***THIS IS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE***
Sometimes, you just have to give. When giving charity, please do not forget about 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc. This Monmouth County, NJ based program, has some of the best wrap around services that I know. They saved my life and the life of my best friend. Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins on Thursday.
Literally and figuratively, right now in my life, I am taking out the trash. Rewind to mid afternoon, Saturday. The man and I, are splitting and it’s not pretty. I need him to go and he is fighting a losing battle to stay. One thing I have learned about myself in this journey of my life that I have been taking is that when I am done with something, I am done. Whether it’s my love of cheese flavored pretzels that has turned to disgust
Oh, I use to love you so much!
or a relationship that is over, I am done. So back to last week, while he was ranting and raving about something (I really don’t know what because I have stopped listening) I was cleaning my house. My middle child was home and asked me if I needed any help. So I asked him to take out the trash. He is six. I did not expect him to do it. But, as my children often do, he surprised the hell out of me. He took the top off the trash bin, removed, and tied up the bag, went to the side door, and put the trash bag into the garbage pail in the back. He then went to my backroom where I keep all my
hoard extra supplies, took out 5 garbage bags, put 4 in the bottom of the bin, and put the 5th bag around the bin and put the cover on. He calmly went to wash his hands, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and then took his sister outside to play, away from the one siding yelling. My tough, yet sensitive little man. There is much chaos about to erupt in our lives over the next couple of weeks, and I am a little more calm knowing that he is wise beyond his years.
Fast forward to this morning, and he tells me that he is big enough to always take out the trash and he wants it to be his job from now own. No problems with that from this mom, and I decided that I too am old enough to know when it is time to take out the trash. Thanks for the lesson, my dear son.
Being a native NJsian, there are certain things I have learned to deal with. Living close to the ocean-or as us natives call it-The SHORE is amazing. I could never imagine living anywhere that I would have to drive more that 30 minutes to see the ocean. Many of my early summer memories are of me and my mom getting up super early and going to Long Branch to the beach every single morning. We would get there before anyone else and had our pick of the sand. I collected seashells before anyone else got there and had a clear, unblocked view of the water. I had my first jellyfish sting (sounds bad but I only remember happy times), jumping in the waves, and watching the tractors smooth out the sand. Of course lately, the Jersey Shore means something else to the rest of the world (funny enough. only 1 person on that silly show was a native), but all in all, the “SHORE” is one of the best things about NJ.
What I despise about NJ is the snow. When I was younger, I loved the snow. Days off from school, sledding in the woods across the street from my house, and of course making snowmen outside. In college, snow meant snowboarding on fresh powder and it was all fun. But now, in my late 30’s snow is the enemy. We had a good run for a few years. It was super cold, and would snow a little here and there but there were no major storms to speak about. Last year, literally 2 days after I moved into my house we got hit with a major snowstorm. Almost 2 feet and it didn’t stop until the end of February. Shoveling, getting plowed in, shoveling. It did not end. I assumed (and you know what happens when you assume), that this winter we would be more fortunate. I mean, I can not remember having two winters in a row with major snowstorms since I was a kid.
So far, we were safe. Until this past Saturday we had NO SNOW! I was excited. I was thrilled. Then I watched the news on this past Sunday. 2 feet are on its way. 2 FEET!!! NOOOOOO, I silently yelled to myself, as my kids jumped up and down in glee. School is already closing early today-which means day care is closing early today. Which means I will be leaving work early today. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be no school tomorrow, so unless there is a state of emergency, I will not be going to work tomorrow because I will have no babysitter. Wait, no work tomorrow? That doesn’t seem too bad. Hmmm, I guess, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.
Hello my old and faithful friends. It has been a long time since I have posted on a regular basis but have no fears, I AM BACK!I needed to take a break to let myself breathe, and of course in typical Abby fashion, I overloaded myself last semester and decided that I could take 3 college classes and work, and be a mom, and sleep. So I took the classes, and was a mom, and worked-but I am still catching up on that sleep aspect.
So this time around, I decided to scale back to my regular turtle’s pace of college advancement and am only taking 2 classes this time around. Perhaps by the time my 3 year old graduated high school, I will have my masters degree!!! That being said I decided to tackle my first math class since
begging my way, um graduating high school in 1996. Since self punishment was on the menu I decided to take my Quantitative Methods for Social Science class-yeah its a super difficult statistics class. The first day has passed and I can honestly say I have no idea what the teacher said, but being that the book cost $198.00 at the college bookstore I will be getting an “A”. This will be one book I will read.
Life overall is very different since we have all last met. I FINALLY quit that horrendous job with the gremlins. Details to follow in another post. I have a part time job as a waitress at a local diner. Cash money every day, and who wouldn’t like asking countless 85 year old retirees what kind of toast and juice they want, and don’t forget that 20 minute discussion how I look just like their granddaughter, except she has blond hair, and is a little skinnier and of course for a wonderful tip of $1.75 (note – my hands up waving wildly). BUT, this new job does give me the chance to go to school and do my internship and I will be hopefully entering Rutgers to complete my Bachelors/Masters degree for the Fall 2016 semester. Would have been earlier, but it makes sense for the community college that I go to to only offer the classes that I need to graduate all at the same time, all on the same day.
I say this to myself at least once a day
So I leave this little ramble for you all tonight at 12:33 in the am, when I should be sleeping but really missed all of you-my faithful friends who I am hoping will be pleasantly surprised if and when you see, that I am back.
As we all know domestic violence is a subject that is still taboo and that is usually not a news worthy story. I was blessed to be asked to be part of a story in the local newspaper. Below is a story that was featured on the front page of the Asbury Park Press Sunday paper. I have also included the link so you can read the story from the source itself
Domestic violence is not as easy to recognize as a punch in the face — and even then it isn’t always so apparent.
Abby, a 36-year-old woman from Monmouth County, knows this well. The Asbury Park Press is withholding Abby’s full name and certain details of her experience for safety purposes.
Abby said she would get beaten by her boyfriend and father of one of her children once a week. Her boyfriend controlled her money, she said, and he would allow her to see her family on his terms. She had no friends and no cell phone. At a holiday party several years ago, with her infant child in her arms, Abby’s boyfriend beat her in front of a group of friends.
But her “a-ha” moment, when she recognized she was in a dangerous situation and should leave for good — she’d left four times before — came when she was pregnant. She had asked her boyfriend to not drink all the juice in the refrigerator. Her boyfriend in turn yelled at her, then punched her in the side of the head repeatedly, she said. She lost hearing in her left ear for two weeks, she said.
The obvious question is: What took her so long to leave?
Abby said that in her situation, with a family and a life together, the abuse and threats “broke me down so bad emotionally.” She doubted her own ability to leave and survive on her own, and worried that her family would be in danger if she ever did.
This is common, experts say. Domestic violence tends to build up over time, and often isn’t recognized by the victim until it has escalated to the point of physical abuse.
“It puts you on your butt,” Abby said. “What’s normal is not normal.”
Domestic violence comes in many forms: not just physical abuse, but sexual, emotional and financial, said Janet Lee, a counselor at 180 Turning Lives Around in Hazlet.
“It’s not just a push, a shove or a hit,” she said. “What it is, is it’s a pattern of behavior that exists over time where the abuser uses a range of abuse to exert power and control over their partner.”
By New Jersey law there are 14 crimes of domestic violence, according to Legal Services of New Jersey. They range from harassment to stalking, lewdness to homicide. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“I think that’s pretty well established across the country how prevalent it is,” Lee said. “At this point, we see it as a public health emergency.”
Being that I have been working two jobs it has been a busy summer for me and a somewhat boring summer for the two little ones. My oldest is in the local recreation camp so at least he gets out for a few hours during the day, but besides for the pool in the backyard, its been boring for #2 and # 3. They have been begging to go here or there, but unfortunately it has been tight in the money department, and this will be another summer of Netflix and the free local spray-grounds. I feel bad, but I would feel worse if we had no lights or central air. Since I accidentally lit my grill on fire, all bbq’s have been postponed so there is another hit to this years summer vacation. That being said we were all looking forward to a lazy July 4th weekend. We had a movie day all planned out since the forecast said rain. 9am, the phone rings, and the plans are all changed around. The diner needs another waitress so in a matter of 15 minutes I was dressed and was out the door. Movie day (at least with me participating) had been cancelled. Moans and groans from the kids, but I have to go. I got home at 5 and was trashed. I literally could not feel my legs. I spent a few hours with the kids (translated-they snuggled with me watching tv while I fell into a dead sleep). Phone call at 8pm, they need me on Saturday as well.
My heart was breaking as I was getting dressed Saturday morning, knowing that this was going to be a beautiful day and that I was going to spend it inside the diner. I kissed the kids and went on my way. Thank goodness it was slower due to the nice weather and I had more energy when I got home. We played legos, and my daughter helped cut my coupons (translation- I cut she threw away scrap paper) and it was bath time. As we were about to put the kids into bed, we heard the bangs. When we looked outside, over the trees in the front yard we saw them. The fireworks that were cancelled the night before we going off. My man and I looked at each other and smiled. We quickly gathered the kids-pjs and no shoes and put them into the car. We pulled into a side street a few blocks from the house and parked.
I took the keys out of the car, and sat all three kids in the front seats of the car. There they had a wonderful show. The firework display went on for about 20 minutes. There were the cries of ooh’s and ahh’s, and excited giggles. It was my daughters first time seeing fireworks, and instead of being afraid, she was mesmerized. Her big brown eyes were as large as saucers and I doubt she blinked even once. It was in that one moment that I truly realized that all the vacations and trips didn’t matter not even one bit. It was moments like these, the kids will remember. The day that Mommy and Daddy took them out of bed in their pj’s to watch the fireworks-and that my friends makes all the long hard days worth every second.
For as long as I can remember I wanted a dog. When I was single, I had 2 pit bulls. As a mom living in apartments, it was never possible. I just was not allowed to have a dog. I snuck my 2 cats into my apartment, but it’s not the same. Cats are well, cats. They want to be loved when THEY decide and I just wanted that excited barking and jumping that a dog gives you. When I moved into my house one of the first adventures we went on as a family was to find that perfect family dog. The man wanted a bull dog but when we looked into them, the amount of health problems scared us away. So, it was to my advantage that we were able to decide on a a pit bull. Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls are ideal family dogs. When raised the right way, they are amazing family dogs. They are wonderful with kids, adore their owners, and protect the family and the house.
We looked and looked and looked. We contacted a few rescues, and went to the local animal shelters, however, they would not give us a dog. They had all different reasons for not allowing us to adopt. The kids were to young. The dogs are unpredictable. But at the last shelter we got lucky. This man needed to surrender his pit bull and told us that if we wanted to come to his house we could meet the dog. It was love at first sight. This blue nosed pure breed American Bully was perfect. He was loving, and sweet, and just amazing. His name fit him-Capone. We took him home that day.
This dog is amazing. He is now 90 pounds and still thinks he is a lap dog. He is a snuggler. He is gentle with the kids. He loves the baby the most. I came out of the shower one morning and look what I found:
He is playful and patient. He loves to give us kisses and is happy to sit on the floor at our feet and watch tv with us. He lets me bathe him, clean him, and never gives me a problem. He is also a wonderful teaching tool for the kids. They help us to feed him, walk him, and clean up after him. They know that the dog needs to be fed before we are fed. They know how to play with him and how not to tease him. We loved him so much we got him a friend. Yes, because I am a glutton for chaos we got our Capone a girlfriend. A puppy named Josephine. We got her at 3 months and now at 5 months she is 50 pounds and a more energetic version of our older dog.
These dogs have taught our family so much. They bring us together, and we are all full of puppy love.