This Blog is the journal/scrapbook/photo album etc. that is all about my family and our lives together. Here is where family and friends (and anyone else too, I suppose) can keep up on what's happening with us Mannimals! COMMENTS ARE APPRECIATED!! ;) Check back often as we'll respond to comments and make new posts as often as possible!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Swimming Lessons April-May 2008

Here's a post covering April and May.  I remembered liking taking swimming lessons every summer when I was a young kid and so I got Matrim enrolled in a class.  These are almost all the pictures from his class those two months.

So I realized that these posts might be difficult to know just what was happening or what was I feeling, when.  There are several different points of view and matters of time I am writing from since I am writing posts that have past.  Some of it is what was happening then, some what I think now about then, and some about now all mixed with pictures that are past by a ways (until I get caught up).  So readers know, I try to make sure the time the post is about is in the Title.  Then the date on the post will be when I got around to starting the post which I will try to keep as up to date as possible once I get it caught back up.  And some of the commentary will potentially go on up til the date I publish the post.  I will try to keep clear what is what from now on if it wasn't before.

Back at this time I am missing Athena and Aviendha fiercely!  I keep a brave face on for Matrim because I don't want him thinking bad or especially that any of the bad stuff happening during this time is his fault.  I am SO glad Matrim is back though!  We are the best of buds while I still maintain a great balance of being his father, and not just his friend.  We have so much fun together.

And during this time I shake the dust off my cooking skills and I surprised myself with how much fun I was having in the kitchen.  Athena as I have mentioned often is a great cook and so all I ever had to do was come up with ideas of meals and Athena would boot me out of her kitchen and make magic.  So I had not had much time spent in the kitchen for years besides my BBQ and work with the occasional main course.  The kids and I call my meals Dad Espesialles because I like to make things with original twists.  So far, so good because the kids have always approved.

It was great having Mat here too because he helped keep my mind off the craziness that had become of life in the past couple months and how much I was hurt, angry, confused, regretful, and missed my family.  He did his usual great job being a good big boy.  His schoolwork was above par even here in CA where the schools are much better.  Mat missed Athena and Avi too, but not nearly as much as I did is the impression I got after monitoring him closely while doing my best to do everything I could to increase his happiness and the closeness and quality of our relationship.  I know that I would never want the kids separate, long term like that again though.  They are such a(n) smart, adorable, nice, fun, mischevious little duo which I and Matrim miss during this time.  Our only relief until I got both of the kids at the end of summer was when Athena came to town for our court dates (which I really wished we could avoid and still do).

And as for how I feel now?  I miss the kids terribly because I decided that I had to call Athena's claims for the kids as valid as mine when looking at the big picture and I sent them with her for the second half of the school year instead of going into court to battle for the custody during the school year and with her for summers.  I just want things to be fair and for us to be as good of a team apart that we can be.  It's a definite Plan B to me since I would prefer to be a family and working as a team together.  But sometimes when you love someone, you have to accept that you are the only one of the two of you who does.  If that's the case then I figure the only thing to do is try to move on as friends and put your love into wishing them as well apart as you would together.  I hope that is what we are able to do both for us and for our kids.  I hope the outcome of our custody situation is fair and gives the kids access to us both and vice versa to provide them with all we can to make their childhood as successful and positive of an experience as we possibly can.  I sometimes am nostalgic and sometimes sad and sometimes regretful, but for the most part I just try to be positive and happy as I can.  And I try to remember all I have been blessed with including a young adulthood that was as fun, and lucky, and memorable as I could ever have hoped for.

And now for it.  Here is Matrim's swimming lessons post:

Here is Mat's first teacher.  I was super proud of how good Mat did for his first class with how nervous he was around water as a toddler.  

Matrim is always getting the girls flirting with him.  Here is no different.  :)

What a cute little feller!

Time for some learning to swim on his back.

Mat did much better about going on his back than Avi ended up doing her first class even though she was better about water in general.

And here's the end of one class.  After class we would get changed up and go hit the bike back home.  The pool is about a mile from our house so it's an easy bike ride to and from lessons.

Here is Mat's next teacher.  Poor Mat had to get the hippie teacher with the hairy pits.  :)

Matrim  did a great job all thru swimming.  I will be getting both kids back to the lessons when I get my next turn with them.  Actually there are SO many activities.  All the ones we have done in the past have sent out notices that it's time again.  As you'll see in coming posts, the kids have done swimming, day camps, pre school, soccer camp, sports camp, tumbling, soccer, etc. and they have been telling me that they are excited to do them all again!  ;)

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April With Mat After Bringing Him Back To CA

This is a quick post about April after I was able to bring Mat back to Cali.  Athena wouldn't let us take Avi and kept us broken up for the summer.  This time Athena listened to Mat though when he said he wanted to go back with me to Cali and to finish his school year.  I was lucky to have had Rod's help to get out to UT to challenge Athena's abducting the kids.  Unfortunately when she lied to the court, they overstepped their authority for some reason (the usual UT legal B.S. and exactly why I don't live there!!) and granted her temporary custody until I could get the case moved back to CA.  I was SO glad to at least have brought Matrim back, but we missed Aviendha like crazy!!  Sending Matrim back was the first thing Athena did that I appreciated post abducting them.  It's what he wanted and what was the right thing to do.  I hoped it would lead to more good choices and us being able to work thru the mess...

Oh and until I get a new digital camera for my birthday I am stuck using my phone camera.  It isn't too horrible but I fell to 2 megapixels for awhile.

Athena took the car with her so Mat and I turned to walking, biking, and busing.  I still try to do as much of that as I can even having a car.  It was really great getting so much fresh air and exercise.  Mat and I had a great time working together to get places and it made things more adventuresome.  :)

The course is changed up since back then.  They gave it an overhaul not long after this pic.  This is the Manilla course that is right by the bay and ocean.

Rod was staying with us for a bit to get in a visit after our run to UT.

Haha! And this is the grass in our back yard.  It takes so much less time than you would think to get this long!  This is about the longest it has gotten, but it is what happens during winter where we get lots of rain but it is still warm enough to not inhibit growth.  I am finally adapting and getting better at keeping it under control since I moved to this rain forest from a mountain desert.  Here I never water and the grass grows crazy, but in UT it was water all the time and mow once in awhile.  :)  I alway say that my lawn here gets 5 o'clock shadow.   Mow it in the morning and by evening it's ready again!

That's the mower back there behind Mat.  :)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Last Day Folfing With The Kids Before The Abduction

So the other night I found myself crying unexpectedly.  And it was from watching Mrs. Doubtfire of all things...!  I hadn't seen it since it first came out but I thought I remembered thinking it was pretty funny despite the need to suspend reality to have Robin Williams playing an old woman and none of his family recognizing him.  I got the movie channels for free for a day for some reason, so I decided to save Doubtfire to watch after dinner.  It was a hard watch, to say the least.  I had forgotten much of the show and it was crazy just how close my story of the past couple years matched the movie.  First his wife decides to focus on his weaknesses, faults, and quirks and not the positive and potential side of him and their relationship.  He knows things aren't as good as they could/should be but is blind sided when she decides they should divorce instead of buckling down to give fixing things a chance.  She then proceeds to follow up the divorce announcement with a court battle over custody of their kids.  In the court battle she takes advantage of the courts favoring moms, his quirkiness, and twisting the facts just enough to get everything given to her.  She abuses her court awarded powers and takes the kids (which are more important to him than anything, EVER!) and completely abuses him and the kids and their rights to have relationships and equal access to each other.  She only sees her point of view and doesn't even care when on the one day he gets the kids that she is busy trying to do too much and brings them to him late and interrupts dinner to pick them up early.  He meanwhile does his best to deal with all the B.S., missing his kids, her lack of keeping the kids apart from her negative ideas about him, etc. and still tries to stay positive about her (especially in front of the kids).  Then while still finishing figuring the whole situation out, she starts to date and to replace him with his kids.  He spends his time fixing his faults and improving himself and his quality of job being a dad which she doesn't seem to see or care about and still is primarily concerned with "holding all the cards" because she had the kids who are his heart.  

So much of this was familiar to me and I couldn't help crying, I miss my kids SO very much (and my wife and my family unit being whole)!!  Unfortunately it seems the odds of Athena wanting to give us a good try, even with me being new and much improved and my promise that all the things she claimed to be leaving me for would be gone and all the good things increased to take their place and Athena calling all the shots, are not high.  I do wonder why Athena has involved the kids and done some of the things she has done by going out of her way to hurt me rather than trying to make it work in a situation where she would have no more complaints and could call all the shots?  Or barring that then why not work together just to do our best we can for the kids.  Why try to use an ever changing list of mean tactics to try and get "control" and to hurt me?  From claiming I abuse the kids, then that I would take my anger with her out on the kids, then that I neglect them, then that I starve them, then that I am a criminal/drug dealer over medicinal marijuana, then that being available 24/7 to raise them right is actually a negative thing because they won't learn responsibility like they will watching her slave away at a crap job and having to have others raise them while she is stuck working, and on and on.  I don't understand all the lies and exaggerations and control etc. instead of just being fair and honest.  Like when I answer my questions with the attorneys and courts etc. about Athena.  I tell them what I honestly think: That she is a pretty good mom and anywhere that she has made this mess easier etc., but that I believe the situation I could give the kids raising them here in Cali would be preferable to being stuck back in UT.  About every other time I talk to mat he tells me about wanting me to come and get him and about liking almost everything about Cali better than UT.  And my response is always the same: I tell him thanks for the info, that I cant wait to have him back, and that Mom is fun too right.  The kids both miss Athena some when here in Cali, but they both would choose to be in CA vs. UT despite missing her.  My mom has seen many of the times where Mat, Avi, or both has said without provocation that they can't wait to get back to Cali and she has also seen how (and this is only being honest, not to try and make things a competition) little the kids miss Athena because of how good I do and that they don't miss UT at all except a few family members.  And I really do everything I can to discourage competition between Athena and I or their preferring one of us over the other.  But about the choosing CA over UT, I am open to should they want to tell me about which one they prefer and why (although it seems like Athena usually ignores their preferences since it isn't what I am sure she wants to hear).

Anyway, it is like I said before.  We are both good parents and since we will both probably never agree to giving the other custody, we should do what is fair.  I hope we can come to a good and fair agreement in which access between us and the kids is split and that we will scrap competing and all the crap it entails!

That all being said, here are the pictures of our last folf adventure before Athena left with the kids.  This was our Easter folfing and the kids and I had a really fun time!  We were all sad that we couldn't get Athena to hit the course with us.  We tried for awhile, but finally we had to hit it before running out of time.  This was Avi's first time to get out of the stroller and hike around with us.  After this game I got Avi started throwing at least one hole a game since she did so well out of the stroller and said she wanted to when I asked her.  Now she uses one of my discs and in coming posts you will get to see her throwing.  :)  Mat is always getting better and it wont be long til he is better than me.

Sharing with his Sis! :)  The only thing better than these two is both of them together!!

One of the good mid-flight pics I got this game.

I remember Mat had a great game this day.  I think he even beat me!

He has gotten really good at the side arm shots.  His drive accuracy and distance continues to improve and he even putts side arm!

An Aviendha Monster on the loose! :)

This is one of my favorites.  We were still working with Avi on the thumb sucking here.  Now when she is with me she does great at the no thumb.  :)

So cute and so much fun!  The kids and I have such a good time together.

Avi says she has had fun but is ready to head for home for food and potty.

Aviendha is SO cute and smart.  Lots of times she makes me let her try to buckle before I do it for her.

"I need a little help with the bottom buckle, Dad."

"Thanks, old man!"  My kids have the best smiles!

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