Wednesday, February 27, 2008

See What I'm Up Against Here?

This was around noon. I had to help her clean it off so Hubster could use his table.

And here it is around 6 this evening.

Such a busy little girl!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Girl Moves Mountains

Mountains and mountains of stuff that is.

Moving Stuff

She moved all these books onto this table in just a short time of quiet play. (And then promptly fell asleep on the floor, as you can see.)

Friday the tent was piled high all around her, taller than the purple rubbermaid chest at the right of the photo. This is after I cleaned it all up and she played yesterday.

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And this table spent the better part of the last two weeks piled high with pillows, toys, books and other necessities of 3 year old fun. The mountain was so high it was well over the ends of the legs.


And I won't even go into the negotiations involved with leaving the house. She tried to take no less than 3 huge bags full of stuff to Taxi Mom's house last night. I actually had to carry a bucket to church this morning to contain the treasures and avoid a melt down.

This obsession with surrounding herself with all of her possessions (and as much of her sibling's stuff as she can snipe off with) tickles me and frustrates me all at once. It is so fun to watch her quietly playing. It is amazing that one little girl can be so industrious and move so.much.stuff. And it's too bad I can't harness this evil gift in reverse. All attempts at getting her to move the stuff BACK meets with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cookies For the Class

One year, shortly after I was first married, OK, like within two months of being married, before I got all tired and crabby and no fun, the older kids and I made Valentine's Day cookies for their whole like, 60 cookies, thereabout.

This year, I decided to make Valentine's Day cookies with the little kids. So like, 60 cookies or so.

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Good thing they didn't have far to go to make it to the school. *cough*

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sweetheart Cake

Sweetheart Cake , originally uploaded by yibbityibbit.

Is it sad that I practiced making my own birthday cake tonight? I have a good reason, this is my first adventure into rolled frosting. I've been watching Ace of Cakes too much. I've been lusting after that silky smooth finish. Yearning for those clean lines and sharp angles. There's only one problem: Fondant tastes NASTY. Well, OK, maybe there is two problems, butter cream tastes WONDERFUL. Particularly MY butter cream. My butter cream is more of an event...really. My headstone will probably read: Here Lies Mom of All Trades. She couldn't keep house worth squat but her butter cream was divine.

I could tell you my secret, but then I'd have to kill you.

Anyway. Not wishing to give up my butter cream tastiness, I used my now famous super Google skillz and came up with a lovely little thing called Rolled Buttercream. It is still lacking the creamy perfection of butter cream, but I was able to get pretty close to my signature flavor.

So I made myself a lemon cake covered with play-doh that tastes like buttercream. It is kinda pretty, all those clean lines and satiny smoothness. And I only swore once when I rolled it all out, smoothed it and polished it and my three year old punched her little fists into it, declaring it perfect and ruining all that satiny smoothness. Well, OK, I swore again when I rolled it all back out smoothed and polished it and tried to lift it onto the cake. They have you roll it on a board for a reason. It will not tolerate folding or lifting. It breaks in half. Once I followed the directions and rolled it out, smoothed and polished it for the third time, I found that it wasn't too tricky to smooth down the sides of the cake. Kinda fun. I used the recipe on Allrecipes. With my flavor modifications.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Have You Seen This?

Glenn Beck on President Hinkley My SIL sent me this link and I think even those who don't like Glenn Beck will benefit from taking time to view this clip. A heartfelt tribute to a man who truly did set a wonderful example to people of all faiths; and humility from a man who makes his living arguing for what he believes is right. A great example of how humility is not a sign of weakness.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Making Home a Heaven on Earth

If Heaven has laundry piles and dirty dishes, I'm in great shape. I finally cleaned my bedroom last night, and thanks to Chris' Year Off Blog I've been being a bit more motivated to do some purging. So I tackled my closet. THREE black trash bags FULL later, I have space to hang my clothes! You can walk in there! Best of all, I would actually wear the things that are in there! There was some seriously tragic 90's fashion going on in there. Best part of all is that Hubster was working last night, so ONE of those bags...let's just say it's not like the others! LOL There is some seriously tragic 80's fashion in that one. But don't tell him, m'kay? He's formed some pretty intense attachments to his old, torn up, ratty clothes. And I didn't even scratch the surface on his side of the closet. I'm gonna have to make it go away g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y. One day he will wake up and go to the closet to find his shorts that are torn up the side from the hem to the belt and I will feign ignorance. It's better if we don't speak of this again.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

By Request...

Here you go JD:

I had to put in bigger stakes yesterday! LOL

The Freak Show

Being a second wife / step mother means being on display. Think about that for a second. Cookie had a post a long time back from the first wife perspective as she reflected on her widower friends. Divorce is a little like that. Imagine sitting in the stirrups,

Not those stirrups...

These stirrups.

Being part of a divorce equation is something like that. Someone else, someone for whom you don't have much natural affection for and who feels little to no affection for you, gets to look at your most private parts. And the lighting is usually less than flattering.

Now that I've seared that visual into your eyeballs, let me make you a promise. I will speak truth. But I will also display Hubster's ex as little as possible. I will do what I can to adjust the lighting to her advantage. This is my freak show. Being that my blog is my journal, chances are good that our mutual children will one day have access to it. So if you guys are reading this, make sure you understand that this is about ME. There are at least two sides to every story. This is how my role as a second wife and step mother have affected ME. There's plenty to gossip about, but I won't. Suffice to say, if you are part of a divorce equation, you might feel really smug when you hear stories about the other person's faults and shortcomings, but you can guarantee that if you are being told about those faults and shortcomings, you are also being told ON.

The smartest thing you can do is support your ex spouse in front of your children. Not only should you not reward your children for telling on the other parent, you should refuse to hear them gossip. Obviously, there are situations where danger should be reported to the other parent, but be honest with yourself, is it just that you disagree with it, or will it really cause the child lasting harm?

As a custodial step parent, I'd have to say the absolute most frustrating problem we have is the kids running to mom when they are mad at us or don't like the advice we've given or want to escape a responsibility we feel they need. Playing hero on a white horse can be doing your kids a real dis-service. You may win yourself some popularity points, but if you were really a good parent, you'd do what you could to support the other parent instead of positioning yourself as their "friend".

This is a major bit of advice I give to anyone considering a divorce, and it's a bit of a newsflash: Custody may not go the way you plan. You may have to get used to the idea that your spouse, not you, is going to be the primary guardian and you will have to be OK with what they decide. Even if you get custody at the beginning, the kids may choose to change that. And if you think primary custody is the equivalent of winning, think again. The primary custodian gets all the work of parenting, the non-custodial gets to be the FUN parent. It can be all too easy to be the fun parent when you don't have to make them into responsible adults. If you are thinking about getting divorced and you have kids, think about it some until the kids are grown. If you can't even work out a compromise to get you through till'll never survive being divorced.

Monday, February 04, 2008

And So It Begins...

The sharing that is. The thing that convinced me is the tired, sick feeling I get after I've spent another long day in e-mail discussion with Hubster's ex wife. When I look around me and feel the isolation I've brought on myself as I try to find just the right words, knowing full well it will not make a difference. The guilt I feel when I acknowledge the fact that she has stolen another 4 hours of my life with my family...and I let her. The frustration I feel at knowing that some parts of this...thing...will never be fixed.

If you've never done what I do, you aren't going to understand. Let's make that very clear. The path of step mother / second wife is one that belongs to those who walk it. You might think you can imagine, but you just.can't. My dearest friends share this bond with me. I have been blessed with many friends, but my closest friends are the ones who walk the path, they couldn't be my closest friends if they did not. That in itself eats at me, that I am so profoundly changed by this that I haven't been able to feel that "best friend" connection to anyone who hasn't been twisted up the same way I have been.

It's hard to know where to begin, but I'll try starting near the beginning. Not quite the very beginning, but so near that it gives the beginning, middle and end definition, meaning and purpose. My mom would call it "knowing in my heart", since I've found the gospel, I call it a testimony. No matter what you call it, it gets me through the bad days. You see, I am really very lucky. From time to time, when I'm completely focused on discovering truth, the Lord whispers in my ear. On these occasions, He doesn't fill my heart, He doesn't give me a burning feeling. He Inside my head. With words. He used to do it when I was a kid too, before I found the Church. Hearing the gospel was like being reminded of that which I already knew. But there was no mistaking what I was told...what with the words and all. I was to join the Church and I was to marry Hubster. One of my closest friends once told me she never thought her marriage would be her refiners fire.I'll bet her mother knew. Mine did. But I'm glad I didn't. I might not have had the courage to do what I've done otherwise. And what is it I have done? I've married the perfect man for me, despite all odds. But more importantly, I've done what the Lord wanted me to do. And there is absolutely no doubt He has blessed me for it. In my more generous moods and times, I am also thankful for my refinement. But mostly, I cling desperately to the testimony I have that my marriage is endorsed by God. It helps me press forward in hope of making it through that round of the fire.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Neighborhood Smack Down '08

I know you love hearing about my hood. A lot. All them pesky durn neighbors, and me, right there, in the center of their universe.

So today I come home and notice a piece of paper on the windshield of The Turd . Thinking that the kids were playing some kind of game I figured I'd get it off the windshield before the wind blew it to Louisiana. I opened it, and it said:

"Thanksgiving was over two months ago, lose the flag! Sincerely, The Yard Fairies"

I'd tell you what I said, but this is a family blog.

Oh wait. My kids will probably make sure everyone knows that mommy said a naughty word (or two, but who's counting?) by sundown, so I'll at least tell you that I wrote on that note in big letters with a permanent red marker. Something about kissing certain parts of my anatomy and staying off my property, and then I taped it to the windshield. And then I felt so mature. As you can tell, I'm the calm, cool, collected one in my family.

After a while I cooled off a little bit and since it is Sunday and I'm all tanked up from church, I decided to set a little better example for my fellow man.

So I broke the Sabbath and bought a great big poster-board.

Then I employed the cheerleader sign making skillz of D, and let me tell you, it was worth every penny of that $5,437.63 we've spent on cheerleading in the last four years.

There is now a great big sign in my yard that reads:

"Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. ~Love, The Family of All Trades"

It's as much a reminder for me as it is for them.

And by the way, the flag in question is one of those decorative flags. It happens to say "Welcome", it also happens to have sunflowers and pumpkins on it, it "feels like" summer-late fall. But because I don't "feel like" Texas has winter, and because it's not quite spring, and because my neighbors are jacking with me, I'm keeping it up. Until it disintegrates into dust. I swear Dad, Shoe polish is next. Amen.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I've Decided to Share

Inspired by other delightfully funny and talented bloggy girls, I began this blog and tried my hand at coming up with witty ways to share my thoughts with no one in particular. I've always enjoyed an audience. I find them equally thrilling and terrifying.

Eventually, I shared my blog with my family and I'm sad to say that is when I stopped really sharing. I try and blame it on being busy with school and kids, but that's just a pack of excuses. There is a very, very big part of my life I've been hesitant to share. I've contemplated starting a second blog with more anonymity. One that couldn't be tied to me with proof positive pictures if someone I know in real life came upon it. But in my indecision, I've stopped being real and the flow of words has slowed to a trickle. I've made my decision, at least for now. I'm going to get on with being myself. This is my forum. I try to live my life so that I'm not embarrassed if someone takes a peek, but I realize that I can't control the way I feel about things, I can only control what I do with those feelings. I am one who has to share things that make me who I am. I have to share more times than my husband can handle hearing them. Some days, I have to share more than my friends can stand hearing. If my glaring imperfections blind you, by all means, look away. If my imperfections make you think you are better than me, fine. I can live with that. Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes. Maybe I will learn I've made more mistakes than I thought. Maybe I'll find validation. Who knows. All I can say for sure is that I have decided to share. Here. Where the world can see me.