Thursday, November 10, 2016

There's Something I Need To Tell You (Part Two)



If you haven't read Part One of this post, I highly, highly suggest clicking here and doing so first, as this is the second half of a story that really needs the first half in order to make sense!

If that just seems like much too much work, the super quick synopsis is that shortly after my ex left, another man came into my life and "married" me in a wedding that was not even legal.

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A week later, after he had “married" me, he moved in; something that he had wanted to do for a really long time, and something that I had been very resistant to since we hadn't been married. Yet upon his arrival as my co-dweller, to my horror, he proclaimed that he wouldn’t be paying any bills, or helping to clean (since it was my house and not his), that I would be doing most of the cooking since I was his wife, and that although he was excited to start working on fathering another "genetic offspring," that he would no longer be helping to raise my kids since they weren't his.

And I, maybe for the first time, truly found my voice, when I put my foot down and said “no.”

The next night, while I was at work, I got a call from my babysitter who was concerned because The Helper was “moving a lot of stuff out of your house.” I raced home to find him loading his car with not only his belongings, but also mine, my children’s, and the wedding gifts that we had received the week before.

I fell to the grass on my knees and begged him not to go.

It’s one of the most shameful moments of my life, and one that haunted my dreams for years to come; the moment I graveled at the feet of the man who had been scamming me.

He laughed at me and told me that I had to be kidding myself if I thought that he was going to take care of a wife and two kids who were thrown out like trash.

As it turns out, living in his uncle's guest room while working a low paying job, wasn't the life that he had wanted for himself and his daughter, and when I came into his life, he saw an opportunity to move him and his daughter into a bigger house, have a real family, and hopefully father some more “genetic offspring,” all while I paid all the bills because it wasn’t his house.

And when I said no, he knew the gig was up, and since we weren’t legally married, there was nothing saying that he couldn’t leave.

Mr. Attorney Man once again had to step in and clean everything up for me, and suddenly all the damage that my ex had done to me became insignificant to the damage The Helper had done.

I had never felt like a worse woman, mother, or human being in my entire life, because I had now put my children through this twice.

The next day found me writing a Facebook message to my friends that started out with “I’m about to tell you something, and in the process, eat a lot of dirt…”

I was ashamed and I was broken, and if you ask my best friend, I was left crying and screaming that my children would be better off without me. Her, in her infinite compassion for me — even during the constant chaos and destruction that I seemed to bring into my life — yelled at me on the other side of my locked bedroom door and begged me to think of what it would do to my children if they lost yet another parent.

And thankfully, I did.

I knew that if my kids were going to lead the life that they deserved and that I wanted them to have, that they needed to be mothered by a mother who was capable of leading them to that life.

And I was not that mother.

Which meant that I needed to make some serious changes that fell beyond simply promising that I was going to do better for myself and my kids; I needed to seek help that would assist me outside of my own failing capabilities.

That was the point where I completely stopped talking to my family, and where I took a year off from dating. That was the week when I really threw myself into counseling, and it was also the time when I sought out, and began attending multiple support groups.

It was the time in my life when I learned that it was OK to be “alone.”

For the next two and a half years, I cycled between choosing to date no one, and choosing to date many people all at once. I learned to set boundaries and at the same time learned to take down a bit of my wall. I transitioned from attending support groups to leading support groups, and took all that I was learning and rolled it into a nonprofit that I’m passionate about, and a writing career that ignites my soul. I went from being terrified to parent alone, to rejoicing in the strength I found to overcome those challenges.

I learned to be the mother that I always wanted for myself, and I thrived on finding my independence.

I became who I am today, and who I am proud to be.

And then The Guy came along, and as I said in the post “Words I Never Thought I'd Say” I wasn’t so sure that I was ready for him, until I realized that I was.

That realization opened my eyes to how much value he brings to my life, and how his presence simply makes everything better.

People often say that their significant others make them better people, and I’m not sure that I ever really understood that until now. I think, at first, that I didn’t understand that, because my partners always seemed to make me worse, and then I didn’t understand because I hold so much value in my independence, that it was hard for me to understand why “needing someone” would make me a better version of myself.

But I completely missed the point.

I was doing fine on my own, but then he came along, and suddenly I was doing better. Not because I needed him, but because I wanted him.

I want him, because he takes everything that I’ve worked so hard to be, and he makes me better at it. He didn’t fix me — and that will never be his job — but he supports me in ways that make me better able to fix myself.

He makes me happy in ways that I never knew existed. And for the first time ever, I was the one wanting someone by my side, and also for the first time ever, someone was wanting me back in the most selfless of ways.

I love him.

My children love him.

So not too long ago, I married him.


And I didn’t say anything, because we kept it all very quiet. Not quiet in the ways that matter, but quiet in all the ways that don’t.

You see, getting married at 33 years old with two kids, isn’t as spontaneous as it is when you’re 23, madly in love, and your only commitments are a 12-month lease and your student loan payments.

The marriage talk — like everything in our relationship — started slowly. He began to hint around, and as usual I deflected, until one day my wall crumbled and I asked him if he was ever going to marry me, and as is his usual answer with me, he told me that he was simply waiting on me.

I was ready.

Kind of.

I felt ready, but after making so many bad choices in my life and working so hard to learn to make the right ones, this time it was I who had some stipulations.

I wanted to meet with my counselor and I wanted my surrogate parents to grill him. I wanted to confer with a child psychologist and get their opinion on if this was the right move for my kids. I wanted his parent’s blessings, and the blessings of my friends. I wanted to meet with a financial planner and make sure that the burden of taking us on, was not going to kill him, and knowing that the most common fight is about finances, I wanted to make sure that we were both on the same page. I wanted to legally protect what I have spent years trying to build, so I had a chat with Mr. Attorney Man, as it has been him who has trudged along with me after each failed attempt at finding the love of my life, and I have a lot of respect in his opinion of my future.

I wanted a future with The Guy, but only if it was going to be done the right way, and would not ruin all the work that I had spent the last few years of my life investing myself into.

And as time went on, it became readily apparent that this was the right decision for both of us and “our kids” as he calls them…. but we still didn’t tell anyone outside of the people directly involved in helping us.

After one failed marriage and one failed fake marriage, there’s a lot of people who remain skeptical of anything that I do when it comes to dating. I’ve heard many judgments about my choices, my life, my dating, and everything in between; both from the “real” people in my life, and some of the readers of this blog.

But I’ve gotten to a point where I realize that aside from my kids and my husband, I no longer owe anyone any explanations, and therefore I’ve stopped giving them.

People judge, and I let them. They whisper, I turn my cheek. They throw out unwarranted advice, and I let them have the spotlight.

Part of my healing, has come in becoming confident in who I am, despite what other people think of me. I’ve had enough people in my life tell me what I should think, do, and feel, and most of them have led me to a really bad place, multiple times over. It was only when I learned to live by basing my choices on my own feelings, and learning from the end result, that I found my own footing in a life that has led me down a path that I’m finally proud of, and happy with.

So, as I moved along in my life with The Guy, I made the conscious choice to keep much of it to myself, and spare both of us the drama of being pressed to explain things to people who have no right to demand an explanation. I took great consideration into the thoughts and feelings of the people closest to me, and outside of that group, I didn't tell anyone, anything.

Thankfully, the end result has been amazing.


Not long ago, in a ceremony that we quietly planned, on a Farmstead that I adore, with only The Guy’s dad, Frisbee Boy’s Mom and Dad (my surrogate parents), and my Platonic Hubby watching us, Mr. Attorney Man pronounced us husband and wife, while my kids — now our kids — cried with joy as we became a family.

















We kept it so quiet in fact, that with the blessing of the kid’s counselor (who had fully vetted the kid’s feelings about The Guy and his role in their lives), we didn’t even tell them we were engaged; instead choosing to pull off an elaborate surprise. In what the kids thought was a vintage family photo session (kids, it’s a vintage shoot! Look at mommy in her long Victorian dress!), no one was more shocked than them when The Guy mentioned how nice it would be if we were a real family, and then dropped down on one knee to propose the idea of fatherhood to them.

As The Guy hung a necklace engraved with “The Day I Became Your Dad,” around The Girl Child’s neck, and she realized that she was standing in the middle of our wedding, she threw her arms around The Guy, and with tears streaming down her face, she whispered “I’ve been waiting a long time for this” into his ear.



And in turn, I realized just how long I have been waiting too.

My whole life really… my whole life.

So without further ado, I am pleased to announce an addition to my family, my life, and my future.

Welcome to the family my love, we’ve all been waiting a really long time for you to get here.




127 comments:

  1. PLOT TWIST!!! I never comment, but oh my goodness, I'm sitting at work crying. I'm so very happy for you and your little ones. This is just beautiful!

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    1. Aw thank you :) I'm so happy I finally got to share this with you all!

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    2. Bravo! Eden Strong! Bravo!
      Best wishes from Deena in Los Angeles

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  2. AWESOME NEWS!!! I am SOOOOOO happy for you. Congrats. Y'all look amazing. Enjoy the world Eden. It's an amazing thing to be married to the right person. You've found each other. Everything happened in its own time and just as it was supposed to for you four. Happy day!!

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    1. Thank you!!! You are right, it does feel pretty darn good :)

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  3. YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! Congratulations to all of you on the start of a new journey. I love the photos-and lovelovelove the way that TG proposed to TGC. :) So happy for you all! *HUGS*
    Um....So......Should I not send any more dicks?

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    1. That was funny!!!!

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    2. SEND ALL THE DICKS!!! I like a man who can eat a dick with me... oh no... wait... that doesn't sound right.

      #GummyDicks

      #BadJokes

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to let us know your story, it has touched me in many ways.
    l am so happy for your family.
    Susan.

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  5. I am crying too! Congratulations...you deserve it all!

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    1. I'm sorry I made you cry!! You are so sweet!!

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  6. Could not be happier for you all Eden!! Thank you for bringing a little ray of joy into what has been an awful week.

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  7. Best wishes on this wonderful new chapter and many more happy returns!!

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  8. Congratulations! Best wishes to you and your family.

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  9. GIRLLLLL!!! ♡♡♡ OMG!!!!

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  10. Wow!!! Congrats!!! On everything!! ❤

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  11. congrats!!! i am so beyond happy for you and your new family. i wish you nothing but the best and all the happiness you deserve!! love and blessings to you!

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  12. oh Eden!! You made me cry!!! Congrats on finding your happy ending!! You all are so blessed! <3 <3 <3

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  13. OMG!! Tears of joy for you and your family! This is amazing and I'm so inspired by the simplicity of your wedding! AHHH!!! <3

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    1. YAAYYY! Thank you :) After such a crazy few years, simple sounded amazing :)

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  14. OH MY! I literally CRIED reaing this...I am so happy for you (all of you)!

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  15. Super big congrats!! I love that you found such a great guy.

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  16. OMG, whattttt? What an amazingly BEAUTIFUL twist!! So happy for all of you. 😱🤗❤ Congratulations!! 🎊

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  17. Long time reader, first time commenting! Good things come to those who wait! (And deserve them!) Congrats! Many many many bessings for your whole family!

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    1. Welcome Tasha!! I'm glad you finally commented :) Thank you so very much!!!

      I'm happy you are here

      *hugs*

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  18. This brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations! This is wonderful so happy for you all!

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  19. oh my goodness! Plot twist! I'm so happy for you, so thrilled for your family! I'm sitting here at 9am crying like a baby for you. Wow, you deserve every happiness in the future. Thank you for sharing this private moment between your family. But when the special guy said "The day I became your dad" wow....what an amazing man. So happy for you all!!

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    1. PLOT TWIST!!! I feel bad that I made all my readers cry lol!! But how blessed am I to have so many people who have invested themselves into my life?

      Thank you :)

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  20. Absolutely GORGEOUS. I am completely in love with your whole scheme. Where did you get the kids clothes from? I'd love to do something similar!!!

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    1. Amazon and Etsy!! I didn't want to spend much :)

      Thank you!

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  21. Are you kidding me? The most beautiful news ever!! Congratulations to all of you. Beautiful beautiful family!!!

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    1. Yay!! I'm so happy I got to share it with you all!

      *hugs*

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  22. Oh my gosh!!! I'm so freaking happy for you!!!!!! Like speechless happy

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    1. Woot woot! Thrilled to have you all along on my journey :)

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  23. Hi Eden,
    Congratulations 😊. I'm so happy for you all

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  24. How wonderful! May you have all the happiness you deserve. And good job going through all the steps you needed to keep yourself safe and your kids safe, and for having a man who understands who that was necessary. The pictures are beautiful

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    1. Aw thank you :) I'm trying to adult here lol. I'm very blessed to have found him :)

      *hugs*

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  25. I wish i could do multiple reactions to this (wow face and the heart)...Omg Omg Omg Omg Omg, I am literally crying tears of happiness and joy for you and your kids and your guy!!! Biggest plot twist EVER and I couldn't be more happy about it!!!!!

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  26. Congrats! He's a lucky man, and I'm sure you and your children are proud to have a great guy as well.

    Now if I could just find MY luck lol.

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  27. Congratulations! I am so excited for you!

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  28. Love this so much!!

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  29. Naaaawwwww - what a wonderful plot twist!!! Congratulations on enriching all of your lives.

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    1. Plot twist!! I was excited to see how you would all react lol!

      Thank you!!

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  30. I'm in shock, and smiling ear-to-ear! So happy for you and your new wonderful family! Thank you for sharing your wedding with us, (great pictures!) you all look beautiful!!!! BTW, I love your wedding "heels" LOL!!!

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    1. I'm happy I was able to share with you all! You've all come so far with me, I couldn't leave you out!!

      Heels seemed a bit risky on a gravel road and grassy plains lol...

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  31. Crying at work!!! So amazing to read, I am truly happy for you all! Oh my gosh... so moving!

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  32. you've endured so much negativity and bull that it's nice to know that sometimes love does conquer all ❤

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  33. Been reading your blog for a while, but I've never commented. I felt I should today! CONGRATS!! Wishing you much love, health, and happiness in this new chapter of your life! 💕💕💕

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    1. I'm glad you finally commented!! Thank you so much for being on this journey with me :)

      *hugs*

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  34. I don't know you. I'm so far from you but you need to now that I'm truly happy for you and this family that you have formed. I wish you the best.

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  35. You actually made me cry.... Just for the record I knew this was coming..;).. I would give you the proverbial wish for a wonderful future but it is obvious this love is too real to need any wishes. So instead I will offer you my most deep and heartfelt congratulations on your new forever!! .. !!!! Prayers and love to you all!!

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    1. I feel bad that I made everyone cry lol! Thank you for all your sweet words and prayers :) They mean a lot to me.

      *hugs*

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  36. OMG, best thing I have heard all week! Literally! So very happy for you and the kiddos and wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

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  37. How absolutely wonderful. Congratulations! And what a sweet way for your husband to show your daughter how much he loves her.

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  38. Congratulations! Love wins!

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  39. 😮😮😮😮😮😮😳😳😳😳😳😄😄😄😄😄😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

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  40. HOLY SHIT EDEN. By talking about the other guy you really got me... confused... about where the story was going. Once you mentioned the fake-wedding I thought maybe there'd be an "I'm engaged"... but HOLY SHIT YOU ARE ALREADY MARRIED! AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ANYONE!

    This like... completely changes everything. You are no longer a "single mom". And your kids have a dad. Not biologically, but that's not always how it works. Hell, Maury wouldn't have a career if not for that. He is their dad because he will raise them with you. Your ex... well, he gave them some awesome ancestry, which will likely confuse people when they see your new blended family BUT WHO FUCKING CARES!

    That thing he did for your daughter was so sweet - I wish my dad had done something similar to my half-sister when he married my mom. And I'm hoping your son won't remember being fatherless. This is a new beginning for all of you... and I hope he has a nice extended family that doesn't suck?

    Oh yeah, just out of curiosity, was this before or after you found your ex was also married?

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    1. SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I know, it feels so weird to not be a single mom anymore... It's kind of difficult to wrap my head around.

      He has a big extended family! They have their issues like all families, but I like them :)

      The wedding was after I found out he was married. That was... what..?? A few months ago? Had to have been like three months ago since I head back to court in a few weeks...

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    2. Well if he gets to, then you do too! Only fair enough.

      And more court? Ugh. Hope that goes well... you've got some great support here.

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  41. Standing O! Congrats! Awesome news.

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  42. I saw this coming. You couldn't fool me! I'm very happy for you. I've followed this blog for around two years now and I've come to love you and your family. Best wishes!

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    1. Darn, didn't fool you!! Lol. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me :)

      *hugs*

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  43. So wait-when you combine the time with your husband, the helper, the 2.5 years you didn't date, that means there another husband the whole time?! So the HELP BUTTON, and the tragic loneliness and plea to financially assist you were a scam bc you had a partner the whole time! Making ppl feel bad for you to get money from strangers isn't right. Going way back to the "ex-shot-my-windows" days it was all a lie. Mathetics and a General ability to count don't lie. I was fooled once by you but God damn it of I allow other gullible people to be YOUR VICTIM. You're a manipulative psychopath and I imagine you'll do to this man exactly what you've done to the ones before him. Always the victim.

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    1. Ha! Oh my... um... have you ever considered seeking some psychological help? Or maybe, at the very least, employing the help of your cell phone calculator??

      I'm coming up on 5 years of my ex being gone. The Helper was around for about a year. That leaves nearly four extra years. My blog started after The Helper was gone. Then, for one year I didn't date at all, the next 2.5 I cycled between dating no one and dating many people... all of which I wrote all about in my blog... none of which were serious relationships (I think only one met my kids a couple times (and only under the guise of "mommy's friend), and the rest never met them at all. That leaves a year and a few months for The Guy... of which we started out VERY slowly and were not at all a "couple," as I also talked about in my blog... so... yea.

      Thanks though for... um... good luck with... I don't really know... there are so many issues I'm seeing...

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    2. Wow, that OP is whacked and it does not appear as if they can read nor do math. Ironic how they took the time to point out that "mathamatics and a general ability to count don't lie" and yet they appear to lack the skillset to do either.

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    3. Please stop. Ugh.

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    4. Eden, you and your family look gorgeous. These are some of the most beautiful wedding photos I've ever seen.

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    5. HOLD UP. Now Ive been an avid blog reader since the very beginning and I've NEVER seen Eden ask for financial assistance from anyone. Speaking of her circumstances and fears in providing for her family in a not ideal situation is not at all the same thing as her asking for money. These comments irritate me to no end!!

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    6. I'm getting lost in the thread here lol.

      Thank you for the sweet comment about the wedding photos :) I was really pleased with how they turned out!!

      And to the anonymous right above this, thanks :) I didn't even bother trying to defend the "you ask for money!" thing because it's so ridiculous. If they can find one place on my blog where I've asked for financial help, I'll pull the whole blog down immediately; it's simply not there. I was actually more astounded at their lack of math skills than their outlandish accusations lol!!

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    7. The trolls are jealous of your happiness. They want you to continue to be miserable. Poor idiots. They just don't get it.

      Congratulations, Eden! I've been following your blog for several years now. You've made it through a lot of heartache and abuse and you and your children deserve to be happy.

      Ignore the trolls!

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    8. Good to know we still have the obligatory trolls. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

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  44. I'm so happy for you I'm crying! Those pictures are beautiful too, I love the matching shoes!

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    1. Haha thanks!! Heels just seemed a little risky on that terrain :)

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  45. Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! And OMG your Girlchild's face looking down at her pendant made me tear up.

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    1. Yaaayyy!! Thanks girly!!! :)

      -Glad to know you're still around :)

      *hugs*

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  46. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. Lovely way to start off a Monday morning!

    Debbie A-H

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  47. OMG--This is SO exciting-Congratulations!!! You and the kiddos so deserve this - your photos are gorgeous and I will have to shoot you an e-mail to catch up (as I have been slacking on that to you-sorry :( ) anywho, so happy for you. Please tell The Guy he picked a great family to become part of!

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    1. Aw thanks love! I will make sure to tell him lol!!

      Looking forward to your email :)

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  48. OMG congratulations! I'm so happy for you!

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    1. Thank you!! I'm excited to have you all get to "know" him :)

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  49. Wow. What a surprise! Congratulations!

    Also, love the shoes you're wearing. :D

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  50. Congrats and best wishes to you all!

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  51. I wept so much.. My kids were saying "Are you okay?" And I told them I was happy. Please tell me he's a person of faith like you. My goodness, he had to jump through some hoops to get you, but that's the way it should be! Congratulations and you will have my prayers so long as I live. Your blog helped me feel like I wasn't alone.😄

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  52. It's so funny because at the beginning of this post I was seething with rage at that slimebag "helper", but by the end I forgot about him. I think that is how it will be when we meet Jesus. What a lovely, happy conclusion. Lord Jesus, bless this precious family!

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  53. I have tears of joy. Congratulations and wish you and your family Happiness ever after!!!

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    1. Aw, I have the sweetest readers <3 Thank you so much :)

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  54. I haven't had a chance to check in with you for a while and this made me cry and so happy foryou. Congratulations!!!! Also I love all your outfits I don't usually like wedding dresses but yours is beautiful :)

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    1. Gah typed my whole comment and it deleted lol.

      But anyway... well then, since you don't typically like them, that is quite the compliment about my dress!

      Thank you :) For that and all your sweet words!

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  55. A year and change of knowing someone before marriage isn't very long at all so I truly hope the statistics and odds aren't correct for this marriage and that you guys end up beating the odds!

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  56. Happy endings do happen thank you so much for making me laugh and cheer out loud for you and your kids :)

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    1. I'm not sure if I would have believed it before, but yes, I do in fact think that happy endings do happen sometimes :) Thank you Mary!!

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  57. I am so so so happy for you!! And the kids!!

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  58. I have read your entire blog within weeks. I am crying reading this. Congratulations, this is so beautiful!!

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    1. Awwww, thank you!!!

      And welcome to the blog!!!

      *hugs*

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  59. will you still write?

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  60. I'm so happy for you! I've been brimming with happiness since I read the surprise on your blog, and now again reading it on Babble/Facebook! What a WONDERFUL way to surprise the kids!! (From the daughter of an amazing stepfather.)

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  61. I'm SO happy for you Eden! I hope this is just the start of the Universe treating you the way you and the kids have always deserved!

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  62. Most beautiful thing I think I've ever read, congrats to your beautiful family!!

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  63. We weren’t in it for the wedding, we were in it for the future." Best part... ❤

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  64. love love love this!!!

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  65. Wow!!! Congratulations!! I wish you many, many blessings!!

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  66. Congratulations to the beautiful, happy, and whole family!! 💖❤💖❤

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  67. Congrats! You're a dream interview for me on my podcast. I'm estranged and most of my audience are estranged adult children of abusive parents.

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  68. Blessings and happiness to all four of you!!! I'm excited for you all.

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  69. Just... congrats to you all.. may you be blessed till death do you part...

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  70. <3 Awwww! I was so in Tears part way into the article <3 I am so so Happy for y'all Condrads <3 Y'all are Beuatiful <3 I didn't read th comments. I dont' care to and don't need to. I know you are Amazing and did an Amazing Job. What a Most Beautiful Gift of a Surprise Wedding to give to your Children. He got down on one kneee to ask for your hand in Marriage to your Babies? I totally lost it. hehehehe How Sweet and Romantic <3 Something they will never Forget a most Beautiful moment for them <3 That is so Sweet. Congrads. May many more Blessings come to you and your [now larger] Beautiful Family <3

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  71. Congrats to you. You deserve it!

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  72. Well Congratulations on the very happy news!!!

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  73. Omg I'm late! Congratulations! I've sent you an email with update about me. I hope you guys are the happiest of all!!!

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