Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Done Sleeping!

Lily has found a new means of sharing that she's done sleeping...
My back sleeper, who hadn't quite yet figured out she was strong enough to roll over in her bed, alerted me EARLY this morning that she was up. I half-asleep, sluggishly clomped up the steps to get her. I walked into her room to find her on her belly with her head at the foot of her crib... she grinned at me and said, "hi".   I laughed and headed back downstairs to grab the camera --which of course made her cry that I left without her. :)
I hoped maybe it would be a fluke for that morning. 
No such luck.
Her The end of naptime looked like this:

I think she's mocking me in that last picture.

Lily's New Ride

You know how much I love couponing and saving money. duh who doesn't like saving money

It was time to head off to the grocery store because, well I couldn't exactly feed my family on a single frozen chicken breast, mushrooms and a a myriad of random nothing in my fridge.  Lily and I headed off to restock.

I decided this would be her first time in the buggy sans car seat. :)

She was in heaven! She smiled, looked around, played with her purse, tried to eat my coupons, made nice with all the people who stopped to tell her how beautiful she is (we shop midday and there are nothing but elderly people there who adore her--it's sweet), and "talked".   We were on borrowed time trying to supershop before it was her naptime! :)  She hung in there like a champ...only fussed near the end.  I thank my lucky stars I have a baby who cries minimally and it's very easy to tell why. ♥

As we headed toward the checkout, she needed to check herself in the mirror of her purse. :)

She didn't bother with the groceries until they were bagged and back in the buggy...then she wanted to turn around to eat the bags.  And well, you know what they say about babies and plastic bags. haha

Lily enjoyed her new way of grocery shopping and Mama realized she'll have to figure out a new place to put coupons. :)  We made it home 30 minutes after her normal naptime and she went right to sleep for 2 1/2 hours.  That's a win in my book!

Oh! Plus I got $224.36 worth of groceries for $134.76.  And for that, I am happy. :)

Role of a Stepmom

Last week I wrote about  about my frustration exhaustion with dealing with issues with biomom from spelling lists to room sharing.  You name it, there's issue. 

Well, it prompted biomom to post about her intentions and how much of a liar I am.  It pushed me to the edge point of utter exhaustion.  So, I picked up the phone and called her. I told her I was sick and tired of dealing with this crap week in and week out.   She listened and expressed her thoughts.  Now mind you, I typically don't speak with biomom at all.
We disagreed about some things which is expected, but it wasn't a horrible conversation. My point was to express my feelings that we all need to get on the same page to parent this child who lives in both of our homes. 

I received an email the next day from her.  I read it and responded to the email and her blog post via email.  I didn't filter my feelings or temper my words by worrying about how it would be twisted or turned. I was straightforward.  I was asked to give her the benefit of the doubt. I asked for the same.

Emailing hasn't worked for us in the past, so I suggested talking as we did last Friday after these initial emails. Said the ball was in her court. 

One of the key things she keeps mentioning is that I "stick my nose where it doesn't belong", "force intentions" (I don't even understand what that actually means) and I don't know my "role as a step parent". (For the record, the word "stepparent" "stepmom" etc. is a compound word that is one word and needs no hyphen.)  Grammar Police

I asked her to perhaps start by telling me what she feels the role of a stepmom is and whether we disagree or not, at least I can know where she's coming from.

So, what actually IS the role of a stepmom? 

Clearly, everyone's answers will differ depending on your family make-up, but in the BLENDING of our family, my husband and I have worked very diligently to ensure that both of our (separate) children feel a part of our family.

This was initially moreso for Reagan, prior to us having shared custody, because when she only came every other weekend, we wanted to be certain she felt a part of  our family and not simply a visitor.  We've continued to do that even with her being here half of each week. It seems like such a small thing, but really can be impactful on a child.

When Lily was born, we were again faced with ensuring that the older kids knew they were important just the same as they were before. 

My husband's schedule is such that some nights, it is just me with the kids.  This has been a source of contention for biomom from the beginning. She's felt Reagan should be here ONLY when her dad is here. That's fine that's her feeling as it's not my job or interest to change her feelings. But, it's not the way it actually is.  So, it is equated with George doesn't care or have interest in their daughter. Whatever. If that's what makes her happy, then feel that. It's not the case and it's not my job to convince her otherwise.  Think what you wish.

Biomom told me to "worry about your own kids and let me take care of mine" because Reagan "has 2 parents and doesn't need [me] stepping in."  

Remember... I asked biomom to tell me what she feels the role of a stepmom is.

I was pretty shocked that the expectation is for me to treat my stepdaughter differently. 
And I'm not sorry to say, I will not do that. 

 After ALL we've done to ensure Reagan feels part of our family, I can't imagine looking at all 3 kids in my home and making her feel like an outsider to appease biomom.  I don't get it.

I love my stepdaughter like my own child...and for that I know she and I are BOTH lucky because not everyone feels that way about stepchildren. 

I'm THE mom in my home and I will continue to mother all three children in my home.  Mothers (notice I didn't say all women ;)) inherently nurture their children.

In my house, I make sure kids are fed, clothed, bathed, homework is done etc. It doesn't mean my husband doesn't care or is uninvolved...especially about his first daughter.  Can you imagine the detriment to that little girl if I did everything that I normally do for the other children and not her...WHILE SHE'S HERE? 

Yeah, if I did that, then be pissed at me. 

But I don't.

And I won't.

And of course, we're just talking physical basic stuff here, nevermind the emotional stuff.

So my definition of stepmom is simply mom while at home with us. 

I'm not the one who lives in two homes.
My stepdaughter does. 
I won't treat her cinderella-ish because it makes biomom feel I'm "respecting" her. Quite honestly, it's disrespectful to my stepdaughter and she lives with me half of her life.

I love her and boy, are we lucky our family works for us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Random Thoughts

I need to get caught up...

I've fallen behond on well, pretty much everything since I had that last long, lingering sickness that wiped me out pretty much for 10 days.

So, I'm hoping to get caught up on replies to comments, blogging, emails etc.

In other news, I completed week two of weight watchers and I'm down another 3.5 pounds. I'm happy about it!  The place I'm struggling is a salt craving that I seem to get late afternoon. I haven't found anything to satisfy it that's not a lot of points, so I'm still searching for something. The rest of the day I'm good with any cravings that come along.  Fruit covers sweet cravings easily, my favorite cereal is low points anyway, so I'm good.  The thing I love that I have had to cut back a lot is cheese.  I ♥ cheese.

I've been staying up too late lately. I've need my alone quiet time and so when everyone has gone to bed, I have really just enjoyed the silence. :)  But, that has led to me being tired during the day. So, I have to get back to my regular bedtime.

Lily is working on another tooth. Which means she has been crankypants off and on and her morning nap is all jacked up. She's exhausted by afternoon naptime, so there's no trouble there and nighttime is the same. But ohmygodtheteethinghastostop!

Andrew said the smartest thing ever to me today before Scouts. He was asking for something and I told him no. He tried convincing me why he should have it and I maintained my stance.  He made one last attempt to barter with me, then cut himself off and said, "I should just stop arguing with you. I never win."  Success!!!  And that, my friends, is why I stick to what I say with my children. Eventually 11 years later it sinks in and pays off. :)

I love my husband and I'm looking forward to our upcoming dates we have planned.  We need it. ♥

I'm going to bed.
Goodnight moon or as Lily now says, "ni ni".


3.21.11: team mommy '73
♥ happy birthday mama
(yeah, weird to find that onesie since i was born in 1973)

3.22.11: i love my big brother so much!

3.23.11:  old man face

3.24.11:  happy even at bedtime

3.25.11: growing so big

3.26.11:  movie fun!

3.27.11: rub-a-dub-dub in my duck tub

Sunday, March 27, 2011


3.14.11: mmmm banana cookies

3.15.11:  love the laughs
3.16.11:  on the go

3.17.11:  happy st patrick's day

3.18.11: dimple
3.19.11:  1st swing

3.20.11: winding down my day


3.7.11: i scooted in a circle for the 1st time today!

3.8.11: lil love bug ♥

3.9.11: i love my big brother!

3.10.11:  just sweetness before a nap

3.11.11: omg i have to have these pandas right NOW

3.12.11: i'm thinking about how i can start moving forward

3.13.11: what daylight savings looks like at the end of the day

The Return of Getting to Know You

When I first started looking for other bloggers to read a year or more ago, I came across Keely and her Sunday bloghop. It was a handful of questions to let people get to know you and of course, you get to know the others that linked up as well.  It made for short, enjoyable Sunday morning reading. I have made real friends from that connection. After awhile, Keely had given it up. Now she brought it back! :) Happy Sunday!
Getting to know YOU

1. what inspires you?
~my family, teaching, books, music, sunshine...

2. what was the last thing you bought yourself?
~nothing really exciting. a pair of pants at kohl's. lame.

3. would you rather watch a movie in a theater or from the comfort of your own home?
~most of the time totally the comfort of my own home! sometimes, though, i really like to go to the theater instead of waiting. for the most part i'm too cheap frugal to pay movie theater prices. we did, however, go yesterday to see diary of a wimpy kid part 2 for my birthday with the family. :)

(andrew had to hold lily's arms down because she kept trying to get the popcorn)
4. household chore you don't mind doing?
i don't mind putting the dishes away or sweeping the floors and vacuuming. laundry is my nemesis

5. coffee or tea?
sweet iced tea and/or sweet tea vodka :)

6. what could you eat every day and not get sick of??
i'm kind of this type of eater anyway. i want something and then i eat it for days weeks. lately it's been broccoli and egg salad. weird.

7. what's the last book you read?
who has time to read books? sheesh, i wish i did. do family fun and parents magazines count?  really, the last one was

8. do you think you look you "look" your age?
who knows. i turned 38 six days ago and i don't feel like i look 38, but then again, i still remember when that was old. i often get told that i look between 26-28, so that's great!  of course, last year i got a new husband, a new baby and gray hair(for the first time)...coincidence?! probably not haha
i think i just have good genes...      
me and my cutie 82 year old grandma
june 2008
Happy Sunday, Y'all!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pfffffft to this Week

Yeah that pretty much is a good description of the last couple days.

From the spelling list and the room sharing stuff, a kid making some choices that are not the smartest, a kid blaming others for their choices, a teething baby, a migraine, to an illogical conversation with the ex and I have simply had enough of this week.

My birthday was great! 
It all went nutty after that.

Funny enough I saved the extra fortune cookie I got on my birthday until yesterday...the height of the week.

Thanks, fates.

There's always tomorrow....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Laundry is my Nemesis

This is what we've been up to...

Laundry is my nemesis.

I hate it. 
Absolutely hate it.
It's never ending.

But it's tolerable when I have a cutie helper!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Wee Bit of Me

{one} what was your first job?
I worked at McDonald's when I was 16, a senior in high school...Saturdays and Sundays 6am-2pm.
Do you know how many people eat the same breakfast or fish sandwich every. single. weekend.?

{two} have you ever seen a stand up comedian?
My family--brothers, cousins, aunts, mom, sister-in-law had a standing Labor Day weekend
Tempe Improv date.  Always funny, always a good time!
John Heffron, Gary Gulman and Alonzo Boden from Last Comic Standing were a favorite!

{three} when was the last time you played mini golf?
The summer George and I met, we took Reagan
(she was 3).
She called it "Goofin' Offin'" instead of goofy golfing. :)

{four} what was the last picture you took?

{five} burnt food: yes or no?
no, never. gross.

{six} if you have a pocket full of change, what do you do with it?
It usually ends up in the bottom of my purse or lunch money for the kids.

{seven} can you touch your tongue to your nose?

{eight} do you scrapbook?
I used to..a lot. It's been a long time.
But, I still love it!

{nine} do you buy lottery tickets?
You can't win if you don't play....haha but nope.

{ten} do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?
Both actually. 
I think it's important that when my children are older, they see me IN their lives, not just capturing it.

My House is Different than Yours

It always makes me shake my head when daggers are thrown our way for our parenting, life, choices, home, yeah pretty much everything about us.

Does it make one a better person to continually degrade other people?

I think many people learn that life lesson much younger in life, long before they have children and just don't bring that habit into their child's life, teaching them to put others down. I've never been a fan of hurting others to make oneself feel better.

In thinking about teachers as a whole --the type of people who generally become teachers, there's generally a "type".
We see the diamonds in the rough, the spark in that person who everyone else has said isn't capable. We are positive, optimistic, hopeful. We champion for the best in everyone.  Really, teachers--good teachers--don't give up on people.  That's me.

In addition to the teacher in me, the mom in me has been successfully parenting a school-aged kid for quite some time.  I've had years of experience and know what routines for homework, studying for spelling tests, not letting handwriting be sloppy etc., work. 
Doesn't mean I'm better.
Just means I actually do have a clue.
I don't have to start over from scratch with my stepdaughter on these routines because I've already tried them out on Andrew
Yes, she's a different kid, but the basics work. 

Does she sigh when I make her go back to math homework and rewrite the numbers so they're legible?  Yep.  So does my son.  I don't want perfect kids--just kids who are learning that "getting by" isn't enough.  Do your best. Make a 5 look like a 5, not a scribble.  Make your handwriting age appropriate, not chicken scratch.  These are expectations that we have in our house.  All part of the big picture of who we are raising these young people to grow up to be.

Just because my stepdaughter "isn't my kid", doesn't mean I care less about her education and growth as a human being. 

Just because MY role in our home involves school--preparation, studying, reading, encouraging, signing papers, going through backpacks--doesn't mean my husband doesn't care or value it.  Seriously? 

Those roles work in OUR house, so why is it a source of  meaning that "you (my husband) don't care" or "you don't know" for anyone else? 

My house is never going to be like your house.  That's ok with me.  I can't control you. I don't try to control you.

Every. Single. Thing. is a point of issue for biomom. 

The fact that Lily and Reagan share a room--not a big deal.  Apparently it is:

My husband doesn't do what biomom wants HIM to do, so that equals he doesn't care about his daughter. What?!  That means I'm "the babysitter aka wife" and also "mommy aka wife".  What?!

Clearly, my house is different than yours. AND THAT IS OK!
The "ok" part, you need to get "ok" with.

We had an incident this week with biomom regarding my stepdaughter's spelling list.  It became an "I'm a better parent than you," accusation slinging.  Come on. Seriously? IT'S A SPELLING LIST!

Important background info:
Spelling tests are Fridays.  Lists are individualized. New lists come home Fridays. Reagan is with us on Fridays.

In the past, two lists have come home for the following week's test. One for our house, one for biomom's. Saturday night when Reagan leaves, biomom's list would go back with her. 

About 3 weeks ago, Reagan stopped bringing home two lists and just brought home one.   Saturday evening, I got her school stuff ready to go back to biomom's and off I headed to the grocery store.  I had left our spelling list on the desk. George asked Reagan if it needed to go back to biomom's. Reagan said yes.  So, mistakenly our copy went to biomom's.  No biggie.  We figured it would come back on Wednesday so we could study before her test Friday.  It didn't.  Reagan called biomom Thursday, got the words and that was that.

Two weeks ago, Reag only brought one list. Same thing this past week.

After the 1st week when only one list came home, I had spoken with the teacher and she shared that Reagan had only wanted to bring home our list and would take the one to biomom's on Mondays.  Ok, no big deal.  Or so I thought. 

Seriously, the slinging about how irresponsible we are, how we lie to "cover our asses", our "general failure", how we use Reagan as a "scapegoat for our faults" and on and on ABOUT A SPELLING LIST!!!!!  It's an easy fix ---contact the teacher to find out.

The teacher called me on Monday to wish me happy birthday (so great!) and I asked her to please ensure that Reagan bring home both lists on Fridays.  She is very accomodating to Reagan and her feelings, so when Reag said she only wanted one, that's what she did.  Now, she will ensure biomom gets a spelling list by sending home 2 copies on Friday --one for us, one for biomom--AND sending home another one to biomom on Mondays. From a teacher perspective, you do what you have to do...


I just shake my head at the ridiculousness of it.  What the hell are we going to deal with when we have a teenager facing peer pressure, drugs, alcohol etc. if this is what we deal with over a spelling list?

So, instead of either talking with your daughter or contacting the teacher to ask if 2 lists went home, why you didn't get a list, did your daughter ask to start bringing home your list on Mondays....throwing daggers and attacking seems like a more reasonable choice.

My house will always be different than yours. 

And for that I am grateful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Miscellany Monday

~Today is my 38th birthday!
What?! How did I get to be that old?
When my mom was 38, I was 18.
I am 38 with an (almost) 8 month old. ♥

~Weight Watchers
I am working on losing this leftover baby weight and the pre-baby weight that needed to hit the road!
I'm one week in today: 
4 pounds less to begin 38. :)
I'd say that's a successful beginning!
Honestly, it's been very easy and I've enjoyed cooking and researching food more.

~Cutie Baby Clothes
Last week I met a new friend from twitter in person and we hit up a local consignment sale.
Despite the line that equaled one at Disneyland and yet no ride at the end of it,
I was thrilled with my score!
I ended up with 11 dresses/outfits for Spring and Summer for Lily
and one pair of "crocs" to just keep on her feet outside for
(can you tell i love flowers ha)

What I love about it:  connection.
I stay up on news in my hometown easily.
I talk to local people I may not have otherwise "met".
I find support for relevant elements of my life.
When I was up in the middle of the night nursing a baby, I had connection to other nursing moms.
Post-partum wasn't so isolating as it felt wayyyyy back in 1999. :)
Can you imagine was 9/11 would have been like if Twitter was around? Wow.

~Ugly Stuff
I have some ugly stuff that I need to write about.
This is MY place. MY journal.
I resolved the public/privacy issue for myself previously by simply writing very little of my stepdaughter.
I don't want to have to temper my writing so I just don't write about her.
I do, however, need to get out some stuff.
MY own feelings.

I learned last week that a teacher I used to work with, her 5 year old son just diagnosed with cancer.
She was pregnant with him when we worked together. She is an amazingly strong woman of faith and simply just a strong woman.  I admire her so very much and pray for that young boy, his two younger sisters and his parents whose lives were just turned upside down.

Today is a great day!
I am surrounded by family who loves me, my facebook page is filled with wishes from people in every facet of my life, my phone is ringing with birthday singing.
I don't ever wish for lots of "things" for my birthday.
I have a husband and children who love me.

It's funny really when you think about how facebook brings people in your life to one place...
I said to George today,
"My life can be separated into people wishing me happy birthday who I had cupcakes with or cocktails with."

I'm grateful for all of them. ♥
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Family Man

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in dealing with the hard stuff and needing to fix the wrong that the good stuff gets pushed aside a little more often than it should.  Let's face it. The hard stuff is what makes the good stuff...really good.

As part of our release of negativity, my husband and I have been focusing more on "the good stuff". Celebrating us.
Celebrating our amazing children--together and individually. 
A few weeks ago, I got a text from a good friend that said, "I heard a song that reminds me of G.
I think it's called 'Family Man.'"  
I hadn't heard it, but hadn't been listening much to new music lately, so when I heard it for the first time this past weekend, it hit me pretty hard. 

As I listened to the lyrics, tears streaming down my face, I was so proud that my husband is thought of by other people in the way the song reflects.

A couple years before I met George, I had told a friend I hoped someday I would meet a man who had a white collar mind and a blue collar soul.  

I met him...
...a man who is intellectually stimulating and hardworking. 
 His work ethic and morals make me proud. 

I love watching him teach my son how to start a campfire, how to use tools --all those "man" things that I would never have been able to teach him. 
Of course, it's not just the physical things he's teaching him.

I love that when he talks to people he simply says, "my son" or "our son".  And they've found their own way over these near 4 years together.  It's not always been easy, but it's so worth it.  The struggles we all had gone through have made us very close.  It's an interesting dynamic when there are 4 of us.
It's just easy. 
And my God, we need easy.

I love watching him with Lily. ♥
I love how he helps with her even when it's different than how I do things.
I love that she adores him.
She lights up when she sees him...and every little girl deserves to feel that way about her daddy!

We're very real.
We don't always get along, we have differing opinions about some things, we've learned a lot from each other's points of views, we compromise, we communicate, we recognize, we listen, we love...

He said that years ago a friend of his had told him,
when you meet the one you're supposed to be with, you'll know.
I remember so clearly when he told me that he finally understood what his friend meant.
Sometimes when I think of all we've been through, those moments seem like a lifetime ago, but celebrating those conversations and remembering to honor the life we share, has become more present for us.

He chose ME to marry.

I'm so proud to be his wife!
I'm so honored to share in the gift and responsibility to raise our children with him!

"Family Man" is him...every part of it we've been there --
the work, the truck, the laundry, the dishes, the homework, the prayers...

"They're the world my world revolves around
My sacred piece of solid ground
The flesh and bone that gives me strength to stand
They're the fire in my driving on
The drive behind my coming home
The living, breathing, reason that I am
A family man"

I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daylight Savings

This is what daylight savings time looks like at the end of the day.

Quite honestly, we actually had a pretty good day given losing an hour. Much better than I had expected, really!  Daddy and Andrew were still on their camping trip, so Lily and I had the day to get her adjusted.

As a girl who spent most of her life in Arizona, the time change thing isn't something I'm used to since we just didn't do it.  I like the no change. 

Lily woke up right around 8:30am which was spot on for the hour jump. Basically, I just followed her typical schedule without paying much attention to the clock, so that she'd be up for the normal awake periods of time throughout the day.

At 10am, she went for a morning nap and slept until noon. She went down for her afternoon nap around 2:30pm and slept until 5pm.  She had her bottles like normal after waking up in the morning and after naps.  The only thing I did differently was I didn't allow for her evening catnap...hence the above picture.

I've written previously that Lily doesn't make it much more than 2 hours awake time before she becomes crankypants and needs to get back to sleep. So, around 7pm, she ate supper and around 7:45pm had her last bottle for the day and was in bed at 8pm. That 3rd hour awake from 7pm-8pm was pretty fussy. :( 

I was prepared for some possible wake times throughout the night, but NOPE!
She actually slept until 8:15am Monday morning!
It was a daylight savings time miracle! haha

I remember when we lived in Nashville when Andrew was a baby, it was such a rough transition with the time changes.  Here's to hoping that Lily's transitions remain this smooth each time!

Flexibility and go with the flow. ♥

Lucky mama.


This past weekend, George and Andrew headed out on a scout camping trip.  Since Andrew is a Webelo, this camping trip was with his group and the Boy Scouts.  It rained all day Thursday and late Thursday night, early Friday morning it turned to snow.  Originally they were calling for 3-6 inches, but it ended up only being about 2.  But, camping in the snow is not my idea of a good time. :)  Good thing I'm a girl.

They loaded up and headed out

They said it was really cold at night, but fortunately they had a lot of sunshine and a warmer, albeit windy day. 
The scouts slept in the adirondacks (I thought those were a type of chair only. :) ) and the parents slept in tents.

Getting their cooking area set up...the Webelos listening to directions from the Boy Scouts.
Andrew is on the right

Getting wood for their fires.
The boys were responsible for the cooking and clean up with guidance from the parents.
"cookin' the steaks"
(Andrew proudly wearing his ASU gear.)
Good thing he gets practice at home doing dishes to know what to do. :)

One of the things they did was a ceremony to retire an American flag that included a ceremony. They hiked and worked with compasses and also performed skits with their patrols around the campfire at night.
They had a great time!