do it, you gotta do it.  I put my game face on and pretty soon I was screaming and grabbing onto Marie as if my life depended on it.

The ride wasn't life threatening.
Yet.
There is an old Ford on the property we use for things like snow plowing and hauling firewood from the woods to our back door.  The ride is amazing.  And by that I mean colorful words get squealed while I grab onto whatever is around me and try to keep my butt in my seat and my head from the roof.  It's quite the adventure.

"Marie are you scared?"  I asked.

"No," as she looked away with a huge grin.  She was embarrassed.  Probably because we don't sit and cuddle that often and on that ride we did more than sit and cuddle.  I latched on and squeezed!  Sometimes it's that forced intimacy that can bring on real intimacy.

I always find that the woods are a refreshing place to be.  Even if it's cold and wet.  Mr. Sexy loves the adventure of where we live so he immediately wanted to hike up the hill.  It was nice...

 
This was our view once we got to the top.  Our house is somewhere down there with sleeping Denai in her crib.  Marie was climbing up too and Winnie was running around like a kid who's high from too much candy and mountain dew.  No joke.  That dog is crazy out in the woods.

Oh look there she is! 

This was her only smile during our hiking/wood
scavenging that day.


 Marie likes the woods and cold and hiking and adventure less than I do.  A lot less.  Our first snow this season caught us off guard and we had to hike up our mile long driveway to get home.  Five feet from the car Marie wanted to turn around and go back.  Silly girl.  Hard work is not her strong suit but she will learn.

The scary descent.
We scavenged wood Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday included the hike and Sunday was a quick trip because we were all so tired.  Saturday was a hard day for Marie.  By the time the above picture was taken Mr. Sexy and I were halfway down the hill and she was halfway up the hill at which point she immediately stopped and began the slow journey down.  Hiking up was breath taking.  I really need to work out.  Going down was plain scary.  Mr. Sexy enjoyed racing down the hill - it was pretty steep - and allowed the trees to stop his momentum.  But sometimes he hit a small rotting tree.  That was interesting.  I preferred a more safe approach to the descent.  Marie quickly followed my actions.  It was awesome.  

Hauling wood was next.  Marie was not happy about this.  Not one bit.  At one point I walked over and saw that what I thought was just a runny nose were actually tears.

"Are you crying?"

"Yeah."

"What's wrong?"

"I'm cold."

"Well zip up your coat you goof and wear your hood!"

She smiled and did just that.  Don't worry, I made sure to give her encouragement and comment on her brute strength.  Although Mr. Sexy laughed at me because he thought I sounded more like a drill sergeant telling military dudes they are awesome.

"GREAT JOB MARIE!"

"YOU GO GIRL!"

"YOU ARE SO STRONG!"

(Remember all those lines are said - well, yelling - with the gusto of a drill sergeant.)

Our Sunday haul was loads better for Marie. I would say she was better prepared for what we were doing and we didn't start out with a hike.  She actually did amazing.  We had a pretty good system where Mr. Sexy would throw the good logs in a pile for me to carry to Marie who would then throw (okay so she doesn't really throw) them in the truck bed.  She had a constant flow of snot (we all did) and she even hurt herself a few times.  But she kept going with a smile and together we all made a great team.














My appreciation for Marie comes when I'm not expecting it.  It seems when I'm not trying to force her to fit into the mold of what I think my 12-year old daughter should look like I can see the 12-year old she actually is.  I really don't like that she is still wetting her bed.  I get frustrated daily by how poorly she listens and doesn't follow simple directions.  I'm constantly annoyed by how slow she is at - well everything.  Except for eating.  That she can be very quick at.

So I guess I'm holding onto the random moments of clarity where I think, Wow, look at her mind work while she tries to figure this out.  I knew our move to the woods had the potential to make or break our struggling family.  Some were concerned about me being up here all alone with no one to talk to.  I'm known as a very social person.  Instead, I would venture to say that this move has been the best decision we have made for our family yet.  Out in the woods, looking out our backyard or sitting by the fire is where my soul finds peace and even a little bit of clarity.

The Sexy family's backyard.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Am Not Alone

And neither are you.

A year ago my life was violated in a personal way.  Strangers were telling me there was something seriously wrong with me and that I needed psychiatric help.  Some pleaded that Mr. Sexy and I give Marie away to somebody else.  Others threatened to come to my house.

I did feel like something was wrong with me.  Did I share too much?  Was I wrong in my struggles?  Perhaps I even deserved the poor treatment.

Today I went to visit one of my favorite blogs that I have been missing this past year.  Wifessionals  I was floored to find out that she had been bullied off the internet.  I have not had a chance to catch up on any of her posts from this last year but I can't imagine her posting anything that should result in so much harassment.

Part of blogging, to me, is building a rapport with the readers.  I would say trust may be built as well.  However we are in a broken world where trust gets broken over and over again.

During my own bloggy-bully chaos I lost a friend whom I thought was one of my very closest friends.  She was a good person; someone I felt completely open to talk to about the darkest difficulties I was facing.  She took it all in stride - or so it seemed.  After receiving a nasty message about me during the chaos it didn't take long for her to quit returning my texts to have play dates or go out for coffee.  Soon I realized I hadn't seen her facebook status updates and saw that she had deleted me as her friend.

Around that same time I received a long (I mean looooong) facebook message from someone who referred to themself as a "stranger."  Well, this person wasn't a stranger.  I met her through the friend who had just deleted me off of facebook and this "stranger" and I had conversations through facebook before.  You could see the history with her looooong message.

It's true though, we were basically strangers as we had never had a real conversation before.  Apparently someone told her about me (I have a strong suspicion who) and my blog and my daily struggles with Marie.  "Stranger" felt so passionate on the subject she decided an email with her own sob story was the best way to help me out.  It went something like this:

  I had a child with a disability who had seizures all the time.  My life sucked.  I hated my life.  I hated my child.  So one night I decided to ignore him in his room and he slept in really late the next morning.  When I went to check on him I found him dead because he had a seizure and suffocated in his pillow.  Now I am devastated at the loss and I don't want that to happen to you too. 

Maybe this tactic of random emails from "strangers" works for some people.  But honestly I can't think of a scenario where this works.  If "stranger" had been a blogger and shared her blog post, her story would have had a completely different impact.  I probably would have read this story and appreciated the hardships "stranger" faced.  Instead "stranger" pointedly shared way too many personal details in a personal message to me.  For me.  Because I needed to know all those details.

Real relationship happens when we can meet someone else's needs.  To know those needs we have to know that person.  My needs were for a friend who would take me out for coffee or invite me over so I could have a breather from my motherly duties and vent.  Needs change though.  Mine sure do.  The only way to be aware of those changes is to build a relationship.  That happens with time.

Random way-too-personal emails are not relationships.

Hate mail is not how you help someone.  In fact, hate mail makes a bad situation worse.

There is a time and place for encouragement from strangers: facebook, blogging, a text (which would mean you know each other on some level).

But not an overly personal sob story from one stranger to the other.  I'm sure "stranger" meant well.  We all do.  We all want to help.  So what if the best kind of help is step back, keep your eyes open, and pray.

I wish all the blog haters had prayed for me instead of harassing my family and friends.

Friday, January 3, 2014

What is stronger: Love or Hate

A woman found the blog I was writing last year. She didn't like it. She disliked it so much that she wrote her own post about my blog. Her 3,000 or so followers did not compare to my 46 followers. I read the nasty things this stranger said about me and I'm thankful that I no longer remember the details. She basically said I was an evil person and deserved to die although she used many more colorful words. She also began a sort of witch hunt for me. She gave out as much personal information on me as possible. I quickly became very popular.

This woman who started the chaos did not do her research.  All she saw was something negative and then that's all she could see.  The sidebar on my blog had a list of my post popular posts.  It so happens those posts were mostly about Marie and my struggles with her.  I can see how when you started clicking through those it painted a pretty bad picture.  However there were so many pieces missing!  In fact I had been writing about Marie less and less over time and when I did I often shared fun, positive victories we had.  But sometimes we can only see what we want to see.

All of a sudden blog posts that were a year old were getting nasty comments with links to multiple blogs and websites designed to discuss me and my family. Emails were pouring in to both Mr. Sexy and I.  A few of these nameless bullies asked me to "please consider adoption" for Marie's sake.

The harassment spread to facebook.  Mr. Sexy and I received message after message telling us all kinds of horrible things. Our family members and even some friends were harassed in the same way. They always made sure to include their colorful links.

Many of these messages were threatening to the point where we made a call to the police.  Someone threatened to "rescue" Marie and others threatened to come to my house and - I don't even remember.  I was told that I was being "watched" and that "eyes are always open."  I even gained a new follower who followed my blog secretly (you can do that here I guess) under the name: I'm Watching You.  Needless to say I became a very paranoid woman.

Some of the messages turned kind and I replied.  I then found out that these people were pretending to be nice to get more information out of me and then making fun of me on their sites.  It was pretty crappy but in reality, why wouldn't I have a conversation with someone who is being nice even if it's only a pretense?  I have nothing to hide.  Love, even the pretense of love, can go so much farther than hatred.

I tried to ignore the hatred and continue blogging. But then our local police department and CPS were getting calls about me from strangers across the country.  CPS visited my house with copies of my blog posts that were circulating.  I owned every word I wrote.  They actually told us that the only reason they finally came out to our home was because of the high volume of calls they were getting about me.  Daily.  Isn't that just insane?  

All I could do was hold my head up and be honest at every turn. I have had nothing to hide - which is why I blog. I know for a fact I am not alone in any of my struggles.  Before I walked away from my blog I was receiving emails from parents who were having the same struggles and felt like they finally weren't alone in them.  I also was encouraged daily by my bloggy friends.  The kind and loving words did so much for me.  Love overcomes hate at every turn.  Love that I received from my husband, my friends and my virtual friends were having an impact on my heart and in turn, a positive impact on my relationship with Marie.

I have worked hard to keep this blog separate from my personal life.  My last blog was connected to my personal email, my personal facebook, even instagram.  I never gave out personal information such as my address and phone number but I always used real names.  Obviously, this blog is different and I'm being more careful in that sense.  However I will still use pictures and I will once again pour my heart into the words I write.  Haters may find me again.  And that's okay.  Those who want to hate will always find a way.

What is stronger: Love or hate.  Hate ran me off the internet in fear.  But it was love that sustained my heart.  It's love that helped heal the brokenness.  It's because of love that I am here today.

**If you have concerns about someone relating to any kind of abuse or misconduct please reach out to them personally before taking any other action.  Otherwise your concerns become nothing but hurtful gossip.