i have 4 diapers…

…and 24 pull-ups left.

My choice is either to buy more diapers or potty train a 23 month old and my daughter is ready to potty train and it will be one less drain on my bank account so, ‘why not?’.

I know she’s ready, but I’m not sure if I am. She’s my baby and I know she’s my last and I don’t know if I’m ready to call her my ‘big girl’ yet. She’s everyone’s baby…my boys especially. This little girl is so spoiled and I don’t stop the love or the spoiling.

Tonight in Target we bought new ‘big girl Minnie Mouse panties’ (her fav is Minnie Mouse) and as we walked through the store a little boy, about 12 months younger than her, called her a baby. She was mad! She didn’t like it! I even tried to say, “Well, aren’t you Mom Mom’s (me) baby?” and her defiant answer was, “NO”!!

So then I asked if she was a big girl and was ready to sit on the potty (Men – forgive me – I know you’re ready to hit the “x” but don’t yet) and she said no, she didn’t want to be a big girl. She told me “baby” and pointed at herself. I was sooooo tempted to let my little girl continue to think that she was my baby but all that would have done is stunt her growth, mentally and physically.

Not her fault.

As much as I hate the torment that her father has chosen to put her through mentally because he has ‘ducked’ out of his marriage without trying to put any effort into it, it’s not her fault. I just have to protect her from the harm that his lifestyle may bring her.

My little lady is so much stronger than I could ever wish to be. And she doesn’t even know how strong she is or will have to be in the future. I sit and tear up sometimes just watching how care free she is because she has no clue how much her father and his family don’t want to play an active, healthy, role in her life. They only play an active role when they are ready to or choose to or have time to or have money to.

For example, it’s normal that her father will get mad at me for something and then will pull the “I want to see my daughter” card. So I say, ok, as long as she isn’t around your felon brothers (still on probation until 2022) or mother (who has her own issues), then I’m cool with it.

Control.

Then he always responds with, “you can’t control who she’s around when she’s with me” which basically, confirms all of my fears – that she’ll be around his entire dysfunctional family that drinks a lot, excluding the one brother that isn’t dysfunctional (because he wants nothing to do with them). So, then I say that I’m uncomfortable with it, and then I become the ‘witch’…because he can’t possibly take care of himself and live on his own or take care of his daughter on his own, right? That’s too much to ask, right? He gets to be a bachelor and live like he’s 23 again, with a felon roommate/brother (that has a conviction that includes aggravated assault with a weapon) (and not just a conviction – he was in prison for 6 years) right? I should have NO say who my 23 month old daughter is around, considering how much her entire fathers’ family treats women like garbage.

False.

He’s a dad now. He needs to act like it. He just doesn’t know how. Good luck to him.

Thank goodness I have an amazing attorney.

My confidence level has come from so many places but one of them (not the main one) is that I found an attorney, at the last minute, that didn’t make me feel like I was being overly dramatic, or needy, or anything but jilted and wronged. She believed me. She felt my pain. She is going to work to get the most for me that I can possibly get, under laws written strategically for the protection of fathers.

Whether it was an act or not, I told my attorney exactly how I felt, how every other male attorney made me feel like I was ‘every other jilted wife’ and why I felt as though I needed to fight my hardest to win what was rightly mine, even after only seven months of marriage. And she agreed, she believed me, she got it, she understood…she took my case.

My soon-to-be-ex made soooo many mistakes including possibly opening up his girlfriend, Bethany D., for a lawsuit herself, that all I can say right now is to take your time…think through your choices…make sure you really want to do this (…or if other people are influencing your decisions.)

Dating a divorcee’.

Ending a marriage isn’t as easy as walking away. If you decide to date a divorcee and they’ve told you that they were the one that walked away after seven months, without question, without remorse, …you should be the one questioning things. Don’t hesitate to think, “this man is almost 40 and he can’t keep his marriage together more than seven months?? He must have issues.” And if you think these things, I promise you will be on-target.

Luckily, I’ve begun to move on. I wasn’t the one that inflicted the pain this time (or the last) so my conscience is clean. I will smile with a big smile and know that I’ve been true to my kids…that I tried everything. I wasn’t the one that bailed or chose another ‘thing’ over my marriage.

I will know that I was the one that taught my daughter so many important life lessons including how to live without diapers. That I told my soon-to-be-ex that these big life events were happening in her life and he offered zero support.

I did it.

She did it.

We did it. (or at least this week we will do it!)

Girl power!

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i will never apologize for being me again. my new goal: stop being a people pleaser.

Okay people pleasers. This is a lesson for us…for you…and especially a reminder for me.

I’m a people pleaser.

If you’ve been around me for more than 10 minutes, you’ll quickly figure out that I’m a people pleaser. I truly admire those that are the opposite of me because it’s a black hole that we get ourselves into, those of us that are people pleasers. We can’t stop ourselves. We want everyone to be happy even if it’s at our own expense.

So we bend and twist and give in to everyone else’s needs until we realize that we can’t please everyone…and then we start the next day and try a different route to please everyone for something different. It seriously is an addiction.

And when we get into a relationship, it’s easy for us to lose ‘us’…to lose who we are in a relationship with, order to adopt our partners wants and needs so that we can make them happy. And in a way, it’s not a bad thing because that’s who we are…making people happy makes us happy. But the problem begins when we choose partners or friends that don’t understand who we really are and they take advantage of our personalities instead of giving back to us in order to make US happy too.

My newest life.

I’ve given up, at least at this moment, in the hope that I’ll ever find a guy that can fully understand who I am and give to me unselfishly, just to make me happy because they love me. And that’s ok with me. It’s oddly calming to know that I can take care of myself. I think that my friends have clearly shown me in the past 90 days that I have people in my life that love me and they want nothing from me other than for me to be happy, which is more than what I’ve experienced from either of my ex-husbands.

My life has been packed with social events and it’s because I’ve opened myself up to me…doing things that make me happy, regardless of what others think I should be doing. And the biggest thing that makes me happy is experiencing life with others…with other people that make me laugh, that understand my humor, that don’t judge when I’m not perfect or when I say silly things or can’t focus on a darn thing and jump around from topic to topic. That’s who I am. I’m imperfect. And I’m proud of it.

I love life. I love to be silly. I love to laugh more than anything in the world. My poor sister used to get in so much trouble, when we were growing up, because she would sing at the dinner table and try to eat at the same time in order to prove my dad wrong – that she could sing and eat – and she’d get in trouble and then I would laugh. This occurred probably five nights out of seven. I couldn’t help it. I’m that girl that laughs at the wrong times. I did it this weekend when my own son was getting in trouble by his grandpa for being gross at the table. And I don’t care anymore. It’s how I’m wired and I am no longer apologizing for how I’m wired.

If laughing at the wrong times is the worst thing I do…then I’ve lived a good life.

I’m not perfect.

Unfortunately, laughing at the wrong times is not the worst thing I’ve done.

I’ve said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I’ve insulted people unintentionally. I’ve insulted people’s talents without realizing it. I’ve judged people without seeing the whole picture. I’ve thought that I was better than people, unfortunately a lot more than I want to admit. I destroyed my sons lives by leaving their father. I’ve cut people off in the church parking lot because I was starving. I’ve critiqued my ex-husbands choices. I’M. NOT. PERFECT.

BUT, I am who I am.

When you screw up, it’s how you deal with the screw up that will really define who you are. That’s where I think I do ok and why my incessant need to please everyone comes in handy. I care about others and their feelings a lot! And if I even think for one second that I’ve insulted them, then I internalize it, over think it, send an email, send a text, call, send another text, just to say I’m sorry.

So, I’m just a little proud of myself for being able to say, “I am who I am” without caring if anyone approves of my choices or not (and in all honesty, I do care still a little, just not nearly as much as I used to).

Dating Life 3.0

So…as I’ve started thinking about dating, flirting, or whatever with men…I’ve really decided to just be me. I’m not going to apologize, ever. I’m a lot to handle but I also have a lot to give…a lot of love…a lot of attention…a lot of intelligence…a lot of a lot to give to another person. So if the worst thing that they have to deal with is that I have a lot of emotions, then if they can help me keep my ‘up’ up, then we’ll be good, because I’ll be willing to devote the same amount of effort into that person that they put into me.

Whenever I date again, I refuse to hide who I am. I likely won’t lay it all out there on date #1, but I will be who I am and not feel bad. If nothing else, it will give the ‘other party’ the opportunity to think “holy crap, this girl is for me” or “holy crap, this girl is nuts”. But even if he thinks I’m nuts, I won’t internalize that to be “I’m not enough”…it’s simply, “He can’t handle all I have to offer.” And that’s how it will be and that’s ok with me.

And I will no longer accept that they can’t handle me because in reality, they aren’t mature enough to realize that I’m not a lot to handle…I’m a normal woman, normal human being, normal person that has emotions…and if they can’t handle grown up emotions, then they can leave. Sorry, they missed out on a grown up. And if they walk away, then I’ll know that they weren’t a grown up because I promise, the issue isn’t me. I don’t require large sum deposits in my bank account, big presents, lavish dinners and date nights…I require attention…anything that anyone else wants.

So until then, I won’t ever apologize for being all that Staci is, again. If they don’t appreciate it, then it sucks that they won’t be a part of my amazing life. I refuse to ever apologize again for who I am. And neither should you. You’ll find the perfect person for you if you are never ashamed of everything you are – the good and the bad (or at least what YOU think is the bad).

So one day, when I’m ready, I’ll write my bio for an online dating site and it will be nothing but the truth…just bullet points (because I love bullet points):

* camo lover
* jeep lover
* country music lover
* fine dining expert
* a passion for roller coasters
* has a love of scary and girlie movies (and anything with Marky Mark in it)
* lover of sushi and Mexican food
* would love nothing more than to throw her hair into a pony tail and hat in order to go fishing, eat matzo ball soup, and go to Gator football games

Perfect girl, right?? I think so…and at this point in my life, I don’t care if anyone else agrees with me. 🙂

Who cares what everyone else thinks!

Keep your chin up. A lot of us love you out there!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

a book!!!: hockey sticks and pink bows adventure #8

I am soooo excited for this adventure even though it’s going to take a few weeks. As usual, my oldest is just as excited and my #2 man groaned, even after #1 reminded him how much he loves each adventure after it’s done.

This adventure is brought to us by my silly grandma.

My grandma was one of my favorite people in the world. And even though she isn’t with us anymore, she still is one of my favorite people. Something that I hold very dear to me is that I have a baby picture of her next to one of my baby pictures and other than the fact that mine is in color, it looks like the very same baby. I can only hope that one day, when I’m older, I won’t just look like her, but I’ll have her outlook on life too!

The older that she got, the spunkier she got. I hope to be the same Grandma that she was one day (a LONG time from now). She fully defined the old clichéd statement, “the older you get, the less you care what anyone thinks”. And I lived this stage of her life with her when I was old enough to appreciate the value in not caring what anyone thinks…I wish I was as brave as her. I strive for that each day.

Recently when my parents were cleaning out closets, they found a little notebook that she had written in at some point while she was in school. It is a simple, adorable story about a little girl that didn’t have much but had eyes that sparkled and only saw the positive in life…she had hope when most wouldn’t see hope. It’s a sweet little children’s story that she wrote that I’m trying to edit and turn into a children’s book.

This created an opportunity to plan an adventure for the boys and a chance to connect them to my grandma that I loved so dearly and they never had a chance to meet.

Creating our very own book together!

We are creating the illustrations for the book together. I think that it will be so amazing to see their pictures, their interpretations of her words, together with her words. I think she would be so proud…she would be shy in wanting her words published, not because she was embarrassed by the story but would be afraid that no one would appreciate her words.

For me, the best part is that I get to add my own words because, god love her, she spilled the beans about Santa Claus in the story…and who would buy a children’s book about Christmas with the bonus being that the mystique of Santa would be ruined?? So she and I both get to write this book together and it makes it even more special for me.

It’s been fun talking about what the boys can draw, and for me, where I could take the story without completely changing it from her initial design. And if nothing else, their kids may get to hear one day about how they learned about their grandma by helping to put her words into art form. They’ll have a story to pass on about someone that brought life, light, and spunk to the world.

As soon as it’s done I’m sure I’ll share it but until then, it’s been wonderful finding a way to connect them to one of my most favorite people that helped to create who I am today, my values, my memories, my life experiences. It’s been fun walking down memory lane and sharing some of these memories with them. And it’s brought me close to her again as I type out her words and add my own.

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: For this particular adventure, I read the story to them and started the discussion about how we could break it into small sections for each page. We’ll discuss picture concepts for each page and then each of them will do a page at a time. I don’t want to overload them because I have two perfectionist and one will just end up scribbling if he gets tired of doing it and the second will stress out that it’s not perfect. I want this to be a fun memory and for them to look forward to it since it will take a few weeks to complete.

#4: During our adventure, I will take pictures of them creating these pictures and of course we’ll have the book in the end to hang on to and pass on to future generations.
Our next adventure will repeat a similar process – printing out a description of the adventure, and a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

mid-week motivation: 6 things that i’m thankful for this week

My #1 man had a big birthday this week. And I sat, the night before, and boo-hoo’d. Not because it was a reminder that I was getting older and my ‘baby’ wasn’t so much of a baby anymore, but because I’m so incredibly proud of him and feel so fortunate to be his mom.

I also reflected that never in my life could I so clearly say that ‘it takes a village’ to raise kids. I’m surrounded by such incredible people and so much love that I thought I’d pause to take a moment and show some gratitude. I’m hoping that this will give you a mid-week ‘bump’ of encouragement…look outside of what is happening and list out everything that has been amazing, fantastic, or inspiring. You’ll be surprised how big the list is…and you’ll have hope that the next day will be just as amazing as today. Seriously, write down things like, “I didn’t stub my toe again” or “I didn’t lose my cool when the parents in car line cut me off”. Those are things to thank the good lord for – trust me, I’ve been there.

I have a ton of garbage in my life right now that is working its’ way out and I realized that even with all of the garbage (my Irish Idiot) I have TWO TONS of amazing things happening in my life also. So here’s my gratitude list to inspire you:

I’m so Thankful for:

1. The Good Lord.
I’m in no way perfect, but my journey toward having a closer relationship with him starts new each day, and I can honestly say that I feel the daily hug; the daily peace that comes with knowing that even when I’m at my lowest point, that I have someone that won’t judge me, curse at me, loves me regardless of my flaws, and will always be there for me. That is something personal and incredible and I can only hope that each of you reading this will experience this one day.

2. My Kids.
I walked into my kids room tonight and saw beauty…really saw peace, tranquility, love, and perfection. There is nothing like knowing that your kids are safe and sound and together. The love that they share is incredible and I couldn’t have asked for more perfectly imperfect children. They drive me insane some days but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want anything different than the strong-willed, happy, laughing children that I have been blessed with. My life wasn’t complete until they arrived.

3. My Family.
I don’t know how to put into words what my family has done for me. Whether it’s been to help me fix a toilet roll holder, give me moral support during a tough moment, or help me coordinate the who, what, where, when, how, of the kids athletic and school schedules, they are there…always. And when you get a message on Facebook or a text from a cousin just checking on you, life seems not-so-bad. My life is full because they are in my life. I couldn’t do life without them. They are saints!

4. My Friends.
I’ve said this before but my friends are amazing. Simply perfect. They seem to have a way to coordinate who will text me and who will call and who will invite me out and who will stop by at just the perfect time. And even though I know that this isn’t really what is happening, they really do have just the perfect timing. Whether it’s to text me because they care enough to remember that a particular day represented an emotional memory or they invite me to dinner to spend time with just the girls, my friendships couldn’t possibly be stronger. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. They are saints too!

5. YOU!
All of you reading my blog give me encouragement. It’s hard for someone to put their emotions, life, and experiences to words, hit the ‘publish’ button and wait…wait for reactions, not knowing what they will be. Some of you may hate that I’m discussing my divorce(s) so publicly, some of you have reached out and shared incredibly personal stories about your relationships, but all of you have encouraged me to keep ‘talking’ about what is happening in my world. Every day that my ‘viewership’ grows, and even if it doesn’t and I only get one view, I am encouraged to write again. Someone out there is validating that what I’m saying resonates with them or is entertaining them, of which either one is one of my goals. Thank you for your feedback, positive and negative…it’s been an incredible journey so far.

6. The guy that flirted with me.
Man, that felt amazing! Totally unexpected and not reciprocated, but man did that feel good. 🙂

Try it!

To help you get over the mid-week hump, take a moment today to write down five things or three or even one thing that you are thankful for. The memories that you’ll relive will be enough to get you through some of the toughest days.

xoxo Staci Beth

school year goals: hockey sticks and pink bows adventure #7

One thing that I’ve learned from my previous work-life is that until you actually write a goal down, commit to it, create a plan to reach it, verbalize it to someone else, ask them to keep you accountable to it, and take the first step toward reaching it, goals are simply just words. Nothing more.

And it doesn’t matter if this goal is set when you are 5, 15, or 55 years old. So, I’m starting my boys out young and when my little redhead hits Kindergarten or First Grade, she’ll do the same thing.

We needed to set school year goals – otherwise, what is there to look forward to??

I need to rethink that question though, because if you ask my 10 year old he’ll tell you that he goes to school to talk to his friends, play football at recess, and see that one special girl that holds his heart (currently). And my #2 man told me that “all boys are supposed to like a girl by third grade” so I have one year left to help him get a good footing in study habits and basic skill sets (reading and math) before I lose him to the sassy blonde at the front of the class.

Personal Goal Setting

When I started my blog, I ran with it. I jumped in, feet first, body first, no stopping, all in, kind of jumping in. Then I realized that I really loved this, loved writing, loved being honest, enjoyed the therapy, and needed to figure out where this was going.

So I stopped. Everything. Until I figured out my direction.

And I wrote down my goals. My mission statement. My dreams for the blog. My purpose for the blog. And it gave me even more strength and determination to get my voice heard, my mission understood, my knowledge out to those that needed it.

It was empowering. Truly mind-blowing, to type out my reasons behind what I was doing. And it gave me purpose; helped define my goal so that I could speak to others about it; set my goals. I was then a woman on a mission, which was the most powerful thing in the world.

I knew where I was, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. It helped me set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals. While I haven’t met each and every one, by having them ‘written’ out, I’ve been able to go back and review, revise, accomplish, and dominate. There have been achievements that I have reached that I didn’t even know were possible while others fell by the wayside. I’ve been able to redefine the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ for each goal. It’s truly been incredible…especially in the midst of a divorce that I don’t want, that could have brought me to new lows…I have been riding new ‘highs’ because of my accomplishments with my blog. And this is all in addition to putting in quite a few hours for a job that I’m really enjoying, working social networks (verbal, in-person, and online) to increase business for a fantastic construction company.

Be proud and define your goals.

My accomplishments may not be mind-blowing to some, but to me, I have built my confidence through my own efforts, words and intelligence that I hadn’t even given myself credit for in the past. BUT, I don’t think that I would be as proud of myself or increased my self-confidence if I hadn’t taken the time to define for myself, where I wanted to be, specifically for each facet of the blogging-world. So simply saying, I want to be able to support myself in 12 months with blogging wasn’t enough because that is truly daunting. That gives me no vision, no marketing plan, no accomplishments to be proud of on the way to the true dream in my head.

Writing these goals down is key and setting up a plan is even more important. Asking someone to keep you accountable is another great step and finally constantly reviewing weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or etc., is critical.

Start ’em young.

So Adventure #7 focused on teaching this life skill to my boys.

I was shocked…this more than any other adventure so far, has been discussed almost on a daily basis since each of us wrote our goals down in our notebooks. My youngest is really the one that keeps asking if we can review our goals to see if we are closer to reaching them…and he’s seven years old. I’ve interpreted this to mean that regardless if you are 7 or 77, written goals hold you accountable and give you a mission, sometimes a purpose, for doing what you do every day.

I review my goals on a weekly basis and sometimes I struggle to find the time, but I force myself, and because I’ve spent the extra time doing this, I’ve reached some goals that I didn’t think that I would reach for another two months. It’s given me purpose.

I loosened the ‘review period’ for the boys so that we had more time to reach their goals because I had no clue what kind of goals they would set. For all I knew, they would tell me that they wanted to get a phone call from Sidney Crosby because he saw a video online that showed their hockey skills. (In reality, their goals were much more realistic, like learning how to write everything in cursive before their teacher asked.)

For this Adventure, we did the following:

1. We only spent 15 minutes on this adventure. Depending on the age of the kids, there are very few that will last longer than this.
2. Resist the urge to ‘hint’ to them what they should write down. They’ll surprise you.
3. They may need help with the ‘how’ to reach the goal. Offer suggestions but let them decide how THEY want to reach the goal.
4. Read through, out loud, each goal that they’ve decided they want to reach. And I would highly recommend that they are the person that reads these out loud. This is the accountability piece. They may be a little embarrassed at first but by the end, you’ll hear how proud they are of themselves. And they’ll see how proud you are too!
5. Set the goals aside. Don’t put daily pressure on them. I promise they’ll bring it back up – my seven year old did within three days.
6. Review at the holiday break in December. It’s likely that they’ll be halfway there anyway but they will feel proud of their accomplishments. If nothing else, you’ll help them realize how critical that it is that they set goals every day for the rest of their lives.
7. Use the second half of the school year to really help them reach their goals. Don’t add extra pressure to ‘homework’ life, but offer opportunities to improve a certain skill that they want to improve when you know there won’t be much homework and you can do it ‘undercover’.
8. Review their accomplishments at the end of the year…and celebrate it in some way, shape or form. Show them how rewarding it is to set a goal, work hard, and achieve it.
9. Sit back and take a picture of the proud grins on their faces and then tag me on Twitter so that I can celebrate with you! @stacielizabeth

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: During our adventure, I made sure that the paper that they wrote their goals on was saved in a special location, in order to avoid their sister’s apple juice spills, and added them to our scrapbook.
Our next adventure will repeat this process – I printed out a description of the adventure, and a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then added it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.