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#1 of 11 Old 04-25-2006, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey

....My SD is 6.5 but I have been in her life since she was 2. Her mom recently told her that I am the reason that they broke up but I met her dad 6-8 months after he KICKED her out bc he walked in on her and HIS best friend in bed...NICE EH????? I only know this bc he told me but then I found a letter she wrote him months later saying how sorry she was blah blah blah..I know, not for my eyes but I came across it packing to move to our place and curiousity got the better of me....I know she can't tell sd what really happened but make me out to be evil????

I used to love this child like she was my own....she was sweet, endearing, a wonderful child....something changed when she turned 4 and it's not getting better, only worse and I just don't know what to do about it anymore...it's causing so much stress within the family and of course, I am the wrong one.....

Sd is a whiney, intolerable child when she is with me but is an angel when daddy walks in the room....For a long time he thought I was just being mean to her (yeah, great for our relationship) but she just recently started exhibiting the behavior in front of him or he catches the tail end of it and calls her on it but blows it off....so even though he sees it, it's somehow my fault bc I am being mean to her...

She is also like this around a few select others but they just don't say anything anymore bc dh doesn't believe it....There are issues in Kindergarden this year but we don't find out about them until way after the fact bc his ex doesn't tell us and he feels like it doesn't do any good to talk to her about wrongdoings (she's bully-ish from what he understands but says oh, she's just 6) after the fact...How is telling a child to treat others nicely and respect their things ever wrong????

She gets 90% of his time, so much so that I feel as if our child together (2 this past weekend) and I are our own separate family when sd is here...She demands all of his attention and if she doesn't get it, throws a tantrum....She does something wrong, there rarely is any kind of consequence...he's start one but not follow through...Our child, he follows through to the point where he takes it to far....not realizing she is 2 and doesn't know much better most of the time but if sd does something similoar it's just OH, she's just 6....yeah, knows better but knows you'll let her get away with it....Our neighbor mentioned (we've become very good friends with her and her husband....over the course of the 2 years they've lived next door to us) after dd's birthday party this past sunday that they hoped it didn't hurt my feelings but it looked like 2 different families..like dh and i were split up and he and sd came to visit for dd's birthday...it did hurt my feelings but it wasn't anything new feeling to me and it's an awful feeling....

Her mother coddles her and has admitted to such...at her house, according to mom, there are no rules, she can do as she pleases bc she needs to find her way in the world and be her own person, eat what she wants, no boundries....her mother works when sd is sleeping so all day is spent with her and only her...She recently had a baby and was letting sd carry around the baby (was a preemie) like it was a doll up and down stairs, whatever she pleased....When we had our dd sd would pinch, poke, pull, generally be mean to her as possible and it's just not right...to this day, it's the same...dd runs up to hug her bc she misses her so much when she's gone and sd pushes her away and you can see the hurt in her eyes but she keeps trying bc that's her spirit....she's too young to have to know about meaness and it IS mean when she does it....SD can go and take anything of dd's she pleases without asking and won't give it back when asked for it (except to dh) but if her sister so much as walks into her room and touches anything, mind you touches, not takes, sd goes ballistic with a tantrum.......it's just wrong....

But I am viewed as the bad guy....and it's hurting us big time....I don't know of any other way to bring things up without consistantly butting my head against the 20'thick brick wall when it comes to sd and her behavior....I do love the man.....but sometimes it's just harder certain days...I find myself dreading her coming (we have her 5 days and mom has her 5 days and so forth..)...She ruined dd's 2nd birthday party the 2 hours she was here...wanted dd to open presents when she wanted them opened and went as far as to begin opening them herself and when I spoke up that they weren't hers and gave her the benefit of the doubt by saying something along the lines of I know you are excited but they aren't your presents to open, you need to wait until it's time I got a big ol SO?? attitude and she continued...no backup from dh he just told me that she wanted to be included and I swear I felt my heart stop...80% of the presents were opened by the time dd got there..she just tore through them bc they were mainly in bags and it just wasn't right...short of grabbing her and making her go to her room....I didn't do that bc we had a houseful of family but dh didn't even try to stop her....DD just stood there bewildered at the mess and sat down and started crying...My heart broke....and NOBODY DID ANYTHING.....my mom and sister did a bit but his family (mom and sis) just sat there watching not wanting to be involved....so I pretty much stood alone.....my sister managed to usher sd out of the room for a few and while mom comforted dd I packed back up her presents all pretty and we sat and opened them up....she was happy, albeit a tad confused at where the mess went..kept saying where it go??mess??? But there was nothing said to sd about her behavior....I remember at her birthday party 6 months ago dd wanted to help open and reached for a present (i saw it on my way back from the bathroom, we were at chuck e cheese), dh snatched dd up faster than a blink so she didn't touch the present and said NO, bad...not yours....Sorry bout this but WTF???? How is is not ok for dd to do it but for sd to open up most of dd's presents (i am just not going to go to the bathroom anymore....lmao)....???? Riddle me that???

It sucks sometimes..I swore up and down to not be the step parent I had or that some of my friends are but it's hard sometimes.....

Any advice???? hugs and understanding are welcomed too....

Thanks mamas...and papas....

ps..i wanted to add that i love this child....i really really do....it's getting harder and harder these days and i don't want dd learning all the behavior that dh has admitted she has but doesn't really care to fix right now..can't fix it overnight he says..yes, very true, but you can take steps right?? and the steps he has been taking for a year now haven't worked so you would think he would follow through and try something else....my heart just breaks.....and i'm just tired....
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#2 of 11 Old 04-26-2006, 02:16 AM
 
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It sounds like your sd is getting very very stressed about something at kindergarten: a lot of what you're describing sounds like Alex's response to being bullied, and Alex was being bullied by two or three children who were also being bullied by a little boy with special educational needs and behavioural problems. That's my first thought.
My second thought is that if you want to stay married to this man, you're going to have to keep a dignified silence over the issue of her behaviour at this birthday party. What you've actually written is "he doesn't care that his daughter (dd) was unhappy."
BUT there are other ways you could have handled it. There are big girl jobs that need doing at birthday parties, like helping make the cake, put the candles on, bring it in for her sister. People's coats need taking (and putting in the closet, upstairs, wherever works for you.) There is the fun game known as "getting all the mess from the last present in a bin bag before he opens the next one"- which is fantastic for dealing with siblings. There is also a certain look that tells a child that this time,you mean business, so sit down and behave. You need one.
I would say, though, that by telling her that she needed to wait until it was time you gave her permission to open someone else's presents, and that's not fair unless you meant it. Sometimes, what you actually mean is no, you can't do that. Come do this- so say it. I'd also suggest telling your dh that the whining is driving you mad, so next time she whines you're going to tell her that and ask her to use a different tone of voice: then do it. It could well be easier than you think.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#3 of 11 Old 04-26-2006, 10:25 AM
 
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That sounds difficult. It's natural for 6 year olds to be a bit snippy with younger siblings and push the boundaries with their parents. However, it sounds like she's really experiencing a disconnect between her two houses, and that both her mother and her father want to 'win her over' by being the 'fun' parent who doesn't require anything of her in terms of decent behavior. Plus it sounds like her mother gives her an earful (which no 6 year old should hear) all about you and possibly about her half-sister as well. Yikes! No wonder you're feeling frustrated.

I'm not sure what the solution is. Obviously it would help for you and your dh to be on the same page, maybe by balancing doing some 'special stuff' when your stepdaughter is there with just consistently being a family where everyone is expected to treat each other the way they would like to be treated. He is likely scared that if he doesn't drop everything to cater to her when she's there, she'll prefer mom. Maybe, but he's also not doing her any favors by creating a really dysfunctional set-up just to keep her around.

Tricky stuff.
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#4 of 11 Old 04-26-2006, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the insight mamas...

We talked last night and he told me that MIL/SIL were mad at me and didn't talk to me at the party (the party consisted of dh, me, dd, sd, mil/sil, my mom and sister and a friend of mine with his little boy..mama was working) was bc they were ticked from Easter sunday bc during the easter egg hunt they said that it wasn't fair that I only took pictures of dd (so they thought) but they weren't around us the whole time..the hunt consisted of going around SIL's entire outside which is big..there were 6 kids....Sure, I may have taken a few more of dd but it was her first hunt....SD was running around and the 10 or so I got of her were pretty blurred except a few of her and dd swinging..those came out great....So, last night I put together a nice online album at shutterfly of the easter pics....I'm too upset about it to call both of them so they can see for themselves....DH was upset about it too but he spent the entire time at SIL with his BIL on the computer not bothering to be with the rest of the family or his children....there are many of my sd doing other things at the house on easter.....I sent them to him too since he just uploads them and doesn't bother to look....

Flap: I do have a look, I just need a new one....I need to clarify thought that I wasn't asking her to wait for my permission to open a present of her sisters, just that she wait until her sister finished opening the one she had in her lap but sd just went ahead anyway and opened them up....DH thinks that's ok and told me last night that dd is only 2 and won't remember....and I think that's crappy....His ex didn't do birthday parties...I did them from the time I met her to now....and his mom really didn't do them either so they are new to him so I will give him that....He did talk with sd yesterday (days later) about it and how would she feel if dd went and opened up all her presents on her birthday and she said she would be sad and it wouldn't be fair...I still think that talk should've happened sooner after the fact...

It just sucks...and I"m at a loss right now...I've given up the fight about the party, it's over and done with and dd loves her things so got and I am happy with that....

I know it's a rough transistion for sd to be going from a house with no boundries whatsoever to one with reasonable ones for her age...be polite, if you are sad, let us know etc....and I've talked with her about how I had a stepmom once so I know what it feels like to be her....I wasn't as young, a year older but still had one (she tossed her kids down stairs if they didn't get A's in school among other things...never touched us though but it wasn't fun to be there...dad is a doctor and was never home so my sister and I just sat in our room until sunday came....)..

I'm not trying to be her mom, mom....she had one, who is acting more like a friend than a mom but that's her.....I just want to be treated nice and be thanked for nice things I do for and with her instead of just being snarked at....kwim...

SD can be the sweetest child and when she is like that she is the little girl I fell in love with almost 4 years ago...and it's wonderful....those are great days...but they are so few and far between right now......Who knows what her mom says to her about anything....we know what she says habit and behavior wise bc she tells us and sd tells us (it's ok to not eat your food..just chew it alot and hold it in your mouth so you get the flavor out and then you can spit it out....) but we just bang our heads against the wall regarding that and have given up that fight with her and save it for when she's with us...

I just don't know how to get DH to see it from my point of view...A mutual friend of ours who has seen her behavior with me and her sister change when she hears her dads keys in the door when he gets home from work (she and her hubby live next door to us) and has commented on it and offered to talk to him as an objective person but I am not going to ask her to do that and be put in the middle...

I love this man with all my heart and I love my sd.....and he can cater to her but not constantly to where there is no follow through on anything...Talking to a 6yo about her behavior and how to treat ppl and such like she's 16 years old doesn't do any good....You need to find words to help her understand on her level....and I don't know how to get him to see it....

I've tried planning to do family things...outtings, home with games or a movie she picks out but they fall through or she doesn't want to do them and throws a tantrum until she gets her way and we don't do anything.....and who wins there..nobody's happy....

I"m just soo frustrated...wish there were more of her good wonderful sweet days..I rarely complain about her bc part of it IS just being 6 and her mom not really being a mom but nobody gives her the credit (sd) she deserves bc she's super smart and understands more than either of them think she does...I've seen it....sometimes I think she's too smart for her own good....LOL

Thanks again for the insight...I am happy that neither of you thought I was just coming on here to b!$ch about sd.....I really want to find some kind of solution..KNOWING it's not going to happen overnight....nothing worth it ever does....Well, labor if it's long....well worth it....LOL
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#5 of 11 Old 04-27-2006, 01:55 AM
 
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This sounds very painful. I'm a step mom who loves my SS, but can't stand a lot of his behavior. Things definitely shifted when DH and I had a baby. Maybe your SD is still adjusting?

I also think it would help you if you could see where your DH is coming from. Whether it's fair or not, he thinks you're being "mean" to SD, he refuses to believe you when you tell him how she behaves differently when he's not around. His Ex cheated on him and now he has to prove himself by being this loving father to their child. He can't risk losing her because it will bring him right back to the pain of his Ex's betrayal. Meanwhile you and the new babe are treated as less important. He's still trying to prove himself to his Ex.

I would imagine a lot of this is unconscious on his part, so trying to get him to see it will be very difficult. I think you need an impartial person (a counselor) and the sooner the better. This little girl's behavior won't get better over time. Imagine what she'll be like at 12 years old? Can your marriage survive the stress and the inequity?

It's also unfortunate that he has his mother and sister aligned against you. Whether he did this consciously or not, it seems like he has encouraged them to believe that you are only interested in your biological child. Why are you the bad guy in all this? I really think the way to create healing is to have someone help both of you articulate your points of view so that you both have a chance to validate the other person's experience.

My heart is with you mama! It is sooo hard. Step parenting for me has been very difficult and stressful and I've made many mistakes. I hope you can nip this in the bud before it starts to become a familar and painful pattern.

I honestly believe that if your partner could "see" what he's doing and what motivates him more clearly, he'd be willing to make some changes.

Good luck.
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#6 of 11 Old 04-27-2006, 05:38 PM
 
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It is so hard to raise kids in 2 separate homes. My ex and I were swapping off DS every week like you all do and we had similar behavioral problems. I don't think he had enough time to adjust to one home before he had to go to the other one. Once I moved to AZ, DS goes to dad's part of the summer and we haven't had the problem since. Maybe you could have a longer visit, say 2 weeks even instead of the one? Hope you find a way to make it work out.
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#7 of 11 Old 04-28-2006, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey....

My friend thinks I should just apologize to MIL/SIL for whatever they think I've wronged to keep the peace and such but I don't want to..I know sometimes it's better to just suck it up but if they can't be grownup enough to talk to me about it (like i stated before, i don't think dh would've ever told me about what they were thinking unless i brought up the the thing that led to him tellingme) then I am not going to be grownup enough to apologize bc I don't think I need to...they are very misinformed and they don't see sd often enough to make such a judgement....

We will have sd for the next 5 days and when I talked to dh today about plans for the weekend and what I needed to get done he told me that he also wanted to spend some time with sd and I told him as a family right bc we really need that and he said no, prolly just her and me, give her some individual time with me and I wanted to tell him, "well, you do that every day she is here, single her out and spend time with just her" but my friend was here and I didn't wanna chat about it on the phone..I will wait until we can talk just us, when the girls are in bed. It just seems like he wants to do anything BUT spend time as a family.....and that just sends the message to sd that she doesn't have to, well, not have to but I can't think of any other words to describe it, hopefully you know what I mean....

I was out this weekend getting some new things for dd for the summer and looking for things for me bc the only shorts I have that fit are my maternity shorts (as comfy as they are...) and I picked up some things for sd bc she needs new things too and dh was just like OH when I brought them home, he hates shopping so I figured I'd at least get a thank you or she'll like that...(NOT the reason why I did it)...So, I just took em and set em in her room...I hope she likes them but I am not holding out for a thank you....I am sad about that but I knew it going into it so I can't complain....

kitty: More extended periods of time have been chatted about but it's just not a possibility...2 weeks here and then 2 weeks with her mom would just make it worse.....it would take at least a week to get things back to normal and such here with her behavior and eating habits (mom has eating disorders and dd is exhibiting many signs of both of them.....) and then a week of great adn then she's off to her moms again to undo all we worked on....Hopefully we can think of something soon.....


choochy:
Would it take 2 years for her to adjust??? I know they are both growing and changing children.....she has a new sister (nov 05) at her mom's house and is nothing but sweet to her.....no pinching, poking, swinging, stealing toys, nothing to that baby...I know it's prolly just bc it's mommy's baby and life just isn't fair that way....I know it's a big adjustment and an ongoing on at that but I wouldn't have thought it would take this long for her to realize that her step sister is here to stay and not going anywhere....dd will run and hug her when she gets here bcs he misses her and sd will stand as stiff as a board with her arms at her sides and act like dd is the plague (not my reference, someone at playgroup awhile back when I was part of one said it.).....DD just walks away heartbroken and DH doesn't say or do a thing about it....

I have tried and tried to see where DH is coming from and I just can't....I have thought about it being tied to his ex but they were on the verge of breaking up anyways (his best friend told me when we became friends) and that was just the straw that broke the camels back.....he'd been emotionally not there after she started spending more and more time away....Maybe I will take our friend and her dh up on their offer to chat with him about what they too have seen when he's not around..so it's just not me...and since it's OUR friends and not just MINE, maybe that will help more than just having one of MINE chat with him???

I don't see the behavior getting better over time either.....and I have tried to imagine what she would be like at 12 with her mom getting the most info into her and I've cried and it scares me....DH too, so at least we are on the same page there. And I don't know how much longer I can try to cope with this stress and the inequity of it all....bc the balance is way outta whack...I think at this point I would settle for just a tad outta whack....if that makes sense....

I don't know if the he did the MIL/SIL thing consciously or not bc I have no idea if he talked to them about things or not...or just dropped things here and there about it....he certainly hasn't discouraged it though....

I am not a bad person...I love him, I love his child, I've loved her from the start and she was soo sweet and kind to me that it changed my mind about wanting my own children...I never wanted children before meeting her and his family was always great to tell me how much it meant that I took such an active role in her life bc her own mother didn't and for putting up with his ex and her mess.....but it's just changed and it's now 180 degrees different....and it sucks....We are supposed to go there (mils) this sunday and I don't want to go....I don't want to go somewhere where I feel like everything I say or do to/with sd is being judged with watchful eyes, I shouldn't have to be placed in that situation....I know he wouldn't like it but it'snot him, it's me and he doesn't see that it's no different if it were him...

I'm not saying I haven't made any or many mistakes..I'm human...When I have, I have been very quick to apologize and have felt genuinely bad....but it seems like I'm the only one who is making mistakes bc "someone" insists that they aren't..at least to date......I just need to find a way for him to "see" that's it's not all me, it's not all him, it's not all his ex or sd, it's a big ol bundle of all of us....Talking to the ex is like talking to the air in an empty parking lot (his analogy)......so it's up to us, as a family......and I am lost as to how to go about doing it or getting it done....he's adamantly against counseling but I think if we don't get some kind of help soon, it's gonna end up being me or her and the choice won't be me....and that breaks my heart for me and for dd.....



Thanks everyone for the open minds and no flames....sometimes when you post on a step parent board about what I did you end up getting flamed when you just came for support and advice.....I don't vent often.....but I just needed to this time and was happy I did it here and got the warm reception that I did...I think that's why I love MDC so much....

I'll update after the weekend goes.....
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#8 of 11 Old 04-28-2006, 06:10 PM
 
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Hey, good luck! I know how you feel, and that it's rough. It seems like the best option is to try to get your dh on board, because that really makes all the difference when it comes to being able to stick with it during this kind of thing.
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#9 of 11 Old 04-29-2006, 04:12 AM
 
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I just want you to know that I really really feel for you. This stuff is very painful and I have absolutely no judgement on you!! I read another post on here recently about how step-moms often bear the brunt of a lot of difficult emotional energy. I've been thrown under the bus many times by my step son, and once in a blue moon, by my DH.

There are no easy answers, I just feel strongly, as you do too, that your DH needs to get on the same page as you. It's not about the DSD as much as you needing your partner's support and understanding. Clearly he's worried about his daughter which might be part of his need to be with her so much (and exclude the rest of the family?).

Would yoru DH be open to reading a book? Dr phil's Family First has some good stuff and I'm sure there are some other excellent books on the blended family and how to make it work? I think having yoru friends speak to him could help, and objective voice is helpful.

It really upsets me to think that your daughter is being rejected by her sister. I'm sure because this is her father's other daughter and she's always been daddy's princess, there is more competition. That really stinks.

What has helped me, and I can't always do it is to try and detach myself more and more from the dynamic of my DH and step son. The energy in our house totally shifts when ss is here. There's a divisive energy between me and DH. I've just tried to get busy and stay uninvolved.

it's hard when she's there for a whole week. i'll be keeping you in my thoughts and sending you positive energy.

j
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#10 of 11 Old 04-30-2006, 03:22 AM
 
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In our experience, it's the second new baby in a blended family that causes the problems: Alex coped OK when we had Skye, but is upset about his dad's new baby.
Fwiw, it helps me reading posts like this, because it reminds me that stepmums do care about their s/children, and the chances are that the other half of my boys' family care about them too and just have an odd way of showing me that.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#11 of 11 Old 04-30-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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*hugs* to you! It sounds like a very difficult situation and one that is being made worse by the permissiveness of both sets of bio-parents. To me, it sounds like your sd is screaming out for some kind of balance and limits to be placed in her life but instead, she is finding two parents that are letting her have free run over the show. There is nothing wrong with allowing your child to be free discover their own sense of self but its also not right to allow that child to be so free as to disrupting other children's journeys.

I have been there too dealing with my dh's x telling their three children that if it wasn't for me, they would still be together. (Um, ok....I met dh TEN YEARS after he left his x and she had already been remarried to another man for five years at this point) It really ruined what was starting out to be a wonderful blended family. His children were 10, 12 and 13 when I met them and hearing their mother say those things....the oldest quit communicating with her dad at all, the middle one clung closer to me and the youngest felt torn constantly. Because of hearing those words, we dealt with a ton of behavioral issues and are still with commitment ones with the children.

I really hope that you can find some peace within yourself for both you and your new little one. Because you are right, she is the one that is going to get hurt in the long run, being too little to understand why someone that she adores is constantly pushing her aside.
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