Monday, December 19, 2011

14 days is too long, and not long enough :-(

One day and my love will be home for two whole weeks.  This happens every month.  He works for 14 days and is off for 14 days.  For the two weeks he's off we have all 6 kids and it's like heaven and for the two weeks he's working it's just Adam and I and it gets lonely.  Today is December 19th, and since tomorrow is his last day on, that means he'll be home for Christmas and New Years.  Yay! 
I love spending time with him and I'm pretty sure he likes spending time with me, which is good because we have the rest of our lives (and longer) to spend with each other.  He's so amazing.  I don't know what I'd do or where I'd be without him.  We're figuring each other out, having less tension, and learning to share our lives and our children.  I'm so excited to have our entire family together for the Christmas Holiday.  Last time the kids were here and George was off we started getting ready, but we still have so much to do once they come back, and only a few days before Christmas!

Seritta and Camilla decorating the tree

I love this picture of Jarom

It was fun making the graham cracker village with the family

Adam helping set up for Trees for Charity

Apparently Seritta thought the icing was for eating, not decorating.
The title of this post is "14 days is too long, and not long enough".  Doesn't make much sense until you understand our living situation.  The 14 days I have with the entire family is not nearly long enough, and the 14 days they're gone is just way too long.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Accept Accountability? I don't want to!

My girlfriend Lezhai posted a link to a blog on my FB page for me called "30 things to stop doing to yourself".  I thought it was a good read so I browsed the site and found several other good thought provoking articles and eventually came across one called "12 ways to get a second chance in life".  It looked interesting to me so I started reading but stopped at number 4 which read:

4. Accept accountability for your current situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.
You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is giving up.

For whatever reason this made me uneasy.  I couldn't put a finger on WHY it made me uneasy so I've been sitting here thinking and I realized I just don't like it.  I don't think everyone is responsible for their current situation.  I say this because looking back 2 years ago in my life, December 2009 my husband Steve moved out.  This was not something I chose, however I tried to take responsibility for his choices and it tore me up.  I took blame for everything from gaining too much weight to nagging too much to not praying hard enough or reading enough scriptures, clear back to 9 years earlier when I made the choice to get married without really praying about it.  So what was it?  Was I too fat?  Did I marry the wrong person and the consequences came 9 years later?  At times I find I still wonder what it is and what I did wrong.  I know I made mistakes, and I know I made mistakes that were a big deal and more often than I should have but I don't believe I did anything "bad" enough to end up alone in a place where I knew no one and was suddenly abandoned by the one person I should have been able to depend on 100%. 
I had to realize that I wasn't in that situation because I chose to be or that it was my responsibility.  What it boils down to is that he chose his addictions over his family.  He was given a choice to keep his family and give up an addiction that could ruin the lives of our sons if they became ensnared in it, or leave and take his addiction with him.  He chose the latter.
I can't look back in my life and pinpoint the one mistake or choice I made that placed me the situation I was in because there isn't one.  When I got married I had no idea he had the problem he did.  It took me a whole year to figure it out.  I wanted to help him, I wanted to fix things, and I went to my bishop a year later when I found that I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried.  My bishop counseled me to stay, through good times and bad, sickness and health, just as I had promised in my wedding vows.  So I stayed.  I went through another 7 years of heartache, finding the problems over and over, struggling with my self esteem, wondering what I did wrong and giving him chance after chance because I knew if I tried, the Lord would pull me through and make everything better.  I followed him to California, sure that once we were in a place where he was happier, with a job that he enjoyed doing, he would lead a better life and be the husband he should have been all along.  He left us 3 months later.
I think if we Accept Accountability for ALL of our situations, we'll end up in a cycle of regret and guilt.  If I choose to blame myself for suddenly becoming single, I would forever question and wonder and have feelings of failure and shame.  And if I choose to believe that I was being punished for marrying him 9 years earlier, then I know I would be too scared to do anything for fear it may not end up the way I want it to, therefore resulting in more guilt for making a "mistake" I didn't know I was making. 
So, I can accept that allowing myself to get up to 172 pounds made him unhappy with the way I looked.  I can accept that I nagged too much, that I was short tempered, and that I made many other little mistakes over our 9 years together, but I will also accept that these things that made him unhappy are not the reason he left.  They aren't the reason we were in a crappy situation.  They didn't help but if it comes down to just one reason, it's that I wasn't good enough for him, which wasn't my fault.  I can accept that how I've handled my life the last two years since then is my responsibility (for the most part) but that I can't make people be nice, I can't make them love me, I can't make them be honest, and I can't keep them from hurting, abandoning, and affecting other peoples lives. 
But I'm so grateful that Steve took his problems and left when he did, because without his choice to walk away, I wouldn't be here in my warm comfortable home, married to the love of my life who makes me feel amazing, and surrounded by my 6 wonderful children.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winters from my past

Last night it snowed. And snowed.  And snowed some more.  This morning when I headed out to start my vehicle, I found that my sweet husband had cleared a path from the front door of the house to the drivers side door of the Sequoia.  He does little things like this that are not little things to me, and it's all part of why I love him so much. 
I've been thinking of winters in the past, and the memories associated with each one, some good and some not so good.  I'm going to share a few of these memories, mostly for myself to clear my head I suppose. 
I'll start with the first memories that entered my head on the slippery roads this morning, the annoying ones like chopping wood in the freezing cold, slipping and falling on the ice while I carried baby Camilla, and all of my children getting RSV, each on different years. 
Dwelling on the annoying memories brought worse ones, like the Christmas Steve had to work and Adam and I spent Christmas Eve with Ryan's family, feeling out of place.  The car accident near the college which spun us around twice and smashed Camilla's leg between the door and the seat.  The winter in Provo when Steve was unemployed and I made the kids stockings small since all we had to put in them was a bag of candy the bishop brought.  The first divorce, right before Christmas.  The second divorce, 9 years later also right before Christmas.  The year Latrisha's baby died. 
Strangely, with these thoughts in my head, I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude that my children are all with me and that my life is what it is.  The bad memories were replaced by sweet, fun, and happy ones.  Christmas two years ago in Fountain Green.  Jan and Annalee under the house with me in below zero temperatures replacing pipes again and again, sometimes in the dark and sometimes early before the sun had warmed the day but always laughing with or at me.  Me and the kids sitting on the cold linoleum in the kitchen with our feet in the air by the woodburner.  Watching Steve roll over and over down the hill we were sledding on and him laughing in the cold snow that he hated more than anything in the world.  Chase dropping our Shih Tzu in the snow and laughing when it disappeared.  Christmas caroling with the missionaries when I was a teenager with Jared and Sariah Hill.  Me and Becky hurrying out of the family room to avoid feeling awkward when we saw the tears in mom's eyes the year dad replaced the synthetic stones in her mothers ring with genuine stones.  Colin pulling his winter hat over his face and down to his neck so he could stick his head in the snow like an ostrich.  New Years Eve with Karl and Tammy in the big family room at mom and dad's watching the ball drop as the clock struck midnight when Karl looked at my dad and with genuine disbelief and said, "Wow, 1995 already.  Can you believe it?"  Colin falling off the roof on Christmas day and breaking his arm and dad getting mad because mom took him to the emergency room.  Mom answering the phone "Merry Christmas" instead of "Hello".  Kevin chucking a can of stain in the family room Christmas night as we watched it explode all over our new gifts.  Colin chasing down whoever was leaving packages on our porch for the 12 days of Christmas (he didn't catch them).  The tree falling over 3 times in the family room with Joan on the ladder.  Finding Stella's letter under the tree that said she loved me, and knowing it was true even though I was awful to her.  That same year we unwrapped and rewrapped our presents so mom wouldn't know, even though I'm sure she did.  Ice skating on the pond behind our house.  Sledding by the highway with Liz Cranney.  Grandma Sadlier giving us gloves for Christmas. The year Granpa Elliott lost our Christmas gifts and found them months later in his top drawer.  Moon boots and snowsuits in the entryway.  Everybody getting leatherbound scriptures for Christmas in the Naples house.  Snowmobiling at the Naples School.  The ugly trees that looked like sagebrush dad would bring home from the book cliffs and mom would turn them so the gaping hole in the middle faced the window, away from the family.  Fudge and peanut brittle in the electric skillet.
A lot of these memories came as I was typing other ones, and most of them are in order of my life, from the most recent to memories from more than 20 years ago.  I may complain about my life and I may find myself resentful and bitter at times just before Christmas but when it comes down to it, I only put a fraction of my past in this post.  I have so much to be thankful for.  So many times that my family has been there making me smile and teaching me lessons that I'll always keep with me.  I'm sure in the next few days I'll post more recent memories of the last 13 years with my kids and the memories we've made together, since this post is mostly about my childhood memories and not theirs.  I love that thinking back over the years I'm finding good memories that overpower the yucky ones :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halloween, Thanksgiving and George's surgery

How do I sum up the last month and a half?  I don't know... perhaps I need to set an alarm to remind myself to blog every week or two.  We had the kids for Halloween and it was of course, a blast.  George's ex-wife Stephanie came along and I think it was good for the kids to have both of their moms together sharing their memories.  Kellie and I spend most of the week before Halloween making Jedi costumes for her family and Death, Grim Reaper, Vampire, and witch costumes for us.  It was a lot of sewing, and also a lot of fun!

Seritta, Adam, Cami, Dominick Jarom, Chase, Kellie, Draden, Jake, Savannah, Vanessa, and Brian.

Adam and Grandma Merrell

Dominick, Jarom and Adam

George's wig was the bomb!

Thanksgiving was spent with George's mother, aunt Lois and cousin Kacei, Annalee and Brian, and our children.  I love George's family :-)  They've been so welcoming to me and they're great people.  I wish I'd known George's dad, Norman.  I've heard the stories of him and what an amazing person he was.

Adam and cousin Kacei at grandma Merrells house on Thanksgiving. Isn't she beautiful?

I've started working for my neighbor Adele Hanchett at the local bridal shop, Bridal Affairs.  That name cracks me up.  Every time I say that's where I work I get a raised eyebrow or "Is that REALLY what it's called?"  It's a fun place to work and I felt like I belonged from day one.  I'm surrounded by lace and ruffles, sparkles, jewels, pearls, and all other sorts of girliness!  Camilla and Seritta came in one day and played dress up with some of the prom dresses.

George and Seritta went hunting the day after Halloween in Wyoming.  Just after Seritta got her buck (they'd both gotten a doe that morning) George put his hand through a fence post!  They stitched it up out there but did a pretty crappy job and more than a month later he ended up having surgery to figure out why the infection won't clear up.  We still don't know, and his hand still hurts and is yucky.  He's now having to pack it with gauze which totally grosses me out. 

George and Seritta and their deer.  It was Seritta's first.
Seritta's Whitetail buck!


Still gross, a month later

George after surgery. 
He called the nurse Baby while he was dopey!