Our Story, Married, Part 2

>> Friday, February 26, 2010

I was asked so long ago to write our story out and I started it but never got to part 2.  It's hard remembering these times, the stress, the anger, the tears.  The first part of this story was the dating period - dating a man with children when I didn't have my own.  To read the beginning, click here.

So we got married in a small ceremony in front of a judge.  It was all we could afford since my husband was in the middle of a court fight to get regular parenting time with both of his children (not just sporadic parenting time with his daughter when the ex felt like it while she withheld their son from him).  We lived two streets away from the ex for the children, thinking it'd be easier for the kids to go back and forth when they were older, easier to stay involved in different things (school, etc.).  We thought the ex would have to eventually stop being angry and bitter, things would get better between the two homes for the children's sake.  We were wrong.

While living there, I was accused of stealing my stepdaughter's clothes.  That involved several phone calls from the ex and her sister.  (Never mind that what I was accused of stealing was worn to our home by my stepdaughter on the very next parenting time occurrence.) 

When the kids came over for trick-or-treat and the ex had her siblings with her, they walked into my home, walked right by me across my living room without saying "hi" and completely ignored the fact that I was there.  Any time the ex came over, she walked by me like I was invisible.  Great way to teach the children respectful behavior.

When the children would leave and say "bye" to me, she'd walk out slamming the door behind her.  The kids acknowledged me.  How dare they!  Eventually, the ex wasn't allowed into our home.  The behavior in front of the kids and her blatant disrespect in my own home was intolerable.

Living that close allowed the ex to schedule dance on the weekends because she thought it was a great way to interfere in dad's parenting time with the children.  She got away with it for awhile until the courts told her no more.  There were days available during the week that wouldn't involve her coming to our home every other weekend to take my stepdaughter to dance class, and then standing on our front porch crying (and clinging to my stepdaughter like she wasn't going to see her for a month instead of just one more night) when it was time to drop her off for the remainder of hubby's weekend with his children. 

Every weekend the children were with us was an emotional struggle for them.  My stepson would come over and cry because he would say his mom was crying at home without him.  Unfortunately, he was probably right because she didn't hide the fact that she couldn't stand them leaving her to go to dad's house - ever.  This was just unthinkable to me.  You aren't supposed to make your children feel guilty for going to dad's house.  You aren't supposed to make them worry about you.  You aren't supposed to put them in the role of parenting the adult/parent. 

During one trip to her house to pick up his children, my husband said she accused him of sitting outside her home and watching her.  I have to say that I laughed so hard over that. Demented much?

I was accused of taking my husband's manhood (and she was silly enough to put that in writing).  Huh?  His manhood?  She was used to my husband taking whatever spewed out of her.  It goes in one ear and out the other with him (he said he got used to her harping and yelling at him and he learned to tune her out).  I am not my husband.  I don't take crap from anybody, especially somebody who doesn't know me at all and wants to hurl insults and hurt my husband, my family.  I don't think she liked my response back. Imagine that.

I was never referred to by name.  I was "the current wife."  That struck me a bit odd because she was never his wife.  She was referring to me like I was just going to be a short blip in his life and then be gone again (no, that would be THEIR relationship, lol)...that there would be another wife (and maybe she hoped it would be her).  Huh...14 years married and still happy and wrapped up in each other...guess that didn't work out for her.

When my oldest came down with a virus that could be serious to babies, and my stepchildren had been exposed to it unknowingly before we knew she had it, we let the ex know in a letter because her sister (the difficult family member) had a newborn. We wanted to make the ex aware in case my stepkids got it or carried it over there for the new baby's sake. We thought it was the right thing to do. Read on...

One evening we received a phone call from the ex.  She wasn't going to be in home in time to pick up the kids from her parents home for hubby's parenting time so could we go get them from there?  Sure. My husband was in the shower so I took my four-month pregnant self over there to pick up the children, knocked on the door and then waited on the porch (they'd never invite me in:).  The ex's family member came out onto the porch and within ear shot of the children proceeded to tell me how I had no right to my stepkids, that she had more right to them than I did, that if I ever mentioned her child's name again she would sue me (remember the virus notification letter to the ex in the previous paragraph), that they had a lot of money and would do it, yada yada yada, etc.  This woman was complaining because we let her sister know that the stepkids could've contracted a virus that was potentially dangerous to a newborn, HER newborn?  What?  Was being angry with me for existing more important than her child's health?  As a mother, this floored me.  The grandparents did nothing.  I shoo'd my stepchildren away from the door where they were listening to their aunt get in their stepmother's face so they wouldn't be exposed to it.  I ended up in premature labor.  The police said it was a matter for the family court and the family court said it was a matter for the police.  A lot of help eh? 

At this point I would not help out with transporting by myself again.  We also advised the ex that her family member was not allowed onto our property anymore during the pick up/drop offs or else we'd have her arrested for trespassing (the ex would drive over and her sister would be in the car...had to take the ride over for the whole two blocks, lol). It was the only avenue we had since the police and family court were useless.

When I was nine months pregnant, we attended my stepdaughter's dance recital. Being large and waddling, I was walking behind my husband and mother-in-law.  The ex's family member (same one from previous paragraph) walked by me coming from the other direction and I felt a blow to my lower back right when she walked by me.  What kind of person hits a pregnant woman?  When I turned around, she had her hand in the air like she was waving to somebody. If there had been security cameras in that part of the building, I would've pressed assault charges in a second if we could have proved she threw a punch.  Our son was born with disabilities and his doctors can't tell me if the premature labor and the blow to my back (and all the stress during that pregnancy) caused his disabilities.

During this time, my stepson started acting out horribly.  Annoying behavior was to turn into aggressive behavior in the coming years, aimed at his younger siblings (our children).

Those are a few of the things we dealt with during the first few years of our marriage.   There were so many more things but those are some of the highlights (well, low times) of our early years as a married couple.

Some of the highlights -

I recently found a christmas card my stepdaughter made for me SO many years ago.  It is so adorable.  The front says "to mom" and she drew an angel.  The inside says, "Her is a crismis card. i love you. Love (her name)"  Despite everything the children were told on how to behave with us, how they couldn't love me, my stepdaughter and I were so close.  We baked together.  She and I had girls night every Friday night of our weekends where we made crafts (which we usually made for her mom and maternal grandparents - not that it made any difference to them...I was still to be hated.)  She wore my rollers and tried on my heels and boots.  She cuddled and loved and cried when it was time to leave us.  It didn't matter what anybody told her, she loved me no matter what and nobody's claws were going to tear that apart (yet).  It was definitely taking its toll on her though (two therapists during this time - one said mom still had feelings for hubby which we knew and that she was very angry and the other therapist said mom's behavior was my stepdaughter's problem - which we knew), but it didn't affect my stepdaughter's relationship with us yet.

End of Part 2.  I am literally shaking typing this.  My stomach is in knots remembering this stuff.  It is less stressful to leave the bad stuff in the past.  Honestly, it is less stressful to not have to remember how close my stepdaughter and I were at one time before she couldn't take the emotional manipulations anymore and had to protect herself and pretend she doesn't care about me. 

By this point, we had two beautiful children of our own together but the stress was taking its toll.


Countdown to Seeing Ex: One Month

>> Thursday, February 25, 2010

We are going on vacation next month - back to the state where we both grew up, met, loved, married, born a couple of our own children and fled with the hounds of hell yapping at us (ok, it was the ex and a family member of the ex but it sure sounded like the hounds of hell nagging at us 24/7 when we were there).  Rabid dogs behave miserably don't they?

My teen daughter decided she wanted a party in the home state for her birthday with family (instead of a party with her friends) so even though her birthday was last month, she's having the big party next month.  So, off we will go in a month for spring break...

I haven't seen the ex since last summer (it's been great) and since we are staying 15 minutes from where my stepkids live, of course we will be seeing them and hopefully having them at my daughter's birthday party (ya know, the birthday they ignored, didn't wish her a happy birthday for, send a text for, or anything like that).  It'd mean a lot to my daughter.

The stepkids know we are coming.  If they make other plans (like they tend to do all summer long), it wouldn't be a big surprise.  Legally, spring break is my husband's parenting time this year so they should set aside a couple days of it to spend with dad and siblings.  Legally, he could take them for the entire break so he's really not asking for much from them.  Ex's and teenagers - yikes!

Can't wait to see the ex in a month!  Not.  < - - - that's sarcasm.


Costochondritis Not Improved

>> Saturday, February 20, 2010

We thought after two weeks of no cheerleading or weights due to three different snow storms that blew through here cancelling school for 1-1/2 weeks that my daughter's costochondritis had a good chance to heal.  She had her first game back Thursday and then another today for tournaments.  We were wrong.  She is back to hurting again.  There is one more game and then basketball season is done.  I will be glad to see it over because of all the running back and forth.  The kids don't seem to mind, but I am tired!  I guess I need youthology (or a whole lot of caffeine) so I don't look haggard and ancient next to the younger crowd.  My daughter definitely needs some time off from activities so she can heal fully.

The doctor didn't restrict her activities for cheerleading or gym (I restricted her from weights personally with her teacher myself) but maybe I should have restricted her from the other activities as well.  He said if she's not better in four weeks to bring her back so if she's not improved in the next two weeks, back we go to the pediatrician.


$9.86 for a dress!

We had an awesome shopping day this morning!  My teenager has a dance on Friday and we were scrambling to find money in the budget for a dress.  I did my fancy bookkeeping (rob Peter to pay Paul deal) so off we went.

Walking from store to store gave me some aches and pains, and the wish for joint pain relief as it felt like first my hip needed to be popped and then my knee, but we met with success!

I found a cool store for shoes to buy at great prices when I finish my weight loss goal and we found a dress for my daughter marked down four different times. We only paid $9.86 for my daughter's dress!  I didn't have to rob Peter after all.


Admitting To Middle-Age

I have lost enough weight to be able to get my wedding band and anniversary band back on again!  I was so happy to be able to slide the rings back on again today.  When they were put on my finger, I was a size 2/4.  I am nowhere near a 2/4 again but I am definitely feeling better about myself at the moment.  I've lost enough to get my sparklies back on again.  I am a diamond girl!  Once I meet my weight goal, I found these hot pair of heels today that I am going to reward myself with.  They would look sexy with a pair of skinny jeans (well, maybe not skinny but skinnier).

One thing I have noticed though is as the weight leaves my face, I'm seeing more wrinkles show up.  I guess the fat filled out my wrinkles for me.  (Gosh, I hope my chest doesn't head further south as I lose more weight too.)  I might have to look up some wrinkle-fighting information.  If I find something that works without huge expense, I'll post about it with a learn more here link for y'all.

I want to grow old gracefully but not roll over and play dead to becoming middle-aged!.  Oh my gosh...middle-aged.  I am middle-aged.  That stinks.  I never said that before (or acknowledged it).  Middle-aged reminds me of my parents, but that's not right anymore.  They are seniors now.  Oh, acknowledging how old I actually am kind of hurts.


Do you check cell phone messages?

>> Friday, February 19, 2010

I just checked my daughter's cell phone messages (yes, I keep track of who is texting what because I don't think a 13-year-old has any business having unsupervised texting with the potential for problems).  I figure if any of my kids don't like, they don't HAVE to have a cell phone.  They actually don't care (yet).  I'm sure the time will come when they will.  Does anybody else do that?

My daughter and stepdaughter actually texted each other about dresses this past week.  That was nice to see.  I wrote before about how my stepdaughter texted me for four hours last week and had been texting her dad more too.  Apparently, she's either missing us all a lot or something is up at home that she's not saying.  My stepdaughter told my daughter that she had sent "mom and dad pics of her dress."  She was talking about her prom dress.  That's about the only time I see her refer to me as "mom" anymore.  I was glad to see contact between them.  I've been a bit worried about my stepdaughter because of the weight loss.  I really hope that it's not an eating disorder or that she's not taking diet supplements or anything like that to make her lose that weight.

She sounded genuinely happy about seeing us next month.  It'd be nice to get them here for a few weeks this summer too assuming their mom doesn't schedule them for something every week of the summer like last summer.   


Figure 8 Fitness

My sister has lost a lot of weight doing something she calls figure eight fitness.  She told me it was toning without bulking up with muscle like a body builder.  I don't think it involved using supplements or anything like conjugated linoleic acid but she's definitely lost weight. The picture I saw of her shows a big change.  I can't tell what her muscle tone is like from the pictures but I have never seen her this thin before.  I am hoping the picture was at a bad angle because now her head looks too big for her tiny body.  I really hope it was a bad photo.  I'll see next month when I see her again.  I'm curious to find out exactly what this program is.


Prom Dress Shopping

Within a couple of months of seeing my stepdaughter, she had a quick weight loss and lost 20 pounds. When she emailed pictures to us of her trying on prom dresses last week, you could tell in a couple of the pictures that she was thin. Her shoulders looked bony.  I guess they are calling it stress.  She was only eating one meal a day.  I don't know if she meant to lose all that weight or really didn't have an appetite.  One meal a day and nobody notices?  I just hope she doesn't have an eating disorder. 

I wonder if they bought the prom dress a size larger because the ex plans to get her to eat to gain some of that weight back in the next 2-1/2 months or if the ex just bought it to fit as she is now. 


Whose religion do the kids practice?

>> Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When one parent is a different religion than the other parent, how do you decide which religion will be practiced by the children?

In our case, dad didn't disagree or raise a stink at all when the ex wanted to put the kids in parochial school or take them to her church even though it wasn't his religion. He left that up to her during her time since she acted ultra-religious (with two kids out of wedlock when the ultra-religious ex acted like the Virgin Mary, I found that a bit ironic but oh well). When she handed out first communion invitations, that was fine too. Her time, her choice as long as she didn't expect him to pay for the school or activities.  When we had my stepkids, he didn't take the kids to the ex's church on Sunday. The ex had to respect that as well.

It was too bad a family member of the ex's couldn't show a little respect. This person insulted my religious beliefs (not hubby's even though we share the same beliefs...she singled me out) and told my stepdaughter that I was going to hell because of them. Nice topic for a child.  If you are raising a child to believe in the fiery inferno of hell, you don't tell them somebody they love is going there (which means by extension so is their dad and siblings since we're all the same religion).

All these years later, the ex doesn't take the children to church anymore and parochial school didn't last long.  It seems the ex only felt strongly about her religion when her parents lived nearby and expected her to go.  When they moved a couple hours away, the ex stopped going to church.  Glad it was never a big deal like it can become in other families. It was a non-issue most of the time and a running joke at other times on the hypocrisy of some.


YouTube's Safety Filter

YouTube now has a safety filter to filter out smut before your kids can see it.  Watch this very short video on how to turn it on and how it works.


My Dream House Found!

>> Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I found our dream house in our same school district that would be big enough for all of our kids and animals.  It has four bedrooms, a family room, living room, kitchen, breakfast room, dining room, and a rec room.  Oh yeah, it has barns, stalls, riding arena, and ten acres  (with automatic waterers).  It is surrounded by a couple hundred acres of somebody else's land so lots of privacy.  This is a house we wouldn't outgrow. 

Did I mention we can't afford it until child support is done in three years?   :)


Contact from Stepdaughter

>> Monday, February 15, 2010

My stepdaughter texted me the other day and continued to text me for four hours!  We had a "texting" conversation for that long.  That has NEVER happened - 192 messages between us.  I said something to hubby and he said she's been texting him a lot in the past week too.  He thinks that maybe sd and her mom aren't getting along or something because this is not like sd.

We talked about future college plans, future driver's license, high school, band concerts, etc. Her initial text was talking about a video we sent of two of our kids dancing with my husband that sd says cracks her up because my giggle in the background is like squeaks. Surprise!


Storm on Top of Storm

These are pictures of our backyard showing the start of the second snow storm to hit our area in the last 1-1/2 weeks.  It is pretty to look at but BRRRRRR is it cold and messy!


Heart Tests Fine

>> Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My stepdaughter's heart test was fine.  She has a heart murmur, which most kids get at some point in their life and doesn't require treatment of any kind.  My oldest daughter has a heart murmur and we didn't need to freak out and get the expensive tests at the elite treatment center to get that diagnosis.  Thankfully we have insurance so most of it will be covered (the rest is out-of-pocket...oh joy).  It's no wonder my stepdaughter has an appointment with a psychiatrist (Her 3rd?  4th?  I've lost track).  She lives with a person who instills in her a neurotic fear over everything and everybody.  It's going to hurt when those apron strings get cut! 

My oldest daughter was diagnosed yesterday with costochondritis according to our pediatrician after an exam.  It's an inflammation of the cartilage connecting the ribs to the sternum and is common in athletes.  It's expected to clear up on its own within the next several weeks.  She was diagnosed based on the area where the pains were and her activity level.  I guess I could've freaked out and requested heart tests be done, like the ex:)  Meow.


Stepkid Updates

>> Monday, February 8, 2010

Still no word on my stepdaughter's heart test that was done last week.  I guess we're waiting for the results to get sent to the doctor.

We received copies of their report cards today from their school.  They are both doing very well, which is a relief because my stepson almost failed all three years of junior high.  I'm glad he's taking high school more seriously.  He must be doing his homework, probably because he seems to have outgrown video games like the xbox 360 unlike our ten year old son who still loves his, but whatever the reason, I'm glad to see it. It grated every last nerve to see such a bright kid almost fail those years with it seeming like his mother didn't do much about it at all.  My stepdaughter's grades have fallen slightly from straight A's but A's and B's are good.  It seems like she's very stressed this year.


Financial Situation Going Down the Toilet

>> Thursday, February 4, 2010

With spring six weeks away, I automatically started planning spring improvements (bringing stone in for the garden, a new front door) before I remembered we can't afford even new light fixtures, let alone the front exterior door.  The child support is always paid on time but we are about to lose our house.  As long as the ex has money to blow on shopping and eating out while we lose our house for our own four kids, that's all that matters.

Yes, I am in an irritated mood right now.  The financial situation is getting worse.  Hubby's employer keeps getting our hopes up that work is coming and then they back out of it the day before it is supposed to happen.  We could file bankruptcy to get rid of all the extra debt and reconfirm the house and cars but the attorney wants $1,000 to file.  If we had an extra $1,000, we wouldn't be in such immediate danger of losing the house.  Hello! 


SD Health Problems

>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

There are some health problems going on right now with my stepdaughter.  The docs are doing tests to find out what the diagnosis is - Reynaud's Syndrome, mitral valve prolape, stress, etc.  She has had some chest pains and she's lost about 20 pounds (and she was already too thin to begin with).  The chest pains may be anxiety and not her valve - the sounds the doc heard in the stethoscope is also common in very thin people.  She's getting a heart test this week and was referred to therapy (psychiatrist I think).  This will be the kids' 4th or 5th therapist between them I think since she was four.  The diagnosis is always the same - her mother!  Maybe this time it'll be different.  Yeah, sure.  We are too far away to participate this time so maybe her mother will be able to fake her way through this therapist this time.

I am not surprised about the stress.  She's been taught to fear everything and she's always been a worrier.  She also pushes herself for perfect grades in her honors classes. 

I asked hubby about the possibility of an eating disorder with the weight but he said she claims she's eating (she claims she is eating more now than even before because she was a vegetarian for the last couple years but she's been forcing herself to eat chicken to help with weight but it's not helping).  People with eating disorders do claim they are eating so who knows if what she is saying is true.  She admitted to only eating one meal a day (dinner) previously but says she has been eating lately and still dropping weight.  I asked hubby if the ex didn't notice she was never having to pay for the kid's school lunch or make the girl breakfast?  Apparently the ex doesn't notice much.  Assuming what sd is saying is true and she's been eating and still dropping weight, it could also be a thyroid problem with unexplained weight loss and anxiety. 

I'd get some basic blood work done first while waiting for the heart appointment, including a full thyroid panel done, if it were my child to rule that out but she's not my kid.  SD said her mother wants the heart test done first to see what that says before they do any other tests.  Not sure what mitral valve prolapse, which is usually nothing to worry about or treat, has to do with a 20 pound weight loss but what do I know?  Go for the most expensive test first and rule out doing any other simple tests in the meantime. Makes sense to me!

I think hubby is going to let the ex handle this the way she wants to.  Burns me up a bit because if it was one of "our" kids, he'd have input.  I'd expect him to have input.  He mentioned the thyroid during his discussion with sd (he's lived with my thyroid disease for 8-1/2 years now - we both are familiar with it).  SD told her mom but sd came back and said her mom won't do that yet.  Ex doesn't want to consider a simple blood test for it.  Probably because I have it so she's just not going there. 

Hubby said he wished she would come live with us.  Never going to happen.  Wishing things were different doesn't mean a whole helluva lot.  If she'd been living with us, all those therapists we paid for wouldn't have been necessary to begin with and she wouldn't be afraid of everything and needing ANOTHER therapist now.

A couple months ago, she was having stomach pains and her breasts felt lumpy (it was nothing just like I thought though they - sd and ex - worried frantically over it).  She was on her period for god's sake!  One ultrasound later, yup, nothing. So glad for insurance!  They couldn't wait for the period to be over with to see if the stomach pains and changes in the breast were related.  Had to freak out. Sounds like it's a freak out again over this. 

I hope that there is nothing seriously wrong with sd.  I really and truly do.  Despite the ex and sd's treatment of us the past few years, I love that girl.  We will obviously pay for anything that the sd needs to be healthy just like we would for any of our children.  I just wish they (the ex, which makes it worse for sd) didn't jump to the worst conclusion right away and go automatically for big tests and not even consider doing anything else in the interim - looking at the more likely scenario.  Use common sense instead of a freak out.  Though the fact that we have to pay for another therapist because of crappy parenting just ticks me off.


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