Friday, December 27, 2013

Xmas 2013

This was the best Christmas so far. I did not feel a single moment of empty or different... everything was normal. The stress of preparation, shopping, wrapping, cleaning and cooking combined with the joy giving, seeing Nugget's face and spending time with family and friends was so blissfully NORMAL!

Up until this year there was always a pang that followed my happiness. The little voice in my head pointing out that there was something different about our little family. Someday Nugget might feel a void since she doesn't have a dad. Or just some residual grief of my own.

All of the negative feelings about my divorce and my X's crimes were not there. EVEN though he tried to take a stab at me (by contacting that church/school) I didn't think about him once during my normal Christmas.

Do you hear that people? If you are sad this year, next year will be easier. Every year will get better if you push yourself. Make your life your own. Live for you and your children and the rest will fade away.

I hope you all had a good holiday. I also hope next year will be even better.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quick update

Just to give a quick update on the last post, as of now nothing has been happening. With the holidays and people being in and out of the office my issue has not gotten very far as of yet. I left another message with the US Attorney’s office in my district. Hopefully I will know soon if I can take any action, and I promise to keep you all updated.

In other news… My Guy and I are doing great.  There is nothing to really brag about, other than it just feels right. This relationship is built on a deep trust, friendship and mutual respect. My happiness can’t be described. Nugget has known him since she was a baby, so the whole “introduction” was a non-issue, though we have been slowly, carefully folding him into more and more “family” like activities. When I look back at my list on what you should do before introducing a BF to a child we have done all of this and more without even thinking about it. Our focus is each other, Nugget and our future as a family. Are we getting married tomorrow? No. Part of our plan is making sure we pump the brakes and truly evaluate what is best for everyone. I will say though the fact that our history goes back 12 years has given us a solid foundation. This lady is very excited for the future. J

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Proving he is SICK in the head

I got a voice-mail from a very pleasant woman from a local church/preschool. She said she pulled Nugget's name off of the "angle tree" at their school. She was checking in to see what she may need/want for Christmas so the class could buy a few things on behalf of her dad...

I called the woman back and politely explained WHY my X is in prison and because of this I would not accept gifts from him. The church of course had no idea (which is what I thought) and we had a good conversation. Her class if going to get Nugget a couple things and they will be "From: The class" instead of from her dad.

He is just awful. He is in prison for being a pedophile, yet he asks a classroom full of small children and their unknowing teacher to buy gifts for his sorry ass. AND/PLUS/ALSO Nugget is not in desperate need. Yes, things could be better, but when I talked to the woman she was told that Nugget may not get anything for Christmas! I explained she would be fine. Like I said they still wanted to get her something small, which is fine... My emotions were all over the place yesterday as this all was sinking in. I was mostly just disgusted.

I spoke to my xSIL about what happened and she was also livid. The fact that X had contact (whether direct or indirect) with a school, lied to a charity about Nugget being "needy" AND gave out my contact info and address to people I do not know all makes this F*cked up!

SIL called her mother just to make sure she wasn't the person who may have contacted the church for some reason, and confirmed it was not her. SIL also told xMIL that she needed to speak to X about how awful this was. (I personally do not think he is blind to this. He knew what he was doing.) xSIL doesn't talk to him and is honestly freaked out that he did this. We are sure it was his way of sending me a message. "I am not going to give up." 

Well, guess what buddy, I will never give in.I am not going take this lying down. I am in contact with the Victims Advocacy group in my area and the detective who worked his case. I am hoping this is a blessing in disguise and he may have just bought himself more trouble and more prison time. ::crosses fingers::

An email to the US District Attorney's victims advocate for my area was sent out this morning. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall 2013

Oh hey! I would like to apologize for my absence… I have had a lot going on in my world.

Let us start with the a few little things and work our way up! I ran and finished two races! I have been an athlete my whole life, playing basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, swimming and of course playing soccer, but I have never participated in a run/race in my life. Becca does not enjoy just running. I like to chase a ball, run over bases or cut through the water. I chose to do this because I am turning 30 in May and I wanted to challenge myself. I was in decent shape, but anyone who runs will tell you that running is a much different sport then a team sport. It is much more mental and you only have yourself to lean on (for the most part). In other words I had to “beat” myself. I had to be the one who got me over the finish line. So, I pushed myself through the pain, boredom, and doubt and made past the finish line. The first race was a 2 mile run benefiting heart disease and the second run was the Columbus Color Me Rad fun run. Both were awesome and I am very proud of myself.

Another thing that has happened is that I have spent the last 2 years trying to crawl out of the financial hole the was dug during my divorce. I found out today that my score is at its highest point since my separation! WOOOHOO!!! This latest climb has brought to a lower risk tier J I still have a ways to go, but I am getting there and it feels nice to have made this progress.

Last, but not least…. I am dating someone. I have known him since High School, but we were never more than friends until now. One of my goals for the year was to put myself back out there and go on at least one date. I have done that and it turned out to be a surprisingly wonderful choice. That is all I will say for now :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Introducing a BF/GF

All the single ladies (All the single ladies)… Now put your hands up!

There are certain questions I am asked often by newly single parents. One of those Questions is:

How long should I wait to introduce my boyfriend to my child?

In my personal opinion I HATE giving a specific time frame! Who is to say that one couple is more serious at the 12 months than another is at 4 months? I have known people who will date for years and never speak about “the future”. I will say that anything less than 4 months makes me roll my eyes in most cases (not that there are not some exceptions). It takes time to build real trust in a relationship, and I would never bring a significant other into my child’s life that I did not trust. In my last relationship I waited 3 months. I wish I waited longer. I was lucky that the guy was super nice and no harm was done, Nugget doesn’t even remember him, but had she been older she would have been much more aware of the loss of this person. Below I have made a list (because this bitch loves her a list!).

You should know a man/woman long enough to:

-Figure out that the person is not perfect.

-Make sure you are willing to accept their imperfections and they will accept yours.

-Discuss your future visions and be sure they are compatible.

-Be comfortable enough to fart in front of him (not that you should, but if one should sneak out you shouldn't be overly embarrassed).

-Rock sweatpants, no makeup and dirty hair without shame.

-Get through an illness, something like the flu or a bad case of diarrhea.  See each other at your most grossest. See how nurturing this person can be. 

-Go to Ikea together* (This is a 30 Rock reference, if you survive this trip it is a good sign).

-Meet each other's friends and peripheral family (siblings, cousins, parents), get the dish on how he/she was raised and what kind of relationship they have with existing family before you make him/her a part of yours.

-Talk about how they would feel being a parent. The reality is if things get serious they would be taken a parenting/step-parenting role. Are your parenting styles compatible?

-Spend a long weekend together or more. (If it is possible in regards to childcare)Experience real time together, beyond a date or sleepover.

-Share you most “embarrassing” interests (improv, gaming, karaoke…). Not that it is really embarrassing, but if it is an activity that is important to you AND can be polarizing then share away. I love sports and musical theatre a man must accept this! If you enjoy dressing like a pirate and going to the Renaissance Festival…. Then DO IT! And bring your new pal along. (Think Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory)

-Be HONEST about your priorities. He/she should know that your kid comes first, period. This sounds easy, but I have known soooo many women/men that will arrange their time with their kid around their dating instead of the other way around. Be upfront about saying “I can’t that night I have to take my child to swim class.” Try your best to help them understand the time commitment involved with having a kid before they meet your kiddo. Many people will say it will scare them away, but HELLO!!! That is your real life! A partner needs to know that!

-Get information on their finances. Don’t be a snoop or a Judgey McJudgerson, I am just saying you should be able to talk about money. Are they in debt? Do they have a savings? Are they responsible with cash? Check out studies on divorces and break-ups. You will see MONEY is often at the top of the list of reasons behind the termination of a relationship.

-Get drunk, responsibly. (Unless you are not drinkers) I have known a lot of people who reveal their true colors when under the influence. Jealousy, rage, cheating, selfishness… we have all seen it before. From time to time I like to hang out with friends at a tailgate or a Cinco de Mayo party where I like to get tipsy. I need to know my guy can handle himself at these events.
-Face some sort of problem/challenge; understand how you will work under pressure and stress. You do not know how strong your relationship is until you disagree, get into a fight or go through a truly hard time. I do not want to bring someone into my daughter’s life if they are going to shut down and turn tail when things get a little bumpy. This person will potentially be a role model for my child, do they fight fair? Does this person expect perfection? Any rage issues? This is shit they are not going to tell you willingly. “Umm yeah I have anger issues and tend to lose my shit when things don’t go my way.”

If there are any items on this list that you’re not comfortable enough talking to your significant other about then they should not meet your kid. Meeting a child is a BIG step. It should be done as a step towards a future together, not to show off or for the sake of convenience. Your child is forever. Your child is the most important person in your life… Take your time when bringing people into their life. Show both parties that you take this decision seriously.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Numbers don't lie!

My yearly labs from last year and last week. As you can see I have dropped my cholesterol and triglycerides dramatically through diet and exercise, proving the numbers on the scale are not the only ones that matter.

It has been a bit of hard work, but being healthy is worth it! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

30 before 30 update

It has been about 4 months since I made my list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. I just wanted to updated you on my progress!

- I have made a family photo album for Nugget and I to add to for life.
- I am signed up for a local 2 mile race
- In August I started a Healthy living program to get myself back into my not so fat pants :)
- Nugget and I took a mommy and me class at the community center.
- I recently got my hair cut into I new style I have never had before.

So... Decent start! BUT time flies, so I need to get going!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Being a parent is kind of Hilarious

Recently I was thinking about some common made-up phrases I use as a parent with a young child. I thought you all might get a laugh out of them :)

- Kung fuing: spastic movements made by a child that slightly resemble a form of karate

- No naps land: When a child is late for a nap or skips it and the whole family is stuck in the moody, black hole of despair

- Potty Prison: when a child is learning to use the toilet and has to be brought to the John so often you feel like you live in the bathroom.......

- Snee-acking: sneaking a snack that you do not want to share with a grubby handed small human.

- Jam Hands: the unexplained stickiness that most children seemed to be sporting on their hands despite frequent washing

-Meanners: when a child is acting like a complete jerk but manages to say "please" or "thank you" causing you to drop you guard.

- ExDression: when a child learns to dress themselves and insist on expressing themselves through crazy outfits the may make other adults think the parent may be blind.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Open letter

An open letter to all “normal” co-parents… by normal I mean a situation where both parents are safe and loving care givers. 

Over the course of three years I have been involved in a few different single parents support groups/chat groups where people (usually women) can go to share experiences and advice. I have also been privy to many other divorce/custody stories through my mother who is a court reporter. She has worked on several intense custody cases and divorces. When a case is a matter of public record she has shared some extreme examples of bad co-parenting behavior. Basically I have heard a LOT of stories!! 

There has been a lot of anger, bitterness and hurt felt by those who have faced their ex’s in court. It is only natural for a parent to want to have their child with them as much as possible. I understand this feeling, I sympathize with this. It is also very natural for someone who has felt “wronged” to feel it is not fair to “lose” something that is important to them. That being said I can get easily frustrated with numerous parents’ inability to see the big picture those who cannot step outside themselves to understand what is best for their child. Brace yourself, I am about to say something that may be hard to grasp for some…. But just because an ex is an asshole to YOU doesn’t make them a bad parent…. Or just because someone has left you, through an affair or because they fell out of love it doesn’t make them a bad parent. I am a strong believer in a child having a loving relationship with both parents whenever possible. It is not just my opinion; there are several studies and experts that will back me up. 

Let go. My advice to all of those struggling with shared custody is let go. You can’t control what your ex chooses to do during their parenting time. Your child may have different routines and different rules at the other parent’s house, let it go. IF it is not a health or safety issue then try not to let it eat at you. Now there is nothing wrong with bringing up concerns in a civil manner, but don’t freak out if your requests are ignored. Also, it is NORMAL for child to cry at an exchange. They are going to miss you just like the miss the other parent when roles are reversed. This doesn’t mean they do not love both parents, it is just a hard situation for everyone. Most likely your child will be smiling and happy within 5 mins of your departure. 

Take it from someone who does not have the option of co-parenting, your child is LUCKY to have both parents in their life. Stop holding on to hard feelings and embrace your new relationship. You are co-parents and nothing your ex has done (beyond of course safety issues) should affect you making your best effort to give your child the best childhood possible with two loving, civil parents. 

Another piece of advice… when your child is spending time with the other parent try not to spend the whole time sitting around thinking about what they are doing. It is poisonous. Find an activity, clean, sleep in, paint, exercise, go shopping, see a movie, hang out with friends or just enjoy a good book. Let go. 

*Though I have said it a few times already, this post is meant for those who have no concerns for their child’s safety. Every situation is different, but I see way too many men and women holding on to petty bitterness that in the end only hurts their child.*

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another Episode of: A Letter from Prison

This past week has been full of excitement for my family. My parents got a "new" (used) car, Nugget turned 3 and had a birthday party to celebrate and I received another letter from my X. Sometimes things are going so well that you need a little reminder that brings you back to reality. Just going to my mail box and seeing the envelope is enough to give me a small anxiety attack.

I could care less what he has to say in regards to the usual "I am so sorry... I think about you guys all the time... please write to me..." These types of ramblings do not affect my emotional state what-so-ever! BUT... get nervous that he may say something about taking me to court, asking for visitation. As soon as I see that it is not mentioned I relax and toss the letter into the junk drawer. I will not answer his letters; I will not give him any information about my life. He can sit there and stew on his crimes and the reality that he is not welcome in Nugget's life.

Some highlights:
"I would like to be in Nugget's life. Any information or pictures you can share with me would be appreciated."

"I wrote to you in November and received no response... this is not a criticism, but it seems like I am the only one making an effort.."

Delusion could be kind of hilarious if it wasn't so scary

Monday, July 15, 2013

We all have moments

My life is very much a happy one. I had a great weekend with Nugget and my family. We went to a local fair, enjoyed some outside time at the splash park and even had some adult fun in when my sister and I went to the Casino! I am lucky, I have a good life, but we all have our moments.

This past month I have been reminded of the fact that my family is different from most others. Even other single parent families for the most part are not like mine. When Nugget says she doesn't have a dad (which she has been saying on and off) I have to tell her that she has a father, but not a daddy. Her father is not a part of our life, because it is safer for her. If she asks where he is I tell her the truth in a way I think she understands...

"He is far away in a place where adults go when the get in trouble with the police."

I also tell her that there are a lot of families that do not have daddy's for different reasons. That she has her uncles and her Pop pop... she always smiles and agrees that she doesn't need a "daddy", but it still stings to have to have these conversations already. I was a daddy's girl growing up and as much as I want to, I will never know what it is like to be without a dad. I will never fully understand my child's point of view on life. That is hard for me to handle sometimes. As she grows up I will tell her it is ok to not have a dad in her life, but I can't say that from personal experience. I DO know that I love her and so does my family. I know she has my dad, and he is a an even better grandpa then he is a dad and that is saying a lot.

Anyway... the point is that you can be happy and secure with your situation 99.9% of the time, but we all have our doubts, worries and bad days. Remind yourself that you are enough. If your child is happy then everything is fine! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Loving Summer!

Nugget and I are loving the summer! I mean what is not to love? Well, maybe the heat, but that can be easily overcome.

**Let me preface this by saying that all of my suggestions are geared towards single/only parents and other "non-traditional" families, but of course they are also good for traditional parent households. ANYONE looking for some easy to navigate fun, something you and your kids will enjoy.**
It can be really disappointing to realize that you do not have enough money for a community pool membership. In Ohio it gets very hot and very humid, very fast. After a winter spent mostly indoors there is an overwhelming need to be outside. I pondered my options and realized that the pool may not be the best option after all. When you are at the pool with smaller children you have to not only be watching them, but you have to be right next to them to make sure they do not drown. This can be less than relaxing for a parent.

Yes, I know I sound selfish. It should be about the child and making sure they have fun... blah blah blah. I am not saying I never engage in activities that my child enjoys more than I do. I think it is safe to say my non-working time is dominated by activities that are oriented to children around the age of 3. Think about this though... YOU deserve to have time to relax too AND I am pretty sure that Nugget has more fun when I am also having fun. So, of course I have a list of things to do with your child during the summer that are fun for you too

  1. Find a "Splash Park" in your area. You know those fountains that they encourage young children to play in? Usually there is a big cement slab with water that comes up in fun patterns from the ground.
    The reason I love these parks so much is because even if you have a younger child (i.e. 3ish yrs old) you can sit still and monitor them. I was able to get some great pictures of Nugget having fun, listen to a book on tape and enjoy a bit of sunshine. When I felt like I was getting a little too hot I could go into the water with Nugget and spend some quality time playing with her. It is a win/win. *Remember you should always be monitoring your child, duh! I am just saying it is easier to do this at a splash park than a pool.*
  2. Flea Market anyone?? This can be surprisingly fun with a small child. As long as you have water, snacks and possibly a stroller for those who may need to rest or nap on the go it is a desent day out. I find that a good plan is to give my child a wallet/purse with some change and a dollar or two in it. Discuss with them what they want to find and how much money they have to spend.  This is also a good lesson in money management. *If you want to build on this, try having them earn money for chores, at the end of a period of time they get to spend what they earn.* Flea markets are great because there are usually cheap items a child can buy for pocket change, unlike going to the cheapest toy store and having to spend at least $10 on a doll wearing only a swimsuit! Kids like to feel like they have some power, they like getting new things… and of course they love food that comes off of a cart. A Flea Market provides all of this.
  3. Local fairs and festivals are in season. Over the summer there are so many special local celebrations you could have a new experience every weekend. Most do not charge admission on the local level, and you can find out info on costs online most of the time. In my area there are festivals such as, The Strawberry Festival, Community Festival, PRIDE festival, Jazz and Rib Fest and a bunch of local art festivals and farmers markets. To save money, just pack a lunch and snacks. You do not need to spend a dime in a lot of cases.

    State Fairs and even a lot of County level can charge you out the butt just to get through the gate, but even these events may have a discounted day or free admission for certain hours. Make sure to look online and in local businesses for possible discount tickets to these fairs.
  4. Need some cool air? Try going to an indoor play area. I am about to tell you to do something that most mommy blogs wouldn’t… find a McDonalds with an indoor play area. Buy a cheap snack and then let your little one play while you cool down in the modern marvel that is air-conditioning. If you prefer to avoid the golden arches, most cities have at least one indoor playground with tubes, slides and a germ infested ball pit for your child to revel in.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

3 Years

Can you believe it? It has been 3 years since The Day That Changed Everything! When I was going through it time seemed to crawl and then stand still for long periods, now time is flying by. It is also hard to imagine that this day would come and I would completely forget about it, but I did. I only realized yesterday that it was almost mid-June, June 8th was the actual day that everything happened. See that people, time does make things easier.

Remember all of those clich├ęs that drive us nuts when you are dealing with a tough situation? Most of them are true, at least to a point.

“Time heals all wounds.” Yes. There will always be scars, but the wound will heal. Memories will still feel like a punch in the gut, but the blows become less and less.

“God only gives us what we can handle.” I believe this as well. The problem is, not everyone chooses to rise to the challenge. The strength is there, but you have to work your muscles and it helps beyond words to have others around you to help you carry the load.

“Everything happens for a reason.” True. Remember to open your eyes and think about what the reason may be. I have talked to people who have been through much worse than me, yet they have found meaning behind their tragedy. Mine is easy, without my X I would not have my daughter.
Those of you that have been with me from the whole journey, thank you for helping me through it. Those who are new, hopefully you can read the past entries and learn something.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Setting the Record Straight

I have been a single parent for almost three years now and in that time I have experienced many misconceptions first and second hand. I would like to clarify some things for those who may not understand or have knowledge of what it is like to be in my situation or another that may be similar. You all know how I love bullet points and lists :)

I am single. This is a fact. I am also a parent and this means I will be around other parents. Some of the parents I interact with are fathers, most of which are married or in a committed relationship. There seems to be a misconception that just because I am single I am somehow a threat to another person’s marriage. I promise I am not. I would never make a move for a married man. I do not flirt with parents on the playground or during our child’s swimming lesson. I am a lady. This term is not used as much as it should be, but I do consider myself a lady. Being a single parent does not make me a slut, or desperate to find my child a dad. There is no need to “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife”. IF a married man made a pass at me I would be disgusted.

I am not on any government assistance and never have been in the past. I have a good job and make a decent living. BUT… if I were on assistance why would it bother you? I was left with nothing for months. Overnight I went from a two income household, expecting a child to a single income, single parent, paying for a home, car, bills, food, daycare, divorce and custody battle… assistance would have been damn helpful! I unfortunately did not qualify, so instead I went into debt. There is no shame on using government programs when you need it, none. Not every single mom is on welfare, and not every single mom on welfare is cheating the system.

I am not bitter or depressed. At least not any more than most people! I do not hate men or want to shut them out their children’s life. It might be surprising to hear that I am STRONGLY for a father’s paternal rights. I believe both parents should be involved whenever it is safe and in the best interest of the child. I tell other single moms very often to be civil and friendly to their child’s father. Having a good male role model is important for a child. My personal situation makes it impossible for me to promote a relationship between Nugget and her biological father, so her role models are my dad, my brother and my brother in laws. I know many more wonderful men than I do bad ones. When the time is right I would love to find a wonderful man for myself!

To anyone who thinks themselves a legal genius, a bona fide Law and Order expert let me set the record straight. As of right now, in the great state of Ohio, there is no way for me to dissolve my X’s paternal rights. It seems obvious that a pedophile who admits to downloading upwards of 700 images and videos of girls between the ages of 4 and 14 and who was caught trying to meet up with a 15 yr old for sex should lose all rights to be a parent. They are a danger, especially to a daughter. The state protects every other child in the nation against this man, yet my daughter lives with the threat of having to visit with this man. I currently have full physical and legal custody and that will most likely always stand, but the problem is my X can apply to the court for visitation and custody. That is his right, and I can’t change that. Instead I have to fight to keep my daughter safe and pay a lawyer to help me. Remember any money going to a lawyer is lost and I would still not qualify for assistance (legal aid or food stamps).

Another legal point; I applied for child support. Asking for child support does NOT mean X has more of a right to visitation. They are handled separately. I asked for the money for my daughter’s wellbeing. If I could live without it I would. It is for Nugget, period. Please do not assume that you know what you would do in my situation. I am trying to keep my little family going.

Being a single parent does not mean that I bring a bunch of men around my daughter. I have only introduced one man to my child and he was my boyfriend for 7 months. A man will never come before my child. Nugget is not an obstacle to my dating life. If a man can’t handle me being a mother then I do not want to be with him.

If you see a picture on facebook of me out with friends that doesn’t mean I dump my child off on a regular basis. I am with my child every night except once a week when I play soccer and she stays with her grandparents. I am allowed to have fun once in a while and enjoy adult interaction. My unmarried status does not give a person the right to assume I am licentious or anything but a responsible mother. To quote the frequent Maury guest “You don’t know me!”

And finally... I will say it again… I did not know my X was a pedophile before the day the police came to my home. I had no idea or suspicion. A lot of these men including my X are very intelligent and good at fooling people and hiding their activities. It is hurtful that others seem to think I had knowledge of this and chose to stay with the man. That is sick and weak. I am a strong woman; I would never stay with a man who I knew to be a pervert.  The fact that the first question asked of me when people find out is “Did you have any idea?”  is insulting.

EDIT: I am not referring to people who ask me "Looking back did you miss any signs?" or anything along the same lines. I am in no way offended when people ask me questions, feel free to do so!! There have been a surprising number of people that really want to know if I knew or if I ever found anything on our computer or in our house... When you have been asked so many questions it becomes easier to weed out those who are looking for information that may help them and those who may really believe I knew.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Advice from Becca - 20 random tips

I can only offer advice. Take it or leave it. What works for me may not work for others.

With all of that out of the way here is some advice I have accumulated over the years. Some is serious, some is humorous... take it or leave it people! :)

  1. Live by the RULE, not the EXCEPTION. - True story: I personally knew a man who survived a car crash only because he was not wearing a seat belt. I still wear my seat belt every single time I am in the car. This is my number one rule in life. A married man will most likely not leave his wife... if you smoke your health will most likely suffer... a pedophile will most likely NEVER be safe around children.
  2. If you have a small child you may as well put a small chair in your bathroom because they will need somewhere to sit while you use the toilet. They are going to want o be in there, like it or not!
  3. If your child is anything like Nugget here is some mealtime advice. Put anything you want your child to eat on YOUR plate first and pretend to give them your food. Make sure the child sees you "sharing". This does two things. 1) It is a good example of sharing. 2) It keeps your real food safe from the little vultures.
  4. Single Parents are especially in danger of being deprived of adult interaction. Sign up for a community art class, sports team, mommy group.. anything that gives you the opportunity to talk to someone who can wipe their own butt.
  5. Dating is not a good way to make friends. I hear a lot of single parents say they are lonely and crave some adult conversation so they join an online dating service... if you are lonely and feeling a little gloomy dating may not be the best idea. You are more likely to get into a bad or pointless relationship.
  6. When making pasta take some advice from Coco Chanel... take out the amount of noodles you THINK you need and then take some away.
  7.  Tell the people you love how you feel. Even if they can't say it back... there can never be too much love inthe world.
  8. Never try change who you really are for a man/woman. A person can inspire change, but they should never demand it and you should never force it.
  9. Take a vacation, every single year! Go far away, stay home, two weeks or a long weekend... doesn't really matter! Just take the time to relax and do something fun.
  10. There is no shame in asking for help.
  11. Keep an old pair of jeans, pair of shorts, a tshirt, old sneakers and a sweatshirt in your car. For you and your little one. Can't tell you how many times I have used these emergency items.
  12. Wash your car. Sounds simple, but it is good for your car and it is one chore a child LOVES to be involved in. Whether you go to a car wash or do it youself they love it.
  13. Let your child see you having fun. I remember watching my parents play softball, going to movies with them and watching them play games with family and friends. It is important that a child sees you having a good time. The more memories they have of you smiling and laughing, the better. You don't want them to only remember you sitting on the sidelines, or stressing over money.
  14. On the same note... make sure your child sees you being a good sport. Don't be a sore loser. Nugget comes to my soccer games, and she will not see me cursing at people or getting into petty arguments. She will see me supporting my team and trying my hardest.
  15. Get certified in Basic Life Saving.
  16. Don't make your child your whole life. Hear me out! My child is my life in many ways, she is my heart, my truest love and the person I put above all others... a parent can't change how they feel, that is set in stone... BUT I do have my own activities. I say no to her. I do not put all of my hopes and dreams on her shoulders. I want the best for her, but I want to prepare her to be her best on her own. This means I owe it to her to be my best. I have to do that on my own. Make sense? Well. at least I know what I am trying to say! Lead your child by example.
  17. Have a tool box. You would be surprised how many houses do not have proper, basic tools.
  18. Own at least a few pairs of cute underwear/panties/bras. It is easy to fall into the "Hanes habit". Hanes are great, I am not a hater ,but there is just something about wearing sexy under things... It helps give you an extra boost of confidence.
  19. Along the same lines: Have at least 3 go to outfits: One cool weather casual, one warm weather casual and then a date night/girls night outfit. Be prepared to look good without having to panic.
  20. Love is the most beautiful thing in the world. Don't rush it. Don't force it. Don't shut it out. Don't let it blind you.  It is easy to get swept away, but you will be much happier and safer if you stear your vessel with a clear head.

Monday, May 20, 2013

When I am Feeling Down

Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent can be even harder! There will always be bad days and on those days it is important that you have a plan of attack. Now, there are different kinds of bad days… Bad hair, hard days at work, sad days, fat days, stressful days, and overall just horrible days all around. Here are some things I do when I feel like crap, some of them are better for sad days and others better for days when your child seems to have been possessed by a devil.

• Make a playlist with upbeat happy songs. I prefer the boy bands and bubble gum pop from my high school/middle school days. NSYNC, BSB, Britney and Christina.

• Have a piece of chocolate… or two.

• Go to this website:

• Distract yourself by baking yummy dessert and then eat it!

• Hug your child, smell their hair and tell them that you love him/her.

• Take a shower, cry in there is you feel the need. Then put on your PJs.

• Watch Anchorman, Step Brothers or any other Will Ferrell movie.

• 13 going on 30 is another good pick me up movie!

• Take your child to a small local downtown/flea market for some leisurely window shopping.

• Ask a toddler to tell you a story. Any story! Have them make it up, because there is nothing more hilarious than a small child’s imagination.

• Pull out an old scrap book, try to find one that will make you smile (don’t pull out old wedding pictures featuring you and your now X).

• DANCE PARTY! Rock out in the living room.

• Go to this website:

• Play a board game or video games

• Memorize a poem

• Go outside and walk.

• Go swimming or set up a sprinkler. Child or not it is just darn fun!

• Call a friend of family member and talk or go to/rent a movie.

• Find a mindless game to play on your phone. I like Bejeweled or Slingo…

• Read or download a good book. I love audiobooks cause I can listen to them while I clean or relax in the bath. There is a cool app for iphone called HOOPLA where you can rent audiobooks/movies and other items through your public library! Just enter your library card number and BAM! Free books with no need to drive to the Library to return them!

• Stretch or do some Yoga.

• Play with your hair and makeup. Go back to your teen/preteen years and experiment a little.

Bad days are just bad days, they do not equal a bad life. Just the same, a hard life is not a bad life. Remember that.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

30 before 30

Today I turn 29. That magical number that a large group of women use as the last stop in the aging process and my last year as a twenty-something… I feel pretty neutral about it. Maybe because for about a year I was in a fog, I feel younger than my age. Not in the sense that I feel immature or don’t want to get older, I just feel like I am still stuck at 26. I am hoping that changes over the next year. By this time next year I want to FEEL 30. I want to embrace my age and move forward. In this spirit I am going to initiate a project. Starting today I am going to try to get 30 things accomplished before I turn 30. Below I will make a list, by May 7th, 2014 I want to check at least 30 things off the list. I want to accumulate experiences.

1. Run a 5k

2. Eat only organic/unprocessed for at least 1 week

3. Take a new class at the community center

4. Make something my daughter can keep forever

5. Go on a date

6. Volunteer in the community

7. Apply for a dream job, even if I am not completely qualified

8. See a professional ballet performance

9. Get in the best shape of my life

10. Buy a new car

11. Give myself a makeover and try a more standout lip color

12. Try to get something published (a short story, article or poem… maybe a Lifetime original script ;) )

13. Have a savings account with at least $1500 in it

14. Sell a painting

15. Record a song, even if is just for me to see/hear

16. Adopt a pet

17. Get a tattoo

18. Have my first mammogram

19. See a dermatologist and have my freckles checked

20. Print out my pictures and make a family photo album for Nugget and I

21. Go one day without spending any money, maybe two

22. Visit Disney or other major theme park

23. Try to be an extra in a film

24. Audition for something

25. Take Nugget to her first baseball game

26. Buy myself good piece of jewelry

27. Make myself a piece of jewelry

28. Write letters, by hand, to friends that have moved far away

29. Make a music video with my Daughter

30. Learn to drive a stick shift

31. Learn a foreign language, enough to have a simple conversation

Any other ideas? I like having choices!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cooking for 2 or 3

I have fallen into a rut! I used to cook at home at least 4 nights a week, Fridays were always dinners out or pizza and then I ate at my parent's house a couple night a week.

Lately I have been eating out WAY too much and it is showing in my monthly finances. So, I am making a few changes starting with meal planning. This week my brother and I are getting the grill involved! He grilled us some steaks last night and I made 2 veggies to go with the meat. Nugget helped me pick some fresh sage yesterday and we will be using it to make some delicious pork tomorrow night and Thursday I am planning on making a grilled chicken to go with some yummy salads.

BAM! We are back in action! Maybe the sunshine is helping with my motivation :)

For all you sinlge parents and parents in general I suggest you invest in some fresh herbs. You can buy them pre-planted at most stores with flowers/plants or you can grow them from seeds. I have two big potters out on my small cement patio with sage, rosemary, oregano and basil. Meals are so much easier and better tasting. take any meat add EVOO or butter, herbs and a little lemon or other acid and you are good to go!

  • Pork, butter, lemon sage
  • Cilantro, lime, EVOO (or veggie oil)
  • Basil, tomato, balsamic
I could go on! It is summer, get the grill going and enjoy!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Still not dating.

On some days I wish I could find my most recent ex-boyfriend, the only man I have dated since my divorce, and show him that I meant what I said the day I broke up with him. I really wasn’t ready. I REALLY just wanted to have time to be independent. There was nobody else and he did nothing wrong. I was just not the right girl for him and it was not the right time for me to be with anyone.

Almost a year and a half later he still comes to my mind, because I know I really hurt him. Being dumped with no real clear explanation only makes you analyze yourself and most likely it is not in a good way.

I am still not dating. I still have very little desire to do so. I do get hungry for affection, but it passes quickly. There is nothing wrong with this, and that is what I keep telling myself. Many of my single mom friends are getting married again or are in serious relationships… it makes me think about myself and where I am in regards to love/relationships/men… I still stand by my previous statements, that dating just sounds exhausting. So another day will pass and I will focus on my responsibilities and my wonderful child. I will wait. I am not waiting for a prince to save me, a sign to communicate to me or anything else magical. I am just waiting for myself, all of myself to be ready. Love, a forever kind of love, it is just too important to rush into before I am whole again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It is not easy.

I get asked quite often by women and men alike how hard it is to be a single parent. Most of the time they are in a bad relationship or are in a rough patch in their marriage… They want to hear one of two things;

1) It is much easier than people make it out to be! I mean really, anyone could do it!
2) It is soooo hard. Don't do it! Stay with your partner no matter what!

Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but it just is not that simple. Unless I believe someone is in danger I will never tell someone to leave a relationship. It is not my call. I am more than willing to listen and offer my experience, but my life is not the norm.

My experience being a single parent has been hard. I have less free time than my mommy friends. I have less money for entertainment. My energy level is usually pretty low and of course I am tethered to my child more than a person with a co-parent. All of this may make people think I hate being a single parent, I don’t. It is hard. Some days it is VERY hard. This is why I would never flat out recommend taking this route unless you have tried every possible path to recover your relationship or if you and/or your child are in danger.

I love my child and I like my life. It has been a lot of hard work and will continue to be.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Not so Natural Disaster.

While walking through the halls at work this morning I had a random thought enter my mind. It was inspired by an episode of Mad Men… they were discussing a company called London Fog, and then there it was. The realization of what it is really like to go through something awful, what truly happens to a person emotionally at the point impact. Of course it is common for a person to say they were “in a fog”, so common in fact that I do not think it registers what that means. I can only speak for myself and others who have shared their own experiences with me, but I find every little insight can be helpful.

From the moment I opened the door to the police on that day almost three years ago till about March, 2011, I was in the fog. This fog is like that that follows a terrible storm, the smoke and smog that follows a meltdown or explosion and surrounds you with a terrifying quickness. The image that sticks in my mind is after the Twin Towers fell and the dust and rubble surrounded all those nearby… or maybe a tsunami... When I opened the door to see the crew of police it was like that 2-3 seconds before the cloud hits you. You see it coming, but there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. Then you are trapped. You are almost blind. You can’t breathe.

It is so easy to be lost. There are those who give up and live the rest of their lives in the cloud, or those who try so hard to get out, but are just unable to. Then there are those who get out and find the sun again. I was one of the lucky ones who can say I feel the rays on my face again. It was a lot of hard work, but some of it was luck also. So, now I get to my advice:

• Don’t panic. Never make a move without thinking it through! If you were really in a fog or tsunami, every move would count. You would not want to go running and flailing through the unknown. It is dangerous and a waste of energy. There are hazards in tragedy as well. You have lost your sight in the fog, so use your other senses. Before you say yes or sign any paperwork, read it of have it read by an attorney/trusted neutral party. It is more than ok to grieve. It is not ok to take your pain out on others or yourself.

• Don’t ignore. You can’t pretend that everything is fine. Of course your personal tragedy should not be the only thing you ever talk about, and you shouldn’t spill your guts to everyone you meet, and remember to keep professional at work. However, if you are constantly pretending that everything is fine and it will fix itself, you stand to lose a lot. Especially when it comes to financial and legal manners you need to get your ducks in a row.

• Move forward. I have said it before, I am saying it again. Push yourself daily. At first it may be a battle just to get out of bed, take a shower, get out of the house. Set yourself small goals and push yourself forward. Standing still for too long will bury you in the debris and going backwards will put you into the burning embers.

• Protect yourself. Get a lawyer, a therapist or other professional that fits your particular situation. Stitch up your wounds, care for yourself and prepare for aftershocks and future battles.

• Keep your cool. Aside from panic there is also anger and overreaction. Do not let this take over. Saying things you do not mean (or even things you DO mean) to the wrong person can be bad for you. Posting your anger online could be giving someone else ammunition. In a divorce/custody situation the other party may fight to keep you in the darkness and the brink of self-destruction. Don’t help them. It will also surprise you how clear your head can be when it is not tied up with anger/vengeance. You will be able to navigate and feel your way through the fog better, I promise.

• Rebuild. When you find yourself in the clear or close to it, make sure you begin to rebuild your life. Make sure you build a stronger fortification than the first time… but for every reinforced and armored wall you put up remember to place a door… the object is to be smarter not to cut yourself completely off.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Where have you been young lady!?

I confess, I have been a very disappointing excuse for a blogger lately. Work has been kinda crazy for the last few months. I have been basically going to work, hanging out with my Nugget and then going to bed around 8pm every night. Oh the excitement and intrigue! My life could not get any more interesting right? :)

My house is mess, I can barely keep on top of my laundry and dishes, but things are getting a bit better. My anxiety is getting less and less as each day goes by. Again I am thankful for my support system. 

So, as you all can see my time to blog has been little and I have had very little interesting enough to write about. I will try to update you all more frequently, even if it is boring! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

FAIL! ...but sweet relief!

I am so sorry that I have not been updating! I have been slammed at work and going to bed early. I promise it will get better!

On a good note I got my tax return back and was able to pay off another chunk of left over divorce debt!! The feeling can't be beat. Every time I get rid of another bill I break one more tie to that monster. He may have brought me down temporarily, but I continue to bring myself back up.

I also feel secure knowing there is actually a little something put away for emergencies. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Goals: 1/14/13

My goals for today:

  1. Write a blog post (check)
  2. Go To bed early (check)
  3. Set my alarm for 5:15am and stick to it!
My goals for this week:
  1. Clean all the bathrooms, like DEEP clean those suckers!
  2. Sort through all of my clothing and donate at least one trash bag full.
  3. Work out twice during the work week.
A new goal for the long haul:
  1. Eat cleanly

Friday, January 11, 2013

Getting this Blog together!

Ok, I can be very inconsistant with this blog... I know! I am sorry :(

I am going to try my hardest to have some sort of organization to this site. My goal is to post at least twice a week, and hopefully more. I am going to have a couple theme days and of course if in between I have something I need to get off my chest I will post whenever the spirit moves me. As for the themes, here is the idea:

Monday: Goals. Goals for the week, day, month, random stuff that gets added to my list! I will share with you what I am trying to get accomplished and the journey towards completion.

Tuesday: Venting. I will use this day to unload anything heavy or light that may be eating at me this week. It is very theraputic to get things out and not dwell on them, so I will try to let my stressors go here and move forward.

Wednesday: Wordless. Pictures that capture my mood or my imagination. A nice break after the venting :)

Thursday: Thankful. What am I thankful for this week and what is inspiring me.

Friday: Fitness. I am trying to work on myself on the outside as well as inside. I have made some major steps forward with my mental/spiritual health and the next stop is getting my body back into shape. I will share my success, failures, tips, trick and recipes I love.

I am also open to any questions you all may have. Feel free to email me:

I do not check it every day so be patient with me, but I will do my best to get to emails ASAP.