THIS Made My Day!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I began blogging 7 months ago on the whim of a chance that this might help me deal with the struggles of being a stepmom. I thought maybe if I tell my story, other step mom’s would be able to read and relate or maybe even give me some tips on how to navigate through this crazy thing we call life.

Yesterday I got an email from Laurie at This is my Symphony . She is a high school English teacher who also lives in the Mitten State (Michigan) like me! She loves to read and writes some pretty phenomenal book reviews. She wrote me this lovely email that brought me to tears. It’s blogger friends like this that keep me going! The unwavering support and love means the world to me and I’m thankful for followers like Laurie!

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New Daily Blog Ideas

For the past few weeks I have been trying to find a way to keep on a blogging schedule like I was on the A-to-Z Challenge and the Kindness Challenge. I decided I would  come up with a new topic each day Monday through Friday.

 

Monday Morning Coffee :: Reflections on the past week and what I have going on the week ahead.

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Two Thumbs Up Tuesday :: I will share a few of my favorite blogs of the past week.

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Wise Words Wednesday :: Quotes of inspiration or wise words that make you think.

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Throwback Thursday :: I will find a picture and write a few memories I have of that time or reblog a previous post.

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Feel Good Friday :: I will write about 5 things that made me feel good this week.

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I’m pretty excited to start this off next week! What do you guys think? 

Book Tag Fun

On Friday I came across Nikki’s Book Tag that she created. I loved reading her responses and I loved this idea of a book tag.

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Here are the questions:

What are you reading now?

I just finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and now I’m starting on her sequel After You.

What’s the next one on your list?

I got a few books for Mother’s Day, so I’m making my way through them right now. Next on my list is What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

Do you prefer a Real Book or a Reader?

I prefer a real book. I’ve tried the whole reader thing and I’ve tried doing the books online from the library but it’s not the same. I love the smell of books, old or new. I’ve always been a big reader and it reminds me a lot of being a kid at the library during the summer.

Do you stop mid book if you don’t like it?

Yes. I try to get through the first couple chapters and if I can’t get hooked I will put it down and move on to the next one. If I’m reading for pleasure, why force myself to read something that isn’t enticing?

Do you have to finish a chapter before setting the book down?

Depends on what time I am reading. If it’s late at night and I’m reading in bed I have to finish the chapter so I can find my spot when I pick it up in the morning.

What’s the best series you’ve read?

When I was younger I started off reading just series. Every month I would get 3-4 Little Babysitters Club books and I was obsessed.In my teen years I read the entire Gossip Girl series before it became popular. Now I like reading certain authors, not just series.

What’s the first book you remember loving?

The Witches by Roald Dahl. I have probably read that book 50 times. It never gets old. The movie doesn’t do it justice in my eyes.

Ever been in a book club?

I was in one last summer and I really enjoyed it. One of my girlfriends organized it and we each would take turns picking a book and bringing wine when we had our monthly meeting.

Favorite book you read in school?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

Least favorite book you actually stuck with?

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair — it literally made my skin crawl.

What book are you  glad you didn’t give up on?

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult — I love Jodi Picoult books but it usually takes me a couple of chapters to get into it. By the end of this book I was sobbing. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it!

Do you have a favorite genre?

I’m a sucker for chick-lit books. I’m all about the love stories, but they don’t always have to be happy endings.

What is the best book gift you’ve received?

When my husband got me the Me Before You and After You.

Is there a book you wish everyone would read?

Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green. I love books that give you each characters point of view. This is a story of a blended family who struggles and how they survive each other’s different personalities.

What Author would you like to have a cup of coffee with?

Jane Green for sure! She seems down to earth and I would love to pick her brain about the stories she has written.

If you could visit a place in any book, where would it be?

I would love to travel like Elizabeth did in Eat Pray Love.

What’s your favorite reading spot?

On the beach under an umbrella — if that’s not feasible, then in bed next to my husband reading is my favorite spot.

What popular book are you not a fan of?

I just can’t seem to do Lord of the Rings.

What character from a book would you love to meet?

I’m gonna go with Christian Grey LOL

What is your favorite children’s book?

I Love You Stinky Face is a classic in our house. I loved reading that to the kids when they were little ♥

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That was a lot of fun! What a lot of memories that came up while thinking about my answers. Especially the books I read when I was in school. I read a lot of books for my honors english classes and I think it would be a good idea to go back and re-read them. I think now I would have a different perspective on a lot of them.

I nominate anyone who would like to participate! I know a lot of us all read and I would love to see your answers. If you don’t want to make a post about it, feel free to copy and paste your answers in the comments section!

 

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Kindness Challenge: Week 6

When going through life you come across different people who become your role models. Every person in my family has been a role model to me in my life at one time or another. I have learned so much from both sets of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I wouldn’t be who I am today with out each one of them.

As I have grown older I have come across more difficult obstacles. The one that has been the largest hurdle is being a step mom. There are little children who need my guidance, support, and knowledge to help them through life. What I say or do will forever impact them. No pressure, right? I wasn’t sure what to do when they were throwing temper tantrums. I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to be good at this. I needed to talk to someone about this, someone who I knew wouldn’t judge me or think I was a failure.

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I began talking more with Matt’s mom, my mother-in-law. She would sit and listen to me tell her about all of my worries and issues. She treated me as if I was her daughter and would even cry with me at times when I just felt too overwhelmed. There are times as a parent where you feel like you just aren’t hacking it. You feel you aren’t doing the very best you can do. My MIL has always been quick to remind me that I am doing a wonderful job and how thankful she is for me to be in her son and grandchildren’s lives. Every time we leave Florida, I leave with tears streaming down my face. I am so grateful for God putting my in-laws in my life. I am so thankful to be surrounded by so much love and kindness when we visit Matt’s family. My heart is literally bursting with excitement when we plan vacations with them. I am truly a lucky woman and I’m proud to call them all my family.

There is something about my MIL that always makes me happy when I am around her. She gives off this positive vibe that I am just drawn to. She’s one of a kind and I am thankful to have her apart of my life. To show me that life will deal us cards that we might not think we can handle, but to not just give up because it isn’t the best hand. Life is too short to be anything but kind. Forgive those who have wronged you, forget the things you cannot change, because there is a life out there waiting to be lived and no one can live your life but YOU.

Tuesday at Ten: Learn

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Learn. Something I have been doing for years, but more specific, learning how to be a great step mom and wife.

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The second my step kids walked into my life, everything changed. I was now apart of a team to help raise a 18 month old and a 2 year old. I had to learn to change diapers. I had to learn to put my foot down and say no to the kids. I had to learn that I had to EARN respect from the kids and Matt’s ex wife, it wasn’t just going to happen over night. I had to learn how to take care of spiral curly hair, because Jordan has A LOT of it. I had to learn how to fix imaginary boo-boo’s with a glitter pink wand. I had to learn how to play little kid games and use my imagination. I had to learn how to teach a kid how to blow their nose and tie their shoes. I had to learn how to co-parent with a woman I knew hated my guts. I had to learn to take the high road, and that really killed my pride at first. I learned that taking the high road didn’t make me weak, it made me stronger. I was able to learn how to co-parent without lashing out.

I had to re-learn how to basically live my life. I had to learn how to be a parent in a short amount of time and play catch up on the things I missed along the way. Learning all of these things all at once was very overwhelming. I had ONE shot to get this right. I couldn’t let my future husband down and I couldn’t let James and Jordan down. I spent months reading book after book about co-parenting, blended families and step parenting. I wanted to have all the tools at my finger tips because my family deserved the best. Just because I didn’t KNOW how to do all of these things didn’t mean I couldn’t LEARN them. I’m a very smart woman and I knew if I wanted to learn this, I would.

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I know I’m not perfect and I make mistakes, but I learn from them. I knew I was going to step on toes, not on purpose, but I was learning. I was going to cry a lot of nights, but I was learning on how to handle this new lifestyle. The step mom lifestyle of all the work and no reward. I learned that the reward is in the love I receive, in the smiles on the kid’s faces when I pick them up from school and in the way Matt looks at me every morning when we wake up. Out of everything I have learned, I learned that THIS is exactly where I want to be in my life. Happy and in love with my amazing little family, taking everything one day at a time and realizing that we are ALL still learning, and that’s okay.

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Kindness Challenge: Observing Kindness

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This week for the Kindness Challenge, we were focusing on observing kindness around us.

Sunday night, James had a baseball game, in like 40 degree temperature. Sunday also was the day that Aunt Flow decided to have her monthly visit . Like brings you to your knees in complete tears kind of visit. Matt was at work late and James had to be at the field by 5:45. Before we left the house I asked James probably ten times if he had everything he needed for the game, by the tenth time I got the “Jessssssssssss, I got everything, I promiseeee! Can we just go now!” We pull up to the field, park, and James runs out of the car. I look at the top of his head and guess what was missing? His baseball hat. That he NEEDS to be able to play on the field during the game. I asked him where it was and his face turned from excited happy smile to the fear of death. He left it at home.

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Jojo (our nickname for Jordan) and I jumped in the car and rushed the 30 minutes home and back (keep in mind the intense cramps I was having). When we pulled up to the field and walked up to where Stephanie, Paul, Noah and her dad were sitting, she had this look on her face that she was about to feel bad for what she was going to tell me. She told me James hit a triple and got his team’s first run of the season…and I missed it. It took all of me not to just cry right then and there because of stupid my hormones going crazy. Jordan sat down next to me, told me she was sorry we had to miss that and gave me a kiss. Noah (Steph and Paul’s 3 year old son) came up to us, put his arm around both of us and said “Hey guys, how are you!” and it put an instant smile on my face. He entertained us during breaks between innings of the game with his kung fu moves he learned from watching Kung Fu Panda. By the end of the game he was sitting on my lap under a blanket and we watched James hit a home run! Matt showed up just before it happened too! The feeling I got watching James run all of those bases with the biggest grin on his face, was so worth the 30 minute drive.

We got home from the freezing cold game and everyone chowed down on Taco Bell before the kids headed to bed. After they had their PJs on, the kids said they were going to pack their lunches for me so I could lay on the couch with my heating pad and relax. Um, thanks for the instant tears kiddos. What amazing little people we are raising. Seeing the kindness they give out so freely makes you feel very proud as a parent. Not to mention, it made me totally forget about James forgetting his baseball hat.

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The rest of my week was pretty disappointing and trust me when I say I really looked for kindness everywhere around me. Even dropping the kids off at school was out of control. Parents were selfishly weaving in and out of cars in the school parking lot and disregarding rules that are in place to protect the children in the drop off lane. We also have a lot of construction going on in our Metro Detroit area. Major highways closed or shut down so the state can fix our crappy roads and we can all stop blowing our tires over pot holes that are deeper than Jordan is tall. Of course no one shows kindness in gridlock traffic during rush hour. No matter how many people I “let it” to get over after passing 30 other cars in a closed lane.

I decided to try and observe children. Kids can be so kind to one another. I said something to a friend last week along the lines of, “I miss the days of being a kid and walking up to another kid and say ‘Wanna be friends?’ and that was that. End of story. You made a new friend for life. Easy as that. Instant loyalty and friendship.”

I volunteer in Jordan’s class room every week. What a perfect time to observe kindness! Within minutes of being in the classroom, one kid threw a hard covered book at another kid’s face and one little boy bitched out this little girl for using a pen on HER paper instead of a pencil which then caused the little girl to have a complete melt down. Well, looking for kindness here doesn’t look very promising today.

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I’m feeling discouraged. Why is it so hard to observe kindness around me this week? Am I just blocking out the kindness around and me and only seeing the negative? Am I being a negative nancy this week or has the world turned into a place where finding kindness every day is actually really that difficult?

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One of the tips I used from Niki was not watching the news this week. Which is usually something I do in the morning before the kids walk out of their bedrooms. I let them watch the weather, but as for the actual news, I always turn it off. Having the news off this week helped me to NOT start my days with such sadness of what is going on around the world or even in our own backyard. I sure hope next week is a better week then this one. I need someone to restore my faith that the world really hasn’t gone down the drain with kindness…

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