Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mrs. H, Part II

I find this article very interesting because I've often wondered the same thing about First Wife. Why does she want to keep V's last name? Sure the kids have that name, but she has a third child with a different name. AND they were only married for 20 months before they separated. A whole 2 and a half years if you're talking in the legal sense.

So I don't get it. Why does she want to keep "our" last name?

Oh well. Guess I'll always be Mrs. H the Second. Or maybe the Third if you count my mother-in-law.

Originality is overrated.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Four Christmases

Santa is coming tonight. Luckily, he's adapted with the times and understands custody arrangements.

So tomorrow, we are cramming all of Christmas into one day. As usual, we are being pulled In a thousand directions as everyone wants to see the kids for Christmas. It is somehow my fault that we haven't figured out a way to clone the kids so they can be in four places at once. So, we are going to give everyone as much time as possible and probably stress ourselves out in the process. Between the hours of 9:30 am and 9 pm, we will be in the car a total of five hours. We will see V's mom, his aunt, and my grandma (with the rest of my family), then have the kids back to their mom by 9pm. Everyone will just need to be happy with what they get, which will probably go something like this: Hi! Hurry, let's open presents! No, you can't actually play with anything. Ok, pack it up. Bye!

I will accept no crabbiness or complaints. This is the only Christmas I get. Come Sunday, V and I will be home alone all day with no kids and no family to see.

So, suck it up buttercup! It's Christmas so deal with it! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Sister

Minnie was born to be a big sister. Here she is with her two little brothers, Quiz and E who is 2.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I went with First Wife to their doctor appointment because I needed to get the kids to church right after. It's a coordinated effort everyday to get these kids where they need to be.

I really like watching Minnie with her littlest brother. I don't see the two of them interact much, but they are really cute together. He lights up when he sees his sister and says, "Hi, Bubba!" Since Minnie calls him Bubba, that's what he calls her too. :)

I hope I can give her more siblings someday. And I'm pretty sure a sister would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Here is a word for word account of a text conversation I had with First Wife last night. Prepare to be utterly horrified on my behalf.

First Wife: "U butt dialed me earlier. Lol. Sounded like you were talking to a baby."

This is the part where I panicked and frantically checked my phone. Sure enough, I had called her during V's birthday dinner, but the worst part was that the call had lasted for one minute. A whole minute. Do you know how much embarrassing and/or incriminating stuff I can say in one minute?!

Me: "Haha that's funny! But there was no baby. That's how I talk to V."

What? If you're going to be embarrassed you might as well do it right.

But after about 10 minutes of no response, I decided to put her out of the misery of wondering if I was serious and added, "Just kidding! I was holding my friend's 7 month old at dinner."

Still no response after that clarification. I guess not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

I was supposed to hold you tomorrow. But instead I'm still empty and missing you.

I lit a candle for you at church. A tiny light for a tiny life that mostly went unnoticed.

I will never forget.

Friday, November 18, 2011


To my sweet Quiz who is six on Sunday,

I have known you for 54 of your 72 months. And even though I missed those first 18 months of your life, you are mine. And always will be.

Here are six things I know about you:

1. You are so sweet to animals. Gracie loves to snuggle with you in the mornings, and she doesn't snuggle with just anyone. And Lily gets so excited when she sees you get off the bus everyday. You let her lick your face and always give her a hug when you're going to bed.

2. You like to know exactly what is coming next. You can't relax unless you have a step by step plan.

3. You have so much energy. I really don't know where you get it, and I wish you could share it with me. You're always on the move and just love to play.

4. You LOVE your dad. He's your favorite person in the whole entire world. You look up to him so much and want to do everything he does.

5. You're a good eater, but you don't like potaoes, rice or pasta. And you say batatoes.

6. This mixed up family is all you know. You don't see anything different. You don't know that most kids don't switch houses every other night. Your family is your family, and that's it. I don't have a fancy title. I don't even think you know what stepmom means. So I'm just Christie, but you don't remember a time when I wasn't here. I'm yours, and you're mine. That's just the way it is.

Happy happy birthday, buddy! I love you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And Then the Chicken Kiev Revolted

I've been cooking and baking a lot lately. Mostly because I joined a food co-op, so every month I have 5-10 meals ready in my freezer. It's very convenient and is allowing me to cook things I normally wouldn't attempt. And since all the ingredients are included, it's pretty easy. I go once a month and prepare a meal for about 3 hours. Then we go around and collect the meals we ordered from others. It's been great, and everything has been really good so far.

That being said, the meals are a little more complicated than I'm used to. Left to my own devices, I usually stick with things like tacos, spaghetti, or chili. Meals where the most complicated step is browning some hamburger meat or boiling water. The co-op meals usually involve multiple steps and about an hour to put everything together. This is perfectly ok with me for two reasons. First, my family is probably tired of the variations of Ground Beef Surprise I normally serve them. And I have some extra time on my hands now.

So far, I've made parmesean breaded chicken tenders, turkey sausage stir fry and cheesy Italian meatloaf. I save the more kid-friendly choices for the nights we have the kids (imaginary kids can be picky like that).

Tonight was just the two of us, so I decided to attempt the baked chicken kiev. There was melted butter, breading and tying with string involved, but I managed to get it done and in the oven.

About 15 minutes later, I wanted to flip them so they would brown on both sides. But some of the butter and cheese filling had leaked out and was boiling and popping all over my oven. Being as inexperienced as I am with this whole cooking adventure, I reached in and tried to pull the cookie sheet out. The butter spattered onto my arm, and the kitchen filled with smoke.

You'll be relieved to know that our smoke detectors are in working order.

The chicken actually turned out really well after all that. I was pretty proud of my culinary accomplishment-- even though the majority of it was prepared at co-op, I still risked my life for that chicken.

And I'm sure my arm hair will grow back. Eventually.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Figments of my Imagination

Last week at church, a woman said to me, "You'll understand when you have real kids."

Hmmm. I guess Minnie and Quiz are figments of my imagination, which got me thinking. Perhaps I should check myself into one of those straight jacket hospitals. Because I've been talking to imaginary people for 4 and a half years!

And it doesn't end there. I do about five loads of imaginary laundry each week. And I have fully decorated rooms in my house dedicated to my pretend children. I even cook for them! And this week I'm baking 4 separate birthday treats for Quiz's birthday. I mean, what must those people think at church, hockey, kindergarten, and the skate rink when I volunteer to bring treats for an imaginary child? And about that skate rink. I booked an entire party and sent out invitations for a kid that only exists in my head.

Man, this problem goes deep. The fact that I even gave these "kids" birthdays says a lot. I will probably be locked up for quite some time to sort this out. Don't get worried if you don't hear from me for awhile. I'm just busy trying to get to the bottom of my delusions.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sorry I've Been Away

Ever since upgrading my iPad to ios5, the program I use to write my blog has crashed. I'm open to ap suggestions from any Apple people out there!

So, sorry I haven't written much but I'll be back. And I have a LOT to say.

Thanks for sticking around in the meantime. I still read every comment! :)

Be back soon, promise!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Honeymoon Phase

Well, the honeymoon is officially over. V and I celebrated our first anniversary last week. Of course, we've been together 4 1/2 years, so it was only officially the honeymoon phase.

It's been kind of a tough year though, so I'm not sure we got to enjoy our first year of marriage as much as we should have. Sure, there were plenty of good times too. But the miscarriage and unemployment overshadowed a lot of it.

I'm hoping our second year is just a little easier on us. We're kicking it off with a vacation that we probably can't afford but is desperately needed. We need to get away from ovulation and pregnancy tests, from the uncertainty of my career path, from the stresses of co parenting with his ex.

Our life has never been easy, but it's not a bad life. In fact, it's mostly a great life. We usually have to struggle a bit before things work out, and I think that's what ultimately defines us as a couple.

So here's to year two. A year that has the potential to be both wonderful and life- changing.

Happy Anniversary, V. You're the best husband and father anyone could ever ask for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10 Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me

1. I don't eat anything that swims. This includes sea food. Don't tell me that shrimp doesn't taste like fish. I won't eat it.

2. I will always switch lanes if I'm behind a vehicle with loose items in the back. I do not wish to be impaled through my windshield at 55 mph.

3. I love reality shows on MTV. Real World? Yes. True Life? You bet. Teen Mom? Double yes. I don't care that I am now twice the age of their target audience.

4. I am addicted to Facebook. I'm a total creep. And if you leave your profile public, you better believe I am keeping track of you.

5. I have never seen a Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Twilight movie. Don't try to convince me that I will like them. I won't. Sue me.

6. I brush my teeth with scalding hot water because I think I'm killing more germs that way. I'm probably not.

7. I have an English degree so people assume I can spell. Wrong. That's what spellcheck is for.

8. I am still paying for said degree and have yet to actually use it for anything other than blogging. For free. Using incomplete sentences, ALL CAPS, and poor grammar none the less.

9. I am an excellent cook. Provided there is a box containing all necessary ingredients and directions.

10. Caffeine makes me talk really fast.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Quiz speaks his own language, one in which my husband and I are fluent. But others often require translations. We're thinking of making our own version of Rosetta Stone or perhaps a Quiz to English dictionary.

Here's a short list of our favorite Quiz-isms.

Wado = water
Fwoot Ninja = Fruit Ninja
Neat Thins = Wheat Thins
Socko = soccer
Bajamas = pajamas
Cwistie= Christie (I was City until he was 4, so he's making progress)
Fasto= Faster
Twansfomas = Transformers

First Wife texted me last night and said she was worried about his speech impediment since she assumed it would clear up by now. They were practicing counting, and she had a hard time understanding a lot of what he was saying.

The L's and Th's are still hard for him, but he can say them if he really concentrates and slows down. The R's on the other hand, just aren't happening. He's not able to say that sound at all and only gets frustrated (fwustwaited) when he tries.

I seem to remember a conversation with his preschool teacher who said not to worry until he's 8. So, until some professional tells me otherwise, I just enjoy the cuteness.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wife Swap

I often feel like I'm on an episode of Wife Swap. You know, when some rich woman from the suburbs swaps lives with a woman on a farm who lets chickens roam around freely in her house? Yeah that's my life. Except i was never rich, and livestock isn't involved. But essentially, I was thrown into the middle of someone else's family and forced to follow their rules.

And just like on the show, when it's time to try things my way, everyone drags their feet and insists their real mom does it better.

In the end, everyone gets together and agrees a middle ground is the best way. Or they scream at each other, and everyone walks away unchanged and even more solid in their beliefs. It can go either way.

Most people say that parenting is nothing like they imagined it would be. That goes double for me, I think. There are so many things I'd do differently if I could. But my hands are tied, and in this case there is no swapping back.

So, I just have to learn to live with the figurative free-range chickens.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I'm Supposed to Say

I'm supposed to say that even though this is month 10, I'm ok. 10 months isn't that bad. Some people wait years for babies. Some people don't have any kids at all, and I've got 2. I'm supposed to say that I'll just keep trying and that someday everything will work out. I'm supposed to say that God knows best, and He'll give me a baby when the time is right.

But I'm tired of saying what I'm supposed to say. What I want to say is this SUCKS. I'm tired of it all. I'm tired of trying and patience and hoping. I'm tired of the schedules and tests and tears. So many tears. None that anyone sees because I just say what I'm supposed to say.

But I honestly can't do this anymore. It's killing me. Piece by piece, month by month, test by test, I feel like I'm falling apart.

And all the while, in the back of my head I remember my baby. I remember the pure joy. I remember the grief. And I thought I could forget it all if I could just get pregnant again. I thought I could forget how far along I would be. I thought I could just sail right through my due date without a thought. Everything would be ok if only there was another baby to focus on.

But there isn't. So I relive all of these emotions with each negative result.

And I'm supposed to say that I'm past all that. That I was only 7 weeks along so at least it was still early. That I know it was probably for the best. There was a reason.

Supposed to, supposed to, supposed to.

It's hard to remember all the things I'm supposed to say when I'm staring at a test, praying for another line. When I'm holding it up to the light to see if I missed something. When I'm standing in the bathroom by myself trying to hold it together.

It's so hard to keep saying the things I'm supposed to say.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dancing Queen

Minnie is going to her first-ever school dance this weekend. Let's just let that fact sink in for a minute...

...Nope a minute wasn't long enough. Still doesn't seem real.

There will be BOYS there. Ahhhhh! My goal for the next 10 years or so is to keep boys away from Minnie. And this isn't an easy task. She is way too pretty. And I can say this with a certain amount of objectivity because I had nothing to do with it. In fact, if she had my genes she'd be awkward and chubby at 11, and we wouldn't have to worry about any of this!

So now it's crunch time. Time to implement a plan of attack. Options include: an all girls boarding school, moving to Alaska where she'll be covered up by a parka most of the time, or locking her in her room for the next 10 years.

Unfortunately, I don't think any of these choices are realistic. So the only thing left to do is sit back and watch. No matter what we do, this whole parenting thing is a shot in the dark. 90% of it is pure luck.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. God gave this girl 3 parents for a reason. All hands on deck!

Minnie and I dancing at our wedding, October 2010

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Super Couponing

In an effort to make myself a contributing member of this family, I decided to take a couponing class.

First of all, let me just say that I HATE coupons. I think they are a pain in the butt and not worth my time. But, now I have time. So why not? Everyone needs a hobby (besides peeing on expensive sticks).

So, I took the class, made a binder, printed off some coupons, and headed to Target to test it out. My husband was pretty embarrassed of me and my binder, but oh well. I didn't even dry my hair today so who am I trying to impress?

I can see already that this is going to take some getting used to. I mostly wandered around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find everything.

But in the end, I got 2 items for better than free. That's right, I actually got paid .04 toward my purchase. And I saved $9.21 on $25 worth of groceries that we needed anyway.

I have a tendency to become obsessed with things, and I can already see that happening here. I understand how people become addicted.

I'm going to start off slowly and focus on things we actually need. I would like to have a small stockpile of things like toilet paper, body wash, deodorant, etc. And now that we made room in the basement, I actually have some available storage. So we'll see how it goes.

Hey, maybe I can find some coupons for pee sticks and combine my two hobbies!

Target paid me .04 to take these two things out of their store.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Peek at My Day

Really?! My life is some kind of practical joke lately. A dump truck was driving in front of me and pulled a tree branch back. The branch broke and fell on top of my car. While I was driving. Heart attack much? And no, the truck did not stop.

Once again, awesome.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Peeing on Sticks

Some women like to scrapbook. Others may knit. My hobby is peeing on very expensive sticks. Depending on the time of the month, I am either testing for ovulation or pregnancy. The lady at Walgreens recognizes me, and I'm pretty sure I'm the number one stock holder in First Response.

The pregnancy testing has been going on for 10 months, but the ovulation testing is new this month. I never wanted to get into the technical aspects of baby making--basal thermometers, ovulation tests, charting, etc--because I new it would become an obsession for me. Even more so than it already is, if that's possible. But after the miscarriage, my body went haywire and there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to my cycle. So my midwife recommended ovulation testing. Great, more expensive tests to pee on and obsess over.

So, this has been my mission this week. To hold my pee for 4 hours, not drink anything during that time, then pee on a stick at the same time every day.

First of all, 4 hours is a long time! The first day, I had a dentist appointment during hour 3. Sure, sounds like a perfect time to squirt cold water on my teeth. I'm surprised I didn't pee right in their fancy dentist chair.

Then, day 2-4 was the garage sale (which wasn't at my house by the way.) on Day 4, I forgot to withhold fluid intake but did manage to pee on the stick at exactly 1pm.

Yesterday, I forgot all about all of it until about 4:30. I had been drinking and peeing freely all day. Oops.

Then there's today. The madness also known as The First Day of School. I decided I needed to be fancy for kindergarten orientation, meaning I was going to wash, dry, and straighten my hair. A process normally reserved for weddings and meeting the Queen. Well, since the orientation is at 1, I needed to take the test early. But I forgot about that 4 hour Window of Torture again.

Needless to say, this entire process is going wonderfully so far. I've peed on approximately $4000 worth of tests this week (this number is greatly exaggerated an estimate) and have yet to get a positive result.

Where are my eggs?!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Backpacks, Busses and Tears

So, it's that time of year to get all weepy over how big the kids are getting.

Kindergarten and Middle School?? How did this happen? No really. How? How can the days seem so long sometimes, but the years just fly by? Is this physics or something? I was too scared to take that class, so maybe I missed some important life lessons.

I look at Minnie and still see the toothless grin she had for almost 2 years, and I can still hear Quiz calling me "city" because Christie was too hard to pronounce.

I feel like I need to put their baby faces on milk cartons. Where did those kids go? What was I doing while they were growing up right in front of me? How did I miss it?

I imagine this feeling is even more difficult for parents who look at their kids and can remember very clearly holding them when they were first born.

Granted, I don't have those earliest memories, but I still understand.

Today, Quiz went to Unpack Your Backpack Night. We met his teacher, saw his classroom and took inventory of which friends are in his class. And we did it together. Me, my husband, First Wife, Minnie, Quiz, and the kids' 2 year old brother. For better or worse, this is our family and we travel in a pack when it comes to things like this.

So come Monday, the kids will get on two different busses and head to two different schools. And I will cry. And we will all begin the process of coordinating our schedules and calendars. A process that could probably confuse an actual rocket scientist.

But somehow, we'll figure it out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Unemployment Doesn't Suck

I love a good list. Can ya tell? If subcategories are involved, even better. So here's my list of reasons why unemployment doesn't suck.

1. Going to the pool during the day, on a weekday, is pretty awesome.

2. In theory, I can work out more often. (I've only actually done this once during the past week.)

3. I'm spending a ton of time with the kids. They go back to school next week, so at least I got 2 weeks with them.

4. My house is on its way to being completely organized. I even cleaned and sorted our entire basement which revealed several species of spiders as well as various varieties of Nerf darts.
Subcategory 4a: I'm having a garage sale this weekend. My first one ever. Hey, gotta bring in the money somehow! (It took me about an hour to figure out the HTML code to indent this. This is going to revolutionize my list making!)
5. I have time to grocery shop and actually cook. Which is good because our eating out budget has decreased considerably. (Before you get too impressed, "cooking" translates to making tuna sandwiches, sloppy joes, or Hamburger Helper.)

6. Sleeping in is possibly the best thing ever. My alarm clock has been seriously neglected this past week. The snooze button is enjoying the break, I'm sure.

7. I have time for blogging. Reading them, writing one, doesn't matter. I'm in love.

8. I can actually carry on an entire uninterrupted phone conversation without locking myself in my bathroom. Of course, most of my friends have babies, so I can only talk to them when their little howler monkeys precious angels are asleep.

9. While I was working, I alternated which type of shower I would take. Every other day, I could shave my legs. On the opposite days, I would wash my hair. Never both on the same day. That would require less snooze button abuse on my part, and frankly I enjoy sleep more than hairless legs or clean hair. Now, I can shower for as long as I like and actually look like a civilized person. Granted, I usually jump right back into my pj's. But hey, at least I'm clean.

10. Three words. Daytime. Courtroom. Dramas. Judge Milian and Judge Toler are my new bffs. I want to go for coffee with them and invite them to my house for a barbecue.

There ya go. 10 reasons why unemployment doesn't completely suck. I know most of these reasons will wear off after a week or two, and I'll be bored out of my mind. But for now, I'm focussing on the positives and taking my time to find a job that makes getting up early and DVRing Divorce Court worth it.

Until then, my alarm clock and I are retired.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pot Vs. Kettle

This morning, I walked downstairs to find Minnie all "ready" for school. And by ready, I mean wearing a spaghetti strap tank with an undershirt underneath.

The ONE thing not allowed in Middle School is spaghetti straps. And Minnie has never tried to wear them before, but now she is obsessed.

She even found a spaghetti strap tank that had one of the straps safety pinned together and thought that was acceptable attire.

So, this morning she argued that the undershirt underneath made it ok for school. This was one of those full tank undershirts that go almost to her neck. Picture this with a low-cut spaghetti strap cami over top. Lovely.

I told her she looked ridiculous and made her change. Two door slams, stomping and a silent car ride later, I delivered her to school. Properly dressed. Except for the fake pink hair streaks she bought with some birthday money. But that's a battle for another day.

Then I got home and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was wearing my shirt from yesterday and pajama shorts. I also had not brushed my hair.

Hello, Kettle? This is the pot. You look ridiculous!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's New?

Hm, let's see.

Well, I originally intended for this blog to be a humorous account of the ridiculously normal stuff that happens to me as a stepparent.

Except, all this TOTALLY UNFUNNY stuff keeps happening to me.

Yesterday, I lost my job. Try laughing about that.

No seriously, I'm trying to find the humor in this.

It's downright hilarious to work at the same place for four years only to walk in one day and be told you're no longer needed wanted.


So, now I'm 30 and starting over. Again. And it's 8 years since I graduated college, and I still have NO idea what I want to do with my life.

I'm figuring it out by process of elimination.

Things I've tried and now know I DON'T want to do:

1. Work in a nursing home. Waaaay too depressing.

2. Work in a doctor's office. Considering I'm terrified of needles and blood, I probably should have known this was not the right path for me. Two years into it, I figured out doctors are batshit crazy. No really, it's practically a requirement to graduate med school. Next please!

3. Sell traffic lights. Yes, this is a real thing. Actually, this is how I met my husband, and he's worked there for 16 years. But, I personally did not find it fulfilling. Boring is a better word. I did make good money though. Either way, working there isn't an option because my husband and I can't work at the same branch. And I'm almost positive he wouldn't want me to move 3 hours away.

4. Which brings me to my latest trial and error experiment. Selling advertising for a newspaper. It was a relatively fun job, and I met almost all of my current Iowa friends there. But I don't want to sell anything. I never really wanted to, I kinda just fell into it. When I moved to Iowa, I still had a mortgage in the Chicago suburbs as well as rent here. (I refer to this phase of my life as The Love is All You Need Phase.) I had to find a job fast, and being picky wasn't an option.
The major problem with this job was that I'm not really motivated by money. Seminars that were meant to motivate me to want to sell just left me feeling like I was being trained to manipulate.
So, I did my job but always wondered where I was going with this. Sort answer, nowhere.


Now what?

I'm on day 2 of unemployment, and I'm already bored. So I'm pretty sure I'm not the Stay-At-Home Stepmom type. Especially since the kids are in school full time in less than 2 weeks.

I really don't want to go back to school either. School stressed me out because of my alwayshavetogetstraightAs-itis. Plus, I don't know what I want to do so what would I even go back for?

Decisions, decisions.

Maybe I'll just become a professional blogger. Does anyone want to pay me?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Someone Else

Do you know how I know I am a real parent? Because I feel completely taken for granted. If I was one of those stepmoms who wanted nothing to do with the kids, then everything I did for them would be noticed.

But my husband and the kids just assume I will always be around to take care of them, so why bother to acknowledge or say thank you, right?

I guess this is a good thing. I don't want the kids to feel like they have to earn my love or be afraid that I will leave someday. But...

I constantly feel inadequate, like I'm the wrong person for this job. Someone else would do it better. Someone else would keep up with the laundry and always have a clean house. Someone else would never get frustrated helping with homework. Someone else wouldn't say no so often. The list goes on and on.

Bottom line: someone else is better suited to raise these kids.

But here I am. I am who they ended up with. And I'm trying. And when I get something right, I'd just like some sort of reassurance that I'm headed in the right direction. Any kind of sign that I'm not doing more harm than good.

Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh Baby!

To conceive or not to conceive, that is the question.

There are about 4,012 reasons for us not to have more kids. Not the least of which is that my body doesn't seem to want to. Apparently, my uterus is as stubborn as I am. Who knew? But here are a few others.

1. We have 2 perfectly good kids. One boy, one girl. It's the family people spend years and 10s of thousands of dollars to get if they have to.

2. The kids are at a really good stage right now. Potty trained, relatively easy to entertain, independent. Why oh why would we want to start over? Diapers, up-all-nights and chasing a toddler are all well behind us.

3. The kids are already 5 1/2 and just about 11. Which means there would be a pretty significant gap between the stepmonkeys and any new kids. I said from the beginning that I didn't want them to be so far apart in age that it looks like my husband has 2 different "sets" of kids. I just wanted them all to blend together.

4. We have an every-other-day schedule. Perfect if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, I'd take those kids full time if it was an option. But it isn't, so let's focus on the positives of this arrangement. (I think this calls for sub categories)
a. My husband and I have time to ourselves.
b. If we'd like to travel, we have built-in arrangements for the kids.
c. Every other weekend, I have time to catch up on daytime courtroom dramas saved on my DVR cleaning and laundry.

In short, we have it good. And yet...

I want a baby. In fact, it's more than that. It's all I think about. I've been pregnant, and I can't get that feeling out of my head. To love someone who
you've never even seen or felt is just something that can't be duplicated.

So here we are. 4,012 reason why we should just give up and only one reason to keep trying.

And that one reason is all I need.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yes it is. No it's not. Yes it IS!

The arguing is Out. Of. Control. in our house. I can't stand it anymore. And I'm not even referring to the constant bickering between the kids.

Every time I say ANYTHING, someone argues with me.

It's mostly between me and Minnie. We're both so stubborn and always have to be right. My husband is so annoyed by our arguing at this point. He doesn't understand why I can't just let it go.

But I can't. Why? Because she is wrong, and I am RIGHT! Duh.

But seriously, why am I arguing with an (almost) 11 year old? Does it really matter if she thinks you don't have to go to college to become a lawyer? Or if she insists the library is open on Sundays?

It's a constant battle. And I think the key is to pick my battles because her attitude is growing as fast as she is. There are going to be important things to fight about over the next few years, I'm sure. So I guess I should just save my breath. I'm gonna need it.

But the worst part is that now Quiz is doing it too. He argues with me before he even hears all of what I'm saying. I actually had this argument with him:

"All of my friends are going to kindergarten with me."

"Yes, but there are two classes. So some will be in your class and some will be in the other class."

"No, I SAW them when we went there!" (the orientation)

"Yes, that was all the kindergartners, but there are two classes."

"No there isn't."

"Yes there is."

"Nu uh."

"Ya huh."

Really? I'm arguing with a 5 year old! Constantly actually. If I say the sky is blue, he'd say it's red. And I'd keep going until he agrees with me.

I think I need to embroider myself a little pillow that says "Pick your battles, Moron!" because I can't seem to remember.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Stepmom

Rants from Mommyland is running my post today. These girls are awesome! I'm glad that English degree I'm still paying for is finally paying off. Wait, I do this for free?! Oh well, still counts. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things I Should Stay Out Of

The list of Things I Should Stay Out Of continues to grow and now includes school registration.

I have a hard time giving up control of anything, but as a stepmom I am forced to. Except really, I have no control to give up in the first place.

School registration is today. As in TODAY. This day. The one happening right now.

This is not something I can handle being that I am "just" their stepmom. But First Wife doesn't seem very concerned that she hasn't received a registration packet in the mail.

I also have questions regarding the bus routes. The middle school says Minnie can't ride a bus because we are only a mile and a half away from the school, and you must live at least 2 miles away to qualify for bus transportation.

Really? The school thinks having an 11 year old walk a mile and a half unsupervised and in all kinds of Iowa weather is a good idea? Am I being overprotective here? Maybe. But I'd like to at least try to get her on a bus route. I'd like to argue my point with SOMEONE. There has to be a way around this. We live a few blocks from an elementary school. Can't she just catch a bus there?

My point is that I can't call anyone. I am not a parent (except when it comes to doing their laundry, driving them to their activities, or taking care of them when they're sick) but anyway...

The other issue is Minnie's last name. I've mentioned before that we are trying to get it legally changed to the name that I, my husband, Quiz AND First Wife share. Even though she's used our last name since she was barely a year old, the middle school is insisting she use the name on her birth certificate. Keep in mind this is the same school district that has let her register using our name for the past 6 years.

So, my husband and First Wife both agreed that this needs to get taken care of, once and for all. But the paperwork to change her name needs to be filled out and filed, and First Wife isn't exactly known for her timely response to these types of things.

Once again, my hands are tied. I can't go down to the courthouse and get the process started. And in this case, neither can my husband. And seeing that there is a waiting period for a new birth certificate even after the paperwork is filed and that registration is TODAY (did I mention that it's today? Because it is.), looks like Minnie will have to register with a different last name than she's ever used.

Getting in the middle of all this and nagging my husband for answers only causes fights. And I, being the control freak that I am, just need to get it through my thick skull that I'm better off staying out of it.

So to recap, the list of Things I Should Stay Out Of now includes registration, bus transportation, and the process of changing Minnie's name. Maybe I should make some type of spreadsheet to keep track of this growing list.

But everything will eventually work itself out, right? Even without me butting in?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We are going camping this weekend.

Who ever decided this was a fun activity? Let's pack up all our crap, drive into the woods and spend a weekend with 2 monkeys who are covered in dirt, lake water, and bug spray. Then, to celebrate our survival, let's sleep on the ground!

Not my idea of a good time, but it involves beer and marshmallows so I suck it up and do it once a year.

This year, our little adventure conflicts with Minnie's Girl Scout camping trip. And she would rather hang out with her friends than us.

So it begins. It's hard enough to share her with her mom. But more and more lately, we are having to share her with her friends too.

As the years go by, (so fast! I don't think anyone ever warned me how FAST kids grow up. I need to know these things! Don't save all your parenting pearls of wisdom for moms of newborns!) Minnie is going to have a lot of choices. I'm guessing there comes a time, more than likely once she can drive, that she's going to have the option of which house she spends her time in.

We live by The Schedule. But how long does that last? I can't see telling a teenager "No. You have to come over here. It's OUR night!"

I don't want her to always take the easy route though. I hope she doesn't just choose to stay with whichever parent she hates the least on any given day. She really has the opportunity to manipulate this system in the future. Mad at Mom? Just go to Dad's. Dad says you're grounded? Right back to Mom's.

So, for now we just stick to The Schedule. Don't like our rules? Tough. It's our night and you have to deal with us.

Don't want to go camping with us? Too bad. Because we like spending time with you, and the years that we have left to make your decisions for you are slipping by quickly.

So Minnie, pack up your sleeping bag and your little tween attitude, cuz we're taking this show on the road!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

You know you're a mom when...

vomit sends you into action, not a frozen stupor.

Not ten full minutes into the kids' first swim lesson, and...disaster. A little boy threw up. In. The. Pool.

Ok, yuck. I agree puke is never fun, but all four teenage lifeguards FROZE. I'm talking deer in the headlights. No one moved. Finally one of them had the bright idea to get the kids out of the pool. Duh! Then, they all got suited up in their haz mat suits to get it cleaned up. One lifeguard held a bag out as far from his body as he could while another one (with gloves up to his WRISTS) used the skimmer to chase down the rest of the mess.

The whole thing was rather entertaining. 1. Because it was a VERY small amount of vomit in the first place, and most of it was on the side of the pool, not in the water and 2. Because it was very clear that none of these lifeguards had ever cleaned up vomit in their lives, let alone been puked ON.

So here are my rules for body fluid emergencies, for teenage babysitters/life guards/Target employees. Just for future reference.

1. Remove the child/ children from the area. Immediately. There is no negotiating this one.
2. Do not panic and freeze.
3. Do not scream and scare the poor child. He's having a bad enough day. He did just throw up, after all.
4. Clean up the aformentioned mess, and realize that this is a good reason to go to college to get a better job AND an even better reason to wait til you're 30 to have children.

I remember very clearly the first time I had concrete evidence of unconditional love. It was 3 am, and I was pulling vomit covered sheets off Quiz's bed when he threw up again. On my arm.


But he was so scared and sick and looked so pathetic, that I didn't even react. I picked him up, set him in front of the toilet and rubbed his back while he finished throwing up.

Then, I washed my arm.

THAT is love. And that is being a parent.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Best Dad Ever

I am married to The Best Dad Ever. A lot of women claim this, but I have proof.

First of all, he is in LOVE with his kids. The sun and the moon revolve around them, and he doesn't know what to do with himself when they aren't around. He's always down on the floor playing legos with Quiz or working on the computer with Minnie or planning special dad/son or dad/daughter outings. In short, they are his life.

That said, he can be impatient and tends to say "no" impulsively, without even thinking. But hey, no one's perfect.

Ok, so none of this is special or qualifies him for the Best Dad Ever. But I'm not done.

He NEVER mentions this, mostly because I think he honestly forgets. But I tell everyone, only because it proves how awesome he really is. So, here's the number one reason he's the Best Dad Ever.

Minnie is not biologically his daughter. First Wife had her at 19 and was raising her with the help of her grandparents when she met V. He was almost instantly "daddy" and has been ever since Minnie was a year old. He's never formally adopted her, but she's used his last name since she was a baby.

When First Wife and V decided to divorce, his main concern was losing Minnie. Legally, he had no right to her. But thankfully, it worked out so that he has the same custody arrangement with Minnie as he does with Quiz.

Legally, we still have no claim to Minnie which complicates things. For instance, the middle school will not let her register with our last name, and is insisting she use the name on her birth certificate, so we are in the process of trying to get her name legally changed.

But all that aside, Minnie is ours. She lives with us 50% of the time, just like her brother. We buy her clothes and shoes and pay for all her after school activities. We go to every play and soccer game. Mostly, we just ignore the technicalities.

We are thankful to First Wife for allowing for this arrangement. Because legally, she didn't have to.

So there it is. Evidence. I am married to the Best Dad Ever.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet the Stepmonkeys

Skinny Minnie* is 10, going on 17. She's into all things popular- vampire movies, teen heartthrobs, the "fashion" found in perfume-overloaded mall stores. If it's "in", she wants it. And it's SO NOT FAIR if she can't have it. ALL her friends have everything, and she has nothing. We are so mean!
Minnie is going into middle school next month and has dreams of completely reinventing herself. She wants new hair, contacts, new clothes, makeup, a new car for us to drive her around in, and possibly a few piercings, if it's not too much to ask. She talks daily about the new life she's planning. She has put a lot of thought into which group she plans to join in middle school. "Going Goth" is my least favorite of these options. She has mentioned dying her hair, wearing all black, and piercing her lip. Ugh.
I think mostly she just wants to be liked. She tends to smother people just wanting so badly to be their best friend. She gets her feelings hurt easily, and frankly sending her to middle school feels like feeding her to the wolves.
Minnie is one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. Always taking care of everyone and wanting everyone to be happy. I hope she doesn't lose that.

Skinny Minnie, at the beach and enjoying swimming

Quiz* is 5 and full of energy. The kid asks questions from the moment he wakes up and never takes a break. Sometimes I get so sucked into his line of questioning, that I don't even realize I've answered 57 questions in the span of 2 minutes. He's exhausting! I think I'd lose 50 lbs if I lived a day in his shoes.
He's starting Kindergarten in the fall and can NOT wait! How many more days? What's my teacher's name? Who's in my class? What bus am I riding? How many more days now?
He loved preschool, and I hope Kindergarten lives up to his expectations.
Quiz is funny, snuggly, energetic, stubborn, and has a slight speech impediment which entertains my husband and me to no end (we checked, it's nothing to be worried about at this point, so don't judge.)

Quiz, at church and playing soccer.

The stepmonkeys are my joy in life. Some days, they make me want to pull my hair out, but mostly they just make me laugh.

*These are not their real names, obviously. I've decided to protect their privacy. (Mostly because if Minnie or any of her friends ever found this, her life would be over. I. Am. So. Embarrassing.)

Introducing the (mostly not) Evil Stepmother

I decided to start this blog because I am addicted to mommy blogs, but feel somewhat unrepresented in this world. Where are the step mommy blogs? My life as a stepmom of 2 is just as crazy/hilarious/fun/frustrating as any "real" mom's. So here goes nothing. I have NO idea how to write a blog and even less of an idea of how to be a good stepmom, but I'll do the best I can.

I have lived with my 2 kids since May 2007 so it irritates me when someone asks me when I'm going to have "my own" kids. I've been helping to raise them for over 4 years. How long did it take you to fall in love with your kids? Less than 4 years? That's what I thought.

So, they ARE my kids. Even if I didn't give birth to them and they only live in my house 50% of the time.

This question is even more heartbreaking due to the fact that my husband and I have been trying to have a baby for 9 months. I carried one child for 7 weeks before I miscarried. Sad? Yes. Definitely. Devastating is a better word. But I was able to put the loss in perspective because of my 2 other kids. I'd rather lose a 7 week old fetus than either one of the other kids, even if they aren't my flesh and blood. I'd rather die myself than lose either one of them.

So, please stop asking me (or any other stepmom) when I am going to have "my own" kids. I already have 2, and my entire life revolves around them.