Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out Sick and A Scary Experience

Hi everyone. I have been out sick all week. I assume it has something to do with the kids being sick, and the kids spending extra time over in the nasty house and bringing germs home. Being around tons of people for the holidays and getting worn out going all over the place for the holidays.

It’s definitely the flu. And it sucks. FH used a sick day yesterday to help take care of me. Today he had to go back to work, and I’m on the mend but not totally better. Keep your fingers crossed that the boys remember I’m sick and are nice to me today because all three of them are still here on winter break from school.

I have one new experience to share though from this week. It was terrifying.

On Sunday FH dropped off Older Boy and Younger Boy for Jane. Middle Boy was sick so he stayed home. FH also had Jane sign the latest visiting schedule which stated that he would be picking the boys up the next day, Monday, at 8pm at Jolie’s (her mom).

Well, Monday night came and FH left for Jolie’s. Around 8:40pm he called me because Jane wasn’t there. Jane wasn’t answering her cell phone and her boyfriend’s phone was turned off. Both Jolie and Jane’s aunt tried calling her also and both were unable to get through. I tried calling Jane’s sister and she hadn’t heard anything from her either.

Jolie offered FH to call him if Jane came by later or if she dropped them off in the morning. I’m not sure what either of you would have done but I was on the edge of freak out. I told FH that I would prefer that he drive to Jane’s house just to make sure.

In my mind I had three options going on:
1. She’d skipped town with the kids.
2. She hit her head and was lying unconscious on the ground of her home.
3. She had forgotten, and she wasn’t answering because she has this habit of losing her phone.

FH called me about a half hour later to report that the latter was correct. Jane had forgotten she was supposed to drop them off and had apparently left her phone in a location that she could not hear it ringing.

I don’t think I need to mention how pissed FH was. He was good though and didn’t freak out in front of the boys. But we did make a note of the incident in her binder where we keep all of the notes and signed calendars.

It was oh so very scary not knowing where the boys were. But I’m glad that it turned out OK in the end. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to experience that again, and that none of you have to experience it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

So I Wrinkled My Nose

Remember the great lengths Jane went to with the lies and manipulation attempts to make sure the boys were with her for Christmas (all day) for her aunt who has leukemia but has currently been in remission for the past year?

Well, we asked her which days she would like the boys over their winter break. You know, since they’re not in school for two weeks. She didn’t want them any extra days outside of her once-a-week day with them.

So despite the fact that the boys are available for days of overnight visiting – they’re going to see her 7pm Sunday night until 8pm Monday night both weeks of their winter break … with the exception of Christmas Eve evening to the morning of that following Saturday.

I guess all day Christmas Day kind of evens it out. But I’m not going to lie. My irritation this time has some selfish fueling in wanting to have some quiet work days without three children doing the children things they do. Trust me when I say it’s much easier to do my job when there isn’t fighting and arguing and crying occurring. But, considering I survived summer vacation I guess I can make it through winter break especially since they’re both short work weeks.

When FH told me she didn’t want any extra days with them I could have gotten all angry and frustrated. But no, I merely wrinkled my nose in slight disgust. I touched upon how interesting it was that she was all hot heated because she wasn’t getting her 40% of the time and here she was not even trying to get them any of the extra days when there wasn’t someone else benefiting from the boys presence (her aunt for Christmas and her son for the birthday party) and dismissed it with a “Whatever. Her loss.”

That’s big progress on my end on keeping my anger and frustration under control ... in my opinion.

I hope you all have a fun and happy holiday season with your families!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Actions Cause Reactions

My Editorial Directior had a post it on her desk that said “Actions Cause Reactions.” It had become my mantra almost two years ago when I had first noticed it. It helped when it came to dealing with a lot of difficult people both in and out of the workplace. It has continued to be my mantra into my new life as an instant mother in a new family.

I’ve decided to look at “this” in a whole new light.

First off – I’ve concluded that I got so heated because Jane lied and tried to manipulate. There’s nothing I dislike more than a liar and a manipulator. Generally I cut those types of people out of my life because I have no room for those types of people. However, considering I signed myself up to participate in the packaged deal – She’s the fine writing at the bottom. Damn – Right?

So that brings me to this other saying I’ve learned throughout life to embrace over the years.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
– Maya Angelou

And I’ve come to realize that I can’t change Jane. But I can control how I see and perceive things. So my new perspective on this Christmas is that FH and I will be able to spend our first holiday together with each other.

I’m going to embrace the opportunity to spend a special day with the loving, wonderful man I have given my love and trust to. We will get to spend time with the boys later, and I’m OK with that. But in the mean time I will cherish and take advantage of the opportunity to sit back with FH and a cup of wine and enjoy some time together – Just the two of us (and the cat).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Younger Boy Gets the Last Word

Ever since I’ve found myself spending about 24/7 with Younger Boy I find myself in the strangest arguments. And by the time I’ve realized I’m in the middle of a ridiculous squabble with a pre-schooler he has already put in the last word and won.

YB: What do birds say?
Crys: They say Squawk!
YB: No they don’t!
Crys: Yes they do!
YB: No they don’t! Penguins say Squawk. Birds say Tweet.
Crys: Well, birds can say Squawk too.
YB: Oh.
Crys: Yup
YB: Well, whales make music in the ocean. [Play that one in a Toddler voice Matter-of-fact tone]

I guess that was him having the last word on that because quite honestly, how do you follow up to that?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let The Holiday Festivities Begin!

This last weekend FH and I decided we should get into the swing of celebrating the holidays. Saturday FH took the two older boys out to pick out a Christmas tree. It’s cute and small and doesn’t overpower our apartment.

Last year we had to get a small tree to put up high on a table because Fat Cat is notorious for trying to climb Christmas trees. This year we got another small tree, but Nasty Cat is the only cat we have to keep an eye on since Fat Cat went back to live with my parents.

In following tradition with last year we brought home ornaments for the boys to decorate. At the moment all of the ornaments we have are the ones that we have made either here as a family or that the boys have made at school. Considering it’s a small tree our homemade ornaments fill it up quite nice. This year we brought home wooden stars for the boys to paint. Then we posted a photo of them from this year and put their name and the year on the back.

We also picked out a new patch for our stockings – Another tradition that we started last year. Since Jane had all of their stockings and my personal stocking is with my parents we thought it might be a nice idea to get new stockings for everyone and to put a patch each year. In my opinion they’re all really cute and I think the boys like being able to help decorate and choose what they would like on theirs. This year I added a sparkly martini glass patch to mine.

And we started one more new tradition. This year we decorated a gingerbread house. When I was little my sister and I would get to help decorate one with my dad and from what I remember it was a lot of fun. The boys hadn’t had the opportunity and both FH and I thought that they’d like to do one. I looked up a couple of recipes and finally decided that it wouldn’t hurt anyone to by a pre-made kit.

So last night the boys all took turns working together to put decorations on the house. It was really nice to see that the three of them were able to take turns and decide upon designs together. It was a refreshing moment from the usual bickering. FH even got in on the action by placing one gum drop on the roof, while I was the mistress of the icing.

Although as much fun as the boys had decorating I think their favorite part was when we were done and I let them lick up some of the frosting that I put on a plate.

Have any of you created any new traditions to do as a new family? I’m curious to see what other things blended families do together to create new holiday traditions.

And some holiday photos for your viewing enjoyment!

Middle Boy painting his ornament:

Our tree:

The finished gingerbread house:

And by popular demand! Stockings!

Last year's patches were the fish. This year he wanted the owl.

And mine! Last years were my purple flowers. This year the sparkly martini glass which FH found for me. I was going to get some ladybugs but FH found the perfect patch!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Letter Short

I thought I’d send you an update about the progress with Younger Boy and working on Preschool activities at home. We discovered a great kids TV show the other day. It’s called Word World. Basically everything in the world is made of letters – literally made of letters. The dog’s body is made out of the letters d-o-g. We came across it after watching Sesame Street. It was kind of creepy but looked really cute at the same time so I decided it was OK to watch.

I’m pretty glad we did. As soon as the show was done Younger Boy jumped up and ran over to our refrigerator where we have those plastic magnetic alphabet letters. The problem is that we only have one set, but it works great for spelling small words. Younger Boy wanted to spell some of the words we had seen in the show so we spelled “dog” and “web.” He would say the word we were going to spell. Then I would ask him to find each individual letter and we would put them together to form the word.

I’m still trying to figure out just how much he knows. He can sing his alphabet song, but I’m not sure how much of that is memorization and how much is actually knowing. So we went through the alphabet and I had him grab each letter. There were a couple of letters he said he didn’t know so I made a mental note of those. But he did recognize and was able to find a good majority of the letters. I was pretty proud.

And this conversation ended our word spelling activity for the day. Apparently I need a couple more vowel magnets. (My apologies for those that are friends on my facebook page, but it was too precious to pass up.)

*playing with the magnetic letters on the fridge. We only have one set of the alphabet*

YB: How do you spell cat?
Crys: C-A-T
YB: Oh! How do you spell fox?
Crys: F-O-X
YB: How do you spell HBO?
Crys: You spell HBO
Crys: Good Job!
YB: How do you spell pee?
Crys: P?
YB: Yes. How do you spell pee? *does the 'I need to potty' crotch grab*
Crys: P-E .... well. You need another E. But we only have one.
YB. Oh. P-E-E?
Crys: Do you have to go potty?
YB: Yes.
Crys: Then go! You don't need my permission.
YB: ok.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dousing the Anger - What I'm Thankful For

There are so many words I could use for the way I felt tonight after Jane’s latest actions of demanding the children for Christmas day with lies, manipulation and rubbish. A few of them could be anger, fury, wrath, disgust, resentment, etc. It was at the point where I was really getting angry with everyone. I was also angry with FH because it seemed that he was willing to just give in to her demand and temper tantrum. I was angry with myself for letting myself get so angry in the first place. I have never known anger to be this raw and bitter and powerful before in my life. I didn’t know it was possible to feel all of this.

I sat here wanting to write to you all and ask if you ever had this moment where you just looked up and asked “What the heck am I doing in this mess?” or decided “Dammit! I’m done with this!” Anger does that I’ve discovered. It makes you not want to continue addressing your wedding invites because at the moment the bile in your stomach is threatening to rise at the thought of getting trapped in this situation for good.

So I decided I needed to figure out a way to douse the anger. I was looking for any way to let it go and to try and calm down. Writing it out, meditating, watching my favorite TV shows, and breathing exercises…Nothing seemed to put out the raging fire that had sprung up inside. I ended up talking to my best friend Summer and writing an e-mail to Allison (because she sent me one asking what was going on.) I calmed down, but I still could feel a flame just waiting for fuel to ignite and flare again.

So I decided that since I had calmed down this much what I needed to do was stop thinking about all the things that I was angry about. I had to stop fueling the anger inside because it was only continuing to poison my heart. So I decided that I need to focus on the positive things. And as hard as it is to not think about the things that have angered me – I need to just not do it. So I’d like to list the things I’m thankful for. If I can think about what my rays of sunshine are I hope to “get over it” for now at least.

  • I’m thankful for a supportive family and supportive friends.
  • I’m thankful for wine, Crown Royal, vanilla vodka and Kahlua.
  • I’m thankful for cheesecake.
  • I’m thankful for a nice hot cup of coffee.
  • I’m thankful for a job, as chaotic as it can be; it is a paying job with benefits.
  • I’m thankful for managers who are always looking out for me at work and helping to challenge me and teach me skills to advance in my career.
  • I’m thankful for the ability to know that I am angry and that I can either choose to stay angry or I can choose to do something else.
  • I’m thankful for the ability to choose to do something else.
  • I’m thankful for Nasty Cat. He smells like stinky cat. He bugs me trying to be my shadow. He puts his nasty paws on my face when he wants me to wake up. But he also knows when I just need a little furry kitty to snuggle up next to me.
  • I'm thankful to have the ability to choose whether or not I want to be in this situation.
  • I’m thankful to have stumbled upon this circle of other mothers, stepmothers, fathers, stepfathers.
  • I’m thankful that I’m not alone in the chaos of instant parenthood.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a positive influence in the boys’ lives.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to see their eyes light up when they discover something new.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to see them learn new things, to discover things about themselves and find their independence.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to give them good night hugs every night, and to wish them sweet dreams.
  • I’m thankful that no matter how the morning goes they still wave goodbye to me when I drop them off at school.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to feel this kind of love for these child, even though the children aren't biologically mine.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to choose to put their well being before my own wants and desires. It has by far been the most challenging thing but I’ve learned a lot about myself because I have done so.
  • I’m thankful for FH – even if he sometimes drives me up the wall with his man ways.
  • I’m thankful that our paths crossed again – even though it has drastically changed my life.
  • I’m thankful that even though he may not always respond to me and my emotional outbursts the way I wish he would he is supportive and thankful and appreciative of me.
  • I’m thankful to have a person that loves me unconditionally.
  • I’m thankful to have found a person that I can honestly say that I love unconditionally.