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Christmas 2013

This year, Christmas came and went way to fast.  The kids are in their rooms now, playing with the new games, and gadgets & I am sitting alone in my office trying to write a clever blog post.  I think I'll just share a few images taken this month & hopefully they will tell the story.

Above is a photo of most of my moms grand kids.  Teresa & Olivia were not with us on this particular day.  This is Teresa's first Christmas away from home.  She couldn't fly home for the holiday, so she is in Portland this year with her boyfriend & his family.  Olivia, well this is her first Christmas & she is with her mom & her mom's family.  We will be celebrating again when she comes home on Saturday.

I tried to get individual photos of each of the little kids, but only one was serious and willing to pose & do exactly what I asked & that was Brice (my brother Bruce & SIL Colleen's little boy)  He did great, didn't he?

If you'll notice, in almost all the photos-Layla really has no interest in being with Gavin or on the ground by herself for the gate shot-lol.  Poor baby-she just wanted her momma.

When we celebrate Christmas at my moms house, we do it with steaks not turkey or ham.  Yum!!!  Fresh from Ward's in Gainesville FL.

Random acts of cuteness ;)
with love, Lela
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Family is not always in a nice neat little standard box.  Family is often not even blood, but someone you are are drawn to & love deeply as much as, or more then your own flesh & blood.  I have felt this bond over the years with several different people.  My husband is one of those "people" to which I feel a strong bond with.  We certainly are not blood relations.  After a struggling painful two years with this man, I still feel strongly towards him and continue to keep him as my "family".

Over these past few years, I have neglected a few real blood family members as well as friends I feel close to as family.  In 2014 I plan to change that situation among us and to reach out with that olive branch again, not to rebuild something-as it was never broken-but to enhance it and to rekindle it.

For the broken relationships (family & otherwise) I have decided to put the past behind me and move forward into the future.  This being said, this means I am closing the door & leaving them behind me as well.  I simply cannot focus on people who have hurt me for any reason any longer.  I simply cannot focus on the why it has happened any longer.  Just because I am not your "blood" doesn't mean I am not an important part of your family.  And to be pushed aside & to be disrespected goes beyond simple "sorry about that".  I hold no ill will & wish everyone well, I just won't put myself into the position to be upset or hurt like that again.  I simply will not allow myself to be careless with my emotions anymore.

This year is almost over, and I am surrounded by new & old family-blood & non-blood family & I cherish you all equally.  This year, Weston gained a new step-mother, and step-sister when his father married my very good friend Renee.  Renee and I started becoming friends as we grew to know each other when she started dating Josh.  So, look at that-more family!

I have exciting things coming in the new year with these people I love.  For example, in April I am going to visit my "big sister" Yvonne in Washington.  I cannot wait to see her and her beautiful family.  I have longed to be with her again, and it simply has been to long.  Another example, in January we will start getting Olivia more often.  We have worked out a schedule where we'll have her about 40% of the time.  50% would be better, but we'll take what we can for now.

Business wise, I will be changing things up in the new year as well-hopefully for the better!  I know I already feel pretty happy about the changes.

I am feeling very good about the promises of a great year, and the baggage that I had-well, it's been checked in for flight & has gotten lost in transit :)

with love, Lela
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Xander 2013

Xander, my sweet little 10 year old bonus son.  We did this mini-session this past weekend (his birthday weekend).  The purpose of the mini session was to show his mom how big he has gotten over the past few months.  She moved out to Hawaii in August 2013 to be with her husband while he is working there (Gov contract).  Xander was suppose to travel there this coming up weekend to spend the Christmas break with her and his four other siblings & step-dad but un-foreseen circumstances are keeping here in Florida.  He was pretty upset at first, but quickly recovered by the awesome birthday gifts she sent (Florida State Football & Baseball Jersey) and knowing he will be able to Skye with her Christmas day when he opens all the gifts she's mailed him from Hawaii.  He is counting down the days until they are back home in March 2014.

with love, Lela
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Just about Christmas

It's been a busy weekend, and since it was pretty busy I didn't snap to many photos.  I did get to do a mini session with Xander & I did snap a few of Olivia while she was visiting, despite that she slept most of the time ;)

 Watching daddy change her diaper.

 One of the keepers :)
 Ahh, the birds Xander was scared of during our mini session
 Xander Skyping with his BM :)

Gavin & the look on Gavin's face, you can clearly see he hates having his photo taken lol
with love, Lela
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Finally Finished....

Well I have finally finished editing my last two sessions of 2013, not counting my own family portraits which have yet to be even taken....I know, 10 more mailing days until Christmas, I hear you!  It's just so difficult to find the time when all of us are around each other at the same time.

I'll keep trying lol :)

Here are just a few of the last two cute right....<3

with love, Lela
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2013 in {Review}

Well, the start of 2013 started out with a naive dream that things were progressing towards the future & a positive, forgiving and productive way.  Several months into the year I read something on "facebook" that would change my life forever.  I will get to that "something" in a moment.  2012 was a very difficult year.  My marriage suffered an unimaginative betrayal that lead to my husband of only two years and I to separate with him moving out of our marital home & even out of the town we had been raising our boys in together for four years.  Taking with him, my step-son who I have raised for those four years.  Through the separation, he continued to push forward with his awkward new life, seemingly lying to me and to the subject of his interest at the time.  At the time, I didn't know this-and only tried to win his heart back and continue to be the faithful, devoted wife & try to continue to love him unconditionally while he figured out exactly what he was doing.

He came home, and we tried to move forward.  I thought the past was the past & that is where I buried my pain, resentment and displeasure of all that transpired in 2012.  Forging forward into 2013, it seemed to be a promising new start for us.

Christmas came and went & we celebrated the new year with my sister & her family, cuddled around a bon fire-him sitting there with us at Christmas & the New Year with a secret that could and would change our lives forever.

Most of you that read my family blog already know the situation, so this is just a re-cap really for you.   Now on to the facebook post.  So a few months into the new year I read something on "facebook" about the object of his interest in 2012 being "sick with the new baby".  My mind was racing, and I was stuck at work.  I thought, OMG she had a baby-certainly he would have known & why didn't he tell me....then, my heart sunk and I just busted into tears because the reality hit me that "sick meant morning sickness", meaning she was pregnant now...meaning they had been together since we got back together & worked so hard to get to a good place together.

The first thing I did was ask a friend of mine who went to the same church (imagine that/the woman that was sleeping with my husband was apparently a God fearing woman") as her and her family.  She said she had not heard anything, but she would find out what she could and call me back.  Well, she called me back & told me that I needed to talk to Billy, and I knew-I just knew that everything was going to change, again!  I mean, really-dealing with this again!?  Already, I didn't understand the attraction or how he could betray me.  But now I have to discuss it again, and think about it again & there was a possible child now too!?

I called him, but he tried to play innocent & say he had no idea what I was talking about, he didn't know if she was pregnant or not & how could it possible be his since he had only slept with her "one time" when we were separated.  So we chatted, not so nicely until I got home & took the conversation to the bedroom where he finally confessed that he was with her one additional time, at her single wide trailer that she rented in town.  He said that she called him at work, crying & upset about something that happened on a "date" & needed someone to talk to.  He said that he foolishly thought they could still be friends (since they worked together & all) and thought that I over-reacted when I told him after we had gotten back together that he needed to stay away from her-at work and in general.  So he runs over, and one thing lead to another.  He told me that she confronted him at work before Christmas and told him she was pregnant & after a brief conversation she said that she had admitted to being with another young man at the prison as well.

A few weeks went by, we hardly spoke to each other.  I talked to his sister a lot about it, and a friend of hers-trying to get my mind straight.  I didn't tell my family, I was humiliated.  And what if the child wasn't his?  I decided to just keep it simple, as simple as I could.

My husbands entire behavior changed after this person told him she was pregnant.  He became more devoted and caring at home.  I just didn't know why at the time, but I enjoyed it while I was clueless.  Me finding out made it worst, he started to become a little clingy and curious to what I was doing all the time.  I would have loved to see some sort of jealous behavior out of him during the time we dated & even when we first got married-but he always seemed so controlled, content and confident.  All that had changed.

At some point, I decided to contact the other woman with the help of my sister in law.  Our conversation almost matched the conversation that my  husband and I had.  So most of what he told me seemed to be true.  She denied being a "tramp" and sleeping around on my husband (only her husband got slept around on).

Time moved on, we tried to deal with it the best we could.  I screamed and cried a lot-I threatened to leave, he cried a lot-he even screamed some.  In the end, we decided we would just wait.  We had heard rumors about her sleeping around, having threesomes & even her facebook page states proudly that she is interested in "girls & guys".  So we had some hope that in the end the child wouldn't be his.  He prayed every night it wouldn't be his.  He did not want her child to be his child.  He only wanted to try to save his marriage.

August came, and the baby was born.  The day that this woman came home from the hospital, I asked him to call her & ask her if she would agree to a DNA test.  I just couldn't live without knowing!  He wanted to just wait to see if she came to us, eventually-years later, but after discussion he agreed-we just needed to know.  Happily enough, she agreed & with the help again from my sister in law-we conducted the test & waited the long 4 days to find out of she, Olivia was his child.

On the fourth day after the test has been completed, he called me at work-crying so hard I couldn't even understand what he was saying.  But I did hear, the test was 99.9% his DNA.  I couldn't stay on the phone long, I couldn't talk, or breath.  I hung up, and just sat back down at my desk shaking.  My supervisor sent me home straight away.  I just went home and cried.  Over the several months before her birth, I had screamed out in anger that if that was his child, I was done-I was leaving.  How could I deal with the WOMAN and how could I deal with someone that just reminded me of all the pain of 2012 & now, 2013?

But, having said that-I just couldn't walk away.  It wasn't as simple as that, though I wish it would have been.  Secretly, before Olivia was even conceived I had prayed for a child-a child for Billy & I.  Well, here she is-a bonus child for me & a real child for him.  As weird as it sounds to anyone, my prayers were answered.  Just the package came at a great loss & at great pain.

The day we found out, we told the mother.  And told her, that we wanted to talk to her on the phone & discuss where to go from here.  The discussion was strange, and I was freaking out the entire time.  I just listened, and reminded him quietly of what we had already discussed what we wanted.  We set up a time and place to meet Olivia.

During all this unbelievable stress, we started to have difficulties with my sister in law(s).  We are in the midst of trying to recover from finding out he has a child with the woman he had an affair with, in the midst of trying to work out meeting her, setting up visitation, getting information on the baby & other things & we are having problems and more stress caused by selfishness and unwillingness to communicate.  That is all I will say about that.

Finally the day came when we got to meet Miss Olivia, all tiny and new.  We took a few photos of her while we visited, mostly of Billy holding her.  On the way home I sent the photo to his mom & she thanked me and commented on how "happy" he looked holding her and how she knew he'd be happy when he finally met her.  Happiness wasn't what he was feeling.  He was scared, he and I were still fighting for our lives together on one hand & trying to do the right thing for Olivia on the other.  And it was very difficult for both of us to deal with family members (on his side only) not being sensitive or trying to force how they think we should feel or how they think we should act down our throats.

At this point, we had told his family (as you should have guessed) and we had told some of my family, but not all & we certainly had not told our boys.  I just sort of became a recluse-trying to focus on what we had going on only and try to manage my personal life the best I could, and act like a respectable lady & good wife all the while.  Because seeing "the other woman" was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  At the time that I finally met her (and the baby) I was burnt out, withered and wilted.  I didn't really have any fight in me, or ugliness.  I didn't want to be around her, or talk to her-but I did it for him and for Olivia.  I suffered through many visits with her there before we finally got to bring her home for a day.

Telling the boys was difficult, but it was very much needed.  Deep down I felt happy when they looked at my husband with disappointment & anger.  I know it's not nice to say that, but he deserved it-he disappointed all of us in making choices, along with someone else, that essentially changed our lives & caused severe pain-not to just me, but to them as well (and to him).

Weird things she said

Our first at home visit

Moving forward into 2014

with love, Lela
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tell me a story

with love, Lela
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Washi Tape.....

Has anyone used this stuff before?  I never have, but how cute are these on the link to be directed to a page that shows you so many ways to use the stuff......I am going to order some I think-re-decorate my small desk in my office/Miss O's room!  Something she & I can both enjoy...;)

with love, Lela
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Well, it's been four months.....

Well, it's been four months.  And it's been hard, very hard-but not to hard when you have a sweet face to look into.  I thought at first that it would just be a reminder of what they did, but it's not always like I imagined it would be.  It's been a journey of my heart and soul and I am still on the path of discovery and wonder, and so is she.  Us innocents. 

with love, Lela
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[name=Lela Johnson] [img=//] [description=Mrs., mama, grandma, introverted homebody, wannabe world traveler, master chef (in my own kitchen), coffee/wine connoisseur, shopping addict & occasional photographer] (facebook= (twitter= (instagram= (pinterest=

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