Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I really intended to blog more than I have...I've definitely been a slacker! It just seems like I get distracted every time I sit down to start writing.

But Happy St Patrick's Day!

Honestly we're not doing anything for St Patrick's day. We were going to go to the parade in Wichita because Aubry was going to be marching for AFJROTC, but she hasn't been feeling well the last week so she decided not to march after all. She and I have both had a yucky head cold. It feels like we've all just been passing around germs from one person to the next...and with so many people staying here right now, it seems like someone is always sick with something. SO...we've just had a relaxing day.

That was one of the pictures from Sandbox today. We've been coloring on Sandbox a lot lately. It all started with Aubry...she saw someone at school using the app and asked what it was. Then she showed it to Ashlyn, my mom, and my sister. My sister showed it to my cousin. Little Ashlyn showed Big Ashlyn and then I showed Johnny and he's addicted. Now we're all coloring on it! My sister also bought the premium account for a year (where you can color ALL the pictures) AND the nice thing is that she can share it with five other people! Guess who was one of the five?! *this girl* life really is that boring. LOL. ;) My sister also included Johnny, my mom, and my cousin on her family access so we've all been coloring by number a lot lately. It's not too bad of a's $39.99 for a year of premium access and if you divide that by 6 people, it's less than $6.75 a year. Not too bad!

Disclaimer: This is not a compensated review...just me rambling about something I like. :) 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Already March?!

I can't believe it's March! This year is going by so fast already...

The girls had an extended break from school last week. They were off the 15th and 16th for parent-teacher conferences and then Monday (Presidents day) was already a scheduled day off. Then school was cancelled on Tuesday and Thursday due to inclement weather. Both girls went to XH's parents' house on Wednesday and they just stayed there until Saturday.

Saturday, Aubry went to the Wichita State University women's basketball game with my mom and grandparents. She was gone for most of the day and had a good time. Then Ashlyn had a semi-formal school dance that evening. She did her own make-up and I curled her hair for her. She looked beautiful in her black and white dress. Unfortunately, she didn't have very much fun at the dance (just 7th grade girl drama)...but she went home with a friend and had a fun sleepover, so that made up for it. Here are some pictures I took before she left:

The weather has been pretty up and down lately. We had snow and ice for a few days and then lately the temps have been in the 50s. I definitely like the warmer could stick around for the remainder of spring and I wouldn't complain!

My car is currently broken. :( The Engine Control Module needs to be replaced. It's an easy but rather expensive fix PLUS we have to get the new part programmed on the car. We've been driving Johnny's sister-in-law's Suburban in the mean time while they're trying to sell it. We found a problem on it as well that needs to be fixed. Johnny's mom's car is also having some issues. I tell ya...we're not having very good luck with vehicles lately! My step-daughter's husband is a pretty good mechanic, though, and he's been helping out with the vehicles. So that's been nice.

Blacklist came back on yesterday after the Winter Olympics hiatus...we didn't watch it until this evening though. I thought it was a good episode...but it seems to be moving pretty slow along the current story line. It looks like it could be picking up momentum though in the next episode. I hope so anyway. I'm curious to see what is up with that dang suitcase of bones!

We've also been watching Criminal Minds...I finally talked Johnny into watching it with me! We started from the first episode and we're working our way to the end...we'll see how far we get. I never watched the first couple seasons much (I've never been much of a Mandy Patinkin fan) so I don't remember the episodes we're watching now at all. We usually just watch an episode or two in the evenings before we go to bed.

That's about it for now!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

So did XH ever respond?

I talked last month about a facebook message that Aubry sent to her dad before Christmas. She explained how she felt about everything and decided to cut ties with him. She sent the message on January 15th and he never responded to anything she said. He didn't send her another message until February 14th when he said "Happy valentine's day honey."

Aubry was unsure if she was going to respond at first...but she decided to go ahead and address the situation with him. She pointed out that he'd ignored her messages once again and it bothers her that he just came back like nothing had happened. She told him that she's tired of the way things have been and the things that he's been doing. She repeated that she didn't want contact with him anymore.

XH responded to say: "Your welcome for caring and standing up for what I believe in. Wish you nothing but the best. Just another person I care about turning their back on me. Thanks." She flat out told him that she wasn't going to give in to his guilt trip and that his actions have consequences for everyone, including him. And standing up for what he believes in? He means telling his family--who were nice enough to let him stay with them when he was homeless--exactly what he thinks of them and attacking them for all the mistakes he feels they have made...while completely ignoring all his own mistakes. People aren't turning their back on him; he's pushing them away with his own behavior.

Then XH turned the conversation to child support and trying to shift the blame to me: "I work my ass off and pay child support for you girls while your mom sits on her ass and makes you kids pay for your own dinners and groceries. So don't tell me I'm not a dad. Best of luck kiddo I love you and hope you look back one day on this conversation." Then he said "Whatever you have to tell yourself hun. Hope it's all worth it. Glad I have went without so all of you could be happy. Once again wish you the best of luck and 1 day you will realize I hope. That's all I can do. Your mom lying in court yeah have fun."

First of all, it's wildly inappropriate for him to be talking about child support with his child. It's ordered by the court and figured in accordance with the Kansas Child Support Guidelines. I didn't lie to the court...he just doesn't understand the process. The fact is this: the court order states he is supposed to be paying $208 a week ($902/month) in child support and he's paying about $50 a week ($216/month). This is because he was fired from the job his child support income was based on and he has chosen lower-paying jobs since then. He's almost $14k behind in child support just to me...that doesn't even include how much he still has to pay his other baby mama (and THAT hot mess is a story for another day). He provides NOTHING else for the kids. He doesn't pay his portion of the medical bills. He hasn't given them anything for holidays. The ONLY thing XH provides for our kids is child support...yet he still whines about it. If it didn't automatically come out of his checks, he wouldn't even be providing that for them.

Second of all, I don't make my kids pay for their dinner and groceries. What I DO make them pay for is anything they want that is not what I'm serving for dinner. I'm not their waitress...if they want something else from the store or feel like ordering take out then they can buy it themselves. I treat them to plenty of things, but I'm not in the business of buying my kids whatever they want whenever they want it.

Part of Aubry's problem with XH is the fact that he has repeatedly made the many women in his life a priority over his children. From 2005-2016, my kids spent 50% of their time with their dad. In that time, he has had at least ten girlfriends around the girls. They have lived with five of his girlfriends and eleven different kids plus the girls' younger half-sister. The relationships typically turned volatile, which made it even harder.

The most recent example of XH choosing his women over his children is with his newest girlfriend. The last time the kids had seen XH was December 5, 2017 at Ashlyn's music concert. Shortly after that, he was kicked out of his parents' house and moved in with friends. He didn't have a vehicle, so he wasn't picking up the kids for his visitation on Wednesdays or every other weekend. XH didn't mention seeing the kids at all until he told the kids on January 15th that he bought a truck and hoped to see them soon. Then February 1st he asked Ashlyn if she wanted to spend some time with him on Sunday.

Even though it was my weekend, I told Ashlyn it would be fine for XH to pick her up at the house Sunday and then bring her back home at 7pm. He didn't pick up Ashlyn until about 4:30pm so she asked to stay later...I told her she had to be home by 8pm. Imagine my surprise when Ashlyn got back home shortly after 5:30pm. XH had taken Ashlyn to eat at Wendy's down the street and then dropped her off back home because he had to go pick up his new girlfriend at 7pm and it'd take him an hour to get there.

When Ashlyn told us that, Aubry was livid. He hadn't seen his kids at all in two months and when he finally has the chance, he can only spare an hour. Ashlyn also told us that XH said he was going to be picking her up one night each week and taking her to dinner. Aubry scoffed and said that it'd just be another broken promise. And just like Aubry predicted, XH hasn't mentioned another word about it and he hasn't seen Ashlyn since. Fortunately, Ashlyn doesn't seem too upset about it.

I'm just glad that the girls have such a close relationship with Johnny. He is a wonderful man who has been more than willing to step up and be there for my kids when their dad hasn't been. It means the world to me...and to them.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Parent-Teacher Conferences, House Guests, and More!'s been a month since I posted in this blog. I've been slacking! :P It's been both a busy and not so busy month. I say that because while there hasn't been a lot of plans going just feels busy at home.

Right after my last blog post, my step-daughter, their four kids (three boys and a girl ages 3-6), four dogs, and a cat all moved into our living room. Then last week, her husband arrived. He just got out of the Army and they're buying a house in the area. So...the house seems really busy with all the people and all the noise.

Now don't get me wrong, I love them all dearly. That said...I've never been a person who does well with roommates. :P My patience level is nonexistent and I'm annoyed by pretty much everything in general. I totally admit that those are MY's not that they're necessarily doing anything wrong or purposely trying to irritate me or anything. I'm just a crabby old bitty who has been used to living a certain way all my life so the influx of people and animals in my home is a bit much for me to handle. lol. ;)

It's a temporary situation, though. After they get their tax refund back, they'll be able to use it for a down-payment on their own home. And I believe my mother-in-law may also moving in with them (she babysits the kids) and she'll be taking the other three dogs that we've had at the house. So soon, it will just be me, Johnny, my two teenagers, Bandit (our Australian Shepherd), and my three kitties. We haven't had that since I moved in with Johnny in I'm looking forward to it! :)

When I was growing up as well as when my own children were little, we lived in a HUD apartment complex. It was income-based housing and there were many rules and regulations that had to be followed. There were inspections multiple times a year when the property managers would walk through your house to determine if you were keeping the place up to their standards. There were also multiple times a year when the apartments were sprayed for pests and the filters were changed...and the maintenance people would tell the property manager if your home was a mess. So it had to be kept clean and orderly.

In addition to that, lease violations at the apartment complex would get you kicked out...and the most common lease violations given were in regard to noise. If your neighbors complained about the noise coming from your apartment at all, you could lose your home. That meant we had to find quiet activities in the house and any roughhousing could only be outside.

So...I'm just used to having an organized and quiet home and I have a hard time handling the change. A lot of my time lately has been spent on the computer listening to rock music through my earbuds. ;) I've gotten a lot done, though! Paperwork is done, files are organized on my computer, taxes are filed, etc. Oh and hanging out with the cats...I've been spending a lot of time doing that! They're my little furry antidepressants. :)

Parent-teacher conferences were this week. Since I've been using Skyward to keep up with the kids' progress, I pretty much know how my children are doing in school already. I did go to Ashlyn's parent-teacher conference yesterday, though. She has had a lot of trouble this year with getting her assignments turned in and her grades in a couple classes reflect that. The worst part is the fact that a lot of times, she's already done the work! If I notice she has a 0 on an assignment, I'll make her actually show me that she got it done...but then it just stays a 0 because she doesn't turn it in. She already did the work! Handing it in is LITERALLY the easiest part of the assignment! It's even easier than writing her name on the dang paper! I'll ask her if she turned it in...and sometimes she'll just lie and tell me she did. So when I went last night, I asked the teachers how long it takes them to enter grades for late work on Skyward so I know whether or not it's been turned in. I also wanted to let them know that I may be emailing them to ask if certain assignments have been turned if Ashlyn says she turned them in but they're still a zero. So at least we got that out of the way!

It also didn't help that Ashlyn missed four days of school a couple weeks ago when she had the flu. I thought she was going to skip over it since Aubry and I both had it during winter break...but she got it anyway. :( She felt a lot better after we finally got her fever down but the cough lingered for a bit. It's gone now though!

Since parent-teacher conferences were this week, the girls didn't have school yesterday or today...they also don't have school Monday, either. So they get a nice break! Ashlyn gets to work on homework over the break and Aubry is working stage crew for the play at the high school this week. She just went to practice Monday to hang out with a friend, but they were short on people so she started helping out. She's having fun with it and I'm glad she's found something she enjoys being involved in. :)

My plans today include hopefully organizing my desk and taking apart my laptop to find out why the touchpad isn't working. Fun times! lol :P

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cold weather day and bonding!

The girls didn't have school today--along with many other districts in the state--because of the extremely cold projected windchill. It's generally taken into account when it comes to kids who have to walk to school or wait at the bus stops. The girls certainly weren't upset about having a four-day weekend. ;) We got the notification from the school last night, so they got to sleep in today.

I think they were getting stir-crazy, though. I managed to get them to clean their rooms and put their clothes away...for the most part. :P Aubry hung out with her boyfriend here at the house for awhile. Then much to my surprise, Aubry asked Ashlyn if she wanted to go to the library and to dinner with her and her friends. WHAT?! lol. I definitely like that they're being nice to each other and hanging out together, though!

It's not just her relationship with her sister...Aubry and I have grown closer, as well. We've been having some trouble sleeping. I'm thinking it might be the Sudafed we've been taking for our lingering head cold. She's been coming downstairs and hanging out with me in the family room while neither of us could sleep...and we've been bonding. A lot of it is just funny joking around...but we've talked a lot over the last few weeks, too.

Shortly before I got primary custody of the girls in 2016, things had changed quite a bit with the kids' relationship with their dad. A year earlier, XH had started dating someone who wasn't interested in having a relationship with his kids. He basically just dumped the kids at his parents' house during his 50/50 parenting time and was living with his girlfriend and her three kids. When the girls were actually at her house with XH, she treated them horribly. His "fiance" was really the catalyst for the kids' desire to change custody.

The kids were thankful that court turned out the way it had...but it was still tough for them, too. Right after he lost shared custody, things were better for awhile and he was paying more attention to the kids. But soon after that, XH got another girlfriend and moved in with her...and it was just the same thing all over again. While Aubry liked the new girlfriend, Ashlyn did not. After another volatile spring break, Ashlyn decided to stop seeing her dad while he was living with his new girlfriend and her three kids. That's when XH started talking to Aubry about all the "drama" Ashlyn causes and comparing her to his mom and sister. What he was doing was alienating Aubry from the rest of her family. She followed his lead and anyone he had problems with, she approached her own relationship with those people in the same way.

XH's girlfriend broke up with him in June 2017 and things changed once again...especially for Aubry. He was constantly talking to her on FB about things that just weren't appropriate to be sharing with his asking her for advice about how he should handle things with his now ex-girlfriend. He was sharing nearly every detail about his daily struggles with Aubry, and it was causing a lot of pain and stress for her. He talked about how hungry he was, which made her want to take our food to him so he could have something to eat. He complained about being homeless and going to a shelter (which he never did). Aubry was scared for him and angry that his family wasn't helping him (and not understanding at the time that they kept bailing him out and he just kept burning bridges with everyone).

XH just wanted to play the victim and have someone feel sorry for him. He told Aubry "Everything I do turns to shit. I'm successful your mom destroys it. I leave money for happiness and your sister aunt and grandma destroy it." In his mind, he was successful and I destroyed it because he was ordered by the court to pay child support. You don't complain TO your child about having to pay child support...and to blame that for the reason why he was struggling is just WRONG. He wasn't even paying his child support at the time, because he didn't have a job. Just like he told Aubry, he CHOSE to "leave money for happiness" which is on him. He decided to quit his job and live off his girlfriend's state assistance. He even told Aubry: "that's messed up she used me to get more benefits then kicked me to the curb" which is just one more inappropriate thing to tell his child. Then to go so far as to tell his child that her sister and other family members are to blame for destroying his happiness? WTF?! Who does that?!

A short time later, XH's parents let him move back into their house...but there was a lot of tension between him and everyone else. He was constantly telling Aubry about fights he was having with his family. Then on 12/10/17, XH sent Aubry a message telling her that the cops showed up at his parents' house and he was kicked out so he was staying with some friends. She tried calling and sent multiple messages asking him what was going on. He kept reading her messages, but he wouldn't respond. Two days later, Ashlyn had sent him a message and he responded to her...which just upset Aubry even more.

Aubry removed XH as a friend on Facebook on 12/18/17. That's when he finally decided to respond to her. She was understandably still upset and asked XH why he read her messages but wouldn't respond--knowing that she was so upset--and why he responded to Ashlyn, but not her. His only response was: "Hun I really don't know what to do anymore. This is the last thing I wanted but my only option at this point. I'm done with them down there I have no family [there] anymore." Aubry felt like his response wasn't enough...she didn't get the answers she was looking for. XH sent her a message on December 20th and Christmas Day, but she just read them and didn't respond. She felt like he shouldn't get a response when he had been unwilling to respond to her.

We've talked a lot since then. I always let the kids dictate where the conversation goes when they start talking about their dad. Ever since they were little, I've been careful not to project my own feelings onto the kids. While *I* don't like him, he's their father and I've made sure not to get in the way of their relationships with him. I've always believed that they should use their experiences to form their own opinions about people. And the older they get, the more they understand everything that's going on around them.

Aubry now finds herself taking stock of all the things that have been said and done over the years...trying to sort it all out in her mind. She has begun to resent all the secrets he made her keep, all the lies that have been told, and the way he dictated her relationships with both sides of her family. I think she's also finally starting to "let go" and not burden herself with her dad's problems. She deserves to be a teenager dealing with teenage problems...not thrust into adult situations that she has no control over.

She has also noticed how different things are now since her dad hasn't been around. She went over to XH's parents' house right before Christmas and commented about how she's getting along better with everyone there. And like I've said, she even has a better relationship with her sister now. I think it amazed her to see how much a toxic environment distorted her perceptions. She's been a lot happier lately...and it's definitely nice to see.

Yesterday, XH sent each of the girls a message about his new truck. Ashlyn chatted with him for a little while, but Aubry didn't want to respond to it. She asked me to read something that she'd written to her dad last month but never sent. She wanted to get another opinion on whether or not she should send it to him (she'd already talked to a friend about it). I told her that it had to be her decision...and that she should make that choice based on whether or not getting things off her chest would make her feel better. I also cautioned her that if he responds, it has the potential to be upsetting for her...but she'd already considered that.

Ultimately Aubry decided to send the message to him on Facebook. She stood up for herself and laid out all her pain in front of him. She mentioned several specific things that had happened over the years and how everything has made her feel. She can't--and shouldn't have to--deal with all the stress he has brought to her life. In the end, she said that she needed time to be able to heal and told him goodbye.

XH hasn't responded.

Ashlyn has chatted with her dad nearly everyday in the last month...even if it's just to say hi. She talked to him tonight before bed to let him know about the fun evening she had. He still hasn't responded to Aubry, though. While it hurts to spill all your feelings and have it left unacknowledged, I worry that a response from him would likely hurt her even more.

I don't know if/when Aubry will try to have a relationship with her dad again. Her relationship with her dad is all up to's my job to make sure that she knows there is absolutely no judgment from me one way or another and that we love and support her regardless of what she decides to do. I just want both of my girls to be happy. :)