Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.

Tae Kwon Do as rehabilitation

I’m not one that likes to see re-posts but I found this very inspiring;

I received an email from ‘Everyday Health’ about how Tae Kwon Do helped to save a young teen. Below is the beginning of the article and the link to the entire story;

Breaking Through: How Tae Kwon Do Saved One Teen’s Brain

It was an otherwise normal day when 13-year-old Kassidy Brewer experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm that nearly killed her. This is the story of how her passion for martial arts — and an unrelenting family support system — brought her back to life.

By Sharon Tanenbaum

Click here for the full story;
Watch the videos associated with the story also. This is a very inspiring young lady.
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September 15, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old feelings

I’m not sure I have done the right thing by being tough on rules with my step-kids. I say that because I really didn’t/don’t get 100% agreement with my wife, their mother. We’ve been married for almost 6 years and we still seem to see things differently. Kids and rules, discipline, chores, etc… are things we did not discuss before getting married, and looking back we really should have. I am hard lined while my wife is more lenient.

I simply expect the rules to be followed, I can see forgetting or simply ignoring sometimes but when it becomes a regular thing I have a real problem. The typical answer in the afternoon, “I was tired” just doesn’t fly with me when their mother has told them to put the dishes up when they get home then do homework… three hours later neither is done. Then there is the pretty regular lying about things, primarily homework or the lack of or it’s all done, really bothers me. It bothers me to the point I don’t want to be there at times. We went through this with my stepdaughter now with my stepson, my step daughter is away at college now.

Respect; neither of the kids seem to be able to respect their mother. She tells them to do things and they just do their own thing; I see this as disrespect toward their mother. I don’t have respect from them and I have given up even worrying about ever getting it. I do get very angry at the lack of respect given to their mother and many times have made situations worse.

At 18 and 14 years old I would have thought they might show more regular obedience and respect toward their mother than they do.

Maybe the whole problem is me and this is kids just being kids. I simply don’t know. I know I was not like this toward my parents; I never had kids so I could be so far of base it is unreal. All I know is it all bothers me. I started writing to help me release the pent up feelings but lately I’ve been afraid to write for lack of the words to put down how I feel. I’m still not sure I have put down the right words now; I just felt like putting something down.

I guess I’ll continue playing with our dog and working at learning Hapkido, at least I have an idea of where I stand there.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Widow Jensen- A Christmas Story . . .

This was sent to me via email; the author of the story is unknown but I felt it was something that needed saved and shared. This really does sum up what Christmas should be like instead of all the ruckas  we all go through.

A Christmas Story

This is what Christmas is all about…

Better bundle up – the goose bumps will freeze you!!  I think I need to read this every year at Christmas.

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.   It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.  I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.  I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores.  I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.  Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then.  Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.  Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed.  There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.  Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell.  We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him.  The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn’t happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.

He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said.  “Here, help me.”  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting.

What was he doing?  Finally I said something.  “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”  “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked.  The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road.  Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”  That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.  Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon.  He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked.  Shoes, they’re out of shoes.  Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a  little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn’t have much by worldly standards.

Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really,  why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.

We knocked.  The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”

“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour.  I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.

She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks.  She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said.  He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile.  Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”  I wasn’t the same person when  I went back out to bring in the wood.  I had a big lump in my throat and as mu ch as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before, filled my soul.  I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.  I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared.  The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.  She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you.  The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again.  I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.  I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth.  I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others.  The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.  I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get.  Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn’t want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow.  The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals.  We’ll be by to get you about eleven.  It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again.  Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.”  I was the youngest.  My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles.  I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

 

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.  When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something.  Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square.  Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.  Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.  I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.  Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities.  Pa had given me a lot more.  He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night.  Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

 

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Martial Arts & Football

A couple of days a go my wife had trouble getting my step son to get his shower done. He did what ever he could not to take teh shower… Once he did it was 10pm… He came down to turn the wifi router on which I had turned off because on of the things he was doing was watching videos via his iPod. I took that moment to tell him if he continued to NOT follow his mother directions I would disable wifi access to his iPod and XBox and make sure his Dad and grandparents knew exactly how disrespectful her has been toward his mother.

After he went to his room his mother went upstairs to check on him and tell him goodnight; she found him on his bed quite upset… He didn’t seem to understand why I had become upset with him, she tried to explain that his actions or inaction were the cause. She also found out that he was having trouble with some of the nick-names the kids and coaches at school had tagged him with. Some were OK while others bothered him. he and had a talk about the nick-names some time back and I tried to make him understand for starters they were just word and secondly if he were to joke about them also that they would stop the use of them. But if he continued to let the kids know the names bothered him that they would continue which is what I think happened.

Yesterday my wife told him of our conversation that I thought the martial arts could help him turn the one nick-name about him being slow completely around. During dinner he brought it up and I explained to him that the martial arts, Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do, have explosive techniques. During training you learn to be quicker off the mark and faster. I continued to tell him that at 13 his body would soon start to mature and strengthen and that proper training during that time could help him to improve substantially. I did let him know that it is not a miracle fix, that it would 6 months to a year in order to see real strong results. He said he was interested, so he went with to watch my Hap Ki do work out last night.

Our workout was a moderate to hard workout for the first half, we worked on cardio and strength, the second half was technique, this really got his attention. I was working with a higher belt who was learning knife defense techniques. I was working on punching defense and counter techniques, this also intrigued him. After class we had casual conversation with my instructor who told him about some funny incidents with former students. On our drive home he told me him wanted to join the class. I want him to watch a few more classes and take part in one before he jumps off into it, to be very sure this is what he wants and will stick with it.

On the other side it should help instill a more respectful attitude toward others, especially his mother and father, may be even toward me. The instructors at my school are all Korean and believe very strongly in showing respect toward others and can actually get on the proverbial soapbox at times when talking to the kids about show their parents respect.

We’ll see how the next few days go and hopefully get him in Hap Ki Do.

October 22, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Hap Ki Do, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday

I’ve been stewing over this one the last couple of days. Monday my stepson’s dad picked him up from school after football practice as is usual. On their ride to our house, my wife and I were not home from work yet, he tells his dad he was hit hard during practice and the coach wants him to get checked out for a possible concussion. His dad has something else he has to do and does not take him straight to the doctor… Am I nuts or should you take you child to the doctor for something like this? What is more important than your child’s well being? About 2 hours later my wife gets home, I get home 30 minutes after her, she tells me what has transpired. She takes him to the Urgent care facility near us and they check him out. Come to find out he might very well have a mild concussion. He is going for a full scan today, performed by his regular doctor, to make sure he is OK. Fortunately his only complaints are a few aches and a head ache; not the nausea, etc… that comes along with a back concussion.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Look in my eyes

My stepson was a REAL ass last night to his mother. She went up stairs to make sure he was headed to bed; she found him sitting in the floor with the radio blaring, the TV on, lights on in three rooms. She told him it was time to go to bed and that he did not need to have everything on and loud. He looked at her and said, “look at these eyes, does it look like I care”. I was down stairs and heard this so I went up stairs, since he did not say it to me I was not going to get on him. I did say it was amazing how his poor attitude and disrespect can make everyone miserable in the house. I later told my wife that if he was my flesh and blood I would have put a good whipping to him, taken any number of his electronics away… ANYTHING to make it quite clear that was not acceptable. She was too tired, too beat down I think, to try to fight it. She said she would address it the next day, that’s today. I am of the opinion that things require immediate action for the punishment to really mean anything.

I had trouble falling a sleep last night because I was so pissed off over the shitty actions of the boy. He’s 13, you would think he would have a bit more sense.

He’s not my son, flesh and blood, so I am not going to take him the proverbial wood shed where he needs to go to get a KING SIZE whipping. I will how ever keep my distance and NOT take him hunting with me… Over reaction on my part? Maybe. But I tired of the crap, it makes life around the house tough.

If you want to act like an ass then I will treat you like one.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the usual

I’m back in the office after a week working in remote offices performing upgrades and after the Memorial Day weekend.

Once again I was able to open my mouth and prove I am able to create problems in the house. Yard work; I was told by my stepson that he was going to mow the yard on Saturday after he played paintball with his friends which I was fine with. Once he got home he was then too hot and sweaty to do the yard but he would do it in the morning. I too was OK with that but told him he needed to have it done by 1200 since we had planned a visit to my parents house to take them to dinner. By 900am no yard work was being done. So I did it. Once I finished I came in to see my step son sitting in front of the TV eating cereal, it’s just after 1200. He said he was sorry he didn’t get up to do the yard, I responded by telling him I was sadly getting used to him not keeping his word. Later as we were getting ready to go the yard topic came up again… he gave me some reason for not doing the work, I informed him that he always had an excuse for not doing what he said he was going to do. That set off the fireworks. he then decided he was not going to go… his Mom wanted me to apologize so he would go, I refused since I was telling the truth as to what happens. I did apologized for the fact that he was upset by my words but they were true and I would not apologize for them. As I told her he was mad because he was called on his lack following through his inability to keep his word. yeah I know he’s 13 but he should be able to do what he says… what is expected of him. Hell on Monday he asked to use his Mom’s laptop; she told him yes as long as he got dressed for the day. Two hours later he comes down stairs… NOT dressed. I brought it to his and his Mom’s attention. You would have thought I shot someone… I got a load of crap about “sorry I’m not perfect”… WHAT DOES BEING PERFECT HAVE TO DO WITH GETTING DRESSED AS YOUR MOM SAID??!! His mom said nothing to him, I was PISSED OFF. I kept my mouth shut, I realize I expect too much.

Friday night I was informed by my wife that her daughter told her she thinks I don’t like her. I told wife she was close to being correct. I told my wife I did not like the person her daughter was around the house. She is very self-centered, selfish, disrespectful toward her mother. So I headed upstairs to talk with my step-daughter. As I began to talk I started things of as I said to her mother. My stepdaughter seemed to take what I said to heart. I told her she had been; very self-centered, selfish, disrespectful toward her mother. Thus I reacted by keeping my distance from her. I told her I did not want to be around someone that treated their mother so poorly. I also told her that I thought she had good qualities or she wouldn’t have the number of friends that she has. She agreed with me. I let here know I was hurt by hearing her mother talk about how she has been cut out of her daughters life. Prom came and went and her mother was not asked to be involved and when she did try was cut off. That and other things I told her make me not want to be around her.I told her I know I am hard to live with but I see things real simple and have trouble understanding why they, her and her brother, can’t follow my list;

  • Respect you Mother
  • Follow you Mothers rules *simple things like bedtime, do the dishes, etc…*
  • Do what your Mother says or asks

(I quite frankly EXPECT these to be done.)

I think my step-daughter understood what I was saying; later that night before she headed to bed her mom and both got good night hugs and prior to hat she actually sat and talked with us a bit. It was nice to see the change, I hope it continues. Yes there are still issues and one night is not a show that all is solved but it is a move the right direction.

Right now my step-son is on my out list. He was asking me to take him to play paintball, help him and friends start their summer workout, etc… I will not do it. I have my conditions until they are met regularly his mom or dad can deal with him.

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Outsider

I am back in that place where I feel like the outsider in my own house. I’ve written about this before, I just don’t feel that I belong in this house. I see discipline and respect disregarded too much and when I get to the point I’ve had enough it’s too hard and I end up being the bad guy. Last night I had my stepson change the channel to a show I knew his Mom liked to watch. Actually I had him auto-tune it so the TV would change at the proper time. He did it then said he would have to go upstairs, he was watching a show… so as he got up to leave I told him to put it on the desired channel… he them complained that I should do it… I told him he should do it since I was in the kitchen working on dinner and he was standing next to the TV… the bitching from him continued in which I told him to shut up before he got into real trouble.

I was then cross examined by my wife on what I did wrong… I lost it… All I was doing was having a show on the TV that I knew she liked to watch, the boy had been home since 3pm, it was now 7pm, watching TV so I felt it would be OK for her to see a show she liked.

No good deed goes unpunished!!!

I spent the rest of the evening by my self… I just don’t feel lie I belong. I tried to do something not to make anyone mad but to do something little I thought my wife would like. I guess I need to not worry about what others will like and just take care of myself.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why?

On May 1 my wife and I bought a pool table and foosball table for our game room, they were delivered on Saturday May 8. We thought it would be something the kids would be able to enjoy with us and their friends. The kids were at their Dad’s house Friday and Saturday and came home on Sunday morning for Mother’s Day. Talk about under excited!!! I figured they would be quite excited to see the tables and want to play right away, instead it was more like Mom and stepdad bought a new dust mop for the house.

After the Mother’s Day dinner and family had gone home and my stepdaughter went to work my stepson and I played pool. After the first game we got my wife in to it also and the three of us played pool. We then played foosball, them against me. We had a good time with verbal jabs and laughter; I won. I want to teach my stepson the proper way to play foosball so he can be the winner against his friends.

It’s hurtful how the kids react to the things their mother does for them. She loves her kids dearly but seems to get knocked down and ignored more than anything. Especially by her daughter(SD) who seems to have become one of the most selfish, self centered, disrespectful people I know. All she sees and thinks about is herself and what she wants regardless of what her mother may want to do for her, need her to do, etc… Hell they can’t even have a civil conversation with out SD getting an attitude as if she is being interrogated.

My wife’s mother came to stay with us over the weekend, she arrived Friday afternoon before 3pm. My stepdaughter decided it was more important to go swimming with friends instead of taking a few minutes to see her Grandmother and Grandfather that she hadn’t seen in 6 months, I believe. It’s little things like this that really make me wonder why I should bother to do anything for her. Her birthday is this week and we have graciously been allowed to take her to dinner tonight, we found out this morning.

At least her son is more caring, he seems to really enjoy being around family and us. Yes he can get into the mode where he is an absolute pain and create problems and be disrespectful, etc… but in the grand scheme of things he enjoys being around family.

It’s so damn frustrating. I just don’t understand it.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day

What are your plans?

We (I) will be cooking dinner for my wife, mother and mother-in-law. I hope the kids will come home to be with their mother on her day. I will be cooking hamburgers and french fries (with corn meal), not sure about desert right now but I am sure something will turn up.

This is one of two days I feel you should show and tell your mother that you love her and appreciate her. (You should this all the time but Mother’s Day and Birthday are the most special to me.) After all she has been a LARGE part of my life. Who else would put up with all the crap and still love you?

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , | Leave a comment