It's been nearly a year since I last blogged look at how big the children were at Christmas time.
I want to first apologize to anyone and everyone that read and ever began to care about me and my little family through their monitors. It hasn't been easy for me. I'm not proud of the way I handled the situation entirely. Some things I couldn't help and didn't see them for what they were until long after it was all over.
It wasn't right for me to only think of my own self preservation.
The depression just really set it once everything was over..cuz it was like chaos for a while and then the dust cleared and my family was a mess and I'd felt like I failed everyone and all my friendships were in ruins. That's when I really felt like I'd just screwed everything up. It wasn't fair to anyone for me to completely check out like that. I just had all I could handle trying to stay afloat during it all and then trying to fix the immediate and biggest problems once it was all over. Plus raise 2 kids in the middle of all that.
But to be honest, I haven't felt like me in a long time and I'm just now starting to realize what I almost lost. I almost lost ME....and the person I was so proud of being. The friend I was so proud of being. For what? A few months of hell...not worth it. I'm working really hard at balancing it all and getting back to being grateful for everything I have.
I don't expect anyone to come running back every day reading my every word. I'm not even sure I'm going to blog every day. I will get back to my humor and my chaos and hope that as time can heal me it can mend the fences in my relationships but still tear down the walls I built to keep everyone out.
If you're still with me....I'll give you a
"A Year in the Life of the Put the Fun in Dysfunctional Family in 12 paragraphs or less. (3 paragraphs per member)
I don't want to talk about the treatments. It's over and done and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I will say this...fighting for your own life isn't as hard as fighting for your kids. With your kids you are pretty helpless and that's so hard. For yourself, you strap your boots on everyday and do it. Unfortunately for me...my motherhood skills didn't come in too effective when it came to multitasking..and while I was saving my body- I cut off all my internet friends that I know cared a great deal and I'm so sorry for ever making anyone angry or hurt. Therapy has helped a great deal and things are looking up. I can only imagine what an addict of some sort feels like when they have to say "I'm an addict" because it's hard for me to admit...."I just checked out." I've never been that type of selfish person and I hope I never am again...but I just couldn't deal with all the questions and the concern. It made me feel like I was already DYING and I didn't want to die. I am happy to report that I am cancer free.
It was a year April 15th that I got laid off from my job. Since then we made the big move. The house and yardwork are more than I ever imagined possible...but we're learning to balance our time. The beginning of the school year (isn't that crazy since the school year is damn near over) worked out well for all of us...even though it was an adjustment. For me the end of summer last year brought an opportunity I wasn't sure I was up for....a wife of one of Jeff's coworkers wondered if I should look into watching children since I would be staying home for the time being. I registered on one "nanny" website and 3 days later I had 2 interviews. I ended up taking a job for a family with 2 kids, a girl 9 and a boy 7. They live about 7 minutes from me. They needed me 4-5 hours a day from 7-9am and 3:30 til 5:30 or 6pm. Because of the split hours I got to be home and have my own time from 9-3 every day. Because of the split "goofy" hours my boss was willing to pay more for me with the "Mom factor" as she called it then some early 20something single girl. Because of all this....I get to be home and do my thing with Casey from 9-3pm 5 days a week with no daycare cost to myself and I make almost what I used to make after I was paying $800 a month for daycare for Casey while I worked. All this = partime work for almost full time pay=financially not all that bad It's turned out to be the best thing I could have done. They give me the day or afternoon off all the time, over pay me almost every week, gave me a week's HIGH salary for a Christmas bonus and I adore the kids and they adore Casey. They let me take the kids to Kyle's football and baseball games and I have so much flexibility. It's because of all of this and the friendship I have developed with my boss that I have agreed to work full time for her over the summer. So 50 hours a week. She's agreed that because of my inground pool I can spend 2-3 days a week at my own house with them and 2 or 3 days at her house so the kids can have friends over and play with their friends in their neighborhood...for $525 a week. So basically it starts June 9th through Aug 22nd. Then I get 3 days off before the kids start school because their Mom takes that week off to take them to Great America and shop for school clothes, etc. It'll be hard but double the income for 10 weeks doesn't suck...
Which brings me to this.....Overall Jeff and I have never been better...we were both worried the financial crap wrapped up in all the chaos and changes would just lead us right to the path of divorce..but honestly he's never been happier with me home enjoying Casey. The hours sometimes present an issue like "Gosh I'm right in the middle of something. I wish I didn't have to go back to work at 3pm." but over time we've worked it out. I think he's just happy that his job has been so financially sound that I've been able to work part-time and have the time to be here for the kids. We both know the summer is going to challenge us...but we've hired a cleaning lady for ridiculously CHEAP..she works for the family I work for and she gave me such a good deal we just couldn't pass her up for the summer. This way since I'll be gone 50 hours a week I can spend the weekends with my kids. We have been together 6 years this past January and are planning a trip to Vegas for our 5th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY in October.
After the move Jeff continued to drive about an hour and 15 mins to work until it boiled over in late November. He decided after the 1st of the year he wanted to transfer to a closer store and hopefully be a manager of his own store. He applied for a store 5 mins from home but didn't get it. He applied again in late March for another store about a 1/2 hour away..and I'm happy to report that May 5th he officially starts as MANAGER of his own store. Verizon has been very good to us. In less than 2 years he's been hired and promoted 2 times. This promotion brings a nice price tag of more pay between base and commission targets plus he a small gas increase but with prices where they are..something is better than nothing. He really just enjoys being able to support me emotionally as well as financially being home. Anyway, he's doing well.
His family is the same as ever...they suck. (Is that a paragraph?)
He's been able to grow more in being such a wonderful Dad since this move....because I'm not screaming or nagging or whatever at him to help me do things around the house because I'm home all day to do them. When he gets home he just gets to be DAD...with the exception of the yard work lately for spring..he gets to spend his days off with the kids and me doing something fun. He and Kyle have been working on their relationship and with a little therapy have come a long way. We've both started weight watchers in January and he's lost a ton of weight and 2 pants sizes. I'm down 20lbs since January 14th. We bought an elliptical machine with our tax return and we hit it about 6 times a week between the 2 of us.
Kyle's transition to high school as well as the move has turned out quite well. Not without a few bumps in the road but by all accounts..he's done extremely well. He's had 3 girlfriends but is currently single. He's been to 2 formal dances at his own school and 2 formal dances at the school from back home. That's 2 homecomings, a winter formal at his school and one dance where the girl asks the boy from back home. He's pulling a B average in school with the exception of spanish. He struggles. I don't mind one C on the report card but he's pulling 3 or 4 As, 2 Bs and 1 C every report card.
Football was awesome. They went undefeated. He had 7 interceptions as a safety for the defense and he LOVED IT! Baseball is going well. Lots of rainouts so far but right now they are 12-1. He's pitching and playing 2nd base again and when 50+ kids tried out for the team he was convinced he might get cut. They ended up taking 30 kids and he's a starter on the A team. So he must hold his own pretty well. He's made a lot of "friendly friends" as I would call them but not a lot of "close" friends yet. I miss the kids that are at my house all the time constantly..someone you can always count on him hanging with...but he hasn't made any of those, not yet anyway. It's pretty seasonal by sport. He hung with the same kids during football..then when a few went on to play basketball and he didn't he started hanging out with a different group of kids..now that his basketball friends are done and he's playing baseball but they aren't..it's a totally different group of kids. Which is fine...spread yourself around..but it's hard to get to know the kids really well when they constantly switch. He's taking drivers ed in summer school and has had his permit since December. He's actually a fairly good driver and we're hoping that my sister is ready to buy a new car by the fall and she'll sell us her 1998 Ford ZX2 for $1,000. It's transmission was replaced about a year ago and for $1,000 we'll have a 3rd vehicle for him to drive. Isn't that just crazy...he's going to be 16 in September?
He and Jeff have gotten closer and what they have now is less "StepFather/Stepson" drama and more your typical "I'm just closer to one parent" kind of "Dad you're annoying me" arguments. Much more respect between the 2 of them..and I have to wonder if it's the therapy or just that they might both have matured over this last year. He's still an amazing brother....does something with Casey every day he can. He reads to her, plays basketball with her little tikes hoop, and now that it's warm he's been taking her to the park. They have matching t-shirts I bought them. They are black and hers says in red letters "Big Brothers Rock"like in KISS or AC/DC lettering and his is black and says in PINK letters "Baby Sisters Rock".
Casey is doing great. Enjoying time with Mom. Although this week will be week #3 of Friday morning playgroup. I drop her off from 9-12 every Friday. She cries for a few minutes and then does well and loves the other kids. Considering she's going to be 3 in June....she's not doing well with the whole potty training thing. She has no real desire to go near it. She'll sit on it....but not much more.
She's a total diva yet a tomboy at the same time. She loves "pretty dresses", lipgloss and she's OBSESSED with shoes. Yet at the same time loves to wrestle with her Dad, play basketball and baseball (she has her own tee) with her brother and loves NOTHING more than getting covered in dirt in the yard when we water the flowers I planted.
We took her to see the Doodlebops live in March, she loves Caillou and My Little Pony. She can also watch Shrek 2 and Shark Tale over and over in day. She got a little play kitchen for Christmas that she adores and loves to sing and dance. Overall she's my absolute bundle of joy.
As for the rest of my family, they are all still nuts.
My brother and his family barely come around for holidays let alone anything else.
My Mom is still the atypical co-dependent. If her man likes hot sauce on his eggs, so does she. Most of her attire says Harley Davidson now and she's never around. Or wait..only to come over and basically tell me I wasn't keeping HER house clean enough and I need to get more organized. We didn't speak for about 2 weeks after that argument and then when we did, Jeff got involved and it got ugly and I've made her realize that she wasn't perfect when she had little kids in the house either.
My sister Kelly is cancer free as well after having her thyroid removed last year and doing better. She and her boyfriend (after 8 years) have finally OFFICIALLY agreed to live together. They will be moving into the townhouse he bought 2 years ago and has been making livable since....sometime this fall. They will be about a 1/2 hour from us after the move.
My sister Shannon joined the ROTC unit at her school with the National Guard and she is going for her annual training for 3 weeks in SEATTLE. I was hoping to come to her graduation but taking the full time job I won't be able to make it. From there she's doing a 3 week internship in HAWAII so she'll be gone most of the summer and we're throwing her a going away party May 31st at my house to send her off. She's doing so great and we'll miss her.
My Dad and StepMom miss us. Being over an hour away is hard but they came to all of Kyle's home football games and have been at all his home baseball games so we've been seeing them more. They still struggle financially but my Dad is looking for more full time work. He has 3 years before he can touch his MILLIONS in retirement.....but his 2 part time jobs keep them afloat for now.
Otherwise everyone's health is looking up and doing much better. As for my friendships..I feel like I blew it and I miss those that matter most. I do feel awful for cutting EVERYONE out....I just couldn't and didn't know how to handle it. It took a long time for me to get where I needed to be. Meds weren't working, doses weren't right, depression was awful...and once the fog lifted I felt like I didn't deserve anyone back because I let it slip away. I didn't feel strong enough to ask the tough questions for fear of the tough answers. Yet..here I am....hoping you will forgive me. I feel awful for being absent. I can't wait to spend time catching up with everyone.