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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A trip to the cemetery.

So yesterday was a busy day. But so much fun!

We drove into Richmond and met Holdin' Holden and Mom-Troversial and their kids at Hollywood Cemetery. We explored the amazing cemetery for a few hours and then went down to the James River to eat lunch and swim. We had an absolute blast and I'm so happy that we got to meet them. I wish we would have had more time, but maybe next year! Go check out the pages/blogs - they might have more pictures posted since I have very limited access right now.

After we were done, we headed back out her for more fun and frolic. The Dude and i took a long walk through the woods while the kids were in the pool and then we had burgers and dogs for supper before our friend Bruce had to leave so we shot a quick group picture before he bolted. Then it was more quality time at the firepit - including s'mores.

Everyone slept well last night - including me! I didn't wake up until 10:45! The kids are already back in the pool and we are just going to hang out here today and relax and do laundry before we head out to our next destination in the morning.

Stay tuned.....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun, continued!

Let's see.....what all did we do today?

Breakfast with an old friend in Shelbyville, KY at 6am.

Lunch with a "new" friend - the admin from one of my favorite Facebook pages/blogs - I can't link it from my phone, but we got to meet Cecile from S.S. TTSP and her 5 kids - and yes she is just as crazy insane as I am! We had a great time at a fish hatchery in Morehead, KY. If you aren't familiar with her blog/page, you should go check it out!

We finally arrived at our friends' house in rural Virginia at about 8pm. We had a quick supper and headed off to the firepit before a huge thunderstorm hit and chased us back to the garage for guitar playing and singing.

Tomorrow morning's plans involve a trip into Richmond to meet some other bloggers.....but you'll have to wait to see who they are!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day One

So we are officially on our way. As I type this, The Dude is driving across Missouri. We have done about 300 miles so far and are running right on time to meet my friend Tom for breakfast in western Kentucky.

The Dude powernapped for a while when we first started since he's better at driving at night. We stopped in Kansas City, MO for supper. The kids are fired up but are doing relatively ok so far.

I did finally allow The Dude to drive so that I could finish my nails. Priorities, I tell you. Priorities.

It's almost time...

It's after midnight, so we are officially leaving for TMOART:12 today.

If all goes according to plan, we will be pulling out of here in approximately 12 1/2 hours. We're planning to leave at about 2pm and drive more-or-less straight through to Virginia, with a couple of short stops planned in various places along the way. We're meeting a friend for breakfast in Kentucky, and another friend for lunch a little farther east in Kentucky too. We plan to arrive at our destination in Virginia Friday evening.

We have lots of stuff planned for our weekend there - but I'm not telling you what we're doing. You're just going to have to pay attention and follow along on the road trip.

Of course, I'll be posting status updates on my facebook page as we go, and I'll blog as often as I can - but it's a pain in the butt to do from my phone. And for some reason, when I did a test run the other night, I had issues getting it to post to my wall. I'll play around with it some more and see if I can figure it out.

Anyway, as of now, I have clothes for me, The Dude, and all 3 boys packed. The 3 older kids opted to stay with Ex1 tonight so the girls will have to get their clothes together in the morning when they get back.

The tent is packed up and in the van - that was an experience.

The van is officially "Road Trip Ready" - new tires, new oil and oil filter, new air filter, and a "new" brakelight assembly thingamajig (ok, so we robbed it off of The Dude's van. Don't judge.), and it's been vacuumed out and the trash has been removed from it.

All of the laundry is done, except for what we're currently wearing. The dishes are all done and just need to be taken out of the dishwasher and put away. The local police department has been notified that we will be gone so that they can keep an eye out if necessary. A friend is going to get my mail and water my plants.

Tomorrow morning we finish packing up the odds and ends. Straighten up the house. Double check everything to make sure that we didn't forget anything important. Get some food to put in the cooler to munch on to save money along the way. Get some stamps to mail out the bills that I'll have to pay while we're on the road. Mow the grass (and the neighbor's grass).

And then we hit the road.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making progress

Today was officially "Get The Van Ready For TMOART:12 Day" - and it was a long day, to say the least.

The boys and I started by getting up early to go get the new tires for the van. I had gotten 2 new ones last spring before we went to Texas, but we really needed to get 2 more. So we went.

Alex had fun playing with Luke, the shop cat. And then both boys were just tickled to be able to watch the men putting the new tires on the van.

After we got done with the tires, we came back home and I finished cleaning and scrubbing out the chest freezer and got that all done. And of course, worked on some laundry and cleaning and all of that fun stuff. Then we went and got The Dude and ran a couple of errands before we started on the next project - changing the air filter and the oil in the van. That....was an experience.

The air filter was a nightmare. I have no idea how long we wrestled with that thing, but we finally got it changed. It took both of us, several improperly used tools, a lot of 4 letter words, and lots of sweat to get it done. (I admit it - changing it was my idea - I mean really, if we're changing the oil, why don't we go ahead and do the air filter too? It can't be that hard, can it? *snort*)

After that The Dude pretty much took over and changed the oil and oil filter, which really took no time at all. While he went inside to clean up and get a shower, I finally got around to tying up my tomato plants - I just have them planted in buckets on my front steps with a couple of jalapeno plants - and I was thrilled to see these....

When we finally got done with all of that fun stuff, we took the old oil back to the store (love that we can do that) and bought the new bulb for my brake light that we forgot the first time around and then stopped to grab some food.

After we ate, we took The Dude back home and hung out there for a little while before the boys and I came back home. It was still daylight so I decided to go ahead and change the burned out bulb in my brake light...again. I just changed it about a month ago, so I was already annoyed.

With Alex's help to test the lights, I found out that apparently, it's not the bulb after all. For whatever reason, that light just. won't. work. So, that just adds something else to the list of things to figure out before we leave.

At least once I figure that out, and then clean out the van - it will be officially ready to hit the road on Thursday.

I hope I'm ready by then.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More vacation prep

For whatever reason, it really hit me today that we are leaving for TMOART:12 in 4 days. Four. Like, less than a week. Later this week, we are leaving to drive 4000+ miles.

Am I ready?

Uh, no.

You would think after making this trip, or trips similar to it, several times in the past, that I wouldn't panic so much. But I am quickly heading into full-out panic mode. I have managed to avoid the worst of the jitters that I went through last year, but they're starting to hit.

I've asked The Dude about 87 times today if he's sure that he wants to go with us. Call me silly, but I just have this horrible feeling that he's going to change his mind at the last minute. Of course, I know he's not going to do that....but still....

So all that means is that it's now time to run around like an idiot and clean the house and take care of absolutely everything that must be done before we leave the house.

Because you know, the chest freezer HAS to be defrosted before we go.

And the laundry room HAS to be cleaned up and organized.

Seriously though, I'm getting my new tires tomorrow morning (yes, that's a necessity) and we're going to get the oil changed in the van this week (another necessity), and of course I'll be finishing up all of the laundry and cleaning that I have to do. And packing. And repacking. And packing and repacking the van. I will probably balance the checkbooks 32 times between now and Thursday, mapquest everything 423 times (why? I have GPS on my phone...), ask The Dude on an hourly basis if he still wants to go, and chew my fingernails down to bloody nubs.

Oh yeah. I have to do my nails too. Gah!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is a test....this is only a test...

So Daniel and I are on our own tonight while Alex is at his father's house. We came over to The Dude's to hang out and have a late supper. Unfortunately, in true Daniel style, he didn't last very long and passed out while watching a movie. I decided to take the opportunity to see if I can still blog from my phone so that I can work out any kinks before we leave for TMOART:12 on Thursday.

Forgive any typos....this screen and keyboard are small! Assuming that this still works, this is how I will be doing most of my blogging while we are on the road.

So let's see if this works, shall we?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Answers to some more of your questions....

So on my facebook page again tonight, I asked if anyone had any questions for me to answer. I got some serious ones and some silly ones, and I'm going to answer all of them (and attempt to keep it clean) here for you.

Wendi asked: How do you keep 5 kids from killing one another, or putting you in a nuthouse on a cross country drive? I'd be scared to death to take 5 kids on TMOART.

This is actually easier than it should be. My kids are really good at travelling for some strange reason. I've done the trip twice by myself with the kids - once 3 years ago and once last year. We generally don't have many problems. They bring some little toys with them (think Happy Meal toys) and some books and things like that. But we usually just play silly car games and sing and talk. We don't have a portable DVD player or anything like that - I don't feel like spending the money on one, dealing with it breaking, or dealing with the fights over what movies to watch - I deal with that enough at home! They like to look at maps to try to figure out where we are, and that helps, especially now that they're older. And I let them play with the camera a little bit too. At least this time, we'll have The Dude with us to help run interference if necessary!

Amanda asked: Here's one for ya.....Why are weddings so damn expensive?! lol

My response to her was "Ha! I am not the person to ask about weddings! My first one was less than $1000 and my second was about $200. ....and there will not be a third one."

Seriously though, even though I dreamed of having the big traditional church wedding when I was a little girl, I didn't do it that way either time. My first wedding happened when I was about 6 months pregnant with Sarah, and we had it outside at a park. We bought meat/cheese and veggie trays at the grocery store, decorated ourselves, and cleaned up ourselves. My wedding dress was given to me by Ex1's sister and I just paid to have it altered. My Matron of Honor's dress was bought at a local outlet store for about $20. Ex1 wore a tux. A friend did the flowers. My sister took the pictures. It was a nice wedding, but it was super inexpensive.

The second wedding - we eloped. Cheap, quick, and easy. It was perfect for what we wanted to do at the time. We had planned to do a second "real" ceremony at my church, but that never happened.

Yes, I Really DID Just Say That Now STFU asked: What kind of panties are you wearing? ;)

Who said I'm wearing any? ;) OK seriously....

Nope. Not going to tell you that one. Going to let you wonder.

Not As Sweet As I Look asked: If you could be any food, what food would you be, and why?

That's a hard one. My first answer would be chocolate - sweet and decadent, and everyone (who is normal) loves it. But pizza is always good too - it's versatile. You can put just about anything on it, it's good hot or cold, it can be breakfast, lunch, supper, or a late-night snack....and it's just good.

An anonymous person asked: Why do you say that there will not be a 3rd wedding for you? If you are in love with the Dude, why won't you marry him?

Well, as I mentioned above, I've been married twice. Neither one of those worked out for various reasons, and when the marriages ended I was devastated. Frankly, I don't want to play that game again. I love The Dude with all my heart, and we are planning for our future. He's ok with not getting married - we don't believe that we have to have a piece of paper and a big ceremony to prove that we love each other. There are also financial reasons why it is better for us NOT to get married - not the least of which is the Social Security that I receive as long as I am not married. Some people have told me that this is a purely selfish reason to not get married again but I don't see it that way. For now, my kids' needs are being met every month without fail, and that's not something that I am willing to throw away for any reason. Call it selfish, call it practical, call it whatever you want, but it is what it is. At some point, probably in the fall after the kids are back in school, I plan on getting a "real" job so that I am not fully dependent on the Social Security, but for now I think my time is better suited to being a mom, first and foremost.

Cecile asked: What is your favorite 'me' moment. We know you're doing this alone (up until now, at least. No offense Dude!) so what do you do to unwind thats just for you?

Hmmmmm....honestly, I don't get a lot of down time, but when I do, I'm usually online *gasp*....or I kick back and watch a movie and do my nails. Or I go out and walk/jog - which I haven't been doing enough of lately.

Kerry (aka The Dude) asked: Since we first met, my dear NSM, what moment sticks out in your mind as your favorite?

That's a tough one, babe. You do things every day that still amaze me. However, probably the most favorite of the favorites would be (in no particular order) the first kiss, the trip to OKC in January, planning TMOART:12 with you, and seeing you at the finish line at my races.

I still can't believe that you are willing to drive across the country with me and 5 kids....

Yes, I Really DID Just Say That Now STFU asked: How does the Dude "measure up" to all of your ex's? Take that one, Kerry!!! lol

Well, he's taller than both of my ex-husbands, but shorter than Alex's father. And I'll let that one go right there. ;)

Cecile asked: Does he wear his purty, shiny hat ALL the time? Bahahaha

For those who don't know, The Dude is a very outspoken guy in the political realm. He has an internet radio show that he does every Sunday night and also goes on other shows throughout the week. His nickname on that side of things is "Conspiracy Theorist" and as a joke, he made a tinfoil hat, which he wore in one of his pictures on his facebook page. Our friend Cecile (among others) loves to hassle him about his hat - but he gets a kick out of it.

Funny thing is that I am about as anti-political as possible. Seriously. I don't talk politics. I don't really pay attention to politics. But that hasn't been an issue in our relationship. While his passion is to put the information out there for people to draw their own conclusions, he doesn't push his agenda on anyone - including me.

If you're interested in hearing what he has to say, you can check out his facebook page too. Just keep in mind, views expressed on his page do not necessarily reflect my views, blah blah blah yada yada yada....

But to answer your question, Cecile - he only wears it to annoy me occasionally. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if he wears it to bed when I'm not around to see it! ;)

So there you have it. The answers to your burning questions. These are fun to do occasionally, so keep your eye out, and I might do it again sometime after we get back from vacation!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some of your questions....

I was kind of stumped as to what to write about tonight so I posted a question on my facebook page to see if anyone on there had anything specific for me....

And no, Ryan, I do not know why pudding is so awesome. I think it just has to do with the awesomeness that is pudding - it really just can't be beat. Unless it's lumpy. Or pistachio.

Cecile - we will be chatting about our specific plans, but yes, I do believe that they are going to happen! ;)

But for the serious questions....

Someone who is fairly new to my blog asked me to tell something about each of my kids, so here goes...

Sarah is my oldest. She is 12 years old and is going into 7th grade this fall - a fact that I still can not comprehend. She is now officially wearing shoes that are bigger than mine (wait, what?) and I can already tell that she's going to be taller than I am - not that that will be difficult to accomplish. She is the athletic one of the bunch, and is a talented basketball player, but she is easily frustrated and isn't sure that she wants to continue, although she's been playing for 3 or 4 years already. She also plays the flute, but is considering switching to a different instrument. She is doing great in school, but sometimes her frustration gets the best of her - but she's learning to control that.

Emily is 10 (11 next month) and is going into 6th grade in the fall. She is the resident brainiac, getting almost all straight As for the entire time that she's been in school (I think there might have been one B in there a year or two ago). She also plays basketball and loves it, although I don't know if she'll stick with it or not. I've always imagined her to be the dancer or gymnast of the bunch, but we'll see what she decides to do. She is also in band and is playing the clarinet, and seems pretty happy with that choice. If her nose isn't in a book, she's outside playing.

Jared is the youngest of "the older 3" - the kids from my first marriage. He just turned 8 and is going into the 3rd grade this fall. He is still trying to figure out exactly where he fits age-wise...he's the youngest of the older 3 and the only boy when he is at his father's house, but when he's here he is the middle child and the oldest boy. And although he is older than Alex, he is smaller. He's a smart kid with a heart of gold, but he is really turning out to be a little instigator and has really figured out how to get himself into trouble a bit more lately. He also loves to read, but when he is outside, he is all boy. He wants to play basketball too, but I'm hoping that he'll grow another 6 inches (minimum) before he does that!

Alex. Oh boy, what can I say about Alex? He is 6 1/2 years old and will be in first grade this year. He is a product of what I call my "Post-Divorce Rebellious Phase" - his father and I weren't married, and in all actuality only dated for a short time. But, anyway.....Alex is definitely all boy. He is loud and boisterous and active and hyper and funny and smart and loving and frustrating - he definitely keeps me on my toes. He does great in school and his teachers have loved him, but he does have a tendency to be a bit more impulsive than he needs to be, and that sometimes gets him in trouble. His father is somewhat involved in his life, and has become more involved again lately after a 3 month period of no contact. His father and I get along just fine - for the most part. And I'll just leave it at that for now.

And then there is Daniel, my youngest. He just turned 5 a few days ago, and is very proud to tell anyone who will listen that he will be in kindergarten in August. Daniel's father was my second husband - if you look back, you can find quite a few posts about that situation in this blog. His father and I separated in May 2009, our divorce was final in January 2011, and he passed away in February 2011. Daniel is an amazing kid, considering the circumstances surrounding his birth - he's funny and smart and loves to be outside - actually, he loves to do just about anything. Because he's been with me basically 24/7 since he's been born, he loves to just hang out with me. He helps me clean or runs errands with me, but his favorite thing by far at this point is to hang out with The Dude. It's been really fun to see their relationship grow and to see the bond that has developed between them.

So anyway, there's something about each of the kids. I had one more question that I was going to answer, but I might save that one for another day - I hear the wind picking up and the radar is getting more colorful around our area, so I want to get this posted so that I can watch the storms and see what's going to happen!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You might think it's silly, but....

I'm all sorts of proud of myself right now. It's not like I did anything spectacular or anything, but still....

I bought new bras tonight.

I know, I know. Big deal, right? Well, to me it kind of is a big deal.

I'm not the type of person to go out and spend money on myself. We've been so broke for so long that there has always been something more important that needed funding rather than my pathetic wardrobe. The kids needed shoes, or we needed groceries, or that pesky electric bill had to be paid, or whatever. So I've worn the same old ratty nasty ugly bras for probably 10 years now - literally. In fact, right now, I am currently wearing a maternity bra that I bought after I had Emily - and she will be 11 next month.

A few weeks ago I told myself that I was going to go out and buy some new ones - you know, before we go on vacation. But then, I kept putting it off again. One...because I hate to spend money on myself, and two...because I hate to shop. I mean, I really hate to shop.

But today was one of those days where I was just so restless. I did my usual cleaning and laundry (and washed and dried and folded those same ugly bras one more time) but I really just wanted to get out of the house. So, as kind of a spur of the moment thing, I grabbed the boys and took off and went shopping. It was an experience - since I refuse to shop at WalHell, I had to drive 30 miles to get to a Target (not that Target is that much better, but at least it isn't WalHell) and in the process had to dodge about 87 construction zones and 423 idiot drivers.

The shopping part wasn't too horrible, other than the boys making smart comments about being in the "booby holder" section of the store (where do they pick this stuff up???) and occasionally smacking each other upside the head. Of course, being the eternal cheapskate I had to scope out the clearance racks first (fail) before I went to the regular ones. But, I still found some inexpensive ones that were decent - and then it dawned on me: I'd have to try them on to make sure that they fit.

Ugh. Really?

I thought about just chancing it and not testing them first, but I knew if I did that I would end up with ones that didn't fit, and I'd have to continue wearing the same old ratty nasty ugly ones again. And since I've lost weight, I wasn't exactly sure what size to get. So I gritted my teeth and braved the fitting room with two slightly-obnoxious little boys.

Long story short, I walked out of the store with 6 brand new bras - for a whopping $36. (Told you, I'm a cheapskate.) But before we left we wandered around the store for a while and I picked up a couple of other odds and ends that we needed, including a new pair of flip-flops for Daniel to wear on vacation.

It's kind of funny that something this trivial seems like a semi-big deal to me, but seriously, I don't buy things for myself. And I think that's a trap that a lot of parents (and especially single parents) fall into - we get so caught up in making sure that the kids have everything that they need (and/or want), and we forget about ourselves. We forget that we have needs too - and sometimes those needs are just as important as the kids' needs. We forget that we have to take care of ourselves - and realistically, if we don't do it, who is?

I did make a promise to myself tonight - no matter how tight money is in the future, I will not wait another 10 years to buy new bras.

Monday, June 11, 2012


So....here we are. We are leaving for TMOART:12 in about 10 days.

For those of you who are scratching your heads saying "what in the ____ is TMOART:12?" it is officially defined as "The Mother of All Road Trips: 2012 Edition".

This all started 3 summers ago when the kids and I decided to head back to Pennsylvania. I loaded up all 5 kids and we drove. And drove. And drove. And we had a great time. When I got back to Kansas and started uploading the pictures to facebook, I called the photo albums "The Mother of All Road Trips". Then last year, we decided to do it again, and that trip became TMOART:11.

Hence, this year is TMOART:12. Nifty, huh?

Each year we end up going somewhere else. Last year involved a stop at a friend's house in Kentucky, a weekend with friends in Virginia, a day in Washington, DC, the mandated stops in Pennsylvania, and then stops in Indianapolis and St. Louis on the way back.

This year is going to be even more of an adventure. We have stops scheduled in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and of course Pennsylvania. The final leg of the trip is actually the main reason for going - my family reunion.

Oh, and don't ask about the order of the stops. We know it doesn't make much sense from looking at the map, but considering that we have to work around other peoples' schedules and some things that we kind of have to do (like the family reunion), it actually makes a lot of sense.

The biggest difference this year is that I don't have to do all of the driving myself. The Dude is going along with us and will share in the driving (well, as much as I'll let him). So he'll get to meet a bunch of my crazy friends, I'll get to meet at least one of his, AND he'll get to meet my family - I figure if he sticks around after this trip, he's definitely a keeper!

Considering that I had a dream nightmare last night that involved us being on the road before I realized that we hadn't packed any clothes, the list-making starts tonight in full force. And I'm quite sure that the next 10 days will be spent writing and re-writing more lists and going on a massive cleaning spree in the house like I did last year. I haven't completely hit "basketcase stage" yet, but I'm getting close, because this whole trip has kind of snuck up on me rather quickly...

Crap. That reminds me. I have to call tomorrow and schedule the appointment to get the new tires on the van. And make our reservation at the campground in PA.

Where's my list.....?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

5 years ago...

The story of Daniel's birth is one that I haven't told in great detail for a lot of reasons. But I'm going to tell it now - for those very same reasons.

This is what I looked like on June 9, 2007. Daniel wasn't due until June 19, and I wasn't having any symptoms of going into labor, but we decided to take a picture anyway, and I am so glad that we did!

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you might remember that Daniel's father was an alcoholic. He battled it for many years, but it didn't work. He continued to drink. And when he drank, he could be very mean and at times was even physically abusive. I had told him numerous times throughout my pregnancy that if he was drunk when I went into labor, I would go to the hospital myself - hoping that the threat would keep him from drinking. But, it didn't work.

That night, he was drunk. He went upstairs to bed and passed out fairly early in the night. I sat up to watch a movie - "Deep Impact" - until it was over around 2:00am on Sunday morning, June 10. During the movie, I started to feel....funky. I had a bizarre pain that kept coming and going every 5 minutes, but it wasn't a contraction so I wasn't too concerned. But, it continued. Finally, at the end of the movie I decided that I would just go ahead and go to the hospital - even if I wasn't in labor, I thought that if he woke up and I was gone, it might make him think twice before he took the next drink.

I got up off of the couch and walked into the kitchen to get the charger for my phone to put in my bag, and then went around the corner to go up the steps to get a receiving blanket. As I lifted my leg to go up the first step, my water broke - and when I say "broke" I really mean that it exploded. Everywhere. This had never happened with the previous 4 pregnancies, so I started to panic. I stood there thinking to myself "this is my 5th kid, my water just exploded, and this kid is going to come NOW!" So I started yelling for him to wake up. Every time I took a breath to yell, more fluid gushed out, making me panic even more. Finally, he woke up and realized what was happening - I told him to grab a towel from the upstairs bathroom and get moving. He brought me the towel and I basically diapered myself with it and told him to meet me in the van - and don't forget the carseat.

I walked out the back door, calling the hospital to let them know that I was on my way. As I stepped out of the door, I felt my hair stand up on end and realized that there was lightning in the sky - everywhere around me. I waddled as fast as I could to the van and waited for him. Finally, he came out, with his cigarettes in his hand, but no carseat. I yelled at him, asking him where the carseat was, and he started to turn around to go back and get it, and a contraction hit. I told him to forget about it, get into the van, and DRIVE!

It was the scariest drive ever. Here he was, drunk, driving me to the hospital. I should have driven, but I wasn't sure that I could in the condition that I was in at the time. When we got to the hospital, he dropped me off at the ER entrance and went to park the van. I bolted waddled as fast as I could to the maternity wing and quickly told a nurse that my husband was coming behind me, and he was drunk. She assured me that if he created a scene, he would be asked to leave.

We got to my room and I got the epidural almost immediately. He passed out on the recliner in the room and I was able to doze off and on for a few hours. By the time I was in active labor, he was sober. I have to admit that he was fantastic while I labored and throughout the delivery. We were both happy and it was a great moment. He stayed throughout the day, and went home that night.

The next morning I was scheduled to get my tubes tied. He got there before I left for surgery and waited until I was done. Then he said that he was going to go back to the house to check the mail. I was suspicious, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He came back a few hours later carrying a travel mug, and one look at his face told me that my suspicions were correct. He was wasted. He walked back out of the room to get something from the cafeteria, and the nurses immediately descended on my room, and they informed me that he had walked into the wrong room before he got to mine, and they were ready to call for security. Instead, we came up with a code - if when he came back to the room, either the nurses or I felt that he needed to be removed from the premises, we would say something about calling "Dr. Smith" (the pediatrician).

He came back in minus the travel mug, and Dr. Smith was right behind him. The nurse and I looked at each other like "oh crap, what about our code?" He immediately started getting mouthy with the doctor, telling her that she needed to go get HIM something to eat. She looked at the nurse and said "I think you need to make that phone called that we discussed" and the nurse walked out of the room.

Within minutes, there were 4 city police officers in my room surrounding me. Two of them pulled my husband out of the room while 2 stayed with me, questioning me. Sadly, they were all-too-familiar with our situation, as they had all been to our house before due to the history of violence during his drinking binges. He was escorted off of the hospital property and told not to return - ever. I was quickly moved to a different room in the off-chance that he managed to sneak back in unnoticed. I was devastated.

I spent the rest of the day on Monday talking to a social worker about the situation, crying most of the time. What was supposed to be such a joyous event turned into something that was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. Daniel and I were dismissed on Tuesday, and for the second time I left the hospital with a newborn alone and drove myself home. I hoped that he would greet us at the door, happy to see us, taking pictures of Daniel's homecoming. Instead, I walked into the house with our newborn son and found him passed out on the floor of the living room. Here I was, 2 days after delivering our son, walking back and forth across the back yard, bring load after load of stuff in from the van - including everything that I had picked up from WalMart on the way home. And he was passed out drunk.

And so continued our life together. He eventually went through rehab, and stayed sober for 99 days - and life was good. But on the 100th day he made the choice to drink again. He continued to drink until well after I asked him to leave our home permanently on May 6, 2009.

So why am I telling this story in detail now? It's certainly not to badmouth Daniel's father. He was a good man but he had demons that were too strong for him to defeat. I have no doubt that he loved Daniel until the day that he died.

I am telling this now because there are so many details of those few days that people don't know about. I have kept a lot of this to myself for 5 years because I was scared and embarrassed to tell the truth about what happened. But, as we celebrate Daniel's 5th birthday this weekend, it brings so many emotions to the surface for me. For him to have come into this world in the middle of such a messed up set of circumstances, he is an amazing little boy. He is smart and funny and happy and healthy - and he shows me that no matter how horrible the situation is, something wonderful can come out of it. He has taught me more about love and strength than anyone else that I know. I knew that even in the darkest days following his father's death that we would get through it, and that we would get through it together.

He doesn't really remember his father. He recognizes him in pictures, and he tells me that his "daddy died and went to Heaven" but he is still too young to really comprehend what that means. Right now, he knows that his father was sick - and as he gets older he will ask more questions, and I know that those questions will become harder to answer, but we will get through it - just as we have been doing.

We had a little party for him today since the older 3 kids are leaving in the morning. We had cake and ice cream and presents, and The Dude and his mother were here to share in it. He walked around all day today proclaiming that although he is 4 years old today, tomorrow he will be 5!

Tomorrow, he celebrates. And I will continue to reflect on the circumstances that brought him into this world while we celebrate with him - and I won't be scared or embarrassed about it any longer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

More fun in the sun

It was an absolutely gorgeous day out today. I started out mowing the grass, which turned into an extended battle with the lawnmower. We had to leave before I got done to go pick up one of Sarah's friends and then we came home and I finished mowing before we grabbed lunch and headed out to the lake.

After we played in the water for a few hours, we all got showers and then headed back into town to go to the library. The kids are all in summer reading programs, and they had to collect their prizes for the first week of it.

After that we came back home and had supper and relaxed for a while before bedtime. The boys crashed early and as of now, the girls are still up watching movies - but now that I see the end credits rolling, it's time for them to go to bed too. The extra kid has requested pancakes for breakfast - I guess the ones that we had the last time she spent the night made an impression on her! We have to take her back home at noon, and then Emily has a play date later tomorrow evening, but other than that we have nothing planned - and I fully intend to keep it that way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Just another day.

Of course, I tackled multiple loads of laundry, some of which still needs to be folded and put away. And cleaned the kitchen (before trashing it again to make supper). And straightened up the house (not that you can tell now).

Got some yard work done - I'm still picking up branches from when the landlord cut all the dead stuff down a couple of weeks ago. But it's all pretty much raked up so that I can mow tomorrow (maybe) and get it all piled out front for the trash guys to pick up next week.

I also finally fixed my crooked mailbox - something that I've been meaning to do for over a year and a half now. And I peeled off the already-peeling numbers that were barely even readable anymore.

Then I made supper - ok, The Dude came over and helped with that while I jumped in the shower. And then we all jumped in the van and took off for Sarah's basketball game.

My 4 favorite guys in the world!


It definitely wasn't the best game that our girls ever played, but in their defense, the other team was bigger (both in size and in numbers) and was way more aggressive - to the point of some very unsportsmanlike conduct from both the players and the coaches. Sarah tried, but she hurt her foot early in the game and she let her frustration get the best of her. She got back out and played some more, but she struggled.

After the game, we came home and The Dude took the other kids out back and threw the football around for a while so that Sarah and I could talk. She's discouraged about playing basketball anymore and would rather play volleyball - so we'll see what happens with that.

Finally, it was bedtime. The boys went to bed and then I heard a yell....apparently there was some unsportsmanlike conduct going on in their room, and Alex's head met a windowsill.

After an ice pack and a bandaid, he was good to go back to bed - plus the other 2 boys were already asleep, so that helped.

Tomorrow, I have to try to get the grass mowed. Then one of Sarah's friends is coming over at noon and I am going to take all 6 kids to the lake (glutton for punishment? yep, that's me) for a while, and maybe to the library if they don't kill each other. Her friend is spending the night tomorrow, so it's going to be yet another long, busy day.

And in between all of that, I'm still working on the itinerary for TMOART:12 and just trying not to let the pre-vacation jitters get to me too much. It just dawned on me that we're supposed to leave in about 2 weeks and we still don't even know for sure where we're going first! Ha!

And don't forget to check out the auction on my facebook page - it ends at noon on Friday, so if you're going to bid (or buy) you'd better do it soon! Every penny raised will go toward the trip - and of course there will be pictures to show for it along the way!