Thursday, March 31, 2011

If you have an inner cat lady

If you are like me and are a cat lady ... or if you're hiding an inner cat lady inside ... or if you love all the stories about Nasty Cat...then please come follow my new cat blog at

The editor of the newspaper that is published in the small town I grew up in approached me and asked if I would like to continue my cat blog (that was discontinued at work) on her blog community. Since I love talking about my cat I couldn't resist the opportunity.

And if not, it's OK. I promise I won't cry or go cat lady crazy on you. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Ray of Sunshine Indeed

I wanted to share a little something about my life now as a stepmom who now has a child of her own.

Before I used to get really upset because I felt out of the loop when it came to my instant family. FH and the boys shared that parent-child bond that I could tell was missing in my own relationship with them. I also, and still do, feel that sometimes I just don’t belong or that something is off.

I’m aware I’m their mother, yet I’ll never be their mother. Or at least at this moment in their young lives they’re just not going to “get it” how life has dramatically changed for the better with me in their lives. I won’t lie. I’m often the parent of authority. I don’t forget that they’re children but I expect them to learn responsibility, respect and independence along the way.

Often, and usually with Middle Boy, I get the feeling that I’m loathed or that I’m a big pain in the ass. And I might just be a pain in the ass as I expect them to learn to do things like make their bed, be kind to each other and to make the right choice even when they really want to do the sad choice (like hit your brother).

Also, since I don’t have that parent-child bond with them it’s sometimes hard to connect. I guess what I’m saying is that unconditional love just isn’t there from them. They might have a love for me, but it’s not the same.

Now that I have Baby JC my life feels truly blessed. Not just because I know have this amazing opportunity and gift of giving birth and having a child that I created, but I know what it feels like to have that unconditional love back. In other words, I don’t feel completely alone. If anything, having her has sort of helped me and the boys to either relate to each other or feel a bit more validated as a family.

And even on those days that I feel completely left out due to their actions, I still have her to help make me feel better. I’m not saying that every stepmom should go out and have kids. Not everyone is ready to have kids. Some people just never are.

But for me, having her around has helped me to feel less stressed and anxious over having stepkids. She also helps me to emphasize with them more. I look at her and I am able to calm down if I am angry, think about the fact that they are my kids and treat them the same way that I would think I would treat her.

I hope that makes sense. It’s hard to describe the way her being in my life has helped me to be a better stepmom. She is definitely a ray of sunshine in my life though. I think I’m a better person because of her.

This is Baby JC at 4 months old. She will be 6 months next week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Teething, Birthday Cake and Lonely, Cat Syndrome

Normally when I’m writing an entry at 2 in the AM it’s because Jane has done something that has gotten me so furious that I just can’t sleep. Luckily that’s not the reason I’m up so late.

Baby JC is teething. The drooling, fussy, crying little dear finally fell asleep. And I don’t want to move her upstairs because I know she’ll be waking up in an hour or so to eat. Needless to say since she’s been up at all new hours of the night again with sore gums my internal clock is off. I know I ought to be sleeping, but I’m not.

I’m also waiting to finish off Older Boy’s birthday cake for his party tomorrow. This year is the year of the ice cream cakes. And for Older Boy I decided I was going to try and make my own. I was going to make both his birthday cake for his party and his special frozen peanut butter pie that I make for him every year … but then I realized that even though I sometimes think I ought to be Super Woman I am indeed only human. So the peanut butter pie will be made Sunday morning when my parent’s are here to help keep an eye on the kids, and I’m waiting on the ice cream to thaw and the cakes to cool.

I’m also trying to get some quality time in with Nasty Cat. I feel that I’ve been a horrible cat mom lately. He tends to try and get some quality time in by sitting on my lap while I’m working. That time, however, is usually short lived when Baby JC is awake. He gives me such sad, lonely looks sometimes, while other times he decides to play by chasing me up the stairs and nipping at my heels as I try to drag my butt off to bed. So while I wait for the cakes to cool he’s sitting with me here to get some of his quality time in.

Luckily Jane has come through again and has the three boys overnight at her place. Word on the street is that her man is in the interview process at a refinery closer to our neck of the woods. It would be a lot easier having her move closer to us, and hopefully the boys will be able to see her more often. That might be putting in a tall order there, but you know me. I like to look for the positive.

By the way, Older Boy will be 11 on Sunday. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I have an almost 11-year-old boy. OK, I lied. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m married and have a baby on top of having three instant kids. I’ve been here almost 2 and a half years and it still seems so new sometimes.

I’m rambling. Can you tell I’m in need of a recharge? Back to me being lucky … I get to sleep in tomorrow…At least as best as I can with a teething infant. Yay for Saturday morning!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Mom

Younger Boy came home from school yesterday and pulled out the papers from his backpack. One of them was this gem.

I didn’t ask him about it. Usually when he brings home art he tells me that it’s for Grandma Jolie or his Aunt Raquel. He’s yet to bring something home he’s made for Jane. So when I saw the “To: Mom” I just really didn’t want to feel the shaft.

Later that evening I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready. I hear FH ask Younger Boy:

FH: Who is that for?
YB: Crys

I can’t even begin to describe the bolt of joy and happiness that went through my body. I felt loved and very special. And I kind of chuckled because Younger Boy used a “DUH” inflection in his voice. It always cracks me up when he answers with that inflection that “We obviously should have known” the answer already.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Family By Younger Boy

I had to share this fabulous family photo that Younger Boy drew. When I first saw it I was little nervous of who was in the photo. In other words, I was worried that the other “30” in the photo was of Jane and not of me.

So I asked Younger Boy to tell me about his photo.

Me: So tell me about this photo you drew.
YB: Ummm
Me: Are you the king of the mountain?
YB: Ha ha! Yeah!
Me: Who else is there?
YB: (top to bottom of hill) That is Middle Boy, Older Boy, You, Daddy and Baby JC.

There are two things that cracked me up about this photo.

1. He identified us by age. Middle Boy and Younger Boy are absolutely fascinated by age. You’ll often hear them say things like “When I’m 10 I can do this….” or “When Older Boy is 16 I’ll be….” I usually follow it up with something like “Can you be 5 for now though?”

They also like to occasionally remind us how old we adults are…Which is still crazy in my mind. I’m still trying to wrap my belief around the fact that I’m married and have children…I just don’t have the time to consider that I’m also now 30!

2. In his photo I’m the tallest between FH and I. Considering I’m half Filipino I’m a whopping 5’1”!! I can thank the German and Native America genes I guess for helping to push me past the 5’ marker. FH is always small in the couple of drawings that Younger Boy has created. He wants to know why but I try to remind him that at least he was thought of. Back in the preschool days Older Boy had made a family drawing and forgotten all about FH. Needless to say my dear husband was a bit traumatized by is.

I love this photo though. The only family member he forgot to include, and I say that because he usually does include him, is Nasty Cat. But I don’t think that Nasty Cat will get too upset over it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Virtual Pat on the Back

I wanted to take a moment to give Jane a pat on the back. Not because I think she’s turned her life around or because I think a great miracle has been bestowed on us … but because I know I really appreciate credit for things I have done and I think it’s due for her.

Jane has been regularly been taking the boys overnight every Friday (with the exception of perhaps 2-3 cancellations) for the last two months (or something like that). But that’s not where I give her a virtual pat on the back.

Older Boy had a project that was accepted/chosen to be a part of the District wide Science Fair this past weekend. He and two of his friends in his 5th grade class decided to test which type of paper made the best paper airplane.

Off Topic – I was the parent home when the three of them were doing their project and keeping them on task and guiding them when they had no clue was a project in it’s own. Luckily Middle Boy and Younger Boy were away at Jane and Jolie’s for the weekend because topping that task off with an infant was pure chaos.

Back on – the Science Fair was on Saturday and neither FH or I could attend. We suggested to Older Boy that he call Jane up and invite her to it. We weren’t sure what would happen but figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least invite her. I couldn’t really tell if Older Boy was enthused or not about the idea. The first time I brought the idea up to him he kind of had a “Sure, I guess” response. Then when FH brought it up a second time he was an indifferent response. Half of a “Yeah, that’s a good idea” and half a “If you’re forcing me too I guess I will.”

Either way, Older Boy called and left a message on Jane’s voicemail which later had to be translated by FH to Jane. She later surprised us when she asked for the address to the science fair location. We were even more surprised that she actually showed up and picked up Older Boy.

So that’s one virtual pat on the back for Jane.

The second is that she and her man got a second vehicle. Not only did they get a second vehicle but it’s a van. So now there are enough seats for all 6 of them to travel and no one has to get left at home.

She also bought a booster for Middle Boy who is not yet heavy enough to be out of a booster.

I was rather relieved needless to say. I wouldn’t say I’m now carefree for when they go to her house. But knowing that they have a vehicle that can hold all 6 of them in an emergency makes me feel a lot better.

And I don’t expect this streak of effort on her part to last, but I’ll be pleasantly tickled pink if it goes on for another month or two. That would by far break her last record of putting effort into being a part of the boys lives.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Middle Boy Goes Teal

Middle Boy currently has a Mohawk growing. I won't lie. I wasn't all that thrilled with it but then I made myself take a step out of my box of “what I like” and gave much consideration to “how this makes him feel.” And I think having a Mohawk makes Middle Boy feel a bit more like he stands out from being the Middle Boy. It’s different from the styles his brothers are currently sporting and one of his friends at school has a Mohawk also so I think it helps Middle Boy feel like he fits in a little more.

Sidenote: My mom (who has worked in child development for forever now) and I had a conversation the other day about how Middle Boy’s odd personality is probably a big factor in the fact that he just has a hard time making/keeping friends. So I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to help Middle Boy learn some skills or habits to help him with his social awkwardness.

Back to the story – I decided to embrace Middle Boy’s Mohawk which means that I’ve gone all out in supporting the growth and development of the Mohawk.

More recently … as part of a reward for being on task with his responsibilities and treating his brothers with kindness and consideration he was allowed to choose a color to dye his Mohawk. He at first wanted a neon green, however his blond hair is a bit dirty blond right now and I didn’t want to bleach it in order to get the color to show. I also didn't want him to be disappointed with a color that wouldn't show up as vibrant as he was expecting.

I showed him some darker shades of Teal and Turquoise that closely resemble his favorite shades of aquamarine. He chose the Teal. It’s a wash out after a couple of washes so I’ve had to keep coloring it about once a week. The fabulous thing is that with each color job the color is richer looking.

The first night that we dyed his hair he had the biggest, real smile I have ever seen on him throughout the past 2 and a half years that I’ve known him. It really made my heart warm inside to see him so happy because of the three of them he seems to be the one that is most down in the dumps.

I also got him some hair cement to get the effective spike to his hair style.

This, of course, needs a photo to help show the fabulous smile and showcase the Mohawk. I present, with my best superhero mask paint skills, Middle Boy’s Mohawk.