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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Baggie Eggies - Recipe

Today we made... "BAGGIE EGGIES" for breakfast.  We learned how to make these delicious eggs from my sister, Sarah.  They are so much fun for the kids, healthy, AND can be used as a breakfast for camping (which is a bonus with camping time right around the corner).

So, how do you make BAGGIE EGGIES?
1) Boil a large pot of water on the stove.  As the water boils, gather enough quart sized freezer baggies (One for each person) and locate a Sharpie.
2) Get your "EGGIE" Station together. This includes eggs, milk, cheese, veggies for eggs (we like tomatoes, onion, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and seasoning such as sea salt, pepper, and garlic).

3) Get a baggie, put your name on it with the Sharpie marker, and open up the baggie... get ready for some egg-magic!

4) Add one or two eggs with a 3 tablespoons of milk.

5) Add the toppings of your choice to the baggie and seal baggie back up.


7) place the baggie in the boiling pot of water (Parents, please make sure to do this for your child)

We have each name facing up in the boiling water.  As the eggs cook, you should start to see them rise to the top of the water.  When they are "FLOATING" you know they are done.

8) Check for the floating baggies! NOW they are done!
9) with tongs, gently remove each bag out of the water and open the baggie. Slowly slide the eggie out onto the plate

10) garnish with some cheese on top!

And serve!  You have a fun kitchen experiment with your kids that is totally YUMMY and GOOD FOR THE BELLY!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WE.HAVE.POOP! Happy Toddler!

So, as you are aware... Maddy has had some HORRIBLE poop issues.  I promised NOT to blog for a while about the poop (or the fact she wouldn't go). But, after going to the doctor, she was put on some prescription strength Miralax.  GOD BLESS THE MIRALAX.  She is finally going on a normal basis. We did have an ultrasound done to see if anything was "wrong" and I should get the results later today or tomorrow. 

Anyway, we are so trying to get her to use the potty to go #2.  I have tried bribing her with ice cream (no go) and with party dresses.  Now it is school. Yes, she wants to go to school and wear fancy dresses.  So, we told her we would check out a school (preschool program, Maddy will be 3 in July and we should put her in 2 years of preschool so she is good to go for kindergarten, since she will be a young kindergarten starter).  WE told her as soon as she could poopy and peepee all the time on the potty and wear big girl underwear, she could go to school.

Well, she then went to her biological father's for a week. UGH.  Not that he is a bad man, but he is just, er... a big kid himself.  So, she went back to pottying in her pull up. BUT, as soon as she saw me, man we were back to a dry pullup... WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?

And then..... it happened... she said, momma... I think I haveta poop.  And then the slow motion music started playing in my head... "The Chariots of Fire" theme... I push everyone out of my way so she can get to the potty.  We get here... and well... she did it. She finally pooped on the potty.

She got to wear a fancy party dress to daycare the next day... today we went to check out the preschool.  According to Phillip (the preschool is at the same school he teaches at) she was a hit with everyone she met.  She obeyed the rules, listened to her teachers..... and she didn't want to leave. I hope this is enough motivation to keep her using the potty. 

So, mission poop is COMPLETED!  Thank goodness... I mean, I hope it is completed. What if I just jinxed myself? Nah...

Here is Miss Thang in her school clothes... all ready to go!


Ok. So this title is rather odd, but I am frustrated. I am so used to driving the car to places but always taking the back seat, figuratively.

NOW, I should probably explain.... Let us travel back in time to a day where things were simple, easy, carefree... WHO AM I KIDDING? Let's go back to Monday morning...

(Right now, by ADHD brain is doing the doodley-doo, doodley-doo voices from WAYNE'S WORLD....Party time, excellent... ahhh,  do you remember that? *SMH* OK back on task... Monday...)

I want to first apologize for my random outbursts. It is how my brain is working today. I swear to the sweet baby Jesus, I have 15 things going through my head as I start this new business venture. I am like a little kid the day before Christmas waiting for Santa... But, that is a topic for a different day.

I love being involved in my kids lives. Doing things with them. Sitting at the table every night and talking to them about their days.  I love it when they come home.  The older girls first... If I am not on a call, or teaching.. I go upstairs and say hello and they tell me about their day. I warm all over. Just having them here and knowing they are safe and that we can have conversations about stuff that happened that they may not want to share with their dad or at the table with the little ones. I like having that moment with them.  Then Kennith comes home and he comes to my office. We talk about his day one on one too.  Then it is Maddy.  This is the ritual of my afternoon and I love it.
I know about my kids. I make it my priority. I get frustrated, because with the two older ones, I am JUST the step-mom.  It is such a thin line.  What frustrates me is that with my step daughter who lives with us full time, I am her "mom-type." I know what is going on with her medically, I feed her, I make sure she has clothes, I take care of her daily, I play cards with her, I hug her when boys are stupid, I am responsible for her medical insurance. I am in the moment...there with her.  But I am NOT allowed to be there for her if she gets hurt, her mother runs to the rescue.
Example number one... We go to get the tonsils removed.  I am responsible for paying for it. I have taken Alex to the appointments and hugged on her the night before surgery. I contacted the school to let them know she would be out. I bought her a cute outfit to wear to the surgery. I was sitting by her and cried with her about it. Yet, when we get to the surgery, her mother gets an attitude over Alex's new hair color (it is too dark), she gets MAD at Alex and storms out (come to find out because she did it with ME and the ex wasn't invited to go, but to be honest, I ain't payin' for her hairs to get did too...). I sit with Alex and tell her it will be ok. It is NOT about her hair today, it is about the surgery.  The mom settles down and comes back in. I explain that the reason why we went a bit darker, is because it would naturally fade to Alex's natural color (um hello. We have the best hair stylist EVAH)... the mom was still pissed off.  But, when we went back to pre-op, she took her rightful spot next to Alex. Talking to her about how special she is, OH MY BABY... I was in the waiting room. Because I was not made welcome in the pre-op room with Alex.  After surgery, her mother just gave me a dirty look, but I had to go back and check on Alex.  She is my daughter from another mother. Just because I didn't birth her from my loins doesn't take away the fact that I care about her and love her unconditionally.

Then this past Monday, Alex had a very important appointment with the pediatric cardiologist in Iowa City.  Long story short, the mom wanted me to pick her up, so I did (she has no job, she has an almost 5 mo old baby, and no car, home, or money).  At the doctor's appointment the doctor asked why we were there.  The mom looked at me.  Um, I guess she is too busy in her awesome life to know about her daughter... I smile and tell the doctor all the details about Alex passing out, the EKG and Echocardiogram results.  Then when Alex gets upset over the different things the doctor suggested to help with this issue, the mom rushes to her side and then shows her a picture of her baby sister to calm her down. WTF? I mean, just be there for her without talking about someone else, or the other kids... just be there for HER.  But Alex is loved on, and I sit there. Wanting to cry with her. Hold her hand, and tell her it will be ok.  She is going to be ok. That I am here for her too. And I sit in silence.

Her mom? She gets mad at the doctor and makes the doctor go outside for "words." Me, I just sit there. Quietly. Knowing that my turn to be there will be later.

Later that night, Alex and I talked. I told her I would do the required diet change with her and the excercises.  Becaues Lord knows I need to work out and be acountable and I need to eat better. I wanted her to know that she doesn't have to do it alone. Instead of getting mad at someone for telling us what we need to do to make it better, I decided to suport the recommendation by the doctor. SO yesterday, she held me accountable. She made me walk. I told her I would resist her, but she got me up off my butt, and we walked. Not that I wanted to, I mean I need to but I don't wanna... EVEN THOUGH I DON'T WANT TO... I would do it for her. And by doing it for my baby, I will be better myself.

I guess I am frustrated because the ex-wife (Alex's mom) has 4 kids. Beautiful children who have so much to offer the world. BUT, she treats Alex as if she is second to her man, her friends, or other kids (and in that order).  Or that is how I see it.  I mean, she canceled on Alex coming over to see her on Alex's birthday because she was with a friend. WHO DOES THAT?  Not me.

I will NEVER make my kids feel like they are second best.  So that is why I guess I choose to ride in the back.  See, riding in the front is ok, but you can only see a small amount of what is going on... riding in the back? I get to see everything.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vitamin D- Are you Deficient?

Random thought today, as I am on this "diet modification" mode and trying to pump up my vitamin D. Did you know most people in the Midwest are vitamin D deficient? True story, they are. Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine" vitamin, and most of us are familiar with it because we can get it from the sun. But did you know that vitamin D is also essential to your bone growth, dental health, fatigue level, help with mental health, and it is a prevention aid for heart disease and cancer.

Now, for those of us (I am severely deficient, fyi) who suffer from lack of VD (lol, I was just going to abbreviate it to shorten my writing time, but I don't want ANY ONE to think I am talking about venereal diseases, so I will go back to the full name)... we may be deficient for several reasons...

1) not consuming enough food with Vitamin D (me)

2) not getting enough sun exposure (so me)

3) malabsorption (this is me, due to weight loss surgery)

4) kidneys aren't converting the vitamin D correctly

5) being overweight (um, this is me too)

WOW. I am looking at this list of 5, and I meet 4 out of 5 criteria... no wonder I am vitamin D deficient.  

Being deficient in vitamin D can cause a few issues... extreem fatigue, bone loss over time, heart disease, and anemia.... Just to name a few....

So now what? How can we fix it? I have a list of 20 things you can do to PUMP up the  D! :)
(who else is singing PUMP UP THE D, PUMP IT UP, PUMP IT...oh, dear.. attacked by the 80s again)....

Here is my list of 20 things you can add to your life/diet to increase your vitamin D level.

1)      Cod Liver Oil (health food store supplement)

2)      Fish: Herring, catfish, trout, salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel  (the key here is “fatty” fish)

3)      Shitake and button mushrooms (dried shitake mushrooms have more vitamin d)

4)      Eggs (yolk)

5)      Soymilk with Vitamin A or D (can be vanilla, makes it taste better)

6)      Shrimp (other shell fish too)

7)      Orange juice with vitamin D and calcium

8)      Milk

9)      Cereal with extra fiber

10)   Oatmeal (Quaker instant is fine)

11)   Some pastries, breads, crackers

12)   Margarine (odd to me)

13)   Spinach (cooked with salt more vitamin D)

14)   Liver

15)   Swiss cheese

16)   Caviar

17)   Oysters

18)   Ham, salami, sausage

19)   Fortified soy products

20)   Sunshine (15 minutes daily, no sunscreen)

So, if you think  you may be deficient... talk to your doctor. Have him run blood work to see what is going on with you. If you are deficient, try to make a change! 

I take supplements, have increased my green leafy veggies and fish, added some tanning into my life.  I honestly can tell you I feel better. OH and I have mushrooms every day. EVERY day I have some form of mushrooms. 

In the future, I am going to post some of the great VD (giggle) recipes I find and have tried!

 (spinach and mushroom salad from - delicious and high in Vitamin D)

Friday, April 20, 2012


After this week, I have realized the extent to which I take my family for granted. Most importantly, my mom, my sisters, my aunts and uncles... my cousins.

Life lesson 6,083,238.221 = keep family close.

My parents divorced in 1990 and my dad got remarried (to the love of his life, in my opinion)... when my parents split up, it was as if we split from my dad's family too. Lost contact with them. I would hear about how they were doing through my dad and I left it at that. I didn't do too much to pry into their lives for fear that they didn't want or need me (I was still young and misguided by my own thoughts).

One of the hardest things to go through is to lose someone you love with all of your heart. Someone you look up too. Losing my father in 2002 was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my 40 years. This is from a girl who went through 9/11, suffered through an abusive relationship, and the loss of friends and family... losing my daddy was the hardest. I lost him before he could meet my kids, or see a lot of my accomplishments or even before he saw my sisters and brother grow up to be solid, wonderful people (they all are). Here is the thing, I didn't have to go through my sudden loss alone. My family was there. When my dad passed away suddenly in 2002, he was only 53. It was unexpected and very hard for my family to handle. I hadn't seen a lot of my dad's family since my wedding to Jeff in 1997, or before that in 1989... so to see them just show up out of love and respect gave me strenth. They were there for me to hold me up, help me out, and make me laugh about joyous times.

Why is it that it took something tragic for us to come together? I never questioned it before, but after my sisters (Becky and Sarah) and I loaded up in Sarah's car and drove to Memphis... my life will never be the same, nor my perspective on family.

We found out about my aunt and got in the car right away to be with our cousins, our dad's sisters and their kids (my dad has three sisters). Because when family needs strength and support, that is what you do- you go be by their side and offer them support and love. The love I have for my family is unconditional... I would be for them in an instant, regardless of when I saw them last.
I even take for granted my sisters and my brother. I assume they will always be here and I can always wait til tomorrow to talk to them or their lives are way to busy for my stuff, so why bother them with my day to day dolldrum. Truth: Phillip and I eloped. I eloped and texted out my invites, but I didn't check with my entire family to see if they could even come or when would be a good date because I didn't want to inconvience anyone...I just set a date and said, see you there if you can make it... I am a horrible person. I did not realize that they would really want to be there for me. Is that crazy? In retrospect I would have done that differently. I would have ensured that my immedate family was there for the most glorious day of my life. You guys, my sister didn't make it to my elopement, but I didn't even check with her because I know how busy she is with work. WHO DOES THAT? I should have checked... Not having her there is a huge regret on my side. It was my best and last marriage (LMBO). I regret her not being there to stand with me and witness it. Who has two thumbs and is crying as she types and is a schmuck? THIS GIRL, that's who...

I have decided not to take my family for granted. It is simple to just pick up the phone and say "HELLO." I always worry about what to say, but our family can talk. I am sure if I say, HELLO, HOW ARE YOU DOING? I will get a reply... lol. I plan on texting, calling, writing letters to those I love. Because at the end of the day, the only ones who undestand our crazy ass stuff is our family.

Being with my aunts and cousins earlier this week gave me grounding... showed me where I come from. They made me feel connected to my life. I realized that my uncanny sense of sarcasm and dropping the humor ball when I am sad comes from my dad's side of the family. I realized how important I am to them, and how important they are to me.

One thing I can tell you... I have the most amazing extended family EVAH. To my siblings, Sarah, Becky, Heather, Bill, and Lu... I love you so much. Every day I think of you and every day I love you... unconditionally.

My aunts and uncles - you have helped shape me into the woman I am, and for that I am forever grateful. Aunt Ann for the bitch classes and conversations on Tuesday's at Johny Mars (soup day). Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jessie for showing me through actions the words FAITH and HOPE. Aunt Deb and Uncle Brad for paying it forward and taking me in after college, opening the doors to my future. Uncle Jerry and Aunt Dusti, for showing me love and creativity... Aunt Joyce and Uncle Mike, teaching me how to reach beyond the stars (also for igniting me with a love for the written word), Aunt Nan and Uncle Bob, for helping me laugh through the pain and making me feel that drinking a bottle of wine is not THAT bad... and Aunt Peg and Uncle Bob... showing me strength and love- More strength than I will ever know, you have... and faith.

For my cousins... for everything... you were my first friends in my life, and you are stuck with me. Just sayin.

Sarah and Becky... thank you for the ride to Memphis.  Thank you both for changing my life and for always loving me, even in my crazy moments.  Thank you for the three days together... the laughter from our guts, the tears, the talks... and Mr. Grey :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend has been a great weekend.  Kennith had his first football game, we celebrated Phillip's father's birthday last night, watched Titanic on the 100th anniversary with the kids (all but Maddy... Serina, Kennith and I shared the sofa and a box of Klenex), closed my 31 party (HOLLAH) and had great chat time with Jessica before she left, and I have dinner made for tonight. Homemade sloppy joes (with homemade buns), hash brown casserole, and green beans... AND we did our food shopping for the week with recipes planned. Then we don't stare at each other and the fridge saying... what do you want? I don't know what do you want! LOL So, I am going to make dinners this week and have ONE left over day. Wish me luck!

I just want to take some time today, as I wrap up my weekend with my family and thank my friends for just being there. You can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends... friends are the family you pick. 

I am so blessed to have some great friends from school that I am still connected with who always make me laugh. They helped me reconnect with my past and they make me proud of who I was and who I am.  I am blessed to have new friends in my life who get me. Who know I am quirky and strange, but they love me anyway.  The girls I can text in the evening and talk about the crazy stuff while we are unwinding in our own homes, having a glass of wine...  I am lucky to have friends who challenge me.

I am blessed to have a specific group of women in my life. We came together under our own individual tragedies in 2007 and they have become a solid group of women I am blessed to know.  They are my rocks... have been there to build me up.  To these women, I really owe my life.... in not the life or death way, but the thank you for helping me along my relationship path and help me find my way, which lead to my husband... kind of way. HA, I will never forget having that shot at the bar with Jamie... coming up to the hotel room and asking for permission to go on a date with Phillip... The girls said yes. Oh, girls... you all rock. You know it.

I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. He really is the one of the most amazing men I have ever known. I am glad my kids get to have him as a role model. Through him, they will learn how hard work will pay off, how to love unconditionally, and how to be genuinely thoughtful. 

So, with that mushy, mush...Don't forget to mail your taxes. HA

 I am off to the LORAX with Kennith. A mommy-son date that is long overdue.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Even More Crap-rific than the Last

Are you getting tired of me talking about poop all the time? I know I am. So after this blog, I promise to not talk about it for a while. PINKY SWEAR.

So, I took Maddy to the doctor today, since she hasn't pooped since Monday's big kahuna at Walgreens. When I was talking to the doctor, I gave her (Doctor) a list if the fiber-licious foods and drinks and supplements we give Maddy to make her poop. I honestly think the doctor was shocked with the fact that Maddy refuses to poop.

We were talking about how to fix to back-up issue and then the doctor asks for Maddy to lay down...

SIDE NOTE: Parents, why is it that your child can be total hell on wheels the whole day... you want to cry, pull your hair out, put them on time out, take a nap, scream, or have a temper tantrum yourself because the child is so bad (you don't but you want to)-- and then as soon as you are with someone else, or you are somewhere else, your child becomes this perfect child. As if God himself sent an angel down to take over your child's body. They all of a sudden say please and thank you. And instead of pointing, grunting, groaning, and screaming for something they actually use words. I know, shocking right?

Where was I? Oh yeah, so the doctor asks my perfect angel toddler to lay down. Maddy did and let the doctor examine her belly.  The doctor's face became puzzled, and she kept feeling on the left side of maddy's tummy.  Then the doctor looks at me with a face you never want to see... "Melissa, I feel a lump here in her belly. It moves a bit, so I think she must have stool backed up, but we should do an x-ray."

And like all great moms, I ONLY heard...lump...x-ray.  Then as I try to breath, I process it all again and put the puzzle pieces back together.  We go over to the x-ray room and Maddy was the most wonderful 2 year old I have evern seen. She stood still and laid down perfectly.  After that, we went back to the exam room and we waited to hear back from the doctor.

At this point, Maddy and I have been at the doctor's office for 1.5 hours. When noone else is there, my daughter is back to her usually toddler self, trying to scream, pinch and spit. And then there is a knock on the door. Maddy calms down and the doctor comes in.  The doctor has now confirmed that my 2 year old is full of it... poop that is. She has so much poop, they cannot tell if there is a blockage or worse in her intestine. So, the doctor prescribes her a stronger strength of Miralax and tries to tell Maddy she has to poop.

As we leave, the doctor told me a radiologist will review the x-ray, and they will call me back.  My sweet baby may have to have an ultrasound and MRI to see what is really going on. 

I am glad we went to the doctor. I am sad my daughter is in pain and she can't poop.  Answers sooner rather than later would rock. 

Another side note: Who would have ever thought that conversations about poop, going on the potty, puke and the like woudl be a part of their normal conversation? OR at least a normal conversation. HAHAHAHAHA, I know I never thought I could handle it. Man, I rememeber when I was in college and someone would PRETEND to throw up, it would get me doing it... but for real. Now I can eat a cheeseburger while listening to it.

Good times, good times....

UGH. As I finish up my blog for today, I get the call... Maddy has stool in her colon and there may be blockage. An ultrasound will be scheduled for next week. Please keep my baby in your prayers.

NOW, here is her cuteness at the doctor's office waiting....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And It Continues...

I am going to dub this week "cranky toddler week."

I honestly don't know if I can deal with this whole, "I am cranky because I won't poop thing." It is getting out of control.  I don't know if we can go through the biting, kicking, pinching, spitting, hitting.... for much longer. Time outs are KILLIN' me smalls... They are KILLIN' me.

Maddy went back to not going on Tuesday. SO, she hasn't gone #2 since Monday.  Long story short, we are going to the doctor today to see if there is ANYTHING else we can do.  This is so hard because she is potty trained and is so good at it, except for the poop.  And it continues. I thought we had made some huge headway...

To my sister who just found out she is pregnant, LOOK at all the wonderful joy you get to experience! LOL, actually... I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

So, besides Maddy and her dookie issues--- it has been a busy week with kids early to bed.  Serina, Alex, and Kennith have Iowa Tests of Basic Skills this week. I am very nervous about it. Not for Serina or Alex, but it is Kennith's first ITBS exam week and well... he has ADHD and I worry about him being able to focus.

Kennith also had his first flag football practice on Tuesday night, and he LOVED it! He was worn out but he had a great time! (With that said, Maddy played on the playground, well... she was trying NOT to go to the bathroom while he practiced.)

Happy Thursday, and wish us luck with the doctor! I don't know if I can handle this sad face for much longer. She needs to just goooooooo! LOL

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Now, I am having a problem with Maddy. Some of my friends are aware of the situation and it is driving me bonkers. Maddy hates to poop. I swear, she would turn her poop into gold if she could. She HATES pooping...whether in her pull up or on the potty, she refuses to go. Instead, she stands behind something and pinches her butt cheeks and legs together to hold it in.

Saturday, she was so backed up, she was grouchy and mean. Hitting, spitting, biting, kicking... screaming... OMG, I wanted to crawl on the floor with a bottle of wine and rock myself. I felt that crazy. But, after we thought about it, we realized she hadn't pooped in 8 days. OMG. So, we gave her a suppository and that child squeezed it out within a minute. I swear, she has muscle butt, just sayin'. We gave her one more and wouldn't let her squeeze it out. After TWO hours of struggling, she finally went and we were in the bathroom (no diaper on, I was holding her so she could do it) and the poop came out with a THUD. Man, it was so hard and gross, and MAN like. You guys, my 2 year old pooped like a grown man... (NOTE, for my friends who don't have kids it is hard to explain the fact that we can talk about bodily functions and actually eat at the same time, and we are not grossed out, instead we commiserate. LOL)

She still had to have poop left. So we let her be, and we didn't harass her or bug her about it. Yesterday, after we dropped Kennith off at scouts, Maddy and I went to Walgreens. We are walking in the store, looking for A&D ointment and just looking at the Easter clearance (HELLO... M&Ms were $1.87, by the way! HOLLAH)... and Maddy juts her butt out... and she pushes. WHAT? This is new. She kept doing it, and then in her biggest 2 year old voice she said, "MOMMY. I DO IT. I POOPED A BIG ONE!" I was like yeah right, kid, you say that all the time but all you do is squeeze out butt juice (EWWW, I did just type it, but for those of you who have struggled with poop and a toddler, you KNOW exactly what I am talking about)... Anyway I said, "YOU DID, let me feel your diaper." She moved over to me, and it was as if my child's butt grew 4 lbs of odd shapes. She finally DID poop a big one, right here in the middle of the clearance Easter candy aisle and I have NO pull up. Her poop was so big, we had to run home before finishing up our shopping so I could change her. As we are walking out of the stores, she tells EVERYONE that she pooped a big one and she would be back. She told them that she gets candy for pooping the big one, and it didn't hurt. OMG, out of the mouths of babes, I tell you. People were laughing, and I KNOW my cheeks were red.

When we got home, she RUNS into the house and yells, "DADDY, I POOPED A BIG ONE. I DID IT, DADDY." He celebrated with her and then the removal of poop diaper became mission critical. This kid was stanky. The kind of stank that makes you look for the air freshener so you can spray the air after she waddles through the room. She and I went to her room and she lay on the floor. I swear, her diaper really did weighed 4 lbs from all the crap she pushed out. She felt better FINALLY.
We went back to Walgreens and she walked by someone working and she said, "I go home. I had a BIG poop and now I get candy." She is so funny! I couldn't stop laughing. My cheeks were red, but from laughing at how she was so friendly and so open to talk about her poop.

And here is the thing, through all the crap we go through and have to push out of our lives, we should all be able to take a step back and rejoice and laugh. So that is my lesson learned from what I call the crap-tastic adventure...

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Inspiring Words by Erma Bombeck

Today my mom sent me this poem by email... It really made me think about my life and I wanted to pass it along. Have a fantastic Wednesday!

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains..
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.look at it and really see it . Live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Conversation....

So, last night after talking with my mom...crying, and blogging, Phillip and I sat down with Kennith to talk with him. He looks forward to his calls from his dad and he was looking forward to spending some time with Jeff over the summer, so we knew we had to have the conversation sooner rather than later.

How do you explain alcoholism to an 8 year old? YOU PRAY BEFORE YOU DO IT and you tell him. Honestly and answer questions. Phillip and I talked with Kennith after Maddy went to bed, and when I told him that we wanted to talk to him he asked if he was in trouble (note here: Should make more time to have a conversation with each child alone so they don't always think when we talk to them it is because they did something bad)... anyway, I told him no... He wasn't in trouble.

One thing I noticed is that looking my son in the eyes was so important in this conversation. I think we say a lot with just our eyes, and it is important to speak to your child on the same level, making eye contact. (That is another random statement before I get to the conversation.)

We started the conversation by telling him that his father is sick, and that he has to live in a special hospital with doctors and nurses with him 24 hours. He has to live there for 6 months. He asked why Jeff was sick, so we told him the world... Alcoholism. We talked to him about what alcohol is (he was really worried, because I told him different types, and he thought he could never have root beer again, so we had to explain it again). We talked to him about the difference between adults who drink it socially and normally versus needing to have it and how it can hurt your body... that is why it is important for Jeff to stay with doctors and get help. He understood it.

Now, a while ago (about a year ago) he said to someone that I kicked Jeff out of the house... this bothered me for a long time, because that was not the case... so I took this opportunity to talk with Kennith about it. I told him that daddy Jeff has had a problem with this for a while, which is why we had to stop living with him.

Then my son asked me, "If daddy Jeff didn't drink like this, we would live together still?" I answered honestly..."Probably." He said oh. Then he said, but we wouldn't have them... and he pointed to Phillip and Alex. I said yep, we wouldn't have them. Then he smiled and nodded... he gave his dad Phillip and Alex a hug. Then he asked if he would go to Houston and just stay with Jeff's girlfriend. (Kennith loves her) We told him he couldn't. Then he asked if he could go to camp and Adventureland over the summer... we said yes. And that was it.

After he went to bed, I went to check on him and he was up, and in deep thought. He understands that why we left a long time ago, and he realizes what we have in our lives as a result of it, and how happy we are. He looked at me and I just loved on him, sang him his special "night time" song (I made up a lullaby for each of my kids and I sang to them as babies and sing to them still to this day), we just sat there and hugged... My son is very connected to God... I asked him if he wanted to pray for Jeff and he said yes. His prayer was something like this:

"Dear God, please watch over my daddy Jeff and help him get help and get better. I want to play with him and see him again. It is going to be hard, God so he needs you. Thanks and Amen."

My son... 8, teaching me so many lessons about forgiveness and faith. Then this morning he wanted to talk about it again, so we did. Since he can't talk to Jeff for a while, we are going to sit down and he is going to write a letter each week about what happened. So when we can send something to Jeff, Kennith can fill him in on what was going on. That way, Jeff can feel connected to him, and Kennith can feel connected to Jeff.

My son knows he has a dad and a daddy. My hope was (as his mom) that his dad and daddy would be the same person. But, it is not the case. My son is blessed... he can learn from both men in his life... and I can learn from them too. All three of them. And after talking to Kennith, I am at peace. I know that I did the right thing by telling him the truth.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Picking up the Pieces

I am not sure if you have ever had anyone in your life that had an addiction or you, yourself had or have an addiction but it is NOT easy on anyone around you... nor is it easy on yourself.

First, to those of you reading this and you know my ex-husband and I, this is about him and stuff going on that I just need to talk about before I talk to my son... so fair warning. You all know I care about him, but this is my place to vent a bit about issues at hand.

OK. Now that I got that out (because GOD forbid I offend someone), I feel better.

For those of you who have been following my posts, in my very first post I wrote about the demise of my first marriage to Jeff. We had a beautiful marriage in the beginning. Once we lost weight, things started to go down the drain. Then, I became pregnant with our son. Gosh, it was an amazing time. Feeling the baby in my belly, buying clothes and bedroom furniture for this little boy that would make his entrance into our world and forever change it. I was getting excited, and so was Jeff...but he was more reserved. Matter of fact, he first hit me when I was 8 months pregnant with my son. I hid it. I went to my best friend’s house and sat in her kitchen. I didn't say anything, but she always knew (later, when I told her about everything, she said she knew... she knew from that very day). That is the day when my husband started changing.

When our son was born, we were overjoyed. He was simply the best miracle of my life. I had to have an emergency C-Section and within minutes, I heard his voice... his little cry. I knew my heart was stolen right there. My mom always said, you never know what love is until you see or hear your child for the first time... then it hits you like a ton of bricks... the overwhelming feeling of deep seeded love. More love for another person than you ever knew before. That day - November 13, 2003 - I found true, unconditional love when I heard that baby cry and when I held him, he just knew... he knew he was home. He knew I would always protect him. He could trust me.

Never did I ever think I would do anything to put him in harm’s way. I did though. I did by not leaving my marriage sooner. The wakeup call for me was when my ex raged at my three year old son over a small kick while watching TV in our bed and snuggling me. Mind you, this is after I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks, and he left me upstairs to wait for the ambulance, alone and I passed out... At that point, I knew my son and I had to get out.

I started saving money in a separate bank account. I wouldn't spend anything on my son or me. I was scraping everything so I could make an escape. If you have never been on this side of an abusive relationship, it is hard to describe the "role" you play to get through it. I felt like my life was on autopilot and I couldn't, WOULDN'T do anything to upset him before I had enough money saved up.

I don't talk about this part of my life often, because I have forgiven my ex-husband for the abuse, the lies, the hurt... I don't ever have to forget it, though. And I think that for so long, there were so many people who didn't see that he had a problem. I remember his step-father blaming me, and getting angry with me and I have to remember that he didn't know the whole story. He wasn't there when my ex would come home every night and I would be in the kitchen or the living room in fear for how his mood would be that night, because if he was in a bad mood he would take it out on me. Some nights, I would do a shot myself, just so I could go to sleep and be asleep before he came home. Which, was not the right solution, but there you have it. It is the God's honest truth....

The night I left... I was talking on the phone to a dear friend of mine, and we were having our own "happy hour" because we lived over 20 hours apart. We talked about our work, our kids, and I had a rum and diet friend had a gin and tonic and I talked and laughed, gosh... it had been a long time since I had laughed. I though Jeff would be out late, so this one drink would make me fall asleep and I would wait for a new day. As I was laughing, Jeff came through the door and he was upset. Long story short, he disconnected our home phone, and shattered my personal cell phone. He then proceeded to get upset with me. His mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and it was very hard on all of us. I asked my ex to get help... he said no, I said if you can't do it for yourself, then do it for your mother. That set him off. He pushed me to the floor and I don't know how many times my head struck the floor, but I know I was able to turn around and grab his wrists. It was as if I had super human strength to pull him off me. He then threw my purse and then me out of the house. My son was asleep upstairs. I couldn't leave. I called my mom (who knew I was being abused but didn't say anything, I found out afterwards). She called the cops. How did I call her? My work phone was in my purse... I called her from that. They questioned us all, and took him to jail. He got out of jail and I would not go to meet him at the house to get his things, I sent my mom. He then took off to be with his parents.

At that point, I had nightmares. While he was drinking heavily he would threaten to take my son in the middle of the night… I had anxiety. I went to counseling for over a year, and I healed. To this day, I still have “safety issues” and check the doors at least 3 times to make sure they are locked every night.

While going through the divorce, I kept an eye on his mom at a distance. She was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know. When she passed away, Jeff and I were divorced, and I felt uncomfortable going to her funeral, so I just sent some of her favorite flowers. But I will never forget her. I will always make some of her special holiday recipes, and I will always think of her on her birthday. And I will always wear her fuzzy pajamas when I need comfort… She will always be a part of me.

After his mother passed, he started getting worse.. Then he started dating again. Now, I know it is not my business, but without getting help, I was worried about this woman I didn't know. I didn't want her to become another of his abused. After meeting her, I was instantly in love (and again, not in a bow chicka wow wow way, but an 'oh my goodness this woman is so kind and wonderful’ kind of way).

I hoped my ex could change. Could love someone else enough to change, because he couldn't do it for me, or Kennith.... Then last Friday my ex called me twice. And with slurred speech he told me the same story twice. He asked if Kennith could come to see him this summer, I said we would have to talk about it, and I called him out on his speech and that I thought he was drinking.  For some reason, I felt safe (he is in Texas, I am in Iowa) to call him out… felt protected sitting next to my husband.

Today, my every fear was brought before me when I received a text... "Hi, Melissa this is Jeff's girlfriend... can you talk?" It was a text from his phone... always worried about him; I took a deep breath and told her sure, anytime. And she called to tell me that Jeff has a serious drinking problem. That he is getting help after an argument they had. He will be "away" for 6 months... and the first 2 he cannot talk to anyone. He is finally going to rehab. But, is he going for himself? I am glad he is finally getting help.

I am angry. WHY? No one else can take the addiction away, and we can't make him want to change. I am angry because he loves booze more than any person in his life who loves him. I am angry because FINALLY someone else sees what I saw with his drinking and DIDN’T PROTECT HIM... I now have the validation I needed for 8 years, because I was not the problem… I am angry because I have to tell my 8 year old son.

Phillip and I have to find the right words so we can tell Kenninth and we have to pick up the pieces again. I have to tell my son about this evil disease that has got a tight hold on his father... and when I am done, I will pick up the piece.... but, it is my choice.

From the moment I heard that little baby boy cry, it was my choice to be there for him, unconditionally. I love him enough to tell him the truth, and to hold him, and to support him through my sadness, and my anger. I love him enough to always be there to pick up the pieces.