Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I decided to write this post to explain why in some pictures I have three kids and in some I have two. I didn't want people to think I was keeping one tied up in the basement. Grab a cup of coffee this one's long. Thanks for reading.

Almost 17 years ago the guy I had been dating, who by the way had slept over one night and never left, announced that his 9 month old daughter was going to be moving in with us. WHAT????!!!! I was living the life of a 19 year old party girl. It went something like this: Go to junior college in the morning, goofoff work at an AT&T call center with all my buddies in the afternoon and then go home to my apartment and commence to party. I lived in a building with a bunch of other 19 to 20 somethings and we all hung out and drank and ate dinner together until we went to sleep and did it all over again the next day. Now I'm not saying this like I'm proud of it, I'm just setting the stage.

The next day said boyfriend showed up at my/our apartment with the most beautiful bald headed 9 month old I had ever seen. In that moment, in the midst of a really stupid and confusing time in my life, I became a Mom. By none of my own doing I had been given the privilege to be Tristin's Mommy. I didn't know very much about how to be a parent so it's a good thing she was and is one of the most patient people I know. In the year that followed, I married the father of this sweet baby girl and gave birth to her brother. (not necessarily in that order)

Shortly before Tristin turned five, baby sister Kiley arrived and we moved to Texas. I was back home but this was a big change for the Yankee I married and my three babies. The kids thrived, we made friends and of course the best part we were with my family who all so much love the kids. One of my favorite stories about Tristin happened when she was in 1st grade. Tristin hate hate hates to be late. Actually all of my kids do. I wonder if it's from having a Mom who is ALWAYS late for EVERYTHING!!!???? Anyway we were running late for school she jumped out of the car to head in the building. As she was sprinting up the steps she passed a little boy with special needs struggling to get up the stairs into the school. She stopped and I swear in those seconds I could tell sitting out in my car she was weighing what would be worse, being late or not helping this boy. Tristin turned around helped him up the stairs, made sure he got in the door and I saw her haul butt towards her class before the door to the school even closed. This is Tristin. Her kind heart is her special gift from God. Unfortunately, there have been many things in Tristin's life that have tried to kill her spirit.

When Tristin was seven her father decided after years of not being faithful to me that he no longer wanted to be married. The decision was made that it would be in Tristin's best interest to stay with me and her siblings. The divorce truly broke Tristin's heart. Her biological Mom has been in and out, mostly out, of her life since the day I met her when she was nine months old. This is a very hard thing for any child but Tristin has struggled with it her whole life and continues to this day to have a tough time dealing with this rejection. I had a horrible relationship with my stepdad and was determined that I would be different with Tristin. I would give her all the love I never felt growing up.

I have always been hard on Tristin. I have high expectations for all my children but it seems like I was always tougher on her. I truly believe it was because she is the oldest. As she approached her teenage years we began to argue. A lot. Oh if only I could go back in time and know then what I know now. I took every eye roll, every sigh and every foot stop personally. If Tristin was moody I wanted to know why. I'm not sure why I thought I could force her to be in a good mood. Being the oldest child is tough, I should know I am one! I am doing so much better with a pre-teen girl this time around. I pick my battles and realize Kiley doesn't know why she is moody any more than I do. You learn these things with time.

Unfortunately for me, before Tristin learned how to deal with being a teenager and I learned how to be the Mom of a teenager her father started dating someone new. The dating part wasn't anything new that has always been a revolving door. However, this someone new was fun and had money and set her sights on winning over my Tristin. And guess what? It worked. Her father took me to court the summer before Tristin started highschool, she was thirteen, and asked to have my joint custody taken away. In this case as the only biological parent of Tristin in the court room the law was on his side. Tristin moved in with her Dad and his at that time girlfriend. Tyson, Kiley and I were devastated. We felt abandoned, betrayed.

Fortunately for me after some serious arguing on the part of my lawyer, it was agreed that Tristin would come to my house every other weekend and split holidays. The three kids are still together every weekend and every holiday. They are either all with him or all with me on weekends and holidays. He gets them the month of June and I get them the month of July then back to regular houses in August. It took a good year to mend hearts and to figure out how to be a Mommy from an hour away. Suddenly, this child, who I had taught to walk and potty trained, taught to read and tie her shoes and who had taught me how to be a Mom was living somewhere else and I had no say so in her daily life. I have had to learn how to be the best Mom I can be from where I am at. It took a long time to work out what my role was in Tristin's life after she moved out. I wish I would have figured it out sooner but there were so many hurt feelings involved. I hate that Tristin doesn't live with us. I hated it then I still hate it now.

Fast forward a few months and that super cool fun girlfriend who bought Tristin all the expensive clothes and took her neat places was no longer in her life. Reality hit and so did the consequences of the decision Tristin had made to live with her Dad. This was a very hard lesson to learn for a thirteen year old. Sometimes you can't undo the decisions you make. But let me tell you the good news! Tristin is an overcomer. She is a good girl with a kind heart. Her life has not gone the way she would have chosen to this point and it's certainly not the road I would have chosen for her. You never want your kids to take the hard path! Last year and this year Tristin and I have talked so much about making the kind of choices that are going to lead to her having a wonderful adult life. Controlling the things she can today to ensure a better tomorrow for her. Don't let the people who have let you down determine what kind of future you are going to have and let me tell you that girl has worked her butt off. There is no way on earth I would have worked as hard as her without someone pushing me on a regular basis and with the kind of freedom she is given.

I recieved this picture from Tristin today:

Tristin's going to Baylor!!
It has been Tristin's dream since she was nine and watching a baby story on TLC to take care of "early born babies" as she called them then. Over the years her dream has grown and become more specific. She wants to be a neonatal nurse practitioner and since 6th grade has wanted to attend Baylor University. She did this! She is making her dreams come true. I could not be more proud of her.
There have been many mistakes along the way and I'm sure there are going to be more down the road. I am so blessed to have been allowed to share in this ongoing journey with Tristin. I always tell her that she is the child I love the most. She can say it with me and if I catch her in the right mood she will. "I love them all the same but I've been loving her the longest!"
I am going to end with a picture of this beauty in front of her pick up truck that she bought with her own money. It's hard to believe that bald headed baby turned into a preteen with glasses and braces and into the gorgeous young woman she is today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Are my kids AMAZING or what???

Being a Mom is my most awesome priveledge and responsibility. No matter how long I've been a Mom it still amazes me that God entrusted me with these fantastic creatures to raise. In some ways being a single Mom makes things more difficult however it has also enabled me to make the kids my first priority. We have such close relationships and I am enjoying this journey I am on with them. I'm not saying it's perfect all the time but what it? :0)

So this blog is just to brag on some of their recent accomplishments. In an earlier post I talked about Tyson getting a form saying his grades qualified him for the National Honors Society. He filled out the rest of the information and he was accepted and we recently attended his induction ceremony.

Before the ceremony.
Being "pinned"
Tyson and his girls! We are so proud!!!
I love that Kiley looks up to Tyson and he is setting such a good example for her! Another reason I am so proud of this accomplishment is because I really really wanted to be in NHS in highschool. I never quite got my act together or got my grades high enough. I love it when my kids do something I wasn't able to!
Kiley Anne love, love, loves to dance. She works so hard at drill team in school and also takes ballet and a drill team class at a local dance studio one evening a week. Last week I was dropping her off for dance and there was a sign on the door that said "Parent Night" I wanted to cry! I had just gotten home from work in enough time to throw on sweats and a tshirt, shove some food down the kids throats and head to dance class. One look at her face and I knew there was no way I could miss Parent Night! So I parked the car and headed in without a bra on  with a smile on my face. I am so glad I did! It was wonderful watching her do something she enjoys so much. Here are a few of the tons of pictures I snapped that night!
My beautiful ballerina.
I want Kiley's legs when I grow up!!!!
Thanks for letting me brag about my babies!!!! I'm catching up on the blog this week so talk to ya soon!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Let's go kicks!!!! Let's go kicks!!!!

Growing up, one of the things my family used to do was go to the Dallas Sidekicks soccer games. I remember how much fun it used to be to cheer for Tatu and the rest of the players with my Mom, Stepdad, Nick and Ryan. Sometimes we would get a hotel room and stay the night of the game. It was only 30 minutes from home but it felt like a vacation to be in the hotel eating the continental breakfast in the morning. As I got older and my relationship deteriorated to a state of non existance with my Stepdad I skipped out on the family trips to Sidekicks.

This summer my Stepdad apologized and asked my forgiveness for years of emotional hurt that he caused. My family is not perfect but we have come along way. The older I get the more I realize the importance of a strong family bond. I love that my kids are so close to my brothers, their wives and my Mom and Stepdad.

What does this have to do with the Sidekicks you might be asking??? I'll tell you!!!! After many years the Dallas Sidekicks are back together and guess who went to the season opener? The whole family! (well minus Tristin because she had to work) It was so neat to share this with the kids. Dean and Mom got us all hotel rooms and great seats to the game. I was so overwhelmed to have all of us together getting along. I just love my family.

Ryan and Megan (and Charlie in the tummy)

Nick, Melody, Rylea (and Brody in the tummy)
Mom and Dean
Tyson, Kiley and I!
The whole gang! Check out our Sidekicks clothes!!!
I'm looking forward to many years of family memories to come!