The Results

Well I thought you all deserved an update…

DH & BM’s mediation to amend the custody agreement was a rough three hours, but a good mediator with common sense paired with thorough documenting and preparation proved successful, and our goals were accomplished to a tee!

There are so, so many insane things I could tell you about demands she tried to make, but instead, I will leave my positive reflection, now that a couple of days have passed…

My husband is an amazing father, and it’s clear that deep down, BM knows that.

Hopefully we won’t have to go through this again for a while!

God bless my husband for sitting in that room and keeping his composure for three hours.

Good things happen to good people, and karma is a bitch!

Have a good night, friends. Thank you for all of the continued prayers!

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Reasons to be Thankful.

I follow several different blended family blogs and social media accounts, one of my favorites being @stepmomquotes on Instagram. This page allows followers to direct message the admin questions, then the admin posts them for anyone to reply to.

As you can imagine, this page gets a little wild sometimes. But it has led me to realize that although our blended family is not yet a well oiled machine, we don’t have it as bad as others.

For example, BM has never once said anything negative about me to my husband, or to me directly. We see each other frequently, and our interactions are always neutral or positive. It seems like so many BM’s out there target their ex’s new significant other. Now don’t get me wrong, she was less than thrilled when I first made my entrance into the family, and she did have some expected words to say to my now-husband, but it was never anything off-the-wall.

Another example, anything high-conflict is always through email, texts, or calls (which we’re constantly trying to stray away from). And her “high-conflict” is never threatening, cursing, slandering, etc… her high-conflict is always just about her wanting to be in control of everything… she just wants the final say. Look, so what if she calls to pitch the exact same custody schedule that we pitched (and she denied) last month?! I don’t need the “credit” as long as time is continuously shared even. Do ya thang, baby-mama…

As far as we know, BM isn’t actively trying to turn the kids against us. This also seems to be a trend in the sites that I follow. I’m sure she tries to make herself seem more fun, likable, etc… but as far as we know, she isn’t downright telling the girls to dislike us, or saying negative things about us. SD4 is like a parrot, so I’m pretty sure we would know if BM was saying something crazy about us.

Last week, there was an article that went viral on social media about a family at Disney World (or Disney Land…?). There was a picture of the child, and then on either side stood her four parents, wearing shirts that said, “Mommy” “Daddy” “Stepmom” and “Stepdad.” I saw this post and “liked” it on Facebook, thinking “we could never be like this.” When my husband saw that I “liked” it, he sent me a screen shot of a text from BM that morning. She had sent him the article, and wrote, “I wish we could be like this.” I could not believe what I was reading… she actually wants things to be amicable! I was floored.

Again, we definitely do not have a perfect system. Our situation is a seemingly constant struggle for time- having shared physical custody- and a difference in parenting styles between the two households. We could have it so much worse. We are over two years into this, and the chaos has definitely minimized as the time has passed. I am looking forward to seeing how the conflict hopefully continues to minimize.

When things get tough, I remind myself of these facts. I remind myself that there is still hope for us to do this two-houses thing right, and to be great role models, support systems, and parents to these baby girls.

LEO Wife Update

Back in the day, I posted What Dating a LEO Means to Me.

Since I married the greatest man on earth back in December, I have a had a new/refreshed sense of pride in my husband and what he does. It’s strange… I feel like marriage shouldn’t have changed a lot about us, but it definitely did. Well, it didn’t change a lot, but it certainly grew my feelings for him to a whole new level I didn’t realize was possible.

Anyway… y’all know I can go off on a tangent thinking about my man… back to the story. I am so proud of him and his career as a Police Officer. I’ve got to see him do some pretty awesome things over the years. I’ve seen him get promoted, and switch platoons to serve as a relief supervisor. I’ve seen him be selected for a position working with our city’s youth in the schools. He’s so passionate about kids, y’all. *Swoon* I’ve seen him get selected to lead the departments part-time bike patrol, which he’s probably embarrassed I mentioned, but wow does he look great in those little padded bike shorts! I’ve seen him supervise a team of officers and keep large events organized time and time again. Y’all, he is so organized. I’ve seen him serve as acting Sergeant for his unit. This year, he was chosen to work the Presidential Inauguration, and traveled to D.C., was trained, and sworn in as a U.S. Marshall for the weekend. Talk about the most stressful weekend of my life… but that’s another post for another day…

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I’ve gone on more ride along’s than I can remember, and seen everything from him helping an old lady in assisted living, to him having to draw any number of weapons on people. (Sidebar: Never fired, thank God. Contrary to what the left wants you to think, the vast majority of police officers have never shot their gun at work… and they don’t want to!). I’ve seen him ripped away from family time, or more regularly sleep, to be sent on high-risk calls with the tactical unit (S.W.A.T. Team). I’ve been woken up by those calls, and that part is not-so-cool. I’ve seen his job impact the custody schedule, and that devastates him. I’ve seen him have to leave the girls with me to go to work, and we all miss him so much it hurts.

Let the record show, he definitely cringed when he read my title today. He will hate that I wrote about his job, because “people don’t like law enforcement.” But I’m confident my readers do. I am so proud of him every day, and I think it’s disgusting he has to feel worried about people knowing what he does for a living. This man puts the safety of our city… of people he doesn’t even know… first and foremost every day. This summer he will celebrate 10 years with the police department… 10 years!! What an amazing commitment and sacrifice this man has made to our city.

He is a father, son, and husband. He is a great human. He is incredible, inspirational, and truly my hero. I will never be able to show him how much he means to me, or how proud I am of him. I stand behind the thin blue line.

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Five Things: Thankful.

Hey, hey! What a week it has been, my friends… and may I just say, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for.

ONE: My husband *drool*… WOW what an amazing man! He had the girls draw me little cards for Valentine’s Day and I could have cried. We didn’t really do presents, but I blessed him with showing up to his work with dinner- in spandex pants. He was a fan (*wink*). He is so busy but spends literally every moment he’s not working putting me and the girls first. I am so blessed.

TWO: Living in such a great area! Now don’t get me wrong, we fully intend to retire in Florida, but I’m so thankful to live in a place where we can just scoot up to D.C. for a Washington Capital’s game for date night! We did that last weekend and it was so much fun! While we were there, we talked about how lucky we were to live so close… it’s wild to think about the fact that the majority of American’s probably never get to explore our nation’s capitol!

THREE: Great in-law’s. My biological family is pretty shaky, but man are my in-law’s great! They always go out of their way to take care of us. Last week, they surprised us with a beautiful canvas they got made with a picture of my husband when he worked the Presidential Inauguration as a sworn U.S. Marshall for the weekend. They always help me to see what really matters in life, and are such a great example of a strong, long lasting marriage (almost 31 years!).

FOUR: Our babies. Even though the 4-year-old would correct me and tell me that she’s a big girl. I tell you what… the only part of my life they have negatively affected is my bank account (*cue* I cannot walk past the toddler/little girls sections of any store without grabbing them something). All coparent-from-hell nonsense aside, I wish I could keep them these ages forever. I want to preserve them in their cute, innocent, charismatic little selves and kiss all over their cheeks all day, every day, forever.

FIVE: A great job. Even though I’m in a cube, and some of my colleagues [okay, mostly just one] really can drive me up a wall sometimes… I love my supervisors and the potential for growth in my department. I love that I am working in an area I can truly see myself “career.” I love that I’m working in an area applicable to my Masters degree. I am so thankful for this job, and thankful that taking a risk last April landed me on this incredible journey.

So what do you have to be thankful for this week? Never forget, there’s always a calm in the center of this crazy storm-of-a-life.

-Ashley