Thursday, June 17, 2010

Speaking on 'Blended Families'

A quick call for help to all my fellow step-moms out there! And, actually, to anyone who has been a part of a step-family or blended family. I've been invited to speak at a parenting conference in July on blended families. I'm hoping you all can share words of wisdom and things you've learned through the years of being in the trenches. I promise I'll cite your websites as references (if you want) if I use your advice. So, share away!

And if you know of anyone else who has a blended family, has been a step-son or a step-daughter, please share this with them. I'd love to have a bunch of input. Even from biological moms. And, yes, I will be speaking to my kids biological mom to see if there's anything (good, bad, or ugly) that she feels is important to share.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rum Punch. And what-not.

I have to tell you all -- rum punch, or the variation I make (vodka, rum, whatever myriad of juice's we have on hand, and club soda) is Won. Der. FUL.

And? The season finale of Grey's Anatomy -- which I only watch on Hulu when I run out of new episodes of things I liked -- was the best episode ever. Even if it portrayed gun owners as lunatics. And really? You can buy a Beretta 9 mm at Wal-Mart in Seattle, Washington? I doubt it! In Texas, maybe.

Re-connecting with a few friends from college (a select few) is also pretty cool. Although I'm a little worried about what one of them might post on my FB page. Guess I can always delete it.

And my husband? Yeah. He's the best. God, he puts up with a lot from me. And the kids. He's the type of guy who'll advocate for the toddler when the toddler wants to wear his underpants backwards so he can see the character. Which KILLS me. Because it's not RIGHT. But, then I'm also the one who advocates for the toddler in other situations that kill the hubby. So we're even.

Even if he did give me glasses for Valentine's day one year. KITCHEN glasses. With one conveniently pre-broken in the box. He now hates the story but I love it because he's gotten so much better about gift-giving. i.e. he follows my list. Not expecting miracles here, people. The fact that he often does the dishes and always mows the lawn? That's the real gift.

My grandson? Is adorable. But what stinks? I can't babysit him alone even after I get infant CPR refresher and apnea monitor training. Because I'm color blind. Can't see if he's going blue around the mouth. Which he doesn't seem to be doing. Luckily my hubby and my daughter are not, so they'll be my babysitting accomplices. My sons in this situation? Useless just like me. Sorry for the color-blind gene, boys. You can totally blame me. But Spencer? Is amazingly healthy for a 33 week gestation baby.

Did I mention rum punch yet? Still awesome!! And the fodder for this post, actually. (I can tell you're all shocked!)

Have you all checked out the blog Mommy wants Vodka? Aunt Becky (author of the blog) is hysterical. And not in the negative Victorian definition. She's planning a Blogger cruise. Check her out -- you might want to go. Of course, anyone who reads this probably already knows about Aunt Becky.

So yep -- got the head on straight. Took a while. Sometimes that happens.

And then there's rum punch. :-)

Hope everyone is having as fun a Saturday night as I am!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baby watch update

They are using cytotec to prepare Little Red to receive pitocin to induce true labor contractions. So far, 3 doses of cytotec have been given and both she and baby are tolerating them well so that's the good news. I hear the word, "Cytotec" and mentally freak out, as any homebirther would. But I had to back up and weigh the information -- what percentage of moms have problems on Cytotec? A very small percentage. And what percentage of moms have problems during homebirth? A very small percentage. Yet, the possibility of disaster exists in both situations and yet I choose a homebirth. What are Little Red's options right now? 1. leave her pregnant which is dangerous, 2. automatic c-section, or 3. go with the cytotec and attempt a natural delivery. It seems to be the best choice among three not-so-hot options.

She went from being 0% effaced to 50% with mild, regular contractions. That's great news! It means a body that is totally not ready to birth a baby is co-operating with being forced.

Keep praying -- looks like baby will be along sometime Sunday.

Induction happening today

Little Red will be induced at 3 p.m. this afternoon. Baby looks healthy enough to attempt natural delivery. L.R.'s numbers, however, are not getting better which could quickly lead to distress for baby. Safer on the outside than on the inside at this point.

If you're the praying type, please keep my d-i-l, stepson, and grandson in prayer.

And I think I'm going to have the baby call me 'Aggie' for A.G. or Awesome Gramma. :-) Figure that nickname isn't taken yet in the family.

Daughter-in-law update

So far Little Red is doing okay. While her liver enzymes are extremely elevated, baby seems to be doing well still. They are treating the liver issue with meds, giving her steroid injections to help develop Spencer's lungs, and waiting. There are no immediate plans to deliver, but that could change at any time as it seems liver issues can go south quickly, putting baby at risk. I'm a huge home-birth advocate but I would want my rear parked in a hospital bed if I were in this situation. I'm just glad she's getting good care and that her doctor was listening when she complained of itching.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pregnancy Complications for daughter-in-law

If you're the praying sort -- please keep my daughter-in-law in prayer. She is currently 33 weeks pregnant with #1 and was told, after dr. received test results, to go directly to labor-and-delivery instead of to her OB appointment.

Currently they have no idea what the problem is or what the plan is. She was told yesterday she'd probably have to deliver by 36 weeks because of reduced liver function. Now? It's anyone's guess. But being ordered to he hospital is frightening.

Will keep you all posted as info is available.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thoughts on miscarriage

Why is it that couples hesitate to announce they're pregnant until the first trimester is over? If it's just that you're savoring holding the secret to yourself, go for it. But I know for many people it's because the chance of miscarriage is greatly reduced by the beginning of the second trimester. They're afraid that if they tell, something will go wrong and they'll have to announce the death of their unborn child. But, if a miscarriage should happen isn't it easier to deal with if people KNOW why you're grieving than trying to hide it?

I do speak from experience. Hubby and I experienced a fairly early on miscarriage almost 8 years ago. I started bleeding at 9 weeks and had an ultrasound which showed no heartbeat and that baby had stopped growing at about 6 weeks. Because everyone already knew I was pregnant, they knew about the miscarriage. It didn't bother me. I received some very sweet phone calls from women who'd had similar experiences and was allowed time to recuperate. It was nice to have the down time -- the time to grieve our loss.

For some reason people treat miscarriages like breast cancer used to be treated. It's hush-hush business, almost like the mother did something wrong that can't be spoken aloud. How sad is that? That a grieving mother doesn't have the understanding and support of those surrounding her? That she must grieve the loss of a child alone, silently holding in the pain? Just because she never had the chance to hold the child, never got to know the child doesn't make the loss any less real.

Miscarriage is NOT a shameful thing. It isn't the mother's fault and it IS emotionally painful. If you've had a miscarriage, share the experience with another mother in pain. If you are still grieving seek out support, know that your pain is real and valid. Be brave enough to tell people. Somehow talking about the baby we lost made it easier to cope. Made him (or her) real. Name your child. Even if you don't know the sex of the child, go with your gut instinct and give your child a name. He or she was real. He or she was your child, if only for a short time. Both mourn and celebrate the little life that was over too soon.

It's not too late.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Kidling Post

Can I just take a moment to tell you all how much I love my kids?

The Bear, standing on his chair at the kitchen counter eating Cocoa Puffs, just discovered the treat at the bottom of the bowl. "Umm!!! Chocolate MILK!" I hear as I sit typing in the next room. It's the little things for him right now.

Little Louie just brought home a report card that showed marked improvement over the last, which was a pretty good report card in itself. But his teacher told him what he had to do to get E's (exemplary) instead of just P's (proficient) and he went up in over 50% of his subjects. And his reading!! Holy moly! Following two dyslexic siblings, to have a natural reader is soooooooo exciting!!

Gil is really working hard on being pleasant and not prickly and finding it's not as hard as he works it up to be in his mind. He's a really compassionate kid, but lets the grumpies get a hold of him and tends to dive off into the meanie end of the pool often. I'm seeing him really work to back down and find the compassionate angle instead of being so testy. I love this sweet side of my Gilly-monster! (And he brought home straight A's, too!)

Belle's technique is really coming along in ballet. She's in a class with girls 2+ years older, and it sometimes takes her a little longer to get to where the best in the class are due to muscle development, emotional development (understanding of her body), and her dyslexia. But recently, I've seen so many improvements in her technique that are just outstanding for an 11 year old! She's really lovely to watch -- even if I am the biased momma bear. (And she brought home straight A's, too!)

And Billy Bob. My Autistic/Asperger's leaning preteen. He struggled so much at the beginning of the school year going from being homeschooled to a magnet school that included grades 6-12, changing classes, and an itty-bitty locker. Oh, the STRESS! The tears! He wanted to stay but every day was torture trying to keep in the self-stim habits that the stress was bringing out. Now? Totally different kiddo. He has friends, is being invited to birthdays, and has cute girls after him. I mean, REALLY cute girls. Plural. Honestly, I really believe I have the ballet to thank for the discipline and co-ordination he's now exhibiting. Not to mention the self-confidence. It's easy to have your self-confidence built when you have a bunch of people treating you like the Second Coming, which is how boys are treated in ballet schools. But the self-confidence and the co-ordination is why my boys began ballet lessons. So happy it's worked for them! (And he brought home straight A's, too!)

As for all the good report cards -- for everyone who says homeschoolers don't learn anything, that it will destroy a child's social skills, that they'll be behind if they're sent to school -- I call BULL$H!T!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The Bear, also known around these parts as Stinker, is starting to pick up social cues. He's with me this morning playing Mommy-Makes-A-Really-Good-Playground-When-She-Is-Tired-And-Still-Wants-To-Stay-In-Bed. It's a great game when you're a toddler, I guess.

So after climbing over me, sliding down my legs, hanging on my back sing-songing, "I wuv you!" and all kinds of other fun activities, he lays on his back and starts kicking me. Repeatedly. You can just tell he's testing.

One look. I just gave him with one "Are you seriously kicking mommy?" look.

And he responds, "Whoops! I just jo-king!"

At least one man in my life gets social cues!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beer Ministry

I have a wonderful friend who's saved my tushie many a time by allowing The Bear to hang out in her daycare here and there. Well, Wonderful Friend's husband was diagnosed last Christmas day with ALL -- a form of leukemia common and pretty curable in children, but one tough bugger in adults. W.F.'s hubby is currently trying to gain strength to undergo a bone-marrow transplant. The good news? They found two perfect (non family) matches. The bad news? It's still only a 50/50 chance of survival.

Wonderful Friend has four children -- 19 down to 10. And a great church that's been a huge help. And lots of connections in the art community in our area who have also been helping. But she had to shut down the day care to take care of her hubby and protect him from infections. Hubby was in graphic design and watched, over the past five years or so, his business melt away to almost nothing. They were used to, and pretty good at, living on nearly nothing. This illness has hit them in a way that's hard to imagine or even comprehend. They're managing day-by-day and minute-by-minute.

So what do I do to make it better? I can't cure his ALL. I can't even really help all that much. But what I can do is take this conservative Christian woman out to the bar for beer. And chat. And food. And time AWAY. We were laughing the other day about not knowing where the Bible mentions Beer Ministry. I believe Beer Ministry is inferred. Falls under the category of Everything Under the Sun Can Be Found In The Bible, whether it specifically says it or not.

So? For Jesus and the love of my neighbor, (REALLY!) I'm taking Wonderful Friend to the bar tonight. Buying her three or four Black and Tans. Listening to some great music. And hopefully giving her the ability to cope a little bit longer with what life has dished out.

48 hours sugar free

Actually, I just counted and I'm at 59 hours sugar free. Not that I'm keeping track or anything.

Not only sugar free, but carb free except for veggies and some plain, fat free yogurt. Oh, and a tiny bit of hummus. (Not that I'm keeping track of anything!)

This is huge for me. I tried to do low-carb as a weight-loss plan years ago. It went so well that by day two, my hubby was trying to pry an ice-cream sandwich out of my hands. It was a shining moment in my life.

I'm finding it's easier to wrap my brain around this and commit as a health thing rather than a weight loss effort.

But poor hubby! He's with me on this and I found him wandering around last night moaning, "But what CAN I eat? Can I have a banana? Can I have ?" I have to give him credit, though. He's being great, especially since he doesn't HAVE to do this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

B-12 update

It's been three weeks since my first B-12 injection and they seem to work. For a week. Then I spend a week DYING for my next one. I'm currently in the, "I WANT MY SHOT!" phase. It's not pretty.

But, even more interesting, I have a family history of B-12 deficiency called Pernicious Anemia which can pass through the generations. Even curiouser is the fact that hypothyroidism and Pernicious Anemia often go hand-in-hand. Hmmm. . . could it be?

I've yet to see blood work results, will see them next week at my appointment. They might be telling.

Right now debating whether I should give myself a third injection, or call my dr. and clear it with him first since it's only been 8 days since my last.

Health Ramblings

As I've told you all before, I have a slightly kooky doctor. He draws diagrams to illustrate what he's telling me, talks about how osteoporosis is similar to the reason the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 (with the help of some crazies and their planes), and says things like, "What blood type are you? O? Oh, you shouldn't be eating peanut butter anyway. Almond butter is better for you." And no, he's not saying people shouldn't eat peanuts, he's saying people with Type O blood shouldn't eat peanuts.

I guess he's basing it on the book Eat Right For Your Type. Which I picked up this week and thumbed through. Now, I don't know how it lines up for the other blood types but a lot of the medical/allergy tendencies line right up with my family's medical issues. (We're all type O's.) Autoimmune disorders? Check! Hayfever? Check! Lots and lots of other, weird, allergies? Check! Wacked out sometimes too strong immune system? Check! Example of a wacked-out-too-strong immune system: Belle, now 11, had chickenpox. But? We didn't know it. Her version must have been a bit of a sniffle, maybe a runny nose, and a headache. But not a SINGLE SPOT. We had a titre done on her as she'd been exposed time and again but never developed the pox. It was positive. She's immune. Lucky little monkey.

Anyway, so I've been curious about why I shouldn't be eating peanuts and what I SHOULD be eating. So I hit up the health food store near the kids' ballet school and rented a few recommended books. One is the Eat Right one I've wanted. The other? The Yeast Connection. Eat Right tells me O's should eat mostly meat and certain veggies, stay away from wheat, oats, most grains, in fact. The Yeast Connection tells me I should eat mostly meats and veggies during the onset phase of dealing with yeast -- stay away from fruit and all grains (for now), refined/processed grains and sugars (forever.)

All I can say is AARRGGHHH!!

I look around my kitchen and see frosted shredded wheat, honey nut 'scooters' (Cheerios), oatmeal, fruit, and, yes, junk food. Eating 'right' (according to two authors) is going to be tough. Even tougher? Changing a family this size to rice and buckwheat based products. Getting rid of the corn chips, the potatoes and pasta, the breakfast cereals and whole grain breads. Re-doing the Sunday morning pancakes and waffles.

The thing is, for Hubby and I, this is something we really need to do. For my health if nothing else. I'm plagued by chronic yeast issues. Get rid of it, comes back. Wanna guess who else is carrying it? Yep. Probably Hubby. So if I get rid of the yeast, he'll give it right back.

So here we go again. On a diet. But for health rather than weight-loss. (Although that should be a great side-effect.) Anyone want to place bets on how long I'll be able to last?


On a fun note -- I make the Bear leave his paci in his crib in the morning. He must have some stashed because he just came up to me, paci in his mouth chanting, "Haha! Got 'nother paci! Haha! Got 'nother paci" with his mouth full of pacifier. He's potty trained but still has his paci. Can you tell he's the baby of the family?!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In which I almost pass out. . .

Got on my blog today and Hey! Two comments on my last post! Wow.


Oh. My. GOD! It's Stephanie Snowe! On my blog! Holy Hell!

{{breathing into a paper bag}}

Okay. A little better now.

Yes, indeed, to respond to your comment Ms. Snowe, he was quite a douche. Actually, that gives douches a bad name. What is worse than a douche? That's him. Second doctor was great but had to go and get married and move to North Carolina. Or South. I could Google stalk him and find out.

Third doctor is quirky. Likes to tell stories -- draw weird diagrams to explain things, and often gets off track. But he's into natural things as a first try, which I like. Because Prozac? Gave me issues in the, ummm. . . bedroom. But it did take care of the rashes I was getting because of the chemical imbalance so I guess it was a decent temporary trade-off.


For those of you who don't know why I freaked out about Stephanie Snowe commenting on my blog you can find her here:

Freaking hysterical. And thoughtful. And pissy at just the right moments. And inspirational. And a PUBLISHED author!

Go read her.

(I'm putting her on my blog roll right now -- I had her 'favorited' on a different computer. )

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tired. As usual.

I have been tired for the last 10 years. To the bone, painfully tired.

I was diagnosed as being severely hypothyroid almost 10 years ago, right after giving birth to my third child in three years. After I had him, I had to find a new GP, so I picked a name out of a hat. One of my biggest concerns is that the weight wasn't coming off like it had with my first two. I never lost it all, but I'd get down to a certain point and stay there. Until I got knocked up again. But after Gil, I lost an initially 25 lbs or so, then it started creeping right back up. And I was so exhausted that I could only unload one rack of the dishwasher before I had to rest. So this GP took one look at me -- a 2 month old, a 19 month old, and a 34 month old and told me, "You need to get off your butt and do something. And stop eating the food your kids leave on their plates."

Yes, a doctor told me I was simply lazy and fat. No tests -- just get off your ass and quit being a disgusting pig.

Thankfully he ended up being out-of-network so I had to find a new doctor.

Went to a chiropractor in the meantime who told me my thyroid was slightly enlarged and I should have it checked.

Found a new doctor, he wasn't convinced (probably had the three little kids = fat/lazy preconception) but he ordered blood work.

Three days later, the office nurse calls me and tells me to hold on -- the doctor needs to speak to me, it's urgent, and she's supposed to get him the minute she gets me on the phone. Ummm. . . commence freak-out! In the 60 seconds I waited I had the entire scenario worked out. I definitely had cancer and was dying. It was all over in my mind.

Of course, minor over reaction. He told me I was indeed hypothyroid. In fact, my TSH level was so high, their large, teaching practice had never seen it that high in person. They'd read about it in textbooks only.

So started my journey along the path of thyroid hormone replacement. It has sucked. That doctor told me if I had to have a chronic condition, this is the one to have. But I have never felt well, and have seriously struggled with my weight (not all my thyroid's fault but still. . . .) 10 years is a long time to struggle with continuous fatigue. It wears on my self-esteem, my kids, my family, my home. I've tried two different synthetics, two different dessicated pig thyroid brands, and now a compounded, personalized version which I happen to like best. I worked out like crazy (but would spend all day recovering), did protein diet shakes, lost some weight and it all helped me feel better about my looks.

But energy still eluded me, which caused my doctor to up my vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and supplement with an iodine blend.

Still tired. And looking like it might be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression, or lack of productive sleep.

So now we've added melatonin and magnesium to help me relax and sleep, in case grinding and poor sleep is causing my fatigue. He tested to make sure I haven't developed chronic asthma, is testing for anemia, b-12 deficiency, vit. D deficiency, my thyroid levels, and has ordered a CBC. He's added 5-HTP to help my brain produce serotonin in case clinical depression is the issue (with my past it's possible!) And, most exciting, he's prescribed B-12 injections in case it is CFS. I hear tell B-12 injections are da bomb!

As I head down this crazy, supplement riddled path I'll keep you all posted about how I'm feeling or if anything seems to be working. I get my first shot tomorrow (Katie -- if I can't do it myself I'll need to see you tomorrow afternoon at some point!) Hoping I feel the effects sooner rather than later.

The crazy thing is, if something works, with adding all of these things at once, how will I know which it is?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sorry I erased you

For all my followers (all TWO of you!) I somehow erased you. Umm. . . this is awkward. . . if you still want to be my friend, can you re-follow me? Or something.

Just think of it as being on the cutting edge of a trend. You're both trendsetters!!

A puckle!

Is it wrong to mess with your kids' minds? Not, like, telling them you have breast cancer before your biopsy results come back, or telling them you're having repeated heart attacks or strokes when it's just heartburn and sleep apnea. Not that bad. But, letting them make up a word and then encouraging them to use it because it's so darn cute?

When Little Louie was 3 (I can't believe he just turned 7!) he discovered the word, "Couple." As in, "If you have two cars, you have a couple of cars." His mental wheels went 'round and 'round and he asked me, "If two is a couple, then what's three?" Before I answered he exclaimed, "I know!! A PUCKLE!"

O-kay. We'll go with that!

So for about a year everyone in the house would count: One, two, puckle, four, five. . . . The goal was to see how long it would take for him either realize or have a preschool teacher inform him that the word 'puckle' did not mean 'three.'

Sadly, I'm not sure when it ended. I might have to blame Sesame Street for working the 'puckle' out of him.

But it sure was cute while it lasted!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My first blogroll! (and other tidbits)

Was going through the blogs I follow today and happened to look at the blogroll on Nine Kinds of Crazy. Opened up Stepmothering, then had a 'Whoa! Wait a second!' moment. My blog is listed on her blogroll! My first ever. I know I have a few readers -- my daughter-in-law, Sharon (from Nine Kinds of Crazy), and someone who thinks I hate my children because she loves her dog more. But to be on a blogroll? It almost felt like my little corner of the internet just blossomed from pretend to real life.


Working on potty training the 2 1/2 year old. The Bear is kicking my butt on this one. He's shown me he's willing to give up everything he loves (candy, tv, toys, paci) to avoid pottying on potty. And before someone tells me, "Maybe he's not ready!" trust me -- he's ready. He wakes up dry in the morning. When I sit him on the potty, he'll hold it for HOURS until I have to put him in a diaper to leave the house and promptly use the diaper. The kid is ready, but not willing. I know it will eventually happen, I just wish he was a bit more of a people pleaser at this moment.


Working on planning a baby shower for my daughter-in-law. Her mom and I and her three friends were going to do it, until Biomom called. The fact that she called to be involved surprised me. I was nice and we agreed to do the food together. The thing is, historically she hasn't proven very reliable about helping with events -- except for food. Financially and work-wise, it's been my husband and myself carrying the load.

So, to keep her in the loop I sent her the jpeg of the shower invite. (designed by Sara Luke at A Life Less Ordinary -- Little Red had 100% input on the design and wording. And chose to have baby's name put on the invite. Biomom? Calls me and tells me I'd made a mistake on the invite -- I'd put the baby's name on it and the kids aren't telling anyone what they're having until after the shower. Ummm. . . . they've been telling people since January 8th. Where have you been? Typical.


Anyone know how to deal with a 7 year old who can't seem to stop lying? I'm a little scared that this is going to be something he doesn't outgrow.


Gil and Belle both received special Valentines from special someones. Belle's wasn't a surprise -- in fact she had been working on staining and varnishing a box for her Valentine. Gil? We had no idea. It's the little sister of Belle's 'friend.' Gil was sweet and made her a ponytail 'tutu' to reciprocate. And Billy-bob was invited to his school's Valentine's Day dance by his crush. How -- WHEN? -- did this happen? When did they get old enough for this?!


If anyone can share with me how to create a blogroll on my site, how to put links to past posts or other posts (you know -- the ones where it's highlighted and underlined and you just have to click to go to that site?) I'd appreciate it. The fact that I'm able to get a post to show on my site amazes me. Not the most computer literate person.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thank God for little boys!

Poor Little Red. I think being part of our family might have ruined having children for her. At least, the excitement part. She and our oldest are expecting at the end of May and recently had an ultrasound to check everything out and were told the sex of the baby. Which she wanted to keep quiet until the shower. Unfortunately, Fate and baby gear designers conspired against her and everything gender neutral was hideously ugly -- so the plan to register for gender neutral items went out the door and the announcement was made to the world.

L.R.: "Guess what, world? We're having a boy!!!!!"

World: Yeah? Big surprise, you're a {{insert married last name here.}}

The response to their announcement, being that Football has five brothers (and only two sisters), and the boy cousins outnumber the girls by 2-1, was completely underwhelming from what I saw. I felt so bad! Having a son is cause for celebration.

I think one of the reasons I felt so badly for her was that no one was ever excited when I announced a pregnancy. Well, our pastor and his wife were great. But my family? Not so much. My mom's attitude was always that Hubby had "Too Many Children." Really? Which ones should he get rid of? And I once had a friend who said, when I announced our third pregnancy (had a 9 month old and one that was ALMOST 2) that people should have, "Children. Not litters." Actually, when I was pregnant with my daughter (my second child) she said, "Maybe you'll be lucky and miscarry." I know! So sweet and supportive! Guess who isn't a friend anymore? Not even on Facebook!

I guess the point of this is for Little Red: WE are super excited for you. (Okay -- mostly because I'M going to be a GRANDMA!! ;-) ) But, Hubby and I know how wonderful it is parenting a son. Sons are so much fun. The crazy, bang-'em-up, attack everything, throw everything else, and then dive safely into mommy's arms for hugs little boyishness that you're going to experience is wonderful beyond belief. You'll look into his eyes and wonder how you could be so lucky and blessed almost every single day. The other days, you'll wonder how you and he both survived his antics. And then you'll remember that you're both lucky AND blessed.

Just make sure you keep good medical insurance. With boys, you'll need it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I have the funniest (i.e. strangest) kids sometimes. While sitting in the living room checking out the step-mom blogs I follow, a paid program comes on tv. For the Jack LaLaine Power Juicer. My six year old was in my line of sight, standing in front of the microwave making a bag of popcorn and a memory came flooding back.

When Little Louie was about 4 y.o. he sat, transfixed, in front of the tv watching the Power Juicer infomercial. He was fascinated. And he wanted one. Badly. He even asked for one for Christmas. And his birthday. We bookmarked the site on the computer so he could watch the infomercial any time he wanted. It was way too funny.

I asked him today if he still wanted a juicer for his birthday. He grinned his wonderfully sweet grin and shook his head no. But he remembers wanting that juicer. And right this minute? He's sitting, once again transfixed, watching Jack Lalaine and his wife sell a juice machine. I wish I had a decent camera and knew how to post photos on here because the grin he keeps giving me is just too sweet.

Can I just add? Jack reminds me a little of my grandpa, "You're getting gypped there!" Love you grampa!


Exciting news: Belle will be starting tutoring with a specialist to remediate her dyslexia (I think that's the term) a week from now. For FREE! Finally a specialist was willing to call it 'Dyslexia' which is a relief in itself. But for this wonderful woman to volunteer her time to meet with Belle on a regular basis for 2 years? I see some seriously wonderful gift cards in Mrs. L's future.


Rehearsals started for the Spring Ballet (Peter Pan) today. Billy-Bob, to his relief, was only cast in one role for this show. He was pretty tuckered out by his multiple roles -- including the Nutcracker Prince -- in the Nutcracker this past December. Belle, to the dismay of a few jealous older girls in her class, was given three nice roles -- mermaid, Indian maiden, and pixie fairy. I love that she's handling her good fortune with class and grace. (More class and grace than me, I'm afraid!) And Gil, my wonderful, intellectual looking boy was cast as John, the older brother. He's only 9 but has amazing potential. So glad he's getting this chance because living in Billy-Bob's shadow for 9 years has been a tough pill to swallow, Thank you Gail for your casting wisdom! If Gil had been cast to play Michael, the teddy-bear toting little brother, to Billy-Bob's John it would've been a nightmare.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Strep. Yippee!!

Snow day for 3 of my kidlings today. They go to a small charter school, the principal is from someplace down south. . . he's not used to Midwest weather. So 4-5 inches is cancel-able weather in his book. :-) I love Southern principals!!

Since the kids were homeschooled until this year, this is their first snow day ever so we should be celebrating. But we're not. Instead we're cleaning and disinfecting now that I'm home with older brother (who, being at another charter school, didn't have a snow day) from the Dr's office. This doodle is the one who catches every single bug that comes around. Not that he's sickly -- but when he gets sick he gets SICK. I mean, running 103-104+ degree temps for 5-10 days sick. When it doesn't include a sore throat, I don't worry too much. But blinding headache, severe sore throat, neck pain, swollen glands, and aching knees? That's a trip to the Dr's office, my dear.

And even at 12, the strep culture process is traumatic for him. He has autistic tendencies and has always been super sensitive to touch. Clipping his toe nails was a process that usually included hubby holding him down while I did my best to trim them, right up until he was 8 or 9 and old enough to clip them himself. Rubbing his back? Not happening. So someone sticking a swab down his throat? About 5 minutes of psychological prep time and 4 tries, including smacking the nurses hands three times and knocking his head against the wall. Thankfully she was very sweet (and reportedly has a terrible gag reflex herself so was understanding.)

Now we get to keep an eye on the rest of the kidlings (and my preggo d-i-l since they're living with us until their house is finished.) My son is pretty worried about passing it to sister-in-law but she's not that worried. She'll get it or she won't, and staying away from him at this point isn't going to make much of a difference. But what I'm worried about is the way it tends to cycle around and around through the kids. Sometimes they've gotten it 2 or 3 times before we finally eradicate it. Fun. I hate January for this reason. My kidlings always get sick in January.

Oh, and loved the Dr's response when she looked in his throat: "Where are your tonsils?!? How do you have strep?!?!" Umm. . . had mine out at 1 1/2 y.o. and ended up with life threatening strep/scarlet fever at 16. Remember when Jim Hensen died? Yep. He and I? Have that particular rare strain of strep in common. His turned into pneumonia, mine into scarlet fever. I was one sick puppy for a long time. Lost 20 lbs in 2 weeks. Hmmm. . . . Wasn't I just saying the other day I could go for that diet again? Maybe this is Fate! Come here and kiss me son! I need me a debilitating case of strep.


And in bonus good news today -- I'm 8 lbs down from my last Dr's visit in December. Or November? Whenever. But he upped my thyroid meds then, and I've been feeling a little better. AND I started following the Weight Watchers point system this past Monday and seem to be doing really well. Not doing meetings yet -- don't plan to unless I see I'm not able to do this myself so I don't know where I started on Monday weightwise, but my face seems a little less puffy with eating healthier. And? I can take my pants off without unbuttoning them. Had to move my belt in one notch, too. I have about 67 lbs to go, but I'm excited about this start. With all the things made that are Weight Watcher's friendly because they're adding fiber (hostess mini-cupcake three pack? ONE point! How awesome is THAT?!?) this might be easier than I thought.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What not to do

Happened across the phrase 'Borderline Personality Disorder' and, thinking of my d-i-l's sister read it to her. Then discovered Histrionic Personality Disorder, read the symptoms and we found that fits sister better. Then we read Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Lo and behold, it fits my second oldest step-son to a T. Wow. Then I found a 'What's your personality disorder?' test.

And I took it.


And Yikes!!!

Don't ever do that. You might not like the results.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year?

Watching the 'Whatever Bowl' half-time show tonight, I asked my husband, "Isn't five days into the new year too late to be wishing people a Happy New Year?"

"Well, I'm telling it to all my clients," Hubby tells me. "I guess the rule is if it's the first time you've seen them you can wish them a Happy New Year."

"So, if I don't see someone until July, I can wish them a Happy New Year in July?"

"Pretty much," he said with a snicker. "And you can tell them your husband said it's all right!"

Ima gonna have fun with this!


One last note from Hubby as he watches me write this post: "But you have to tell them I've had three rum and Mt. Dew's!"


(But thanks for supporting my dieting by not bringing Coke into the house. Love you!)

Caught him with his pants down. Figuratively.

So. . . my d-i-l and I have a really nice relationship. She's easier to be around than the step-daughter I've parented for 13 years. Why? Part of it is because we are very similar. (How scary for my oldest ss that he married his stepmom?!?) and the other part is because I don't think we have all the baggage that comes with parenting some one else's children.

The other day, she told me that she and my husband had had an awkward conversation where he told her, "You know, you've called me 'Dad' a few times and. . . actually I'd really like it if you called me Dad." Poor Little Red had no choice to reply anything but, "Um, okay." Not that she has anything against calling him dad, I don't think. It's just something that will either evolve or not and to be put on the spot, or for him to actually have the guts to say that (my shy, non-confrontational hubby!) is a bit awkward.

Of course, if you've read my last post you know how I've been feeling about my step-kids. (For the record, Little Red's husband is my favorite. There. I've said it. I have a favorite step-child! Take that and skewer me with it, world!) Anyway -- how I've been feeling about SOME of my step-kids. And so my brain went into hurt mode and I asked her something like, "And what about me? I'm just {{insert name here}}?" Poor Little Red, deer-in-headlights is the best way to describe the look. Wasn't mad at her for telling me. Felt bad that she was the one who got to step in it.

So I asked hubby, casually, "Well, L.R. told me you asked her to call you Dad?"

Hubby: "Yeah."

Me: "And what did you ask her to call me?"

Hubby: "Uhhhhhhhh. . . . {{crickets}}"

Me: "Exactly."

But, in the end it was a good thing. I realized that it didn't really matter to me what my daughter-in-law called me -- I had actually never, ever contemplated that she would give me a different title and not use my name. I'm so used to it being, "Dad and {{insert name here}}." I was irked at his clumsiness -- but I think he's finally getting the picture and beginning to understand the feelings that have developed over the last 13 years.

The thing isn't that my step-kids haven't been respectful. To my face, at least. But I thought, imagined, that when they were adults, they would break the twisted bonds with their bio-mom and we would have a free-er, closer relationship. A friendship or something. And that they would appreciate me. It hasn't happened. In fact, since they've become legal adults, with 2 out of 3 it's gotten worse. Their attitude toward me, especially when they're not here and I'm not giving them some sort of handout, has gotten a lot worse.

So I've decided -- they're old enough to decide what kind of relationship they want with me and they've decided. To them, in spite of every single fricken' thing I've done for them, the messes I've cleaned up for their mom so they could have some sort of relationship with her, I am just their dad's wife. Not a parent. Not a parent-figure. Just the woman their dad happened to marry. Which means, for me, I have no obligation to them other than to be their dad's wife. And, frankly, I'm damn good at that. Birthday presents? Christmas? Weddings? That will now be their dad's thing. I will not have a single thing to do with the planning or purchasing of anything for special days. I did, exclusively, for 13 years. I'm done. They need money or help with something? Talk to your dad, who will remember that they're adults. And that they only come over or call when they want something. Weddings? Dad might throw in a little money as appropriate, but no way am I busting my ass to help in any way like I did for the oldest and L.R. who both appreciated the hell out of it. Nope. I'll spend their wedding day at the spa (maybe with Little Red!! haha!) getting gorgeous and attend as their dad's guest and the mother of some of the wedding party. I will be kind and cordial. But in the end? They just happen to be the adult children of the man I married. And I owe them nothing.

Strangely, this has been extremely freeing. Even everything else that's been weighing me down seems much easier to deal with. Or ignore, whatever. And while this makes my husband a little sad (mostly for me, that his kids have turned out like this toward me after 13 years) he understands. He knows everything I've done for them, the sacrifices I've made for them AND for their mom. Even our children have made sacrifices for his children and PEW. Considering we have five children of our own, he agrees we've done all we can or should for his older children.

Who would've thought that separating oneself from children one has raised for 13 years would be this easy and pain-free? Maybe it's true what everyone said, I won't love them as much as I love my own. Maybe it's because I wasn't allowed to. But I did love them the best that I could.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tired of always being in the wrong

As a step-mother of 13 years, it's assumed by most of society that I'm evil. And no matter how I've worked to put the needs of my husband, my step-children and even the PEW (ex-wife), ahead of my own and my children's -- I'm still seen as 'The Problem' by most of the parties involved. What I do is never enough. What I don't do I'm informed I should have done. And ALWAYS I did more for those children than their own mom did.

As much as I knew it would take time for my husband's parents and family to accept that I'm not the PEW, that I truly care for him and my children, I could do no right and was talked about badly every time my name came up. I fell short because I didn't 'let him' see his mother enough. I fell short because when I came in to pick up my children my m-i-l was babysitting, I would pick up my infant bio-child before greeting my step-children. And now that my crazy m-i-l didn't come to my oldest step-son's wedding becuase she was drug-shopping at an ER, and I've forbidden her to see my children until she checks into rehab, I'm definately the bitch. And everyone likes to forget she drank my 8 y.o. son's Tylenol 3 days after his tonsils were removed and he still needed the medication. And stole half my vicoden after my gallbladder was removed. I'm still the bitch. And my husband hasn't bothered to set anyone straight.

As the daughter who was sexually abused by her older brother, I am at fault because I'm STILL not over what he did to me 25 years ago. I am in the wrong and resented because I finally refused to see him and pressed charges against him after finding out that there was no statute of limitation on the degree of abuse he inflicted on me. It seems that giving me all my parents gave me, though they never condemned his actions but instead excused them, is supposed to make up for the damage that was done to my personality and spirit. I'm supposed to blame all the damage on the date-rape that happened my freshman year in college which brought everything I'd tried to bury, as the 'good daughter' to save my parents hurt, to the surface and lead to an emotional breakdown. It shouldn't surprise me that this is the case because even when there was clear and evident psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of my older brother, my mom chose to not get involved and I would be punished by my dad when I would finally lose it at my brother. I was the one who squawked, I was the one who was punished, never protected or defended.

It seems that the hurt and damage I've accumulated over the years, some of which I thought had been dealt with several years ago and now find is back in spades, means my husband can go into a funk and not talk about or try to help me deal with this. The revelation that there is still more abuse that I've never divulged to anyone (concerning my brother), and that several years ago when dealing with all that crap was suicidal and no one ever knew is met with silence. And avoidance.

I'm at the point where I don't know what to do now. Don't know where to turn. Shutting down seems to be the only way to save myself -- but that means living forever with the voices in my mind that tell me I'm worthless. And my husband's reaction? Confirms my worthlessness and that I've never, ever -- not even as a child -- been worth defending and protecting. And if my husband can't deal with supporting me in this, how am I supposed to deal with living with it? Or trying to face it and put these things in the past, or at least in perspective, where they belong.