Fell in Love with Hubby All Over Again on Vacation

>> Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our vacation is over.  It was such a good time.  A lot was crammed into a small amount of time but everybody had fun.

We started out with car problems and then my oldest daughter getting a migraine an hour before we are supposed to hit the road.  I gave her some caffeine and migraine medication and sent her to bed in complete dark.  She ended up throwing up with chills and then was ok after a couple hours.  We hit the road.

Since we drive by my stepkids' house on the way to my sister's home, we dropped in unexpectedly just to say hi.  The ex invited us in since it had turned cold outside (where we usually stand) and we had four kids with us.  I know - pick yourself up off the floor.  :)  We only stayed for a few minutes.  We hadn't seen my stepkids since last summer and we wanted to lay eyes on them and say hi for just a minute but we didn't want to intrude since it was an uninvited drop by.

The next day, my little sister tells me she is giving me a hair makeover PLUS she's bought me a new outfit to wear (because apparently I have no fashion sense:).  Off I go with her to get my hair cut and highlighted.  Oh yeah, she tells me after we get there that I'm getting my eyebrows waxed too.  (She knew if she'd told me that BEFORE we drove there, I wouldn't have done it.)  The salon gives us chardonnay to drink and my hair appointment is completed.  It's not to my sister's satisfaction (and really for the price, you should have been able to SEE the highlights which you couldn't in my hair).  I get another appointment for noon the next day to fix the highlights.

The next morning...my stepdaughter's band shows start.  We hit the morning show.  I'm looking good in my new clothes and wicked heels.  Unfortunately, they were SO wicked, they hurt too much to wear for very long (but you can be sure I wore them for the show).  Ouch!  Why does fashion have to hurt?  Anyway, we get there and I smile all friendly-like and say "hi" to the ex.  We are waiting out in the hall with all the other parents of the kids, including the ex, her brother, and my stepson for my stepdaughter's time (about 20 minute wait).  My stepson sticks by his mother most of the time and hubby chats with the ex and her brother periodically - friendly for the kids.  The morning show is over and off we go - me to get my hair finished and to get those dang shoes off.

In between the morning and my stepdaughter's afternoon show, my sister gives me a really stylish pair of boots that feel WONDERFUL after the wicked heels.  Then she raids her closet and dresses me - again.  My husband's eyes about fell out of his head.  I had on an expensive pair of low-rise jeans (I'd never spend over $100 on a pair of jeans!), a camisole and button up shirt with boots with my newly highlighted and straightened hair.  Trendy.  You'd have thought I was standing there naked for my husband's reaction.  Guess I better buy myself some "trendy." 

My stepdaughter's afternoon show - we have to wait for 1-1/2 hours for her turn in the hallway with the ex.  This time, my stepson sticks by dad for 99% of the time.  We take pictures of my stepdaughter afterward and then the ex wants a picture of my stepdaughter with all of us (myself included because she mentioned my name).  Huh?  Really?  Was this to make herself look good in front of the friend she'd been chatting with for an hour who was standing there?  To throw darts at?  Or did she really want this picture with good intentions?  Who knows the real reason but we did it.  I felt like my face was frozen for the picture but oh well.  Show over and home we go to get ready again.  It's date night with hubby (we haven't gone out in about four years because we don't have a sitter in our hometown).

Date night was awesome.  We had a couple drinks, danced, talked and just enjoyed ourselves until almost bar closing.  We met some family there and then a couple friends I hadn't seen in 20+ years showed up.  We went home sober (neither wanted a hangover on vacation) and wrapped up in each other.  Instead of going to sleep, we ended up talking for a couple hours in bed until about 5:00 a.m.  It was SO wonderful.  During the day to day of normal family life and routine, we forget to concentrate on just the two of us for more than just short durations.  My husband told me that night as we talked that it was like falling in love all over again.  We've been pretty wrapped up in each other ever since.

I felt bad for going twice to get my hair done (hubby stayed at my sister's with the kids) and told hubby that.  He told me I shouldn't feel bad and that it was ok.  He told me that I had to put up with his ex several times that weekend so it was ok.

The next day is my daughter's birthday party.  My stepkids are coming to my sister's for the day.  We go to pick them up and my stepdaughter and the ex aren't home when we get there.  They show up about ten minutes later and we sit there for about a half hour, inside the ex's house on her couch, chatting with her until my stepdaughter and her boyfriend get their day's arrangements planned (her boyfriend is coming over too - time for dad to get to know the boyfriend).  The day goes well.  My stepdaughter told a story of how hubby had scratched the ex's car when they were going somewhere together.  I didn't realize that bothered hubby until he apologized for that conversation when the kids weren't around but I told him it was ok, that I expect the ex to tell the kids things about the time when they were together, that it may be a tad uncomfortable but it was certainly expected and ok.  Both kids were too young when they split to ever remember their dad with their mom and the only way they are going to know things is for the ex to tell them.  We all played guitars with my stepson and my stepdaughter's boyfriend, had dinner and cake, and then took them back to the ex's house when the time came to.  I felt sad after dropping them off.  Sad that we don't see my sisters more and sad that we aren't closer to my stepkids to see them more as well.  I ended up crying on the drive back to my sister's house.  I haven't cried about having to go home in years. Hubby was sweet about it all.

We get home from vacation and hubby decides he doesn't want the vacation to end yet so he takes another day off and we spend it all wrapped up in each other again.  I love that feeling - of being in love with my husband - after 14 years of marriage.  It's fantastic!

Reality returns and it's back to work today but it made me realize the importance of REALLY spending time with your spouse.  I don't mean just the regular day to day.  I know I love him and he loves me but we don't get to concentrate on just "us" with all the kids, work, etc.  Actually spending that time talking - just the two of us with no kids interrupting as man and woman and not just mom and dad - reminded me of not just really loving my husband but being IN LOVE with my husband as well.


Stepfamily Sanctuary has a Facebook page!

I decided to create a facebook page for the Stepfamily Sanctuary blog.  I'm not sure if it will amount to anything but perhaps it'll give other step-parents a place to chat, vent, etc.  Nobody knows what you are going through and deal with on a daily basis better than another step-parent.

Stepfamily Sanctuary Facebook

Come by and visit!


Last Post...Have a Good Weekend

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This is my last post until after we see the ex.  Unless I check in via cell phone with posts, which isn't likely because it is going to be a busy kind of vacation, this is it.  I hope everybody has a good weekend.  I probably won't sleep much and will be wishing for sleeping pills to zonk me out but I have so much to do.  Who has time to sleep? Not me.   Baths, laundry, dog baths, packing, lists, cleaning...it's a lot of work to go on vacation.  (Have you ever realized that it's usually mom who does all the work and the other parent who actually feels like they're on vacation?)

Have a good weekend!  Stay safe.  I hope the weather cooperates for everybody.  Fingers crossed that my car gets us where we need to go!


Countdown to Seeing Ex: Soon!

Well, the time is almost here and despite all the stress of trying to get four kids and five dogs ready for a vacation (well, the dogs vacation at the kennel), it didn't result in any adult acne. That'd stink to show up with a big zit on my nose. Haahaa.

Now if my car doesn't drop its transmission, we'll be seeing the stepkids very soon.  It started shaking and rumbling today and after $220 towards a wheel bearing, it wasn't looking good.  It might be time for it to give up its transmission.  I seriously hope not.  I can't afford a $2,000 transmission job but I can't afford to get a new car either. 

Hopefully, we'll be out of here soon!


When the Heart Packs Up

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This blog is getting close to the 90K visitor mark.  Lately, this blog has been getting hits through a web directory that I had forgotten I had listed it with. If you would like to subscribe via RSS or email, or follow this blog, the links are in the left margin. 

There are articles I wrote about adjusting, disengaging, tips, etc. listed in the left margin also that were written when my head (ok, my heart too) were in a better place so they're not too snippy.  Written at a time when I was reading everything I could get my hands on about blending families, relationships, etc.  When all my time was spent caring for stepchildren and blending the "ours" with the "his".  I wanted to learn everything I could to handle very difficult circumstances.  It's the ups and downs on the roller coaster life of a blended family that dynamics and attitudes change I guess.  Despite the ex and the antics, it was easier when the kids were younger in terms of a relationship with them.  It's when they get older and all the nastiness takes root in them, in one way or another, that it's a struggle at times to remain open-minded (and open-hearted as well).  "Hard" becomes positively difficult.  Step-parenting little ones is easy compared to the later years.  Sometimes, the heart just wants to pack up its stuff and go home for awhile. 

Human nature I guess...the same way children sometime need to let go of you to protect themselves from their other parent as well.


Do you ever wonder what your spouse was thinking?

Do you ever wonder what your significant other was thinking when they hooked up with the ex?  I don't too often anymore (it used to be a regular thing) because I don't have to see her very often.  It's not until it comes time to see his ex  that I have to wonder. 

He is a good advertisement on why a pick up in a bar is not a safe thing with somebody you don't know all that well.  It's not just herpes simplex you have to be careful of but life-threatening diseases, pregnancy (oops, that's the one he helped himself into:), and dealing with "wonderful" personalities for 18 years (yeah, he got that one too).  That short relationship resulted in a beautiful little child (which resulted in a longer relationship) so there was a reason I guess but it still makes me wonder what he was thinking when I look at her because she and I are so different in a "I'm not dowdy" or "uptight" or "misandry" kind of way.  When you're younger, I guess you're not thinking all that much.

I'm getting snippy because it's almost time to see her again and I like it better when she stays outside my daily bubble.  Seeing her is a reminder of all the years of court fights and daily conflict and it brings some of that anger back. 

We're just really different in a lot of important ways (in ways that he appreciates in me) so it makes me wonder sometimes.  Perhaps youth is the only answer...or the beverages served that night.


A Few Days Left Before I Gouge My Eyes Out

>> Sunday, March 21, 2010

Actually, I'm kidding.  I don't actually want to gouge my eyes out when I see my husband's ex.  I just look at him and wonder what the heck he was thinking:)

Only a few days left until our trip to the great white north.  I have a few days left to get everything washed and packed.  I got nothing accomplished this weekend.  My oldest daughter had a dance (where she danced with a boy for the first time) and two sleepovers this weekend so we had the whole hairstyling/girly time to get her ready.

I was trying to think of little trinkets we can bring with us for the stepkids - something that doesn't take up a lot of room (since with six in a vehicle, it'll be a tight fit anyway).  Ideas for my stepdaughter are easier (since I'm a girl) but for my stepson, it's more difficult.  I can't go out and get him anything sporty like personalized footballs because he has zero interest in sports. He is into guitars but I can't squeeze a guitar into the vehicle with us (and he already has two expensive guitars so...it'd be redundant).

Perhaps being in the company of our greatness will be enough.  Haha.  Actually, with the cost of this trip, they might only get our company.


Graco High Chair Recall

>> Thursday, March 18, 2010

Graco is recalling high chairs.  To read about it, click here.


Look Twice for Motorcycles

>> Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is upon us.  I wanted to send a reminder to everybody to please, please, please double-check now that motorcycles are hitting the roads again in the north.  I don't ride anymore since my cousin died on a motorcycle due to another driver not seeing him when he was 18 but it's a sad reminder to me every year of how important it is to really look for those motorcycles before you pull out into a road (or change lanes). 

He died through another motorist's carelessness and it destroyed his family.  They had no repercussion.  The man was not punished in any way because it was a small, rural town and he knew the right people that the court case was nothing more than a joke for him, never mind the loss of a young life. 

If you live near Pleasonton, California, and are in search of a pleasanton motorcycle accident attorney, check online. Perhaps a good attorney can make a better difference in prosecuting vehicular homicide in court than my family has experienced with the court for my cousin.


Trip Looming & So is Foreclosure

>> Monday, March 15, 2010

We are 1-1/2 weeks away from our trip to the great white north (which hopefully is all melted by the time we get there) to visit family, including spending time with my stepkids.  I've had insomnia so bad the last couple of weeks that I hope I'm not a zombie by the time the weekend trip rolls around.  There's a lot of financial stress right now and unless the attorney can do something, we will be losing our house.  I sent them the past due mortgage payments and Bank of America sent it all back to me!  I know people who haven't made house payments in a year and they aren't in the foreclosure process yet and we get a few payments behind and they want our house regardless of all the money flashed in their face.  I'm guessing that is why I can't sleep.  Good reason eh? 

I feel like we shouldn't be taking this trip right now because it'd cost us half a house payment to do so but we have to see my husband's kids (and the mortgage company won't take the money anyway so what the heck).  It's been too long since seeing my stepkids and getting them to leave their mother alone to come here is difficult on them.  Plus, our kids want to see the rest of our family too. 


Electronic Cigarettes

>> Friday, March 12, 2010

Have you guys ever heard of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes?  I must really be out of the loop because I had no idea these existed.  They come in flavors even! 

I'm not a smoker anymore.  I tried it when I was 15 years old for the first time and thought I was cool but didn't care for the taste (cigarette burps - gross).  Then I started when I was 23 for a couple years.  I stopped when my nephew made me feel really guilty about it and never smoked since.  Kids are good for that.  Our kids stopped my husband's cigar smoking he used to enjoy occasionally (on our front porch because I don't allow cigars or cigarettes in the house - don't even own an ashtray).  They asked him to stop and he did. 

I just had no clue that there were actually electronic cigarettes!


Anxiety Disorder & Panic Attacks

>> Thursday, March 11, 2010

My stepdaughter saw her therapist for her first visit last week and they diagnosed her with an anxiety disorder and panic attacks.  It made me wonder - is she THAT bad that they knew after only one visit or was that diagnosis a little premature?  The ex didn't give much detail - the first name of the therapist, no last name...anything to make it a little harder for hubby to track down her contact details to contact her directly?  My husband, who rarely says anything, was snickering over the ex's lack of sharing when he read the ex's email.

What is the disorder where you can't leave your home?  I am wondering if the ex has instilled enough fear into my stepdaughter that eventually, she will be too anxiety-ridden to leave her own home out of fear somebody will hurt her.  It'd be a shame if she is too afraid to live her life fully because her mother has told her that she'll be robbed or raped if she does anything away from mommy dearest (like get a job for example).   That's what my stepdaughter told me anyway. 

I remember during summer parenting time, my stepdaughter and daughter walked into town.  My stepdaughter was so afraid of a car that stopped at a red light that they hightailed it back home right away and the men in the car never did or said a thing.  They stopped at a red light.  Period.  Her mother, who hasn't dated in 14-15 years now, has managed to put her distrust of men right onto her daughter's shoulders.  Go mom! Not.  Don't get me wrong - you have to be careful.  You have to teach your children to be smart and safe, but turning them into anxiety-ridden adults who can't function in normal society away from mom's apron strings is unhealthy.

That reminds me, I have to get and program the address for her band concert into our PDAs so we know where it is when we are in their state in a couple weeks from the Internet (the ex hasn't sent it to us).  Otherwise, we'll be up a creek without a paddle and only eight hours of driving to show for it.  I am excited to see the kids.  I want to see how my stepdaughter is in person.  Texting just isn't the same.


Blood YouTube Video - SO FUNNY!!

>> Monday, March 8, 2010

There is this YouTube video of a little boy saying "blood" that is SO funny.  It won't let me embed it but you can see it here.


Parenting Time Confirmation

>> Sunday, March 7, 2010

We have confirmation on seeing my stepkids on our vacation to the great white north in a couple weeks.  We will spend the day with them and celebrate our daughter's birthday while they are with us. 

This time I have to remember my video camera.  Last time I forgot it and missed out on filming a hilarious karaoke session with my stepson.  That's something that has to be on video!  Too funny!


Extended Family Divorces

>> Thursday, March 4, 2010

My brother and his wife are getting a divorce.  My kids are having a hard time understanding the changes that are coming. 

We have a vacation planned to our home state soon and we will be seeing my brother.  We won't be seeing my sister-in-law and the kids don't understand why.  They think we should be able to see my brother on one day and their aunt on another while we sit around outside around the outdoor fireplaces and visit.  My niece will be there for part of our vacation but then it is her mom's time so she'll miss the birthday party.  Trying to explain why cousins can't spend the whole time together wasn't fun.  It opens up insecurities and fears in them that my husband and I could divorce one day and they'll be in the same situation.  It's scary for them because they realize that it can happen to anybody.


Weight Loss Progress

I have been on a mission to get better treatment for my thyroid disease.  I believe I've finally found a doctor who can do that for me.  He's changed my medications (increased the dosage).  A pleasant result of changing medications is that I've lost 17 pounds so far!  I wasn't obese and needing bariatric surgery but I needed to lose about 30 pounds and it was impossible with what thyroid disease did to me and improper treatment. My goal is to drop another 15 pounds and then take stock of how I feel and look...if I am happy with what I see in the mirror.

It's hard being a size 2/4 most of your life and then ballooning due to thyroid disease.  I will never see a size 2/4 again but I hope to just look average.  Average is just fine with me.  I got into a size smaller jeans today without having to jump around or lay down to zip them up.  Can't wait until I need to buy new clothes in a smaller size once I meet my goal!


Three Weeks Until Trip

>> Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three weeks until our trip to our home state to see family, including my stepkids.  Stepkids sounds a little funny now that they are teenagers - stepteens?

I need to find more room in our vehicle for our road trip.  With six people and luggage, it's a tight fit so I am looking for either a cargo bag or some type of device to put our luggage somewhere other than in my car.  I have a hitch for motorhome towing so I thought I'd either get a waterproof bag for the top rack of my truck or something that can use the trailer hitch that carries cargo. That way, we can bring our guitars on our vacation and keep those in the truck with us.  Otherwise, we are all packed into our vehicle like sardines with our luggage. 

My daughter wants to bring her guitar and I want to bring mine too.  They won't fit in the car unless we can find a cargo carrier to put our clothes and toiletries in.


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