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Hannah’s first Ultrasound was at 15W1D. Her size  was 3oz and 8 cm and she measured smaller than her age, so they put her at around 13W6D and changed my due date. At 13 weeks gestation with a heartrate of 138 she was eligible for abortion had we chose it even though she was clearly a live human.

c

Hannah’s first picture 13w6D 

b

By my calculations and LMP her due date was 10/31 (she came on 11/1), but by measurements she was 13W6D and due 11/9.  Regardless, at 13W6D she had a heartbeat of 138, and was 3 oz and 8 cm.

According to medical testing we declined, that could have told us if she had any likelihood of birth defects due to my age (which would not have been %100), and according to pro-abortion people, we were totally within our rights to kill Hannah. She was unplanned, because our BC did not work (a reversed Vasectomy that was confirmed to not have worked, meaning he had a 0 sperm count), and because we were totally unprepared to have a baby at 37 with 3 almost grown kids. Even with a visible and detected heartrate, with complete legs, arms, hands, feet, spine, head, belly and face…we were totally within our “rights” to choose to kill her at 13 weeks most likely by ripping her apart and out of my body – according to the pro-abortion community. That is not a choice, that is a decision, against all logic.

d

Hannah was blessed to be given to a mother that protected her precious body, spine and heart.  Not all babies are that lucky.

e

Doesn’t look like a clump of cells to me.  Those adorable toes are some of my favorite things about her!

I am thankful that my mother chose life for me and my sister. I am thankful that she taught us that life is sacred, and that we were brought up to understand that a fetus is a baby. I am thankful that when I got pregnant at 17, I had been taught that my baby was not a “clump of cells” and that I had many options available to me. Not one of those options was abortion, because even at 17, I knew that mothers aren’t blessed with babies so they can kill them. Cody is here because I was taught, and blessed to have support from a my mom. I am thankful for a church (that even though the members shunned me) taught me that his life was important. I’m sure Cody Rivera is thankful that I didn’t choose to kill him because he was not planned and I wasn’t ready. He’s 24 this year, you can ask him what he thinks of abortion. Perhaps you can ask him about his 3 kids and one day they’ll tell you what they think of it too. I wouldn’t be blessed with him, or my 3 grandkids had I listened to the message of the world, that my baby was “my body, my choice” to kill. I’m so glad I didn’t.

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All because I chose life!  L to R: Cody, Jasmine, Hannah and Me then L to R front Emma (my granddaughter), Jaydan (grandson 1) and on my lap is Landon (grandson 2).

I’m thankful for my ONE planned pregnancy Jasmine Tiana Windham! Thankful she is smart, and knows that she has options, and support should she ever need it. Thankful that she is an adult that is learning, but can make adult decisions and doesn’t think that it’s ok to kill a baby.

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I’m thankful for Hannah. Unplanned, total surprise, and wanted and needed more than we ever knew.

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Hannah at 3 aka “super Hanni”

We didn’t march today, but we are thankful, blessed, proud and stand for the rememberance of the millions of babies that had no one to stand up for them, and the millions that still have a chance!

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Wiggly and loved

#marchforlife

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I’ve had a private post for a while that included our family’s health decisions and vaccination story.  There have been many people interested in reading it, but since it’s very personal, it’s hard to determine who is out for info and who is just out to troll.  So, I moved the links and information on how to start researching vaccination, diseases, and more to help you decide what’s best for your family and your children, based on their family medical history.  If you would like to read our story, please comment here with your email address, it will come to me to approve your comment, and I will remove your email address before posting your comment.  You will then be sent the link to view our story.

As with ANYTHING, you must read both pro and anti information, and use that information to decide what works best for YOUR family.  There is no one size fits all, which is why parental choice is imperative in medical care.

We started here, with the questions to ask before vaccinating:
http://www.nvic.org/Ask-Eight-Questions.aspx

The CDC actually IS great for stats and deep information, you just have to go past the first few pages where they over-recommend vaccines and downplay the reactions while over-stating the disease likelihood.

This is the latest compilation of actual cases of EACH disease in the US by state. You can see how many people actually had something rather than the media reports of an epidemic of 20 vaccinated people. These are stats from 2012 because it takes about 6 months to get all the stats in and post them. So the 2013 stats aren’t even up yet.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6233a6.htm…

UPDATE 8/9/15: Here is the 2013 report.  If you google “cdc 2013 Reports of Nationally Notifiable Infectious Diseases” and change the year as needed you can find whichever year you want.
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6332a6.htm

Next is my favorite! It’s the PUBMED/PMC (you can search ANY key word and change the drop down to search Pubmed OR PMC). Beware though, a large bit of this information is studies PROPOSED or sent in by others. These are not all confirmed or accepted studies. Some are done by doctors to propose new trials and some are just college papers submitted with their “thoughts”. Know what you are reading and don’t base your choices on a paper that is not medically sound. PUBMED is where I found the full studies done and recommendations on Pertussis and the DTaP which was a major deciding factor for us on vaccinating. The paper outlined contraindications of health issues in people that should not receive it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/

Here is another CDC reference. It is the people who should not get vaccinated. I find this interesting that just about every vaccine is recommended no matter WHAT. However look at their scientific words like “probably should” “should usually not” “should usually wait” “may usually not” – there are no definitive words they are all protecting their asses against someone coming back and saying “you said it was ok, but my kid had a reaction of _____.” I just don’t want to stake my child’s life and quality of life on a mad push for every “vaccine” known to man that may not work or may not protect her. I can’t base her health on guesses like those. Oh, and be sure to read the part where they will give things to a pregnant woman or a woman who becomes pregnant and they nicely provide an 800 number so adverse reactions can be reported – that means they haven’t studied those reactions or vaccines and that those calling that number with reactions ARE THE STUDY. Be sure to read the DTaP portion of the reactions that should not have another dose. Would you want your kid going through that reaction the first time? I don’t.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm

I have tons more of stats and studies and science that has convinced us why we aren’t vaccinating, but you should learn to sift through for yourself. I just beg that you don’t read the main page of CDC that says everything is a slight fever or pain at the injection site and “normal”…that’s not complete information.

If you are told you must vaccinate to attend school or daycare, know that you do not.  All 50 states allow exemptions, and it is a legal right to exempt out.  Simply fill out the correct form for your state and turn it in as you would an immunization record.  If you have an issue with it, feel free to contact your local health department for clarification.
http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

This information is on seizures and the MMR-V/MMR vaccine, direct from the CDC about the risks and information parents should be given at a doctor’s office.  What’s shocking is that most parents have never been told these risks.
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/combo-vaccines/mmrv/vacopt-factsheet-hcp.pdf

Here are some FB pages that I also like, but as always there are memes and stats shared that you must research and question, and there are always anecdotal stories shared. Both sides share anecdotes and false information and scare tactics, so it’s imperative that you look into the ones that interest you and your family.

Family Health Freedom Network
Great Mothers (and others) Questioning Vaccines
National Vaccine Information Center
Dr. Tenpenny on Vaccines
Cosmic Cog
Vaccination Information Network (VINE)

If you are asked or TOLD to sign a waiver or refusal letter DO NOT.  You can state that you’ll take it home and have your lawyer review.  You can get up and leave.
http://www.vaclib.org/legal/donotsign.htm

This is the form they want you to sign (be sure to read the introduction).  It is soley to “scare” you and have you admit negligence.
http://www2.aap.org/immunization/pediatricians/pdf/refusaltovaccinate.pdf

Here is a form you can print out and sign instead if you feel you want to put something in your file and they insist.
http://www.vaclib.org/exempt/files/AAPmodified.pdf

More references for information:

Here is a list from the CDC of ingredients.
http://www.cdc.gov/…/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf

It came from this page (and I caution, don’t believe the “front page” of anything on the CDC, read deeper, for yourself):
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

Then I used this article to help me understand what “levels” of these additives were “safe” or acceptable for my child’s size.  Then we made a decision after looking up even more things we figured out.

http://vaxtruth.org/2011/08/vaccine-ingredients/

The following links came from many different friends and others that have shared them.  I found them helpful in creating questions about more things we didn’t know about.  Then we looked up answers on our own.

http://journeyboost.com/2015/06/02/my-dear-friend-its-about-vaccines/

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/best-resources…/

http://www.rtl.org/prolife_issues/LifeNotes/VaccinesAbortion_FetalTissue.html

http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases.aspx

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/…/d7XAJIIN1l0/s1600/Vax+Front.jpg

http://www.greatmothersquestioningvaccines.com/

http://www.immunitionltd.com/ebook/vaccination.htm

http://beforeitsnews.com/…/50-reasons-not-to-vaccinate…

https://docs.google.com/document/pub…

http://www.thinktwice.com/birthcon.htm

http://www.ageofautism.com/…/things-to-know-or-do-when…

http://www.conservativechristianmom.blogspot.com/2014/01/we-just-made-very-unpopular-decision-in.html

http://journalistsunleashed.com/pro-vax-argument-lost/

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Informed-Choice/my-child-is-vaccine-injured-just-like-yours.html

https://www.facebook.com/notes/lisa-joyce-goes/30-scientific-studies-that-demonstrate-vaxes-can-cause-autism/10150278904786311

List of peer reviewed studies

http://therefurbishedrogue.wordpress.com/…/my-list-of…/

http://www.getholistichealth.com/…/5-vaccines-to-never…/

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/…/revelations-by…/
http://therefusers.com/…/vaccine-dangers-bombshell…/…

http://www.pakalertpress.com/…/50-reasons-not-to…/

http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/…/9-magic-words-prove…/

http://worldtruth.tv/vaccinations-are-not-immunizations/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/…/8-reasons-i-havent…

http://naturalsociety.com/publicized-study-vaccination…/

http://healthimpactnews.com/…/dr-kurt-why-i-will-never…/

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/…/8-more-reasons-i-haven%E2…

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/

http://qbit.cc/…/oil-adjuvant-induced-autoimmunity…

http://vaxtruth.org/2011/08/vaccines-do-not-cause-autism/

http://tradeoutthishatewithlove.wordpress.com/…/expose…/

http://www.drkurtperkins.com/…/my-crystal-clear-stance…

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pdLMeULoujM

Risk of febrile seizures

Personal notes:

IMR/SIDS/Vaccine numbers by country

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http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00053391.htm

MMR vaccination, like other causes of fever, may cause febrile seizures. The risk for such seizures is approximately 1 case per 3,000 doses of MMR vaccine administered (168). Studies have not established an association between MMR vaccination and residual seizure disorders (150). Although children with personal or family histories of seizures are at increased risk for idiopathic epilepsy, febrile seizures after vaccinations do not increase the probability that epilepsy or other neurologic disorders will subsequently develop in these children. Most convulsions that occur after measles vaccination are simple febrile seizures, which affect children who do not have other known risk factors for seizure disorders.

Antipyretics may prevent febrile seizures after MMR vaccination if administered before the onset of fever and continued for 5-7 days. However, antipyretics are difficult to use for this purpose because the onset of fever is often sudden and occurs unpredictably. Seizures can occur early in the course of fever. Parents should be vigilant for fever that occurs after vaccination and should be counseled regarding its appropriate treatment. Use of aspirin during some illnesses in childhood is associated with the occurrence of Reye syndrome. Therefore, aspirin generally should not be used to prevent or control fever among children and adolescents.

The 5%-7% of children who have either a personal history of convulsions or a parent or sibling with history of convulsions may be at increased risk for febrile convulsions after MMR vaccination (184). The precise risk has not been measured, but appears to be minimal. On the other hand, febrile seizures occur commonly among children in whom measles disease develops, and the risk for acquiring measles is substantial. Therefore, the benefits of administering MMR vaccine to children with a personal or family history of convulsions substantially outweigh the risks and these children should be vaccinated following the recommendations for children who have no contraindications.

The parents of children who have either a personal or family history of seizures should be advised of the benefits of vaccination and the minimal increased risk for seizures, which generally occur 5-14 days after measles vaccination. Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)

Cases of GBS occurring after administration of MMR or its component vaccines have been reported, but the IOM judged the evidence insufficient to accept or reject a causal relationship (150). Recent studies provide evidence against this potential association (185,186). After recent mass vaccination campaigns that involved approximately eight million doses of measles-rubella vaccine in the United Kingdom and greater than 70 million doses of measles vaccine in Latin America, evaluations of GBS incidence demonstrated no increases over background rates. Arthralgia, Arthritis, and Persistent or Recurrent Arthropathy

Measles:
Measles and Measles Vaccines: 14 Things To Consider

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Sources:

1. Measles Deaths:
Table 12 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6153a1.htm

2.Measles Cases:
CDC Telebriefing: Measles in the United States, 2015
CDC will provide information on current U.S. measles outbreak and guidance for health protection
Anne Schuchat, M.D. (RADM, USPHS) Assistant Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service; Director, CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Thursday, January 29, 2015 – 3:30 PM (ET)

84 cases of measles reported on the call for 2015.

3.Measles Cases:
Subject: Measles Cases for 2012 and 2013
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 19:49:40 +0000
From: Rowland, Helen (Amy) (CDC/OD/OADC) <isc4@cdc.gov>
To: GTaylor@HealthChoice.org <GTaylor@HealthChoice.org>

Hi Ginger,

Please join CDC’s telebriefing, Measles in the United States, 2015, today at 3:30 PM ET for the most update to-date information. As for measles case counts for past years, please see chart below.

Year
Measles cases

2006

55
2007
43
2008
140
2009
71
2010
65

2011

220

2012
55
2013
187
2014
644

4. Vaccine Deaths:

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
http://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html

Search for deaths from all measles containing vaccines 2006 to 2014

Search by “year of vaccination” “died: yes” and all measles containing vaccines (MMR, MMRV, MR etc)

Year of Vaccination
Count

2006
12
2007
11
2008
13
2009
11
2010
8
2011
10
2012
10
2013
8
2014
3

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Recently there was a contest to answer this question. While I didn’t get chosen as the winner, I did want to post my answer!

The Question:

I am having an issue with my husband. We have been married for three years and have a baby that is 9 months old. Every other week it seems like he starts a fight with me about how little we get to go out and how “everyone else” leaves their baby with a sitter “at least once a week” and goes out for the whole night, or even leaves their baby with family and has a couples vacation. I work full time and I want to spend time with my child when I’m not working. Once a month date night is enough for me, and I don’t see how “everyone” else goes out multiple times a week without their baby. Am I really off base here?

My answer:

Mama, you are not alone, but you are off base. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it ok, or best for you and your husband (or your marriage). I’ll start with commiserating, we have a 16.5 year old and a 10.5 month old in the house. We both work from home, there is no “break,” and no alone time unless you are indisposed, or have lost your mind and have left a room stating “I’m done for a little while.” This also means that there is a teenager or a baby that knows what we are doing at all times…at ALL TIMES. So, we don’t get “us” time. I also still breastfeed her, so we really don’t spend much time away from the girls. We NEED “us” time. I crave it, a 30 minute shower with hubs while our teen watches the baby is like a 2 week vacation. I said that (to vent, and) to say this, Mama, you need to reconnect with your husband. Maybe he needs to reconnect with you and that’s why he’s adamant. Maybe he doesn’t know how to say “I need to talk to you not while you are tired, or the baby is crying, or while Harry The Bunny is on.” We all have issues speaking what we need sometimes and expect others to read our minds, and your husband is no exception. Nor are either of you mind readers. I think he’s just out of ways to convince you so he’s trying to guilt you into it. Not the right way to do it, but you’ve really given him no other options here since you keep shooting his idea down.

So, maybe he’s going about it wrong, I’ll give you that. I’ll also give you one up because I assure you, not all of us are having weekly dates and leaving the baby with a sitter. Some of us are, but out of you and me, none of us are doing that. You have two things right…but it’s not getting you closer to your husband so you’re losing. You’re both losing. You’re not the first working mom that has a husband that wants to spend time with her. You’re also not the first mom who has forgotten that you were a wife before you had kids and your husband misses that! How many wives do we all see saying that their husband never takes them out, or tries to, or he’s busy watching football/gaming/working? I think you’re not realizing what a great thing this could be. Your husband wants time with YOU…why is that so bad? No more than 1.5 years ago you were enjoying time with him (or you wouldn’t have a 9 month old)! Get out of your rut, get out of the house, get out of “mom” mode and you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy and crave your date nights. They can be anything from coffee, to a movie, to a shooting range trip, and last from 1 hour to a couple if you want. There is no set limit or time, just spend time with him.

I encourage you to look deeper into why you’re against it so much. It is very easy to be touched out with a baby, and many women have issues with their sex life after baby, could that be part of it? If that’s not it, then why wouldn’t you want to go on a date? You mentioned working full time. Are you overtired (dumb question, I know), work stressing you out, mad that he’s not working as much? Who watches your child while you work? If baby goes to a caregiver, then leaving the baby with family, or a sitter isn’t your issue. If baby stays at home with him while you work, then don’t you think HE needs a break? Can you compromise and go once every other week until you get back in the swing of it? We all want to spend time with our children after work, we want to see what they’ve learned, give hugs, watch them sleep, play and read to them. Your husband wants the same with you, once a week. No baby, no work, no bills, no “official business,” no fuzzy pj’s, no recliner…just you two, like it used to be. If that doesn’t sound good, then it’s time to have a talk about your relationship, and the best place to start that talk is on neutral ground, with just the two of you, on a date.

~Mel

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Since this is my first blog in a while, I’m just going to write it.  I fully expect it to be jumbled and I just want to get it out.  It just feels good to write something.  I’m sorry if it hurts to read it, but welcome to my head!

If you haven’t read Hannah’s Birth Story, click here!

For years my answer to the question “do you want more kids” was “nope, I’m all done, we’re almost home free!”  Even before marrying Big Daddy I had resolved (and was quite happy) to be done and to having nothing but grandkids running underfoot.  I thought, for a long time, that my childbearing days were over, because I had not been on BC for over 10 years and not conceived.  Fast forward to the day we found out that we were pregnant with Hannah and the words “shock and awe” come to mind.  It’s easy now to (and I often do) look down at this angel sleeping on me and think “how did we ever live life without her?!”  That day, not so much.

She's a boob girl, 9 months and still EBF!

She’s a boob girl, 9 months and still EBF!

Pregnancy has never been a favorite thing for me.  With C, I was so young I didn’t really have anything going on and it seemed very quick and not really painful at all to be pregnant, and let’s face it, I was in much better physical shape.  Labor was a major pain (for 37 hours) and the C-section at the end was not fun.  We planned J’s pregnancy and the second I got pregnant I thought “what the hell was I thinking?!” Every moment of it sucked.  The knee pain, the extra weight, which really wasn’t bad at about 31 pounds, the all over uncomfortable-ness is just for the birds.  I had an easy labor and birth with her and was just thankful not to be pregnant any longer.  When it just didn’t work out that I had another pregnancy, it really wasn’t a big issue because I had no problems not being pregnant.  D had gotten a vasectomy after his first child was born, and during his previous marriage had it reversed to try for another child.  They never conceived, and a few months before we married, he was checked (by our family doctor) and told that he had a zero count…not.  So, we entered our marriage both thinking that our baby days were over, and just enjoying the occasional grandbaby coming over.  Just short of our 3 year anniversary we had been through some really trying months dealing with ex’s and court  for both of us.  I was stressed, he was stressed, life was not smooth sailing, but we were both happy, healthy and our marriage was better than ever.  We both got sick with a cold and were down for about 1 week, but I never quite recovered.  I remained tired, exhausted to the point that I was falling asleep sitting up!  I couldn’t eat much, my stomach was in knots and I was pretty pitiful.  After about 2 weeks of this we were sure I was just still sick with a cold and run down from the court deal and stress.  We spent a Sunday afternoon at his parent’s house, as we often do on the weekends, and while in the sunroom with 3 other people talking to me, I laid down and fell asleep…right there, mid conversation.  You remember how in school you just got that “I must close my eyes NOW” feeling?  That one.  I woke up to go to the restroom, and went and laid down on his mom’s bed!  Still tired, something was way off.  He decided to take me home, and on the way he stopped to get some things from the drug store to help me feel better.  We got home, I got changed and settled to lay down and he pulls out a pregnancy test.  He said “either your pregnant, or you’re going to the doctor because something is WRONG with you!”  I blew it off and said that there was no way I was pregnant and I didn’t have to pee.  Two hours later, I had to pee, and he came in to get me some more drinks and help me up to the bathroom.  I peed on the stick, he covered it and set it on the counter, and he turned around from it to get a washcloth.  By the time I could say to him “how long do we wait” – about 10 seconds had passed, and I looked down and it said “pregnant.”  My exact words were “you have GOT to be freaking kidding me.”  I’m not sure what his reaction was…because I was so shocked and freaking out.  I think he did the “I told you” laugh a few times, and he was smiling the entire time, while trying to calm me down and pull me back from tears and the edge.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think he had a clue how much I didn’t want to be pregnant again, ever.  He was thrilled:)

It’s blurry, but oh, so clear.

Since I don’t want Hannah growing up to think that I didn’t want her, let me make this clear.  I still stand by that reaction.  However, it is NOT the baby that was shocking or what I was reacting to, or that she was unwanted.  It was the realization that I was PREGNANT and would have to carry and birth a child again!  When I say “I hate being pregnant” it is a true and honest statement.  I had zero desire to be pregnant, at 37, my thoughts were not about the adorable baby we would have, but about the painful back, hips, morning sickness (all day, and carsickness I still have 9 months after her birth), leg pain, knee pain, anxiety, and the worst part…LABOR AND BIRTH!  I’m thankful that I’ve had 3 healthy pregnancies, and I’m even thankful that I had a miscarriage and was healthy through that, but pregnancy just isn’t for me.  D can attest to that, I am not a happy pregnant woman.  I’m not mean…but I’m certainly not happy.  Let’s move on, you get the point.

Finally showing at 13 weeks 2 days!

Finally showing at 13 weeks 2 days!

We were about 2 weeks out of a long court battle when we found out, the emotions were high still.  I was right at 9 weeks pregnant when we found out (we thought I was late due to stress).  After the first week of knowing we were pregnant, the shock had worn off, and excitement was setting in and offsetting the nausea!  Babies, cute clothes, names, a child that was part of both of us and did I say, a BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very proud big sister on Mothers Day!

Very proud big sister on Mothers Day!

Big sis was grossed out, shocked, weird-ed out, proud and so excited.  I’ll throw in here, that there is no better birth control for your teenager than to see you going through all the crap of pregnancy.  Food aversions, back pain, sleepless nights, utter fatigue, reading your online timeline of what a baby looks like (that’s kinda freaky), reading “what to expect when you’re expecting,” going to all your doctor visits, and seeing the list of all the things that can go wrong, yeah, that’s great BC.  It seals the deal when they are standing next to your head while you push the baby out.  Back in pregnancy land, we were pretty excited, and life was great.  This pregnancy turned out to suck as far as being uncomfortable goes…just like I thought it would, but those things that sucked were balanced out by all the great things that make people have more than one child.  What didn’t suck, what turned out to be the best part, was that I grew our baby girl, and during that time, I learned that I can do lots of things I didn’t think I could, or that I didn’t want to, and I can be happy through them, enjoy them, find the good, and it actually turns out to be pretty awesome.  I needed that for my own good, and we needed that as a couple.  It was a rough decade before Hannah for us mentally and emotionally.

Here’s a quick trip down pregnancy memory lane…in pictures.  I didn’t think it then, but now I think I was adorable, as did D.  I looked great for feeling so crappy!

14.6-1 20.5 18.30.32 27-33 19 - 35 same dress 36.5.2

Not knowing that J was my last baby, at the time she was my baby, didn’t afford me the ohhh and ahhh moments when she did EVERYTHING.  Don’t hear that wrong, she was adorable, loved, she was “spoiled” with attention and everything she did was the most adorable thing you ever saw.  I remember and recall her walking, or videos and pictures of her firsts, and her big moments, same with my son, C.  It’s different with Hannah though, those moments are still adorable, but because I KNOW she is my last baby that I will birth they seem to have an ability to make me stop and actually note them and enjoy them more/longer.  Until I had her and had all those moments over again, I didn’t know I missed them, or that I longed for them and to enjoy them.  It’s different now than it was when either of my other kids were little, we have cameras and videos of everything now, not just Hannah, but everything.  I honestly think I have (more than) one pic for every day of her life so far.  I’m not sure if that’s last baby syndrome or just a sign of the technological times.  What I do know is that I want to remember, and I am happy and sad each time she hits a new “thing” and it reminds me of both of my older kids and how fast time flies.   I’m thankful that the season of pregnancy and birth is done, and I look forward to more babies one day, whether that is foster/adopted or more grandkids.  I’d have a million kids if I don’t have to be pregnant with them!

J on the left, Hannah on the right

J on the left, Hannah on the right

J as a baby and big brother C

J as a baby and big brother C

Our children have been a blessing to both of us.  We are proud of each of them, and in the ways they learn and grow daily. D has taken on a huge role for C and J by being their dad in every way, and that’s something he and both kids needed and deserved.  While she is no more “special” than any of our children, and there was no void to fill, Hannah is everything we never knew we needed, wanted and were lacking in our lives as a family.  She has truly blended our family into a whole unit.   God really does know what he’s doing!

10505281_10204020911461340_7071894116950901065_n (1) 10448243_10204020910981328_7352318880135677652_n 10393682_10204020910821324_7664851410488359389_n 10464298_505292892936064_8654387643798957623_n
Life is good!

~Mel

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Another Father’s Day and an opportunity to appreciate those that have raised us, loved us and provided for us, and continue to do so.  I am thankful to have some amazing men in my life, all with their own ways of loving the children they are fathers to.

My son is young, he (much like me) got a jump on parenting and began in his late teens.  I don’t think for a minute that he was ready or had a clue how much stress and love would be involved in having children at any age, much less as a teenager.  You always try to prepare your kids for things you’ve been through, and pray that they heed the warning that it was hard, or it sucked at times.  Even with those descriptions, they know the love you have for them and have shown them through those times, and that they made it through all your bad parenting decisions, and they don’t see it as such a bad thing.  I don’t view any of being a teenage parent as a “mistake” – it’s simply something beautiful done at the wrong time for most people.  We aren’t ready at that age, we don’t know everything we should, and we have no desire to listen to those that do know what we should do.  We are still children ourselves.  Through that, I raised an amazing son, and my amazing son, is raising his sons with the same love and trial and error I did.  He has learned a lot in the 2 years he has been a daddy, and as he makes choices and learns the consequences of them, he is learning that I was right…it’s not easy, but it is totally worth it.  It’s hard to watch him flounder and do things totally different than I would, just as I’m sure it was for my mom, but I am very proud of him, and the choice he has made to stand up and take responsibility for the children God has placed in his life.

I’ve never had a father in law like D’s dad.  It was a bit scary coming into a family with a preacher as your new father in law.  While we were dating, D’s parents came to Georgia while D stayed in North Carolina for work.  I vaguely remembered them from around school and church when we were little, but past that, there was no relationship and I had no idea “how” they were.  D assured me that they would love me, but I was still so scared to have them come visit me without him present.  So nervous, that before they came to visit, I changed my blue nail polish because I didn’t want his mother to think anything odd of me.  I had enough to offer without blue nails though…let’s see, 2 divorces – check, teenage son with a kid on the way – check, making his son drive 2 states away to date me – check…yeah, not good.  Except, it was.  In fact, I’ve learned from the entire family, that there is nothing that surprises them or takes them out of their comfort zone.  No family is perfect, and my imperfect background was nothing of consequence to him (or them).  His only requirement and concern about me was that I love Jesus and am a Christian, and that I love his son unconditionally and without reservation.  I am proud to be a part of his family and even more thankful that my husband had such a strong example of what a man is to teach him how to love and protect me, and how to love and raise our children.

My dad and I have something different than most people.  I don’t remember lots of the details of when my parents divorced.  I know things now that my mom has told me, or my sister, or that my dad has eluded to that he is not proud of having done.  I still don’t have a clear bone to pick with him since I didn’t have those feelings of anger/betrayal at the time things occurred.  I have held resentment for what he put my mother, my sister and me through later in life because of his decisions, and for not sticking to his pledge to love, honor, and cherish my mom.  However, we all make mistakes, sometimes they are small and just annoying bumps in the road, and sometimes they will forever effect our lives and the lives of those around us.  I can’t say that I’ve forgotten all the things I know about what happened, but I do forgive him, and now that he is willing to know about me and my life and I am witnessing him make an effort to be involved and talk to me, I find it much easier to have conversations with him without feeling like it’s just a formality.  My dad has had health issues lately, and after losing my mom, I don’t want to lose him and regret not being adult enough to move past any hurt feelings I have in order to show him love that we all deserve.  He is not perfect, but he made four amazing daughters who love him more than he probably realizes.

Last year on Father’s Day I talked about how amazing D is.  As the father figure in our children’s daily lives, he consistently loves, raises, cares for and does everything in his power to ensure that the children we have are aware of his love, and the expectations of them on their behavior and actions while learning and growing up.  It’s pretty hard to be a father to a child that chooses to walk a path that is not in line with how a child should be raised, but even through that hardship he has taken on 2 children that are not his biologically and treated them as his own.  He is under no requirement to be a parent to my children, however he does it happily, with grace and strength, and with God’s love and guidance on a daily basis.   It has allowed them to bloom, grow and learn to be comfortable with the man they have in their daily lives by trusting him, and knowing that he loves them when they are wrong and loves them when they are right.  There is nothing more special to a mother than having a man, that treats their children as they should be treated.  My life is much easier, smoother, and happier having a man that loves his family as selflessly as he does.

Happy Father’s Day to you all, you are all greatly and deeply loved!

What Makes A Dad

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  • I miss you.  You may think that’s weird.  I mean, we didn’t get to know each other that well.  I did enjoy what time we had together, and I miss laughing, snuggling during scary movies, you and J dancing, and working on your homework that you totally didn’t want to do.  I miss that I don’t know YOU from more experiences of my own.  I don’t at all have a bad view of you, or any of our time together.  I think there were ways that each of us (me, your dad, you, your mom) could have handled things, but we are almost 1.5 years past that now. Unless we are going to live in the past, how we got here doesn’t matter.  How we can fix it does.  It can be fixed.  I have gotten to know you from hearing lots of stories about you growing up, and seeing pictures, from your grandparents and aunt and cousin, and most of all from your dad.  I’ve seen your cards, pictures, drawings, notes to your dad when you were little and some much more recent.  I know you from pictures I took of you, with your family and friends here.  You were not unhappy, and you were not mistreated.  I think there were a few misunderstandings and a normal teenager that got mad…guess what, you’ve missed out on your step-sister having some attitude too!  The difference is she isn’t allowed to pull away and disengage, she has attitude, we deal (she is corrected by me, your dad, her dad and her step-mom as a TEAM), we move on…life moves on.  Turning away is not a healthy part of growing up, or healthy for anyone.  To NOT deal with life is  unhealthy.  In spite of what you may think I know that you are very greatly loved, and missed.  I get to see it daily when we do normal things or go places and I think how much you would like this or that.  How I’m sure your dad misses getting to talk to you about things only the two of you shared.  I know that your grandmother misses you and hearing anything from the emails she sends.  I miss hearing about your sports, cheerleading and awards days.  Your dad has hopes each time he emails you that you will answer, even if it’s just to say you’re ok.
  • At this point, there isn’t much I feel I can say to “change your mind,” but I do want you to hear what other people have to say, that have never met you, or your dad, or your mom, and frankly I don’t think you are getting the information you need.  These people all have lots of information that you will see yourself in.  As I’ve always told you, you have a mom, I don’t want to and can’t replace her, but even though I’m new to you, I’m not new to parenting.  As you know, J has 4 parents that love her and make sure she is taken care of TOGETHER, there is no reason, ever, that a loving, stable, caring parent should be distanced or put out of their child’s life, by anyone, including a child/teenager that doesn’t see all the repercussions of a decision like that.  It’s why there are courts, and judges and why ALL parents are instructed to act in the best interest of a child and why visitation is court ordered.  It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. It is not in your best interest to eliminate one of your parents because you are mad or think you’re old enough to. You have 3 parents that love you deeply and can each give you something valuable in life, and 2 that are not being allowed to give you what you so desperately need during these years (and the ones to come) in your life.  So, with lots of love, and because I am your step-mom, but more importantly because I love your dad and you, I’m asking that since we’ve not talked for over a year, you check out the next few things I write and watch a link or two.  Just look at it as homework, or research…payback for not having to listen to one of my lectures for over a year, or a way to get me to shut up:)  Just trust me on this…you know I have nothing to gain here besides helping you and your dad be happy together.
  • I want to go ahead and say that lots of this might sound scary or stupid, or you might think it has nothing to do with you or what’s going on with you.  I know you make your own decisions, so I’m asking you, just because I want you to think for yourself, to use the information I’m about to share to gain all the knowledge you can and make your decisions based on facts and what you KNOW.  You’re grown enough to understand that life isn’t always pretty and perfect.  You have to deal with some crappy things sometimes to get to the good stuff though.
  1. There is actually a WHOLE dvd that we have that I will get to you if you want to see it, just let me know.  It explains all sides, yours, your mom, and your dad, and how to resolve things so everyone is happy!  Wouldn’t that be nice?!  Here are some reviews from other teens (that didn’t want to see their other parent, and some that had not seen a parent just like you), moms, dads and people that watched the dvd, because I know you think it’ll be boring. http://www.warshak.com/alienation/pluto/viewers-say.html
  2. Can you do me a favor and watch this little part of it?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Puy0hjtedU&feature=related
  3.  Also, I know some pretty smart people that have been where you are (and didn’t think they needed help or that anything was wrong).  I don’t want you to think that I or anyone here thinks there is something WRONG with you…we just all know that sometimes things aren’t as they seem and it never hurts to have knowledge about what’s going on in your life.  If you get a minute, this is someone that is now grown and has lived with not talking to her dad for a while when she was your age.  I think you’ll find it interesting. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=139545826175900&id=100003614494125
  4. Now, these are LONG, and I think if you are honest with yourself you’ll see some very familiar things.  Doesn’t matter how they got there, or how it happened, I want to focus on HOW TO FIX IT…I think you’ll recognize some stuff, you can finish reading my letter here first, then come back and check these out (but don’t forget, they are very informative)http://www.drhavlicek.com/what_everyone_should_know_about.htm            http://www.drhavlicek.com/Parent%20Alienation%20Effects%20on%20Children.htm
  5. Ok, so this one is a little more realistic.  I’m going to be honest and point out that this is your relationship and you have done or said just about all of these things.  Yes, they were your idea, which shows that you are in fact, an alienated child, whether you intended that or not. It’s not fun to read, but you will see that it’s not “just your idea” it is something that is documented time after time for years and is a problem not just for you, but has been and is for thousands of other children and teens your age. It is considered abuse to allow a child to go through with these thoughts and actions.  It is not healthy for you, and is not normal.

THE RESPONSE AND BEHAVIORS OF THE ALIENATED CHILD

It is important to discuss the typical clinical presentation of alienated children. For the most part, our observations of the behaviors and emotional responses of alienated children are similar to those reported by others (Gardner, 1987,1992; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). By definition, the core feature of alienated children is the extreme disproportion between the child’s perception and beliefs about the rejected parent and the actual history of the rejected parents’ behaviors and the parent-child relationship. Unlike most aligned or estranged youngsters, alienated children freely express hatred or intense dislike toward the rejected parent. They demonize and vilify that parent, often present trivial reasons to justify their hatred, and usually are not reticent about broadcasting the perceived shortcomings of the parent to others. This is particularly baffling to the rejected parent, extended family, and other adults knowledgeable about the prior parent-child relationship. Most often, as stated above, rejected parents have had at least an adequate relationship with these children, and the angry rejection is not merited, even when contributions of the rejected parent are taken into account. One of the most common behaviors of alienated children is their strongly expressed resistance to visiting the rejected parent and, in more extreme cases, an absolute refusal to see the parent in any setting, including a therapeutic one, and a desire to unilaterally terminate the parent-child relationship. These children want only to talk to lawyers who represent their viewpoint and to those custody evaluators and judges whom they believe will fully support their efforts to terminate the parent-child relationship once they hear all the “facts.” To all, they strongly advocate their right to choose whether they will see their parent. Another feature of alienated children is the manner in which they present their stories. Their allegations about the rejected parent are mostly replicas or slight variants of the aligned parents’ allegations and stories. These scripted lines are repeated endlessly but most often are hollow, without underlying substance, texture, or detail to support the allegations. They have adopted the allegation(s) but, unlike children with histories of abusive treatment, do not have compelling supporting information. Generally, alienated children sound very rehearsed, wooden, brittle, and frequently use adult words or phrases. They appear not to be guilty or ambivalent as the children denigrate, often viciously, the rejected parent.  Sometimes, they appear to be enjoying themselves. There is no obvious regret. One of the sobering aspects of these presentations is that alienated children have essentially been given permission to be powerful and to be hostile and rude toward the rejected parent, grandparents, and other relatives. Furthermore, assisting in orchestrating the obliteration of a parent does not bode well for their future social and emotional adjustment. Sadly, even previously cherished pets, now in the custody of the rejected parent, might be denigrated, and the children proudly describe the virtues of their new and extremely perfect replacements provided for them by aligned parents. And finally, alienated children often idealize or speak glowingly of the aligned parent as an adult and parent. They refuse to consider any information that might undermine this viewpoint of their perfect companion and parent, and they vigorously reject any suggestion that their obsessive hatred of the rejected parent has any relationship to the views or behaviors of the aligned parent. They might describe how that parent is suffering, has been harmed economically and emotionally by the rejected parent, and is worthy of their total allegiance. It is important to note that some alienated children-although they present as very angry, distraught, and obsessively fixated on the hated parent in the therapist’s or evaluator’s office-appear to function adequately in other settings removed from the custody battle. They might retain their school performance, might continue to excel in musical or athletic activities, and at least superficially seem reasonably well adjusted. A closer look at their interpersonal relationships, however, often reveals difficulties. Alienated children’s black-and-white, often harshly strident views and feelings are usually reflected in dealings with their peers as well as those in authority. However, it is in the rejected parents’ home that the child’s behavior is severely problematic and disturbed. They might destroy property; act in obnoxious, even bizarre, ways; and treat these parents in public with obvious loathing, scorn, and verbal abuse. They prefer to be in contact constantly with their aligned parent by telephone, at which times, they whisper hostile observations about the rejected parent’s words, behaviors, meals, and personality. If they are resisting or refusing contact, all efforts of the rejected parents to communicate directly with their children are rebuffed, including demands that the parent never contact them again, stop harassing them with presents and letters (which often are discarded or unopened), and cease their useless legal efforts and court appearances.

Again, this isn’t about who is right, wrong, who did what, who needs to change, it’s about how to stop this.  We can fix it, you can have both of your parents, and they both owe it to you to get along enough so you can have each of them without you feeling that it’s necessary to deny one of them.  Did you know that if YOU told both of your parents (nicely and respectfully) that it IS your choice and that they both need to get along so you can have them both involved in your life, that they would have no choice but to do it.  Think I’m crazy?  Your mom has said, typed and told numerous people that it’s “not my problem and it’s between her and her dad” and that “she is old enough to make decisions about her life” and your dad has said that he just wants you to be happy and healthy.  So, if you said to them that it is your choice that they both get along or that THEY ignore each other and allow you to be happy with each of them, they would have to do it, or they would both be liars.  It may not have been started by you, it may have, but regardless, YOU can stop it.  You are old enough, you are smart enough.

  • If you want help, you can reach out to me, your school, your church, your family, you know how to get any of us, and I know you have the means to contact us. We all miss you. You will be welcomed back with open arms.  We will begin again and move forward and learn together how to make life work for everyone involved.
  • If you don’t want help, or don’t think you are ready still, or you’re still mad, or still sure you don’t want to talk to anyone here, even your dad.  I will accept that, but only if you are honest with yourself and inform yourself with the information I shared.  You can’t just continue to walk along thinking that your decisions and those of your mom that have become yours, do not affect you, your dad, your family here, or will not affect you later down the road.  Remember, you don’t get back time lost.  You can’t go back and redo things sometimes.  You can make sure that things you do in the future are done right though.  I hope you choose to be informed, be forgiving, and be happy.

The girl in the pictures here was not abused, unloved, unhappy, unwanted, sad, or any of the things that one would assume would cause a parent to be eliminated from her life.  This girl (now a young lady) was told that she was old enough to decide and that it was her decision, when in fact, that was a violation of a court order to have her father eliminated.  The people in the pictures with her have ALL been cut out of her life at the same time over a year ago.  I could understand possibly being that mad at one person…but a whole family?   There is not one picture where you weren’t smiling.  With all my love…Melissa.

Never too old to love on Daddy!

Never too old to love on Daddy!

I'm in love.

I’m in love.

D and B

D and B

Our Crew!

Our Crew!

Big Daddy and his girls.

Big Daddy and his girls.

That girl was happy, having fun, loving, and enjoying life…I miss her.

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