Back in the Saddle

Today I thought to myself, “Self, you should start a blog about being a stepmom,” and then I remembered I have a blog. So, I log into dear ol’ WordPress, and there’s a nice little note for me, right in the middle of my stats page: “It has been almost 2 years since your last blog post.” Hmm. Thanks for reminding me about what a slacker I am, WP. So here I am to give the catch-up version of my life in one blog. Then, if I don’t become #1 Slacker again, I will go into more detail on the things that are actually interesting.

Also – for anyone who read the December Turning 30 edition, no, I am not engaged, yes, I survived turning 30 (Señor surprised me with a night downtown), and now I am enjoying thirtyonederful. 😉

I vaguely remember December 2014. Señor graduated police academy and immediately afterwards, the holidays were upon us. We were also house hunting amidst all of this, getting more time with the kiddos, and BAM. Life came to a halt as Señor and his family had to travel to Mexico for the death of his grandfather. A few short months later, I was let go from my job. About a month after that, we found out we couldn’t buy the house we had seen and fallen in love with. It was SO FRUSTRATING. I have no better words than that: FRUSTRATING. However, instead of letting it get us down, Señor and I pulled ourselves together and brainstormed. We took immediate action to fix what was hindering us from buying a house, and my wonderful in-laws offered for us to move into the house they had bought as a gut-rehab project and had planned on renting out.

The month of May 2015 was a busy one. In the midst of interviewing for jobs, I was spending all available time at the new house, helping get it move-in ready. It was nothing but sub-floors and drywall when I started. At the end of the month, however, we had a shiny new home that we had gotten to put our distinctive personal touches on.

I also started a new job at the end of May 2015, putting me at 3 jobs within 1 year. I wasn’t feeling to great about that. Fortunately, my new job is great, and I have been there for over a year now.

We now have the boys 50% of the time, which means I have a lot more responsibility as woman of the house, especially with the schedule of a police officer. Thankfully, I work from home and have a lot of flexibility to help take care of things in a pinch. The boys are all turning older this Summer/early Fall – they will be 12, 10, and 7 – and I have the mushy-mom-feelings about all of it, especially the 12 year old’s new voice & entering junior high & girls texting him (what?! I swear he was just learning how to read) and the 7 year old going into First grade. Be still my heart.

Our home was broken into Summer 2015, and since then I have been more accepting of owning a handgun (I know, I know. I date a cop). I never saw a need for one, as that is how I was raised, but considering the circumstances that surrounded that experience, I will be prepared to protect my family if there is ever a next time. This is a big change for me, as my entire life I have a been an on-the-fence-leaning-left liberal.

While 2015 saw a lot of changes, 2016 has just been a year from Hell. My grandmother (maternal) fought valiantly but lost her battle to cancer in February. A couple weeks later my father was admitted to the ICU, and was in the hospital until May 11, when he passed away. Currently, my grandfather (maternal) is fighting Stage III lung cancer. He has radiation M-F and the treatment seems to be working, Praise God. I don’t know if our family, especially my mother, can handle a third death, especially of someone so near, dear, and important to so many people.

Currently, I am trying to get my life back in order. It has been weird not spending all of my free time at the hospital or being a road warrior (my family is all 1.5 hours north of me). Can I please tell you how much money I have spent on gas & tolls since October when my grandmother was diagnosed? Oy vey.

We just finished up a full week with the boys – in even years we get to have them for their first week of summer vacation, and then they will spend the next week with their mom. While this “childless” stepmomma needed some peace and quiet restored to her house, it’s a little too quiet right now with Señor being on night shift currently. Aw, shoot, I’ll admit it: I miss those darn kids already.

Well, that is it for now, but I wanted to give this blog a refresh. As the title suggests, I have been bucked off my horse a few times in the past 1.5 years, but I’m back in the saddle and grabbing the reigns once more. I know I’ll end up on the ground again at some point, but for now, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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Turning 30: December Edition

While a lot of people make the “30 Before 30” list, I never made one. I have a bucket list that I feel is sufficient and don’t need to add yet another To-Do List to my life.

When I was a teenager, I had everything mapped out, and then this funny thing called Life happened. Basically, I wanted the American Dream: A house, a husband, and 2.4 kids (whatever that means). In Junior High, the BFFO and I actually created little books made out of magazine clippings of what our lives would look like by 30. We created floor plans of our dream houses, and then decorated those rooms. We even added pictures of kids playing outside in our perfectly manicured back yards. I think part of the plan was living next door to each other, too. Clearly, all of this worked out perfectly. (I hope you noted the extreme sarcasm dripping from that sentence. If you didn’t, we probably aren’t friends.)

When I turned 26, I had this mini panic attack. I hadn’t accomplished ANYTHING. I started putting pressure on Señor about marriage and kids. Ultimately, this led to our demise (well, it was partially to blame) and we broke up. After about a week Señor realized he couldn’t live without me because I’m so amazing. Well, that only a half truth. I also read a magazine article about not putting so much pressure on yourself about turning 30 and it’s perfectly fine to not be super accomplished. So, that helped some – because what guy wants to date a neurotic mess?

I digress.

After reading that oh-so-official Glamour article, I lightened up. A little part of me still wanted to be able to be married by 30, but I knew it would be okay if that didn’t happen. As I got a little older every year, I became more okay with it. I met people who had waited to get married, waited to have kids, and it was totally okay. They weren’t social pariahs. They were financially stable. They had traveled. They had acted foolishly. And then, when they were ready to settle down, they did. And, because they had waited, they were happier.

Now here I am on the heels of 30, and I’m so thankful Señor stood his ground and didn’t give in to my neurotic fit of needing to be married ASAP just to appease some social stigma. Instead, we took the time to talk, and both agreed that the most important thing to us is to buy a house. We want something that is ours, which has a yard for Houdini and the kids to run around in, as well as space inside for everyone to retreat to when we don’t want to be near each other. And while this isn’t the most traditional route, and some people may frown upon it, oh well. We know what is best for us. Plus, neither of us can fathom the idea of dropping $20k on a wedding while still living in an apartment.

In the end, when February rolls around and I turn the big 3-0, all I ask is that we’ve started the home buying process. Oh, and for health and happiness and all that good stuff, too.