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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Happenings

I do love the holiday season, but can relate to those who feel overwhelmed, annoyed or sad by the extra activity, pressures and stresses.  The division of family and children and who gets whom and when do complicate things.  Add in a new partner, extended family and long distance relatives and there is just a lot of to sort out ... but it is so worth it!  If you haven't already, make a plan now to avoid conflict and unmet expectations.  Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Plan a budget and stick to it - if you haven't already prepared, then work to cut costs in other categories.  Decide who will be getting gifts this year and be thoughtful not extravagant.
  • Make the most of your time with your children - prioritize the memories you want to make.  There aren't enough evenings, weekends and days off to do it all.
  • Communicate with family - are you willing to travel or do you need them to come to you this year?  What days work for everyone to be together?
  • Remember to honor the structure of your parenting plan - none of us like to be separated from our children during meaningful times, but there is more to this season that one day.  Support your children by encouraging them to be generous to the other parent, accepting of those bonds and celebrate upon their return.
This is the year where I will not wake up with my children on Christmas morning.  If you find yourself in this position, I cannot stress enough the importance of a plan!  Two years ago I enjoyed a special lunch with my parents and even got to see Santa.  In truth, it was a terribly hard day, but could have been worse had I been alone and sitting home waiting for the children to return.  Now I have Mr. Wonderful and we will be together.  Nothing can replace the squeals of Christmas morning stocking discoveries, but I'll make the best of this very special day. 

We may not have a chimney or mantle anymore, but I still have a plan for those stockings!  Are your holiday plans taking shape?  What will be the most challenging part of this season for you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moody Monday

My fun crew before the meal!
We had a fantastic Thanksgiving and it felt like such a festive holiday!  I completely enjoyed the time away from work and school schedules.  I got a bit more settled in our home and even put up some Christmas decor.  This is such a fun season.

But I'm so very annoyed with myself.  I consented to letting the children spend some extra time with their Dad.  This resulted in changed plans at the last minute and misinformation being given to them.  He lied.  He gave them poor life skills.  Why do I keep agreeing in order to avoid conflict?  Why haven't I learned this in the twenty years I've known him - he is not working for their benefit, but to make himself feel better.  I am sick.

I spent much of yesterday undoing poor messages and praying that the negative influence will be lessened.  Today, I made an appointment with the lawyer.  We have moved beyond annoyance and games and have entered the realm where there is real risk.  I need my anger to move me to action.  I cannot be passive when it comes to the lives of my children.

Of course that makes my mood rather somber and glum this morning.  I hate that this is part of my life and that it will be this way for the forseeable future.  If I let it, I could get discouraged.  But I know it is only part of my life.  It is challenging but there is so much more that is good and wonderful and joyful and pleasant.  I will use this to continue learning to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.  And learning to not let things continue into a negative pattern, but take action when and where I can.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Man With A Grocery List

I'm weird, I usually type my lists at work.
After the big move last week, I knew I would be too wiped out for Thanksgiving travel.  Mr. Wonderful made the decision to remain here with us and we're going to celebrate our gratefulness together with our children. 

We've worked up a menu that includes favorites from both our families and worked out a plan to get it all done at close to the same time.  It's turning into quite the togetherness project and I thought it was just so dear when Mr. Wonderful asked me to give him a list for the grocery store.

I felt such a sense of teamwork and comradarie.  Through the move, I let myself really depend on Mr. Wonderful - to need him.  For all of my separation, single motherhood and much of my marriage I survived by doing as much as I could by myself.  Needing made me feel weak and while I did ask for help, it was only when I had no other option and to those that I knew would not refuse.

I am terrified of being vulnerable.  And yet I love the reward of opening myself to needing help, to doing life with someone that I love.  I'm just getting used to feeling safe in relationship and it is such a sweet treasure.  It was a simple thing, he asked for a grocery list and then got the groceries.  But it has deeper meaning for me.  Togetherness.  I couldn't ask for more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We Did It!

The movers arrived at the bright light of ... 9:45 am. 
You can bet I was getting frustrated with the late start.
But, they worked hard and I even got to put my feet up for a few minutes and give directions.

I was surprised that we completely filled the truck and had to come back for a few things on my own in the van ... mosty plants that I didn't want to leave behind.

Walking through the empty house helped me realize that it was no longer home. 
But I did want to remember how we marked the height of the children each year.

It is a super-strange experience for me to watch all my earthly possessions going to down the road.

Caleb's photo-journalism skills.

Our new location - I'm grateful for a comfortable place to land.  It's a disaster inside, but it will come together in good time.  Mr. Wonderful and his girls brought us dinner and he saved the day by helping me get the hot water heater turned on, stopped the overflowing washing machine and hooked up the ice maker.  You may remember my fondness obsession with ice makers...little luxuries, y'all - don't take them for granted!
More to come!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Moody Monday

The weekend was crazy, busy, fun and successful!  We are packed and ready to go to our new home and I'm ready to get the action started. 

Over the weekend, I brought some kitchen things, curtains, small elements to the new house.  I also opened a big box of toys in the empty living room and just let the children play while I lined cabinet shelves and did some organizing.  It was so fun to hear the giggles and squeals and to make a little memory at the new place.  I keep reminding them that home is where your family is and not the location.  I think everyone is excited for our next adventure.  It did my heart well to hear their joy.

We had fun with Mr. Wonderful's family, too.  All nine of us had homemade pizzas, played games, went to church and out to lunch afterward.  I enjoyed getting to spend more time with his parents and they got to see how the families work together.  We didn't avoid all chaos, but such is real life.

The truck arrives in the morning and I actually feel ready!  I'm not feeling too moody today, just a bit sentimental.  I spent time with two of my best neighbors who helped me pack this weekend and we emphasized how much we will do our best to stay close.  It won't work, but at least we will try. 

photo credit

Friday, November 9, 2012

Decisions of Divorce: The Marital Home Final Update

Losing my home was one of the first things I thought of the first time my former spouse and I separated.  Almost a year ago, I listed our house as I was required in our agreement.  We had lots of showings but no one was seriously interested and so I let the contract expire with our realtor and enjoyed the summer with children home and less need to keep things so neat. 

When school started back up, I put a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard and got absolutely no calls (except from one very aggressive realtor who wanted to list our home!).  Then one week I had two showings, and comebacks and TWO OFFERS!  Whoa!  We accepted an offer and close on our house next week.  I am finally walking away the home that I clung to for so long. 

The children will get to continue the year at their existing school and I'll be closer to work and Mr. Wonderful.  Knowing that my future is not my past has made this process much easier, but I'm just weary of the physical work.  This weekend will be a frenzy of last minute packing, child wrangling and a meet and greet with the parents of Mr. Wonderful.   It's going to be a bit chaotic, but that seems to be my life right now.

I'm actually excited for the weekend - to spend time with Mr. Wonderful (we don't get to see each other much during the week) and our families.  I've recruited some help to speed up the packing process and hopefully be ready for the big move next week.  I can't wait for my Moody Monday post ... I'm sure I'll have all kinds of annoyances to vent!

Does anyone else have any exciting weekend plans?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Functions & Togetherness

Right in the middle of the moving buzz, we have some family events happening.  My original plan was to travel to the Midwest for Thanksgiving to be with our extended family.  It is always so fun when all the cousins get to be together!  Now we are moving within a week of that day...I just don't know if I can do both! 
The problem is that if I don't go for a visit then, I don't know when I'll be able to make the trip.
Also, the parents of Mr. Wonderful are coming to visit this weekend.  One of the clear purposes is for them to spend a bit of time with my children, and see how the families operate together.  I am just now getting comfortable with all seven of us together and not feeling like it is all chaotic.  Okay, just to be honest, sometimes it is chaotic and I'm just now learning to be alright with that.   I'm not sure if these newcomers will be alright with the beautiful mess that sometimes is our blending families. 

What I'm hearing myself say is that it makes me feel anxious and a bit insecure.  I need to get over that.  When I talk about it with Mr. Wonderful himself, he understands, but dogmatically says it won't matter, this is is how things are and will be.  He says the right things in the perfect way and brings logic to my emotion.  He gives me confidence and I'm grateful for that. 

He has asked for us to spend Thanksgiving together.  We both have our children for this holiday and it would be another step in the blending direction.  I think I'll try to schedule another date for us to visit the Midwest.  This is the direction that I want, to be with him, to be with our children ... together.

Of course, I think that means I have to cook a turkey.  And probably pie.  I'll update soon with a final decison.  Sheesh!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving On

It's about that time! 

I've signed a lease.  I've paid a deposit.  I've walked in our new home deciding where to place furniture, I've started selling what needs to be downsized.  We are leaving the only home the chidren have ever known. 

But they love the new place!  The boys are excited to be sharing a room, the kitchen is larger and they are convinced that carpet (old, used and blue) is better than hard wood flooring.  I've really had to keep my attitude in check to convey to my children that this is a great new adventure that we are choosing, not something sad happening to us. 

I'm grieving a bit as I pack the belongings and remember the hopes when we moved into this home.  Also, I shake my head and can't wait to walk away from the last shared reminder of those dashed dreams.  Except for the children.  They will always connect me with my ex. 

I'm very excited about the future, very much overwhelmed with the packing and decisions, and occassionaly sad or wistful about leaving what we've known and loved so well.  I will miss the familiarity of our neighbors and the convenience of our location.  But this move is a very intentional releasing of the past and looking to the future!