Happy Canadaversary

Exactly one year ago, my dog and I came to Canada. Mold in my home displaced me, so I ended up moving to be with my husband before we anticipated. How have I been the past year?

Well let’s see. I married my best friend, became a stepmother, and now have an awesome family. I got my permanent residency. Per my last post, I’ve found that I don’t mean as much to some people as I thought. It’s a lot colder here. I’ve been treated like absolute shit by my stepchildren’s mother. I’ve been treated incredibly by everyone else. I had a horrible job, then got a really great one. I’m a lot less stressed. I’m healthy and happy. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown as a person.

Canada looks good on me. I’m thankful that I had the ability to pack it all up to be able to be with my husband so that we could have a new life together. Happy Camadaversary. It’ll be nice growing old here.

Til Ikea Do Us Part

“In sickness and in health, til death do us part.”

Maybe there should be something about insanity and Ikea added in there.

My husband and I live in a small, but comfortable, two bedroom home. Here they’re called suites, back home it’d be considered a duplex or a mother-in-law apartment. The house was finished being built about a year and a half ago, the price can’t be beat, and our landlady is amazing. The downfall is that my husband has 3 children, so things can be a little cramped when they’re home here.

When we decided to lease this place, I started the hunt for some furniture for the kids. I opted for the Tuffing bunkbed from Ikea. It holds twin sized mattresses, but is also short and low to the ground – tall bunks make me nervous from a safety standpoint. Plus, of the two bedrooms, one is quite a bit smaller than the other. We’ve had the two older kids in the smaller room and the youngest in our room, which was fine, but limited their play spaces. This weekend we opted to change the arrangements around and put all three kiddos into the larger room, giving my husband and I the smaller of the two so that the kids have more room to play, even with their little brother’s bed in there too. The final result is fantastic, but it was certainly an adventure getting there.

As I mentioned above, the Tuffing bed is great because it holds twin mattresses instead of kid sized ones and it’s fairly low to the ground. (I can make up the top bed without having to climb up there.) The downfall? It’s a major pain in the ass to put together. Even bigger downfall? It’s an even bigger pain in the ass to take apart and reassemble. But we did it. There was blood. But we did it. There was cussing. But we did it.

We did it.

And you know what? It gave me this odd sense of added security in our marriage. My husband and I have always worked well together, communicated efficiently, and BOTH put a lot of effort into our marriage. Tearing down a large piece of Ikea furniture ad reconstructing it together with minimal issue feels like an odd token of our ability to work together. Take that Ikea!

I hope the kids enjoy their new space as we try to save up for the ability to move into a larger home in the future ❤️

Surprise!

On Monday, I embarked on a two day drive back to Kentucky. One if my closest and dearest friends went through a major life event that I wanted to support and show some love for.

The drive was exhausting. It’s a little over 1500 miles one way. My husband made that journey multiple times while we were dating long distance. It made me appreciate him so much more than I already do. Seriously. The drive sucked so bad. It was long, boring, and the last half of it was filled with a storm and heavy traffic. My husband did this many many times. Through rain, snow, and Lord knows what else. It was exhausting and I couldn’t imagine doing it multiple times no matter how much I loved someone. I would have flown if I were him. But it just makes me appreciate him so much more.

My friend had no idea I was coming. I coordinated everything with her other half and kept him up to date with my trip progression and arrival time. I parked a couple houses down with a gift in tow and he snuck me in the house. As I entered the house, her oldest daughter looked up and nearly squealed. I pushed my finger up, telling her to be quiet, and proceeded down the hall. “Ya know, the next time I decide to hand deliver a gift, I’m going to fly.” She was stunned and couldn’t believe her eyes. It was perfect. I enjoy making people that I care about feel loved. While I miss my home and my husband deeply, this adventure was important to me.

The next day, I got some work done on my car prior to selling her then proceeded to head to my old stomping ground of ten years. I wanted to see some of my coworkers, one of which is also one of my closest friends. They’ve got downtown torn up, so navigation was problematic. Plus, you couldn’t get down to security headquarters in the same ways you used to be able to, so I wasn’t sure how to get through the locked doors. So I went down to the other security office and started banging on the door. The look of surprise was a good feeling, and I secured an escort through the building for myself. We meandered down the back halls and made way to my old office. I really wanted to see my old managers. One looks more aged than I remembered, stressed from all of the company changes. My other was super excited and surprised. We had lunch together for old times sake, which was nice. I think I made him feel important. I hope so.

Eventually I sold my car. Not for as much as I’d like to, but I got it out of the way. Now I’m packed up and trying to rest a little before flying back to Canada in the morning.

This trip taught me something. Even though I miss a couple of friends, this place isn’t home. My birthplace doesn’t feel like home either. Canada. Canada is home and it’s the first time I’ve felt like that in a very very long time. I finally feel like I belong somewhere. And that’s an overwhelming, but secure, feeling.

At Peace

As I lay here next to my husband, listening to him breathe as he sleeps, I’m finally at peace. The last couple of months have been exhausting.

Back in April, I started a new job that I ended up hating. Well, it wasn’t the job itself, but was the culture in the office. I was surrounded by constant negativity and it was draining. The only good thing that came out of that place was meeting a woman who quickly became a very close friend. I ended up quitting with no notice, per the suggestions of a confidant. That made way for dialogues to open up about the culture and to hopefully make some lasting changes there. Thankfully, I start training at a new job tomorrow that I could see myself retiring from. I can’t wait!! The pay won’t be as good, but at least I’ll enjoy the position and the company.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I travelled a couple hours north. Why? Because I landed as a permanent resident of Canada! Everything went by fairly quick and was relatively painless. This past week I received my PR card in the mail, which will make travels easier. Though I had no concerns about our applications, I feel relieved. After almost 2 years of a long distance relationship, it’s comforting that I don’t have to ever be apart from my husband unless we are traveling by choice. Everything feels finalized and in order, like the puzzle pieces have fit together.

And finally, we had my stepchildren for almost two weeks straight for part of their summer break. It, for the most part, was amazing. But any time they saw or talked to their mother, the chaos reset and the kids spent that day (and sometimes part of the next) fighting with each other. I have no idea why it causes it, but I wish it wouldn’t happen or cause so much disruption. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to travel like we originally planned, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. The kids have otherwise been shuffled around from camp to camp, traveled, and have been extremely busy. They hadn’t really had time to just wind down and relax. So that’s exactly what we did outside of local family trips to the park and lake. We planned lots of fun things at home like board games, painting sessions, and did things as a family. We even did a theater night at home that they absolutely loved! My oldest stepson did not want to leave, which broke my heart. Every time he has to go, he grows more and more bitter about it. So many things with him remind me of myself when I was his age, navigating my own parent’s divorce. I don’t want that for him. It’ll lead to resentment when he’s older, and I truly don’t want that for his mother either. He’s a smart kid and even though he’s a few months shy of 8, he’s already figured so many things out about the dynamics of what’s going on. And I have no idea how to protect him from being bitter. I just try to do what my step mom did and just be loving and supportive. I listen. I think that’s the biggest thing… I listen.

I look forward to having the time to blog again. And I’m thankful for being able to feel like I can breathe again.

Super Dad

Y’all.

My head has been pounding most of the day. It’s been an exhausting weekend. I’m not sure if they’re feeling off or if something happened before they were dropped off to us, but the kids have been in a crabby and erratic mood most of the weekend. It’s abnormal. Like the twilight zone. Like night and day. It’s been rough.

Somehow my husband has been magically hanging in there keeping the household ship afloat whilst I’m trying to take a nap. It’s not working great because the youngest is still squealing, but at least it’s a giggly squealing now. He’s been in that phase recently where if he doesn’t get what he wants or isn’t picked up, he just starts screaming. According to the other two kids, their mother just gives into it and gives him what he wants to make him quiet down. I hope that isn’t the case, as I really don’t want him to grow up thinking if he throws a fit he will get what ever he wants.

Anywho back to Super Dad! I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to our household. I do the meal planning, budgeting, scheduling and all that. He just sits back and enjoys the ride since he’s been the one who had to do all of that on his own for years. I needed a break today to ride out this headache before it turns into a full on migraine. I know I struggle with just doing things myself and not asking for help. But he’s gone above and beyond to do all the things I would normally do. And without a single complaint. He’s got board games and story time going, keeping everyone relatively occupied and happy….and without the use of screens! It’s been good for the kids to have one on one time with Dad too. He’s been able to pick up the ball that I usually roll and is keeping it going no differently than how I would.

And ya know. That’s something I feel like every couple should be able to do. Give and take. But it’s not always 50/50. Sometimes its gotta be 60/40, 80/20, hell sometimes even 98/2. Thanks for being my better half today my dear.

Super Dad to the rescue!!

Stepmother’s Day

I am a childless mom and motherless. That sentence is incredibly hard to share. My own mother was a pillar of physical and mental abuse when I was a child. My step mom meant the world to me even though I didn’t get to see her as often as I’d have liked as a child. And after a multitude of miscarriages, full time motherhood was not the in cards for me. My husband did, however, share three beautiful children with me. Though I did not bring them into this world, I would do almost anything to make them happy and safe. My love for them did not begin from the womb. My love for them began by choice from the heart. It doesn’t make me any less than a mom.

My oldest step son made me a card for mother’s day, but I don’t think he knew how to get it here to his dad’s house. I can’t fault him for it and I desperately wish things could be a little more civil. I wish he felt he could be more open with the relationship he has with me instead of feeling like he has to hide. But it is what it is. It breaks my heart that he curls up in our arms in tears every time he has to go back to his mom’s, begging to be able to stay a little longer. I just tell him that I know how he feels, that daddy and I love him, and that daddy works hard to try to be able to spend as much time with him as he can. I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard not to tell him it’s because his mother won’t work with us on scheduling and that almost every request for extra time with the kids he has made has been denied. But we can’t. We must never place blame or speak poorly, no matter how true it may be.

Despite not being able to see the kids for mother’s day (which is fine,) they made a point to make sure that I knew I was loved and appreciated. They asked their dad if they could pick out a present and card for me. They picked everything out themselves and it was beautiful. I cried. A lot. It’s amazing how tiny little hands can cradle your entire world.

And I made sure to send my step mom a card and called her as well. Because she deserved it.

So to all the stepmom’s out there, I see you. I feel you. I understand you. And your kids may not understand right now the lengths you go to be the duct tape that keeps the family wheel moving smoothly, but I know. I feel that deep in my soul. Hang in there. It gets easier. ❤️

Happy stepmother’s day

Marriage First

After my post about being the second wife, I feel the need to go a step further, step on more toes, and say even more. Apparently my thoughts are taboo and controversial to many folks. Good.

Here’s another controversy for you… Brace yourselves: You kids shouldn’t always come first. DUN DUN DUN!!! Now before you go on a witch hunt and throw me to the wolves, hear me out.

First and foremost, I’d like to let it be known that if you were to ever attempt to harm my step children, I will spend the rest of my life in prison, no questions asked. My husband and I would make it work. They mean that much to me. However, they are not always #1 in our lives – we are. Does that mean we neglect them in any way, shape, or form? Absolutely not. What does that mean then?

It means we have no problem asking them to color or have some quiet time so that we can unwind a little and have a moment to ourselves. It means that we don’t hide our affections. We hold hands in front of them. We dance in the living room together in front of them. We occasionally kiss in front of them. We make date plans with each other that don’t include them in front of them. We work together as a team in front of them. Why? Because they need a strong example of a good relationship, an example of a good marriage. They need to see that it takes work, love, appreciation, and communication to make relationships work. Furthermore, they’re collateral damage of divorce….they need to see something other than the negativity and strain that they’ve experienced and seen between their biological parents. They need to have hope.

So date your spouses. Put your marriages first. Because in order to be a great parent, you need to have a great foundation. (And if you’re a single parent…. Take care of yourself. Put yourself first time to time. Burnout is a thing and kids need to be introduced to self care too!)