No, I didn’t go back to middle school. My son started 6th grade a couple of weeks ago, and I tell ya what it’s a heck of an adjustment for both of us.  There are so many classes to keep track of compared to last year, so many papers, so many activities, and then his Tae Kwon Do on top of it all.

I applaud you mothers who work full-time, go to school yourself, and still pull this off.  I’m only employed part-time and I feel like it’s a struggle to keep up.

So my son has mild ADHD, which of course had me worrying about how he would adjust. Perhaps he’s made the adjustment better than I have. Perhaps changing classes every 45 minutes is what he is more suited for doing. There’s no need to focus for too long on anything. His brain gets to switch gears frequently throughout the day. It helps that his school is pretty awesome. They have a homework list available right on their website which the kid and I go over every day before we leave the school parking lot. The decision was made for him to be driven to school and picked up after so that he is less likely to forget something important. So far, it’s been worth it.

Now comes the first school dance of the year. The first school dance of his life. My first school dance as a mother. I’m not prepared for this. He’s talking about girls and wanting to wear body spray! My little boy is a small man now. Surely this happened overnight, right?

He sure does look good in yellow.

Did I mention how I’m not ready for this?

I promised this year that I would do better. With his heavier work load, I feel like I’m even more obligated (I don’t mean that in a bad way) to be there for him every day. So when he’s sitting at the table doing homework, I’m sitting right there with him. I go over his planner with him every single day. We set goals every week. We practice his spelling tests together every week. I can even check his grades online now, so we are doing that regularly, too. We also invested in a nice zipper binder for him to carry all day; he says it really does help him stay organized.

How did you and your child adjust to middle school? Do you have any tips or advice to help me or other parents who are making this transition?

I have not blogged in a rather long time. Call it writer’s block, I’m too embarrassed to talk about my [lack of] weight loss, I don’t know what to say, I have too much to say and don’t know where to start. Call it whatever you want, procrastination. Time to get over it.

In a nutshell: I haven’t lost weight, we got a third dog, and my son started 6th grade. Work is good. Home is good. Marriage is good. The dogs are good. The boy is better than he’s been in a long, long time. I don’t think I can recall a time in my life where I’ve been happier.

My life has been challenging. It’s never really just been easy. It’s not been terrible either, but there’s always one thing or another. Here’s the highly condensed version.  Grew up with alcoholism all around me, got picked on and teased all the way through school, married a closet alcoholic and dealt with him for far too long, and then struggled through the financial and emotional burden of being a single mom for several years. Yeah. Things were never easy. Then I had a great guy who didn’t want to be a dad. That was pretty heartbreaking. He changed his mind but then struggled with a long term commitment. Then the ex took off and broke the kid. Finally got married to that great guy. Still had a lot of financial struggles. Then the ex came back and threw everything out of alignment. Then the Great Guy adopted the kid [very expensive]. A year after that the ex took off again and threw everything even further out of alignment for the kid. Then I royally hurt my back [no surgery required, but lots of chiropractic and physical therapy]. Then the kid made some tough choices. The end of his 5th grade was very tough for him, both emotionally and academically. Mom worried.

Then the good. A lot of the financial problems began to resolve. The boy started smiling more. Yoga helped my back. The boy worried less. He played more. I felt good. Hubs & I actually went on a short vacation. The summer went on and things kept improving. Then I worried about the boy starting 6th grade. Now over a week into it, the boy is doing exceptionally well. And he’s still happy. Happier than we’ve seen him in a long time. His sadness, anxiety, and worry are gone. He’s.. a pretty normal 6th grade boy.

And life is Just Good. Is everything perfect? Nah. Still a few loose ends to tie up with the financials. But there’s no more worry about making ends meet. House is a little small for three people and three dogs. Wouldn’t mind an upgrade. But the house we have is nice. Comfortable. In good repair. Carpet is a little.. meh.. Did I mention three dogs? Oh well. My heart is happy and content. And I did get a shiny new car for my birthday. My old car was becoming its very own financial burden! So that is resolved. Now I don’t need to worry about my car starting anymore. That’s really nice. And then I was asked to be in a wedding in England. That was very flattering and exciting, but presented its own stack of worries. Paying for three passports and three plane tickets.. that’s pretty expensive! But it’s all taken care of now. Plane tickets are purchased, and passports should be here soon.

I really can’t say that I’ve ever been happier on an overall sustained level than I am right now. I am so blessed. Now, at the age of 32, I finally feel like my struggles are over. I’ve always been grateful, knowing things always could have been worse for me. I’m sure many of my readers have had more difficult times, so don’t misunderstand me. There is also no fooling, I know things won’t always be great.  There will be more struggles ahead, I’m sure. But right now, there are virtually none, which is the least amount I can remember in my life. And it is Wonderful. And I am Happy.

So earlier this week, on the 22nd to be exact, I was really angry at myself. Angry that I haven’t been good to myself, I haven’t been as good a friend I want to be, nor have I been as good a part-time house wife as I could. I made some promises: to move more (exercise), to drink more water, to eat better, to stay up on my friends’ blogs, to manage my time better, to get back on the ball with my house. I don’t promise to become perfect overnight, but I promise to do better. I will live like the person I want to be.

How have I done? Well to be honest, pretty good. I got Google Reader up and going again and I’ve been reading blogs and commenting. Of course, I don’t have everyone on there, but this is a baby steps program for me. I feel a little bit like I know my friends better. My blogging friends, anyway. I’ve done better with water, most days. I’ve been eating better. I’ve been exercising more. My living room, kitchen, and master bathroom are extremely clean.

I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m living more like the person I want to be. And it feels great.

That is all.

I’ve re-written this post at least 20 times in my head. Where to begin. How to put into words the feelings and emotions that are going through me. Every time I consider the love and devotion that my husband has shown this family I just feel overwhelmed. Biologically, our son is not his. Emotionally…well that’s another story.

If you remove the events prior to 2003, there’s no question that DS belongs to DH. They belong to each other.

And it started a long time ago. The above photo is from early 2003. Little Man is only about 2 and a half.

That’s a happy looking man right there.

This one is from just a few months after the wedding.  Little Man asked for hubs to be his “for real dad”.

And here… is hours after the court hearing on this day last year. The smiles on those faces (mine too) are priceless. Little Man’s dream came true, and I think that applies for all of us in this house.  This “For Real Dad” loves his son as much as any “for real dad” could. As far as I’m concerned, that loving blue-eyed man is the only father that little boy has ever had.

We are lucky and blessed to have been able to do a step-parent adoption with no contest. The unfortunate thing for so many other families like us is the cost of the process. We shouldn’t need to be rich to do what is best for our children. It is a very costly and time-consuming process. But for us it was worth every penny, and every year, month, week, day, and minute of waiting.

Happy Adoption Anniversary to my husband and our son.

When I talk about balance, I’m not exactly referring to the physical kind.  Maybe you wonder where I’ve been since August, maybe you didn’t notice I was gone.  I was finding life to be overwhelming and something had to give.  It’s unfortunate that I had to take a break from anything, but twitter, Mamavation, and my blog were the things I chose to move to the back burner.

I was not completely sedentary during my time off, don’t get me wrong.  My tendinitis in my right forearm and then the subsequent blowing out of a disc in my low back had me down and out.  Wah, wah.  Life is hard sometimes.  Things happen beyond our control.  My chiropractor did well for my back, and eventually we gave up on physical therapy for the arm.  A little over a month ago they gave me a cortisone shot which has been a blessing.  There is now very little to no pain at all in my arm!  Woo hoo!!

Now while my back and arm were causing me problems, the house became a serious issue.  Bending, stooping, pushing the vacuum, washing heavy dishes (like my big skillet or crock-pot) are simple tasks we take for granted on a day-to-day basis, believe me. The bottom of the washing machine, the bottom rack of the dishwasher, and picking things up off the floor were nearly impossible or crazy painful for my back.  I thought hard about my home and the kind of keeper of it I am. The answer: not great.  My house wasn’t dirty, but it wasn’t tidy, organized, or picked up.

Enter FlyLady.  What’s FlyLady?  Learning to FLY.  ”Finally Loving Yourself.”  It’s learning how to balance life a bit including maintaining the home.  This. Is. Great.  I am so glad that a friend of mine shared this website with me.  I was suffering from CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) but my house has been mostly presentable and nice since a few weeks before Christmas.

Now I am trying to re-implement fitness into my daily schedule as I also return to my job.  That’s all I went to blog about today.  Clean home, planned meals, fitness, job, happy family.  I know these things come easy to other moms, but doing it all is something I struggle with.  Then the first thing to take the backseat is always ME when things get hectic.  This is where I fail!

Balance.  Accountability.  Routine. I can do this.

How do you balance life and still find time for yourself and fitness?