Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Blog and things ahead!

Well, as sad as it is to say it, I think it is time to say good-bye to my stint here at Play For Life.  Why you may ask?  Since getting married, I changed my e-mail address which is connected to all Google blogs.  Since the onset of Google + I have not been able to connect this blog to my Google + account.  It only makes sense to create a new blog connected with my Google + account.  I hope you'll all follow me over to my new blog Pink PhD Wanna Be.

Baby Carol!

In September hubby and I found out we were expecting.  We're so freaking excited, it's ridiculous!  We've decided to name the baby after my mom, who passed away in January of 1999.  You can read about her here, among other places in this blog.

It's been unreal to go through pregnancy and actually "get" what the mammas I work with (through my role at Parent Resource Center) go through.  I had "parent cred" as a Step-Mom, but I'm much more credible as when I work with children and families as a pregnant lady.  To me, it feels a little silly, but I can see how a parent would be more likely to take coaching from someone who is an actual parent.   Okay, I'm going to get on my soap box for a minute here, so if you're not ready for bitching then you might want to skip a paragraph or two.

I can feel all of you are who are Step parents getting angry with me right now because what I've written above implies that being a step parent is not a being a "real" parent.  That is not at all what I am implying.  I love being a step mom.  It is rewarding and fun, but it brings forth a different set of challenges that do not come with "typical parenting."  I am looking forward to being able to work with my husband to raise a child in a way that WE want to, not having to take into consideration another parent.   We work hard to co-parent with my bonus babies mom as much as we can.  We try hard to work with her and not against her.  It will be awesome to not have to think about this for once.

Monday, March 26, 2012

As if I wasn't busy enough right now!

Things, in general, are rolling along pretty well.  Work is going fine.  Home is fine.  Hubby is doing well.  Trucking endevor is at a standstill right at this moment, we had a major break down and it is expensive to get back on the road.  In the mean time, Hubby is back to welding for a bit.  I'm getting in lots of Equine time, which helps with my stress level quite a bit.  Legend is coming along nicely, he gets gelded this week, so he'll get some days off.  I've been giving some riding lessons here and there to friend's daughters and that's been enjoyable AND I've been helping out with the 4-H'ers.  So, all in all, I'm pretty darn busy! 

I'm one of those gals who has a tough time laying low though and I guess I just haven't been busy enough because I decided that I would start working on my WHC Judges Card.   I've done my graded live juding for this year and I've taken my test.  Now, I wait for my results and start lining up my Jr. Judging opportunities.  It's nice to finally be doing something a little more with the "horsey" part of my life. 

Wondering. . . . . waiting. . . .hoping. . . wishing. . .

I had something VERY strange happen this month.  I had a very short period and then, BAM! spotting again later in the week!  I was really hoping this meant I was pregnant. . .but, NOPE, not yet.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I should be happy for her.....but I'm not

Well bonus child 1 and 2 are going to have a new brother or sister, but not in our household.  I should be happy for their Mom and for them but the reality is, I'm not.   My first thought was why her?  Why does she get to be a Mom again?  Not too cool of me, right?  I recognize this is not such good thinking on my part and that I really just need to put my big girl pants on. .which, by the way, I will be doing right after I am done throwing my tempertantrum.  Being envious can turn the most even keeled folks into someone they don't recognize.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Supervised Visitation

Part of my role at work is to be a part of court-ordered Supervised Visitation.  While, I enjoy the work I do, this part of my job is maddening.  It's painful and uncomfortable.  It's not really any fun for anyone involved because no matter what, one party is unhappy.   I find it very challenging because my role is to be neutral.  My role is to look out for the child and both parties always seem quiet desperate to show me that THEY are in the best interst of what will happen with the child.  Some days, like today, working with both parties just makes my head want to pop right off.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy National Flirting Day!

Or as I like to call it. . ."Happy Flirt With Your Husband While He's Out Of Town and You're Home Day."  Yes, hubby and I text flirt.  Do you flirt with your betroved this way?  Hubby and I are known to blow a kiss or two at each other, but it doesn't really go beyond that.  Anyway--enjoy your day and flirt with someone today! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

When will Taylor County get it?

I try very hard to stay off my soap box, but every now and then I can't help it.  Tonight is one of those nights.  I am on my way back to Wisconsin after being in DC for a few days and I finally had the opportunity to read a book which has been begging to be read, Ghosts from the Nursey.   The soapbox I want to get on is about prevention.  I want wealthy people in Taylor County, Wisconsin to wake up and start putting their money in a place that will do some REAL good.....home visitation.

So why the soapbox after reading this book?  Because it adds more fuel to the argument I have been making for a long time.  Child development and teaching starts long before a child enters preschool.  It starts at home.  It starts during pregnancy.  And, yes, it starts with the parents. 

Frequently, abuse breeds abuse and crime breeds crime.  It is natural for parents to parent how they were parented, even when they intend not too and this why intervention through a home visitation program is so important.  There is so much research demonstrating the difference that early intervention can make, yet funding is sucked away from these programs. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised since we live in such a now, now, now society.  When will those with the power to give money figure out that todays infants could be tomorrows criminals......

I implore you all, invest in Early childhood programs.  Invest in quality home visitation programs.  Invest in programs that stregnthen family relationships, because, if you really want children to be ready for school they have got to have the social and emotional stuff down.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where the hell is everyone going?

I have spent the past four days in Washington, D.C. for work.  I learned a lot about the grant I manage and I also learned that people in D.C. seem to always be in a hurry.  It really did not seem to matter when I was out exploring, or in which part of city,  people were in a rush everywhere I went. This made me wonder, why?  Doesn't any one give themselves enough time to get anywhere?  I cannot stand rushing.  I like to take my time.  I like to explore and people watch.  Knowing this about myself I leave early enough so I don't have to run down escalators or nearly plow over the people going through a cross walk.  Slow down citizens of D.C.  Take time to enjoy the beauty and diversity present in your city. 

Monday, January 09, 2012

The weight of it all

My husband partied more than the average bear when he was younger and I have had my share of substance use before my thirties.  When you pair that with how reactive and highly sensative I am, the thought of conceiving a child is down right scary.  Especially after I have begun to read, Ghosts from the Nursery (Karr-Morse and Wiley, 1997).

As a Parent Eductor, college level educator, and Ph.D. candidate in the Early Child field, I felt as though I was pretty educated on the effects of prenatal stress and neurotoxins.  What I did not know, and frankly am quite concerned about, is effect that prior useage can have on the ability to conceive and the possible effects upon the unborn baby even at conception.

Are my husband wrong for wanting to conceive, despite our issues in our teens and twenties?  My husband already has fears about us even conceiving.  I brushed them off at first but I am beginging to think he knew the research already.......

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 in review. . .

As I say good-bye (and good riddens) to 2011, I'd like to recap what I did for the past year.  In case you're interested. . I tend to a do a post like this every year.  Here are my posts from 2007, 2008, and 2010.  I guess I didn't have much to review in 2006 or 2009, since I didn't post one then!    So here we go. . the top 10 things that happened in 2011.

10.  There were WAY too many funerals to count this year.  The most prominent funeral I had to attend was the death of my brother-in-law.  Christmas with out him was hard for my family.
9.  Hubby and I started a trucking company, Loucks Trucking LLC.  It has been a new, and interesting, world being a business own and the wife of a truck driver.  I will not pretend it has been easy.  Not having my husband at home has really taken some getting used to!
8. As part of the Loucks Trucking LLC adventure, Hubby and I went on a trip to Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.  We picked up our 40 ft. flatbed trailer, enjoyed a little bit of vacation, and brought our first load home: Four Cadillacs of the same year, to be used in a demo derby.  We were asked, repeatedly, if we were planning on restoring them.
7.  We had some horses come and go.  We sent "Tinker the Stinker" off to the auction.  Sadly, she only brought in 45.00.  The horse market is not good right now.  It is a GREAT time to buy some wonderful horses for very little, but it is a bad time to try and make any money!  We also returned Shilo to my Dad's place and ended up being gifted a very old mare named Meg.  Meg has been a great addition to our family. . . however, our feed costs are astronomical!  
6.  I have settled into my role as Bonus Mamma.  Every day gets easier.  Some days are tougher than others. 
5.  I have added Weight Watchers Leader to my list of part time jobs!
4.  I wrote my first large-scale grant.  I didn't receive it and I was very disappointed, but I learned a lot.
3.  Hubby and I made it through our first year of marriage.  There were some who said that we should not have married so quickly.  Some who think I cheated on D.  Some who really wanted to bash the man I married.  They have all been wrong.
2.  I dropped a very large trailer ramp on my foot and was taken to the hospital, for the first time ever, for a suspected broken foot.
1.  The most exciting news of 2011 is that Hubby and I have decided that we've like to have a child of our own. 

What will 2012 bring?  I'm not sure, but I do know that I am thankful for each day I get to spend with my family.  I am thankful for the friends I've made in 2011 and the friendships I've nurtured. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The first disappointment

It has been almost a month since I've had my Mirena removed.  The removal was relatively painless, however, I did have some pretty severe mood swings that first week it was out.  I'm not sure if that is typical or not, but, wow, I was a bear.  Hubby was a trooper though.  He went to appointment with me for removal and was good through the moodswings! 

Anyway. . .on Sunday, I had an incident where I dropped a very heavy ramp on my foot and had to go to the hospital to see if it was broken or not.  When I was asked at the x-ray station if I could be pregnant, I stated I wasn't sure and explained why. 

At any rate, I was wisked away for a preganancy test before my x-rays.   Hubby and I were pretty certain it wasn't likely to be positive--after all, it wasn't even quite a month yet.  But.  . .one never knows!  We were a little disappointed to learn that I was not pregnant.  No worries--my doc says that it can take up to a year for my body to get back to normal. . . so we'll see what happens. . .

In the mean time. . . . I've started looking for baby supplies that are not genderspecific (like slings and such).

Monday, November 28, 2011

A little perspective

Life is all about perspective, isn't it?  I mean from Hubby's perspective, I'm a pretty darn great step mama to his children and a super wife!  He says I'm so super that he has surprised himself in the decision that he'd like to PLAN a child with me.  The bonus babies might have a different perspective about me and so might their mother.    When it comes down to it--I cannot control how any of them feel about me, nor can I control how anyone else feels about me.  What I CAN control is my reaction to others.   I MUST learn to get a grasp on my own emotions because when I allow my happiness to be determined by others, I am giving up my own control.  There is no one person who has made this more evident to me than Dr. Becky Bailey.  I've read of her work, particularly when I was a Head Start teacher.  However; now, more than ever, I find her work meaningful.  I think of what I've learned over the years as I look at myself as a Step Parent, Wife, and supervisor, and can see that knowing and doing are two very different things. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ride number 2

Some of you may remember wedding gift from Hubby,  Cutie #1, and Cutie #2, Legend.  Although still a stud, he's an absolute doll. We're planning to geld him in the spring, for we know that a kind, gentle Stud is always a kinder, gentler Gelding!  He loads into the trailer like a dream, stands nicely for the ferrier, allows Cutie #2 (who is 5) to handle his hooves and lead him around, tacks up calmly, lounges, and has had around four folks on his back.   He's had ride number 1 (very brief with a very light person) and now we're gearing up for ride number two.  Hubby and I don't know a whole lot about him (he was a rescued by a gal from a horse hourder who then sold him to Hubby), but we do have a pedigree for him.  He's not even two yet, so our training sessions are brief and (hopefully) fun for him. 

We intend to keep Legend forever (as cheesy as that sounds), so our goal is for him to be gentle enough for our grandchildren to enjoy (when the day comes that we have them!).  I fell in love with him when I saw his pictures on the sale forum, hubby and kids picked him up for me, and he will always be part of our family.   Although I enjoy a good ride as much as the next horse lover, I get the most enjoyment out of working with the young horses and getting on their back for that first ride. 

This training experience has been a wonderful for Cutie #1 to learn some proper horse handling and riding techniques.  We read excerpts from some of my favorite trainers' (Cherry Hill, Ray Hunt, and Tom Dorrance) books and will talk about what each author means in his or her writing. 

Now, as Hubby and I think about bringing a Cutie #3 into our family, I am scouring the internet for all things Pregnancy related--including the best equestrian theme maternity clothes.  So far, I've found NOTHING!  Help me out here, horse lovers!  There's got to be something. . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank you, fellow Step-Mamma's!

I want to thank Grace and Sue for stopping by and giving me a a little boost.  Your words meant a great deal to me.  It helps to know there are many who have experienced some of the same emotions as I am going through right now.  Somedays I feel so secure in my role as Step Mamma.  Others--not so much.  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who talks through most of this stuff with me, but sometimes I just need the input and wisdom from someone who really gets how this feels.   

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Me Book

This morning, Hubby, bonus boy, and I worked on his "all about me book."   This activity was emotional for me and I cannot figure out why.  It just tore me up to see those baby pictures with bonus boy and his mom.  I don't know why.  When it comes to my bonus children, I get that I am NOT Mom.  I WILL NOT replace Mom.  Maybe it's all a reminder of the life that was before (and after. . since Hubby and I were high school sweet hearts) me.  I don't know.  I feel like such a nut case at times.  I want to do the right thing for these kiddos and I know that means being strong! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sometimes thinks things were easier before she started reading Step-Mom stuff

Sometimes, I think my journey of step mom was so much easier when I didn't read the Step mom stuff on line.  What stuff do I mean?  Magazines, blogs, websites, facebook pages, support groups. . . you name it, all marketing toward the strange life of the step mom.  I read so much contradictory information about what is and is not appropriate. 

When I first started dating my husband, it seemed so easy.  I am HIS girlfriend and HE happens to have been married before and has two great kids.  I was nothing more than Dad's girlfriend.   Now I'm Dad's wife and a step mom.  Research shows that remarriages with children are 71% likely to end in divorce.  I'll be honest, I think I was better off when I didn't know that statistic. 

Some information states that I should butt out no matter what.  After all, these are NOT my children.  I did not create them, and push come to shove, I have NO legal obligation to them.  Other references state that I should work hard to be a partner with the kids Mom.  We should learn to work together and should get along.  

It should be simple but it's just not.   I am fully aware that I will NEVER be the kids mom.  They don't need a  mom, they have a mom already.  What's difficult for me is that my tendency is to mother all children.  It's just my way.  If YOUR kid came to my house, I'd "mother" him or her too.  I'm a kid person and relate well to children. . .thus whyI am in the line of work I am.  The difference? My step kids live with me half the time.  I am not living one of those step parent situations where I only my step children every other weekend or something like that.  I have been in their lives half the year for the past two years.   It's very hard to draw that line and just stop mothering them.  

I know it is very ackward for their Mom to see me at events.  I participate in T-Ball, school programs,  and attend parent-teacher conferences.  Many people will tell you this is wrong or weird or just plain not okay.  My husband asks that I attend and since, I'm not married to kid's mother and she is not my friend, I guess, to be honest, I don't really care if she feels ackward.  The feeling is mutual.  It is ackward for me too. 

Part of me thinks that it would be best for everyone if I just did not participate in things related to the kids.  After all, some of the research states this is what should happen since I am not their mother.  Yet, I would feel very sad if this were to happen and so would my husband.  The kids and I have a good relationship and they have stated they miss me when I am not around.  So, I am guessing they would be upset if I did not attend things either.

I feel sad for my step children because they did not ask for this.  They did not ask for Mom and Dad to get divorced and to have go back and fourth between houses.  They did not ask for Mom to have boyfriends and for Dad to get remarried.  I work very hard to be sensitive all the feelings involved. . and this is part of the complexity that my world has become.

Here is a blog I enjoy. . . and speaks to the complexity of the step parenting issue: http://thegrownupchild.ca/

Next Thursday. . . .

So--next Thursday is the doctors appointment.  After that. . let the baby making begin!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Approximately 3 years ago today. . .

Wow--how things have changed over 3 years.   What a roller coaster the past few years have been.  I went from, I won't get married to I left-my-boyfriend-of-12-years-and-now-marrying-my-highschool-sweet-heart!  Or better yet, from, "NO BABIES!!!!" to "Hubby and I are PLANNING (now THERE'S a novel idea) to have a baby!" 

So--what else has changed?  Read on, my friends, read on. . .

WORK:  Three years ago, I was working for CAP SERVICES Head Start.  Now, I work for  the Parent Resource Center of Taylor County,  Indian Head Community Action Agency, Rasmussen College, and Weight Watchers International.

FAMILY:  Well, I went from no children to two wonderful bonus babies.  I am a proud, proud, proud Step-mamma, and I am trying hard to gracefully balance being a good step- mamma and good wife.  I have found step parenting more challenging than I EVER expected--espeically when the bonus babies' mother lives less than 10 miles from my home.  I am working hard to have a good relationship with the kids' mom and have found the NO ONE'S the BITCH website to be quite helpful.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pretty funny!

I shout out to my fellow blogger, Rory Grant!  Your blog ROCKS!

One of THOSE Mammas. . . .

I already know I am going to be one of THOSE mammas. . . .what do I mean by that?  I mean one of those Mammas who knows more than she should about how young children develop and learn.  I already have all of these notions about what is and is not appropriate because of my education and line of work.  This is a good thing in some ways.  I know I will be VERY prepared for pregnancy and caring for a child of my own.  Of course, knowing and doing are two very different things. . . .  It's a bad thing because I will become one of those Mammas who are a little too concerned about doing EVERY THING right. 

I know I need to let go of this right now.  I will not do everything right.  There will be lots of learning happening and I will likely make many, many child rearing mistakes.  No one is perfect and, as the hubby says, "perfection is BORING. . ."  Too bad my husband married a "type a" sort of gal who tends to try and over acheive on just about everything. . . LOL. 

Are any of you one of THOSE Mammas?  If so, were you always that way?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Baby Journey

So. . . I got news, among all this sadness, that H is thinking about a baby for us.  Here's a little TMI for you all:  I was on Depo-Provera for almost 12 years and then, because my ex was very explicit about his desire to not have children, I almost got my tubes tied.  At the last minute, I could not go through with it--after going through several hoops to prove that a woman under 30, with no children, was a good candidate.  After all those years, I thought I had convinced myself that I did not want children. . only to find out my brain was telling me otherwise.  Instead I opted for Mirena IUD, which is a semi-perminent option.  My body will be expected to return to normal after 12 mos from Mirena removal.  We can technically begin "trying" to conceive after three mos from removal.    I will admit, I am a little worried that after 12 years of depo and then three years of Mirena, that I will not be able to become pregnant.   Time will tell. . . . and soon the adventure will begin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Here's to you Mr. Loucks

This week has been a rocky one for my family.  Last Thursday, my brother in law passed away and the world will never be the same with out him.  Then, over the weekend another relative of mine passed on too.  Two funerals in one week.  Not cool.  I have been spending a lot of time with my mother in law and other family members on my husband's side of the family.  This has been of great comfort me but I think it has been helpful for them, as well. 

All this death has caused me to think about the little moments I have with my family.  To cherish all the good that pokes up in this stressful, crazy world.  It makes me thankful I FINALLY found a man worthy of the term "husband."  Despite the sadness that is around me right now, I feel blessed.  I have a WONDERFUL family.  I have a HOME and five great "four-legged babies," as hubby and I call them (three horses, one pony, and a dog).  I have two SUPER bonus children, who are lovely in every way.  And now, the creme de le creme, I have received news that hubby wants to have a baby.  Never in a million years did I think I would hear those words. . . . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baby talk round 2. . . .

Hubby and I have had quite a few baby talks over the past few weeks.  We have the great relationship where we talk about every thing. . even if the talk is no fun.  I said to him one day, "I think I'd like to start seeing a shrink."  He said. . "Well, if you think you need to, but I would like to think you can share anything with me. . ."  I told him, "You might regret saying that."  I thought he would get sick of our "non-psychologist-psychologist talks" (which is my term for a talk that I would have with the shrink, if I had one), but he is great.  He gives me insight and we talk about why I might be feeling a certain way about something.  . . . such as the baby topic. 

For those of you who know REALLY well, you know that my catch phrase for many years was "no babies!!!!"  Then hubby and cutie #1 and #2 come along and as time progresses my catch phrase has become. . "maybe babies?!"  The more H and I talk about this, the more I think he's on board with the idea that maybe some day we'll have our own together.  Then. . .this week, he smiled at me and chuckled.  I asked what he was chuckling at and he would not tell me until a few days later. 

We were having a conversation about babies and why my "no babies" has gone from "mabie babies" to "I think I wanna be more than a step-mamma."  He told me that he was chuckling because when we were talking the other night he actually thought about me as a mamma.  He thought about what a little one of our own might look like and it made him smile.  

While I know that right now is NOT the time to think about bringing a cutie #3 into the world, I know that H will be okay when the time happens.  This was unbelievable comforting to me.  He said, "I know you will make a great Mamma" and I just about burst into tears.