Monday, December 19, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random

No order or reason for this blog post.  Just random thoughts floating in the head....

  • School is out in three more days.  THREE.  Going out with a group of friends to see my friend Chris perform in a Christmas play and we will be celebrating. 
  • Really looking forward to the holiday break with my girls.  They are home with me every day.  The week before Xmas, I have them evenings too.  The week after, A has them every evening but I have them during the day.  We have some fun things planned with playdates, a sleepover, going to look at lights.  Maggie and I are going to leave Katie with my mom and see my student in the Nutcracker with the Royal Ballet.  All good things
  • A and I rarely exchanged gifts.  Birthdays, Valentine's, Christmas--we just didn't do it.  We easily went years just buying something for our home or not doing anything at all.  He gave me a gift on my birthday last year for the first time in years and it shocked me.  I told MM I'm fine not exchanging gifts.  I don't need anything.  He very firmly informed me that he is NOT ok with that.  So, I've been trying to think of the right thing for him.  Thing I figured it out (can't write about it of course since he does read this blog) but just need to get it all together.  Need to take the girls to get a gift for A as well. 
  • Allie's birthday is this Saturday.  The girls and I are going to Medical City Hospital to visit Dr. Goldman and deliver his annual birthday cake on Friday after school gets out.  It is A's weekend with the girls but he is allowing me to have some time with them on Saturday, so I will pick them up and take them for lunch.  Meeting Frances, A's mom as well.  I miss her and being a part of that family.  Will be nice to be with her a little bit.  I'm very thankful that A and I are so respectful to each other when it comes to Allie.  No matter what, we are connected because we are raising two children together.  We communicate just about every day about the children and we get along fairly well.  We've had a few fights but for the most part, we actually get along better than I expected.  We can even laugh and small talk at times.  When it comes to Allie, we have a bond that will never go away.  We share something there.  No one else knows what it was like to lose their daughter, Allie Scott, but the two of us.  No one truly understands that pain and that lose besides Andrew.  He and I have promised to never deny each other the children on days that are special regarding Allie and we will always respect that grief for the other.  I appreciate that about our relationship. 
  • I don't know how, but I have managed to maintain my weight since June.  I am a size four and fluctuate between 126-128 lbs.  These are words I've NEVER said before IN.MY.LIFE.  I don't know how long I can keep this but I hope a while. I'd like to stay between a size 4-6 if I can.  I love trying on clothes and feeling good about how I look.  I would like to really buckle down on the exercise front and start toning and taking care of the flab I have but we'll see.  Helps that MM is in excellent shape, runs all the time, and eats healthy.  He motivates me too. 
I think that's all I have for now.  Sorry for the random.  I will most likely not post much over the break beyond a photo or two.  I don't have internet at home anymore (to save money).  So, unless I use MM's internet card, I won't write much.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Boyfriend

It's been  8 weeks with my man.  Boyfriend has not become a word I like anymore than I did before, but it is what it is.  He is my boyfriend.  There, I said it.  For his privacy, I will continue just to call .him Boyfriend.This is my blog and my willingness to share so openly. It's not for everyone and I whole heartedly respect that.

I am having so much FUN with him.  We laugh all the time together.  He treats me like a princess.  Everyone morning, I wake up to a text message wishing me a good day.

Katie and  Boyfriend have met.  She calls him "HA." Don't read into that for his name--sounds nothing like it!  We've had a few nights where Maggie has had something else like a sleepover or during the day activity with my mom where  he and I have taken just Sissy out to play.  Naturally, he's smitten by the crazy sweetness that is Sissy.  He's met my brother, mom and grandma.  We're having an adult Thanksgiving with just mom and "Mom Mom" since neither  Boyfriend nor I have kids at all that day.  My mom describes him as a keeper and says she really likes him.

We won't meet Maggie or his girls for a while.  My goal is by my birthday at the end of January, he has met Maggie.  I want to wait to get through the holidays though.  I broached the subject of a boyfriend by telling her about Tracey and her now fiance getting engaged.  "You know, Mr. M was Miss Tracey's boyfriend for a long time.  What do you think if Mama had a boyfriend sometime?"  Giggling, she responds with "Oh MAMA, that would be SO SILLY because then you would have to KISS him!"  His girls are a bit older and I want to really be respectful and go slower on that.  We have time.  He's not going anywhere.

So, there you have it.  I'm someone's girlfriend.  A pretty special someone at that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Je suis Madame Scott

I loved teaching when I did it before.  Quitting to take care of my baby girl when she was sick was an easy decision.  Missing it every day for years after was the tough part.  I tried convincing myself that it was ok.  I didn't need to teach again.  I had already taught the best students, I told myself.  I was content with Heroes for Children and liked my new career.  I was ok.  Except I wasn't.  I missed teaching.  I missed the constant interaction with students. I missed the school environment and speaking French.  So, in October last year, I made the final decision to return to teaching and starting telling a few people of my plan.  As luck would have it, my mentor teacher was retiring after 39 years of teaching, and the principal trusted her to help find the right replacement.  This job was meant to be mine. 

We announced in December to the board and staff that I was leaving.  It was the same day that we closed on our new home.  I remember saying that my life would be so different and everything was changing.  I had NO IDEA how true that statement would be a few months later.  In January, we sent an email going out to over 11,000 constituents announcing my stepping down.  No turning back.  It was out there and this was happening. 

In March, A ended our marriage.  Panic set in.  My marriage was over, my career was changing, and I was panic stricken.  Was this the right time to then make a massive career change?  Would this, including a significant pay cut in salary for me, put me too far over the edge? 

Could I do this?

More than three months after returning the classroom, I know without a doubt, the answer to this question is a resounding YES.  I could do it.  I AM doing it. 

I LOVE TEACHING AGAIN.

Granted, there is the tediuous exhausting and frustrating parts to this job.  The grading consumes me and I am often behind.  The curriculum is entirely new from what it was before and is proving to be more of a challenge for me every day to figure out how to navigate my way through it.  I have to get three of us to three different schools before 8am which is often a race of the clock that I lose.  It's a lot of work, but boy do I ever love it.

I am the co-sponsor of National Junior Honor Society as well as the Department Head of Foreign Language. NJHS is a tremendous amount of work. We have over 150 8th graders in the group and there is a lot of activities and high expectations of the students. I love my co-sponsor and working with her makes my job even better (we even were twins on Twin Day for Red Ribbon Week!)

I've found ME again this year and in this.  In so many ways.  One of the biggest things, I found myself happy again professionally.  I am EXCITED to go to work each day.  I love my students who are silly and fun.  They write me notes and hang pictures they make for me on my board.  We have "video vendredi" every Friday with my 8th graders where we watch something silly on YouTube.  Today is a video of Mr. Bean at a restaurant because we're reviewing food. 

Je suis Madame Scott et je suis très heureuse. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DIVA

Last week, my DIVA turned six.  How is this possible?  How has it already been six years with this child and WHO WILL MAKE TIME SLOW DOWN SO SHE STAYS YOUNG?!?!  My sweet and beautiful Maggie is now six.  I think it will just be a blink of an eye before I find myself saying sixTEEN instead of six.  This does not please me. 

Here are six things about my diva six year old--

1)  She's a fashion girl through and through.  Maggie loves all things about fashion and wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.  She loves nothing more than to go shopping. Doesn't even have to make a purchase.  She literally hugs clothing in stores when she sees something she really likes.  She loves dressing Sissy and picking out her clothes.  She dresses up her stuffed animals and dolls.  I walk in her room some mornings to find Minnie Mouse dressed in a hot pink sparkly top and a baby doll dressed in Maggie's pajamas.  Cracks me up. 

2)  Crafts are our fun thing together.  For her birthday, she wanted lots of craft projects.  From coloring her own umbrella to making lip balm, we have plenty of projects to do.  We love sitting together and doing crafts after Sissy goes to bed.  She begs for craft night. 

3)  Soccer.  NOT.HER.THING.  We tried it.  Our last torturous game is this Saturday morning.  We're the parents on the sideline yelling "Maggie, run!  No, follow the ball!  Get in the game!"  She says she likes to play, but we really think it's about cheering her friends and playing with everyone on the sidelines.  Going to games is just a beating. 

4)  This is her first year in Daisy Scouts.  That's more the pace of my delicate flower.  She loves it.  This weekend, they are planting their garden that they will watch grow this year.  She is always asking if it's Daisy Scout meeting day. 

5)  We just got into American Girl Dolls.  Someone gave Andrew a new Kit doll that he gave to her.  Our first trip to the American Girl Store/Bistro was for her birthday on Sunday just Maggie, me, and the three grandmas (A's mom, mine, and my grandma).  We bought Kit a new outfit and the movie and Nana bought Kit's bed set.  Maggie picked out what she is asking Santa for (Kit's best friend Ruthie and two outfits).  She is so happy with this new interest for her.  We loved our lunch at the store.  She declared it the best day of her life with that and the birthday party a few hours later. 

6)  Maggie is a terrific big sister who loves her Sissy so much.  I asked her the other day who the funniest person she knows is.  She giggled and laughing said "Sissy!!" No matter what mood Maggie is in, Katie makes her laugh.  She loves her and never fails to kiss, hug, and play with her Sis.  She gets excited for her time away from her to have one on one time with just me or just A for her date nights (we plan one a month with each parent/each child) but she is so excited when reunited with Sissy again.  Her love for her makes my heart burst. 

Looking forward to what this year with Maggie will bring us.  No doubt there will be drama, sparkles, lots of pink, plenty of snuggles, and so much love.  Happy birthday to my sweet diva. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flowers, the Fair, and a Card

It's the simply things that can make the biggest impact.  Flowers sent to your classroom before a first date?  I cannot describe how fun it was to have two giggly teenagers walk into my classroom a few weeks ago with a gorgeous arrangmeent of flowers and excitedly ask who they were from.  Or how fun it was to open a card from a man I was really excited to see again.  We met at a "tweet-up" happy hour with some friends I have on Twitter.  He reluctantly agreed to go with a friend after just joining Twitter.  We chatted a bunch that night then began messaging on Twitter.  We talked for a week before our first date. 

The date could not have been better.   We went to the fair a few days after our first date and spent most of a weekend around each other.  At the fair, we laughed ourselves silly on crazy rides and rollercoasters.  We ate corn dogs, shared a turkey leg, and kissed on the midway.  It was perfect.  The time I spend with him could not be better.

Then the confusion set in.  How could I date TWO men?  How could I like this man so much if I barely knew him?  How could I keep my "no relationship" relationship with the "Non-Boyfriend" if I want to pursue something with the new man?  Could I be ready to give up what I had with NB for a real chance at a real relationship? 

I broke up with NB last week.  I took a huge leap and decided to give it a shot with the other man.  We should give him a name now, huh? For his privacy, I won't use his name.

Breaking up with NB was difficult.  We always agreed we would continue the way we were until it didn't work for us for whatever reason.  We agreed we have a strong friendship too.  I have spoken to him since Sunday and I know he is struggling with his divorce and our breakup.  He didn't want to break up but COULD'NT be more than what we were.  He didnt want us to end but didn't want to stop me from pursuing something great either.  He thinks I'm NUTS for getting involved quickly (I agree), but he hopes ("well, maybe only 80% hope") that it does work with Boyfriend and me.  I miss talking and laughing with him and I sincerely hope we'll be able to still be friends.  I just don't know yet.

So, now I'm in a relationship.  I have....a....boyfriend.  Do you know how much I don't like that word? It feels awkward and new.  It scares me.  I'm terrified of getting hurt again or feeling too strongly for him, but I'm trying so much to go with it.  I want to be with him.  I care so much about him.  He makes me smile, laugh, and melt.  He is kind, attentive, and caring.  He treats me the way no one has ever treated me before.  When he looks at me, it's as if there isn't another person anywhere around. Even when surrounded by thousands in the middle of the fair. 

Last night, I opened my mailbox to find a card.  Y'all, he bought a card.  Wrote in it.  Put a stamp on it and mailed to my home.  Thanked me for "taking a leap."  Yeah, I melted. I don't know what will happen next with us, but I'm looking forward to finding out. 

I took a leap.  He says he will catch me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Celebrating a beautiful marriage of an awesome couple

Tracey, the beautiful bride Deanna and me!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who is Jenny?

I've been a part of a whole for the past 16 years.  I wasn't just Jenny, but a part of Jenny AND Andrew.  My identity was wrapped up in the safety of this family I had created.  In this man that I loved.  We became Jenny and Andrew so early in our lives, it was all I knew.  Now, without that AND Andrew after my name, who am I?  Where do I fit and what do I want? 

These are the questions that keep me up at night. 

Here's what I know--each day, I'm learning something about the Jenny now.  The adult I am becoming.  Yes, I'm 33 years old, but I may just now be learning to really be an adult.  One who isn't dependent on someone else but navigating through life on my own.  I'm doing the things that most do in college or in their early twenties.  I'm finding myself.  I'm writing the checks, keeping up with the house and doing the maintenance on the house (not well, mind you, NB made fun of me the other day for saying I didn't know how I to change the lights on my ceiling fan because of how the glass cover is on it.  I caught serious stuff for that one!).  It's not always smooth, but I'm making my way through it. 


Lately, I feel as though I live two lives.  First and foremost is that of mom/teacher.  I am a single working mom who stays up late to get everything done after the girls go to bed and rushes in the morning to get three people to three different schools.  I have gotten the girls and I into a routine and doing activities that are our thing like spending nights playing in the front yard doing chalk art with Brandy running around us or playing in our playroom for hours laughing.  In many ways, I feel like a better parent than I've ever been because when it's just me, I don't have another person to turn to with this.  My girls and I are becoming our own family unit.  My days are just as busy as my nights.  I've reinvented myself in my career with the return of teaching.  I'm Madame Scott again and I love it.

Next comes the life of the single girl.  As I've mentioned before, Andrew gets the children more than a typical standard custody agreement.  So, he has them overnight twice a week and Fri--Sun afternoon on the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month.  Sometimes this changes.  We try to be flexible with each other and our schedules.  I have a lot of free time.  More than I need to be honest.  So, I'm the single girl.

My single girl weekends are fairly planned and packed.  I've made a few new friends and gone out with a few single girlfriends on occasion.  I go out on dates sometimes.  Mainly it's when NB and I have the same off nights which can be rare.  We spent a lot of time this weekend together and it was great.  I keep myself as busy as possible during my nonmommy times.  My single girl time is fun but I always feel that twinge of strangeness, the duplicity of this second life still not yet comfortable.   I am learning to get more used to it. I've adjusted to not having a ring on my left hand and I like flirting when there is the opportunity.  However, by the end of a single girl weekend, I'm anxious to grab my girls and hug them extra tight, but I'm filled with fun times too. 

So who I am now is not yet to be fully answered.  But I'm discovering something new each day. 

I wonder what I'll learn tomorrow?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September

If you are a longtime reader, you know my feelings about September.  You know that my anxiety starts in early August and doesn't subside for weeks as we head towards my least favorite day of the year--September 13th.  September 13, 2004 was the worst day of my life.  Yes, this year has been tough.  2011 will go down in my books as a really tough year that I overcame (see that optimism right there?).  But NOTHING compares to 2004.  Nothing compares to watching my daughter go through chemotherapy, 85 blood transfusions, a stem cell transplant, and so so much more.  Nothing compares to losing my nine month old baby girl to this horrible disease called cancer. 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I do what I can to promote this.  My school is sponsoring Heroes for Children and getting involved with the 5K Run/Walk.  I'll be out there on race day with my girls.  I want September to get as much awareness as possible about childhood cancer and what families go through.  However, at times, I just wish September just simply didn't exist. 

I decided to take off Tuesday for Allie Day, as we call it around here.  Frances (Andrew's mom), my mom and I are taking the girls to the zoo to see our favorite animal.  Must see the giraffes on Allie Day!  Hoping we can even feed the giraffes that you can do at the Dallas Zoo.  I try to make it fun for the girls each year and do something as a family.  Our family is a different dynamic this year, but I will still make it as fun as possible for my girls.  Maggie doesn't truly understand what Allie Day is significant for.  She is excited that Allie Day is this week and happy about our plans.  Andrew will get them around 5:15 or so Tuesday night for his normal night with them.  I'm sure he'll try to do something with them too.  This is the first year we haven't had a family dinner.  Luckily, my sweet friend Nikki is taking time away from her own family to have dinner with me.  We'll go to dinner and then I might meet up with a few other people afterwards. 

What I dread is coming home that night to an empty house of just me and Brandy. 

It's been 7 years since I last saw my baby girl.  I miss that cherub blue-eyed giraffe loving girl just as much as I did on September 14, 2004 when I woke up without her on that first day.  The pain is different.  I don't wake up every morning thinking of her right away anymore.  My mind first goes to her pretty and fun sisters.  I don't cry all the time.  It's a dull ache that is always with me.  It just gets magnified around this time. 

I'm doing alright.  I promise, even though this blog post is fairly sad.  The girls and I had an AWESOME and fun weekend all together. It was nonstop fun and Maggie declared the best part of it was "spending time with you, Mama."  Work is insane but terrific and I have some of the greatest people in my life.  I have way more good than bad in my life and I have memories of that beautiful girl that I cherish every day. 

Thank you for your positive comments and support lately.  They mean the world to me.  Keep them coming and WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Territory

So much about my life is new to me.  It's a time of discovery and learning.  From learning the new curriculum and methodology of foreign language instruction to figuring out things Andrew typically handled for our home, I'm experiencing something new.  Let's cover some of the big ones, shall we?

  • Adjusting to School Life  I forgot about those fun rushed 25 minute lunches!  When I taught, I would get so excited about the summertime and lunching with friends for an extended period of time.  I used to get so excited about it.  Then I worked in a job that required me to lunch with people as often as possible.  Business lunches were so common place that I got burnt out of being at restaurants.  Come next summer, I'll probably be so excited again.  I love my school so much.  I'm truly happy there and love the school environment again.  The teaching itself has been like riding a bike.  The time in front of the students is just as natural for me as it was back then.  My students are challenging, fun, funny, inquisitive, and eager to learn.  My principal could not be a more incredible man and one who deserves and gets the respect of the faculty, parents, and students.  He is the kind of principal I would like to have leading a school Maggie is attending (she won't go to my school when she goes to middle school).  The workload is tremendous and of course I'm already behind in my grading.  I found out that not only am I the foreign language department head but also the head of the other nonmusic elective classes.  Talk about a bit of a shock on the first day of teachers being back at the school!  Oh, and that I was teaching a 6th grade class that I wasn't expecting on top of the 2 7th grade, 3 8th grade and the Advisory (like homeroom) that most of us has too.   I am the co-sponsor of the National Junior Honor Society (yes, both of these positions come with an additional salary benefit and I need that right now).  It's just a bit busy.  :)  I'm so grateful to be back in education and I know without a shadow of  doubt that I made the absolute best decision for ME in this career change. 

  • Time Without the Girls This could quite possibly be one of the toughest parts of the divorce.  A tradiontional divorce grants the noncustodial parent one night a week.  With Andrew being such an active and loving father, I agreed to two nights, overnight.  I will NOT allow my hurt and pain to affect my decision in the unlimited access he deserves as their father.  Frankly, my daughters don't deserve that.  They have a wonderful father who is active in their lives.  This is important.  So long as I continue to feel that he is providing and loving the girls and this isn't affecting their days at school, I won't change this, no matter how hard it is on me.  It's not about me.  It's about the two loves that need both of their loving parents.  However, that doesn't mean that them being out of my home is easy on me.  It is excruciating at times.  I drop them off Tuesday morning.  Since he picks up and drops off directly at school, I don't see them again until Thursday after school.  I found myself practically running into Katie's school building to get her this week.  I keep myself as busy as possible on my nights off.  I've only been able to be home alone for the entire evening ONCE.  

  • Dating  Nothing serious, but yes, I have been dating.  I am in no way interested in a relationship but I do like the company and well, the attention too.  After years of very little attention, no compliments, and the feeling that I wasn't being even looked at, it does feel good.  Andrew recently said to me "I provided for my family, took care of you and the girls, and made sure you were safe, but I wasn't a very good husband to you.  I know that."  Damn that hindsight.  I see it now and know what I was feeling for a while in the marriage was that of being invisible or worthless at times in his eyes, but I never acknowledged it until now.  For the past few months, I've been casually seeing a guy I met at mutual friend's house.  Both of us are going through VERY similar situations.  For his privacy, I won't give you many details about him.  Let's call him NB (that would be Nonboyfriend as I refer to him as when a friend will say "oh, but he's not your boyfriend").  He's not originally from the US and has a great accent and English words that I've never heard before that he teaches me.  He's funny and charming and I enjoy his company.  He opens the car door for me and compliments me constantly.  God, I forgot how nice that feels.  We talk divorce, our exes and heartbreak, and our children A LOT.  We also go on silly dates like rollerskating, see movies, and laugh over stupid stuff.  I've been out with other guys too, and he always knows (met a hot guy on the airplane coming back from California.  I've met up with Hot Airplane Guy once and may have drinks sometime in the next few weeks).  There is no commitment or jealousy because we're not exclusive and won't be for a long time.  He knows I still love A.  Dating is interesting.  It is both scary and exciting.  I dated last as a CHILD.  Think about it--A and I were 17 when we started seeing each other.  I had some boyfriends in high school before him, but nothing serious.  I never dated in college.  Never dated as an adult.  The first date I went on with NB, I was so nervous.  Getting to know someone new is interesting.  I knew everything about A.  Our history spans across almost half my life.  I didn't need to tell A about my prom night because he was my date.  Now I find myself in that strange still trying to get to know the other and showing your best side stage that I never really experienced before.  The good thing with NB is that with busy lives, kids, and work, we don't see each other that often.  This is good because there doesn't give us that time to become too attached or jump into a real relationship.  I'm light years away from that right now.  This is about as close as I want to get.  We'll see how long it lasts.  

  • Not Relying on Andrew  I'll be honest, I'm not so good at this one yet.  I still find myself wanting to reach for my phone and tell him everything that happened in my day.  I still go to him more than I should.  I know this doesn't really help either of us.  A was my support and rock for so long.  I went to him with everything and relied on him for just about everything.  I took advantage of the way he took care of me and the girls and allowed myself to be blissfully unaware of things he handled.  Now, I'm in charge of the finances, having to do things around the house on my own, and it gets tough.  I trust A completely with our girls and their well being.  We still will text about them daily, but I think we'll hit a point where it will be less of the other stuff too.  We had a long talk Thursday night that I think was really good for us.  I think it helped me turn a corner in how I've been.  Life isn't easy for either of us right now.  I think I finally see and understand how hard this is on Andrew to right now.  I know that he is dealing with his guilt of what this has done to both the girls and me.   I haven't always made it easy on him with holding back biting comments or not throwing the "but this is YOUR fault" slap back in his face.  I'm trying to get better at it because frankly it doesn't help. Our situation is what it is.  My goal this week is to try to only interact with A only about the kids.  To create the distance we both need to help us heal.  

  • Changes in Friendship  I won't go into detail much on this one at all and I ask you not to comment on it please.  It's still very raw, but there have definitely been changes in who my friends are.  Debbie and I no longer speak.  Again, I will not discuss but just know that is why she hasn't been mentioned this summer.  

  •  Being Divorced  Yeah, this is an understatement, but just simply being divorced in it's entirety.  Calling A my EX husband instead of my husband.  I usually say husband still and then find myself stumbling to correct myself and throw that ex in there.  The newness of this is still very fresh.  Until Friday, I have cried every day at some point since the finalization.  Didn't cry Friday or Saturday.  Did today.  That's progress.  Any kind of progress is a step in the right direction. 
So you see, it's all new territory.  It isn't easy but as I've been reminded more than once, this unfortunately isn't the worst life tragedy for me to survive.  This is hard.  Harder than I could have ever imagined, but this is survivable and I will survive it.

I want to take a moment in this blog post to say a huge THANK YOU.  As I've said before, I read every comment I get on this blog.  Your support has meant a lot to me and even though most of the commentors are strangers, I don't feel it anymore.  I recognize your name when it comes to me via email that you commented.  Especially those of you that have been commenting for a long time.  I feel surrounded by so many people, even virtually.  Please know that I appreciate I still have a safe place to journal and write out my feelings.  I'll be honest, I've been very nervous about this blog post and talking about dating.  I am fine with the decisions I'm making for me right now, but I just don't want negative comments or judgment.  However, I realized that most of you who come and read here and nothing but care and support.  So many of you have written that you just want to see me get better and heal.  I think even the dating is a part of that healing process.

So there you have it.  If you survived reading this long long blog post, let me be the first to congratulate and apologize to you.  Guess I had a lot to ramble on about tonight.

Thank you all. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Post Divorce

I just typed an entire blog post about how I've been emotionally post divorce.  I realized it was too raw to hit send.  I'll try to figure out what I want to say here on the blog, but for now, I'll just say I'm here.  I'm loving my job and my students.  That and the girls keep me going on a daily basis. 

I'm here.  I'm breathing.  I'm hurting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Better In Time

Better In Time
Leona Lewis

It's been the longest winter without you
I didn't know where to turn to
See somehow I can't forget you
After all that we've been through

Go in, come in, thought I heard a knock
Who's there?  No one, thinking that I 
deserved it
Now I realize that I really didn't know
You didn't notice, you mean everything
Quickly I'm learning to love again
All I know is, I'm a be okay

Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
(It'll all get better in time)
Even though I really loved you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
(It'll all get better in time)

How could I turn on the TV
Without something there to remind me? 
Was it all that easy
To just put aside your feelings? 

If I'm dreaming, don't wanna let, 
hurt my feelings
But that's the path, I believe in
And I know that, time will heal it
You didn't notice you, you mean everything
Quickly I'm learning to love again
All I know is, I'm a be okay

Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
(It'll all get better in time)
Even though I really loved you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
(It'll all get better in time)

Since there's no more you and me
It's time to let you go so I can be free
And live my life how it should be 
No matter hard it is
I'll be fine without you
Yes, I will


Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
(It'll all get better in time)
Even though I really loved you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
(It'll all get better in time)



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back Where I Belong

I'm tired tonight so I won't do a long post.  Just a quick blog post to tell you how much I love being back in a school environment.  Last week was four days of new teacher inservice and this week is jammed packed with inservice both at my school and then with the district foreign language department.  Seven days from tomorrow, I'll be standing outside my classroom greeting students.  I CANNOT WAIT.  There is a ton of work to do from now until then to be ready (did I mention I agreed to be the Head of the Foreign Language Department at my school?!? No, well, yeah). 

At least professionally, things are as they should be and I'm right where I belong. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finalized

As you can see from the photo below, I escaped the Texas heat this past weekend and traveled to California.  I grew up in the East Bay and moved to Texas at the end of 7th grade.  I've reconnected with some friends and was fortunate to be able to travel and stay with a friend.  We did a little tourist stuff then visited the old neighborhood before spending the rest of the time with other old friends.  I laughed hysterically for hours on end and smiled at old memories.  It was exactly what I needed before my summer officially ended.  Special thanks to Tom, Jeremy, Amy, Amber, and Adrienne for making it a wonderful trip.  I will NOT lose touch again.  XOXO

School started today for new teachers with inservice.  That is a whole different blog post, but I'm happy to be back in education and a school environment. 

But as I said, that's for another day. 

Before I started work today, I got divorced yesterday.

I am officially divorced now.  With changing the date of finalization to Tuesday instead of my original Monday, Tracey couldn't go with me due to an important appointment.  Luckily, Deanna and my friend Melissa (who most of us lovingly refer to as Meli) were able to go with me.  Meli picked me up and we went to get De on our way to the courthouse.  I cannot tell you how much it helped me to have them to stand beside me during this process.

Standing in front of the judge and reading the "prove up statement" formally requesting my divorce and listing my children and information about our marriage was HORRIBLE. 

I sobbed through it.  You stand at the podium and read the statement exactly as it is written.  All I had to do was fill in the blanks.  I began to cry when I stated that we were married on June 5, 1999, and I cried as I continued through the document.  De and Meli sat in the courtroom silently crying with me.  The hardest part?  The section that mentioned my children.  My divorce decree was prepared (thank you to my mom who retyped all my chicken scratch notes to complete it for me) with only Maggie and Katie listed.  This is because it pertained to child support and custody.  However, the prove up statement was worded different.  It read "There were ____ children born/adopted during the period of the marriage."  Then it had blanks for childrens ages and names. 

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  Having only listed Maggie and Katie on the decree, I worried the judge would question me too much if I put Allie in the document.  What if that affected my divorce being finalized.  On the other hand, how could I possibly only list Maggie and Katie and say that two children were born during the marriage? THREE beautiful blue eyed babies were born.  THREE wonderful, loving, sweet, precious baby girls enter our lives during that marriage. 

In the end, I did end up stating that three children were born and listed Allie as deceased in the space for age.   Yeah, try reading THAT out loud to the judge granting your divorce without crying.  IMPOSSIBLE.  I sobbed through it all and heard De and Meli's sniffles behind me.  I choked as I read the final line of request that the judge grant me a divorce. 

Two minutes after I stood in front of the judge, I was declared divorced. 

16 years together, 12 years of marriage, 3 little girls, 2 houses, 2 apartments, 4 cruises, 5 trips to Europe, 2 major deaths, and COUNTLESS memories--it only took a judge less than two minutes to declare it all over. 

I cried for hours yesterday off and on.  The girls took me to breakfast afterwards. When I looked up to see Tracey and her boyfriend walk in, I collapsed into tears in her arms.  The love and support I received from them was what I needed.  That's not to mention the texts, emails, FB messages, and tweets I got from friends near and far sending their love.  I was so loved and supported. 

I know that some of you are wondering right now where Andrew was during all this.  I know because others asked right away.  He was not required to go to the courthouse.   When I filed the initial petition for divorce, Andrew signed a waiver and had it notarized that he accepted the terms and things presented in the divorce paperwork.  In an uncontested divorce, he didn't have to do anything further. That's ok for me.  I had some control in my situation yesterday, something I haven't felt as though I've had since it all began.  It was me handling this divorce in the timeframe that worked for me.  That is good.   He approved the divorce decree and we went through the terms of the decree together to make sure we had the best decisions made for our girls.  The county requires by law that both of us take a court ordered parenting class for 4 hours about parenting in an divorce as effective co-parents (don't get me started about that).  Both of us took the class and agreed that we are acting in the best interests of our daughters with everything we do. 

So, I'm divorced.  I've started a new job.  I'm moving forward. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Random

Just a random blog post about various things in my head.  I don't tend to get more than 4-6 of sleep (if that) a night these days, so I feel like my thoughts are all a bit jumbled.

Here goes....

  • Crazy Katie turned 18 months this week!  We call her the Wild Child now.  She is truly INSANE.  Sissy never stops moving and is a complete whirlwind around this house.  She makes me and Maggie laugh hysterically with her antics.  She's fearless and destructive.  Life with Sissy is never boring! 
  • Maggie starts kindergarten next month.  I can't believe my BABY is almost a kindergartner.  Of course, because it is also my first day of school, I most likely will not be able to take her.  Andrew will come to the house early to drive her to school.  Katie will be going to a private preschool (where Maggie went until the end of May) that day as well.  August 22nd will be a big day for all three of us! 
  • Speaking of going back to work, holy cow, I go back two weeks from tomorrow.  Our summer has flown by and I'm almost a teacher again.  I have a lot to do before then and really need to get cracking. 
  • Two days before that, I'll be divorced.  I go to the courthouse on August 8th to finalize the divorce in front of the judge.  Tracey has it marked on her calendar to take me, knowing full well I need someone by my side.  The worst part about it is the "prove up statement" that has to be read.  If you use a lawyer, he/she does it.  If you don't, you have to read it to the judge.  States when you married your spouse, when you ceased to live as a married couple, children's names, and says that the marriage is no longer supportable and you request the divorce.  I highly doubt I will make it through that without sobbing.  
  • I miss camp and my camp friends.  I am flying down for a meeting on Aug 6th to San Antonio and then hosting a pool party at my house later in the month with the Dallas/Ft. Worth folks (most of us them live in San Antonio and a few in Austin).  I miss the great people that are involved with camp and the kids.  
  • I have the next two weekends off from my kids (5th weekends are split.  He has them this one, I have them the next time there is a 5th weekend in October and then he always has them the 1st weekends of the month).  I both love and hate these weekends.  The breaks are nice and I keep myself busy and try to have some fun things planned.  However, I miss them when they aren't here.  It's hard to sleep in the house without them.  This weekend is a bachelorette party for Deanna and a musical with my mom.  Not sure about the day time activities (though I might just be recovering on Sat from the bachelorette party!).  I'm very lucky to have great people in my life I can make plans with, like having dinner and a movie with Tracey tonight.  They are my lifeline and I'm blessed.  
How about a few pictures, shall we?  Told you I'm random today!


If you're watching My Little Ponies, you of course need to have them with you!

This picture CRACKS ME UP.  Sissy didn't want to be in the stroller (she needs to GO!) and Maggie isn't going to break her pose and smile

Wild Child in action

Fourth of July fun at Traceys--Amy, Tracey, me, and Deanna.  Love them so much

Seriously wouldn't be surviving everything without Tracey

Me and Deanna on T's birthday before we went in to see a psychic!  I need to remember to blog about that! 
Sissy helped me unpack from camp


Maggie and I had a special Mama/Daughter Date just the two of us.  She declared it the "best night of my life!"

She chose Wing Stop for our dinner on our date.  Love this girl so much it hurts

Silly Sissy during Maggie's swim lessons.  She was a trooper getting carted to daily swim lessons for four weeks 

Maggie being silly and dressing up

Sweet Brandy chilling out on the couch.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Happiest of Happy Places

Last week was "summer fun time out in the sunshine!"  Camp Discovery time!  For the seventh summer in a row, I was the Arts and Crafts Coordinator for Camp Discovery, a kids camp for children with cancer ages 7-16.  If you're a long time follower of my blog, you know that it's my happy place.  My happiest of happy places really.  For about two weeks leading up to camp, I found myself constantly thinking about it.  I was even described by a friend as sounding like a giddy 8 yr old when I talk about camp.  I love it.  I love the people, the kids, the activities, the crafts and projects we do, the cheesy songs that get stuck in your head for days on end.  I love it all. 

This was my BEST summer yet at camp.  Our arts and crafts schedule was more packed than usual, with the campers coming to our area four times during the week per cabin group instead of their usual three times.  We did major projects.  Not just one, but three, plus more beading time than we've ever had.  The campers were awesome.  The counselors are truly some of the best people I know. 

Seven of us flew into San Antonio from Dallas and arrived to the hospital where we meet each year to load up our stuff and head out to Kerrville where our camp is.  My first year, I remember watching all these people hug for the first time after not seeing each other for a year and feeling a bit awkward.  I knew no one and they were greeting each other as if they were at a family reunion seeing loved ones they held dear.  I stood and watched as they all hugged and found a group of other newbies so we could awkwardly stand together.  Now, seven summers later, I am a part of that family and a part of that reunion.  THE HUGS.  Oh, the hugs I got when I arrived.  I can't tell you how badly I needed those hugs or those people.  After months of pain with the separation and divorce, I needed to be there with this special family of mine, enveloped by their friendship and love. 

We pulled into the camp and a counselor said, "we're home, guys."  Yes, we were.  For the next week, that was our home.  We would have Happy Nappy time, activities, a carnival, dining hall food for breakfast lunch and dinner, a dance, and so much more.  Most importantly, we would be working with some of the most inspirational and amazing children.  There was a fourteen year old girl with a prosthetic leg (coolest prosthetic ever with the entire thing detailed with a photo of the Beatles) who had not been able to be without her crutches at all in PT.  What did she do at camp?  SALSA DANCE.  Now THAT is the magic of camp. 

I could (and do) talk incessantly about camp and what we do.  I could tell you for hours about songs, funny things people said or did, our late nights getting ice cream after the campers were in bed, and of course, about the campers.  I could tell you how I was ridiculously stupid happy every single day.  The happiest I've been in MONTHS. 

Camp is magical. 

We are not allowed to share photos that include campers, but here are some other camp photos.  This doesn't even scratch the surface of how great Camp Discovery truly is.  Pictures will never fully be able to do that. 


On the plane with Charlie.  Charlie has been a great friend for years and I am so thankful for his friendship over the past few months.  He's really been here for me.  

On the plane silliness

The Arts and Crafts room.  My home away from home!

Me and Amy.  Love this girl and all her snarkiness  

The tough part about being at camp--being away from my loves.  Luckily, Andrew set up FaceTime on my MacBook and I was able to see the girls a few times during the week and called every day. 

Paint isn't just for birdhouses, you know! 

To go with our hero theme, we had wounded soldiers from the Center for the Intrepid join us on Tuesday of camp.  These three guys hung out with us in A&C for an activity period and were incredibly inspiring

Amy excited to tie dye.  We only did it this year because she loves it and begged me.  

I'm not so much a fan of the tie dye

And this would be why.  After two straight days of tie dye (this photo is after day one), I still have dye in my cuticles one week later.  It's chaos and messy as heck, but the shirts turned out great and the kids had fun.  

Took this photo for Maggie.  We had a superhero theme week, so this was me ready for our dance.  Amazing what being 50 lbs less will do for you--I danced almost the whole time.  White girl, uncoordinated dance moves, of course, but I danced!  HAHA

New activity this year.  Watched The Incredibles outside after our campfire.  Very cool

I always love the chalk art that happens in my room every year

Indication we did a LOT in A&C this year--this is all empty boxes we threw away!



It's not Camp Discovery without JELLO WARS! Picture a soccer field filled with baggies of jello, cans of whipped cream and a five minute free for all.  Disgusting yet so much fun!


Me and Charlie right after Jello Wars.  I blame him for the glop of whipped cream in my ear!

Gotta love a guy who rocks purple tights to jello wars.  :)  My friend Brandon

Love counselors.  My job is work, but NOTHING compared to all the work they put in during camp.  

Johnny, our Co-Director.  Highly respect this man.  

She was happy with the end result of her tie dyed creation.  Worth it 



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Body in Transformation

Just like the rest of my life, my body has been transforming.  One year after beginning my yoga journey, I see a very different girl in the mirror.  I'm now 127 lbs (OMG!!!), a loose size four/small, and I just bought my first bikini today (not a friggin chance I will post a picture in that).  The size 6 skinny jeans that I FLIPPED out when I bought (yes, there was jumping up and down in the dressing room) are now too loose. 

I blogged a few months ago about how I have modified my eating.  I still keep to this.  I eat much less and I don't stress eat.  Unfortunately, I went the opposite direction for a while where I could barely eat some days when the initial separation happened.  I lost 15 lbs out of sheer stress and pain.  Now, my weight has stabilized.  I have weighed this since mid-May, but my size is better.  I'm still doing portion control, while allowing myself a few unhealthy things on occasion.  I did eat a hot dog and cupcake yesterday.  Just didn't eat more than one cupcake or a hot dog and a hamburger.  I did it in moderation.

Right now, I'm still going to my yoga studio.  It's sporadic though.  When I can get there.  This week, I will luckily get myself there three or four times.   My body feels so much better when I do.  I purchased a four dvd yoga set to do at home, and I set up my treadmill.  I've been walking a track with a friend sometimes too.  My goal is to increase my psychical activity to do something each day--besides, chasing Katie around which, trust me, is A LOT!  My big goal is to learn to run and participate in the Heroes for Children 5K in September for the first time (I won't be working it this year). 

This is the first time in my life I've liked how I look.  I love trying on clothes.  My girlfriend just gave me a bunch of her things.  Today, I wore an XS top.  No joke, XS.  I have bought a few cheap sundresses at Target, without even trying them on.  This is huge.  I try everything on.  I love dresses now, and even shorter ones like the one I wore to my going away happy hour. 

I still struggle with perception.  I still see myself as bigger.  I struggle to believe I'm really this size.  Though I've seen the number on the scale since May, I step on every day expecting it to be a mistake.  I start with a Large top in the store and often work my way down to a small.  I told my girlfriend emphatically that there was no way the clothes she was bringing over for me would ever fit.  They looked way too small.  No chance could I wear that tight fitting cute size small top.  They all fit, even that top. 

The new size is helping contribute to the new self confidence too.  I'm finding myself in so many ways right now.  I'm finding that I don't have to rely on anyone to get things done in my life.  I can do them.  I AM doing them.  I have been out with friends and flirted some with men.  Because I like how I feel, that comes across.  I've been out on a date or two and have liked being complimented on how I look. Don't go reading into that too much, readers, I'm in NO WAY ready or wanting to jump into a relationship of any kind with anyone.  It's just nice to be noticed again.  I was the one still in love in our marriage, not him.  I haven't been genuinely complimented in years.  A made me feel safe, secure, and happy, but I fished for the compliments.  I can't tell you how good it feels for someone to tell me I'm pretty again.  I had stopped thinking I was at all. 

My body, my mind, my life continues to transform. 

 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Changes

After my dad died in 2000, I remember my mom renovating her home.  She had new floors put in, purchased new bedding, repainted her kitchen, and even changed what was the living room (his favorite room and where he passed away) into a different dining space and made the formal living room her new regular space.  I remember her telling me then that she HAD to make this change.  She NEEDED these changes to remain in that house and move forward with her new life. 

I don't know that I fully understood her strong desire for these changes until recently.  Now that I am faced with 16 years of memories around every corner, I feel it.  While it is stressful that I'm in this big house (dear lord 3300 sq feet is A LOT of house for one person to keep up with, especially with Miss Destructive Baby), I'm starting to be a bit more grateful that he left me in the house we've only lived in for months and not years.  The other house was more manageable, yes, and cheaper, but it was also full of memories.  I brought all three of my babies home to that house.  We had it built, picking out every detail together and coming throughout the construction to see the progress.  We were so young when we built it and I worked a second job at Outback Steakhouse to help us with the cost.  I painted every room and he did a ton of handiwork, including all the tile and laminate flooring.  I don't have nine years of happiness living in that home staring at me daily.  I have a house he lived in from December--first of April.  It's a lot of work, but there are a lot less ghosts. 

However, I feel the need to make the changes.  With the exception of one picture of us with Allie and two of us with Maggie as a baby that Maggie has requested in her bedroom, all pictures that included Andrew have been put in a closet.  My wedding photos, our trips together (cruise picture, us in front of the Eiffel Tower), and ones of us as teenagers (prom, high school graduation, silly one of us peeking out through streamers) have all gone to the guestroom closet.  Any photo I thought he would want of the kids and him, his family, him as a child, etc I packed up for him and gave to him last week.  Packing up the things he didn't take when he moved could be an entirely different blog post--how I held it together sorting through most things but lost it when I found his favorite childhood costume, a NASA suite that was the source of many family jokes. 

Heroes for Children got me a beautiful gift of a large frame that people signed at my going away party with a collage of photos from the evening.  I lovingly took down the huge photo of us with Allie (me kissing the top of her head while he kissed the top of mine) and replaced it with this new photo.  With a large empty gameroom of missing furniture and his big TV, I turned it into a fun kids playroom for the girls.  They love it.  I miss having the second living room that I could retire to after the girls go to bed (living room is right off the bedroom hallway and when I try to watch TV there, Maggie sits on her bed and yells to me about things!), but I'm adjusting to having this fun new space for the girls to play.

My bedroom is currently undergoing the biggest transformation.  I purchased new bedding and pictures for above the bed.  I'm finishing painting the room today a pretty blue/grey color.  Tracey described it best as a pewter.  I'm making the room MINE.  The bedroom furniture is what we purchased together as a big Christmas/birthdays/Valentine's gift to ourselves I think back in 2005 or so, but everything else will be mine.  Picked out by me.  The bedding is beautiful (thank you, Target!), delicate, and slightly feminine.  My mom is helping me with painting and playing with kids while I do it.  Maggie has declared she and I a team and has even helped in the painting process too.  Read--more work but it makes her happy.  Read also--MOM GUILT in a major way and I will let her do most things to make her happy. 

The room will be completed tomorrow.  I've made friends with the young neighbors across the street--four roommates renting from a relative of one of theirs, two boys and two girls in their early twenties--and had the guys help me and mom move furniture yesterday.  They said they can come tomorrow morning and move it back in place for me.  Given that I can't do it myself, I will happily wait until tomorrow.  I can't wait for it to be finished.  I can't promise that I will post pictures of the room.  I may want to safeguard that and keep it private.  Who knows though.  I might be so damn excited that I post it and want to show off.  We'll see. 

Making these changes in the home and my life (separate blog post coming about my new size and new found confidence because of it) helps significantly as I navigate this transition.  This summer is all about transformation.  Everything is changing.  Some things are out of my control and some I can do something about.  Maybe that is why I love painting my room and redecorating it so much--it is completely within my control.  Maybe I needed to regain at least a little control to keep me pointed in the right direction. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HFC Going Away Happy Hour

Cannot fully describe how much I love these photos and the people in them. This was my going away happy hour on June 9th. What a journey it's been with Heroes for Children.

The whole crowd with me and Larissa hugging in the middle
The Heroes for Children staff.  Some VERY hardworking women.  
Larissa and me.  

Sometimes the staff can be a little silly.  You should see how slap happy we get after events!
The very FIRST HFC volunteer and our Office Manager, Cheryl.  

My mom and me

Larissa begins to toast me.  I know I'm not going to make it without crying.  Her speech was wonderful

Like I said, wasn't going to make it through it.

Then they said I had to make a speech.  Cried through the whole thing and attempted to thank everyone as best as possible. 

"To Jenny" 

Me, Brooke, and her mom Jill.  Brooke is one of my favorite patients and her family is extremely special to me.  She made this painting of the two of us that now hangs in my playroom.  LOVE

Opening the gift from Brooke

Allie's beloved oncologist (heading straight to the Mavs game after) Dr. Stan Goldman and his wife Ellen

My partners in crime!  Well, our my Vice Chairman of the Board, Christie, and my Chairman of the Board Allan.  Best travel companions and terrific friends!