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2013 in Review

When the year began I moved myself and my kiddos to a new apartment, away from the bad influence our old neighborhood was gaining.  The new neighborhood was far from perfect, but it was definitely a change for the better.  At about the same time, Sean could not find a place to stay and had to resort to a shelter for a couple of months.  The distance in miles created quite a few complications in our relationship.  By the time he found a home in March, our relationship issues had grown so much that we weren’t able to mend the gaps.  We ended up slowly and painfully splitting up, hurting each other quite a lot in the process.  He and I lost contact for a while, and during that time I tried to start a new relationship so I could move on.

The new guy was an old acquaintance, dad of a few of the kids’ friends that had moved away a couple of years prior.  He started off sweet telling me everything he thought I wanted to hear, including the offer of help to get me out of Newton.  His 3 boys and my 3 boys got along great, so the appeal to a larger family was there.  But everything got all twisted within a few short weeks, and he turned out to be pretty much the opposite of who he represented himself to be.  He was a lazy parent, a liar, a thief, and admitted to me (by mistake) that he wondered if he was gay, which explained to me why we were never intimate.  If he had just been honest and reached out to me for friendship, all would have been okay.  But as it turned out, even our friendship ended over the mess that was created.  But the kids had a happy summer spending time with their friends, so if I had to pick something good that came from it, that would definitely be it.

In June I took my sister and my boys and we all went with a bunch of friends to Capital City Pride.  I made us all t-shirts with my friend Tanya.  We all wore those and the beads that were being handed out during the festival.  Destiny and I dyed our hair multiple rainbow colors to show our support.  It was the first time I had gone, and we had a blast!

Once summer was over, just before school started again, Sean got back in touch with me.  It started off in an argument that was quickly resolved, and we continued talking from there.  We discussed how much we had missed each other in our months apart, and cautiously considered getting back together.  We agreed to take everything slow, and did a LOT of talking about our past, our mistakes, our regrets, and what we learned from it all.  And after a couple of months of intense discussions and consideration of our past, we made promises to each other and ourselves and decided to start a future together, one day at a time.

In late September, right around my birthday, I discovered bed bugs in our apartment.  It was a nightmare, and induced many panicked, sleepless nights for me.  But my apartment manager was very accommodating and allowed us to stay in an empty apartment while a pest control services started the professional treatment process.  I was very careful and we did not take any bugs with us.  However, it took until nearly the very end of the year before the bites stopped and the pest control company no longer so bed bug activity.  (We will continue to treat in the coming months of 2014 to eliminate any remaining, and prevent re-infestation, as they are quite bad in this town right now and can be picked up anywhere.)

The boys’ dad was fairly consistent in his visits most of the year (til the end of September), then he just sorta backed off.  I don’t understand his reasoning or cycles of spending time with his boys, but I just wanted that to be noted.

During the period of the infestation, the boys started falling behind in school.  It was a very difficult time for us all, being displaced from our home for a time and missing sleep.  It took a few weeks, but they did get back on track.  Andy started getting picked on a little worse this year than in prior years because of some of his autistic mannerisms, and because he is amongst a whole new group of kids this year, having moved from one side of town to the other.  I am requiring him to finish his 6th grade year in public elementary school, but have promised him the option of online education for 7th grade and beyond.  I have told him with his potential online education he would also be learning how to cook for himself, clean up after himself a lot more (housework training), and he would be involved in some sort of community service program or regular volunteering so that he can be social too.

In October my friends Dustin and Tanya Hoffman became husband and wife!  I was honored to be the officiant at their handfasting, alongside Chris Elrod (Tanya’s close friend).  It was a beautiful ceremony written by Chris, and a fun reception.

In November, Sean and I got engaged!  After all the problems we faced, and all the struggles we managed through, we decided to commit to each other for the rest of our lives.  We have been very blessed this year to have been tested and strengthened in our love for one another.  We announced it to my mom first, then to Sean’s parents.  Then to the friends and family we have on Facebook.  Everyone has been very supportive and happy for us, which has been a real blessing.  More about our hopes and plans for the future in the next post.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with both my family and Sean’s.  It was the first year I have actually felt stressed trying to arrange holiday plans.  Between the kids having different people to see, and everyone’s schedules being different, it was hard to juggle the dates and events.  But it was all done with not too much of a hitch, and most every plan got accomplished.

And to top off the year, we got Penny, our precious puppy!  At only 9 1/2 weeks old, she is about 70% house broke, understands “no” and “sit,” and spends her nights mostly quiet in a kennel in my bedroom.  She is doing pretty good with the kids and loves to cuddle.  And she is so darn cute that I can’t stay mad at her long when she’s being naughty, which is to her great advantage.  LOL.

There were definitely some bad events and good events throughout the year.  But it was a memorable year, and a good year for learning and growth, and I look forward to a new year with many more opportunities to come!

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