Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

Woo hoo!  It's NYE! 

I absolutely love, love, love this time of year.  Tomorrow (New Years Day) is my FAVORITE day of the year (aside from Thanksgiving).  I love change and it marks a big change for all of us.

But does it really?  Turning the calendar doesn't really mean we change.  We have to actually make those conscientious decisions for ourselves and then actually follow through.  

I've always hated the word resolutions.  To me, those are so temporary.  Every resolution I think I've ever made I failed to complete or see through.  They really almost became a wish list for me and I seemingly never took it serious.  I changed my thinking a few years ago and I try to set attainable goals.  Short and long term.  Stuff I can actually see and desire myself to complete.  Allow the change to occur.

This year is no different and I'm so excited!  My list is long, but attainable.  

I love reinvention.  Taking something old (yes, I am referencing me) and making something new.  It's like getting a new spiral notebook or starting a new check registry.  Freshly awaiting.

I hope everyone enjoys their celebrations tonight, however you celebrate.  Hubs and I are being responsible and staying in the 'sac to celebrate with our good friends and neighbors.  We made a practice to stay in on this night, not really because we might drink to many Diet Cokes but because of the rookie drinkers attempting to drive home all over the city.  It's scary enough to get a DUI but I certainly don't want to get slammed by a drunk driver (or be one!)  We only have to walk home so hopefully that won't be a problem. 

I hope you find the newness in tomorrow and seek to improve yourselves.  I know I will!  Have a great New Years Eve!


I never knew this song originated in Scotland!  YOU ROCK, girlie! :)

Lyrics to Auld Lang Syne (Old Long Since, literally English translation)  

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Hall Pass has Expired

This is it. The binge eating is almost over. It's time to eat smarter and work harder (which will be a huge feat, since I'm doing neither). I gave myself a Hall Pass... And time is up.

I wasn't very nice to my body this year. Sure, I think I looked pretty good. But I'm honestly not sure it was worth it.

I did P90 with a great friend and motivator at the beginning of the year. We KILLED it! We both lost weight but more importantly, lots of core inches. 70 days in, I started training for a marathon. Yikes. For those of you that have never trained for long distance, its HARD on your body. Oh sure it has it's upside- I was chowing 2,700 calories a day and LOSING weight. But man, nobody can prepare you for the aches and pains. It's seriously tough.

After the run, I took 6 weeks off because of a strained IT band, did some PT, and on a delusion I signed up for another marathon. Yep, glutton for punishment.

God had another plan. I got sick. Rampant infection- actually three simultaneously- courses through my veins. 4 specialists, an ER trip and multiple primary doc visits ended in huge bills and another 3 months off exercise. Suffice it to say I didn't make the second marathon.

What I've learned about all of this is fairly simple. You can push to far. You must listen to your body. I was so depressed I couldn't exercise that I got seriously depressed. And then... I ate. And I gained.

I haven't gained it all back, not even close. But nonetheless, I am disappointed in myself.

Bubba leaves for bootcamp in June and I'm determined to get back to health. If not for me, for him. He's working hard to prepare himself so I'm going to join him in the effort. It's the least I can do for myself.

So January 1st, P90x2 begins. I've got the tools, I've stocked the fridge and I have an amazing support system at home. Thank god, I'm gonna need it!

How will you improve yourself in the new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yucka, yucka, yucka

Owie, owie, owie.  I want my momma.

Woke up feeling like I am swallowing glass.  I have managed to avoid all the sickness around me ~ in the office, in my house, through the shopping season.  Ugh.

Please, please, please lord tell me I don't have strep.  I will bawl.  And be extremely needy of hubs, which I'm sure he loves being that typically I'm extremely independent.

Thanks for the hot green tea last night, hubs.  You do take good care of me when I'm sick!  Can you come home now, please? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kill Shot!!

Well, I figured out why I never joined the military last night.

Let me preface this by saying I do not have an aversion to video games.  I do think that some kids that tend to lean more toward the introverted style of personality need to be limited on screen time so that they don't become anti-social adults.  And of course kids need to put their school work first, blah, blah, blah.  But personally, I don't mind them.  I remember scoring my first Atari and playing Pac Man until my eyes were burning out.  I was the first of my siblings to own a gaming system (they weren't around for my older sibs), so my parents did NOT get why I wanted to sit in front of the screen.  Fine, I'll go skating...  And play video games there.

When I met hubs he brought a Sega Genesis into the marriage.  That's pretty cool, I thought.  Lots more games.  Didn't really get the controller and didn't really understand sports games but I did my best.  We moved up into a PlayStation once they came out and hence, Bubba learned video gaming.

But it wasn't really Bubba that was the problem ~ it was ME.  I had a good friend that would come over and we would have "Crash" parties.  We could play Crash Bandicoot, an adventure game, for HOURS.  Had to get to the end of the game.  When we did, we would play Spyro, another adventure game.  I'm sure hubs just stood back thinking "What the hell?"

It didn't get much better over the years.  Moved to PlayStation 2 and the advent of Guitar Hero.  OH MY GOODNESS.  Who would have thought?  I have to actually admit out loud that I played that thing 24 hours straight once.  I couldn't put it down.  Nah, I don't have addictive personalities or anything....

I'm proud to say that I think my addiction has ended.  We have had a Wii for a few years now and we all play it together quite a bit, but nothing like we used to.  Even little guy uses systems pretty sparingly compared to a lot of his friends.  He'd much rather be outside.  Until....

Santa was very, very bad this year.  If I ever get my hands on that fatty I'm going to strangle him.  We awoke to two new controllers ~ gun things ~ and Modern Warfare 3.  Oh no worries, it's not nearly as bad if you just turn down the volume so little guy can't hear the words.  Or the music.  Oh my god.

So I told hubs last night I wanted to play it with him.  I needed to see what little guy was doing.  Honestly I wanted to veto it.  He's done nothing but play that dumb game since Christmas.  After 20 minutes of trying to set up multi-player use (which we never figured out), I sat down for I'd say less than 30 seconds, stood up, handed the gun to little guy, and declared "I'm done".  I mean seriously, how many times can you get shot in 30 seconds?  Oh, oh... I know this one!  About a ZILLION.  I was getting shot from all angles and couldn't even figure out how to turn around to defend myself!  I have never been so mad at a game in my whole life.  Stupid.

I'm sure it's the most awful thing in the world for a 10 year old to own, but he loves it.  Wants to know if Bubba will be doing that in the Navy.  Lord help us, I sure hope not!!  For me, my days of shooting games has come to an end.  Abruptly.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Conjunction Junction, What's your Function?

Don't you just hate the saying "same page"?  I really hate it ~ well, hate most of those business type sayings.  "The net net result is in the red".  Eww.  "That product is right in our wheelhouse".  Whatever.

But in a marriage, it is fairly important to be on the same page (fine, I'll use the dumb saying).  Both parties striving towards common goals (or sometimes just getting through day to day in a similar manner and understanding).

I fell asleep last night after reading a bit more of my newest book, Miss Minimalism while hubs was downstairs researching hunting licenses.  Sometimes we are not exactly in the same place at exactly the same time.  And that's totally okay ~ it's called compromise.  Besides, we do always say that only one of us is allowed to go nuts at one time.  It is quite interesting when we both do it together :).

See, I've got a plan.  And it's a LONG term goal, not a short term goal.  I don't want all this "stuff".  Sure, I want some stuff.  I just don't need all this extra stuff.  It seems so frivolous to have 28 Santa statues, or bowls and bowls of shells and corks or anything else I "collect".  Of course I love them!  But do I really need them?  These are the questions bouncing around in my head of late.

I've blogged about age a zillion times, but it still holds true in this blog as well.  I think like a 50 year old (notice I didn't say ACT).  I'm a grandmother!  So I'm looking towards the slowing down portion of my life, the simplified me.  And I'm really excited about what I foresee.

Hubs on the other hand?  After suffering the past 3 years with back injuries resulting from years of driving and unloading trucks, he has undergone 2 surgeries and is feeling like a 20 year old again.  He is ready to take on challenges he couldn't contemplate before.  He wants to get back to his grandpa's roots and hunt.

I love adventure sometimes more than the next girl but hunting?... not exactly.  I'm a thrill seeker ~ I want adrenaline.  Sitting all day in a tree stand would make me poke my eyes out.  I am just WAY to impatient.

So as I'm considering small movement towards downsizing and minimizing my "stuff", hubs is collecting.  Hunting requires a lot of stuff, as you may or may not know.  Not just one coat and pants, but seasonal, camo style and type of hunt (duck, deer, etc).  Then comes the weapons... I can't even talk about that right now.

I fear we will just outweigh each other ~ I'll take stuff out, he'll bring stuff in.  Ah, the compromise of marriage.  That's okay, I've had enough stuff to fill the house for the last 20 years... I guess it's really his turn.  He may get his Man Cave sooner than he thought!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Do you Deserve?

Most of you know that I am FAR from materialistic.  I don't have to wear certain brands, flash shiny bling, boast the latest gadget or earn braggin' rights on anything I own.  I get that from my southern Missouri, simple parents that grew up with just what they needed and nothing really more and I'm quite comfortable in my station of life.  I work for what I have, provide with hubs for the family and earn my keep in my home not sitting around waiting to be waited on.  One of my biggest faults though is feeling undeserving.  I get doses of that from time to time, especially when life is going well for me.

Yesterday we had our Christmas celebration with Bubba, girlie and buddy and my in-laws.  I don't even know why I refer to them that way any longer, it's been almost 20 years since they accepted me into the family!  Mom and Dad are always so good to me.  

As they were leaving yesterday afternoon after a wonderful day of festivities, Dad told me he was proud of me.  Proud of the wife I am.  Proud of the mother I have become.  Blessed to have me in his life.

I shook it off at the moment ~ frankly I was a little bit embarrassed.  I said "No Dad, I'm the lucky one".  And I meant it.

Meeting hubs was quite unintended, to say the least.  The chances of meeting in life without the circumstances in which we met are about 1 in 1,000,000.  He was in a relationship, I was dating someone.  Cliche' as it might sound, when I met him I knew he was the one.  Instantly.  I had NO plans to marry.  Quite the contrary!  I had no plans of ever remarrying after my first marriage and certainly had no plans to give Bubba a stepdad.  That entire concept was foreign to me at that time ~ not even an option.  I just figured I'd date when I had a chance and find happiness with Bubba, my friends and my family. 

Hubs tells me that when he met me, he also knew.  How can that be?  I was still in the midst of an 18 month divorce process, had a 3 year old son, was in the process of moving in with my mom because my roommate and I couldn't make it work (she was single with no children, so not her fault but in a different phase of life) and I had nothing.  Literally nothing.  My perception of him at that time was that he was from a wealthy family, had a beautiful car, worked a serious job (traveled 26 weeks a year, unfortunately), wore all brand name clothes and couldn't possibly have an interest in me.  I was wrong.  Thankfully.

We were introduced to each other in August.  By October we were dating.  He proposed to me on December 23rd.  We were married the following July 31st.

19 years later, I still can't believe it.  Sure, we have had a zillion arguments.  We've tried to go War of the Roses on each other about a million times.  We've made thousands of mistakes.  We have both been unforgiving hundreds of times.  But we realize something really important:  we were meant for each other the day we met and still are today.  Besides, who else would want either one of us at this point?  I guess I am deserving of it!

I am blessed for the opportunity to build my life with my best friend.  I love ya, hubs... can't wait for the next 20 years, hopefully in the Tiny House!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Ah, Christmas Eve at last!  Our house has been a buzz for many weeks now, rushing in presents quickly to avoid snooping eyes, baking dozen upon dozen of delicacies and drowning in wrapping paper and ribbon.  Soon it will all be fun memories and pictures capturing the moments.

Little guy followed me all around last night asking questions.  "When can I open a present again, momma?  What time is Bubba coming over?  Is he bringing his Playstation 3 again?  What time will Granny be here?" and on and on and on.  His excitement is boiling over ~ he couldn't hide it if he tried!

When I tucked him in bed last night, he reminded me that we will need to remember all of our Family Traditions on Christmas Eve and Day.  Yes sweet boy, I remember.

I am so lucky that both of my sons are genuinely sweet and sentimental.  Oh sure, Bubba huffs and puffs about hating Christmas.  He says it was no fun as a kid being drug from family to family to family events.  But thanks to my beautiful daughter in law, they have adopted lots of my traditions for other holidays and share them with their little guy, too!

But for little guy, his strict engineer type mind tells him we have to follow the paths previously driven.  We have to open one present on Christmas Eve (usually jammies).  We have to prepare Santa's plate and stuff for the reindeer (even though I'm sure he doesn't believe anymore, he would never, ever SAY that out loud so Santa continues to come for him..).  We have to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas all together in his bed.  We say thanks to God for our blessings and he's out like a light.  Christmas morning, without fail, we awake with a giant thump as he dives head first onto our bed to wake us up.  Yes ~ my 5'3" little guy will dive onto my bed like a little kid.  And I'm so thankful for it!

I'm going to take a few minutes to enjoy my coffee, soak up the quiet atmosphere and take a LONG hot shower before everyone arrives.  It will be a day of fun, no doubt.  Flip the tube, Davis!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do Not Pass Go...

Little guy and I battled in a monstrous game of Monopoly Here and Now last night.  It amazed me at how grown up he is ~ far beyond his age.  He declared himself all time banker and distributed our hundreds of thousands and million dollar bills (updated for the 21st century if you haven't played it) with complete ease as if counting in $100,000 bills is totally normal.  He scooped up property that cost $2,600,000 without a flinch and thought that was totally normal.  He threw up hotels without mercy on his momma and cheered himself on every time I landed on one of them.

And then.... he got greedy.  After raking in the dough on me for over and hour, I saw a switch in his facial expression.    He had over $20,000,000 in cash and all of sudden, he started to cling onto it.  He had all of the dark green properties and wouldn't build on them.  He didn't want to spend his cash.

Slowly but surely, I put one house at a time on my properties.  I owned 3 monopolies (yellow, orange and red) so one "side" of the board essentially.  Roll after roll, he started to hit them.  I started to accumulate cash, bought more houses, built hotels.  He still sat on his property and wouldn't build (he owned the right side of the board, the cheapy stuff, with hotels).  He started to go down.

I couldn't believe how gracious he was.  He didn't throw a tantrum, he didn't get upset.  He just started to mortgage, paying me everything he owed without asking for help.  On the last trip around the board, he hit three of my hotels in three rolls... the last straw.  He stood up, stuck his hand out and shook my hand.  "Good game, mom!", he said.  "We should play Life!".  Unwavering.  Undeterred.  Happy as a clam.

This must be my hubs genetics.  There is no way this child is my kid.  I would have never reacted that way in a loss (nor do I usually in my adult life!)  I'm amazed by his balance and strength and capability to maneuver through this life.

I love that I can see so much of hubs in my son.  I see his Pooh, too.  I also see his great gpa.  It's amazing how strong genes can mold and develop our children even before we start to guide them.  In celebration of our Lord's birth, take some time this weekend to also celebrate the children in your life.  They truly are miracles!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This is How We Do It

I traveled for business yesterday with a woman that I knew already, but not well.  8 hours in the car together gets you to know each other pretty darn well.  And yes, if you are wondering, I did ask her permission to blog her story and she said YES, THAT'S SO SWEET!

I had a coworker at my prior employer that did this same thing with her ex-husband, so now I have met two courageous, selfless women that made this work.  I'm so excited to share it!

My friend had a child when she was in her early 20's.  She unfortunately later divorced her daughter's father and relocation moved her out of state from him.  He didn't have much visitation with the little girl after the age of 4 but didn't ask for it either.  When she asked for financial support of her daughter he terminated his parental rights.  Awesome.

My friend buckled down as a single mother and raised her child.  When her friends went out on Friday nights, she stayed home.  Sounds familiar.  She didn't ask her parents to babysit (or anyone else for that matter), she did it all on her own.

Flash forward a few years and she had a chance meeting with her now husband.  He was also a single dad of a daughter and had full custody of his child as well.  They had a LOT of things in common and had an instant connection.  But somehow, through all the lust and desire, they held strong in their first commitment to raise their daughters.  Without drama.  Without having to change schools, "learn to live" with a new sister, learn to understand a new parent.  In short, her words were to me "Why would I MAKE my daughter blend into MY life.  I made a decision to bring her into this life and give her my full, utmost attention~ always doing what was best for her.  Why would that be best?"  

I was floored.  Women I know don't usually do this.  Nor men, for that matter.  Most people just can't or won't make that type of sacrifice for their children.

So they did.  They did not get married.  They did not move in together.  Instead what they did was visit each other, with their girls.  If one had a soccer game, they all went.  When my friend's daughter made homecoming queen, he walked her onto the football field.  He was present in her life, just like a father should be.  And my friend was present in his daughter's life, just as she a mother would be.

Present.  Such a simple word.  I think what most parents forget is that saying one thing and doing another is a complete contradiction to children.  They are simple.  Show up.  Be there.  Be present, not distracted to them.

After both girls were grown and moved out of the home, I'm happy to announce that after 9 years of dating, they married.  Not only that, but he adopted her 21 year old daughter ~ they made the decision together!  How amazing is that!

Now, they are a happy, healthy couple.  Their daughters know their love for them.  Nobody is jealous.  Nobody is fighting.  Bliss.

Hubs and I have said it time and time again.  No divorce.  Ever.  No coparenting.  Ever.  It just won't happen.  Our little guy is far to important to drag through the drama of steps (and of course we will become ex's).  His happiness is first, no matter what.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nina, Nana, Banana, Fantastic!

One of my friends commented on Facebook this weekend how much fun it was to receive packages she ordered in the mail for other people.  Even though she was giving, it was just like Christmas to her to receive the packages on her doorstep.  I couldn't agree more!

A couple of days ago I received a package for my grandson on my doorstep.  You would have thought I won the lottery ~ I was jumping up and down with joy!  It's a gift that both of my boys had a child and loved so I hope he finds as much enjoyment out of it as they did.  Then, all of a sudden, I started to tear up.  Ah, the joys of grandparenting.

I love my grandson.  Wait, maybe I wasn't clear on this.  I LOVE my grandson!  He is every s word that I use to describe people that I like ~ sassy, saucy, spicy ~ all wrapped up into the most adorable, loving, sweet, chubby little body.  At least he is consistent, I'm pretty sure my daughter would say he was that way in utero.

My daughter had a very traumatic labor and delivery.  It most certainly defined how fragile life can be (and how strong the power of prayer can be).  It was in that moment that I saw my son as grown man, vulnerable and scared, strong in his faith and unwavering in his love for his wife.  Sometimes from unfortunate circumstances you can really see the true character in people.

But through it all, E was perfect.  It's as though God put a bubble around him during the events and placed his hands on the doctors hands to get him through safely.  And they did :).

When I first met him, I fell in love.  I couldn't believe how full my heart felt ~ I stood in the nursery with my chest pounding with excitement.  My daughter wasn't able to see her son for a very long time after he was born so her mother and I took a thousand pictures of his every single movement to record them in time for her.  We were able to work together to give him his first bath, a moment I will never, ever forget.  Pure love.

Afterwards during a quiet moment with my son, I told him how much I loved our new buddy.  I mean REALLY loved him.  I even thought I loved him more than I did my son.  (Joke!  Okay, sort of...)  But it's true what everyone says ~ being a grandparent is so incredibly rewarding.  I get to love him, spoil him, cuddle him, give him everything he wants... then send him home.  I don't have any pressure to make sure he gets good grades in school, or is nice to his friend on the playground or cleans his room.  I just get to love him.  Unconditionally. 

I cannot wait to participate in his life.  We don't know where the kids will be next Christmas, but suffice it to say we will be with them one way or another.  Maybe our Christmas will be in Florida next year?  Little guy does want to know how to build a sand snowman...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Idiot Father

I talked with a friend last night in despair.  Once again, the bio dad of her kids hurt them yet again. 

This couple had an interesting story.  Last year they decided to split after 10+ years of marriage.  They even lived together during their separation "for the kids".  It was amazingly amiable - I was a bit torn at the time but they really did put the kids first in everything they did so it seemed to work great!  They even divorced very amicably so I really did think they would be one of the lucky ones to coparent.

Ah, how wrong I was.  Within 2 months of their divorce, bio dad remarried.  Yep - insert 3rd wife (he was married before my friend).  And what does she bring with her?  Three kids from 2 dads ~ although she doesn't have custody of any of them.  Hmmm, the issues mount.

Shocking that a few short months later, it's a nightmare.  Since he married 3rd wife, he no longer attends any of HIS kids events.  None of them.  Now it's important to note that he attended EVERYTHING before the 3rd wife came along.  He was a great dad!  But now since he needs to HATE the bio mom he can't go to anything because it's "uncomfortable" to be around her.  No, that's not step moms doing, of course not.  I'm sure she's perfect in every way.

So last night, their little guy had his preschool Christmas program.  He'd been practicing and was very excited for the event.  It was his DAD'S day.  I'm sure you can see how this unfolds.

Bio dad called my friend and asked if she could pick up the little guy and take him to his program.  Of course! was her response.  However, I'd like to pick up BOTH kids ~ the little guy gets drug to all of the older boy's events so this time the older son needs to support his little brother.  Nope, that's not what bio dad wants.  He wants to take older son 2 hours away to see stepmom's daughter's Christmas program.

Wait ~ what??  Our older son can't see his little brother's program but you want to take him to his new stepsister's program?  How does that work exactly?

End result - bio dad got mad and kept both kids.  And little guy missed his own Christmas program.  And they all drove 2 hours away to see the stepdaughter's program and arrived home I'm sure after 10 on a school night.

OH MY GOD.  And what point does this make sense??  It doesn't.

See ~ bio dad did not put his kids first.  He put his WIFE first.  Hence the reason you shouldn't remarry if you can't keep your shit prioritized.

I had to deal with this crap too for a long time.  My ex wouldn't come to my son's events if I was going to be there.  Whatever.  He's my kid, he came out of my vag and I don't care if the world is on FIRE you will not keep me from being a part of my child's life.  Pull up your big boy pants and get your ass to your kids events!  You think you hurt the bio mom when you put your head in the sand but it is ONLY the kiddos that take the hit.  My ex missed YEARS of baseball, basketball, football, school plays, etc. but would bow his neck when parent teacher conferences came around because he wanted to "be involved".  Nope, you're not.  If you can't show respect in his everyday life then you don't get to participate.  Period.  Your parental card has been revoked for improper parenting.

This bio dad will figure this out soon enough, too.  Eventually, these two boys won't want to go to his house.  And of course, my friend will be to blame for being an EVIL EX.  Wear it proud, sister - wear it proud!  Defend your kids to the end.  They know who loves them, supports them and is their biggest advocate.  And sad as it might be right now, they will be better off without the absent father and the 3rd wife - of course by then it may be the 4th wife....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spell in Out

As we wrap up the first semester of school, little guy always has a lot of projects, reports and "stuff" to complete before the Christmas break.  This weekend was no exception.  He had an informational book report, a Santa story he had to make up and some studying to do.  We are blessed with a fairly strong academic kiddo - he studies hard and as a result his grades are always good.  I sometimes forget how much his success means to him.

This morning as he was eating his breakfast, I slid his spelling words over to him to look over.  I know that he knows them, with a few exceptions he has always done very well in spelling.  This time it's different though.  Now that he is in 4th grade he is eligible to participate in the Spelling Bee.  I should have seen this one coming.

He instantly burst into tears.  "Mom, I haven't studied enough for the test!" he exclaimed.  Really buddy?  You know these words honey.  No, apparently not enough.  He begged me to take him to school in the car rider line so he could have an extra 15 minutes to study.  He poured over the words, spelling them out loud over and over again.  He was clearly stressed.

Hubs and I are both very competitive but this level of determination I cannot fathom sometimes.  He is so strong willed to succeed in everything he attempts.  So much so he pushes himself to the brink sometimes.  I wonder where he gets this attribute?  We have never pushed him, have no big expectations of him.  Still, he pushes and pushes himself.

I can get this way sometimes but in my everyday life I usually take a step back.  I am confident where I need to be and self aware when I know my limitations.  I think that's it though - he doesn't want any limitations at all!

So big prayers for little guy today as he goes into taking the Spelling Bee prequalifier.  Go get 'em, big guy!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Price of Kids

I went to a holiday party last night and at the end of the night wound up visiting with a new friend.  As always, women gravitate eventually towards questions like "Do you have any kids?" and when faces start to shift, I always know what's coming.  My new friend stated "yes, I have three.  17, 15 and 9.  The first two boys are my step-kids" which was was clearly obvious, she looks to be about 27 herself.  So I just had to go there ~ "how's that working out for you?"  Yeah, it's not really, she replied.

Without prompting, she launched into a diatribe about the kids, the ex, her hubs and her own child (the 9 is hers, not a "theirs") and how difficult it is to maneuver through the crap.  Her ex is out of the picture, never sees her 9 year old daughter and hasn't since she was 3.  End result = perfect bliss.  The older boys are an entirely different story.

Her hubs ex actually told them she was going to need them to pay the down payment of her new house.  Yep, you read that right.  See, she is pregnant and only has a 3 bedroom house, so when the baby is born the two older boys will have to share a room.  The bio dad got mad and said that's not acceptable, they are 17 and 15 and won't have enough space.  Her solution?  I'll buy a new house, but you're paying the down payment since you are making us move.

Are you freakin' kidding me??  Best ever ~ HE DID IT!  Oh My God.  Serious bio dad guilt in play here.

So my new friend is stuck.  Of course she works full time, has a great job with a great income, and it pays the down payment of her hubs' ex's house.  I would shoot myself in that situation.

Not to mention all the other stuff that comes with teenage boys.  Boys are so different than girls in every single way.  They don't have the same type of drama, but they do have drama.  I'm lucky in that Bubba was actually a very cool teenager.  He rarely got into trouble but when he did he would take full responsibility along with his punishment fairly easily and didn't usually repeat the negative behaviour.  Sure he made some silly mistakes but all teenagers do!

I think one of the hardest things for people that have kids, steps and ex's to deal with is money.  It causes everyone to lose focus of the responsibility of raising the kids and making them come first.  Everyone seems to fight over child support, doctors bills, school clothes.. on and on and on.

My experience was easy.  Wrote court ordered child support in the decree.  Easy peasy.  He didn't pay the courts collected and not me.  I did attempt to get my ex to help with sports fees and other stuff but it was pretty much a useless conversation.  Ex's 2nd wife did an awesome job buying Bubba stuff he needed when he was with them so that was very helpful.  By the time Bubba went to private high school I foot the bill for all of it - it just wasn't worth the conversation any longer.  Pulling teeth, as I always said.  And by then, 2nd wife left and was collecting child support on their 3 daughters so there wasn't anything left to get anyway I'm sure.  Same for the wedding, didn't even bother to ask.

I wonder what would happen if money wasn't an issue?  If parents could just focus on being parents?  Hmm, novel concept.  But that will never happen. 

I have a GREAT idea:  there are a zillion calculators on the average cost of a child from birth to 18 with LOTS of different factors (salaries, housing, college, etc), but it's somewhere in the $250,000 range.  So just do the math ~ make it unemotional.  You divorce when you are kid is 12, you have 6 years to "pay".  That's roughly $83,333, or $41,667 per person (bio mom and dad).  Cold hard fact, not taking into consideration who makes more (because I don't care about that - it's equal responsibility in my eyes).  That's $6,945 a year or $578.71 per month.  BOTH bio mom and bio dad put $578.71 per month in a bank account for the kid - no matter what.  EVERYTHING the kid needs gets pulled out of that account.  Period.  End of discussion.  Of course you'll still fight over whether they should play competitive basketball or join the ballet but at least there is money to pay for it.

Can't afford it?  Easy.  Don't have kids!

They should teach that to every kid in high school.  Mandatory class.  Make the kids think about whether or not they EVER want to be divorced and coparent.  I bet some would think twice!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jiggle All the Way

Ah, the holidays.  An abundance of food everywhere you turn.  Every day we get a note that another vendor has brought in a basket of crap for us to descend upon and consume in one second.  Every night I go home and bake more cookies (because 20 dozen just isn't enough), or I frost, glaze or bag something sweet.  My expanding waistband is feeling very "Claus"y this year.

I pre-purchased P90x2 but can't seem to even open the DVDs yet.  I just know that I will feel an epic failure if I do start the program and 9 days in, fall off the wagon.

So I have some jiggly parts.  Oh well.  Little guy calls me "squishy".  Isn't that nice?  Even the dogs keep burrowing their heads into my belly when on the couch since it's the softest part of me.  I can't even blame the kids - they are way to old for me to have residual baby fat.

I guess I'll just keep snacking away hoping somehow that some of won't be absorbed to my ass.  Or my thighs.  Or my gut.  Maybe I should just throw in the towel and exercise?  Nah - no time for that... gotta go frost something.

I'm every personal trainers DREAM, I'm sure!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Queen of the Furdome

My furry kids are bad.  Really, really bad.  I think Santa is bringing them coal for Christmas.

I've loved dogs all of my life.  As a kid, I begged for a pet dog.  Nope, Dad wasn't having an animal in his house.  They lived outside.  So no surprise when my parents started having troubles when I was in junior high my momma made the decision to "breed dogs".  Hee hee.  I am SO totally like her!  But she didn't breed dogs.  Not per se.  She bred POMERANIANS.  No folks, those aren't dogs.  They are YIPPERS.  Ankle biters.  Crumb crunchers.  Icky.  I can't imagine owning a dog that fits in my purse.  I'm not following that fad.  These dogs were NOT pets.  To the contrary, we were to respect them as breeding animals.  No playing for me - they were penned outside and had specific tasks.  No, momma wasn't Michael Vick or anything.  She did make a profit but she also loved her dogs, every single one of them.  I can't tell you how many litters I watched my mother personally sit and deliver.  Eww.

When I got divorced, I got a dog.  I thought it would be a great idea for Bubba.  At 18 months old.  Yeah, he wanted a dog.  Sure.  I picked up an American Eskimo from PetLand.  Paid a fortune for that damn dog.  Named it after the cigarettes my parents smoked (yes, weird.)  6 months later, Winston found a new home on a farm.  Epic failure as a pet owner.

Hubs and I had good friends that had a chow.  They bred her, so they said.  Maybe that's true, but their chow was also notorious for getting of her lead.  When Bubba was six years old, Abigail "Sweets" Davis joined our clan.  She was an awesome dog.  Part chow, part border collie.  Protective and loyal to Bubba, she would bite someone in half if she thought they were messing with him.  But oh, the grace and energy of a border collie just about killed us in the end.  She jumped every fence we could get.  Fearful she would run away, we tethered her when she went out.  I hated doing that to her but it was the only way to not lose her.

Flash forward 5 years, another friend had purebred lab pups she needed to find a home.  Sure they are.  We drive a zillion miles away to the middle of nowhere on back country roads in driving rain to meet Jackson "Cranky" Davis.  Beautiful kiwi butt.  Again, joined our clan.

It wasn't until January, 2008 that I realized what these animals truly meant to me.  Abbey was always Bubba's dog and Jack was hubs dog.  Sure I loved them but if you know dogs, you know they pick ONE primary person to be theirs.  On a cold, late Friday evening in January, I held Abbey in arms as she left this world.  I stroked her fur, reassured her it would be okay to go and watched her take her last breath.  I was astounded at how incredibly sad I was.  And then to tell Bubba.

Luckily, daughter in law was over with him when I knocked on his door to deliver the news.  He was beyond devastated.  Watching the impact it made on my son reaffirmed how incredible a bond can be between a dog and their best friend.

3 months after moving in our new home later that year (and after Bubba moved out), I watched Cranky move through the house in a sullen manner.  It broke my heart.  Although he wasn't necessarily best friends with Abbey, I could tell he was seriously depressed that she was gone.  I BEGGED, BEGGED, BEGGED hubs for a new dog.  No way.  We just moved into our new home!

One cold Saturday afternoon in late November of 2008, I drug hubs to Wayside Waifs "just to look".  Yeah, don't ever fall for that.  It is impossible to visit there without falling in love a hundred times.  I met Bella "Bellisima" Davis and it was an instant love.  SHE was my dog.  She came home with us a few weeks later.

I spend a great deal of time complaining about the fur kids.  Ugh, the vacuuming, the bathing, all the food, the costs!  But I sincerely can't imagine one single day of our lives without them. 

Cranky doesn't have much time left with us.  Approaching his 13th birthday, he's tired.  He has arthritis.  He's almost ready to turn it in.  I just hope I get the same opportunity to be with him as I did with Abbey.  The thought of "finding him" makes me tear up instantly - a huge fear of mine.

And then the sassy baby of the family can finally take over the universe.  She practically runs the house anyway so that will just be the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.  I can't imagine her being any more spoiled than she already is - she and I will have to rival for the Queen of the House title!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Momma Bear

After the outpouring of support from my post yesterday, it's only fair that I expand and clarify a few things.  

I am surrounded by women that are mothers.  Really good, strong, independent, loving, nurturing mothers.  I feel my own was the best momma ever loving me unconditionally until the day she died.  She also possessed a strong maternal urge to protect her kids at all costs no matter what the consequences.

I have that trait.  I will go to battle any day, anytime for all of my kids.  And not just their physical safety - most often I worry most about their emotional stability.  I want them to walk with their heads high every single day on this earth knowing their mother would fight to the death to protect their integrity, character and souls.  And they do know.  All of my kids know this about me, most obviously Bubba and my daughter because they are the oldest.

I, like a lot of my mom friends, had (or have to) coparent with an ex.  That task in and of itself is not easy... again, if you can't stay married, coparenting won't be easy either.  But throw in another spouse (or 3 more in my ex's case) and it becomes a little overwhelming.  And not only the spouses, all the dates sprinkled in between that came home to meet the kids was just as awesome.

So faithful readers - I am sorry for my tirade yesterday.  I allowed 4th wife to get under my skin.  See, she has her own blog and although she doesn't even know me or Bubba (or his wife, or his son), she finds it necessary to blog about us on occasion.  And she lies.  Every single, solitary word on the page is incorrect.  It amazes me how blatantly wrong it is - not even close to a version of the truth.  But of course, she's perfect.  See, she lives her life with no drama, because she is just a victim that married the most perfect man on the planet that just so happens to have the most evil kids and ex's she's ever met.  She even claims to have a support group of other women that are victims to these natural, biological mothers and their evil kids.  Talk about hypocrisy - she herself has natural born children and is a biological mother but somehow she is perfect at that task as well. 

Oh... to the contrary.  If she was as perfect as she claims, she would understand a mother's need to protect her kids (if she did it to her own, that is - she IS a mother after all).  If she was perfect, she would understand how much you have to make up for the absent (or idiot) father of your kids (as she claims she has to all the time in her blogs).  If she was perfect, she would understand that 3 years of a marriage does not constitute understanding the intricacies of the past 22 years of family events~ births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc.  But alas, she is not perfect.  None of us are. 

I was reminded by my beautiful, wonderful daughter in law that I do not have to defend our family.  I don't even need to defend myself because I live each day loving my children unconditionally and doing the right thing and they KNOW it.  I don't drag drama all over facebook, twitter and my blog.  Although today, I am.  Yep, I'm being the mature 40 year old that I am because I can - it's my blog.  See, I am the baby of the family!

So I deleted her stupid blog and I won't read the car wreck anymore that is their lives.  My intimate family life is as perfect as we make it - we have removed all the individuals (including family members) that stir up crap, hurt others intentionally and don't live the creed of loving unconditionally.  Sure it's sad from the outside that we don't have relationships with certain individuals but love by obligation is NOT something I have ever taught my children.  Just because his title is "father" does not mean that you have to engage in a relationship with him, particularly if he has proven time and again that he cannot be trusted.  Intentional hurt is never required, regardless of the title.

So thanks to all the beautiful women that called, text and emailed me yesterday.  It's all good, girls.  We will keep loving our children each day and not feel guilty about protecting them from harm... even if it is related.  That's our job, after all!  Guard those dens and keep out the vultures!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liar, Liar

I love sociopaths.  They are such cool people to watch in life.  They walk around with their own versions of truth, making up what they need to make themselves either A. look good in the eyes of others or B. cover up their own life misfortunes.  I have had a couple of these in my life.  They never cease to amaze me.  They walk the planet seemingly normal, have friends, marriages, family.  But oh the deception!  They will flat out lie to your face and everyone they know with such conviction that sometimes it's hard to tell they are lying.

Friends - don't be fooled.  These people are amongst us all.  They will widdle their way into your life or someone you love.  And when they do, they are POISEN. They are basically the scum of the earth.  Born with ZERO moral compass, they work like cancer and can destroy entire lives with just their presence.  And they never, ever, ever stop.  They burrow like a mite into your life and often cannot be detected.

For those of you that haven't experienced this delightful person yet, here is the definition:

Individuals with this disorder have little regard for the feeling and welfare of others. As a clinical diagnosis it is usually limited to those over age 18. It can be diagnosed in younger people
if the they commit isolated antisocial acts and do not show signs of another mental disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general symptoms:

not learning from experience
no sense of responsibility
inability to form meaningful relationships
inability to control impulses
lack of moral sense chronically antisocial behavior
no change in behavior after punishment
emotional immaturity

lack of guilt

People with this disorder may exhibit criminal behavior. They may not work. If they do work, they are frequently absent or may quit suddenly. They do not consider other people's wishes, welfare or
rights. They can be manipulative and may lie to gain personal pleasure or profit. They may default on loans, fail to provide child support, or fail to care for their dependents adequately. High risk sexual behavior and substance abuse are common. Impulsiveness, failure to plan ahead, aggressiveness, irritability, irresponsibility, and a reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of others are traits of the antisocial personality.

I'm lucky to know one of these right now so I've bolded the traits they display which are consistent with this definition.  Yeah me.  I'll tell you one thing - they LOVE drama even though they claim to avoid it!

I have another term to call her:  CRAZY BITCH.  It's much more fitting, I think. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Burnin' down the House

This weekend kicks off my annual baking frenzy.  I'm a complete crazy woman when it comes to baking and making candy - 6 dozen of everything totally seems like a logical idea.  I'm not sure why I feel I have to make so much but I have been giving away goodies to my family, friends, neighbs and coworkers for as long as I have had a kitchen of my own.

I came home last night and started to clean a bit.  The usual, vacuum, dust and scour the main living area.  There is something about having a picked up space that is very important to me.  For starters, it will work FABULOUS in my Tiny House dream!  I truly can easily be minimalist - I don't have tons of furniture wall to wall or "stuff" (start laughing now gfriends, yes I have decorations but that's different).  I try to practice the one in, one out rule as best as I can (except for my clothes... whole other blog).

As I was cleaning, little guy lurked strangely, watching me.  After waiting for some time he approached me.  "Momma, are you having another party?"  I replied "no buddy, momma is just cleaning the house".  He gave me a shoulder shrug and walked off in utter confusion.

Wait... seriously?  A.  Does he think I only clean when having parties? .  B.  Does he not notice that I clean EVERY DAY?  C.  How does he think everything gets picked up around here?

Geesh.  Boys.  I am clearly NOT a very good "teaching" mom.  My kids don't really do chores, per se.  Little guy has moved laundry from washer to dryer but I'm not sure he's ever loaded the dishwasher.  Epic fail for the woman who gets him in life.  I realize I better get on it and teach him how to do chores so I can up his ante when he looks for "the one".  Our generation of women are pretty independent so I can only imagine what the next generation will look like!  I have sassy little girls all around my neighb so I know what he will be up against!

So I scoured my kitchen only to recklessly destroy it today and tomorrow.  Good thing I'm starting P90x2 AFTER my baking!!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Smells like Teen Spirit?

Mornin', y'all.  Oh, how I miss my southern Missouri roots.  As a kid I always considered them "the south".  I was so naive.

My little guy has been talking about Louisiana for about a year now.  Very funny kid.  He has very specific goals for himself and has since he was about five years old.  Where in the world he developed this I honestly have NO idea.  Had it not been for his giant head pushed out of my own vag, I would have SWORN he was the milkGIRL's kid.  He is exactly like hubs in almost every way but this one - he has very specific goals on his future path.  Sure, it skews all the time - one day he wants to be a sports journalist, the next day he wants to play pro NFL, the next day he wants to maybe be a judge? (until I told him he had to be a lawyer, then he didn't like that one so much).

So Louisiana it is, at least for now.  Oh, and we have to come with him.  See, that's the deal, right mom?  He truly thinks that wherever he goes to college, hubs and I will just buy a house down the street so he can visit when he wants and of COURSE we won't miss any of his games.  Oh so young.

I've often asked him "what happens if you get to college and DON'T play football?"  That is totally out of the question.  "mom, why would I do that?"  He sees them as hand in hand.  He's disappointed that Harvard doesn't have a football team.  Nope kid, have to take up rowing.  Or that sport with the sticks that's kinda like hockey.  Can't remember the name right now.  Oh, and wear boat shoes without socks and tie cardigans around your neck.  Yes, I'm stereotyping.  It's my blog!

I guess I better warm up on my Cajun french influences and start looking up flood insurance rates.  It's never to early to plan.  Of course hubs and I have to stay FAR away from New Orleans - way to much sin available to us.  Besides I don't think I could ever get used to the Mule, Piss and Vomit they are famous for... I could never live around that smell no matter how much alcohol I drank.  Ewwww.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

How NORMAL are you?!

Families are so complicated.  No matter what you see on the outside, most people have skeletons hanging in every closet of their house.  Mine of course is no exception!

If every woman married one man, had children with same said man and died married to same said man life would be fairly uncomplicated.  It is extremely difficult to find this type of arrangement beyond marriage licenses issued in 1955.

As a kid, I always thought my "core" family was totally normal (with exception to having a disabled sister).  I had one mom, one dad, gparents on both sides and siblings.  Normal, right?  Hmmm.  What I DIDN'T learn until I was about 11 years old is that BOTH of my Gparents had been divorced - one remarried SEVEN times!  YES, I SAID 7!  My Gma on Dads side came to live with us.  She didn't live w/Gpa?  Oh, I didn't know that.  She moved on to one of her other 7 kid's homes by the time I was 13 but along came same side Gpa.  Ugh.  I didn't even know him and found him totally irritating.  Unfortunately he died by the time I was 15 so I never really got the chance (he was our first generation Navy serviceman though - oh I wish I would have paid attention!)

FAV Gparent was Nana (mom's mom).  She ROCKED.  We were kindred spirits from the day I was born and I never lived closer than 2 hours from her my whole life.  I didn't even see her too terribly often but I loved that woman to my core.  She was married to my only Gpa (Papa Art) who I ever really knew and loved - one tank of a man. 

My world came into clear view of "dysfunction" when my parents split up after 37 years of marriage when I was 16.  Then my Gparents divorced.  WTH?  I thought the whole world was crumbling down.

So naive.  I had friends all around me who lived that their entire lives but I didn't get it at all until I went through it.

Today, I'm divorced (and remarried of course).  My son's bio dad has been married 4 times.  My brother - 3 times.  My friends have numerous marriages and divorces. It is the norm at this point.

I'm amazed with all this commotion how people want to try to be "normal" still.  It's NOT normal and it never will be.  Bio parents are responsible for their kids, period.  Steps can get in and work the system but ultimately don't have a say. 

Is it that easy?  What about the in-laws you accumulate along the way?

I think it is like anything else in life - if I like you, you like me and we want a relationship, then we will.  The rest doesn't matter.  I have a TREMENDOUS relationship with my "ex" sisters in law.  I will never, ever change that, no matter what.  And yes, of COURSE I love my current sister-in-law!  She should never, ever feel threatened that I love and maintain contact with the prior ones.  They are, of course, FAMILY.  Whether "ex" or not, we came together with a common denominator and it will always remain.  Even MY ex's sisters and I have good relations and talk and even if he does have 4th wife, I won't avoid them or run away.  It's not her call - it's mine and the other person.

I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on this one - message me if you don't want to comment publicly!  This topic creates such controversy but the reality is simple:  this is the NEW normal and we all have to figure out how to lose our insecurities and move forward.  I know it's a big task for some to strap on their big girl panties and suck it up, but life will be filled with disdain, drama and lost relationships if you don't figure it out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hangin' to the Right

I am SO not ready for winter in Kansas City.  When I opened my eyes this morning hubs greeted me with an "it snowed" comment.  Great.  I've lived here my entire life and all of us Kansas Citians know that when the first sign of precip hits the ground, drivers FREAK out.  All highways come to a standstill.  Idiots slide through intersections and slam into each other.  Nightmare to navigate.

Kansas City is virtually a perfect square and the most populated suburbs surround it equally on all sides.  Suffice it to say that there really isn't much of an opportunity to "go around" traffic.  Sure you can duck off side streets and try to avoid it a bit but it doesn't usually get you very far before you have to get back to a main artery.

I have two things typically going for me at this point.  1.  I live east of the city.  2.  I don't have to drive into the city any longer, I only have to drive southwest about 18 miles.  Yeah, that seemed to matter this morning.

My 18 mile drive took me an hour and forty minutes.  Yep you read that right:  1:40!  STUPID!  The ground was virtually dry with a few spots of accumulation on the shoulders.  Still - no movement.  Oh, and no reason either.  No accidents that I could tell/see.  No movement.

I am so not wired for this activity.  I want to STAB someone when I have to sit in traffic.  Seriously - what a humongous waste of time and energy (not to mention gas). 

I watched my neighb pass me by about half way to work and called him, informing him when the weather gets REALLY crappy he would be my new ride to work.  He responded with a "sure, but I work from home when it gets bad".  That's not gonna help me much.

So even though the Saab has a winter mode (go ahead and insert jokes now - I've heard them all) and even though she was made in SWEDEN, she's a total bitch on crappy roads.  Won't move.  No clearance whatsoever.

It's gonna be a great winter!  IT'S THE PEDAL ON THE RIGHT, MORONS!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Bloggin' Up the Steps

I love blogs.  I'm pretty much a blog whore.  I read any and all I can get my hands on to learn different perspectives and ideas.  And sometimes, I'm just nosy and wonder what other people are up to.

It astounds me what some people blog.  If this is the first time you are reading MY blog, you will find that I talk about myself, my friends and my family.  Mostly, I unearth my personal journey through life and my joys, mistakes and trials I experience.  I'm an extremely self aware girl so you find that I'm the first one to point out my vulnerabilities.

However, there are many people that spend ENDLESS amount of time writing about people they don't like or get along with.  It must be exhausting to walk around hating other people so much.  The ones that crack me up the most are the ones co-parenting with ex-spouses.  That's the best entertainment - it's like seeing a car accident... you just can't look away no matter how bad it is.  I find that I read these blogs almost religiously because I just can't seem to believe that someone would be so bold in writing to slam someone they KNOW reads their blog.  Hey, I'm the most non-confrontational person on the planet but I can only think one thing:  Grow some nads, people!  If you have an issue with someone and want to truly be a grown up, just get your crap out in person! 

Oh no - the new way of communication is slamming someone in a blog.  Hate emails.  Nightmare texting, twittering, facebooking, etc.  No verbal communication whatsoever.  Very grown up.

Now in defense of those doing this ~ it is often IMPOSSIBLE to co-parent.  If you were married and got divorced, you obviously had a reason to divorce. Someone was the dumper and someone was the dumpee.  And usually, the dumpee gets vengeful and starts throwing darts at your eyes.  I should know I was the dumper once.  Oddly enough, if you can't be married you most likely won't coparent very well either.  Oh you might have moments when everyone tries to get along but once remarriage starts it becomes impossible.  Bio moms HATE stepmoms, bio dad's feel threatened by stepdads.  In the end, biological parents want their kids to love them and only them as the PARENTS of the kids.  Ugh, if only it were that easy.

My experience actually turned the other way.  I am grateful every day for the stepmom of my son.  Oh, it wasn't always that easy.  Both Bubba's bio dad and I were remarried by the time he was 3 years old and we were still in major WWIII mode.  Everytime we had to exchange Bubba we screamed unmercifully at each other.  Nightmare that totally justified my decision to divorce him everytime I saw him.  But by the time Bubba turned 6 and bio dad and stepmom had their first daughter, we were in a groove.  Granted, we still spat sometimes about scheduling which seemed to be the primary problem. 

The moment it all changed was middle school.  7th grade registration, to be precise.  By then, bio dad had missed about 5 years of activities.  Just never came to anything, totally absent because it was "on my time".  What a cop out.  "Grow up and drag your ass to your kid's events" was my constant statement.  But on this special day, stepmom came to registration with me.  Not bio dad, just stepmom.  And we did it together.  From that day on, we coparented Bubba together and removed bio dad.  It was the best decision that I'm sure neither of us self consciously did but it worked perfectly.

To this day, Bubba has a fantastic relationship with his stepmom (and she with him).  She and her P's (his grandparents) are very close and see each other at every holiday and major event.  I can't imagine her not being a part of his life forever.  She nursed his boo boos, wiped his tears when his dad disappointed him and loved him unconditionally - a dream that every parent has for their kids.  I know I didn't always respect her the way I should have and to that I have publically owned it and apologized to her a zillion times. 

Bubba doesn't see his bio dad which should come to no surprise to anyone that really knows us.  He was never there for his son as a child so we certainly wouldn't assume he would be as an adult.  He is too consumed in his own current drama to even notice that he has no relationship with him.  Shocker - it's always been that way.  But what a HUGE advantage for the rest of us to live and love each other without his crap getting in the way!

So for all those steps getting slammed in blogs everyday, I say THANKS to mine that was and is a savior in my opinion.  Unfortunately for her she still has to coparent with Bub's bio dad (they had three children together over their 12 year marriage) so she has to live in a constant nightmare with the 4th wife (yep, there was one in between).  I don't envy her at all - I would literally move out of the country if I had to even attempt this venture.  Or call the Italians, whichever worked best (hubs knows a couple or tree...) < Inside joke>

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Palin's World

Geesh~ my addictive tendencies never cease to amaze me.  After a busy Thanksgiving holiday, tearing down fall and putting up Christmas decorations and throwing my annual open house, I decided to take the day off today and just veg out.  I very rarely get to do this activity.  MAYBE four times a year.  I still woke at 6:30 but after brewing my coffee, I settled into my chair and watched a movie.  BOTH dogs were on my lap (which if you know my dogs, it was impossibly crowded).  Nonetheless, I spent the next few hours sleeping on and off and it was delightful.  

My day really didn't change after that.  I read, moved from chair to couch to chair several times and didn't get out of my jammies until I showered at 5:30 and put new ones on.  Ah, the life.  I wish I could do this more often but then again I doubt I would appreciate it nearly as much if I did.  

Back to my addictions... I was flipping through the channels after watching 4 movies and found Alaska State Troopers on National Geographic.  It's pretty much COPS but being set only in Alaska, it focuses significantly on the weather and darkness.  It's really unbelievable - winters down to 50 degrees below 0 and only 3 hours of daylight a day.  TONS of alcohol related events and suicides that time of year.

Needless to say ~ I watched the damn show for HOURS and HOURS.  I am not really even certain how many hours I watched it but I'm officially hooked.  I'm even watching the new season opener and I'm in love with it.  GREAT, not another show!  Thank God Nat Geo is On Demand now so I can try to catch it that way if I miss the first showing.  I don't watch Desperate Housewives anymore so I guess it's a good alternative.

I have learned something today.  Our Tiny House will CERTAINLY not be in Alaska!  I couldn't take the cold and darkness!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Open Book

Wow - I just saw that I have had over 2,000 views on my blog in 30 days!  That is AWESOME!  I can't believe anyone would want to read what I have to say but apparently you do, so THANKS for taking your time to get to know me!

I recently started a book club and tonight is our second meeting.  I am LOVING it.  I don't know why it has taken me this long to do this!  I've been talking about wanting to join or start a book club for years but never really thought it would take off but this one seems to be sticking, so I'm crossing my fingers.  I even researched 'successful book clubs' before starting it so I would know what works and what doesn't work.  Yes, I'm that big of a nerd.

But the very best part of book club are the members.  These women are AMAZING.  I already know some of them pretty well (and BFF of course extremely well) but some I haven't talked to in years.  I am loving reconnecting with friends from my teens and learning about their life journeys.  We have our own little Oprah's Life Class happening right inside our living rooms!

I threw my idea out on Facebook and friends started inquiring.  This group of women come from all stations in life - from me, a Grandmother, to a friend that has never been married.  Single moms, married moms with kids in college, high school, elementary school.  Some working moms, some stay at home moms.  Some women with no children.  I love the diversity of this group - we really have a lot to learn from each other if we try and listen.

So I'm taking my sassy new hair to book club tonight along with a yummy red hubs bought me for my bday.  Oh, and when I told hubs thank you for accomodating the time I put in for book club he said "well, you didn't really ask".  Touche`!  This baby of the family never asks permission, only forgiveness!

Can't wait to see the girls! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Making the Peace

Ever had to eat crow?  It is NOT a fun experience, certainly something my non-confrontational self hates to do.

I cheated a couple of months ago.  Don't get your panties in a wad ~ it was on my hairdresser.  I started my new job and one of my coworkers told me about this gal that cuts her hair and how I just HAD to go see her.  Her twin sister is also in her shop and does nails so I figured I would go get that new shellac stuff and see if I liked it.  My nails do NOT grow.  I guess instead of losing calcium in my old age I have no folic acid in my diet.  Or iron.  Or fiber.  Explains a lot, really.

So I started seeing Twin 2 for my nails.  They were rockin' awesome the first few times I did it!  I loved them but so wasn't up to paying $38 every 2 1/2 weeks to keep them up.  I am SO low maintenance compared to that nonsense.  Eventually though the stuff started eating what nails I actually do grow on my own and now I'm down to nubs trying to start over again.  UGH.

Once I got to know Twin 1, I jumped and decided to let her cut my hair.  OMG.  It looks fantastic the day she cut it and slowly but surely within 2 weeks looked like crap.  It was barely long enough to even pull back so donning my Aunt Dixie I started throwing bobby pins all over my head.  I'm sure hubs thought I looked attractive!  Oh, and the best part?  $75 for my hair cut!  GEESH!  Do you KNOW how many bottles of wine I can get for that?!?!?

That's been months ago.  My hair is all grown out, split ends, looks even worse than before.  And I've been totally dreading the inevitable ~ I need to go back to my hairdresser and apologize.  This sucks.  She will totally know too - I've seen her for three years and then stop all of a sudden and now I'm gonna walk in with jacked up hair and she won't notice?  Ah crap.

I'm headed over there now.  If you see me tomorrow and my head is shaven you will know she didn't forgive me.  Or she cut it so badly that I had no other choice.  Thank god for cute hats and scarves that may be only solution out of this.

Maybe I should just take in a peace offering? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Am I Clueless Again?

I went shopping today at lunch. A co-worker asked me to accompany her to a store to buy something for daughter for Christmas so I obliged.  I am still trying to make new friends at my new work so I thought this might be a good opportunity to get to know her.

Her daughter is 13.  I have known a few 13 year old girls in my life so I think I have learned what is "hip".  This is middle school age for those of you not keeping track.

We went to Vera Bradley.  Yep, you read that right.  VERA BRADLEY.  For those of you that have NO idea what that is, I'll tell you.  Vera Bradley is a company that makes bags, purses, wallets, etc.  All sorts of carrying contraptions all the way to luggage.  Sounds pretty reasonable, right?

Uh NO.  No, no, no.  The items that are produced by this company are all quilted.  QUILTED, like my grandma's quilts.  I said "isn't this store a bit too old for your daughter?"  Her response?  Oh no, all of the young girls are carrying this now - it is quite popular for girls her age!  Now I'm not trying to say I don't like them so don't get in a tizzy if you do own this style of purse - I just am not sold that it is age appropriate at 13.

So I paid close attention around the room.  My instincts were RIGHT.  Every woman in that store was 100 years old except for the bubbly little sales clerk.  Any woman near my age HAD to be buying these items for her grandmother.  Just had to be.

I thought of my BFFs daughter and laughed.  NO WAY would she carry this, no way.  Maybe I am way off the mark, but I just can't see it happening.  I get to see her on Thursday so I can't wait to ask her if she has 4 of these bags.  Her younger daughter is 11 and takes sewing, so I could TOTALLY see her carrying a quilted bag, but it would be one of her own creation and a WAY cute pattern.

On a good note, I will tell you she obviously loves and cares for her daughter very much.  These items are very expensive!  Not your typical Target purse, I'll tell you that.  Even I don't pay $98 for a duffel bag.

New experiences abound.  Oh, I put up a pic so you could experience it yourself.  What are your thoughts ~ I'd love your comments! 

Lemon Parfait Design

Monday, November 28, 2011

Manners, anyone?

This one will probably get me in trouble.  Oh well.  Wait ~ I'm a grown up... how can I get in trouble?!

I try to be a bit anonymous when I type my blog.  I don't use any names or places really.  But I do have everything linked up - blog goes to twitter, twitter goes to facebook... and so on.  So it's high likelyhood everyone knows exactly who I'm talking about when I blog.  Again - oh well.  Don't read it if you don't want to, that's my theory!

I do have to laugh that I wrote a GIANT blog on my iPhone this weekend that didn't upload.  Thank God.  It was NOT nice at all.  Momma did tell me if I don't have anything nice to say.... I forget the rest.

This weekend hubs and I went to the MU/kU football game.  WAY to much fun.  Went with our friends and our nephew and his wife from Colorado.  We had a blast.  That which we can remember.

My friend asked me today if hubs and I were talking yet.  Great - I didn't know we weren't?  Classic us.  Having fun at a party, drinking a few diet cokes (my MIL calls them this... cracks me up) and then BAM!  All hell breaks loose.  I get lippy, most likely.  I'm sure I start it - I get a bit antagonistic when I have to many diet cokes.  So apparently I did and said something not so nice to hubs.  He didn't like me much.

So we packed up and left.  True Davis fashion.  Whenever I get mad or drink to many diet cokes I just leave the event.  Whatever it is.  I could be sitting in a private room with John Mayer serenading me just the two of us, but if I had to many diet cokes I would just get up and leave.  So rude and so not nice.

Oh this isn't the first time this happened - not even this week.  I did it to a gfriend I work with last Tuesday.  Left her at a bar by herself after "going to my car to get my phone charger".  Nice.

So I need to work on this one.  Maybe if I go to the special meetings they can teach me how NOT to do this.  Or maybe I should just switch to milk.  It is the holiday season and cookies are going to be bountiful.  Of course my BUTT will disagree that this is a good idea...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hold the Scrooge!

Okay, I'm really not a Scrooge.  Although hubs thinks I am.  I get frustrated with the commercialism of our holidays in the US but I love the actual meaning of the season.  We just forget to actually celebrate it and instead have taken the gifts given to Jesus to a much higher level ~ X-boxes, iPads, Kindle Fires. It's just so crazy what we go through each year.  When I was a child my parents had a moderate income.  I can remember watching my mom use her "special card" when we would bustle around for the Christmas holiday.  Yep, the special card was her VISA.  Oh yeah, it was special alright.  My dad would then work to pay it back over the next year.  I wonder what their buyer's remorse must have felt like and how they must have felt going into the next holiday season and doing it all over again.

I think this is where I get cranky.  Material items have never been important to me.  Even as a kid, I didn't have all that "stuff".  I was the outdoor, tomboy girl in the neighborhood.  I didn't spend a lot of time with other girls, I played tag, kickball, army sometimes with the boys in the 'hood.  Shoot, climbing trees was way more exciting to me than playing... what do girls play?  Make believe stuff I think, like house or school or something.  No way, that was my reality so there was no way I was going to hang out with other girls and play that way.

I avoided Black Friday.  I'll avoid Cyber Monday as well.  Maybe I'll pick up a few things in a couple of weeks if I must.  But for the record, I don't really want to.  It's not that I don't love to give ~ I do!  It's just the thought of SHOPPING that wears me out before I even get started.

Plus, little known fact about me... I am a purpose shopper.  I don't "go shopping".  I don't just wander through stores and look at stuff.  If I NEED something, I go get it.  That might also cause me some of this stress level of the holidays.  We don't really "need" it.

Well, I promised no Scrooge so I'm going to try really, really hard.  If I finish decorating the house I'm sure that will help.  It better!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

'Tis the Season... Coma Style

Let the carb overload begin!  Sitting down for my second meal today, I can't even begin to count it all.  My favorite holiday of the year surrounds cleaning and cooking for two days for the ones I love.  Hmmm.  I wonder why that is?

Maybe it's because Christmas drives me nuts.  I honestly don't care for it much at all.  Having the boys certainly makes me look at it differently but had I never had children I think I would be avoiding it entirely.

I met my hubs when I was 21 at the end of the summer of '92 and told him then that I didn't much care for the Christmas holiday.  He, on the other hand, absolutely LOVES Christmas.  He will spend hours and hours picking out the most perfect gifts for me and the boys.  He buys all of his own wrapping paper and takes special care in buying matching ribbons, bows and tags.  My wrapping paper is always picked out separately from the boys so I can feel special.  He fills my stocking with things that I love ~ special coffees, candies, gift cards to my favorite foodie places.

I allow myself to blame my dislike of the holiday on other people.  How sad, I totally know better than that.  So my parents divorced right before Christmas ~ big deal.  So I had to co-parent with the a-hole bio-dad for 15 years ~ who cares.  But the wear and tear of my momma's house, my dad's house (with his new family), my hubs' p's house, and Bubba going 4 different directions as well just wore me out.  I saw all the commercialism in the holiday and not the magic of the season.

So this year, I am going to really try to relax and focus on the family before Bubba heads out for boot camp. I'm going to try to live through nugget's eyes all the wonders around us.  And I'm not shopping.  Nope, not doing it.  It might kill some people around me but it will be just fine, I promise :).  If I love you, you will know it.  Maybe not the biggest token you've ever received but something will grace your mailbox.

I wonder if anyone will join me in this effort?  Certainly not those in Suburgatory with me (BTW ~ LOVE that show!!)  I've already heard the wish lists of their kids so there is no way they could take this path with me.  Plus you know if one kid gets something, the other kids HAVE to have it too so we can teach them to Keep up with the Jones' when they get older.  UGH.  When I ask little guy what he wants for Christmas he tells me "a vacation with my family".  Well, we may not be jumping on a plane, but I think I can arrange this... in theory anyway.

The decorations come out tomorrow.  Fa La La.  I hope my Grinchyness is gone by then.  But I am very THANKFUL for my life.  I wouldn't change a thing or single decision.  Well ~ I probably would annul the first marriage.