Monday, January 25, 2010

Great but Strange News

I have a few really fun things to write about, but for now, I have something pretty important that you may want to hear about.

I got this email from the kids’ dad last night:

Mrs Zimmerman
    In talking with my Mom today I was reminded that unless the Lord builds a house it can not stand and that God is the one that can Truely  vindicate anyone .
I have instructed my attorney to terminate any proposed legal action.
Thank you for understanding
Ever Constant

I verified this with his attorney and all court proceedings are off!

Now, you could spend all week trying to figure out what the heck he is exactly talking about here and, trust me, you’ll never figure it out! I quit wasting my time on deciphering what he means a long, long time ago. It’s not worth my time. If it’s not plain English, I either ask for an interpretation or leave it. There is always manipulation involved in his play on words.

Something to mention here is that there is no talk whatsoever here of future plans to see the kids. I have responded and asked about that, letting him know that I am willing to work something out. In the meantime, all I know is what this email says and verification from his attorney that he is drafting a document to vacate the motion.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Since my children made their grand entrance into this world, I’ve tried, determined myself really, to make sure they are respectful. It is a trait that few toddlers, children and teens possess these days. When Migc and Kristen were small, they responded with “yes Ma’am” and “yes Sir” and addressed adults with Ms. and Mr. I remember they called Justin “Mr. Justin” for the longest time, even after we moved here.

Now, as they’ve gotten older, I don’t really make them do that any more. I’m not sure why, but it kind of faded when they stopped calling Justin “Mr. Justin'”. I also don’t see that teaching them those small things really equated training them on how to respect people.

As a side note, I think the whole “you have to earn respect” is hogwash. As adults, we (at least we should) respect people that have never earned it.

Respect is a fragile word these days, I think. I think that most people would say that their children are respectful, but I also think that if they really looked at it, really looked, they would find that their children are not quite respectful. I’m not talking about the kids that are in-your-face disrespectful, like the kid at school that openly cussed at me, then said, “I didn’t stttttudder.” That’s blatant. That child has been taught to be disrespectful. He’s had it modeled to him time and time again and sees no value in respecting anyone. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kid that once in a while rolls his eyes when you are instructing him, or that gets an attitude when told to do something that he doesn’t want to do, or that doesn’t value anyone else’s opinion. I’m having this problem with Migc. Yes, he’s a good kid. To some people, he’s an amazing kid. To others, he has some stuff to work on. To me, he needs good quality training with an occasional dose of reality. He thinks only of himself. He gives very little to others, but expects to receive all of the time. You will often hear Migc saying things like, “I wish we could go to the Alley”, “I wish I had a skateboard ramp” or “I wish we could eat at McDonalds”. The kid has almost everything a 9-year-old could want. He is lacking in nothing! He also gets to do fun things regularly and eats out regularly too. It’s never enough for him though. He wants more and if he doesn’t get it, he pouts. If he is told that he can’t go do something because his room is a mess, he gets this terrible look on his face and will give attitude. Today at school, he was bored with the lesson so he played with his eraser, then when told he was getting lower marks, he repeated things his teacher was saying when he was supposed to be being quiet. Disrespect.

I can talk about it all day long. I can punish him. He came home crying today because of his bad marks at school and knew he would get in trouble. It’s not enough to change his behavior though. The punishment, the talking to him, they don’t seem to drive home the idea of respect to him, at least not enough for it to make an impact. So, I started looking up lessons that I could teach him. I found this In addition to the list of things he didn’t get to enjoy tonight and the list of extra chores he had to do, he gets to do the 35 lessons over the next 35 days. He seems somewhat excited about it right now. I have no problem with idea of him not being completely bummed about it. I just know that 35 days, day-after-day, of drilling respect into his little brain has to have an effect on him. Surely, he will get it and it will be a life lesson!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Favor was my theme for yesterday in Chicago. It was nothing revolutionary. Nothing was solved completely, but I saw favor every where I went!

My flight flew out smoothly at 6:10am and landed smoothly at 8am in Chicago. The signs to the Blue Line train where clearly mapped out and making my way there was easy. I boarded, staring at the sign making sure it was the right train. A smiling worker stopped to see if I was ok. I said, “This one is definitely going downtown, right?” He said, “Yes, ma’am.” Then it took off for downtown. An hour later, I got off, walked upstairs and was standing directly in front of 50 W. Washington, which was my destination.

I went to the floor where my life changed forever a few years ago and got ready to meet the judge. There was an attorney standing out in front of the Judge Bender’s room, so I asked him a few questions about how to go about turning in the papers to request legal aid. He answered them well and we were shortly allowed in to the room. Nosa’s attorney showed up (THANKFULLY without him) and we were called before Judge Bender. I gave him my legal aid papers and he said that I didn’t need them. He told me how to file a free appearance and went from there. I let the attorney lead the way and I responded appropriately.

He was Judge Bender, whom I’ve grown to love. He is fair. He is partial. He is firm and he is what all that I feel a Judge should be. He has often not made the choices that I wish he would make, but he does it because it’s the right way to do it. I have a lot of respect for that. He never lets things go. He asked where the Child Rep. was and I responded that I could not afford a Child Rep. Nosa’s attorney said the same about him. I mentioned that he doesn’t pay his attorney anything and his attorney basically agreed with that. He’s not a good attorney, but he does all of Nosa’s stuff for free and Nosa lies to him. He’s a nice, older man. I don’t know why he does it. His attorney told Judge Bender that I never wanted the kids to see their father again. I spoke up boldly and said that was not at all true. I told Judge Bender that I wanted them to have a good relationship and how I’ve done everything I can to facilitate that and how important I feel it is for them to have a good relationship with him, but that I cannot send them into harm’s way to do that. I started at the first visit and only got through 2 details when Judge Bender was shaking his head and taking a mental step back.

From there, he gave me 21 days to prepare a written response to their petition. His attorney said that in light of some of these things that he was not aware of, he hoped we’d be able to work something out without dragging this out.

He also gave us mediation. I’ve been through mediation with Nosa before and it was a COMPLETE waste of time, but it really is the way things should be worked out. Two parents that love their children and have a partial mediator, should be able to resolve things. Judge Bender waived intact (whatever that means) and sent us directly across the street to get a mediation appointment.

We both walked across the street, making light conversation, went through security (this was my 3rd time so far) and set up an all-day mediation appointment in Chicago for Migc, Kristen and I on April 1st. There are a few things I should note at this point:

He wants the make-up visitation for Spring Break this year, which is the week of March 15th.
I am due April 28th, so this date is 27 days before my due date. Most airlines will not let me fly without a medical certificate and good luck getting that from my doctor who thinks this whole thing is ridiculous anyway.
So, when we push the mediation date back, the earliest I would be able to be there would be June and that’s with a newborn who will not be able to go without me for an entire day, so I’ll have an eating, sleeping newborn in the room with me for mediation. Fun stuff!

So, chances are, nothing at all will get anywhere with any of this until the middle of summer, which will mean that they won’t go for their summer visitation either.

His attorney is going to talk to him and try to persuade him to come to an agreement with me to work this out. At this point, my requests will be that he attended a minimum of a 6-week single parenting class and pays me the money that he owes me. With the tools that he will gain from the class, I feel it will help him to be able to better parent them at the times he has them. If he messes up again, we’ll be right back here.

So, yeah, I think overall it went well! He has rarely shown wisdom in any of this stuff, but he would be wise to settle it now or we’ll be doing this for a year and having to pay a child rep again. Oh yeah, while I was waiting on his attorney to fill out paperwork, my attorney, Scott, came down to say hello. He has been so amazing over the years!!! He was upstairs and said he couldn’t not come say hello. It was so good to see him. He also said that he saw the child rep the other day and told her that we might be going at it again. He said that she always asks how we are. She was not fooled by Nosa last time and all of this will not sit lightly with her and she’ll be in my favor. He will end up worse than what I’m asking if this goes that direction. So, it feels good right now!

I then went back to the courthouse to file my appearance. That was the busiest court room I’ve ever been in and the two ladies that helped me were so incredibly helpful!!! They were nice and polite and tentative. Can you say FAVOR?!

As I was coming down the elevator and thinking that I had to go Clark and Lake to catch the train, I realized that as much as I could picture Clark Street and Lake Street, I had no idea where they intersected and which direction to go. I asked a man on the elevator. He walked me off the elevator and took me to the door I needed to out of and pointed me in the right direction. Wow! I got there, was pointed in the right direction by a CTA worker that noticed that I looked lost, then when I got upstairs figured out that I didn’t know if I was on the right side or not. Man, how you forget!!! I asked another man, who kindly smiled and told me that I was on the right side. I took that train to the Merchandise Mart, walked across the street, in the building, up the elevator and into the office of my best friend!

We were starving and walked through some light flurries and freezing cold weather to eat Thai food and catch up. Then I sat in her office for a few hours chatting. It was so nice to see her!!!

Then, I walked back to Merchandise Mart to hit up the new location of Garrett’s popcorn. I got a bag for myself and one for a former co-worker, then walked a few blocks to my old office building and surprised them. I hung out there chatting and catching up for a few hours before catching the train back to the airport. By this time, my back was starting to shoot pain down my leg and my body was not enjoying the office chairs, train seats, airport chairs and airplane seats, but I made due for the next 2 hours with my Garrett’s cheese popcorn and my book. My flight home was without delay and smooth sailing.

I got home about 9:30-9:45pm and enjoyed my couch before hitting the sack and sleeping the best I’ve slept in a long time!

There were so many times during this trip that I had so many questions and everyone was so nice and helpful. Every time I walked away, I thanked God! I never got nervous or scared or worried. There was this sense of calm and peace with me all day long. I can see the hand of God in all of it and I am so very thankful!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Keep Your Chin Up

It’s all catching up to me. I’m worn out. I’m emotional. I feel like I need to have a complete breakdown and climb into bed and not come out. Feeling and doing are two different things though.

Lately, I’ve poured so much of what little is remaining in me into others. My life has been shaped, lately, by trying to keep those around me up and feeling good about life, when it really is hard. I’ve put my feelings to the side and pressed on, so that others will be better at the moment. I don’t know that I’ve succeeded in that endeavor at all. I have, however, succeeded in keeping my mouth shut when I’ve wanted to stand up and say BUT ME! It’s not about me. I know me. I know that I can pick myself up and keep moving…by God’s grace. I know that it isn’t always that easy for others to do, so I find myself trying to keep them up or pull them up and then…then…I find myself scraping, clawing, climbing to get there.

I know that it’s but for a moment. That helps. I know that it never lasts forever and certainly not as long as I’ve had to do it before. I know that a clean, organized, functioning house is around the corner. This may sound silly, but my mind doesn’t function well with a house the way it is right now. It keeps me feeling stressed and undone. I cannot handle it! I know that it won’t be like this forever. I really feel like I need help right now or it will never get better. That’s not true, of course, I’ll get it done. I know that the next paycheck is just a few days away and things will fine. I know that in a few days, I’ll be done with my first court date in Chicago and no matter what happens, I will have done all that I could do. I know that…this too shall pass. This too shall pass! No sense it taking you through it all, or myself for that matter. It will pass!

Today though, those boots straps feel so darn heavy and pulling them up, even tugging them a little, is going to take every single thing I have in me and probably won’t come without tears.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wading Through

*Whew* I just completed a form for legal aid in Illinois. I will present it to the judge on Monday. I feel good about at least trying for it. I called the court house in Chicago today to see what I needed to do when I got there. I wasn’t sure if I needed to file an appearance or just show up or what. I wanted to make sure that I had some idea. The first lady that I spoke to was very nice and sweetly transferred me. The second lady that I talked to was typical Chicago public servant. She talked to me like I was dumb all the while telling me that she didn’t know, I’d have to ask the judge or someone else. Then she hung up.

I did find out today though that defending yourself in Wichita is difficult. Courts here are much more strict and don’t like to even see you if you don’t have an attorney. I spent more time than I’d ever care to tell you about in Judge Bender’s court room in Chicago and mostly, I saw people defending themselves and he never batted an eye at them. He treated them so well! I’m not nervous about defending myself before Judge Bender. He will give me a good shot at this, but will let me know if I cannot proceed without counsel. I trust him. I also trust Him.


Today, we had our 24-week baby check-up. Heart rate was 150. I measured 25, which isn’t as big as I normally am, but it’s good nonetheless. All was well and no one has any concerns. I will get to have another sonogram. *Get* ha! I’m not really sure that I want one but oh well. We’ll see if she is in fact a she…hopefully. :) That won’t happen until around 30+ weeks though. Apparently, my placenta is 2cm from the cervix, which isn’t terrible my any means but could be concern if it doesn’t rise. I’m trusting all will be fine. The other option would be a c-section, which to a natural-or-bust Mama is like a death sentence!!!


There is other cool stuff that’s happening right now, but I don’t want to jump the gun or put too much out there for the world to know until we know everything for sure.

Prayer! I feel very drawn to prayer these days!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Low-Down

So, what is really going on? I’m back in court because I didn’t send Migc and Kristen to Chicago for their winter visitation with their dad, but why didn’t I send them?

Let me tell you a little story. We spent a year and well over $15,000 to get a court order to allow us to move Migc and Kristen from Chicago to Kansas. We were granted removal and the issues didn’t stop there.

Migc and Kristen had their first visit to Chicago for Winter Visitation 2007. Their dad played games and things were overall very hard, but the real issue came when we arrived to get the kids. We had exchanged emails regarding when we would pick them up. The last email said I’d be there January 1st at 8am. We drove all day the 31st is blizzard weather, stayed overnight with a friend and showed up at 8am to pick them up. He refused to give them to me. Justin and I both had to work on the 2nd, so we had to get back to Wichita and the kids returned to school on the 3rd. We had to have them at that time. We had to call the police and the police had to come get them from him to give them back to us.

The next trip was Summer 2008. They spent a month in Chicago. On July 3rd, they went to watch fireworks at the lake and he got busy talking to a friend and wouldn’t take Kristen to the bathroom along the lake. Where they were was at least a mile from his apartment. He stayed and talked more than a hour, not allowing her to use the bathroom. They then walked home, again, not allowing her to stop and use the bathroom anywhere. This all took a couple of hours. By the time they got to his apartment, she peed in the elevator. He laughed at her and made her clean her clothes in the bathtub at his apartment. The trauma she endured from this was unreal. Every time she had to use the bathroom and couldn’t walk straight into a bathroom, she would SCREAM! It was the craziest thing. It happened at home, in the car, at the airport, at church, at school, everywhere. I had to put her through counseling to help her overcome it. She still refuses to wear the pants that she wore that day because they make her feel like she’s going to pee her pants. She has the same feeling when in an elevator.

This is also the trip where Migc fell at daycare. Even though he told his dad about the pain in his wrist, two weeks later when he got home, he still had pain and slight swelling in his wrist. I took him to the doctor and he had been walking around with a fractured wrist for about two weeks.

Oh, this is also the trip where their dad refused to tell me before they went in who’s care they would be in while he worked. I had to hire my attorney to get involved. He played games and finally EMAILED me the information while he knew we were on the road and unable to get into our email.

I tried to report all of this to both DCFS in Chicago and SRS in Wichita. Wichita said Chicago had jurisdiction and Chicago said they couldn’t do anything about it because the kids were no longer in danger.

Winter Visitation 2008, it snowed so badly in Chicago that they couldn’t get into the airport for several days, so they only ended up spending about 3 1/2 days there and everything went fine.

Summer Visitation 2009 was a complete nightmare. Kristen had been going through counseling to prepare for the trip and we’d had lots of talks about just making it through. After two weeks of doing nothing outside of his apartment with them and allowing them no freedoms inside or outside, on July 13th, he beat Migc with a shoe. They had been fighting with each other and he would pinch or attempt to pinch them. They would curl up in a ball to avoid it. That day, they had watched Karate Kid and Migc was doing karate moves and after he was asked to stop and didn’t, his dad got a shoe from his closet and beat him with it.

When I found out the next morning, I called DCFS. It took them several days to get out there, then the social worker, who was a fellow Nigerian, laughed and joked with him in front of the kids and dismissed all of it, saying they weren’t in constant danger.

If it had been one issue, I would probably have let it go, but there is a pattern of behavior that I cannot send Migc and Kristen into, so I chose to keep them home.  I didn’t go to the court and request it because I’ve been proactive throughout this entire thing and have been out so much money. My understanding is that he doesn’t pay his attorney, so it’s no big deal to him. I figured I would let him initiate it all this time and I would defend myself without an attorney, or attempt to.

In addition to all of this, the court order says that he is to pay for half of all medical bills and extracurricular activities. Since we have been here, he hasn’t done that and owes me well over $600, so he is in contempt as well.

So, on Monday, I get to start defending my actions. I say start because it’s only the beginning of court proceedings and I’ll be in Chicago again, I’m quite sure! Something else that I’m sure of is that I will do whatever I can to protect my children. I agree that they need time with their dad, but I cannot do that if they are being harmed. My real prayer is that he will take a parenting class and make a determined effort to parent better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things are Definitely Different

I was remembering a couple of times during my pregnancy with Jaden when I’d had some very intense braxton hicks that lasted a long time and were frequent and a little scary. I went back to check my livejournal to see how far along I was then, as I knew I’d journaled about it. It was around 26 weeks when it started.

Wednesday, I’ll be 24 weeks. I have only had 1 braxton hicks thus far in pregnancy. This intrigued me and I read further to find these differences in this pregnancy compared to my last:

Jaden – 15 weeks lots of movement/ Kara – 17 weeks first movement

Jaden – written at 18 weeks “This child rarely stops moving and as of this morning...and really the majority of the day, you can see the movement from the outside. I never imaged I'd be able to see movement from the outside at this point, but you DEFINITELY can. And she is not gentle either.” / Kara – 23 weeks and we can finally feel and see movement from the outside. She moves infrequently too.

Jaden – journaled “Speaking of, he is Mr. Active right now. Dang! He kicks me in the ribs officially. My others never did that, and at 24 weeks, I don't feel like I could possibly get any bigger. I feel totally huge. I've already gained 18 pounds and I can barely move most of the time.” I also wrote about not being able to breathe. / Kara – At almost 24 weeks, I’ve gained 21 pounds so far and don’t feel huge at all and definitely not feeling anything in my ribs or having difficulty breathing.

Jaden – 26 weeks – braxton hicks every 2 minutes for 2 hours and lots of pressure / Kara – almost 24 weeks and 1 braxton hicks

Jaden – 28 weeks – restless leg syndrome so bad that I often only got 3 hours of sleep / Kara – have had rls 3 times that I can remember so far

Now, this time, my back pain is horrendous most of the time. When I do much of anything around the house, my back gets very sore. Reading my journal today, I realized that I had a pinched nerve (or something) in my back for a while but then it just went away. That is not the case with this one. It’s hard sometimes just to walk.

However with Jaden, certain foods did not settle well with me and I could barely drink milk throughout the entire pregnancy. Now, I could LIVE on milk. Oh my goodness, it is so good! It’s like crack to a crack-head. I love milk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve had problem eating anything else either.

Anyway, I guess it just blows my mind that two pregnancies can be so much different. I thought Jaden’s pregnancy was because I was older. I’ve now realized that much of it was probably just Jaden’s personality. I often wrote that I was scared of the child in my womb and that I felt God was preparing me through the pregnancy for this child and certainly, He was! I’m excited to meet this one and see how similar she is to what I’ve experienced thus far.

And yes, we’ve decided on Kara Lillian for a girl, if in fact, this child is a girl.