Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Being a step-mom is the hardest thing I've ever done.

Some of the most common questions I find myself asking a newlywed couple are “How’s married life?” or “Are you adjusting to each other?” or even “Are you on cloud 9?” I always love to hear the answers, and think back on the first few months that I was married. But as I did, I couldn’t remember people asking me questions like that. Mine were always “How’s being an insta mom?” or “Do you get along with his kids?” or even “Is his ex-wife nice to you?”

I love Jordan. He is my whole world, and I’ve never regretted marrying him, nor will I ever. He is the perfect man for me, and I adore him more than I could ever explain.  That being said, our life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. We always tell our kids “We work with what we’ve been given, and we do the best we can with it.”

To answer those questions would take a novel. But I can tell you this. Being a step-mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. And I’ve done some pretty hard things.

I met Jaxon and Kenadee right after they had turned 5 & 4. Kenadee was my instant best friend. She and I were inseparable. The night I left for China she had to be held back on the porch while she screamed bloody murder and her face turned purple. I cried for a good 20 minutes in the car because I felt like I was abandoning her. Don’t worry, our reunion was great.

Jaxon was a little more hesitant. He’d always ask where I was, but was more shy and took me about 2 months to win over. Once I did, he became my partner in crime. He has the most tender heart, and is such a charmer. I love the text messages he sends me from his Ipod telling me how beautiful I am or how much he loves and misses me. He reminds me of his father more and more every day. 

It wasn’t till Jordan and I had been married about 6 months that I started to become overwhelmed and extremely anxious. The weeks that we had Jaxon and Kenadee were great. But, Friday night would roll around, we would drop them off, and I would cry the whole way home. How could this be happening to me? Everyone I talked to said that I would LOVE the weeks that it was just me and Jordan. Don’t get me wrong, I do love those weeks. But it is so hard for me to adjust back and forth and back and forth. One week I’m running around like a mad woman trying to make their lives the best they can be. The next I’m a newlywed with no cares in the world.

 It only got harder.

I started to miss the kids. I know it sounds crazy. I’m just the step-mom, right?

As a solution, Jordan and I decided to expand our family. We got a dog. And let me tell you, he is my baby and I love him to the moon and back.

 But it wasn’t the same.

We decided to try for a baby. Only, we found it was going to be more complicated than I had hoped for. Here I am 18 months later and we aren’t any closer than before.

At first I started to feel like I was letting Jordan down. He had two kids previously and now we can’t even have ONE. It has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least.

That is why being a step-mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This could be it for me. This could be my only shot to raise a child with my amazing husband. I wish every day that they were “mine.”  
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days that I love when it’s just me and Jordan. As I’m sure most of you do. It’s nice to be able to go to a movie at the spur of a moment and not worry about a babysitter.

We are finding the silver lining in everything. And that has been a huge blessing.

I hope and pray that I can make the best of the next years that we have Jaxon and Kenadee here. I hope that I can be a good example and role model for them. I hope that I can continue teaching them the things that they need to know to be good people. And most of all, I hope that I can love them more each day and that they will always know how much they mean to me. I know that I am just a step-mom, but I am Jaxon and Kenadee’s step-mom. That’s got to be good for something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This is something so personal to my heart. I didn't think I would ever be able to talk about it, but here it is.

In January 2013, I received some of the worst news of my entire life. Something that shook me to the core, and about destroyed my heart.

Growing up, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had no doubts, and everything seemed so easy. I always told myself, that when the time came and I wasn’t married, I would serve a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I also knew that when I returned from that mission, I would be married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. I didn’t just HOPE, I KNEW. I had always had such a strong faith in my Savior, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I never questioned it. I had such a love for reading my scriptures and the words of modern day prophets. I loved church, and I loved the spirit it brought to my life. After high school I dedicated 2 hours every Wednesday to go to the Temple and perform sacred ordinances there. I did that for 1 year straight, and I loved every second of it. I KNEW where I was going in life, and I was on the right track to get there.

Until something happened that I had not planned for. After my second date with my now husband, Jordan, I knew we would be married. The kicker was, I was supposed to leave on my mission in just a few short weeks. Of course I was instructed to pursue my feelings with this handsome young man, and pray often to receive the answer. The answer was always the same and he was the one! I was terrified. So what did I do? I accepted an offer to teach in China again for 4 months. That would give me more time to ponder my future that I hadn’t planned for, and for my sweet beau to straighten his things up, and prepare to take me to the best place on earth, the Salt Lake City Temple.
I was gone from August 2012-December 2012. It was the hardest 4 months of my life. I missed Jordan unbelievably so, but knew that I was needed in China, helping wherever I could. And yet, my answer was still the same. Jordan and I were to be eternal companions, and I was still scared out of my mind. As my time in China came to an end, my fear had also. I knew Jordan would take care of me and I knew that it was what the Lord wanted. I had come to terms with ‘not my will, but thine be done.’ It was hard to retract my mission call, but it was going to be worth it.
That’s when January came. Jordan and I had been dating for 7 months at this point, and I will not lie to you, we had started to get antsy. We stayed as strong as we could, for as long as we could, but of course, Satan was stronger. We immediately went to our church authorities. My heart was broken, or so I thought. Jordan’s bishop was very sensitive and understanding. He helped us work through it, and told us we would be back on track in just 3 short weeks! It wouldn’t even affect our sealing date that we were shooting for in May of that same year. I was so relieved and humbled. Until he mentioned that I should also counsel with my home ward bishop as my records were still there. So of course, having my immense amount of faith, I did. That is when my heart really shattered. I had been disfellowshipped from my church.

I couldn’t believe it. I was so bitter, and I was so crushed, and my faith had immediately dwindled. I wanted to give up, and go crazy. This was not supposed to be happening to me. I definitely did not plan for this.

But, life had to go on. Jordan and I were then counseled by his bishop to be married civilly in May. I struggled with that decision for weeks. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face. People would always ask us why we weren’t being married in the temple and my husband would say that it was because of him. He knew how badly it hurt me, and he didn’t want anyone making it worse for me. He wanted my wedding to be the perfect day, and not have to deal with people talking about me, or judging my mistakes. And it was a beautiful and perfect day. I will owe that to him for eternity.
But I still had to face it.

The next few months were the hardest. I had disappointed so many people, and I had disappointed myself. We bought a home and moved into a new ward. A fresh start some may say. But I was not allowed to partake of the sacrament, participate in class discussions, bear my testimony and pray in public. I was supposed to be the exact opposite of my personality for a whole year. I struggled.
As we met with our new bishop, I began to feel the hope seep back into my heart. He was so understanding and bewildered as to how this had happened. He focused on all of the good, and the things that I could still do. That’s when I started to pray and read scriptures again. I can’t even tell you how long it had been, but I can tell you how amazing and sacred it was. I realized how silly I was being for being bitter and hurt and for letting it determine who I was! I decided then, that I was going to beat this, and that I would be considered a member of the church again.
After I decided that, life got harder. My marriage got harder. Dealing with my step kids got harder. Everything was a battle. But I knew I had to get through it. I spent many nights kneeling on my floor in my room while my family was upstairs. A lot of the time, I couldn’t get a prayer out, but I would just cry. Although my husband could not fully understand what I was going through, he helped in more ways than he will ever know. He was such a good example to me, and kept pushing me when I thought about giving up.

As January 2014 rolled around, I started to become anxious. Would I be forgiven fully and be able to get back to where I was? Or would the Lord say that I needed more time.
For the first time in a year, I was able to bear my testimony to my bishopric. And for the first time in my life, I bore it without a tear, tremble, or fear. I was saying things that I didn’t even know that I knew. The Lord was helping me, and in that moment, I knew I would be good as knew.
That same evening, I was welcomed back into the Church and received my renewed temple recommend. It was the best day of my entire life. I couldn’t believe it! Of course we went out celebrating and I sent my entire family a picture of my recommend. The support I had received from my family was incredible, and I know I couldn’t have done it without them, so of course I wanted them to celebrate with me!

It’s been almost a year since that day, and I am currently serving in the primary presidency, SEALED TO MY HUSBAND, and stronger in my faith than I have ever been. My testimony will never be the same, and I know that that trial I was given was needed to shape me into a stronger, more knowledgeable, humble daughter of a God who LOVES me. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


On November 16th, 2011 a big white envelope from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was in my mailbox. I couldn't believe that little old me had been called to serve a mission. I carried it around with me all day as I waited for friends and family to be there as I opened it. South Korea, February 22, 2012. WHAT? I was so humbled to have such an amazing call and I immediately began preparations. Or so I thought.

People always say that timing is EVERYTHING. Well, I truly believe that now. A few weeks had passed and I started to get anxious. The pressure began to be more than I could bear. I struggled, and I caved. The second week of January I was told that because of some things that had happened, I would have to stay home a few extra weeks. I was devastated. I was so determined to get out on my mission. I worked harder than I ever have before, and things just weren't feeling right. I started to question if I was really supposed to go, or if the Lord needed me here. I was so confused. Why would I have this call to serve, and then be needed elsewhere? I got really sick and had to find a new job that would better fit my needs.

That's when I started my job at Great Harvest. After about a month of working at Great Harvest, I had a good friend, Alyssa, who needed a job. She came into the bakery for a 'working interview' and spent the day as my shadow. 5 hours into our shift, a cute boy came walking in that Alyssa knew. She immediately introduced us and I felt as if all of the blood left my body. I hadn't been that nervous in a LONG time. Alyssa continued to say that this was the boy she had been trying to set me up with for over a year. I was flattered. He was so handsome, polite, and so kind. The rest of the day, I couldn't stop thinking of him. He didn't even leave with my number!

Our first date was set up for that following Saturday. Everyone thought I was crazy. "You have a mission to go on Alissa!" But something felt different. I prayed my guts out the next few days and had never felt so right about something. I mean, it was ONE date, right? Wrong.

A few days after our first date, I postponed my mission for 6-8 weeks. They held my call for me, but gave me some more time to make the right decision. The hardest decision I have ever had to make. I felt as though I was letting my family and friends down. But I couldn't ignore what I knew was right, and even though I battled it, it didn't change.

As my time was up and I needed to have a decision made, I received an offer from ILP to be a head teacher in China for 4 months. Of course I accepted. I needed this. My first experience in China was so incredible, I knew that another opportunity could not be ignored. I needed more time to make sure that my decision, Jordan, was the right one. Jordan was not too happy about my China adventure, but knew that I needed some time to deal with ME. He proposed 3 weeks before I left and was so incredibly supportive the whole time I was gone.

I returned home and knew without a doubt in my heart that I had made the right choice. The Lord has a funny way of teaching you things, and everything that I had been through up to this point was shaping me into who I needed to be. Not only for me, but for Jordan too. Alyssa had tried so many times to set us up before, and it just wasn't right. I wasn't ready for it. I hadn't experienced what I needed to in order to help Jordan and to let him help me. It all had become so clear. I was EXACTLY where I needed to be. And now, a year later, I am still EXACTLY where I need to be. Timing is everything.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A couple of months ago, I jokingly thought to myself that because I just got married and inherited two AMAZING kids, I should start a blog. Well, here I sit, writing my first blog post. I can honestly say that I have no idea what I am doing. I love writing, but not usually for other people to read. Throughout high school and my time in China I wrote in my journal almost every day, sometimes, twice a day. Now I’m married, a mom, a new homeowner, and I work at the crack of dawn. I’m lucky if I have time to brush my teeth. But, telling people about my adorable family is one of my favorite things. And this year, I am making it a goal to do more of my ‘favorite things’.  Here we go!

We are definitely not your typical family. Our situation is very unique, but we do our best and have fun while doing it! Jaxon and Kenadee stay at our home for 7 days at a time. (Friday to Friday) The week that they are here goes way too fast. Jaxon always tells me, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  I have been so blessed with the relationship I have with the two littles. I know of people who have married into a similar situation as me that really struggle with the step-kids and in turn have problems with the spouse.  I am so lucky. They have blessed my life and taught me more than I will ever be able to account for. They are truly my best friends and they take good care of me.  They are my main reason for starting this blog. Their stories must be shared! You have to know how amazing/funny/tenderhearted/loving/adorable they are.
I like to think they are that way because of their dad, Jordan. That man. He is, and will always be, my hero. He has been through some remarkable trials and has come out on top. I admire his strength and optimism. 

 Jordan is probably one of the quietest and polite people I have EVER met. Our marriage confuses a lot of people. We are a prime example of the saying, ‘opposites attract’. I remember on our first date thinking he HATED me because he barely said anything. I do remember him saying, ‘yes ma’am’, and not letting me get out of the car until he could swing around and open my door.  He is the most self-less and caring person I have ever known, next to my own mother and grand-mother. Jaxon, Kenadee and I have an amazing example before us, and we are lucky to have him in our lives.  

Don’t be deceived, we have our days. Ok, maybe I should say that I have my days. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and I let things get to me. But my Heavenly Father steps in and humbles me. He reminds me of how grateful I am for all of these amazing things, my ‘favorite things’. And a good nap always helps J

My family is, well, awesome. We may be crazy and do things a little different from you, but we are happy, blessed, healthy, and loving our life. What more can we ask for? (Jordan knows this is a rhetorical question, but would really like a unicorn. a real one)