PLEASE NOTE:
These are NOT my photos.  I could never take photos this good.
These are from one of the parents, at the school, who is an amazing artist.  And I am so grateful for his talents.

She's got spirit, yes she does. She's got spirit, how about you?

She’s got spirit, yes she does. She’s got spirit, how about you?

My beautiful baby girl.

My beautiful baby girl.

2015 - 2016 Cheer Team.

2015 – 2016 Cheer Team.

Doing what she loves to do.

Doing what she loves to do.

Getting to do this with one of her oldest and closest friends. Icing.

Getting to do this with one of her oldest and closest friends. Icing.

Being part of this group, she's found her niche.

Being part of this group, she’s found her niche.

When I was growing up there were no actual cheerleaders in my schools. Ever. We just didn’t have them. Not when I was in Jr. High, in Saudi because of the skimpiness of the outfits. Never would have been appropriate. Then at Willy we didn’t have them either, because every student was required to be on an actual sports team. Or find a suitable alternative, like volunteering at a local horse ranch; which was equally physically demanding. Ask me how I know. LoL

Thus for me all cheerleader-related knowledge was learned from TV and the movies. Not very realistic, to say the least. I held a notion that cheerleading was a cop-out for doing actual sports. That the girls who choose to do cheerleading were doing so, because they were not capable of the physical work of athletics. I was lead to believe that cheerleaders were ditzy. That was until Bronwyn came into my life – and as she grew up, desired to be a cheerleader.

I did all that I could to redirect her desires into more socially acceptable, actual sporting, real activities. I was fighting a force of nature. Needless to say, I did not win.

My youngest daughter was going to be a cheerleader. Period.

I thought that she would grow out of this along the way. Grow bored with it. Realize that it was just a fluffy alternative.

Nope.

Here we are and my baby girl is on the high school cheer-leading squad.

And here I am being taught that every believe I held about cheer-leading and the girls who choose this, was wrong. Dead wrong.

Cheer-leading is an actual sport. A very physically demanding sport. These girls are as much athletes as the boys and girls that they cheer for, out on the football team. I watch as my daughter limps into a warm shower each night after practice, to ease her sore muscles. She uses all of them. I witness her deftly apply an ace bandage to her left ankle, each day before a game-night, because of the extra strain it takes, when she lifts her childhood playmate, up and over her head.

Did I say that these girls were ditsy? Oh I apologize now. Watching my the expression on Bronwyn’s face, I know that her brain is working over-time, when she is holding Abby up in the air. Concentrating and adjusting her body, to accommodate her teammate’s body, so as not to allow any harm to come to her. Also, these girls are required to maintain a 3.0 or better, to even participate. That’s above the 2.5 for other athletes. Their coach’s rules, not the school’s. These are the smartest girls you’ll meet in the school.

She has found her niche, my Baby Girl. And I’m so proud to watch her jumping, yelling, and encouraging her schoolmates, in their endeavors. On and Off, of the field. She is blossoming into a very out-going young lady, and it is because of her love for cheer-leading.

She’s come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

She's come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

She’s come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

easter

So after talking to J, the girls’ therapist, I’m going to give Daphne what she wants. I’m going to let her move-in with her dad.

After all, I will be out of town this weekend, till Tuesday. I can add on tonight, and make it nearly a week long thing for them all.

Oh yes. Them all!

A few things about this that came up in talking with J.

1) Baggage goes with you.
Is that Daphne (and her dad) have got to learn that her baggage is going to follow her, wherever she goes. Life doesn’t get easier just because you move away from home. You still have to find ways to cope with your life. You still have to learn how to express your emotions. You still have to do your homework. No matter where you live.

Sure its going to be easier when there is nobody around to hold you accountable, right up front. Yet, it will catch up to you all the same. Usually though by not dealing with it, in the beginning, you end up having to deal with a much worse situation. Call it Karmic Interest.

2) Your siblings get to move out too.
Oh yes. Rebecca, Bronwyn, and Russell all get to come along. Its not fair to them, if Daphne gets to go live a live of luxury over at Dad’s place, and they still have to eat green beans for dinner. I’m not going to sit here and defend the idea that somehow she gets to have special privileges of no Study Hall, no curfew, fast-food take-out, no laundry duty, no chores, and no accountability for where you’re at, or who you’re with; if the others don’t.

The EX complained that he doesn’t get to spend time enough with the kids, well here you go. Which is a complete falsehood, because it is rare, to non-existent that I ever deny him, or them, time together. He even admitted this to me during our “conversation” this morning. AND again, when I brought it up, while we were having an additional “conversation” about this Trial Week.
Me: At any point do I force the current child-time-share agreement?
Ex: No.
Me: Have I ever told you that you were late in bringing the kids home on a Sunday?
Ex: No.
Me: Have I ever told you, No you can’t have the kids, and take to the beach; because that is on a weekday?
Ex: No.

3) Living at Dad’s means Living AT Dad’s.
No coming home 9 times in a day because you forgot something. No coming back to the house to sleep on school nights. Yes, Rebecca and Daphne do this. They pick and choose where / when they will sleep at home, vs sleeping at Dad’s. They don’t like having to walk the extra 7 blocks to the school bus in the mornings. But sleeping here at home, when I’m not here; is basically not living with either parent. Its living alone. They don’t get to do that during this Trial Week.

Living there means following all of Dad’s rules. If that means going to bed at midnight, or sleeping on the floor, or having to throw out the trash. So be it. I will not be driving by your Dad’s with fast food, because you didn’t like what he was serving. Oh, he does this to me, all the time. He will simply come by the house with a bag from Taco Bell, as I’m serving dinner.

So this will be a very interesting 6 nights. I know, I know, I know – a week is 7. Be grateful for the 6 days, I’m not sure I can handle more than that. I’m trying.

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Okay so I know that things are up in the Universe because the Ex and I are getting along. Or maybe its just my attitude. Or this way in which I am trying to be a better person. I have a few relationships that I know need some working on. The one with the Ex-husband, is one of those. So I am trying to be kinder. Nicer.

I start with things like asking about his girlfriend. I know that Rhonda is not going anywhere. She is a part of his life, and therefore a part of my kids’ lives. So we might as well get along. I can start by just asking about her health. She has fought cancer in the last couple of years, and so I want to acknowledge that. To be kind about her. Ask about her. I don’t think I will be taking her a casserole any time soon. But this is a start.

Talking last night with Barry on the phone I even went so far as to offer to skip Russell’s baseball game on Thursday night. I know that Rhonda would like to see him play, but that she won’t go if I’m there. I can’t say that she doesn’t like me, because I cannot assume what she likes, and doesn’t. I can only say that she feels uncomfortable around me, because she did the one time that we met.

With regards to his payment of things for the kids. He’s making an effort. I appreciate when he sends the Child Support, but I don’t rely on it for the payment of any actual household bills. I would like to see him reimburse me for things like all of the back-to-school stuff, but I know that without a steady job, that makes it hard. I won’t go into him not working, as that has always been a sore subject between us. I have faith that when he has the money, he will do right by me.

We even talked about that issue, and are making a list of the funds each of us has paid out, on the children’s behalf since August. He regaled me with the stories of the latest clown-like proceedings for Pop’s probate. I told him my advice, and then told him, “I should just shut up. Its not my place to get involved. We always had that agreement, you would deal with your family, and I would deal with mine.” I even went onto reassure him, after he was talking about his brother and the situation that this puts him into. “Pop trusted you to do the right thing. I have faith that you will make good decisions there.”

When it comes to the kids I think that it is better there. He wants to see them more, and so I try to create situations that will allow that. He tells me that I need to go and do things for myself, and so I try not to feel badly about asking him to watch his own children. I’m trying when it comes to that. I feel like he’s still trying to buy their love, instead of giving them the structure that they need. So long as I’m around to provide that to them most of the time, it should work out in the long run.

We communicate well on each of the children’s needs and behaviors. He seems to be more interested in listening to how they are doing, rather than pointing out to me how I am getting it wrong. Like study hall, and food choices. He even agrees with me that Daphne should have to be responsible for the repairs of her phone. That my forcing her to pay for half of them, and allowing her to make the choices on how its repaired, is fair.

WoW! Right? He agreed with me.

So I like to think that perhaps this newer way of looking at my life is going to be a great thing for everyone. Even for my Ex-husband, whom I told today, “Hey! You know what? You aren’t bad as an ex-husband. You’re pretty good.”
Ex: “Yeah, I’ve heard that from a few gals.”
Me: “Wait, you mean I’m not your only ex-wife.”

We both laughed.

It goes back to when we were engaged, and my father that that Barry had an ex-wife. Barry and I decided not to get married in the church. I was no longer a practicing Catholic, and he wasn’t much of anything. Daddy thought that the reason we weren’t getting married in the church was because that Barry had already been married once. LoL

Seriously, I would give him a recommendation, as an Ex-husband.

So I can take videos with my new phone. 🙂

Which is a good thing, because there are no words to describe how very proud of Bronwyn I am. Or to show you how amazing she is, as a cheerleader. So this video of her first cheer, at her first game, of her last year at the middle school will have to be enough.

This is the phrase coming out of Bronwyn’s mouth last night.

Yes, that’s correct.

Now keep in mind, that she had a mouthful of roasted eggplant and golden beet roots, at the time. So it sounded more like: “Frerfs my brufsles ts?”

In my slowly-evolving from carnivorous to vegan, table, even the children are coming around to the wonderful world of food. It started about 3 years ago now. I just stopped consuming 4-legged creatures, along with liquid milk. I had noticed years before that there was a direct correlation between, how much dairy I consume and how much pain my hands are in, during the winter months. So even in the winter months, I will eat less cheese, and cut out ice cream and milk. I started to have more ‘digestive issues’, which I attributed to old age, in some fashion. It wasn’t old age though. I found that my ‘digestive issues’ went away when I stopped eating beef and pork. Don’t get me wrong, the smell of bacon is still alluring. I am my father’s daughter, after all. Yet, the idea of spending the rest of the day, and possibly most of the night, for having enjoyed the taste of, even 2 oz., of the stuff; makes me put it down each time.

Then of course I started reading. Trying to find out if there was some science behind what was happening to my body. There is, but I’m not going to sit here and preach. Its out there. Go look it up for yourself.

The more I learn, the more I realize that eating a plant-based diet is better for my body. And the bodies of my children. Not that the children, nor their father, is very thrilled with this. Nor do they want to follow it. He even tried to used it against me back in the spring. He called up DCF to have the children taken away from me, it turns out the claim was I wasn’t feeding them. The truth was I wasn’t feeding them meat. It turns out that, refusing to buy dead animals, and serving them up as food, is not against the law.

I do compromise. I do buy chicken from time to time, and even try to consume it. But more times than not, these days, find even the chickens not agreeing with my body. So I skip it out, and stick to fish. Letting the children eat it, and I just stick to the other things cooked up, or some leftovers from another meal.

The kids have become more accustomed to what will be served for food at our table. They always find something that they like. Even if its just some of the fresh tomatoes, or carrot sticks. They enjoy roasted veggies, like potatoes, and beets. Along with Brussels Sprouts. I knew that Rebecca liked them. She was with me, when we were at the market that day. She pointed them out, and asked for them. So I bought them for the 2 of us. It wasn’t until I was putting them on our plates, that Bronwyn and Russell piped up.

I am happy that my kids are enjoying the food more. Learning to eat things that are good for their growing bodies. Helping them to perform better on the sports fields. Not complaining at the table. Although at no point in any parent’s life do they expect to cook up some brussell sprouts, and only get to have 2, out of the pan.

Must remember to buy twice as many next time.