Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 Years: Year 9, 01-02

We left off a week before our anniversary in 2001, and John had expressed that he wanted a divorce. We didn’t do much about it at the time, except maybe let it fester. It definitely clouded our anniversary and the upcoming holidays.

We spent Christmas of 2001 in Illinois. Many of our friends were still there. We enjoyed ourselves, but I’m sure they didn’t help our relationship any.

As the spring semester began, school was still talking most of my time. The TEAM program was showing success, but it took a lot of our focus and attention. I also believe this was the year I sponsored the Step team. Again, I was always wrapped up in the kids’ drama, and I would bring the kids home when I could.

To add to it, I started a Masters Degree in spring. I did not ask. I just took care of the process and started classes. It was a good decision, but at the time it was very selfish. I wasn’t exactly helping my marriage situation.

Alec was still playing soccer and John was still coaching. Both were really enjoying their efforts. The good news was that even though John and I were struggling, the boys didn’t seem to be impacted much yet. They were still happy little boys.

That May/early June we went home for graduations for Mike & Jess. (Mikey, sorry I don’t have a photo of you from that time.) Once we came home, I taught summer school for the first time.

All this time, we had never really done anything about John’s divorce request from six months prior. We fought. We fought a lot. I was pretty emotional during that time period and didn’t always handle those emotions properly. We had also become distracted by other people.

By the fourth of July, our emotions were so raw,  I reciprocated the divorce request.

Fortunately, neither of us really wanted to get divorced, and John’s company actually covered marriage counseling through their insurance, so we went. We were only slotted 5 sessions, but we went. And we did all of our homework. More importantly, we found ways to communicate that worked for US. It wasn’t easy. It took daily intentions. But we worked at it.

Just before school resumed in the fall, Mom & Jim gave us their Chevy Blazer. This was a wonderful blessing for our growing family. The boys and I went and met our niece/cousin Miracle. Then John flew in and we drove to from IL to Dallas to meet his sister Dana in person. While there, we went to Six Flags.

Once home, John and I were doing so well, working on our marriage, that we had temporary insanity and got pregnant. Within a couple of weeks though, we miscarried. I was so sad that John called the doctor to prescribe anti-depressants. I took them for a week.

So in an attempt to distract me and cheer me up, we decided to go to Las Vegas with Dana that September. John had already been with her once, and they had a great time. So he was hoping this would do the trick. It didn’t, but it was nice.

We managed to stay positive and happy in our marriage even though we had the miscarriage. By this point it was the second year for the TEAM program, and I had learned how to establish some boundaries. I had also convinced John that my Master’s degree would have tremendous value. He was doing well in his position, and was enjoying his new project at Sky Harbor Airport.

That fall, we bought first Sony digital camera. We were planning to take the boys to Disney that Christmas, and we wanted a digital camera to take tons of pictures.

Just a year ago, I would have wagered that we were going to be divorced, and here we were, a happy little family again. It’s a good thing because 2003 was going to bring MAJOR changes.

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Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 Years: Some Reminders Before We Move On

Before we go to the next year, let’s discuss some things. I want to make sure we are clear:

  1. This was all a long time ago. Obviously we’ve moved on, and the point of this series is to figure out how, even with these blemishes, we still made it.
  2. This is my blog, not John’s. I can’t tell you what he was thinking at any time. All I can tell you is what I experienced or perceived from him. Does that make sense?
  3. I am going to own a lot of this. Over the years, I’ve confided in different people and they will feel differently. That’s ok. I know I was a crazy lady, and as I look back, I find myself really shaking my head. I didn’t realize just how crazy. Hopefully, I’m learning a little something.
  4. If I leave something and/or someone out, it was probably intentional. Some details are not critical to the story. Other topics, I know better than to discuss at certain depths. Just because I’m writing about it doesn’t mean you need all the details. But it also doesn’t mean I don’t remember.

Come back tomorrow and we will move on to 2001-2002. Obviously, we get over the divorce hurdle. I think there’s lessons in the how though.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 Years: Year 8, 00-01

Let me begin this entry by saying when two people are married, some years are easier than others. Sometimes spouses are oblivious to what is going on. This was one of those years. I was clueless that my actions were causing issues.

What actions? Well, I had a work friend who was a guy. I had no idea he wanted more than friendship. But John knew. I also spent WAY too much time focused on my students. I gave them rides. They babysat for us. I was doing everything short of having them move in. I was putting rifts in our marriage and had no clue.

We had just moved into a house we rented in Casa Grande. So that year we stayed in Arizona for Christmas.

That January, we got Morgan. And I had a little scare and had to wear a heart monitor. Nothing was wrong. But we had to be safe.

Mom & Jim visited in February for my birthday. As always, we did the zoo.

We became major race fans that year. Eric would actually watch racing.

Eric had his second and final surgery that year. He could’ve used one more, but they knew he’d be too restless at 3 to endure the extenders.

Alec played on his first soccer team that spring in Casa Grande.

That April, friends came to town for U2. It was a fun weekend but something happened and our two favorite couples were now feuding. This impacted many years moving forward, for all of us.

That summer, we had two family reunions. The Boone reunion, which was awesome! We learned we really were descendants of Daniel Boone. Finally!

We also had a get together of all of our people at the bowling alley. It wasn’t often all of our family members will come together, but this was a lot of fun. Even my grandma came!

One of the best things. John found Dana that year. Another sister-in-law, woohoo!

When school resumed, we were starting our TEAM program. This had me at work and/or doing work even more than before. The guy from work transferred, thank goodness.

John was coaching Alec’s soccer team.

Sept 11. There are too many words. Too many emotions. Not enough blog.

In October, we went to the Grand Canyon. My favorite picture of John and Eric is from this trip. Our camera definitely stunk. By this point, John and I were not getting along at all.

And of course, we spent a lot of time at Kara’s. All year round. She was my best friend and really acted like the kids’ aunt. By this point, she had moved, so it took time to get to her house. But we still went every weekend.

November came and a week before our anniversary, John told me he wanted a divorce. It was like I was hit by an invisible bus. You could feel it but never saw it coming.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 Years: Year 7, 99-00

1999 had been a pretty successful year for the little Bellamy family in Phoenix. That November, John’s company had its holiday get together. His friend’s girlfriend worked in a high school. Within a couple of weeks, they had a science teacher opening.

Somehow I got the position. My parents came to town for Thanksgiving that year. As always, we did the zoo and they built a cardboard box car with Alec.

Eric’s birthday was in December. We had a little celebration with our friends the Briscoes, and then went home for Christmas to have the big 1st birthday party at Happy Joe’s.

The spring was busy. I was commuting an hour each day with a group of people. And I was buried in teacher planning.

As usual, Kara always helped by picking up the slack. She helped a lot with both boys.

Eric has his first surgery to begin reducing the mole on his head. That was traumatic. Poor baby.

That March, John turned 30. We threw him a big party.

We went to Missouri for Memorial Day weekend, Karen came down too. I believe this was the trip where John went back early, and I followed later with the kids. I ended up on delayed flights and actually wrote a letter to the airline.

I don’t remember much about that summer. It was the only year I didn’t do summer school, and it was our last summer in Phoenix. I suspect I spent a lot of time in the pool and at Kara’s. I believe Alec went to IL for the last time alone.

That fall, Alec started coming to school in Casa Grande. It allowed me to be nearby if needed. I didn’t carpool as much. I was Freshmen class sponsor, amongst other things. I loved working with those kids. This was my first group to work with from day 1. I devoted myself to them.

By our anniversary, we had an opportunity to rent a house in Casa Grande. We jumped at the chance. John would have to commute, but he was working nights, so it wasn’t as awful as it could be.

We just kept moving forward, and that’s all you can do. 2001 was going to prove challenging though. Stay tuned.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 Years: Year 6, 98-99

As we started our 6th year together, John was working in a geotechnical lab and I was hostessing at a restaurant. More importantly, I was pregnant and due soon.

The doctor decided to induce so that he wasn’t as big as Alec had been. So the weekend of Dec 18, 1998. John was supposed to go see his sister graduate, but couldn’t because we were waiting to be called in to the hospital.

On the 20th we went in. By that night he was born. We went home the next day. But due to the giant hairy Nevis on his head, we had several different appointments to make sure it was superficial. It was, but he’d eventually have surgery.

We weren’t going to worry about it though. Nana visited first. In a few months, Grandma Karen came. We were a perfect little family of four.

Once Eric was born, I found a job as a preschool teacher. Before long, I managed to become Director. I’m not sure I was ready, but it was a fun few months, and I was able to be with both kids all day long.

Alec turned 5 that year. We celebrated at a Disney place. It was cool. He was obsessed with A Bug’s Life.

That summer we took our first journey to Sea World and San Diego. I sure do miss that short drive. We love it there.

That fall, Alec started Kindergarten. Both kids were well loved everywhere they went, and Alec had lots of friends.

By the end of the 6th year, I was interviewing for another teaching position, thanks to a friend of John’s. Life was good.

Posted in Angel Card Readings, Turn Signals

Weekly Outlook: Nov 5 – 11

Astrologically, there is a lot going on out there! Venus is still retrograde, but at least it’s in Libra now. Uranus is still retrograde, in Taurus now. And this Thursday Jupiter moves into Sagittarius, which from everything I’ve read, is a good thing. Last but not least, Mercury goes retrograde next week. Sigh.

So what’s in store for us this week? As you can imagine, with all of this action, our week is going to be interesting.

Monday/Tuesday we have VIII Justice and Sail. Together these two make a beautiful combination. If we continue to have courage and try, we will survive this. We just have to look for balance. Balance between the present and the future. If you can do this, there will be transformation/redemption.

For me, this means less instant gratification and more saving and financial planning. Because we don’t balance present and future, we are feeling the pains from our broken water heater. At least the cards say we will be ok, because it doesn’t feel that way right now.

Wednesday/Thursday we have III The Empress and Earn. If we continue learning our lessons about balance, this combination says we will be rewarded for a job well done. If we listen to our inner guide, we will find the love, strength, and wisdom we need. Most importantly, you are going to be presented with a “door”, take it. It will help you find the wholeness of heart and spirit you’ve been seeking.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday is led by the Ace of Pentacles in reverse, and Want. Want reminds us of our past and the lessons we have learned. Combining those lessons with our new lessons on balancing the present and future, and we can find both internal and external success. If we pay attention and truly learn from our mistakes, our desires can come to fruition.

Have a tremendous week!!

Posted in dovolution, Find Your Road Home, Paintings

Order a Painting for Christmas

Hey y’all, last year I sold a few paintings before Christmas thanks to my oldest challenging me, and some gracious family members.

This year, I thought I’d be a little more intentional.

Here’s how it will work, ordering details are below. We are going to keep it simple. You can purchase one I’ve already painted by shopping here. Or you can send me a private Facebook message by going here. For a new painting, we will use the following specifications:

Small $10 Up to 5×7 or 5×5

Medium $20 Up to 11×14 or 10×10

Large $40 Up to 16×20 or 12×12

XLarge $60 Anything larger

Paintings can be acrylic on wrapped canvas or canvas panel, or watercolor on paper (or dictionary page). Please note the “up to.” That means there are multiple sizes in each range to choose from, or leave it to the artist’s discretion.

Watercolor paintings can be framed and/or matted for an additional fee.

Shipping will be case-by-case.

I’m best with scenery and animals, and prefer a reference photo. I am willing to attempt abstract/geometric, and enjoy collages.

Deadline to order is Monday November 26 at midnight. Order by messaging me here.

Consider a personal, heartfelt gift for a friend (or neighbor) or family member today !

If you don’t need a painting, that’s ok. Share this post. That supports me more than you know.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 years: Year 5, 97-98

Our first year in Phoenix wasn’t necessarily easy, but I don’t really think we noticed the struggle. I later learned this was because we were borrowing money from my mother-in-law. And borrowing is not the correct word choice. We weren’t paying it back. Any way, most of the time I won’t bring the little nit-picky things like this up, but money is unfortunately one of those wretched threads in our lives. We suck at it and I like to point it out. Not because I want either John or I to feel bad, but because I would love for my children to possibly learn from my mistakes, and also so I don’t forget.

Kids, it is important to have support no matter what, but it is also important to learn to handle your own struggle. It’s easier at 20 than it is at 40.

So in 1997 we were a happy little family. We were no longer in the roach motel apartment. I was actually teaching! And it was Kindergarten. And Alec was just down the hall because it was a charter school. We had Kara and John & Sarah for support if we needed help with Alec.

Here’s where we get a little fuzzy. We know we went home that year, and believe it was probably Thanksgiving. Back then, we could afford to fly. That Christmas, everyone came to see us. And I mean everyone. (if I don’t have a picture of you here, I’m sorry, my picture organization skills stink) We were now the vacation destination – especially in the winter. Who wouldn’t want to leave yucky Illinois winter weather for sunny Arizona? And back then it was temperate in the winter in AZ.

After Christmas came and went, we were back at school. I was a first year teacher, and I absolutely LOVED those kids. Creating centers for them to have differentiated learning was critical to my existence. The more I worked with these kids and the older Alec was getting, I found my biological clock ticking. I honestly never thought I would have more than one, but I found myself wanting another kid.

Right around John’s birthday that year, we got pregnant with Eric. We did not handle announcing him well at all. I believe we sent an e-card. Kids, here’s today’s lesson. Don’t send an e-card to tell your parents you are having a baby.

That May, John left Subway and went to work with his first geotechnical company. Woohoo! We were moving on up in the world. Best part, separating business and friendship. Working for your best friend’s family was stressful.

That summer, I did temp work again, just to make ends meet since we were going to have a second kid. The teaching job only paid $18K/year and it was only during those 9 months. Alec went to Illinois for most of the summer, going from family to family in Illinois and Missouri.

Pregnancy was not my friend this time around. I was uncomfortable from the beginning. I was also a witch. I actually don’t know how John didn’t leave during this pregnancy. I was a hot mess before people even started using that terminology.

When school resumed, I moved up with my kids to first grade. We changed locations, as the charter school was starting to really struggle financially. Alec moved with me, but he had a tough time there. By the end of September we were leaving the school. This was the ONLY time in my life I left a job without having a job in its place.

Remember how I mentioned this pregnancy made me crazy, well…once I left the charter school, I ended up working as a hostess at a restaurant right by the Subway. It was owned by one of the former owners of the restaurant John worked at back in college. See, I can’t be idle. I go crazy if I’m not contributing to the family bottom line. Even if it really isn’t helping, like this probably wasn’t. I’m sure we were still borrowing money from Karen. I know we had borrowed money from my parents for my student loans. Again, can you say “hot mess.”

Fortunately, there was some stability right around the corner. Eric about to join us. 1999 was going to be a better year, or at least one could hope, right?

Note: this is the last year with so few pictures. It was kind of disappointing. I suspect our parents have some.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 years: Year 4, 96-97

As we celebrated our anniversary in 1996, it was almost graduation time. Our plan was to move to AZ right after Christmas. We packed up the Uhaul and Dad & Le, and off we went.

I was so excited! We were leaving that crappy town behind. We were leaving the meddlers behind. We were off to be a family and embark on an adventure.

Right away, John started working at Subway for the Flanagan’s. I found a temp job. Initially, I worked days and John worked nights. Our friend Kara would come during the overlap to watch Alec. It didn’t take long and she was Aunt Kara.

Both John and I took turns going out with Kara. And that spring I took my first girls trip to Rocky Point.

That first apartment was questionable. It was cheap. We got a cat, who helped with pest control. And we stayed there until the Flanagan’s opened a new Subway. We jumped on the opportunity to move closer to that one, and I found a job at a preschool. That meant Alec had to finally go to daycare.

That first preschool was a godsend. We made some friends and had fun that summer. Then, that fall, I secured my first teaching job. Kindergarten.

We bought a second car. Our lemon. We were totally ripped off. The seller even changed his phone number. But that yellow CRX ended up being one of the best cars we ever had.

It was a pretty great first year in Arizona. We had a support system. We had real jobs. We had a nice apartment. We had two cars. We took Alec swimming almost daily. What more could two kids ask for?

Maybe another rugrat?

Note: not a lot of pictures during this year. We were pretty busy and pictures were still cameras and film developing. Most pictures were of Alec so that the grandparents could still see what he looked like.

Posted in Find Your Road Home, Marriage, a worthy challenge

25 years: Year 3, 95-96

They say the first two years are the honeymoon phase of a marriage. Year 3, the real work begins. Ha! They weren’t kidding.

The first Christmas without Tom was honestly a blur. Alec was extremely active. I believe that’s the year we were supposed to stay at Karen’s but went back to Macomb. Yeah, that first year…

We started struggling around 2 and a half years, in hindsight, it was partially because we chose to stay in Macomb the summer of 95. But we didn’t feel we could go home. Everyone had teenagers. John’s dad had just passed. Dad and Le’s house was pretty full. Plus, there was one more year of school for me.

Kids, here’s the next lesson, choices have consequences. We struggled. We really wanted to be independent. We managed to get housing assistance for the apartment though, and survived there until the next summer.

Our friends were still extremely important. They’d come to our place, or we’d go to theirs. Thanks to nearby family, we always had a sitter. If they couldn’t, someone from my work, an experienced mom with other kids, would watch him.

Our “go team” facade was starting to crack though. Money struggles have always brought out an ugly side in us. Basically, I set expectations (aka wants). He tries to make that happen financially. I flippantly ignore a rule. He gets pissed. I irrationally don’t understand why and cry hysterically. He gives up. The process repeats. It started back here, in 95-96.

His job had changed and wasn’t secure. I needed to bring in more than work study provided. We needed a fresh start.

A couple of friends had moved to Arizona, so that Memorial Day weekend we flew out for a visit. We knew this was the place, and set out to move to Phoenix. John could immediately get a job and I knew a principal at a middle school. What did we have to lose? (We really are great dreamers when we both believe.)

By the fall of 96 we moved back to Galesburg so that we didn’t have to pay rent, and more importantly food expenses. That fall I was going to student teach, so having family support was more important than ever. My grandma would even babysit. We were definitely blessed.

But first, Alec and I went to visit Nana and Papa in England. I mention that because 1, it was fun, and 2, I know it influenced my attitude the next few months.

During those few months, we learned that we just couldn’t survive in Galesburg. I’m pretty sure I morph into this weird version of “wanna be former cheerleader my poo doesn’t stink” me that existed in 1990. After two weeks with my mom, I’m sure I was pretty bad at that point. I still do it to an extent even now at 45.

It didn’t help that I spent most of my time doing school work. One time he said, “if this is how much time you’ll spend doing school work, you can’t be a teacher.” Seriously? It’s a little late now.

Then, to top it off, my one night off was for a bowling league with Les and her mom. Les was there a lot. And she had drama. That didn’t help any. But look how cute our goober kids were.

That’s my ownership in that year’s “crap.” He has his own parts.

It wasn’t all bad though.

Living with family was so helpful, yet so encroaching. We couldn’t have done it without them. Although no matter how much help we had, it seemed like they all got in the way. As I said, we just couldn’t take it. Moving day just couldn’t come fast enough.