~Marriage Doesn’t Work On Auto-Pilot~

 marriage relationships love family couples 

Lately I have spent a lot of time reading articles about marriage and even dwelling into my own.  What makes them work? Why do they fall apart? Why are men and women so different?

This year of 2015 has been a trying one on my marriage.  It has to do with a number of reasons.

For 3 years prior we lived in separate places…5 hours apart…and only saw each other once or twice a month.  And it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder because when I finally got to see him I was so happy that there wasn’t any time to be upset about anything.   We had very little time together and didn’t want to spend it arguing about stupid stuff.

Now we are living under the same roof and as much as I love seeing and kissing his face everyday it also opens more doors and avenues to argue.  Usually because we are both tired and frustrated from the days we have had.  I think it’s easier for him to go to work and he thinks it’s easier for me to be home with the kids.  That is probably the base of every argument.  There was also a time in the beginning of the move that I resented him for taking a job that eventually caused me to make a decision to move. A place where I knew no one, he was the only adult I had to talk to, and he was gone 17 hours a day.

Now let’s add in that during the first part of the year I was taking anti-depressant medication which I had been put on after having my third and final child.  Being on it pretty much made me not care about anything including sex.  I didn’t care if we had it or not and for the most part I only did it as an obligation of being a wife.  I was also a bitch all the time.  Bitchy all the time and uninterested in sex can put a real strain on a marriage.  So I decided to quit taking the medication.

It took a long time for the medication to finally leave my system and as it did I noticed my sex drive returning which was great but I also started to notice that during my monthly cycle time I was pretty much on the verge of becoming a complete lunatic….and am still dealing with those emotions once a month.

This means he’s dealing with it too and how am I supposed to expect him to understand it when I don’t understand it myself???  I am horrible at the fact that I will sit and dwell on something, overthink it, and drain the life out of it until I then blow up at something as trivial as he didn’t answer a text message.

 marriage relationships struggles mental health love 
The female mind is such a frustrating mystery.  And for most men, including my husband, I am sure they wished there was just a switch to turn off the crazies…hell…so do I!

But there’s not.

There’s also the factor that my husband and I have not had an overnighter alone with just the two of us for almost 2 years now.  Sure we have date nights where we go out to dinner, maybe catch a movie or sometimes we are just so exhausted that when dinner is finished we drag ourselves home and to bed.  We have 4 kids living at home 3 of which are 5 and under…the oldest, luckily for us, is old enough to babysit so that we can have said date nights.  But I truly believe that mommies and daddies need time away to reconnect with one another without the stresses of everyday life.

But through all of these factors, the close calls of calling it quits, the fights, and the craziness in general…we have chosen not to give up.  We have chosen to keep our family unit connected and work on making our marriage better.  

 marriage relationships love family struggles  
We have made it clear to one another that we are the glue that bonds this family together and that with both of us coming from broken homes, we want to embrace every chance not to let that happen to our children.  And that doesn’t mean only staying together for the children because believe me I have read a lot of material on that lately and that’s unhealthier for the kids than splitting up.

We choose to stay together because we know we truly love each other and also because we realize that the good days are really REALLY good and as long as they continue to outweigh the bad days then the marriage is worth fighting for.

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The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

~Trees Of Mystery Adventure~

trees mystery vacation California redwoods adventure family

This place is AMAZING!  It’s inexpensive(around $50 for the 6 of us), beautiful, and a great little hike for all members of the family.  My 3 year old did it with no problem.   It’s nestled in the Redwoods National Forest in California about 10 miles south of Crescent City.  The name is Trees Of Mystery and you can click the link to get more information about the place.

When you pull into the parking lot the first thing you see is the huge Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox.

trees mystery California Northern Coast Redwoods Paul Bunyon  trees mystery blue ox babe redwoods adventure California coast

Paul Bunyan speaks to you and makes jokes.  We never did locate where the person was watching from…they are very good at hiding it.  The kids of course thought it was really this large statue talking to them and got a total kick out of it.

Once inside it’s a trail just full of redwoods and the beauty of nature.  They have little signs with descriptions of certain trees and even a sky tram that takes you above the trees and up to the top of a wonderful lookout.

Here is a picture of 2 of the 4 kids on the boot of Paul Bunyan and my husband trying to get up there with no success.

trees mystery redwoods California coast adventuretrees mystery California Coast Adventure Redwoods

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast family vacation

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast family vacation

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast vacation family

Some people have chosen this wonderful place to “tie the knot”

trees mystery adventure California redwoods forest family vacation weddings

trees mystery California family vacation redwoods

There is a section with all these little wooden plaques listing all the couples who have given their life away gotten married here.  Love this idea!

trees mystery weddings redwood forest adventure vacation California

This is the “Brotherhood Tree” If you click the link it shows a video on how they measured the tree.  It’s huge!  And I love what the sign represents.

trees mystery adventure family vacation California redwood forest

trees mystery redwoods forest California adventure family vacation

Once you have come to this part of the trail you have the option to ride the sky tram.  Of course everyone wanted to do this.  Except for a gentleman who said he didn’t trust anything that didn’t have screws to connect it to the cable.  My kids didn’t skip a beat and were all thrilled to get in the little cable car.

trees mystery sky tram adventures California family vacation redwoods forest

trees mystery adventure California family vacation humor sky tram redwoods forest

trees mystery sky tram adventure redwoods forest family vacation

trees mystery adventure California redwoods forest family vacation sky tram

We went around 10am and it wasn’t busy at all.  But as we were leaving it was starting to get pretty packed.  Therefore, I am glad we went earlier.  It was a beautiful, almost cool morning so it made for good exercise.  The picture of the view above really doesn’t give it justice.  The whole Redwood Forest is just breath taking!

Below are a couple of facts.  These signs are all throughout the hike and it’s very interesting to learn more about the redwood forest and it’s history.

trees mystery California facts redwoods forest family vacation adventure

trees mystery adventure facts redwoods forest California vacation family

If you are ever visiting the Northern California coast, I highly recommend stopping in and having a hike through this place.  We plan to return again someday.

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How I Became A Mother

How I Became A Mother.

This still has to be one of my favorite pieces so far :))

Being The “Stepmom”

They say that being a mom is hard but rewarding “job”.  Well I would have to say that being a stepmother is even harder and in my case not very rewarding.  I met my stepsons when they were 8 and 10…now they are 14 and 16 (about to be 15 and 17)…but not much has changed during this time except that I have given birth to 3 children of my own and truly know the meaning of unconditional love.

My stepsons didn’t have the easiest start in life.  I only know bits and pieces of what happened in their lives back then but somehow even though I have tried to give them stability and love over the past six and a half years, the emotional scars that they endured still linger.  Therefore leaving me with an unattainable “motherhood”.  Which in turn leaves me extremely frustrated.  When they were younger I understood that they were just young boys and that I was going to have to work at gaining their trust and love but I am no further in grasping that obstacle then I was when I started.  So why not just give up?

My husband had a step child for about 5 minutes in his previous relationship so of course that makes him an expert now on the subject.  Therefore trying to talk to him about it is pretty much pointless.  He just gets aggravated and thinks that I should just try harder.  But now that they are approaching young adulthood how much effort am I supposed to make when I feel no return?  Just like any other relationship at some point when love isn’t reciprocated one just stops trying.  It’s hard to think or feel that way but at the same time I didn’t give birth to them therefore the unconditional love that I feel for my own children does not come naturally with my step children.  And the feeling of wanting to nurture them has been shaded by the constant feeling of being the “step monster” even though I have been with them longer then their real mother ever was.

I accepted a long time ago that they had a mother and that even though she has been in and out of their lives that she was and still is their mother.  I have never asked them to call me mom nor have I ever expected it from them.  I had a stepfather growing up and I had no desire to call him dad because I already had a dad that was actively involved in my life.  It’s truly the lack of love and respect for me as the person who has been the feeling of stability for them for over the past 6 years that leaves me with this feeling of failure as a step parent.

They aren’t bad kids by any means.  They are your typical teenage boys with a few broken pieces that haven’t quite been mended.  My husband did a good job of teaching them about life long before I came along.  Even at 8 and 10 they knew how to “survive”  more then most adults I knew.   I guess somehow by me stepping in and trying to fill a void of female nurturing I thought that in time they would learn to at least say “I love you” without a disgruntled expression or mumbling it beneath their breath.   But nothing about that has changed.  And quite honestly the older they get, the harder it becomes for me to say knowing that is the type of response I will get.

Reflection Of My Year

Once again the end of the year is nearing.  Every year seems faster then the previous one.  Don’t know if that’s because I don’t want to get any older or because I have children now who are growing up so fast.  It’s hard to believe that the first child I gave birth to, Baby B, is now going to be 5 in only a matter of weeks.  Where has the time gone?  Seems like I blink my eyes and they are all another year older.

This year has been a busy one full of a lot of changes for all of us.  The building of a new home in a new spot on the map.  Leaving everything that we knew a 6 hour drive behind us.  My teenage boys having to leave friends and try and make new ones in an unfamiliar new school.  My toddlers still not understanding why all their friends that they had made can’t just come over all the time like they used to.  We have been here for nine months now and I feel like we just moved here.  I realize it takes time to make a life in a new place but for someone as impatient as myself that takes abilities that I just don’t possess.

But with change also comes good.  And at the top of that list is that all of us are now together under one roof rather then my husband having to travel back and forth and having limited time to do so.  Once or twice a month was not a substantial amount of time for my children to be with their father.  Now, although he works a lot of hours, we still get to see his smiling face everyday.  I get to kiss him goodnight and to me that is more important then anything I left behind.  (Even on the days he pisses me off)

In this year I have discovered who and what is truly important.  I have found out who my friends truly are and realize now that the list isn’t as big as it once used to be.  I truly now know the meaning of a “reason, season, or a lifetime”.  But most importantly I have learned that my family means everything to me and as long as I have them that everything else is so trivial.  My family being happy and healthy is my priority.

I find myself complaining a lot around the holidays just due to the stress that comes along with all the hustle and bustle of them.  And every year I tell myself I am not going to wait until the last minute to do everything and yet every year I think it gets worse.  In the midst of it all, this year, I looked around to see people who had truly something to complain about.  The old man on the corner holding a sign for help with his withered clothing and holes in his shoes and the years of the elements in each wrinkle upon his face, the man at the mall strapped to a wheel chair who no one was pushing nor was anyone walking beside him either.  The Angel tree full of children who go without throughout the year.  But the one that got me the most was the program I happened to catch yesterday about a young girl with cancer fighting for her life and her daddy only wanting more time with her because next Christmas isn’t promised.  It truly made me realize that I have so much to be thankful for.  Don’t get me wrong I count my blessings all the time but sometimes I think we all lose sight of what it truly means to suffer.  I think about the soldiers who go lengths of time without holding their families in their arms and the couple who have tried and tried to conceive a child with no prevail.  The parents that have to visit a hospital on a regular basis because their child is sick and for anyone who has lost loved ones and are now alone for the holidays.  I am blessed because I am not alone.  I am blessed that my children are healthy and happy.  I am blessed that I get to see all of them everyday.  I am blessed that we could afford the Christmas presents under the tree when so many can’t even afford the tree.  I am blessed to have this new home.  I am blessed with all the changes that have come this year.  And as much as my children can irritate me sometimes I promise to remind myself that I am blessed to have them.

So I will say goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015.  A new year full of new memories to make.  New resolutions to usually break.  But most of all new things to reflect upon.  To all my family and friends I wish you well for the new year.  May it be filled with happiness and good chaos.  “Cheers”

Reflection

Zoelletree

Christmas is so different now.  I watch my children decorate

the tree as their tiny little fingers embrace the

ornaments in which I too stared at for hours after hanging them

on the tree when I was a munchkin.  Christmas was not an exciting time for

me to look forward to since about the age of fifteen.  Now that I have children

it adds whole new life not only to Christmas but to

all the holidays.

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I am a food network and cooking channel fanatic.  And when I say fanatic I mean it is on my tv all day everyday.  I have become quite the chef just from watching cooking shows.  Chopped is probably my favorite hence why I have 35 episodes saved on my DVR.  Right now I am watching Bobby Flay make his wife some delicious looking biscuits and gravy which I will be taking note since they are a huge love of in this house.   Apparently his wife is mad at him and he is trying to win her over…personally the way to my heart is not through my stomach but more like 20 minutes to myself in a tub with a glass of wine and maybe a massage before bed ((trailing off dreaming here)).  Back to reality… I think I just discovered what I am going to be making for dinner tonight…yes I am one of those people who likes breakfast for dinner and so is the rest of my clan.

Now I didn’t always like to cook.  I wasn’t one of those kids who was always trying to put something together and call it food.  My mother had to literally force me to learn how to cook anything other then mac and cheese in the box.  She used to have me make dinner a couple times a week and every time I either burnt or undercooked something.  I was horrible at it.

Now over time I would pick up recipes here and there, usually very simple ones, and I would try to perfect the ones that I really liked and that were liked by others but still just never quite conquered the art of cooking not to mention I just really didn’t like to cook.  How would I ever become domesticated if I couldn’t even boil water correctly?  Back then it was easy because I didn’t have any little mouths to feed therefore there was a lot of eating out.  I miss the days of eating out all the time…no mess…someone else does the cooking and the cleaning up. ((trailing again))

Now when I met my husband I had become somewhat domesticated by this point…I mean I would hope that at 35 I had learned how to at least boil water and not burn the toast.Unknown  He too was quite domesticated which was one of the traits I loved about him.  He had the ability to take any leftover ingredients in the fridge and throw them together and make it tasty.  Wonder what ever happened to that man that used to do that cause these days I am lucky if I can get him to throw meat on the grill.

In our old house I liked to “cook” but didn’t really get into “cooking” I would make the basics…spaghetti, chili, broiled chicken breast.  But whatever I was cooking had to have meat…I learned early on that a meal was not a meal unless there was meat involved, per my husband.  I tried making a pasta dish one time with no meat in it and had to hear him complain for the rest of the night.  Listening to him complain is like listening to teeth scraping across a fork…very unpleasant.

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Now this is probably what I would resemble if I were to have my own cooking show.  I still have no clue how these chefs can talk and cook at the same time.  I can’t walk and chew gum therefore I would not attempt to have at my own cooking show cause who wants to just watch someone scurry around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to cut the head off of a chicken?  Make sense? Of course not and neither does the way I cook.  But over time I have come to appreciate the art of cooking.  Not so much that I would run out and join some kind of cooking competition but enough that I feel confident in what I am making for the family.  That doesn’t always mean that what I whoop up is a hit.  Like for instance the time I got into making several types of pesto and putting that pesto on EVERYTHING…yeah that didn’t go over too well in this family.

So I carry on, introducing new items to my own personal cooking skilled menu.  The fun part is I don’t find myself making the same stuff all the time.  I mean if I can’t have variety in anything else in my life mine as well have a great versatile relationship with food right?