Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

For anyone brave enough Click Here

Yes. It's me. I have talented and generous friends. LOL

Friday, December 21, 2007

What's Been Taken Apart At My House

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Any guesses as to what it is?

It is Hubster's Grandmother's K5A Kitchenaid Mixer! They don't build them like that anymore. M was spinning some frozen butter in there a number of years back and stripped out that little reddish looking gear in the photo. It's called a worm gear and with my supa Google skillz I found out how to tear it apart and order the parts to replace it! Kitchenaid will not service these old machines since they don't have the newer safety regulation stuff on them. It has all metal gearing, and the new machines don't unless you drop some serious change on the professional series, so it is worth hanging on to! After the parts get here, I may just tear apart the other one that I've been using and see what it's made out of! LOL I'll re-pack the gears in it for sure, and maybe between the two of them, I can put off my quest for finding a 10 or 20 quart mixer. Hubster had visions of school lunch ladies running through his head when I mentioned purchasing a mixer that would have to live in our garage. He's such a good sport.

What's Been Put Together At My House

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This is the cake I made for the Ward Christmas Party. So fun! The bottom is chocolate with raspberry filling, the middle is my famous Lemon Chiffon with lemon filling and the top is Hubs favorite, banana with allspice cream cheese filling. And it's all topped off with my absolutely divine butter cream frosting. MMMMMMM. If you look close, you'll see that the candies are covered with coarse sugar and there is a light skift of sugar "snow" on the cake as well. So pretty and such a nice change from flowers and fruit! We had about 190 guests and had plenty to go around!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tell Me About It

While preparing dinner last night, K was helping and chatting with me. She said, "Mom, you know how sometimes things fall down even when you didn't touch them or anything?" "Well, I know why," she said. And in a somewhat hushed, conspiritorial tone, she told me, "It's because the world is spinning."

I was taken aback by this little reminder.

Despite my best efforts, there seem to be a whole lot of things in my life that fall down.

I'm glad to be able to remember today that these things do not happen entirely due to my own faults and weaknesses, some of them happen just because the world is spinning.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Too Soon?

B, like most 8-something kids, is doing his best to convince me that "ain't" is, in fact, a word and its use is seriously too cool. I am very well aware of the fact that Webster's does now include "ain't" as a word, and "Ain't ain't a word so don't use it" doesn't really have a whole lotta credibility anymore. But, as his teacher, not to mention the person most likely to depend on his ability to someday sound intelligent enough to obtain gainful employment, I am doing my best to convince him that "ain't" belongs on the list of words that we just don't use in this family. The debate has raged for several weeks. So tonight he says, "Hey mom! Listen!" *singing* (cause he sings a.lot., like enough to worry his father) "Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me, I AIN'T the sharpest tool in the she-ed....See, it IS a WORD!"

Wonder if it's too soon to teach him about satire and derision. LOL

Since It's Been a Month and All

Better post.
And since my mood is not funny-post conducive, was tagged back in September(!!!!!) by the lovely Miss Brandi so I'll play along in the interest of posting something of some kind of substance.

4 Jobs I've had:

*A Bookkeeper
*A Shoe Sales Clerk
*A Telemarketer
*A Ford Salesperson

4 Places I've lived

*That's all I got!

4 Favorite TV shows (currently on TV)

* Grey's Anatomy
* Desperate Housewives
* America's Top Model (re-runs)
* Flip This House

4 Places I've been on a Vacation

* Disney World
* San Francisco
* Arizona
* South Dakota

4 Movies I could watch over and over

* Harry Potter Movies
* A Knight's Tale
* Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
* National Treasure (Did you see there's going to be a new one soon?!)

4 Favorite Dishes

* Amish Chicken
* Funeral Potatoes
* Fish Tacos
* Pho or really just anything Thai.

4 Websites I visit

* The College (duh)
* Shade
* E bay
* Finetune

4 places I'd like to be

* in a completely organized and clean house
* on a plane to somewhere...anywhere
* On a boat to somewhere...anywhere
* On a bus to...well, I guess I'm not *that* desperate...

4 People I'm tagging

All four of my lovely readers. LOL

Let me know when you've posted your info, I read stuff, I've just been too lazy to post lately. LOL

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What She Does When She Waits

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Waiting for B and K during their home school gymnastics classes. Two hours every Thursday of sit and wait fun. Oh. Boy. LOL

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Save the Pork Roast!

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If you haven't watched The Wonder Pets, well, you just haven't lived. And you will also be unable to understand approximately 3/4 of what J is talking about these days.

So I was cutting the net off my pork roast this afternoon, and J was up on the counter watching. Pretty soon she says, "Mommy! What dat?"
"It's dinner.", I replied.
"No, what dat on it? What you cutt-inguh"
"It's some stretchy net they use to hold it together."
*GASP* *imagine the voice raising by an interval of approximately 4 octaves*
"Ohhhh, it stuck? Mommy, you hewlp it? You hewlp dat baby.....what dat ting?
"The roast?"
"Duh woast? You hewlp dat baby woast and sabe duh day?"

"Ummmmm, yeah, something like that......."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where I Once Again Profess My Love of the Internet

I love e-bay. My dad sent me this link and I nearly died laughing. Mostly cause I totally feel like that, in fact, if I had not been so worn out and were more creative, I would have totally blogged something like that while I was visiting my folks a couple weeks back. I guess C-town Wyoming isn't ready for the likes of us. I got more looks from people in that one Albertson's trip than I get in a whole week down here. (Well, unless we go on campus, which we did today and that is another post in its self)

And the "you've got your hands full" comment. Is that not the single dumbest comment EVAR? Is that code for "Holy crap woman, control your off spring"? Or is it more like "You poor thing, don't you know what causes that?"? The last time it was all sweet and fuzzy feeling was when K was just a babe and some nice old man said it as we both observed B as he busily waved and said "Hi!" to everyone we passed.

And I just got another Freecycle find! Some nice lady is giving away a whole bunch of sewing thread and notions. Since my grandmother gave me my inheritance in fabric during my visit, this will come in quite handy. Here is my response to her:
"Oh yeahy! I have a class tomorrow at the college from 9:30 to 10:45, I park in the south lot (across from JC Penny strip mall) and I could meet you there either before or after class? I'll be driving the biggest old hoopty ford bronco you've ever seen in your whole life. LOL It's brown and white and has no back window...you CAN'T miss it (unfortunately). If that doesn't work for you, let me know!"

How's that for a description? I really need to post a picture of this charming turd sometime. It is my turn to drive the turd. Now that D is back, Hubster and I are back down to one car and the turd between us. Why not hi-jack D's car you ask? Well, quite frankly, I'm somewhat lazy and I'm pretty much traumatized by all the dropping off and picking up I did over the years and seeing as how after school activities are notorious for saying they will be ending at one time and then not ACTUALLY ending until another time, (usually far, far later than the original time) and waiting with J in a car is enough to make Mother Teresa slit her wrists....well, I'll drive the turd.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Speak Texan Yank

Just TRY to purchase a MACROeconomics book from a Texan. Go ahead. I dare you.

(Ya'll will be directed to take yer buggy back to Ramon but hurry cause he's fixin' to go to lunch over yonder and even after all that they will hand you a MICROeconomics book..several times...until you spell it.)

Last week they pulled all the Government books off the shelf. When I called to inquire as to why they would change books the week before class starts, I was told that the instructor had pulled the books because they weren't the Texas edition. I'm thinking my interaction today explains a lot. It would make sense to have the books in a language the students can understand. I won't be giving mine back. The Yankee version suits me fine.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Surfs Up, Dude?

After a summer of slacking and a quick trip to see the folks...oh who am I kidding? I am a sucky housekeeper. If you are silly enough to eat off my floors, you deserve whatever disease you get. Oh, I'm real good at at baseboards, those are always clean. Ceiling fans too. And my own personal bathroom is usually in pretty good shape. But all bets are off when it comes to everything else. Flylady rocks. But I've been off the Flylady wagon lately. So I decided that the kids could help me clean the kitchen floor. And we weren't Swiffering this time, no, we were going to give it a good old fashion scrub down. K informed me that she loves scrubbing floors because she pretends she is Cinderella. Having already earned my wicked step-mother stripes, I knew exactly what to do. I got them started with a bucket of soapy water and some rags then ran in to buy a textbook I need for class. The last time I checked they were down to their skivvies sliding around on about an inch of water that is completely covering my kitchen tile. It's like an indoor Slip-an-Slide in there. And you know what? I really don't care. The floor will probably be very clean after that much water and soap. Wanna come eat off my floor tonight?

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Reasons to Smile

The heavens opened up and Mamasita descended in the form of an angel...a well connected angel. Her cousin works for a plant that rebuilds air conditioners!!! Let there be AIR!!! Whoot! Given that the last few days have been beyond muggy and HOT, the children and I are overjoyed!

And here is today's funny things kids say, courtesy of little almost gonna be three J.

J: I wanna wotch Wion King, eese?
Me: OK, go turn on the TV and let it warm up and I'll put it on for you
J (a few minutes later): I wotch penguin show better mom
Me: Why do you want to watch that nasty thing?
J: Oh, my wife bettor I wotch dis.
Me: Your life will be better if you watch the Penguin show?
J (sighing): Yeah.

Someone really should *do* something about those public broadcasting service folks. KERA is turning my kid into a drama queen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Hate Life With No Internet

Note to self: Don't forget to pay the cable bill. They shut it off right quick and in a hurry but it takes them 2 WEEKS (!!!!!) to turn it back on.

What happened during all this non-internet no-mans-land you ask?

Well, I stayed up half the night and watched Harry Potter the night it came out.

I read all four "Thousand Year" books by Skousen.

I read Harry Potter 7.

I canned two more trees worth of peaches.

I taught my neighbor how to can.

B broke his arm jumping out of a swing. (Not badly, just a taurus fracture)

Ethyl moved to Idaho. I may never recover.

What did not happen during this two weeks of non-interneted-ness?

My house did not get clean.

My kids did not read more. Apparently two or so hours a day is their limit no matter how bored they are.

My yard did not get all spiffy looking.

I did not die. It was touch and go there for a while, but I think I'm going to pull through.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Fun Filled Trip to the Library

It's been a while since I blogged a library trip. Here's how today went down:

Step 1, find library books. Gripe at kids until they find that last, stray book that was hiding in plain sight.

Step 2, climb in car that could be used to sear meat.

Step 3, realize I haven't filled out the book club forms correctly, roll down windows and tell kids to start coloring.

Step 4, speed down side roads to keep the breeze coming in. Air movement=good. Stop signs=bad.

Step 5, arrive at library and take kids and forms to information desk to redeem their reading progress for prizes.

Step 6, enforce strict limit of five books because the children, they just want to take one of everything home.

Step 7, shout/whisper at children to maintain the calm, quiet demeanor expected of library patrons.

Step 8, repeat step 7 ad nauseum.

Step 9, hide pool passes earned from reading books because mommy, she has issues with the public pool.

Step 10, witness B recognize his friends and excitedly rush to greet them.

Step 11, witness slightly older boy watch B do this and proceed to make fun of him.

Step 12, stare down older boy and shoot daggers out of my eyes while being grateful that my child, while loud and somewhat overly exuberant, is still innocent enough that he shows excitement over seeing his friends, (and that he didn't notice the older boy mocking him).

Step 13, head for check out desk. Notice new librarian lady and nearly die of shock when I notice the actual SMILE on her face.

Step 14, strike up conversation with nice new librarian lady and engage in small talk.

Step 15, watch smile on new librarian lady's fade as she announces $16 and .75 in fines.

Step 16, explain that I had called to renew books, and brought them back a day early even!

Step 17, watch new librarian lady be replaced by stern librarian lady to sort out renewal mess.

Step 18, repeat step 7 some more since step 13 is taking so long.

Step 19, repeat step 16 for next, even more stern, librarian lady.

Step 20, repeat step 7 some more

Step 21, receive stern lecture from stern library lady that I might check and make sure that I call on or before the due date to renew.

Step 22, explain that while my children and I may look like chaos, I do in fact, keep track of my library due dates and even have a special place for my receipt here, in my purse....see? Right here?

Step 23, exchange blank stare with stern librarian lady.

Step 24, wave to new librarian lady on way to door.

Step 25, Watch dream of having chatty conversation with new librarian lady go up in smoke.

Step 26, Pile bored kids into hot, sweaty car.

Step 27, Bribe them with free hamburgers earned from reading.

Step 28, wonder WHY they call it "fast" food, when in fact it is neither fast, nor food.

Step 29, Listen to kids whine and moan and complain about the unbearable heat and the "wind up my hair" all.the.way.home.

Step 30, listen to kids fight over who carries books in from the car.

Step 31, listen to K scream at her brother because she dropped her hamburger.

Step 32, collapse into heap from the heat stroke and stress and secretly wish the library delivered.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Growing Up Too Fast

K decided she wanted her hair cut short. So she went from this:

To this:

And now I want to paste it all back on because she looks so big.


Friday, June 29, 2007

You Looking For ME?

I don't suppose it's any secret that I get a kick out of seeing the searches people run and find my site...most of the time. I did find one that disturbed me very much and I have made changes to my wording so that particular phrase won't "find me" anymore.

But in the spirit of answering those who seek, here are some of the phrases and my response to them:

"how to know if transmission in my van is busted": If it won't go forward or jerks violently before going forward and sounds like an egg beater is loose under your floorboards, pony up the bucks cause you're toast.

"Step-kids driving me crazy": They all do it at some point so join the crowd sister. I'm toying with the idea of a blog dedicated to my step-parenting adventures. Surely someone should profit from my trial by fire considerable experience. I'm still sorting out what stuff is kid stuff and what stuff is step-kid stuff, but I think I'm going to live through the experience so maybe someone will be interested in my advice.

"Older stepchildren driving a wedge": Take their balls away, or tell your husband to grow some. Someone has to decide who's in charge and as much as you don't want to hear it, you aren't in the best position to gain control over the situation. 75% of second marriages fail. If you want it to last, you'd better hope you married someone with the intestinal fortitude to overcome "divorce guilt" and be willing to stand his ground with the children.

"guilt thinking about leaving husband": If you've got a kid, you'd better feel guilty. If he's not beating on you, then you have an obligation to make it work. If he isn't willing to work on being a decent person, guess what? Leaving him isn't going to make him be a decent person and you'll have NO control over what he does with your kids during his visits. Don't kid yourself. He is going to get visitation. You do not get to go off and make a new life with a new husband unfettered by the baggage you've created with the old one. Weekly visitation STINKS for everyone involved and anyone who tells you staying together for the kids isn't a good reason to stay together is only telling you what you want to hear or justifying actions they themselves have taken. Responsible parents find a way to get their act together and they SACRIFICE their own wants for the needs of their children. Period. If you don't have kids and you are miserable, admit you made a mistake and get out while you can.

And Finally:

"How to acknowledge step-mother on wedding invitations and program": It's actually very simple and not at at all uncommon in this day and age. You put Bride's parents: dad and step-mom, mom and step-dad, then grooms parents: Dad and step-mom, then mom and step-dad. If someone hasn't re-married, they should be listed individually. You may end up with four couple's names on the invites in addition to the bride and groom, and you may or may not even LIKE the step-parents in question, but take my advice: your wedding is your special day, not an opportunity to grind axes on strained familial relationships. You're smart to ask...there are probably other ways to put them on there, but the important thing is that you DO acknowledge them, and not just in the fine print, unreadable with the naked eye. Weddings are ripe with opportunity to hurt people's feelings. In order to have a peaceful day, do everything you can to make sure you are sensitive to your parent's new partner(s). Mom and Dad love you, but they also love the person they've chosen to marry. Photo shoots and wedding dances and seating arrangements are other area's you should pre-plan very carefully to avoid hurt feelings. I know it can feel like you aren't able to please anyone, but if you make a concerted effort to avoid hurt feelings it will be appreciated by everyone involved. I hope that your family and step-family can be as mature and understanding about your arrangements as you are, if they aren't, take the high road, do what you can and don't worry about the rest.

And yes, these really were word for word google and yahoo searches that directed people to my site, not just another opportunity for me to gripe about my daughter-in-law and her mother ripping my heart out of my chest and smashing it on the ground.


I think I really am going to start that step-parenting blog. I just love giving out unsolicited advice, at least no one can slap me over the internet.

Rain Pause

The rain paused yesterday just long enough for the kids to play outside for a bit. If you need a cheap thrill for summer entertainment of the small person kind, make sidewalk paint by mixing equal parts of cornstarch and water, then adding food coloring. My kids used the brushes for about 30 seconds, then they just...well...acted like my children and got stuff all over:

Looking at that blue sky you'd never guess we're about to drown down here. Maybe I'll post pictures of us pulling out the Bronco, which is stuck. to the axles. in mud. in the front yard. Whee. LOL.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We Be Jammin'

Peach season is here again! Somehow, my trees never manage to produce, but I have an abundance of friends with a whole lotta fruit and not much time.

We started with plums from Taxi Mom's neighbor's tree:

This is about a third of what we started with.

Then Mamasita's peach tree ripened so I spent the last couple days processing these:

Aren't they just so pretty with their peachy-fuzziness?

Here's some of what we've put up this year. (Check out B in the background! LOL)

The family favorite is the Spiced Peach Blueberry. It's divine on a piece of homemade wheat bread. I have one more batch from Mamasita's tree that is still ripening, but I think I'll be forced to make a cobbler with that. Taxi Mom and Ethyl's tree's are just about ready and Ethyl has some grapes that should be ready soon after. We've discovered that pooling our time and resources makes canning a lot of fun. Yes, we live on the edge out here in Momville.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Redneck Fashion Sense

My kids are amusing at times.

Shortly after J was born, B asked me, "Mom, since J was born in Texas, does that mean she's a redneck?"

Well, judging by the looks of us walking into Walmart this morning, I think there's a strong possibility that we are all, in fact, rednecks.

We had exactly thirty minutes to drive to Walmart, buy diapers, milk and cereal and get back home so I could get ready to go to the office. I was wearing my pink loungy-type pants, an oversize t-shirt, no makeup and no bra.
J was attached to the end of my arm, happily skipping along because her mother could not think of an argument to effectively convince her two year old self that pink princess stocking hats are not really necessary during June in Texas. Along behind her came K, limping and hobbling and whining that her knee must have hit the couch harder than she remembered the night before because now, NOW, she could not possibly be expected to walk. B followed at a great distance behind, trying to forget that he knows us I'm sure.

At any rate. It looks as though I have a hat girl. J loves hats. I am hat-impaired. I have no idea what kinds of hats go with outfits and I have no idea where to find cute little girl hats. So insistent and profound is this new love of head coverings, I figure I'd better have an alternative to the pink princess ski hat if I am ever going to have any dignity at all taking J anywhere in public in any month other than January or February. Or October since this is my only alternative to said pink princess ski hat:

So since I am hat impaired, I let the hat diva pick. This is what she insisted on:

I'm pretty sure plaids don't go with stripes, but am I wrong in thinking that nearly anything is better than pink princess ski hats in June? We didn't get nearly as many funny looks and sly snickers walking from the back of the store to the front as we did walking from the front of the store to the back.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Things I Like About Texas

As a Wyoming transplant, I've really held off embracing my new home state. Bugs, heat and wall to wall people aren't really a draw to make me claim this place as home. Plus, it makes for interesting conversation to say you are from Wyoming. Texas, not as much.

So here's what I DO love about Texas:

Parker County Peaches
NO Sales tax on food
Clothing can be purchased in-expensively
Snow Cones (shaved ice...they don't do that up north...you get ice crystals with syrup...soooo not the same.)
Sunsets (the whole sky is dominated by the sun as it sinks in the west. It sets the sky on fire and is an impressive sight to behold)
Full Moon rising (Again, huge and sky dominating when it's on the horizon)
Homeschooling (most HS friendly state in the nation, I believe)
The ability to grow a garden without a greenhouse
Asian Markets
Thai Food
Tex-Mex Food (Uncle Julio's, Abuelo's, Rosa's)
Gibson's (We used to have one in the town I grew up in, here it's just great to be able to go to an old-fashioned department store and know that Wal-mart hasn't killed EVERY small business on the planet. Gibson's also has a more eclectic inventory)
Cable internet availability

Friday, June 15, 2007

Here's How We Pass Time

J likes to pretend. More than my other two ever did, it is her "thing". She started this up on her own. I was so glad I got the camera and she did a repeat performance. I have NO idea where she comes up with "blow your head down" but it cracks me up anyway.

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And this is our cheer leading camp dollars at work:

The "cow" is hilarious. It's near the end but sooooooo worth the wait.

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I've also uploaded "MILK" and "Down to the River" to Dropshots. You can click if your eyes (and ears) can take any more.

Eye Contact

I've been trying to find the words to articulate what's been going on at my house lately. Really, it's none of the cyber-worlds business, but I write about life. My life in particular, so if I get hit by a train or abducted by aliens my kids will have something to remember me by.

You may find it shocking to believe, but we be some pretty po' folks around my house. With the letters behind the Hubster's name, you wouldn't think that would be the case, but alas, it seems to be our lot in life to ride the financial roller-coaster of life each and every month.

That said, a good deal of this is directly attributable to the fact that Hubster and I strongly believe in my being at home with the children. Every once in a while, the balance of responsibility to the kids and financial responsibilities get out of whack and I go off the deep end. It usually goes something like this:

Me: "I need to get a job."
Hub: "It's going to be OK, I think you should wait."
Me: "If I get a job now the first check will get here about the time the world spins off its axis."
Hub: "What are we going to do with the kids?"
Me: "I'll get a night job."
Hub: "Will you make enough to make up for the hassle?"
Me: "Maybe I could get a really good job and we could send them to private school."
Hub: "Would a really good job be worth what you lose?"

And we go around and around. Wondering. Now what I'm about to say could really tick a lot of people off if they choose to take it wrong. So here's the deal: My blog, my words apply to MY feelings as they pertain to MY family and MY situation.

To me, putting my kids in school would feel like committing child abuse, each and every day. I don't think my friends are child abusers for sending their kids to school, I didn't feel like sending the oldest three kids to school felt like child abuse, but there is something deep in my soul that tells me I HAVE to homeschool these particular children at this particular time. If I put my kids in school I would literally have to shut off my feelings toward my children to overcome the feelings of guilt that would consume me. I might not have to move to Antartica, but I doubt I could look them in the eyes as I tuck them in bed at night.

Every once in a while the financial pressures make me think I have no choice but to put away my heart and soul and do what needs doing to help Hubster provide for our family.

So every once in a while I dust off my resume and apply for jobs.

And every once in a while I go to an interview.

I've never gone to an interview and NOT been offered a job.

This week was no exception and the offer is generous.

But for now, I know what the answer has to be.

I will have a lifetime of looking into their eyes.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Just When You're Trying To Be All Cheery and Stuff...

I've been pretty patient lately.

Really, I have.

My van has been out with a busted transmission for almost three months now. I really, really, really hate being carless, but I figured summer would provide some relief because then I could use D's car while she's up visiting her mom, we'd get enough saved to take care of the tranny and all would be fine.

The a/c went kaput in D's car today. It was fading on Saturday, we recharged it this morning, but it didn't do any good. By the time I got to my friends to pick up the kids it was barely blowing any air at all.

There is no relief in sight.

Ever heard the expression "Loosing your cool"? That would be me.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Me and Nanny McPhee

Love that movie. If you haven't seen it, you should, because there just aren't enough good step-mother stories in the world. I've decided Walt Disney had some serious mom issues, I mean, seriously dude, what was the last Disney Movie you watched when the mother DIDN'T die?

Disney Movie Recipe:

1 Dead Mother
1 Wicked Step-Mother
1 Oblivious Father
1 or more merry children who have access to unlimited resources, more freedoms than most adults and have no respect for authority.

Mix with generous amounts of beautiful animation, high-falutin' Hollywood voice overs and a cheap plastic product line to be given out at McDonald's and sit back while the cash flows in.

My own journey into step motherhood began at the tender age of 20. M, E, and D were 11, 9 and 5 respectively and we had a 50/50 custody arrangement with Hubster's ex. To say she was all up in our business was the understatement of the year. However, I had youth and skill on my side so i was determined to be the BEST step mother EVAR period. And also I had an insane amount of love and energy all bottled up inside. Well, you know how when you have your first kid you plan on doing everything right? Epidural? Not me! Breastfeeding? Absolutely! Perfectly co-ordinated outfits with shoes for a newborn? How could you not?! Right?! Yeah, well, it was sorta like that, only they were older and not having control over their whole universe made exerting my perfectionism somewhat frustrating and futile at times.

So for three years I immersed myself in kid stuff. I went to every ball game, program, parent teacher conference; you name it I was there. Then their mother moved 100 miles away, took D with her and the earth tilted off it's axis. Suddenly, I was in charge of the 200 mile car pool twice every week to get kids to and from "visitation", building a house, working full time and taking the boys to wrestling tournaments every.stinking.weekend. all over the entire state of Wyoming.

And then I got pregnant with B. On purpose.

Is it any wonder I nearly lost my mind? Me thinks not. My first foray into the world of the internet was to find some kind of help with this tricky step-parenting gig. I found a discussion forum with dozens of like-minded ladies and slowly began unraveling the way I really felt about being a step-parent. Basicly, it was kicking my @$$. I'm not kidding when I tell you that moving 900 miles from his ex was the best thing that ever happened to me as a person married to my Hubster. However, it also coincided with my crash into reality.

Suddenly free from the constraints of "the other woman" breathing down my neck and the constant fear and threat of litigation I scarcely knew how to behave. Slowly, I became a real mom, and while I'm not always certain that is a good thing, I do realize it is a normal thing. Reading other posts in bloggy land, I am reassured that the chaos that has descended upon my home is not limited to these four walls, but quite normal for households of every size, kind and circumstance. Finally being able to admit that my now teenaged step children were driving me absolutely ape and sharing that admission with other parents led to feelings of validation and camaraderie instead of accusations of inferior parenting. Learning that, admitting they were driving me crazy didn't mean I loved them any less, was terribly reassuring.

I now find myself at an uneasy peace with the kids' mom. Once I began to recognize that I was probably an insufferable snot in my pursuit of perfect parenting, I began tallying up all the ways she acted like a complete horses behind and I figured we're probably about even. Trust her? Depends on what for, like, she'll never be a gal pal, but since the weekly screaming matches have come to an end, I no longer feel like I need to be on my guard every second and I've even had a handful of pleasant conversations with her. There are area's that we have just agreed to disagree on, there are things we hate to admit, and there are things we would have done different but I no longer feel the need to discredit her facade which used to drive me over the edge. I don't know if she still feels the need to discredit and complain about Hubster and I at every opportunity, but I am relieved to discover that I no longer care. The kids, for the most part, seem to have a pretty realistic bead on where everyone stands.

I can't say that step-parenting has been my favorite thing. If I could have been the only momma I'd have done that in a heartbeat, I couldn't love my step-kids more if I'd have given birth to them myself. I think the step-parenting adventure wore an excessive amount of my "shiny" off. But it has given me some insights that I wouldn't have had otherwise, and some perspectives about marriage and divorce that only those intimately acquainted with divorce situations have. I am definitely not the girl you want to talk to if you are thinking abut leaving your husband. Or maybe I am. Depends on how you look at it. The Second Wives Club has gotten me through. How lucky I am to have found two other women who raised their husband's children with the ex noisily in the background. My time in boot camp is pretty much over. D graduates next year, and this year, our anniversary will mark the milestone of having been married to Hubster longer than the ex was. The kids still come home every now and then, now that they have a choice in the matter, and I guess that's about the best that a step-mom can hope for. Well, that and having your name appear on the wedding invitation. But who ever said rewriting fairy tales was gonna be easy...right?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Where The Creeping Things Are

We've had a creepy kind of day.

K found this guy out in the driveway this morning:

Then, when they took him to the backyard to make him "comfortable" until they could take him down to the creek, she found this "little" guy:

He totally reminds me of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Then we slopped through school and went swimming. I love little white bottoms on top of little brown legs. But in keeping with today's creepy theme, here's a bug eye shot instead:

Monday, June 04, 2007


I've created a new definition of insanity:

Spending two days glued to a sewing machine, barely stopping to eat or sleep, sewing adorable outfits for kids who'd rather be nekkid anyhow:

The polk-a-dotty dress is a K size version of the ones I made for J last week.

I need to go un-bury the rest of the house now, quickly before Cub Scout camp starts...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Another Garage Sale "Bargain"

Hubster has been complaining about the TV.

"I think I need to go to the eye doctor...no...wait, the TV screen is fuzzy."

"Can you read that?"

"I can hardly decide what to watch, can't see the words well enough to see what's on."

He asked for $200 for a new TV. A 42 in 750 lb beauty at Best Buy. With visions of a 42 in plasma flat screen and a van with an actual working transmission dancing in my head I politely told him to forget it.

Anyway. I subscribe to Small Town County Garage Sale. It's like Freecycle...only...not free. It's how I found that great deal on the pool last summer. (And if I could navigate blogger and find that post I'd insert a nifty little link right about now, but since I can't and I need to finish this up sometime today I won't.) Long story short, I got a great deal on an inflatable backyard pool but got a speeding ticket on the way to pick it up...negating my savings entirely.

SO I found this great 36 in color TV for just $50.

Drove to Even Smaller Town Texas to pick it up. With Hubs car. The man laughed at me when I told him that the plan was to stick it in the trunk. SO the man and his 20 something son go in and get the TV. They were barely out the door of the house when they needed to rest. I'm thinking, "Man, that thing must be heavier than I thought", but after much huffing and puffing, they get it to the car, wedge it into the front door and into the gear shifter. Great. Only problem is that I forgot my bungee cords to tie the door shut with. SO they try to extricate the TV from the car. Pretty soon, the son says "I can't get it out!" Visions of me driving down the road with a 36 in color TV hanging out my door appear before my eyes and I panic. I climbed in the car and heaved that sucker outta there and I have to say, not as heavy as I had expected from the amount of huffing and puffing going on with my moving crew. So they put it in the back seat, after tearing half the vinyl off Hubsters back door handle/armrest thingymajig. And suddenly, I'm the proud new owner of a 36 in color TV set that takes up an entire back seat of a 1995 Nissan Maxima and as I stood there holding the car seat that is a nearly permanent fixture in said back seat, I realized I was going to have to put the kids in the trunk because I was not leaving them at the trailer park with Billy Bob, his son Jethro and their 4 large dogs. The kids, being scared of the dark, vetoed the trunk idea and squished their little bodies around the TV set and we set out for our illegal-in-the-state-of-texas-and-punishable-by-up-to-two-hundred-dollars-in-fines journey home. When we saw the friendly Texas DOT public safety officer, I just screamed "DIVE, DIVE, DIVE" and the kids threw themselves under the seats.

After we left Even Smaller Town Texas and the safety of the open road stretched out before us, I discovered why the moving crew was so out of breath. From the smell that was coming from the back seat, they probably had to have smoked 37 packs of cigarettes each...daily. So we rolled down the windows, kept a sharp look out for friendly Texas DOT public safety officers and meandered our way back home.

Once we got here, I cleaned off the entertainment center, removed the fuzzy TV,( and all the fuzzy stuff underneath it...eeeewwwww.) And decided to put the TV on the yard cart to bring it inside. Hubster was supposed to be going to work out so I thought a newer, clearer TV would be a nice surprise when he got home. The TV really wasn't as heavy as the moving crew thought, so I hefted it out of the backseat and onto the cart, removing the remaining vinyl on the door interior and silently congratulating myself on marrying a husband with some...shall we say muscles (since we don't want Grandma G's content filter to prevent her from accessing the old bloggy due to adult content) and that he raised boys into fine young men with muscles and also not smoking so as to negate all those muscles. Hubster pulled up right as B and I were dragging the cart into the house and took over the project, which included a bit of demolition to the TV armoire due to a miscalculation on the size of the new 36in color TV vs. the size of the armoire. So we got the thing into position, hooked it up and turned it on. What we saw was a sight to behold.

The top half of the screen was...shall we say, a bit more than fuzzy...a WY snowstorm would more accurately describe it. And the bottom half? Clear as a bell. Beautiful picture...if you happen to be standing on your head. Yes, the bottom third of the picture was upside.down. We stared. We hit the tv on the side. We waited. We sat on the couch. I called Billy Bob's wife and asked if there was any way to adjust the picture. They didn't answer the phone. I called the cable company to see if half upside down picture was part of the new cable line-up or some freaky cable outage. I wouldn't say that they hung up on me, but they did say they could send someone out to look at in sometime around the year 2010. As we waited, the picture did finally right its self and only the bottom fourth of the screen had wavy lines that made everyone on CSI have Jay Leno chins. I lit some candles to mask the stench and we waited a few more hours. Hubster very generously told me it was better than what we had and I DID, after all save him $150 in not allowing him to purchase the brand new, even bigger, non-stinky TV set, and by the time we went to bed last night, only a small, one inch or so wavy line section remained, most of the picture was on the screen and the guide menu was no longer distorted and wavy-lined into an unreadable mess at the bottom of the screen.

I haven't turned it on yet this morning.

But I have lit 3 $25 Salt City Candles and dug out my $25 vinyl repair kit to start repairing the OTHER damages my bargain has extracted. After I dump my $50 bottle of perfume on the sucker to try and eliminate the smokey bar room smell that now permeates my house, I figure I should still be about even with the purchase of the new TV set, and I will have saved myself the cost of tax.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


OK, so I know this is sort of morbid, but every so often I read through my hometown obituaries. My Gram does her best to keep me posted on who dies, but it seems I've reached a certain age where it's not just Grams friends and aquaintences that are dying. This activity invariably alerts me to one or two deaths that both surprise me and make me wish I had known soon enough to at least send a card. I'm not a good card sender. Ask anyone on my non-existant Chirstmas card list.

Reading through people's obituaries makes me wonder what people will say about me when I'm gone. Some obits are formal, just the facts and not even all of those. (Face it: People want to know how other people die. "Died at home" doesn't really cut it for me.) Others are as warm and generous as the people who they are about. I wonder which category I'll be in? Having the control issues I do, I can't pretend I'm not tempted to write my own obituary. Then the woman in me takes over and I want compliments and someone else has to GUESS at what I want to hear. Don't lie. We all do it. I'm pretty sure it's programmed into our DNA.

So I'm pretty much OK with someone else writing my obituary, but it has made me evaluate how I'm doing on life. We each leave our mark on the world as we pass through life, but it is up to us what that mark looks like and how long the impression lasts. More than anything, I want my children and family to know I love them and I'll try harder to spend each day erasing the mistakes I've made as I've interacted with them. I hope I can focus more on joy and less on circumstance. I want to be the kind of person that makes people feel better for having interacted with me. I think I've been guilty of letting my woes define me far too often. I've spent too much time wringing my hands over things I can't control and I'm afraid I almost let it change *ME*, the me I know I am, and the me I know I want to be.

I guess it's a good thing I've been given at least one more day.

What about you? How do you think your obituary will go down? Are you living your life in such a way that you will leave a lasting impression, worthy of warm rememberance?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

E's Wedding

Well, the wedding was yesterday. It was very nice. Don't know what else to say about it. Someday, I swear I'm going to write a manual on navigating blended family gatherings and events. I swear people can be so tacky and thoughtless. Thank goodness the Second Wives Club was in attendance to keep this second wife together. As an aside, I ended up wearing the gold dress I purchased for the wedding rather than the other one. I finally decided that I needed and deserved the confidence boost I get from that dress and given the lack of communication about the wedding and the fact that I was excluded not only from the invitations, but also from every aspect of the preparations, I didn't really feel like I owed anyone any favors. LOL Note to First Wives #437 in the second wives manual: Don't piss off the second wife. She is younger, thinnner and cuter than you and she *can* make sure you notice. *grin*

Here are some highlights for the fam:

The Flower Girl

The Ring Bearer

I think he just spotted her! LOL

Hubster...looking dashing and SMILING...in a PHOTO!!! (for once!)

My favorite bride and groom shot. How gorgeous are my grandkids gonna be?

This one CRACKS ME UP!!! Check out D in the background! ROFL!!!

Brother and brother from another mother...so to speak! LOL E's best man is the boy who lived with us the year after I had J.

Wedding party

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's confirmed...

You know, traffic tickers are the source of much interesting information about those who visit the old bloggy. It's always fun to see the google searches that bring traffic to your page, that is, until they point to some information you were trying to conceal. Google the words, meanest mom of all. Yup. Numero dos on google. I guess if it says so on google, it must be true...right? At least I'm not "the" meanest mom of all, only the second. I, and my children, stand corrected.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Another Catch Up Post

I promised my Grandma G I'd post my fish taco recipe. They were so good I even took pictures! Cousin W would be PROUD I tell you, PROUD!


Fish...duh. Well, OK, not quite so obvious, but really you can use any old white, firm fleshed fish you come across. I was after ultra easy so I used Gorton's beer batter fish fillets. Heat them up or cook fish.

Corn Tortilla's, heated in fry pan until nice and toasty.

Cabbage, cut up into julienne size pieces.

Pico de gallo:
2 Plum tomatoes, chopped coarse.
1 small white or yellow onion, chopped coarse.
Fresh cilantro, snipped into bits.
Mix together and squeeze juice from one lime over the top.

Cilantro Cream Sauce:
1 cup sour cream (I say that like I actually measure *snort*)
enough milk or water to thin sour cream to desired consistancy. (how thin? think cream soup at serving consistancy after you add the lime.)
Cilantro snipped into bits. About a half cup worth.
Juice from one lime.
Stir vigorously.

Assemble fish, cabbage, pico and sauce onto tortilla, then drizzle with a touch more lime juice. My kids ate these until they were sick.

I've also been up to all sorts of other adventures. Finals were a week ago, feels more like 3 weeks ago, but I digress...

Six Flags had a homeschool day so my good friend and I loaded up the kiddo's and took advantage of the savings.

The kids had a great time, B and K rode their first wooden roller coaster! J is going to be a dare devil too, she squealed and laughed like a maniac on the little kids coaster and rode the Cloud Bouncer until I couldn't take it any more. She didn't like the teacups much though, this is before the screaming commenced:

And you can't go to the carnival and not ride the carousel:

Just don't take the boy's picture on the carousel, take it on something manly like the swings:

The next day was haircut and color for mommy day:

I think I'm going to have a new profile pic out of that batch.

Maybe this one. Maybe not.

I turned this:

Into this:

Got that table for $7 at a yard sale, I have less than $30 in it finished. Love that. I'm now on a sofa table buying mission. I also bought and repainted two dressers for the kids, but you'll have to visit drop shots to see those.

Today I got the bug to do a little sewing, so I made two church dresses for J. K recently inherited the mother load of clothing, church dresses included, so J was looking like an orphan in comparison. I think these will remedy the problem some.

Does it look familiar? Maybe eerily like my laundry room curtains, perhaps? Yes, I heart toile.

I also took shots of the dress with the miracle shirt on underneath. You can visit drop shots to see them, and no, that's not a gratuitus boob shot, that was the best I could get to show the colors. I love the dress, only, now it seems that the mother of the bride, (I'm thinking she should have a name....how about, Mother-zilla? No? OK, I'll play nice.) has now chosen a different dress that is not so formal and it looks as though the horrid dress will have to be worn once more. I actually wore it to church last week with a white cardigan over the top and enjoyed wearing it...so here's the $10,000 question, can I wear the champagne colored dress with a white cardigan to the lion's den? Or will they rip me to shreds? I can't for the life of me find a tan or beige colored cardigan for it and I'm JUST about out of time.

So there's the last week in review. I'm going to post about the exciting changes we made to the homeschool program over the weekend too, but that will have to wait until another day.