Life is sooooooo full right now and so much has happened!!! Forgive me, I do believe this will be a long post!
I think I will start with the most recent and work back, since that seems to be the order of importance. My heart is full of sadness and joy at the passing of a beloved woman in our church. Helen was an older woman, but in seemingly good health. We arrived at church yesterday morning to the news of her sudden passing Sat. night. She was our flower lady and garden guru. I called her many times to talk garden stuff, and she made the flower arrangements for my wedding last year. What a fun afternoon we had that day! Since the flower arrangement for yesterday was all made up and ready to go, Helen's daughter, who does not attend our church, made sure that it was there for services. Helen would not want us to make such a fuss over her, but she will be greatly missed. And since we know she is with Jesus, my tears are really quite selfish, huh?!
We had a big court day on Friday for Paul. He has been battling his ex on some issues for about five months now, and it finally seems to be over. There still may be one more hearing on some contempt charges against her, but she has resolved the issues, so they may be dropped. As with all things relating to ex spouses, you win some and you lose some. The biggest things we won are in the non- tangible department. Paul's ex-wife has bullied him for many years. That power is no longer there. She was explicitly put in her place by the GAL (guardian at lit em). This was a big victory for us since the GAL's initial report was very biased against Paul and our faith. We were heading down a road that was going to put our faith on trial-- a road we so desperately did not wish to travel. We just wanted equal time with Gage-- something Paul had until we got married last year. The ex wife was painting us as religious nuts who do not really live normal lives. Paul had to see a "non-biased" counselor. (Our pastor,who holds a doctorate in theology and has been counseling people for over 20 years , didn't count as he is not really a "trained" professional!!!) The counselor's question to Paul was "why are you here ?" So once the GAL was satisfied that we were not total nut cases and that Paul lives a very stable life, she relaxed he views a lot and on Friday, looked strait at Gage's mom and said, "Paul is a very loving father who is doing his best at being a good father. Gage wants to be with his father, and Paul has every right to be in Gage's life just as much as you do, and is an equal to you." This was so big for us, as the mom had tried to tell Paul that he has no legal rights to Gage at all. We knew that was not true, but it was great to have the GAL back us up!
In addition to this, we won in areas of getting Gage for all three of the family camping trips that we do with the church through the year. We also got the tax exemption every other year. (yes, Paul has been paying child support for the last five years and never received any tax benefit for it!) Gage also gets to go to the summer camp, the Wilds of New England. She fought this since it is Christian in nature. But after the GAL questioned about what kind of fun things do they do there, everyone agreed it is good! We also won on getting Gage put on Paul's insurance. This may seem like a downer, but for us, it doesn't cost anything more to add one more kid, and it insures us that we will not get stuck with any more uninsured medical bills -- long story behind that one! She fought this one like crazy, not really sure why other than she just didn't want to give up the control.
We lost on the child support issue. We were hoping to get it reduced, since we have Gage almost just as much time as she does and we provide just as much for him as she does. The judge ruled against that, most likely since she makes much less money than Paul does. We also lost on the equal time thing. We currently have Gage two days one week and four days the next week. We wanted to even it out to three days, and four days. The judge said for the sake of the child, the schedule needs to remain unchanged, but that we do have joint custody and all equal rights.
What a relief to have this done! Since Paul and I have been married, we have been in battles first with my ex and then with his. We are praying that we can now have a bit of peace. Things seem ok with my side for now, so looks good! God is good, and so many things have been laid to rest. We have been made stronger through these trials, and what is probably bigger, our love for each other has grown stronger through them!
So I still have not gotten to the blow-by-blow detail of our trip to the Mt Washington Resort, but that will have to be at a later time. I have laundry waiting!!!