I figured it was finally time to get family pictures done of me and my kiddles. We went to FotoFly in Draper based on the recommendation of my friend, Teri Fronk. We had such a great experience. It was fun, the photographer was amazing with my kids, and it didn't take forever. I love almost all the photos. These are definitely keepers because they mark this new chapter in our lives. This new, HAPPY chapter!
Plan A is always my first choice. You know, the one where everything Works out to be happily ever-after. But more often than not, I find myself dealing with The upside-down, inside-out version, Where nothing goes as it should, It's at this point that the real test Of my character comes in.... Do I sink, or do I swim? Do I wallow in self-pity and play the victim Or simply shift gears And make the best of the situation? The choice is all mine.... Life is all about about you handle Plan B. -------Suzy Toronto
In one of my classes I learned about something called Cognitive Restructuring as a way to manage stress. Being a single mom has it's difficulties, one of which is not having a partner to use as a sounding board when I'm happy, sad, confused, worried, angry, etc. So when I get stressed I generally just internalize whatever is going on rather than discussing it with someone. This cognitive restructuring technique has been a blessing. It's kind of finding the silver lining in a difficult situation. But beyond that, it's modifying how I think about things.
Being a behavioral science major, the subjects in many of my classes are uncomfortable subjects, some of which hit really close to home. Some of the subjects have opened old wounds. I've been able to use this technique to say; "Ok, this happened to me and it still hurts to think about it. But instead hiding from it or pushing it aside, I can see what I can learn from it and how I can help others with what I've learned." It takes me from having a pity party to being empowered.
To be honest, I am not sad for myself that I'm divorced. I am sad for my kids that I made this decision because it affects them adversely. I worry for them every day. I didn't see our circumstances as a long term goal when Doug and I got married or when we were sealed to each other, and Ethan, in the temple. I thought we'd be a forever family. The thought of that loss makes me sad. But, one day Mckenzie brought to my attention that if her dad were still living with us, we wouldn't have Seth. People will probably judge that as screwed up logic, but I choose to look at it as my daughter finding the silver lining in not having her dad around full time. She loves her baby brother and so do I. Divorce is an impossible situation, it's never good for a family to be torn apart but it's also not good for a family to be together in dysfunction. The best I can do is move forward and continue raising my children in a warm, loving and safe environment.
Raising my six children my way is my Plan B. I'm ok with swimming, even if it's treading water for awhile. I've done my fair share of sinking.
We are now settled into our new home in Spanish Fork. The children are loving their new schools and their new teachers. So far, I am very impressed with everything they are doing. Ethan is taking an art class, which has prompted him to want to be an architect. A fitting aspiration since he loves to draw and create. Garrett and Mckenzie are in the same class (there are only two 5th grade teachers.) Chase chose to be in his own class. There is another set of triplets in the same grade! That's never happened before. They are identical girls and love Mckenzie. The 5th grade classes get to make movies. The kids are planning a movie called Nightmare on Sesame Street for Halloween. I love hearing all the stories about it. Carter is enjoying 3rd grade. He loves being able to do his extra classes, including percussion and computers. All the kids are enjoying new opportunities and learning a lot.
I was so worried about Ethan. He had wanted to attend junior high in Orem for a year but changed his mind at the last minute. We quickly registered him here and he started without a problem. He has made new friends and met "old" friends that he grew up with in Orem. It's been such a good experience for him to start over without prejudice from people who should have known better than to judge him.
We like our ward. It's sort of a transient ward, so there are always new people moving in and out. It's hard for our poor bishop to keep up. There are FIVE nursery classes and the junior sharing time is enormous. But the senior sharing time and Young Men's classes are quite a bit smaller and a little more manageable. The kids have a lot of their friends from school in their church classes and from our complex.
I've been enjoying my solitude. I really love Spanish Fork. It's a cute little town that's not too far from Provo and Orem. I go into Orem for school and visit Provo when I go to see my brother and sister-in-law. Beyond that, I stay here and enjoy my solitude. I spend my days with Seth and when he is with Eric, I do homework. It's a nice, simple way to live. It's helped heal my heart.
I'm trying to find a job. Scary.... I was more excited about my search when I thought I'd be sharing babysitting duties with my sister. But she decided to move to Rexburg after being away from her husband all summer. He is finishing his degree at BYU-Idaho and he'd been commuting back and forth from Rexburg to Pleasant Grove on the weekends. It's a good move for her, but since calling off my wedding, I've relied heavily on my sister and sister-in-law so it's been super hard to have her gone. So, I've lost motivation in finding a job. Silly, I know. But I really don't want Seth in day care. It was a lot easier to think about working when I knew Seth would be with someone who will love him almost as much as I do.
Speaking of Seth, he is growing so fast. He is 8 months old and finally figuring out the whole crawling thing. He has been scooting around for quite awhile and pulling himself up on furniture but no one will really let him be down on the ground long enough to try crawling. There are 5 people (ok... six people including ME) who can't put the baby down. He's too cuddly.
It's strange how I feel such a sense of freedom here. Like a load has been lifted from my shoulders. It's as if I was released from my anger. I've been able to extract myself from people I felt were not good for me or my children and truly be able to make a fresh start. No more neighbors excluding my children for whatever reason, no more "friends" saying one thing to my face and another behind my back, no more trying so hard to be ok when I wasn't. I've purged those people from my life who I don't need. Now I'm ok. I may have only moved 20 minutes away, but it's like a whole new world. Of course there are friends that I miss. They know who they are!
The best part about living here is seeing how well my children are treated. They were welcomed and immediately loved. There are tons of kids in this complex! Our town house opens into a sort of courtyard and the kids play kickball with their friends, trade Pokemon cards, study in the shade, and sometimes just run around like crazy people. Parents hang out and watch the kids play. It's just pleasant. It's the best way to describe it.
So, that's our update. Fresh start. New life. Happy family!
Ethan is turning 12 tomorrow. I've been able to spend a lot of time with him this weekend. It's his normal weekend with his dad, but he decided he wanted his birthday party on Friday so he stayed home with me. Friday night was spend with too many boys in my house. (I apologize to my neighbors!!) And Saturday was spent recovering. Ethan and I literally spent most of the day sleeping. Saturday night we went out to dinner with Eric and Aiyana and Seth and then I treated everyone to a movie. Today we've just vegged. Ethan and I both had an appointment with our bishop, which was good for both of us. He's going to be ordained in June. Wow. Time just flies.
The best part is we've been able to talk. And for a 12 year old, Ethan has asked some very interesting questions. For one, he's asked why we have weaknesses. I've thought a lot about that. I told him that we have to have weaknesses so we can appreciate our strengths. I told him that our life is a test, like a math test, and we have to work really hard on the problems we're not so good at. He commented that sometimes when we work on our weaknesses, we just make them worse. I told him I know exactly what he's talking about. But we just have to keep working. We can't keep doing what we've been doing, we have to change our actions if we're to get different consequences.
I always think of a story that President Hinckley told. After his wife died, he said that there were times that his sadness got to be so much that he'd take off his shoes and lay down. But eventually he'd get up and put his shoes back on and go back to work. What good does it do to just lie down? I think that applies to our weaknesses. I try to laugh at mine but sometimes I don't always try to fix them. And sometimes instead of working up the courage to just take the bull by the horns, I hide. I let my depression or fear dictate what I do.
Recently, I've let a situation spiral out of control. I've let a situation get worse instead of working hard to make it better. I've taken the wimp's way out and communicated with someone through email instead of face to face. Let me tell you right now, email is not the way to communicate with someone when you're trying to convey who you are. It's a lazy way to do anything. But, I convinced myself I had too much going on, I had too much pain, disappointment and worry that I just couldn't deal with this situation face to face. And now, it's all I can think about because I screwed it up. I didn't mean to, but I did.
So, I've got to put my shoes back on and get back to work. Not just with this particular situation but with so many others in my life.
Let me say this about my son. Ethan is an amazing kid. I wish people could see what we see. He's very shy and doesn't like to open up to people. His teacher says that he's really quiet at school. He's struggled with his temper. I'm not condoning it and we've taken appropriate steps to help him learn to control his anger and channel it in appropriate ways. Ethan is a good brother, a good son, a good friend, a good student, and just a good kid. I wish people would let him change and shake his mistakes. Those who truly love him have done that.
Happy Birthday to my baby. And thanks to him for helping learn an important lesson today.
We've had some ups and downs this past year, but for the most part, my kids are amazing!
We haven't been to church in quite some time and lately the kids have been having "serious discussions" with me about returning to church. I've tried a couple times to get up on Sunday and get going but my pregnancy was difficult and I've been trying to recover from having a baby.
Today was the day to stop with the excuses and go. My kids were incredible. Last night I had the kiddos get church clothes together and set them out, making sure everything was ironed and ready to go. They did it without complaining. This morning, I got up to make them breakfast and they got ready for church with good attitudes. Even Carter, who usually complains about everything. Maybe the maple sausage brightened his mood.
I told the kids if they didn't feel comfortable going to Primary that they didn't have to. They could come home with Eric and I after Sacrament Meeting. Jason Oler, the triplet's primary teacher came up to us after Sacrament and told Mckenzie where their classroom was. She just gave me a kiss and walked out the door. Garrett and Chase followed.
Ever since his unfortunate scouting incident that has left a bitter taste in both our mouths, Ethan has been less than excited to participate in anything church related. However, to my shock and awe, he got up and starting to walk towards the Primary room. I asked him if he was staying and he lifted his scriptures, which I didn't know he brought, and said "That's why I brought these, Mom." He hugged me and left.
Carter is the only one who went home with me. He isn't big on leaving me when he doesn't have to.
Also to my surprise, Eric agreed to come with us. He's been less than thrilled with how *some* members of my ward have treated me but he was really impressed with how much help was offered to us after Seth was born. He agreed to support me in taking my kids to church and came with us. It was nice to have my family there.
To make things better, my bishop gave a wonderful talk about hope. It was something I enjoyed hearing. Looking down the row at my precious children, I saw a boy who will be receiving the priesthood this year and who will become a young man. I saw another precious boy who will be getting baptized. And my baby in my arms will be blessed next month. They are my hope.
Today was a good day. *Disclaimer* I stress the word SOME in regard to the people in my ward because I have wonderful, sweet, and tender friends whom I could not live without. But there are those who have forgotten who they are, as we all have from time to time, and it's made my struggles even more difficult to bear.
Despite my lack of sleep and being so sick these past few weeks, I have managed to enjoy my tiny bundle. He is one of the six most perfect things I've ever done!
Mckenzie and I were taking pictures of Seth and managed to get one of his precious smiles!
I love that Seth is more and more alert. I love the cooing and "talking."
Out to dinner with Mommy and Daddy to celebrate Uncle Shadd's Birthday
Ethan adores his baby brother. The sweetest thing I've seen is when Ethan had a bad day, he came home, got Seth out of his crib and cuddled him. I love it!
Mckenzie is the second mother in our house. She is super helpful with Seth. She helps me bathe him, feed him, and she loves to snuggle him. Garrett just loves to kiss him. The other boys will gives him loves too but aren't too keen on hold him yet.
I am cranky today. Seth is sick and hasn't been sleeping well, which means I'm not sleeping well. I was completely exhausted today so I asked Doug to take Carter to a dentist appointment. Carter had a cavity that I assumed the dentist would just seal because it was on a baby tooth. Well, I'm still not clear on all the details, but my sweet Carter ended up having to get a root canal without his mommy there. To make matters worse, he has to have another one in two weeks.
When Doug brought Carter home, I was passed out with the baby so Doug put Carter to sleep on the couch and went to work. I woke up to the sound of Carter sobbing. I asked if he was in pain, he said no. I asked if he was dizzy or sick from the medicine the dentist gave him, he said no. I asked what was wrong and he said he missed he daddy which broke my heart. I had him lay down with me while I fed Seth.
Eric came over and brought Carter a milk shake which Carter didn't eat. (He really didn't feel well,) I had to get up to do something and when I came back into the room, Carter had fallen asleep holding onto his baby brother on my bed. Seeing my boys in such a sweet position made all the crappiness of the day melt away....
A lot has happened over the past several months. The most spectacular, in my opinion, is the birth of my baby boy, Seth William McCabe. He was born on January 20th, 2011 at around 10:00 pm. His eventful birth put an end to a difficult pregnancy. I say his birth was eventful because I went into the hospital to be induced, only to have the complication of a placental abruption, meaning Seth's placenta was separating from my uterus and filling with blood. Seth had swallowed quite a lot of blood and had inhaled it into his lungs. It was a frightening 10 minutes, as they prepped me for a C-section, rushed me into an OR, cut me open and delivered my baby. Wow!! Eric can hardly describe what was done to me without dry heaving. But, our gorgeous son is here and we could not be more elated.
Seth's birth has changed a lot of things in my relationship with Eric. We're not married and not living together, so we're trying to raise our baby together but separately. Which has been a struggle.
Eric proposed to me right before Seth was born, but we have yet to set a wedding date. However, we've been encouraging his children to be more comfortable in my home. We talk to all eight children about the two of us getting married and about when they will all move in with us. We've discussed who will have what bedroom and even went to pick out potential paint colors for those bedrooms. I obviously want all our kids to feel comfortable about this impending change. So far, we've met little resistance. We're so blessed that all our children get along. We have a few squabbles here and there, but nothing serious. They look forward to being together and get along when they are together.
Eric and I now have a combined total of nine children. I have five, he has three and we have Seth. It's been a challenge to let all of the kids feel they have enough bonding time with Seth. I let Eric take the baby to his house a couple times so his kids could have uninterrupted bonding time, but it frustrated me because it felt as if he was dividing our families, which is completely counterproductive to what we've been trying to accomplish. I understood where he was coming from, my children live with Seth and are able to hold him and bond with him whenever they want. But I want the kids to all feel like they share a brother and so they need to learn to SHARE their brother. A compromise was telling my kids (mostly Mckenzie) that when Eric's kids are here, they can hold the baby without my kids hovering over them waiting for a turn. That way his kids can have bonding time and my kids learn to share.
I think another big change is that I'm more in love with Eric now that we have a son together. I want him here all the time. On nights when I get up with Seth alone, I want Eric to live here. But then I have my fears of what it will be like to have nine kids under one roof. What it will be like when I'm married again and lose the independence I feel I have. What it will be like to share my space with someone else. And then the overwhelming fear of, what if I can't make this marriage work? What if this one fails too?
A huge change is that my baby of seven years is no longer the baby. Carter is now a big brother and he's been having quite the adjustment. It's been heartbreaking to watch him at times, but at other times, I'm so proud of him for choices he makes. He is sweet to Seth. But there seems to be a war inside Carter. About a week before Seth was born, Carter did not want to go to school, so I decided to go with him to see what was going on. I just remember sitting at his teacher's desk and watching my baby boy struggle with his tender feelings and I felt so sad and so helpless. I was wishing I could look inside him and see what was making him so sad and so angry.
I'm not sure we ever really pinpointed what was wrong during that week. Eric, Doug and I all agreed that Carter's acting out had something to do with the baby. At times, Carter was proud he was going to be a big brother and at other times he lamented that his time as my baby was coming to an end. I tried to reassure him over and over that he will always be my baby. He would nod and smile, but he would also look at me as if he didn't buy what I was selling. I try very hard to lavishly praise him when he does something well and tenderly correct him when he does something wrong. I'm just trying to rebuild whatever broke inside him.
Trying to make nine kids happy is a huge challenge. Especially when their rules are different. My kids adhere to a pretty strict schedule. They get up at the same time, eat at the same time, take baths at the same time, do homework at the same time, go to bed at the same time, etc. They go to their dad's house the same day every week and spend every other weekend with him. There is occasionally variation to our schedule, but I try to keep it as consistent as possible. Carter and Garrett are not big on changes, especially if they are last minute changes. Eric's kids have rules as well, but they are different from ours. He and his ex-wife are pretty lax about when the kids see her, so it sometimes interrupts activities we've planned. I'm a planner. Stuff like that makes me crazy. (I like Eric's ex and I'm very supportive of his kids being with her, it's the lack of planning that makes me nuts.)
Someone mentioned to me that we may not be having certain issues if we had gotten married sooner. But I think we'd still be having all these issues because we're trying to blend a family. I think we have it easier than most, I've heard some real horror stories... but I know we'd be having adjustment struggles whether we were married right now or not.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: "I used up everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela
"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." – Herman Melville
Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. -Nelson Mandela
I am a single mom of six precious children! They are six little pieces of my heart, somehow walking independently of my body. My goal these next few years is to make sure they are going to be happy, healthy and successful.
Here's to new beginnings! Stay tuned!