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Redefining Family

And so a new year begins.  I am so looking forward to everything 2016 has to offer.  As I look back on the year and especially the last month of 2015, I am so thankful for so many things!  The main word that comes to mind is family.

First and foremost…Candied Jansen!  She has been amazing…my rock and the one I am so lucky to share life with!  When we decided to postpone our wedding until 2016, it was because things were stressful around our house.  Mostly I was stressed.  She said I wasn’t being my normal happy self.  She didn’t want us to get married just because we said we were if it wasn’t going to be a happy time.  I love that she was honest with me and helped me to see how I was letting the normal school stresses affect me so much that I was bringing them home.  I love my school and the people I work with most of the time.  I even love the kids I teach most of the time.  I tend to be the one that can get even the hard kids to work for me.  As soon as Candied Jansen said something to me, I realized that I was letting the crazy parts of a normal day ruin the whole day.  I vowed to change the way I was reacting and I did…almost instantaneously!  All it took was her loving me enough to say something.  I am so grateful!

So we didn’t get married on November 21st like originally planned, but we did take the honeymoon trip to Florida!  It was nice to get away and destress and reconnect.  We also decided to start wearing the rings we bought back in the spring.  Instead of wedding rings, they are engagement/wedding rings!  We’ve decided on a new date…one we had actually considered before.  Originally, we thought we would just do a small courthouse kind of thing, but now we are thinking we might want the kids to attend…make it a family affair.

And speaking of kids…my oldest son got married.  It was beautiful!  Even though I was doing great at not bringing stress home from work, I had to fight being stressed about the wedding!  My parents aren’t accepting of my relationship with Candied Jansen.  That hasn’t been that big of a deal, but the wedding was going to be something new.  It would be the first time that they were in the same room together.  My son and his bride wanted me and Candied Jansen to walk down the aisle together in the ceremony.  I wasn’t so sure about that and neither was Candied Jansen!  We both felt like it was enough that she was there and sitting in the front row with the family.  It seemed almost disrespectful to participate in the wedding ceremony when grandparents weren’t participating.  When it came time for pictures though, the bride and groom insisted that she was in them.  I loved how they respected her and how she respected my family.  She was able to meet and talk to both of my brothers and their wives, and was introduced to my mom by my ex-husbands new wife.  Everything went fairly well considering the circumstances, and I am hopeful that one day she will be an accepted part of the family.

This year the kids and I were invited to spend Christmas with my parents and family on Christmas Eve.  I haven’t had a ton of contact with my family this year, but when we did talk, everything seemed mostly normal.  Because we hadn’t seen each other much and because they knew I was now living with my girlfriend, I was somewhat surprised at the invite.  I was a little nervous when I responded to decline their invitation.  I explained that I was so thankful they invited me, but that since I knew Candied Jansen and her son weren’t welcome, I didn’t think it would be the right thing for me to do.  I said that I hoped they had a merry Christmas and that I had some gifts I wanted to bring by their place at some point.  They took it well and were fine when I showed up at their house on Christmas Day to deliver presents.  Candied Jansen and I did our own Christmas Eve celebration exchanging gifts with her family early in the day and then having Christmas dinner with all the kids!  There were 9 of us around the table…my oldest and her boyfriend, my oldest son and his new wife, and my other two kids as well as Candied Jansen’s son.  The kids laughed and joked and had a fabulous time!  I looked at Candied Jansen at one point and apologized for the crazy that was my family and she just smiled.  Her son, her only child, was right in the middle of it and held his own quite well, I must add!

The day after Christmas, we took a quick trip to Candied Jansen’s holiday family reunion.  It was time to introduce me to the whole family!  I met her oldest brother and his wife and kids for the first time!  I loved how he hugged me like I was already family!  Everyone else was super nice and her aunt and uncle made sure to tell me to come back and see them.  I loved how natural it all felt!

We also celebrated her college best friend’s birthday while we were “back home”.  Getting to spend time with her people was a great way to end the year.

And now it is New Year’s Day, 2016.  I have no doubt it will be the best year yet!  I wish for all of you health, happiness, and blessings!

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