Yep, it was a dry spell

I know I haven’t written for a bit (Alex just mentioned it this weekend actually). Life has been hectic. Law school, moving my grandma into a retirement home, kids starting school, fighting with KD about where to put #1 for school this year, law school, and all of the other day to day pieces of being a mom.

I don’t write because when I get the overwhelming urge to write, one of two things happens. Either I decide that I need to wait so that Alex and I can talk about it, or I decide that there are other things I should be doing (i.e., study). I am pretty sure that both apply right now, but I can’t concentrate on my studies and Alex just went to bed. Monday nights are always hard, but with the Labor Day holiday, the kids just got off of a 10 day stint with KD. I know it is overwhelming. It overwhelms me and I have been doing it for too long.

#1 has extra attitude because she just spent three days alone with her father. One minute she hates me and wants to be alone and the next she wants to talk to me and cuddle. I don’t mind that, but when the latter comes at bedtime, I am not going to deal with it.

#2 is extra mischievous, and his voice volume has tripled since I last saw him. 

#3 and #4 just don’t want to listen. #4 was extra clingy.

Alex had enough and decided he was going to bed. It has been a long time since one of us has gone to bed before the other one. I don’t like it.

The deal with #1. We were told a week and a half before school started that she was set to come back. Then, the day before school started, they informed us that they received word that she was prank calling another girl all summer and #1 was not welcome to come back this year. Left the school that day thinking that we were just going to have her attend the home-school extension program through her school. However, as usual, KD changed his mind. We now live across town from each other and cannot agree on what color the sky is, let alone where our child should attend school. After many texts and emails and a visit with the counselor, we agreed that she will attend the school that his home feeds into, it will not change our current custody arrangement, and we will meet half way on my weeks to split the transport to the new school. I am sure that he will screw it up somehow, but I have to hope that maybe just this once he won’t.

I wish I knew how to help that child. Except for a dentist appointment and class tomorrow, her and I will have the day together. Maybe she will decide to open up then instead of waiting until bedtime. I don’t want to reward her for her behavior, but I know that she needs some positive attention too.

As far as Alex and I are concerned, things have been going pretty well. There are still days that I worry that he will realize what he has gotten himself into and change his mind, but that is because of a lack of faith in me, not a lack of faith in him. I think that we might just have picked a date…April 1, 2015. We also discussed September 28, 2015.

Well, I still have about 50 pages to read before class tomorrow and I need to get to bed because it is 9:15 already.



We all need to make changes



Yep. This seems to be the story of my life. Every single time I start to feel like life is starting to go my way, life laughs at me and throws me a curve ball. I suppose you are wondering, “What is she going to complain about now?” I am aware that my blog has turned into a constant bitch session. I have tried to post when there are positive things going on as well, but when things are going well, I am wrapped up in enjoying it.

Yesterday, Alex told me that he missed me. I responded that I missed him too and asked if he wanted to do dinner last night, or something today. He said he would ask the girls. I was speechless for a few minutes, but responded with “K.” The he told me, “Best I can do.” Then I kinda lost it. I asked if he asked if they wanted to go to anyone else’s house, or just mine. I told him that I know the girls’ opinion matters to him, but sometimes I think that they have too much control. He told me that their opinions matter to him and he asks them if they want to go to everyone’s house. I told him that my kids’ opinions matter too, but sometimes, as the parent, I make the decisions. We both got off early and spent about a half hour together. As always, it was nice.

Alex and the girls did come over for dinner last night and I thought it was going pretty well. #1 didn’t argue when I told her to do the dishes. #2, #3, and A1 were playing together upstairs. A2 was sitting with Alex and I on the couch. Alex asked her what their plans for today were and if she wanted company. She pointed to me and I reminded her that I would have the kids and she said no. Then, Alex told her that was not very nice and came up with ideas of how it would work. She got excited.

#4 went upstairs, but there was a little bit of a problem because she took a marker upstairs with her and #2 started to get upset. I told #4 that she needed to stay downstairs with the marker. #1 came and sat on the couch with us, but was a little upset that A2 was snuggling with me and so #1 could not. She never wants to cuddle with me. Then A2 went and colored with #4. #3 came downstairs and sat watching the movie with us. #4 went upstairs and I heard her start crying. I went to find out what was going on. #2 had told her that she could not come in because she had a pen. I told her that she needed to stay downstairs to color. At that point, I thought all was good. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Suddenly, A1 came downstairs and asked if they could leave. At first, Alex was all over it. Then, A2 was not impressed and they stayed for the rest of the movie. A1 did tell Alex that #2 was being mean to #4.

This morning, I got a text from Alex that when they got home last night, A1 went straight to bed. Then he told me that he didn’t think today or tomorrow was a good idea. You see, he is going to M&M’s for the game and told me to call and see about us joining them. I hated the idea of inviting myself, but was willing to do it in order to spend the time with Alex. I guess Alex asked if she wanted to see me or the kids today or tomorrow and she said no. I told him that he blames all of our problems on KD, but even if he dropped off the face of the earth, we would be in the same position. Alex told me I was right, nothing would ever change. I told him that things can change, but we will ALL have to be willing to make changes. He told me to let him know when my kids were ready to change. It took all I had not to flip out at that moment. I haven’t heard much else from him today. I asked him if he wants #1 and I to come over on Monday. His response was that he wants us to, but he doesn’t know what is best and he knows I need to do laundry. I told him not to worry about my laundry. Make a choice based on him only.

I have some serious heartburn tonight. I already took 4 chewable antacids, but it hasn’t gone away. I just took 4 more.

I want him to be happy. I want to be happy. He makes me happy, but sometimes I wonder if he would be happier without me. I know that I make him happy, but I cannot change what I bring with me.

I know that my kids are not the same as his kids. I know that my kids can be difficult, but I also know that my kids can be pretty amazing. These four kids have been through a world of hurt over the last two years and continue to be thrown around like pawns in their father’s games. I know that things haven’t been easy for A1 and A2, but they know that both their parents love them. They are even lucky enough to have me love them. My kids don’t have that. At least one of them is convinced that their father hates them. Two of them think want their father’s affection so much that they don’t know how to react. These kids want someone to love them, they want to know that they are important. I can only do so much. We really don’t have any family here. I don’t have friends that take any interest in the kids. I feel like I am screwing these kids up almost every single day, but then one of them does something so amazing that I wonder where it came from. Then I realize, these kids are amazing, they just need someone to believe in them and show them that they are important. I try, but it just isn’t enough. Very rarely is what I do enough.

Hey!! My heartburn is finally gone!!! Yeah! At least something is going my way.

I am scared about this hearing. What the Guardian ad Litem says on Thursday will give us a major insight into what she is going to say in regards to the entire case. Logically, I know that someday the supervision will have to be dropped, but it scares me. I am afraid of what will happen. Oh, KD will be careful for a little while, but one day he will snap again. Logically, I know that I have shown that I have the best interests of the kids at heart and am the best place for them, but I am still scared. I don’t know who to talk to about it.

Forget about the heartburn being gone. It was just a temporary reprieve, go figure.

Proud Mommy!

I know that I complain about how much of a pain #1 is, but I have to say that I am proud of her. She made Honor Roll for first quarter. She enjoys volunteering. She enjoys helping people. As soon as she can control her anger and emotions, she is going to be an amazing woman.

Tonight, I was watching a movie with the boys and #4 (#1 is on a mini mission trip with her youth group) when #4 brings a paper and tells me to look at what she drew. I looked up and saw this:

By #4

I have to admit. I almost cried. I am so proud of her. She wrote “mom.” Yes, I know it is upside down, but it is the first time she has done this. It was even unprompted.

By #4

The first person that I wanted to share this moment with was Alex. I texted him this picture and a little text that had a large amount of exclamation points and he responded with “Good job.” He is letting go. I feel like the only one that was happy to see me today was A2. It breaks my heart to see him so unhappy.

20131206-222218.jpgI went over to see Alex this afternoon. He sat next to me on the couch and I cuddled up to him so I could be close to him. I learned something today. My bare skin on his still gives me goosebumps. All I did was put my hand on his cheek. I still love him. I still desire him. He is attractive to me in so many ways. Above all, I want the three of them to be happy.



Fathers: The Need for Fathers to be Involved in the Lives of Their Children

Here is the paper I wrote last year on the influence of fathers.

Although a mother has an important role in a child’s life, a father also has a significant impact, especially with his son’s response to daily stressors and peer relations, and his daughter’s sexual assertiveness and anorexia nervosa. Involved and emotionally responsive fathers help protect children just by being involved and responsive. When a father is involved and emotionally responsive to his children, he satisfies a portion of the intimacy and love that people in our society crave. While a child’s hope comes more from the relationship with the mother, the internalizing of behaviors comes more from the relationship with the father (Day & Padilla-Walker, 2009, p. 903).

To father a child is to provide one’s sperm to create a child. Therefore, most males can father a child. However, to be a father is “…to give a child guidance, instruction, encouragement, care, and love” (Popenoe, 2009, p. 19). One of the duties of a father is to attract his child to the world of things and people (Fishel, 1985, p. 43). A father can only do these things if he is present and involved in his child’s life.

Between the ages of one and three, the mother and child are supposed to separate and become individuals (Fishel, 1985, pp. 43-44). A father facilitates this process and provides the child an alternative to the mother (Fishel, 1985, pp. 43-44). He acts as a shield for the child against the child’s own fears of abandonment and punishment from the mother (Fishel, 1985, pp. 43-44). Fishel quotes Philip Spielman as saying, “The previous attitude was that the father was an intruder into the relationship between mother and child, disturbing the intimacy between them. But more recently, the father is seen to provide an escape from that bond…” (The men in our lives, 1985, p. 43). Therefore, fathers provide some of the necessary support for the child to grow a healthy relationship with the mother.

All of this is important because of the large number of children growing up without their fathers. Almost 40% of children do not live with their biological fathers (Popenoe, 2009, p. 19). “Of children born in the past decade, the chances that by age seventeen they will not be living with both biological parents stands at over 5o percent” (Popenoe, 2009, p. 19). This large number of children without their fathers is both unexpected and ironic. In colonial Virginia, 31% (white) of children reached 18 with two living parents (Popenoe, 2009, p. 21). In 1940, it was approximately 88% (Popenoe, 2009, p. 21). Over 50% of first marriages are expected to end in divorce (Popenoe, 2009, p. 20), putting the children of these marriages at a greater disadvantage than those who have lost their father by death (Popenoe, 2009, p. 21). Children who lose their father by death can realize that the father did not make the choice to not be present. However, children who have lost their fathers in any other manner have a harder time understanding why their fathers are not present, leading to the increased feelings of abandonment.

In his book Families without fathers: fathers, marriage and children in American society, David Popenoe states that “…children of divorced and never-married mothers are less successful in life by almost every measure than the children of widowed mothers” (Popenoe, 2009, p. 21). He also points out that there is strong evidence that a loss of fathering is one of most prominent reasons for lower child well-being (2009, p. 53). With the almost 40% of children that live without their biological fathers, we begin to see why we need to encourage fathers to be more present in their children’s lives. Studies have shown that a father’s involvement is more “positively related to self-esteem in two-parent families but negatively related to self-esteem in post-divorce families” (Clark & Barber, 1994, p. 612). This appears to be related to the absence of the fathers in the post-divorce families. “Developmental studies have shown that when fathers were unavailable to their children, the children perceived the need to mature more rapidly than their chronological and developmental levels would indicate” (Elliot, 2010); this gives us too many kids that have to grow up too fast. On the other hand, “a father’s presence and interaction with his children promoted feelings of safety, security, and competency in his children” (Elliot, 2010). An adolescents’ problem behaviors are more consistently related to the father’s influence because fathers are more focused on norm compliance (Day & Padilla-Walker, 2009, p. 903) and this is shown in the various behaviors related to the involvement, or lack of involvement, of the father.

One study done on the relationship between how adults perceive their childhood relationships with their parents and how these adult children respond to daily stressors found that when a son reported a high quality relationship with his father during childhood, the son also reported lower psychological distress in adulthood (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010, p. 6). The researchers measured the stress by the participants’ self-assessments of how many times the participants felt

depressed, restless or fidgety, so restless [the respondent] could not sit still, nervous, so nervous that nothing could calm [the respondent] down, worthless, so sad that nothing could cheer [the respondent]up, tired out, that everything was an effort, and hopeless… (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010)

over the last 24 hours (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010). When a son reported a low quality relationship with his father during childhood, the son also reported higher stressors (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010, p. 6). Therefore, a higher quality father-son relationship is associated with lower emotional reactivity (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010, p. 7). Another thing to note is that only the father-son relationship has a significant relationship to emotional reactivity to stressors and only among adult males (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010, p. 7). Support from both parents is significant and lasting (Mallers, Charles, Neupert, & Almeida, 2010, p. 7), however in order to have emotionally healthy adult males, fathers need to have a higher quality relationship with their sons. We need emotionally healthy sons in order to have emotionally healthy fathers for future generations.

Another study focused on 40 boys aged 13- to 14-years old (Beaty, 1995). Half of these boys had a father present and the fathers of the other half were absent prior to the boys turning five (Beaty, 1995). The boys in each group were asked to rate the boys in the other group on “masculine self-image and peer adjustment” (Beaty, 1995). The study found that a father’s absence has a negative impact on his son’s “masculine self-concept and peer relationship adjustment” (Beaty, 1995). If the absence begins before the boy turns five, the effects will be more traumatic and long term (Beaty, 1995). These boy are more likely to be “…dependent on peers, to be more ambiguous about masculinity, to disfavor competitive games and sport, and to engage in female aggressive behavior” (Beaty, 1995). When a father is absent from his son’s life, the son’s male peers become his role models (Beaty, 1995). Many of these boys can end up in gangs because the gang gives them the male role models they desire.

Jennifer Katz and Erica van der Kloet studied whether or not a “greater perceived emotional responsiveness from fathers would promote daughters’ refusals of unwanted sexual activity” (The first man in her life: father emotional responsiveness during adolescence and college women’s sexual refusal behaviors, 2010, p. 348).They found that when daughters felt supported, understood, and valued by fathers they were more sexually assertive and less compliant with unwanted sex (Katz & van der Kloet, 2010, p. 352). It was how the daughter perceived how responsive her father was that promoted the daughter’s self-worth, and in turn, greater sexual refusal assertiveness (Katz & van der Kloet, 2010, p. 352). The higher responsiveness also led to lower acceptance by the daughter of dating scripts that prescribed male dominance (Katz & van der Kloet, 2010, p. 353). The daughter’s behavior is predicted better by how she perceived her father’s responsiveness, rather than how the father perceived his responsiveness (Katz & van der Kloet, 2010, p. 353). This is significant because men and women differ in many ways and fathers need to realize that how their daughters feel about the relationship is most important.

While trying to describe the “nature and meaning of the father-daughter relationship, from the perspective of the daughter who has been in recovery from [anorexia nervosa] for at least 2 years,” J. Carol Elliot found that many girls with anorexia nervosa felt their fathers were occasionally emotionally and physically inaccessible (Fathers, daughters, and anorexia nervosa, 2010). These girls were unsure if “their fathers loved them and sought proof of their fathers’ love” (Elliot, 2010). This inaccessibility came gradually during her adolescence (Elliot, 2010). If the father was gone or fighting with the mother, the girls had a higher fear of abandonment and a greater amount of anxiety (Elliot, 2010). These girls felt obligated to keep their parents together and their families intact to dispel the fear of abandonment (Elliot, 2010). In order to do this, the girls tried to keep their prepubescent looks (Elliot, 2010).

In these same interviews, the girls described a close relationship with their fathers in their younger years (Elliot, 2010). Girls with anorexia nervosa also described having a similar temperament to their father (Elliot, 2010). Not surprisingly, “it was the adolescents’ confidence in their fathers’ availability that was of greater importance to the adolescents and to their development than the fathers’ actual involvement” (Elliot, 2010). Again, this shows that the daughter’s perception of her relationship is what is most important to how her father influences her.

One study looked at the effects of nonresident fathers on the likelihood that their adolescents will smoke. This study looked at adolescents in grades 7-12 and found that the more involved a nonresident father is, the less likely that his adolescents will pick up a regular smoking habit (Menning, 2006, p. 42). If the nonresident father smokes, it is more probable that the adolescents will smoke (Menning, 2006, p. 42). “…Nonresident fathers can make valuable contributions to their children’s well-being through their involvement … nonresident fathers can also hurt their adolescents’ well-being; specifically, modeling of smoking behavior has harmful consequences” (Menning, 2006, p. 43). This shows that even fathers that do not have the means to provide for their children financially can still positively influence their children (Menning, 2006).

These studies all show that not only do fathers need to have a high involvement in their children’s lives, but also that their children need to feel that the father is involved. Fathers need to realize that their involvement in their children’s lives does have an effect. Mothers are important to their children’s development, but responsive and involved fathers have quite the impact on their daughters’ sexual assertiveness and anorexia nervosa, on their sons’ self-image and reaction to daily stressors, and on their adolescents’ smoking habits. As a society, we need to urge fathers to be more involved and responsive to their children at every stage of development to help continue this positive cycle.


Beaty, L. (1995). Effects of paternal absence on male adolescents’ peer relations and self-image. Adolescence, 873-880.

Clark, J., & Barber, B. L. (1994). Adolescents in postdivorce and always-married families: self-esteem and perceptions of fathers’ interest. Journal of Marriage and the Family(56), 608-614.

Day, R. D., & Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2009). Mother and father connectedness and involvement during early adolescence. Journal of Family Psychology(23), 900-904.

Elliot, J. C. (2010). Fathers, daughters, and anorexia nervosa. Perspectives in psychiatric care, 37-47.

Fishel, E. (1985). The men in our lives. New York: William Morrow and Company.

Katz, J., & van der Kloet, E. (2010). The first man in her life: father emotional responsiveness during adolescence and college women’s sexual refusal behaviors. The American Journal of Family Therapy(38), 344-356.

Mallers, M. H., Charles, S. T., Neupert, S. D., & Almeida, D. M. (2010). Perceptions of childhood relationships with mother and father: daily emotional and stressor experiences in adulthood. Developmental Psychology, doi: 10.1037/a0021020.

Menning, C. L. (2006). Nonresident fathers’ involvement and adolescents’ smoking. Journal of health and social behavior, 32-46.

Popenoe, D. (2009). Families without fathers: fathers, marriage and children in American society. New Brunswick: Transaction.



What is your favorite part of being a parent?

No matter how stressed I get, “Lu loo Mommy” can always make me smile. #4 has a fairly big vocabulary for her age and I am constantly amazed at what I hear from her. She can usually make me smile.

I remember when #1 was about four, I was very upset about an argument with my best friend. She came in to the kitchen and said, “Mommy, you look like you need a hug.” That girl’s heart has never stopped growing.

#2 has a heart bigger than most adults. He always wants to cuddle and hug everyone.

#3 knows how to cuddle and love. He just has so much energy that he doesn’t sit still much.

The best part of being a parent is feeling their unconditional love returned. Another great thing about being a parent is seeing the things you have taught your child come out in them.

In difficult times, we all should look at what we do have. This is what matters. My children and my husband. Without them, I would not be me. All the stress that has been rampant in my life lately has definitely taken a toll on my perspective, but taking  a blessings inventory has helped some.

I Can’t Be The Only One

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...

Image via Wikipedia

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” — Martin Luther King Jr


If I hear or see one more thing about Osama Bin Laden, I am going to scream! I think it is highly inappropriate to celebrate the death of a human being, no matter how horrible he is. URGH!!!!!!! I know I cannot be the only one! I don’t voice this among the people I know becase I do not want to offend, I have two BILs that have been to Iraq. WHATEVER.

Now, on to the rest of my thoughts for today. I just don’t want to be me somedays. Today was one of those days. My husband was grouchy from the get go because he doesn’t feel good (WHAAA), the children started fighting off the bat, the job we did today lasted longer than we planned, the homeowner is out of town until Friday (no payment), received an email from #3’s teacher, husband complained about everything I did or did not do all day, the children fought after school, #3’s teacher came out to talk to me, and I had a final tonight. Oh, and we are broke and out of gas and almost out of diapers.

Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like if I just left my husband. I don’t think I ever actually would, but what if? I know a guy that would be happy to take me, don’t know about the kids though.

Sometimes, I wonder what life would be like if I had given up on my husband in high school. Would I have finished college and have a job? Would I be happily married? Would I have any kids? It is irrelevant. I am married to my high school sweet heart and I love him. I love our children. I just wish life would be a little kinder to us.

I should be…

I should be sleeping. I caught rhe virus #4 has, but so did Hubby. That means, it doesn’t matter how I feel.

I should be doing laundry, but I don’t want to.

I should be doing homework, but I’m not.

I should have some fun family activity planned for tomorrow, but I don’t know how everyone will be feeling.

I should have Easter gifts for Sunday, but I don’t think they should get gifts because Easter is not about them. Easter is about Jesus raising from the dead, just like he promised.

I should have a genius idea for Easter brunch, but I ordered the ham.

The “I shoulds” will kill us if we let them. Sometimes, we need to forget about what we think we “should” be doing and enjoy life. When was the last time you saw a headstone that said “He never had and ‘shoulds’ because he always did.” They usually say “Loving___________” Fill in the blank with a relationship. We tend to forget about the things that really matter. Our relationships.

Tonight, we watched the ACM Girl’s Night Out special. It was nice to hear some of those songs. More importantly, it created conversation with my husband. I love that man. I may not always like him, but I know he will always be there for me. No matter what.

This afternoon, #1 leaned on my shoulder just because she loves me. I know it won’t be long before she is grown up and out of the house. I need to enjoy her more. I need to enjoy them all more.

Sometimes I am so worried about the things I think are important that I forget the things (and people) that ARE important.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He rose from the dead because He loved us before we even existed. If only we could take the time to show our own family and friends that same type of sacrificial love.

Happy Easter!!

Knowledge can be scary

I am trying a new color of text tonight. Let me know if you like it. ☺

#2 is a terror. He has always had a problem keeping his hands to himself and it just seems to be getting worse. This isn’t his only problem, just his worse. I have tried everything I can think of. Last night in my Abnormal Psychology class, we were discussing head injuries. You see, when #2 was 16 months old, he was in an accident and he got a minor skull fracture. There is no visible damage, but I wonder what personality effects it has had on him. Would he have been a difficult child anyways, or was it the head injury? Was it something I did or did not do?

When we began discussing the effects of head injuries, my mind automatically went to my son. Our instructor told us that research has shown people to have personality differences after a head injury, even when there is not any damage on brain scans. I just have to wonder, what would #2 be like if he hadn’t had the head injury?

Sometimes, knowledge is dangerous.