Carry On

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It’s been awhile. A long while. So many things have changed, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the new year.

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“My family” by JI

January 5th, Poke and I were finally officially legally divorced. I could have thrown a party! It was the most wonderful day I’d had in a long time… until I had to take my van in to have the entire power steering system replaced, which cost me $270. Good thing there’s a Firestone credit card.

January 20th, a day that will live in infamy. I was so depressed all day, scared, worried, and had an overall feeling of doom about me. Politically, things have only gotten worse since then. I really don’t know what those people were thinking putting this monster in the White House, but apparently human rights, education, health care, clean air, clean water, etc etc etc mean absolutely nothing to them. Disgusting. I can only hope that he is impeached and indicted, because if he’s assassinated he’ll be lauded as a hero/martyr to the neo-Nazis that call themselves conservatives.

Next up, my birthday, which is at the beginning of February. I really don’t care about my birthday. This year I turned 3_, which is one step closer to 40. Per usual, my birthday sucked. I used to try and make it a good day, try not to get my hopes up, but every year I’d think “This will be the year that my mother doesn’t make a scene/cause problems/make15875187_10154922754774801_5804576778045474111_o me feel like shit” or “This will be the year that Poke actually remembers my birthday and gets me a card/gift/says happy birthday”, only to be disappointed in the end. It’s not like I need a lot of presents or anything, but having one day a year that is actually legitimately just for me would be nice. Unfortunately, this year was another bust. My mother was difficult at dinner, which was a huge disappointment even without her shit, and Squishy was so angry by the time we got home that he ended up going back to his place instead of sleeping over. I couldn’t blame him though, if I didn’t have the kids I’d have gone back to his place and gotten drunk as a skunk.

Luckily though, Squishy is an AMAZING boyfriend. We have been together for four months now, and things just keep getting better. He has been the most supportive, helpful, caring, kind, wonderful man I have ever dated. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky for once, but I am not going to question it. We are getting ready to move into our own place here in the next few weeks, which is the next exciting chapter in our life together. I can’t wait!

15418578_10154850814024801_4636622435768111892_oBoth my sons love Squishy, which makes me life a hell of a lot easier. Poke has gone from mediocre father to terrible father, refusing to pay child support, didn’t do anything for Squeaks’ birthday, doesn’t call them or answer JI’s calls, and so forth. If I could cut him out of their life completely, I would in a heartbeat. He’s a shitty person, and I really don’t want them around him. However, it’s not up to me. I don’t say negative stuff about him to the boys, unlike their father who talks shit about me constantly. My goal is to let them find out for themselves what a creep he is, and I will be there to pick up the pieces when they fall. The only reason JI wants to go there is because he knows he can play the tablet the whole time. I don’t think Squeaks really cares one way or the other – he used to yell “Daddy! Daddy!” when Poke came to get them, now he is just silent. He loves Squishy though, and calls him by his name and by Daddy, depending on his mood. Squishy has a son, KJ, who is twelve, so he’s been through all this before, which helps me out.

Also, for once in my life, I have amazing in-laws. Squishy’s mom and dad are the best. The treat me like I am their own child, and we always have a great time together. I usually spend every other weekend at their place, because Squishy lives right across the street. (Yeah, he lives with his 95 yr old grandmother and takes care of her – awesome man, right?!) My 1st husband’s parents/step father were always kinda blah about me, Poke’s mom hated my guts until I birthed her first two grandchildren, now she hates me again, and the parents of my various boyfriends were never really anything. I honestly can’t even remember meeting many, if any, more than once or twice. But because Squishy and I plan to be married sometime in the future, it is so comforting to know that I already have good people who love me. They love the boys and the boys love them as well, so that’s an added bonus!

16711987_10155038596234801_4013319259268139428_nIn mid-February, Squeaks turned two. He is a super crazy boy! I cannot believe how fast he is growing, both physically and mentally. Squeaks knows his colors, he can count to ten, he knows square, triangle, circle, and rectangle, and his vocabulary is off the charts. This kid is constantly talking. It is quite a different experience raising a neuro-typical child after having an autistic child. I remember JI being so chill, so easy, so “adult” and not needing much attention or supervision. Squeaks could not be more opposite! This child gets into everything. My bff, with whom we still reside, is pretty much at her breaking point with the two year old shenanigans. He’s a very busy boy.

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Squishy and Squeaks with the birthday cake

My new job is great. It’s a very easy job, but the pay is good for being part time. I’ve even gotten a raise! My supervisor made me the customer service champion, which means I’m 16711483_10155041066734801_4729882996231324363_nin charge of all the ways to make customers happier and make their time in our place easier/quicker. Since I’ve been there, our rating has gone up 2%, and I am really proud of myself. I used to hate dealing with people, but since I don’t have to deal with them more than 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes at once, it makes it a lot easier to be sincerely friendly and helpful. Plus I am working for a company that I had worked for years ago, and I absolutely love this place. Benefits are great, even though I’m not full time I get all kinds of perks, and the only thing I don’t get is health insurance.

Despite having a job, things have gotten beyond tight financially once again. With Poke refusing to pay child support, half my income is gone. I tried to get approved for government child care, but it was denied, so until I can get approved, I can only work 2-4 days a week. It is so rough. I am literally out of things to sell, having gotten rid of 95% of my furniture, baby clothes, and toys before/during the move, so I don’t know how else to make money. I am considering donating plasma, even though I usually vomit from getting blood drawn. It’s worth the risk of puking if it means I’ll have money for gasoline. All my money goes to16427354_10155001729529801_6741404559436206401_n bills, car gas, non-food groceries, and my roommate. I have absolutely nothing left. This doesn’t matter to my mother though, who constantly asks me for money. Yes, I do owe them some, but my dad makes almost $100K/year and I don’t even make $100/week right now. I told them I’d pay with my tax return, but that’s not good enough for her. She needs to harass me in the meantime. So, for now, I have cut off my parents. Once I send them the money I owe them, with instructions etc. regarding never asking me for money again, I will let them back into my life. But at this point in time I have way too many stressors to let their petty bullshit bring me down.

So I guess that brings me to present day. Tomorrow is the last day of February, a typically shitty month, and I’m glad it is over. Hopefully by the end of March things will have straightened out and I will be in a much better place.

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JI, Squeaks, and KJ

 

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The Most “Wonderful” Time of the Year

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Bah Humbug.

I haven’t felt Christmas-y since 2013. In 2014 I was incredibly pregnant with Squeaks, in 2015 Poke and I had been split up for five months and I was dealing with JI’s behaviour, and this year we don’t have our own home and I don’t have any money to buy new presents for the boys or gifts for anyone else. It sucks. I’m so happy to not be homeless, and I am so happy that I have Squishy in our lives. I got a job and I’m only part time for now, but I am happy to be employed.  Overall, things are fine. Nothing is terrible.

I feel terrible though. JI keeps asking why we haven’t decorated, why there is no tree, why we have no lights. He wants to know if he is going to get a lot of boxes on Christmas morning. This is the second year he has been interested in Christmas, and I feel like I am going to fail him. I know that it is not all about the gifts, but when I have practically nothing to give but some old hand-me-down playsets, I feel like a bad mother.

In addition to feeling badly about not having enough things for the boys, I feel bad for just not being in holiday spirit. I have been trying very hard, but things have been rough around here lately, and I just don’t have it in me to be jolly. I am tired and stressed all the time. I have $40 to last me two weeks. I have no idea when my first paycheck will come. I feel like I am hovering over an abyss that could suck me in at any time. It’s so frustrating. This headache hasn’t gone away for almost a month.

But damn, as happy as I am for the things mentioned earlier, it would be really nice to get a break. I’ve been busting my ass for these kids and my family and our lifestyle for so long, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. JI tells me that he loves Squishy more than me, and he wishes I would go away. Squeaks went from being a great sleeper to some kind of 3rd shift monster. Very little of the furniture and stuff in the house is mine; I’m simply existing in someone else’s world. It hurts.

There’s nothing to do but carry on, so carry on I shall. Keep smiling, keep being cheerful, fake it til I make it. Right?

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Oreo Coal for Christmas

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This is the easiest thing ever!


Oreo Coal

  • 1 box Oreos
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick butter

Send the Oreos through the food processor until fine. Melt butter + marshmallows in microwave 1 min + 1 min (2 min in a row will make them puff up over the edge!), then fold the Oreo crumbs into the marshmallows/butter. You can flatten out like a bar, roll into balls, or make into coal shapes!

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Halloween Happy Box

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I know that Halloween is all about Candy CANDY CANDY, but I like for the kids to get something else too, something that will enhance their minds rather than just rot their teeth. Something educationally healthy! I know, I’m a nerd. Either way, I gave Squeaks a bib and two Halloween outfits, and JI got a decorated box full of Halloween books.

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Bio Family Update

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The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

Two Cute Father’s Day Crafts

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I don’t know how to read a calendar, so I thought last Sunday was Father’s Day. Lucky for you guys, this means you get two ideas for gifts this year! Yay!

First I made a mug for Poke using a kit that I picked up at Michael’s for under $2. I painted Squeak’s foot and JI’s hand, and I pressed them onto the mug, then added “#1 Dad” and “2015” (on the bottom). Super quick, fairly painless, very cute! All you have to do to set the paint is put the mug in the oven, set it to 360F, and let the mug heat up with the oven. Set the timer for 30 minutes, and when it goes off, turn off the oven and let the mug and oven cool down together.

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Second I made a picture frame for my dad, who we call Poppy. I bought a frame at Michael’s for $1, had JI paint it as he desired, and when it dried I added the decorations – “We ❤ Poppy” spelled out in nuts and bolts and little pieces of hardware. Again, super easy, very quick, but unfortunately, not painless. JI grabbed the glue gun off the counter and squeezed hot glue all over his arm, resulting in a 2nd degree burn. Poor little dude!

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Fun & Funky Outdoor Decor #1

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I had eight or ten tomato cages that had been wandering around my yard for the past four years. Finally, I decided that enough was enough, and I put them all on the curb – except three. Those three I made into super cute, funky little light up trees!

Materials:
Tomato cage
Xmas lights
Maybe some wire or twisties

Turn the tomato cage upside down.
Bend the stakes inward so they make a point.
Wrap the lights around the tomato cage.
Secure lights with wire/twisties if necessary.
Enjoy!

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You could even make these and put them in your yard just for the holidays. I think I might leave mine up all year! They’ll make the deck so festive!