I have been having more headaches lately. I'm not sure what the problem is . I used to get them so often and I would know exactly what kind of headache it was. Now - I don't know if it is a tension headache, sinuses, allergies, migraine. Today, I'm pretty sure it was a migraine since light was bothering me and I was really nauseous .
I have several factors that I know are part of the problem.
1) I have 2 exchange students. One is truly awful. He refuses to ask any questions about anything. He wears his shoes all over the house. He takes at least 2 showers per day. Neither person washes their clothes. I was washing them when they would stick them in the laundry room, but now they just haven't washed anything in weeks. They refuse to make food 90% of the time. They have never once thanked me for dinner. One will clean his dishes if he cooks and his dishes only. Until James yelled at him - he wouldn't even use soap - just rinsed them off. Since I make the food - what you eat off is not the only dish. My own kids suck at this - but they have been at least unloading and loading the dishwasher when I ask.
2) This other house. It's been a killer - used all of my savings. The city has stopped us from doing the work necessary in most cases. We finally got a contractor and he was supposed to be out in February. Then - it was March. He finally was going to come at the end of March and got pulled over on the way over. He let us know he now isn't coming. So now - we are stuck doing those jobs. With these latest guidelines we've had to stop working. We don't stay there and we don't see anyone, and it is in our same county. We haven't even gone to Kalamazoo or Portage through all of this. The housing situation looks bleak and I'm so worried. I was already going to barely break even - if even that. Now I might have to sell it for way less and we aren't even completely done buying things (though we only have to buy stuff for the basement ceiling, some more paint and probably some varnish).
3) James' girls. I'm so beyond helpless in this situation. I don't know how you can turn your back on your father. He just doesn't know what to do and I don't know how to help. He's tried to do counseling. The last session he had to cancel on because he was sick and that was the start of the shut down. Now - she won't even go at all if he wants to come. I was so worried about this and am convinced he'll hate me down the road. I can only think that maybe I should have never spoken up - I should have just let his ex run our lives. I couldn't live like that though. My kids were suffering and so was I. It was not ok.
I know I am supposed to let go and let God. It's just so much and it is really weighing on me.
No news is good news, right? I don't write much anymore because I don't like to always be negative. I realized I haven't written since July and honestly I don't feel like much has changed since then in some ways. In many ways it has gotten much worse. I promise, I'll end with somewhat good news :)
We fought for James to see his girls. It went in our favor. However, this is how it is currently working: James stays at the house we are working on while the rest of us stay home. I can't even get in to it all - but even my presence (because I need to work on the house as well) is too much. I really don't know what I ever did. I also really, really, really hate my husband sleeping elsewhere. I just don't sleep well when he isn't home.
This house is sucking the life out of us. Between Sturgis being absolutely ridiculous and stalling much of our efforts, and all projects seeming to take longer than planned - I feel like we'll have this house forever. I already feel that the housing market is slowing and I'm so worried it won't sell quickly. Had I listed it in January I think it would have sold . We still have a room to construct (waiting on contractor's schedule), HVAC to get inspected and more runs put in, as well as sanding all the floors and staining and varnishing. We are very close to getting the flooring down in the basement and finishing that up. I have 2 more rooms to paint and then trim in all rooms. Then we have to side the house - which has been our delay. The city won't let us do it - so we had to get a contractor to pull the permit. So dumb....many cities don't require a permit for siding. Also - when I first bought the house they said we had to paint or side. We decided paint would just look like crap.
Keagan is really struggling with his teacher. He is doing the worst he ever has in school. When I work with him he gets things and I know he knows what is going on. His teacher does not like him though. Almost daily I get some message about something being distracting (lately a pencil). I fidget like crazy so I'm guessing this is part of it. I just keep telling Keagan to press on. It isn't helping him prepare for MS much, but his worry lately is getting something put in his permanent record. He really does try to be good. He isn't the only kid struggling. Several other 5th grade parents went to the superintendent about very similar issues. I hate to see him so beaten down :( He's doing decent in basketball though and we are looking forward to baseball starting in the Spring :) Time to get warmed up so that the rest of us do well in softball too!
Malea is doing great! She's thriving in her college classes. She did get a little disappointed when she found out she'll have 2 different spring breaks and will have to go to college during school spring break. She's very adamant about possibly going to Michigan Tech. I'm so not loving the idea of her going so far away. I was hoping she'd come home some weekends. We do love the UP though and it's a great school for what she wants to do (Biochemistry). This year has had its ups and downs with her - but far more ups! It makes me very proud and happy. She still worries that with some of her problems her GPA won't get in her in to a competitive school, but we can only try.
It's so discouraging when you pour your heart, time, money, love, and energy in to someone and they just spit at you.
We went through so much when Kathryn decided she wanted to live with us. James was not completely on board with it, but after almost 2 months of thinking, he went ahead with it. She had some issues here and we took care of it. We got her the help she so badly needed.
Now - she has decided not to live here anymore. I feel like a failure. I caused James to lose both of his children. I know it isn't all my fault. I can't help but feel like I'm the cause.
I can see that things will be much more peaceful and far less stressful. Due to her behavior I can't even be in my house because I'm so hurt and angry right now.
I thought I could be a good influence and a positive role model. I have so much to offer. It's very degrading and trying for me when one person does not feel that anything I do is positive. To hear such evil stuff said about me is just horrible. It isn't even just that - but hearing far worse things about James. He just can't keep up this fight. Constant yelling by both daughters and their mother is just very difficult to live with. I hate the yelling in my house. My kids feel very uncomfortable as well.
I wish I had something wise to say or to figure out what to do. We aren't doing what I feel is best in the long run. I'm just so sick and stressed out.
I think a lot of Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. I just don't know how that works when parents tell kids different things in a divorced situation.
I had a chat with my kids tonight about all that is going on. They are hurt too by this, but have also been hurt with recent behaviors. It's hard to have kids that you feel you are doing all wrong with but also have these 2 other beautiful souls that love me so much and believe I am really the best person they could ever have as a Mother.
Going to court and trying to make things easier did not help. It didn't really even help a little bit. It actually made things worse in many ways. James' youngest has not been to visit in over a month. It doesn't appear that she'll come anytime soon. We have been constantly told how horrible we were for keeping the oldest for Christmas even though it was our holiday. She had them last year.
We dropped the oldest off today for her 2nd half of the break with her Mom. There are 3 days between the end of the break and her Mom's weekend so she asked if she could have her for the extra 3 days. We agreed that it was ok and we would meet her on Sunday. Of course she then says - well you drive all the way here on Sundays. Well we gave her 3 days - and were avoiding 2 other halfway meets so that is only fair. Nope - she said that was not ok. So now we are the bad guys because if she won't meet halfway and she's making us come all the way there on Sunday no matter what - we aren't giving those 3 days. This is so ridiculous honestly. The same thing happened over Thanksgiving. We dropped them off but she wouldn't meet us halfway - so we had to drive all the way both ways. We already do 75% of the driving. It is true that we are still going to be doing more driving than we would have. However - I'm so tired of us always giving in. We already gave her 3 extra days and actually an extra hour today that she guilted us into.
I'm so tired of every one of these conversations happening with the girls in her car. She tells us they are both crying and that we are causing all of these problems. We aren't. We don't tell them anything. We actually did talk to one of them to tell her we were sorry that we weren't budging about the meeting halfway and she might not get the extra time.
She's also angry that we won't allow the youngest to take her Christmas presents home. Last year we allowed that and we didn't get any of them back over here. I bought them a lot of warm clothes and none of them came here and we had to buy all new warm clothes shortly thereafter because she would no longer send clothes. We had already provided enough and just needed pants - but no - we had to double our efforts.
I'm just tired. I know I'm not supposed to take all of this so personally. I'm just James' wife. I'll never get a Christmas gift from them or a birthday gift. I'm not about gifts - I just wish I was recognized. I planned this amazing vacation this past weekend - and no thanks and one didn't even come :( I just don't know :(
I read something by One Fit Widow today that resonated with me and I wanted to write about it. Our stories are so eerily similar. Other than her being a huge fitness fanatic and succeeding - we have similar histories. She had an amazing relationship with her first husband. He died while their children were much smaller than mine. She got remarried in the last couple years and also married a divorced dad with 2 kids. So in total they had 4 - 2 girls and 2 boys. We of course have 3 girls and 1 boy.
You can read her post if you like - but this page doesn't like to link in a nice way.
My kids are very protective of me. They have seen some horrible treatment of me. They probably know more than they should. I'm pretty open with them. I think they should be aware but I do try to keep them out of things more now. It bothers James when they get involved, so I really try to keep it to myself. It is really hard since I don't have friends and Malea was my main person I talked to about anything.
One of my bonus daughters likes me. I still struggle with how to parent either of them. I go to James about everything that I struggle with. Sometimes he agrees - but doesn't know how to fix it. Sometimes he takes my suggestions and tries to address it. The other one fiercely hates me. She faults me for her parents not being together even though I never knew James when he was married.
James struggles with having a boy. Keagan is super high energy. He is not the best at listening. Lately especially he is angry about everything. We also have all of Malea's issues. They are better, but it is still quite hard on me. She doesn't like to see either of us hurt and really takes on way too much of what other people are going through.
Now that we have custody of one girl most of the time and the other one just every other weekend - we have all of these differences. We live in our car because we are responsible for 75% of the transportation and we feel like we live in our car. It's just so much time. Holidays are hard because we can't plan. Even though we have it in writing - it is still complicated.
I always try to do what is best for the girls - but I also have my kids to put in the mix as well as my sanity. This year I asked that we split Christmas break in half. That has become a nightmare. I want to stay home on Christmas and not have to meet somewhere. It is written that way - but we are getting backlash so I haven't even made plans because of it. At this point the girls will basically miss out on everything with my family. That is just the way it will have to work though.
I just have never seen so much hatred and manipulation. It hurts me so much to watch it and be a part of it. I won't be manipulated - but sometimes it happens before I find out about it and I can't go back and fix it.
It's just so hard. One day - one of the girls told my kids how much it sucks to have divorced parents. Keagan chimed back in well - it really sucks to have a dead one. I would much rather Dave and I be divorced that him be dead - I really would. We were both amazing parents and I think we would have always done what was best for them. It hurts to watch 2 parents that are both alive not be able to work things out. Don't they know how lucky they are? They are both still here. Their kids have both of their parents. James tries very hard - he really gives in a lot....and that hurts too because he always gets the raw end of the deal. Both girls have me too - and how lucky they should be - but nobody looks at it that way. I've tried to give so many new experiences but I feel like I'm not appreciated at all. I know that is normal for kids - but sometimes I really just want to only do stuff when my kids are home.
I do really hope that someday love will shine through and they will see we tried to do the best we could.
I love The Message on XM. I listen to it whenever I'm in my Sequoia. I heard this song Blessings by Laura Story. It's a very beautiful song. However I really struggle with it. In high school I was the ultimate Christian teenager I guess I would say - or a true Jesus Freak. I really was all about going to church as much as possible. I read my Bible a lot. I was a good girl. I didn't work on Sundays so that I could go to church and I went to youth group pretty much every time they had it. I even had a debate at lunch with 2 atheists in my school. We were never able to convince them of anything - but they pretty much strengthened our faith - so I still call it a win. Nothing really bad had happened to me in my life up to that point. I didn't have any deaths in my family - I had both sets of grandparents. My parents were together and we had everything we needed. The worst thing that had happened to me at that point was switching churches. I hated leaving the church I grew up in - I knew everyone there. I loved the church I went to as a teen though too. I just missed a lot of the families we had always been with. Some went to our new church as well - so that helped.
Then.....1998 hit. I was supposed to get married that year. My parents sold our house and moved to a podunk town called Sturgis. Everything changed that year. I obviously didn't get married. I ended up having to move with my parents to Sturgis - living with my sister didn't work out well and I just felt helpless and worthless living in my hometown without the plans I originally had. One of my best friend broke his neck. It was really just a rough year for me. I didn't like the church my parents went to. I really struggled finding a job and obviously had zero friends. I didn't leave my faith but man I really questioned things. I think this was when everything just changed. I just lost hope in like everything. I never thought things would be ok. I wouldn't have been a Jesus Freak like I had been if people would have asked me. I was more of a closet Christian I think. I'm glad I never went down a bad road - I am very thankful for that. I did meet Dave this year - but we didn't start dating until 1999 - so I guess it ended somewhat ok. I did end the year as the director of this amazing Christmas program called "Santa Bowed at Christmas". It was one of the things I was very proud of - and I really missed being a part of something like that. I haven't since and wish I could do something great like that again.
I started dating Dave in 99 like I said and basically my faith I had then pretty much stayed that way for years. Dave grew up Jehovah's Witness and while he would go to church with me - he definitely was hesitant about a lot of things. The way he grew up was not something he wanted for his kids in any way. We went to one church for quite a few years but stopped when Keagan was born due to his allergies and Dave's work schedule. We made sure Malea always went to AWANA - that was huge for me. I really was trying to find a great youth group for her.
Then - Dave died. I will be honest and say that I'm pretty sure I was like faithless and hopeless for a while. I found a new church and started going in July of 2014. Only 3 months after he died I started going there. I've been going there ever since. It has helped a bit. I never doubted the existence of God - I've always seen him in the lives of others. I never really have seen him be there for me. I know that is awful to say - trust me. That is just the way I felt. I've had some very rough years. I really really try. I still try my best to live a good life and focus on what the Bible says. I really try to push these Godly principles down to my kids. I really try to be an example. I want people to see Him in me.
I want to hope that God sent James to me. He really makes me think and he's always telling me that God will take care of us. We just need to trust him. I honestly don't at all. I don't trust that things will be ok - they haven't been ok for a really long time. They have gotten better - but still not ok. I still have such a long way to go. How can I trust that things will be ok when they've been so hard. I've lost so much and we still haven't come through this.
We are struggling with our church now and questioning whether we should leave. I hate looking for a church. I actually have people that know me here. I can't get my kids excited to do anything though. Malea goes to youth group activities - but not youth group. It was such a big part of my life and really shaped me - even though I'm not the same as I was then.
I want to be the example for my kids. I want them to see His light shine. I don't know how though. How can I tell them to trust God when I can't give examples. Maybe people see something that I don't? I'm constantly praying and asking for help. I just don't see it.
Anyway the point of this was the song. I'm just not sure how my life can him being merciful. How can everything that I've gone through be mercy. Am I supposed to be happy that he spared me or that he spared my kids? I almost lost one of them due to this apparent merciful act of killing their Dad.
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
I'm sorry if this is such a disappointment. I'm just struggling and when I struggle I write these dumb posts that make me sound like an awful person.
Last week sometime ( I think Friday night) I had a dream. Dave was in it. I don't remember the first part. I just remember him being away and me being mad at him and then him laying with me. He had his arms around me and we were just lying there on the floor. I was like I'm glad you came back or something. He said - I'm still going away. I got up and started screaming at him and was like - what? He said he was moving to Florida and got a job there. I kept yelling at him. I told him how much him being away has affected our daughter. I was like - Keagan is fine, and I will manage, but Malea is lost. He didn't care :( I was so so mad at him!!!
I really felt like after I woke up that I had been screaming in my sleep. James said that I had not been, but man was I fuming.
Then James told me something - he said I had a dream about Dave and Dan (Dave's brother). He said we were chaperoning a trip for Hannah. That is super strange - but whatever. There weren't a lot details but James said at the end of the dream that Dave told him "Take care of her (meaning me)".
Seriously this is all so Dave. He would have wanted me to be mad at him so that I could keep moving forward or something I guess. Maybe let him go as some say. He couldn't leave it there though. He had to make sure that someone was there to take care of me.
I know that some might think this is completely crazy. However this was the first dream I've had in a long time of him and it also left me so angry. No dreams of him have ever left me angry like that. Then with what James told me though - so Dave. I feel like it proves so much that he loved me so much and really helped bring James in to my life.
It makes me cry just typing this.
I haven't had a best girl friend since I moved to this side of the state in 1998. I had lots of friends before I moved, but friendships don't last much once you move. Many things are better with social media for me - I feel like I have several friends that will comment on my posts and encourage me. I have a couple family members that I talk to about some things - but sometimes you don't want them knowing everything going on with you. I miss having a person that knows everything. I long for that. I've pretty much given up on that happening - but man sometimes I really wish I could just pick up the phone and talk to someone and know that they were there for me and I could just talk away.
I didn't miss a best friend as much when I was with Dave - but I still did. He had some amazing friends and did stuff with them often. I could talk to him about everything though. We agreed on most everything. When we disagreed (which wasn't often) we were able to agree to disagree because it was usually something we both were somewhat passionate about and would never agree on.
I'm not bashing James at all - please don't think that. I can talk to him about almost anything as well - some of our conversations are much deeper than they were with Dave. This is true especially about God and our relationship. Dave had a tough upbringing with religion and didn't really like to talk about it much. James is just different to talk to. He generally is like me and agrees with my fears. Dave was kind of fearless and always told me things would be ok. With James - many of our issues have to do with his ex. I can't tell him what I'm feeling. I do tell him some things - but I don't tell him everything because he doesn't want to pick sides.
We've had a lot go on this last week. I literally have nobody to talk to. I had a step parent group I would vent to - but they're pretty judgemental and I've decided to stop posting there. I vented to someone I grew up with recently and I feel so bad that I did that. She really didn't sign up for that I'm sure.
Maybe God is trying to teach me that venting is bad. I don't know - I'm like bursting:(
I'm really trying - I tell Malea way too much as it is.
I read something the other day that said - even though are going through something hard - this is exactly where God wanted you to be. That was very difficult for me to read. I don't know how he wanted me to go through what I went through for the last 4 years. I would have thought with what I went through that the next season wouldn't be so difficult.
I'm guessing I'm supposed to learn some sort of lesson here. This is where my rule following really gets me. I do all the research and I check all the laws and I know what should be done. I've been a proponent of trying to get everything done the right way. However - I realize I'll never be fully involved. How I feel will never fully matter. Someone else always has their say and what they say seems to always be gospel......even though it is completely wrong.
I've raised my kids the best I could. Have I failed? In so many ways I have failed. However I think they've turned out really well. They care so much about other people. They really don't like when people are sad or upset. If they caused it that is one thing. They are also normal siblings and annoy each other based on just being siblings and 6 years apart.
I don't know how to do this. No research is helping me. I joined a step parent support group and many are in the same situation. There are always contradicting remarks and it is hard to know which ones to listen to. These people are online too so I have no idea how they are in real life and that makes it hard to listen to most of the advice.
I have so much to offer and I know how to help in so many ways. There are som things I'll never be able to help with - but there really are some things that I could help with. I just know I'll never be enough. I know this - yet I keep trying. I keep looking things up and finding out ways to try to help. Then I get super upset because what I say doesn't matter. I need to learn to not care. So many suggest this Nacho Kids way of life. The basic premise is that they aren't your kids - you didn't raise them and you can't fix them. I have a hard time with this. The main reason is that they all live in my house - they all have to grow up together. We still have at least 3 years of all of us together. With having a 9 year old - he's the youngest and he watches everything. I will not let him get away with some of the behaviors that I've seen in many kids these days. Some people feel that I let him get away with a lot - but I truly don't. He's had to endure a lot in his little life. I choose my battles with him. I refuse to be mad at him or yelling at him all the time. I want him to love me and know that I love him and want the best for him.
I don't even know what I want to say - I'm just venting and really struggling. I've limited the audience to this - because there are definitely people I don't want reading this.
I never thought I would find myself in a step parent role. I thought Dave and I would last forever and that if something did happen we'd be old and our kids would all be grown. I had often wondered after I decided to date how I felt about being a step parent. I wasn't sure I wanted to have small children. I definitely wanted them school age - past the point of having to need daycare or something.
When I met James I was like - cool - his girls are old enough and I know how to deal with girls. I have enough of them in my family that I know them much better than boys. Keagan wasn't happy that he was the only boy yet again - in a house of girls. He manages pretty well - but hates when everyone says he's cute. Poor kid ;)
Being a step-parent is much harder than I thought. I'm not married quite yet - but I've spent a lot of time with his girls. My kids respect me, I don't ever wonder if they love me. They don't always listen to me and I'm not the best with discipline when they don't. It is kind of weird because I was always the disciplinarian when Dave was here. He was the fun Dad for the most part. He did back me up if I couldn't get far enough. They always listened to him more than me. I tend to allow everyone to walk all over me. I'm an outsider now though. I try super hard to get them to like me, which means that I don't really have that many rules with them. The main rule I want them to follow hasn't really gone well (wanting them to sleep in a bed and not on the floor or couch). I also don't allow music with cussing to be played - and that is not negotiable. My kids know that and it is just not something I want to listen to. I'm fairly lenient in general, but still feel like I can't get just the basic things followed and don't want to push. After all - I'm not their Mom. It is really tough because we only get them every other weekend and we want them to want to come. We don't want them to just come and have free reign though either.
Much more difficult that step-parenting is co-parenting!!!! I'm one of the easiest people to get along with. I'm super nice too. I honestly can't stand the person I have to deal with. I tried - so hard I have tried. I have finally stepped way back and said - I don't deserve to be treated like that. I unfriended her on FB and do not text her at all. We tried mediation and that was horrible for me. I was super angry for over a month with some of the stuff she said to me. Just yesterday she posted something about how people need to co-parent and work together. We have tried - she's not being civil - it is her way or nothing. It's so hard. I've never felt this way before. She constantly talks bad about me to the girls and others. I love the girls - I only want the best for them. I've given them a lot and have taken them so many places that they've never been.
I won't get in to everything that has gone wrong because I'm not trying to bash her. I respect her as the mother of the girls. I refuse to be belittled though. I haven't done anything wrong. I've only pushed for a Dad to have as much time with his girls as possible according to the rules that were set up in their agreement. I want what is best the girls and I know that she doesn't agree with me. I know that it is always best to have the involvement of 2 parents. My kids don't get to have that - and that is so sad for us. I can only try to get these girls to have more of their amazing Dad in their lives.
I know that this isn't going to get any easier. I just hope that I can make it through the next few years without losing it. I never usually have to hold myself back, but I certainly do now. I will not say anything negative to the girls, but saying something positive gets more difficult every day.
I am a wife and mother of 2. I have many different interests - baking, home renovations, music, education ;)