Truth behind the lies…

Allow me to tell you a story. I only wish that it wasn’t true…more-so I wish that it wasn’t ours. I have wrestled with airing our dirty laundry, but I feel that people need to hear our side of the stories rather than simply the lies being spread about us. We’ve remained silent for 7 years, but now that my children are being dragged into this and my family turned against us, I can’t stay silent any longer.

I’ve never understood why, but Ryan’s birth father did not want him to marry me. He went from being my biggest fan to hating me seemingly overnight. No matter how much we worked to get him to like me nothing worked. He told everyone that I was “stealing his best friend” and they began spreading lies about me, Ryan and our relationship. There were some things that I found “off” about them. They would walk around half dressed (and some not dressed at all), and his father/stepmom made inappropriate comments about their daughters. They’d curl up in his lap in just a thong and bra on and He even took pictures of them for them to send to their boyfriends at the time. Then his wife would make comments making fun of my family saying I’d never do that with my father…umm no, I wouldn’t. He didn’t see a problem with half naked models being pinned all over their garage around their teenage daughters and young adult sons. He and my oldest sister make jokes about having an affair together…in front of their spouses. Things became progressively worse up and through our wedding. Our engagement weekend his father sent him a series of inappropriate texts and pictures for anyone, much less their newly engaged SON. He and his wife (Ryan’s stepmom) refused to participate in anything for our engagement/wedding unless Ryan begged them or it was something to make themselves look good. At our Rehearsal Dinner his father gave a speech about “come what may” in our marriage and his family always being there for them “after” our marriage would be over. They did not speak to me at our wedding. Never brought us a wedding present or even so much as a card. They spread lies about my parents hating me and “apologizing for their son having to be married to me” and even deeply upset my mom. Why would someone make that comment about their own daughter on her wedding day? He sent his newly married son an email telling him he was a horrible son who was being controlled by his wife. He repeatedly told him that his family of origin should have come first over his wife and future kids. (Yes, we still have the emails.)

We did not speak to them for almost 2 years after our wedding. They continued to spread lies about our family, what type of mother Ryan’s mom was (who raised him) my father, his company and trying to hurt his business, my marriage, Ryan and what type of man he was, lies about our finances and convincing people we weren’t paying our bills. They even lied to the government and tried to claim Ryan on their taxes through 2013 when we were married. (Illegal considering he hadn’t lived at home or been supported by them since 2010 and was in the Army!). They ended up filing bankruptcy shortly after. Ryan cried to my father and had many conversations with him about how to heal this relationship.

One day they finally “apologized” to us for how they were treating us and we thought it was the answer to our prayers. My sister told me she had informed them that we were trying to get pregnant. Whatever the reason we were so hopeful to have our family whole again. They came to visit and his father even started to be almost nice to me. There were still problems and comments made, but we were desperately trying to have them in our lives since we were going through infertility and wanted our kids to have grandparents. Apparently, my parents and family took this as everything was okay. My Dad hired Ryan’s stepmother to run his HR department (after she quit before being fired several years prior). I didn’t find this out until the following morning and was never given a heads up. Ryan and I were deeply hurt by this, but we were told it was none of our business. Things progressively became worse. I caught his stepmom lying to my father, committing illegal actions on behalf of the company, and trying to get myself and another member of my family fired (even though I was originally a consultant). I reported all of this to my father and my boss did as well…including email evidence to back us up. Emotionally I couldn’t take it anymore. Shortly after, I was pushed out of my father’s company and a replacement hired for me. They and other members of RYan’s family made fun of our kids being test tube babies and us needing IVF to get pregnant. They told people I was a horrible mother and couldn’t even take care of my own children. Of course they say just the opposite around my family so that we look like the crazy ones.

The last time we saw them was the week of Ryan’s graduation from WOCS in November. I suggested Ryan have his Dad help me hold the kids to “pin” him to help heal their relationship. We asked them to come but told them all we had for them to sleep on was an air mattress since we’d just PCS’d and didn’t have a bedroom set up. his stepmom laughed and said they didn’t want to stay there anyway because our babies might wake them up and they wanted to stay with a friend of theirs and his girlfriend. Imagine my surprise when my sisters started texting me one day and my parents informed me that we “didn’t make Ryan’s parents comfortable” and were so mean to them when they were driving all the way down here. His father avoided us the entire time they were here unless my parents were around to keep face. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Again, he made a few inappropriate comments about my kids while we were changing their diapers so we started refraining from changing them in the same room.

For 7 years they had bad mouthed my family and said there was a reason all of us from Maine are called “Damn Yankees”. They hated northerners and we were a bunch of “racists” and making up stories about his one trip up there with the Golden Knights. He stated he’d never step foot up there again and wouldn’t feel comfortable. We got into a fight about it when I was pregnant and they had me in tears. During the WOCS trip, When Emma brought them books to read about New England, he made hateful comments about the North, our sports teams and downright refused to read the books to my one year old daughter. (Later, they would say he was just “joking”). Imagine our surprise when they brought up the subject of Maine and my parents inviting them to our annual 4th of July picnic with my entire family. They promised us they would not attend without us because it would be inappropriate and we told them we wouldn’t be able to go this year since Ryan was in flight school. We told my parents how hurt we were and were told it was none of our business because they were “friends” and they didn’t have to have our permission to invite MY in-laws to our one escape place with my family without us when all they’ve done is be hateful about the North and my family. We assumed the situation was resolved. My parents came to visit a few weeks ago and we tried to let them know that we weren’t speaking to Ryan’s parents and that we were still having issues. They just kept changing the subject and weren’t listening.

Other than an occasional “Have a nice flight” text from Ryan’s father to him and when I worked for my Dad and with his stepmom, we have not had any communication with them since Christmas. It’s repeatedly gotten back to us that they were still spreading lies about us. After much prayer and many tears we decided that we couldn’t have them in our lives anymore and we didn’t want our children exposed to any of this.

On Monday, Ryan received a text from his father stating that they were going to Maine next week with my family after promising us they wouldn’t. I confronted my family about this and told them how hurt we were. They proceeded to tell us how excited they were and how they were taking them to a Red Sox game and everything (Mind you, none of them have yet to attend a game with us while we’re home…even for our children’s first time). I felt like I was having a panic attack and was so betrayed. How could they turn their backs on us and do something that they knew would hurt us so much.

I finally urged them to see how important this was to us by telling them that they could be friends with these people or they could be in ours and our kids lives. They confirmed twice that they didn’t care if we chose to walk away from them because they couldn’t please us and they had a right to their friends…even if it hurts us or our children.

We’ve been left with no other choice but to walk away. We don’t want our kids exposed to all of this toxicity and abuse. And anyone who picks random in laws who aren’t even in our lives over their own family? I don’t even have the words to process all of this. My heart hurts…mostly for my babies that they’ve lost most of their family. Now that I’m a mom NOTHING is more important than my husband and children. I would NEVER choose anyone over them. I know the lies will continue and I’m trying to make my peace with the fact that some will hear and believe false accusations about us. However, we have to do what’s best for our family. This isn’t even the half of it, but I thought people should know at least part of our side of the story to make up their own minds.

Above the Best

In April, I had the privilege of participating in USAACE’s Spouses’ Aviation Day (SAD) here at Fort Rucker!  The day gave some of us wives (spouses) a glimpse into what our husbands endure while here for flight school.

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

LRC (Leadership Reaction Course): We completed 2 “obstacles” or challenges that we had to navigate as a team and get through.

img_2625
LRC Completion Pic

EST: Electronic Skills Trainer or weapons simulator.  First we had to “qualify” on the range with our M4s.  Then came the fun part. 🙂  Melissa got to break out the big guns.  I jumped on the MK-19 quick, fast, and in a hurry!  Haha, the second room was definitely the most fun and we were “downrange” shooting up bad guys on a life size video game.  This was a fun portion, but I definitely like shooting outside on a real gun better.

img_2645
Shooting Range

Dunker/HOST: Helicopter Overwater Survival Training.  We didn’t get to do the actual dunker…BOO.  (I mean, hey, we all signed the release, big Army!)  We did “suit up” though and had to swim under water through a door and back up.  I have a newfound respect for the pilots/spec ops soldiers that navigate this course every few years for the rest of their careers.

img_2626
Green Team: She Hulks!

Helicopter Simulators: We saved the best for last!  Finally I was given the chance to “fly” a helicopter!  We started out with our Pre-Flight Briefing (where I had to educate them that there ARE, in fact, black helicopters in the Army) and proceeded to our simulators.  I chose a Black Hawk (Chinooks weren’t available…lame) in the simulator and even landed on the back of an aircraft carrier down off the coast of Destin!  (We won’t mention the fact that I also “crashed” or red screened it to play around!  We’ll leave the flying to Ryan.

Finally the day concluded with our very own graduation over at the Aviation Museum!  We all walked across the stage to receive our completion certificates and “Flight” Wings!

img_2604.jpg
Family Graduation Pic

Overall, I had an absolute blast and i’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such a fun event.  I can imagine how much work it was to put an event of this size on for the spouses and i’m so thankful to Fort Rucker and USAACE for giving us a day of fun (I mean, good – hard training!

Go Green Team – SHE HULKS!  “SMASH IT!!!!!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Home is where you park it!

Exciting news!!!! So, we did it and finally purchased our very own travel camper! We’ve been wanting one since we were married and frequently kick ourselves for not investing in one when we were running OCR’s monthly. Once we spent ENTIRELY TOO MUCH money on yet another hotel + boarding Yawkey for 3 nights  we’d had enough. We finally decided to put that money into an investment rather than hotels that aren’t worth it anyway.

We were able to break it in in and take it “out” last weekend for our first test run and already are in love. We can take Yawkey with us, the kids have their own books and toys handy and we still have our home away from home. We had the dealership throw in a lot of extras so we had to pay for less out of pocket and we purchased a lot of things for cheap through Big Lots and the dollar store to keep it simple.  I’ll post more later about some of our tricks/organization hacks that we’re following.

Being military we are blessed enough to be able to stay on any military installation for around $20 a night (give or take depending on the installation). This will definitely be easier and more fun for traveling…not to mention PCS time!

Here are a few pictures of our first adventure staying Engineer Beach on Ft Rucker, AL! MANY more to come over the years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning of an era…SAHM!

We all have visions of what our future will hold (or at least what we dream that it will hold).  Mine always included the following:

1) Marrying a soldier and traveling the world (CHECK!)

2) Having boy/girl twins (CHECK!)

3) Being a stay at home mom (CHECK!!!)

4) Becoming one of the following eventually: A famous actress, a nurse or a counselor.  I still have the time and the ability to achieve one of those dreams when the kids are older, but I’m not worried about it. LoL  Who knows what the future will hold!

I’ve been so blessed that I was able to work and provide a second income for our family while being able to stay home with the kids.  However, it’s always been the end goal to be able to just stay at home and give them the time and attention that they so deserve!  We’d like to homeschool them, for how long we’re not sure yet, but I’m excited that i’ll have the time to do so!  Children grow up WAAAAAY too fast and I don’t want to miss a thing with them.  I’m so blessed that I have a husband who fully supports my desires and who works so diligently to provide for our family.

Not a day goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for this life that I’ve been given.  There was a time that I didn’t know if I’d ever meet the man of my dreams and have a family of my own.  There were many months that we wondered if we’d ever get to have children of our own.  If I don’t have to, then I don’t want to miss or waste a single moment or milestone!

“Not a day goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for this life that I’ve been given.”

Don’t get me wrong, this will be a huge adjustment for Team Grim, but we’re up to the challenge.  We’re working on paying off our debts (just car loans) and cutting back on our monthly bills, but we have a good feeling about where we stand.  I’m already feeling so refreshed and the kids don’t even have a clue what’s coming for them!

Stay tuned for even more adventures and “Tales” with Team Grim!

~Melissa

 

Flight School Family Day!

~ Family Day at the Flight Line! ~

img_1919

On the 16th of March, Ryan’s flight school class had their long-awaited family day.  Ryan’s Mom came up from Florida for the weekend and we all got to take a ride out to go watch Daddy fly “wop wops” (helicopters)!  It was his 7th week of flight school (5th actually flying) and we’ve been so anxious to see him in action in person… Talk about surreal!!

Once we followed the caravan out to airfield, we kept looking all around for his tail number that he gave us since he was one of the last helicopters to make it over to the stage field, and Grams and I both started crying once we finally spotted him coming in for his landing!  We got to see them hover, complete a few different landings, as well as completing their traffic patterns.  We are so proud of our pilot-in-training and all that is to come on this adventure!  All of the long nights, studies, check rides and tests will be worth it when he gets to have the coolest job in the military when he graduates!

SLIDESHOW:  Here are a few of our pictures/videos from the day.  We hope you enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Confession Time

I’ve always wanted to be a twin mom.  I had the most wonderful expectations of the type of Mom that I would be and I was determined to meet every single one.  Pretty sure we’ve all been there and just smile and nod when we hear others make the same mistakes.  Then I actually became a mom…and a twin mom at that.  Guys, being a mom (or a parent in general) is a lot tougher than it looks!

It’s no secret that we prayed for Logan & Emma and went through our own struggles before God gave us our dream.  It took 3 failed rounds of  fertility treatment, 1 successful IVF cycle, many tears and heartache, thousands of $$, feeling like failures, judgments and negative remarks from family and friends, doubts about ourselves and our future and too many moments to mention.  But, looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  We wouldn’t have Logan & Emma and our 4 babies waiting for us if we’d gotten pregnant any other way.  I wouldn’t be eternally grateful in the way that I am and know what a true miracle the gift of life is.

However, our struggles didn’t end when we had our babies like I thought they would.  I truly believed that going through so much heartache and infertility would make every moment absolutely perfect.  I thought that I’d be so grateful that I would never have to deal with anything like postpartum depression…I was wrong.  I wrestled with it for months because I didn’t want to believe that it was something else that I and my body failed at.  It wasn’t until Ryan called my doctor and kept the kids that I finally admitted that something was wrong.  Breastfeeding twins what felt like nonstop, hundreds of doctors appointments, working 20-25 hours a week from home, a spec ops husband that was gone 14+ hours a day and living off of ZERO sleep for months on end can take a toll.  I never wanted to admit that I wasn’t super mom, but guys, I should have admitted it a lot sooner for the benefit of me, the kids and my poor saint of a husband!  Our home has been much happier and life has continued to improve.

I’m also learning to listen to my body (and my husband).  As of the end of March I’ll be a full time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom)!!!!  I’m wicked excited and I truly feel that this is the best move for our family.  With a husband in flight school and two VERY active toddlers who want and need my attention, i’ll feel much better about everything.  This has always been my dream and has been the ultimate goal, but I always felt that I should be contributing financially.  But, taking care of kids IS a full time job and they need me more than my money.  (My Boston Terrier, Yawkey, is curled up with me agreeing) 😉

I’m admitting to all of this because it’s also been an insecurity for me.  We’ve been told by family members (and via hearing gossip repeated) that I “couldn’t handle” working and my kids…that I “Couldn’t take care of her own kids”…and that I “wasn’t meant to be a Mom” because of our struggles.  Well, I’ve been working at all of the above for over 19 months and kickin butt, if I do say so myself.  I did all of this while battling postpartum depression ZERO help from family that all seemed to disappear after the babies were born.  I was also so jealous of the people I saw on social media (a very, very dangerous thing to get sucked into) who had family and friends visiting, helping out with their kids or just giving them adults to talk to.  It forced me to lean on God and my husband.  Our “Team Grim” did it and we’re stronger than ever!!  Not everyone has a “tribe”, but I’m okay with that now.

We all have our struggles, our insecurities, our imperfections…but we all need to be a little more lenient with ourselves!  I guess I’m just here to admit that I have my own and I’m still here living to tell about it.  My kids still give me 1000 hugs and kisses a day and my husband still wants to come home to me every night so I must be doing something right!

~ Imperfect Melissa

Confession

 

Mama Bear

I never truly understood how opinionated people can be about your life until we got pregnant and had kids.  I mean, from family and friends to even perfect strangers on the street!  Of course we saw it a little with the infertility and inappropriate comments that were made.  You wouldn’t believe what we heard…and 90% of the time from people who had NO idea what they were talking about.  (Did you know that if you stand on your head while drinking kool-aid and burning incense and you never EVER stress then ALL of your fertility problems will magically disappear like your neighbor’s brother’s friend’s cousin twice removed?)  The “mom shaming” nowadays is out of control!  It seems that no matter what you do, people think you’re totally doing it wrong.

Ryan will tell you that i’m an OBSESSIVE researcher.  When we PCS or or look at career/school changes, and especially with infertility/pregnancy and the babies I have to read everything there is to know!  Of course, i’m not the expert on any of these subjects,  and babies don’t always fit the mold from books (shocker!)  but I fully believe that “Knowledge is power” so we take what I read and we made informed and educated decisions based on that information.

“Words of affirmation” has always been my primary love language.  I’m lifted up and truly feel like someone cares when they speak positively about me or those that I love.  On the flip side, this can be dangerous for someone like me to deal with the judgments and negativity that seems like is everywhere in this world.  I constantly internalize most of it and it’s often made me second guess my decisions.  It’s been a learning process to not let other’s negative opinions and comments affect me.

That’s where the Mama Bear Melissa comes in to play.  Everyone has an opinion on what we’re doing wrong: You shouldn’t vaccinate, or you need to let them CIO, or you need to stop breastfeeding and give them formula.  Enter Mama Bear!  For the first time in my life I feel such an intense need to protect our perfectly innocent babies from the world and I have the faith that the decisions that Ryan and I have made are appropriate for our family that I don’t much care for what others think of us.  I don’t need to change my mind because someone doesn’t agree or questions our motives behind our decisions.  There were only 2 people that created these babies (okay, minus the medical team’s assistance!) and we’re the only 2 that get the vote.  I’ve had my doubts as a mom, as i’m sure we all do at one point or another, but deep down I feel that i’m truly doing the best that I can and I pray that L & E will see this as they grow.

We never really had the support that we desired when going through anything that we’ve faced (good or bad) so it’s crazy to me when people show up when the cute, cuddly, attention getting babies arrive.  Don’t get me wrong, it hurt us a lot when people weren’t more involved when we were broken-hearted that we couldn’t conceive, or when I had problems or scares with the pregnancy, and especially after they were born…  We still have “close” friends and family that have not met our babies or who haven’t gotten to know how wonderfully amazing they are!  But it always seems that people don’t want to be present in your pain, but want to reap the benefits afterward.  I just always pray that any person entering my children’s lives has pure motives and won’t hurt my children later by walking back out.  My latest fear is the internet.  After seeing a few friends with crazy instances of their kids’ pictures being exploited, it’s so hard to be okay with social media.  I’m constantly torn between wanting to share in our joys and for our long distance family in Maine to see our babies and wanting to run screaming from the internet!  I know that we’ll still make mistakes along the way, I mean we’re not perfect after all.  However, we’re doing our best in the best way we know how to protect our family!

Fierce Mama Bear Melissa ❤