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Monday, September 30, 2013

Moody Monday - Change


We've had more change in our life as Mr. Wonderful has accepted a position with a new company.  I feel this is where he will spend many years contributing and growing.  So we are in transition from one job to another, from company car to buying our own (Ford Escape), from the predictable to the unknown.  It's the way of life, I think.

October brings sweet memories, glorious weather, fun activities and looking forward to the holiday glow.  Bringing out a few of my season items makes this home feel more and more familiar and I'm steadily gaining ground in getting settled.

We are busy and life is full but sweet.  I hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Working out the Schedule

I  tend to be a planner and so I've been thinking about our holiday schedule for more than a month now.  I knew it would be challenging with five children from two families of origin, four sets of grandparents and all the extended family expectations at Christmastime.  Add in extra school programs, teen trips and time to celebrate with our new, core blended family and it is proving almost impossible!  But I'm muddling through, communicating with the ex, my new in-laws, my parents and putting things on the calendar ... because if I don't plan ahead, our schedule is going to be dictated by others.  I don't want to have to get squeezed into everyone else's plans, I want to plan for a great holiday.

Have you started planning holiday gatherings?  Do you travel?  Invite others?  Or just let things happen?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blending Tastes

Growing into a family of seven has required me to take meal planning much more seriously.  Let's face it, scrounging the pantry in order to feed three little ones can work in a pinch...but it's doubtful I'll find anything to serve my three littles, two teens and a hungry man.  So I have been brushing up on eating well and pulling out old recipes along with learning some new ones.  Each person that I serve nightly is picky in their own way so I try to provide some flexibility within our meal plans.  It's challenging! 

I'm also trying to learn some of Mr. Wonderful's favorite recipes from his past.  Yes, sometimes its annoying to know I'm learning something the First Mrs. Robinson prepared, but I usually try to update the details and make it my own.  My man loves his broccoli and this dish was one of his favorites growing up:

Eileens Broccoli Casserole
- Cooked Broccoli
- Mayo
- Cream of Mushroom Soup (I have also used Campbell's Cream of Chicken)
- 2 cups Shredded Cheddar
- Cubed Breadcrumbs with butter
- small onion, minced

Combine all ingredients except breadcrumbs and place into greased baking dish.  Top the casserole with cubed breadcrumbs that have been tossed in butter.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until firm.

You can barely see the casserole in the middle of his plate last Thanksgiving.

Meal prep, like everything else in a remarriage is an ironic mix of old and new, past, present and future.  There is nothing simple about it, but there are so many rewards!  Where do you get ideas for meals? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Moody Monday - It's Fall

Did you notice that we have officially entered the fall season?  Our weather is cooperating and I navigated the basement jumble to locate a box with sweatshirts for the children.  One of my sweatshirts was spotted on my bonus daughter, and I'm kind of wondering if I'll get it back?  No matter.

We have had adventures.  Mr. Wonderful brought home a box turtle, which he discovered in the road not far from home.  She now has a habitat and enjoys snacking on strawberries, much to the delight of the children.  Did you know Mr. Wonderful is a Scientist?  His degree is in biology and he taught for several years before taking a chemistry job.  As such, he is in charge of all critters.

My older bonus girl is very involved in school choir and takes private voice lessons.  My sweet seven year old called her time at church kids choir her "voice lessons" this weekend.  I thought it was cute how she wanted to emulate her sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed a rainy Saturday until late afternoon until I ventured out to acquire groceries and hunt for an area rug - no luck.  We enjoyed being together as a family and I made entirely too much chili and gumbo!  I brought the leftovers to work for the guys to enjoy. 

Cozy and comfortable was the perfect pace for us this weekend.  How would you describe yours?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Are You Available?

This week we got to hang out with one of my fabulous single mom friends and her children...who happen to be in our new school.  It was win-win for all of us.  Though her divorce has been final for more than a year, they remain at high levels of conflict and it is draining to her emotions and bank account.  I'm saddened by how the children are the recipients of chaotic schedules, back and forth messages and have no voice in the matter.  It's so easy to let that happen, especially in high conflict situations.

But what also made me sad, is that my friend is so consumed with the daily interactions of her ex and the tit for tat, record-keeping, control issues that she has been unable to move past the relationship.  Quite honestly, she isn't available for something new in her life because she's so consumed with trying to bring closure to her past. 

At some point, even when it feels like 'losing,' you must begin to let go of the things that bind you to your past, failed relationship.  Let go of being right and of being treated equally and fairly.  If it was possible for your former spouse to give you that respect, you would have stayed married.  So when you must, suck it up and choose to just let go. 

When you remain bound by the past, there isn't room for future expansion.  You remain in a stalled or paralyzed state.  Your friendships will wither, your spirituality grow stale, your plans and dreams fading.  You will not be available for the next thing God has for your life.  It takes time and effort to grieve a marriage that dissolves, it is healthy and good to allow yourself that space.  But to remain there at the gritty, all-consuming point is to cripple to the next healthy steps.

What about you, do you feel caught up in tensions or high conflict with your former spouse?  Have things smoothed out into a new normal of cooperative parenting?  Regardless of your marital status, do you have unresolved issues that bind you emotionally?  What can you do to free that part of yourself in order to be available for the next steps of your life? 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Moody Monday!

Another Monday has arrived and I've enjoyed a fabulous weekend.  I recognized that Saturday has become my favorite day of the week, when it used to be Sunday and found that interesting. 

Saturdays are carved out to be with Mr. Wonderful and we enjoy our little routines and rituals. 

This weekend I skipped grocery shopping and will have to play catch up today.

This weekend I had an important conversation with my firstborn.  We are working on some character issues.

We reveled in lower-than-usual temps in the 50's and busted out sweatshirts and jeans.

I realized I must have a box of cool-weather clothing hiding in the basement still...I haven't located it yet.

The state of our basement is downright scary, but full of possibility.

Sundays are challenging with a busy schedule, coming and going between homes, etc.  We are often reminded of our short comings and challenged by our pastor so there is a lot of heart-searching that can get uncomfortable. 

Mr. Wonderful does not travel overnight this week - Yay!

I am unbelievably in love with my own husband and blessed beyond measure at that fact. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Entering the World of Steps

"I like our new home and it's going good," said my sweet Daughter this week.  She is acknowledging the changes and the sense of home that has developed in the last month or so.  It's very rewarding to see all five of our children relax into a sense of security and normalcy and we get accustomed to our new family life.

Mr. Wonderful is a fabulous Stepdad and he does more than I imagined when looking ahead to being part of his family.  I am so thankful for his partnership in parenting my children.  I anticipated some challenging moments as we merged households and he acclimated to the noisy, rambunctious and repetitive ways of living with little children again.  We've had plenty of moments, to be sure, but Mr. Wonderful has taken it all in stride and stepped up to be involved.  He has gone above and beyond to make sure we are all welcome in our home. 
  • Shared on our first night together that this is their home, they are welcome and wanted here.
  • Joins the routines at bedtime, mealtime and morning.  He is the preferred bedtime story reader and has established little routines of tucking each child in each evening, spending just a few minutes with each praying and comforting them into bed.
  • Welcomes them into our space, including our 'deluxe' master shower, which is a treat to the children.
  • Assists in homework assignments.
  • Encourages me when I become weary in discipline.
  • Offers experienced suggestions and creative ways to establish better behavior.
I haven't asked him to step in, and he often asks if he is overstepping any boundaries.  But I welcome his input and am so grateful for the partnership in parenting.  Even having a sounding board, someone to witness the struggles, to notice the successes is welcome. 

To witness the bond grow between this man I love and the children for whom I am responsible is amazing.  Mr. Wonderful is not forceful, he recognizes that they have a Daddy and doesn't try to fill that role or replace their dad.  But he remains involved, available and consistent.  I know his presence in their lives will be influential and that they will look back on their childhood and be thankful he is part of that memory.  This man and this journey is a growing journey in many ways.  Not everything is easy, yet I have found great treasure after peeling away so many layers of the life I thought I wanted before. 

Have you experienced any unexpected blessings after a season of loss or disappointment?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moody Monday

I'm here and it's hot out.  I'm hoping for cooler "fall" weather soon.  I was hoping to put out some fall decorations this weekend, but it didn't happen.  Soon.  I did get some work done in our "garden."  It's not really a garden at all, but someday it will become one.  I have irises, black-eyed susans, tulips and zinnias that have been moved from our Little House to the rental and now this permanent home.  It sounds good to feel permanent.  I bought a couple of mums for outside and put out a table arrangement.  Fall is my favorite time of year.

Mr. Wonderful was gone last week and I hated being apart.  It didn't feel quite right being home without him since all my history there includes him.  But I suppose it is good to get comfortable in my ownership of this place.  I had a good time with his girls who joined me for dinner before retreating to their rooms for homework and...whatever else teenage girls do.  I'm assured this is quite normal for their age, although sometimes I'm troubled by the isolation. 

While often exhausting, my children are doing well with our recent changes.  They smile and giggle often.  They are spreading out to explore our home and property.  School is going relatively well.  I sense they are gaining some security and relaxing into our new style of family.  They adore Mr. Wonderful.  I'm going to write about that relationship next. 

This week will be busy, as is our normal.  I'm venturing to a new Boy Scout troop and a new dinner menu.  We need to focus on school work and continue nesting.  I'm hoping to begin a new book and be more proactive in time with the Lord. 
Life has a way of pushing that to the back and I always can tell when my center is off mark.

These are just some photos of my children that I took while we were out and about last week.  And one of Mr. Wonderful and his youngest daughter on a quick road trip.  They make me smile.  I like to send quick pictures to my family when we're not together and it's so fun to receive them!  Do you use your phone for photos?

I like to receive a personal image via text more than to see a posting to FB because it feel more intimate.  All of my family of origin live far away and pictures indeed help me stay in touch.  I'm grateful for technology!

Is your week a normal one?  How are you starting out this Monday?

Friday, September 6, 2013

On Being the Second Mrs. Robinson

I have many thoughts about becoming a second-time-wife, so this won't be all-encompassing.  I want to share what I'm processing because I'm sure others have walked a similar path or will in the future.  It's different becoming a wife for the second time.

Another woman once lived in the place I now call home and her children still reside in this space with its memories.  There was once a woman who hung her clothes in the place where mine now hang and I don't know if she was neater or more organized than me?  Sometimes I am jealous of the memories and history that my husband has of a previous life.  She got to choose the cabinets, the paint colors and tile where I live.  They are not the ones I would have chosen. 

Learning to live together has gone smoothly, with no big surprises.  We have both lived with a spouse before.  There is an ease to our patterns that is pleasant and welcome.  Our rhythms are more synchronized that what I experienced before and it has been enjoyable to have a companion in the morning and evening routines. 

My husband does dishes.  Often.  He makes me coffee in the mornings.  I love his little gestures of care.  I have never felt so genuinely cared for.  He considers me in his decisions, he is proactive about keeping our home in good condition, he is diligent at work and church.  I have not experienced this before and I wonder if the first Mrs. Robinson recognized these wonderful gifts?

Here's something that has surprised me, when I feel envious of Mr. Wonderful's past, I remind myself that his past is part of what makes him so wonderful!  He has learned many of the relationship skills that make it such a joy to live with him.  He has been faithful for many years in good and difficult circumstances.  He has a proven track record of family life.  Sometimes this makes me sad or jealous, but I'm learning to let that make me feel grateful!  I'm reaping the rewards and loving it!

Have dealt with 'ghosts' from a previous relationship?  Are you surprised when things pop up to remind you that you're not the first woman your man has loved?  Any other sage words today?