My answer was a quick "Divorced" answer. But then I thought for a minute. Sure, we've had some really hard times, but I think a lot of our hard times has to do with not enough time, not enough money, and stresses from the kids.
Without having the kids, would we have the problems we've had in the last 2 1/2 years? Yet, would we feel as fulfilled in our lives as we do now, even though in our relationship we've had issues? Would that lack of fulfillment drive us furthur apart?
It's easy to say we'd be divorced if all the circumstances were the same as now, minus the kids. However, it's hard to say that the circumstances would be the same. Having kids changes everything in your life. Even your relationship with your spouse.
The more I thought about this, the more I thought, "man, people probably think we are just staying together for the kids." That's not true...at least not for me. (I can't speak for my husband.) I don't feel like I'm trapped in a loveless marriage because of the kids. I feel that because of the kids, we work harder at our relationship. Work harder at staying together because of what we want for our family. Work harder at staying in love.
Because beyond all the fairy tales that you hear, love and marriage and relationships are not easy. There are problems. There are compromises. It's when you stop working to be better, stronger, and stay together for each other that you run into problems.
But I don't. I SUCK at making rolled out sugar cookie cut outs. I just can never seem to get the dough the right thickness, the right texture, nothing. It's usually just a frustrating mess. And that's if I'm alone.
Add in the kids, and I usually end up screaming. So a few years ago, Chuck said "this is supposed to be fun!" So, the next week someone sent me a recipe for making Christmas cookies...that involved no baking, no rolling out dough, nothing. Just decorating and having fun.
So we've made it a family tradition of sorts. I've been on the lookout this year for more easy to make Christmas cookies and have added a few to my book; hopefully, I'll be doing those ones with the kids over the next few days. Gotta have cookies for Santa, afterall!
Lucas got to sprinkle the red sprinkles for Santa's hat.
Zachary was the one who dipped the Nutter Butters in white chocolate to make Santa's beard and his hat.
Even E got in on the action. "Isn't there supposed to be yummy chocolate in here?"
And our finished project:
I have found one. Completely by accident too. I was searching "Good People" (I have no idea why) and found Jack Johnson's song "Good People". I've heard his name before; I believe he did the soundtrack to the "Curious George" movie. But his music is amazing. It's so....relaxing. I've found it just gets into my bones and makes me want to sigh and dance with my babies and my baby daddy. (except he can't dance and doesn't like to).
I don't even know what to akin him too...but just take a listen. Tell me what you think.
Not that it matters. I'll still listen to him.
(This song reminds me of Chuck. It is always better when we're together. We have so many struggles and obligations in our life sometimes they seem to take over. I can't wait until this vacation coming up where we can just be together, together as a couple and as a family. Being apart for most of the week is so hard for me. Even if we're doing nothing but washing dishes together on the weekend, at least we're together. It seems to make things better.)
Then I was off running again...getting hats, coats, and gloves together. Backpack packed with Z's new keyboard for show-n-tell and out to the car. Where the door was frozen shut. So I put E's carseat down on the ground, gave her my keys and put my wallet on the top of the van (can you see where this might be going? I did...when I said to myself "Hey, don't forget your wallet is up there" as I'm putting it up there. You see, this isn't the first time I've been hurried or distracted and put my wallet on the roof of the vehicle.)
So, I get everyone in, buckled up, slam the door shut and walk around to the driver's side to get in and get to school. Late. (Notice I didn't say anything about grabbing my wallet from the top of the van. Yea, because that would make sense at that point.)
Drop off Zachary, have to take him in and sign him in since he's late. By 20 minutes. Take Luke to preschool and walk him in then head out to Meijers for some formula and overnights. I'm about 1/4 of the way there when I said "Hey Lisa, where is your wallet?"
Then the freakout occurs. The "I've had virtually no sleep and my life is in that wallet" freakout. I backtrack my entire route. Go into both schools and ask about it. Check my driveway. Check the leaves in front of my house (they never got picked up by the city before the snow fell!). Check my voicemail hoping my neighbor had it or something. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
I had just gotten home and was about to email Chuck when a big red truck pulled into my driveway. Bright red-like Santa's sleigh. And out of the truck comes an older gentleman with graying/white beard and a portly belly. Hmmm, does Santa make house calls to 30-something mothers who are frantic before Christmas?
Apparently so. He was holding my wallet. Completely intact.
More than an hour had gone by since I notice it gone and here was this man holding it out for me. All I could do was tell him Thank you over and over again. I was so relieved. I wish I would have thought to offer him something (but after looking in my wallet to see where I lived, he probably already knew I had nothing to give him monetarily anyways). But I have a sneaking suspicion he wouldn't have accepted it anyway.
It renewed my faith in the fact there are still good people out there. People who will go completely out of their way to help out another person. An angel some might say. Or a hero.
Such as last Friday. It was Zachary's first ever school dance...a Snow Ball. The whole family was invited (well preschool through 4th grade...we took E anyways). It was weird to say the least to have your baby at a school dance....complete with refreshments and pictures. They had a contest for cutest mother/son and daddy/daughter dance. Zachary and I didn't win. Chuck and Elizabeth however did. I don't think Chuck had much to do with that one though. Lucas would have one had they had a contest for "best dance with your favorite food" because while I was twirling the floor with his brother, he was twirling the floor with a brownie. At least he was dancing with something he loved. We got our picture taken as a family and while it's not the best pic in the world of us, it's an amazing picture for the memories.
We also saw a new dr. for Zachary last night. This one is in our insurance network and a lot closer than the 1 hour 40 minute drive we have now, so that is nice. I wasn't really sure about him at first, but after realizing he didn't understand that Zachary was already ON medication and we were just there to switch dr.'s and continue that medication, things improved. At one point, he said "I don't understand. He looks fine..he's playing with his sister well and behaving appropriately." Chuck and I both said simultaneously "Yea. NOW! He's on his meds." So we discussed the importance for behavioral therapy. Not just for him, but for all of us. Because we all know I don't relate as well as I could to the kids and Chuck has been considering getting back on his meds, which I 100% encourage. So we shall see how all that pans out in the near future.
Saturday was our first Christmas with the families. I love spending time with my mom's family because of all the kids. There is like 12 now under the age of 8 and they all get along, for the most part, amazingly well. Zachary was so well behaved and well, Lucas had way too many cookies. Way too many. Elizabeth got a cookie pot shape sorter for Christmas and he used it as a cookie jar. One for other people, one for him, two for others, one for him. And so on. I honestly have no idea how many cookies that boy actually had. But at least he was sharing!
While at Christmas on Saturday, my mom told me that she's had an MRI done and they will be doing more tests in January because they feel she has had a stroke. I'm scared. I'm scared shitless actually. My mom is my best friend, next to my husband. She is my confidant, my supporter, my sounding board, and sometimes my slap back to reality (whether I Like it or not). There are things I don't tend to think about and losing my parents is one of them. But hearing her talk about possibly having a stroke and the fact she's had neuropathy in her feet for damn near 3 years (which is not a diabetic side effect...they don't know why) I was hit with the realization that my mom isn't young anymore. She'll be 57 in February and while that's not old in today's day and age, it's also not a spring chicken. I cannot imagine my mother not being with me or being in a less than desireable state of mind. I don't want to imagine.
On a bit of a lighter note, Elizabeth is *this close* to crawling on her hands and knees. She gets up there and moves her one leg forward but then nothing. I am thinking maybe by Christmas. This is weird for me...the boys were already cruising at this point, but I"m kinda thankful for the reprieve.
Got a busy week ahead of me. I'm working modified, which means 4 ten hour days and virtually no sleep. But I needed to have Friday off for Luke's Christmas program at preschool (it's private so they still have a Christmas program. I'm happy about that!) so this is how I accomplish that. I'm hoping to blog more this week, but we'll see if I don't just pass out after I take the boys to school.
As if I needed new things to keep me busy, I have discovered Scrapblog. How cool is this? I can actually use my pics directly from photobucket and create my own scrapbook pages. I bet Chuck would love this because I could just print them out and no extra work involved. Plus, I love the fonts. I'm not a big fan of my handwriting and I'm inpatient so the special handwriting techniques...while I'm sure I could master them...just annoy me because I want it now. (Yes, I'm all about instant gratification.)
I may have to fool around with this a bit more and see what else I can do!