Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wow, I like Rose?

I'm not a big Rose fan. It reminds me of the 80's when my folks would drink boxed wine. I picked this one up at whole foods and my husband and I actually liked it. We commented that it was a little sweet, but not too sweet. It's more dry and not very oakey. This wine is a Rose of Cab Franc from Columbia valley. Try it... it's $16 a whole foods, so you won't bust the bank.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm the wicked step mother

My step son is out here for the summer and so far there haven't been too many bumps in the road. I do find, though, that when things are rocky with his own mother that that things are also a little touchy with me. I guess that comes with the territory of being a step mom.

Like a lot of people I hide behind my humor and sarcasm.  The order day he was reading a book (at my request). He said that there was a wicked step mother in the book who was against the kids.

I thought "of course there is". So in my own weird sarcastic way I laughed a wicked witch of the west laugh and said "you know those wicked stepmothers" and rung my hands. My step son looked at me in that pre-teen "OMG -you're so not cool" sort of way and said " that was a creepy laugh, mom". 

I'll just accept my role as he wicked step mother with grace and take every day as it comes. Muah-ah-ah-ah-ah.... I couldn't help but get one more creepy laugh in for today.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Could this be the answer to our ear infection problems?

Aside from Cameron heart issue, the only health problem my child has is ear infections. Those damn ear infections! After having an ear infection for 3 months straight, when he was 11 months we had tubes put in. They were a godsend, however Cam still got ear infections. His ears would ooze this yucky yellowish greenish gunk and we knew he had an ear infection. Thank goodness our pediatrician supplied us with a an ample amount of medicated ear drops to help in the event of an infection. Life was going good.

And then the tubes fell out.

A month later he had an ear infection. We couldn't get in to see our normal doctor, so we saw her partner (see my post about the asinine pompous doctor... that would be him). The wanted to take our Cam's adenoids immediately and put in industrial tubes.

I didn't like the guy and we went for a 2nd opinion. The 2nd doctor said the same thing, basically. If he continues to get ear infections then they want to put in heavy duty tubes and take out his adenoids.

I asked the doctor what we could be doing to prevent the ear infections in the first place.

Her answer? "Nothing".

I didn't like that answer. I happened to be talking with someone who gave me a recommendation for a natropath doctor (ND, not an MD). We went to see him and he had several preventative things to recommend.

First, make sure Cam's super healthy. Lots of good food and supplements.

And secondly, use garlic mullein oil at the first sign of infection (a few drops in each ear). I found the oil at whole foods. I'm sure  you can find it online. Two weeks ago Cam was complaining that his ear hurt and it was red. I started using the drops. 2 days later he seemed fine, no redness and no complaints of his ear hurting. A few days after that we happened to be at our ND's office. Ears looked great. No infection. Ask me how much I love this oil?

I wanted to throw this out there that it might be an option for someone else who's having the same issues. As always, check with your doctor before trying to self-medicate. I'm not a doctor, just a Mom who wanted to share what works for us.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Money, Money, Money, Mon-ey. MON-EY!

My hubs just finished going to court with the ex. We won and we lost. Basically, her child support doubled because of her lack of desire to be employed -we lost. The judge sided with us that since she  has no income that my hubs should claim my step son as long as he remains a dependent. That will help, a little at least, with his taxes.

We're still stinging from the increased child support. Even though I work and make a good living, I've gotten into couponing in the hopes of stretching our incomes. I'm literally sorting my coupons when my step son says "my Mom thinks she isn't getting enough money". I commented rather quickly that she is getting a TON of money for child support, especially since she refuses to pay for after school care or sports or anything else that might reduce her sole stable source of income ... child support.

I apologized right after I said it. I hate saying mean things about my husband's ex in front of his son. I always feel that the bad karma will come back on me.

I'll admit that I have some things down in regards to this step Mom gig. I make a mean PB&J, watch silly movies with my step son, try to make him feel like he's as special to me as my son. What I don't know how to handle is his mother's poor attitude.

She, like many people, feel entitled. And, I'll admit to you right now that my husband SHOULD pay some child support. But that means that she should be spending at least some of that money on my step son. When we have to buy shoes and backpacks and socks and plain white t-shirts because she tells him that they're poor and don't have the money, well... it sticks in my craw.

And, I'll be honest, I don't know the best way to handle it. I know that I should take the high road. I know that I shouldn't any attention to her shenanigans. I know that it's not about me or her, it's about my step son and he will only be his age once. We will never have a do-over with the conversation that we just had and he'll either take away that I hate his mother or that I'm truly trying to listen to what he's staying.  So, it's even less about me and her... it's all about him.

I just have to remind myself of and breathe.

I will never understand why the courts haven't figured out that they are empowering people to be lazy money grubbing pigs. I don't care if you're referring to a Mom or a Dad, there are deadbeats out there.

But what do I know, I'm just the step-Mom, with the friggin' coupons.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Use the good stuff

Yesterday was Mother's day, which always makes me think of my own Mother. She's been going for almost 8 years now. And while I do get sad (sometimes really sad) when I think of what she's missing out on, I have remind myself that that's now life works. We live. We die. And what is in between is the good stuff.

I wanted to do brunch for mother's day, so my husband treated me to quite a nice restaurant where I had two  pomegranate mimosas (they were so good). So for dinner we decided to have a low key meal at home... turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. I cracked open a bottle of wine and before I could pour the wine, I decided to open a box of waterford crystal glasses that were a wedding present. I had not used these beautiful glasses in the 4 years we've been married. So, we had wine (in amazing glasses) with turkey burgers and thought about how special that was. 

I'm going to use those glasses a lot more and make ordinary days, ordinary dinners, a lot more special.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Someone asked me the other day how I deal with the nonsense regarding the ex and stay sane. For one I accept that the whole ex/new wife situation is awkward.

There’s a person in this world that can’t stand me. Not because I stole her man or wronged her, but because I married my husband and think he’s an incredible man. Sometimes when you’re a step-Mom there’s a bit of competition. Maybe the kid likes you too much, not enough or just can’t stand you. Maybe the kid loves the step more than the Mom or (the norm) the other way around. There always seems to be this element of competition. I know that many 1st wives revel in the fact that their kid can’t stand the ex. I get it, you’re the Mom and they should love you above all, just like you love your kid above all. But let me tell you, all of that drama is exhausting! And if we all spent less time worrying about other people maybe we would all be a little bit happier.

Let me tell you a little secret about my relationship with my husband ex… we don’t have one and I don’t care. There you go, I said it. Call me mean. We’ve tried to be civil and it really doesn’t seem to work… to the point that she won’t even respond to a text message from me if I send her something relevant to my step son. So, someone throw the flag; call the game, do whatever… we don’t get along and I really could care less. She’s not someone I worry about impressing or want to have in my life. Here’s what I do care about: my kids … yes, that’s plural. I have 2 kids: my son and my stepson. And when my stepson is upset because of drama or nonsense coming from the general direction of his mother, I get upset. And when my husband is upset of drama or nonsense coming from the general direction of his ex, I get upset.

So, how do I deal? BREATHE! Go take a walk, take deep breaths, clear your head, do some yoga (though it doesn’t seem to help me when I’m pissed), and remind yourself what the important things are in life. Your kids, your husband, family, good friends that make you laugh. Those are the things worth getting your blood pressure up, not the drama.

When you feel yourself start to get all kinds up upset about something that isn’t on that important list… BREATHE!  And if that doesn’t work have a glass of wine.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I Guess That Makes 2 Of Us Mama Bears

Motherhood is a trip. I really thought I would be this cool, laid back Mom. I would be the Mom that all of the kids wanted and could talk to about stuff. Then my son was born…

About a month after he was born I had a realization.  NO ONE on this earth will love my son as much as I do. I’m not talking about romantic love, that’s a different type of love. I’m talking about wanting the best for my son, wanting him to have a good life and protecting him at all costs. I love that guy so much that I will watch Chuggington for the millionth time and sing the damn song because it makes him happy. Once I understood what a responsibility parenthood really is and what my job really entails, the laid back Mama turned into Mama Bear-Mama.

One thing I can say about my mother is that she had gumption. No one walked all over her. And, especially, no one talked about, dealt with or was otherwise involved with her kids without her getting into their business. 

I remember when I was in highschool, in order to avoid the abject humiliation of gym class (and showering with strangers) I signed up for Track. But, I can’t run… seriously I’m 5’1”. How fast can my little legs go?  So, I decided to do shot put and discus. It was easy… and I got out of gym. 

I remember one day at a track meet, my Mom tried to explain to our coach, a short chubby red haired, red bearded, big-lug of a guy, that mathematically speaking, he was teaching to throw the disc wrong. At that trajectory, the thing would never take off. Did I mention my smarty Mom had a degree in math?  The coach was offended and I was embarrassed, though secretly I thought it was awesome that my Mom showed him up. But now I look back and understand her as a mother. Someone wasn’t teaching her daughter how to be the best and she sure as hell would do it if he wasn’t going to.

I just dealt with an ENT who was a real horses ass. Mama Bear came out and decided to get a 2nd opinion. I got on the phone, made an appointment with the pediatrician (whom I love) and got some more information. I figured out the doctor WAS a horses ass, and probably suggested surgery to pay for his boat slip this summer or something like that. I felt really justified in my over protective behavior. I know where I learned it from...  my own Mama Bear.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Deal With a Narcissist

Recently, I read an article on divorcing a narcissist and, of course, it made me think about my husband’s ex. According the Mayo Clinic website the definition for a narcissist is the following:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

I read this and thought it was on par with HER personality and what we’ve been putting up with. I also have some advice of my own that might be helpful to someone in my own position.

1)      Do not engage. 

        This advice was given to me by a co-worker who had just gone through a divorce with a real jerk. Her thought was that certain people really get their jollies (as my mother would say) from getting people who are on their S*** list all worked up. What really bothers these people is if you don’t engage them… at all. Just act like nothing bothers you. Whenever my husband’s ex is being a particularly big pill, at the end of the conversation I will say “you have a good day, now”. You can hear the steam rising from her head.

2)      You. Will. Never. Win. 

        I’m not talking about winning the legal battle or winning the “good fight”. I’m talking about winning the argument and getting them to shut up … about anything. You are inferior, they are superior. You are an idiot, they are a genius. One of the funnier things I’ve had to deal with in regards to my husband’s ex is her ego. She will always say “YOU need to pick him up because I have to work. I’m working ALL DAY.” (a) all day… wow, that’s rough. (b) we all work, get over it. (c) I have a master’s degree and work in finance. She has a highschool diploma (maybe) and sells makeup at Macy’s yet her schedule is more important in her eyes… always. There’s no winning that fight. Just try to agree on a time to do the pickup and move on.

3)      Even if they say it's about the kids, it’s never about the kids. 

         It's about them and what they want... Revenge, feeling superior, whatever their messed up psyche desires.

4)      It will never get better.

I remember the time and place when I realized that the situation with my husband's ex will never de-escalate. We were in family therapy and I was particularly annoyed that day. I was “sharing” and just blurted out “it will never get any better. We will be at Jay’s wedding and still have to deal with her badmouthing. Jay will have kids and have to deal with HER trying to alienate the grandkids from us. Her appetite for revenge of some sort will never subside. It will never improve.” I remember feeling so helpless thinking that this crazy person will have a place in my life… always.

5)     Find a way to let it go.

        This is a tough one. Just today I found myself engaging this person who has Jay 9 months out of the year and told that he needs 10 extra days to “prepare for a flight” to see her family. A 10 year old needs 10 day to prepare for a flight? I engaged her and told her that was ridiculous… I set her off into a texting tirade. I should have known better than to tell her that her excuses were ridiculous.

6)      Build a loving home where your values rule.

I found an article last year that talks about how to deal with the child choosing the other family. From the circumstances of the article, it sounded like the child was being trained to alienate the other parent (been there, done that) and how to deal with the aftermath. When you are dealing with a narcissist, the kid is being trained to hate you. And many times, the kid sides with the narcissist because they present themselves as the victim of the scenario. They are so crazy... uh, I mean, persuasive, that you would think that they have to be right. They seem to know what they are talking about right? 

If you are dealing with a narcissist, I'm sorry. Try to remain calm, sane and remember that as much as you want to tell this person to go F themselves, your stepchild will hear it or read it and that will only be used as amo to prove you're the a-hole and the ex is the martyr. As the kids get older, you will have to deal with the other party less and this other person will be less of a thorn in your side. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Save the whales and the rainforest, and don’t use any plastic and …

I packed my lunch for today, as I do for every day that I’m at work (because I’m cheap and don’t want to pay 10 bucks for a mediocre sandwich from the cafeteria). I was on my way to the kitchen where I was going to add hot water to my organic oatmeal (with organic raspberries, to boot) when a co-worker stopped me to talk. I was chatting with her when she explained to me that cooking in plastic is toxic. The chemicals from the plastic get into your food and slowly kill you. 

Here I am minding my own business, eating my organic oatmeal and berries, and I get a lecture about PLASTIC. I told her that glass just isn’t practical for bringing in my lunch. Honestly I would have to buy a whole new set of glass containers and then what would I do with the plastic stuff that I have? Recycle it, I guess, so someone else can buy plastic containers for their lunch. I digress, my co-workers told me she found some great glass containers at Costco and will bring some in for me. She explained how I can transfer my food from the plastic container that I brought from home to the glass container that I can use to microwave my lunch. I didn’t want to tell her that doubles the amount of dishes that I do for each lunch. I do enough dishes… why do I want to create more work for myself?

I swear, I can’t join every cause! I’m eating organic, non-processed food, but that isn’t enough. I need to use glass only and save the rainforest and whales while I’m doing it, too. Sheesh…

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's wrong with my $5 t-shirt?

As I sat and rocked my whiny, hot, sweaty, sniffling, snotty, coughing 2 1/2 year old, I had a moment of clarity.

Last weekend I went to a CABi show. If you haven't heard of CABi, well, it's like a clothing equivalent to tupperware parties. You go to someones house where they buy you clothes. It's nice in theory to have the shopping come to you. The clothes are cute... but pricey, too. They also have lots of white tops and flowing blouses. People always ooo and ahhh over the white blouses. I always think of the amount of minutes it would take for myself or my child to wreck that 50 buck shirt.

I did buy a blouse. Hey, I like to dress cute. But, whenever I wear something expensive and hand washable I take it off the moment I get home. I put on one of my clearance wrack Eddie Bauer outlet t-shirts.

I started doing this when Baby C was born, simply because spit up and silk don't go together. But, what I hadn't expected was that I would continue this practice. I remembered why I wear cheap 5 buck t-shirts and was thankful today.

Baby C is sick with a cold. I put him down for a nap and he woke up 30 minutes later. He soaked his diaper, pants and was hot. By the time I changed his pull-up and pants he was still sobbing. After 30 mins of rocking him in the rocking chair, he was still whiny and ... well... not asleep.

I decided that he needed sleep more than anything and went to get him some tylenol. He was still sobbing and spit it out all over me. I was thankful for my 5 buck shirt, that will never be the same after grape tylenol, I'm sure.

So, is it cheap-ness... I mean, frugal-ness or brilliance that I wear 5 buck t-shirts around the house on any given day? Of course, I prefer to think of it as brilliance, but that's just me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Did your kid just sneeze on my kid?

In case you didn't the memo ... people in general are jerks. (I would use another choice word, but I'm trying really hard to be PG here.... Is "turd" officially a bad word?...I digress)

Evidence of this can be seen at daycares all across the nation. One of the things that has always driven me insane with daycare is the jerky people (and when I say jerky people it's mostly super skinny bitchy Mom's) that drop their kids off sick. Yes, you have to work (uhhh... so do the rest of us... which is why we ... uhh.... have JOBS?). 

But, what happens is that these jerky types drop their kids off to infect everyone at daycare. I, on the other hand, understand that if my kid is sick, he should be hanging at home with me, resting on couch, eating soup. I try not to be a jerk and expect other people to be responsible for my kid... just a little pet peeve of mine that I like to call "being responsible". 

Two weeks ago Baby C had weird virus involving a fever and a rash. He stayed home all week with either myself or my husband so he could get better. I called the daycare and found out that literally his entire pre-school class was sick with the stomach flu. Half of the kids were home sick and the other half were throwing up at the daycare. (Can you imagine 5 kids throwing up at the same time?... I shudder.) What's amazing to me is that when some of these parents were called to come get their kid they just said "I can't get off of work". You can't leave work? But you can let someone else clean up your kid's throw up? Which option is more of an inconvenience?

Everyone has to work at some point in time in some way, shape or form, so cry me a river that your kid is sick. Your sick kid is getting everyone else's kid sick. I get that you have to work, but I also get that you have sick days that you can use for a sick kid.  

I'm thinking about this today as I'm laying in bed with my son, watching "Go, Diego, Go!" for the millionth time on netflix. He has a cold today so I decided to keep him home from daycare today. I consider that my contribution to society today... You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to wash your face with oil!

I took an aromatherapy class a few weeks ago. While discussing essential oils and their benefits, we discussed skin care. And here's what I learned: Soap is bad for your skin. It strips your skin of it's natural oil and does damage to the top layer of skin. (What the heck, Dove? 1/4 moisturizer, my butt!)

So, what's the best way to wash your face? ... With oil!

My instructor recommended using olive oil to wash your face. At first I thought he was nuts, but after trying this for a week, I can say that my skin looks really good in the morning!

Here's how you wash your face with olive oil:

1) Go into your kitchen and get about 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

2) Give yourself a little face message with the olive oil - you can even use it to remove your eye makeup.

2) Soak a wash cloth in the hot water.

3) Use the warm wash cloth to gently wipe away the oil. It also feels really good to let the wash cloth stay on your face for a bit and steam those pores.

That's it.

How many times have you purchased something that is expensive and doesn't really clean your skin? If you're like me, the answer is: many times. This solution is cheap and works! What could be better?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Petty Stupid Little Games

One of the most surprising things about being a Step Mom is not the angst or the eye rolling. I knew that I signed up to be the 2nd favorite person in the house. The most surprising thing has been my husbands Ex's petty stupid little games.

My least favorite (and most prevalent) game recently is sending my husband's call to voice mail... EVERY TIME HE CALLS.

When my step son Jay is with us, however, she calls...  EVERY DAY. And expects to talk to him for an hour at a time. Not only does she call my husband's phone, she calls my phone, the house phone, every phone she can get her hands on... and acts like it's her right to talk with Jay. But what about my husband's rights?

Apparently, he's supposed to just send the child support check and not expect anything in return? I understand that divorce is complicated, however, there are innocent kids involved. When Jay came to visit us over Christmas, he was so excited about his Christmas presents that he took my phone and called his mother (ask me how happy I am about that one). The Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) did what she always does with my calls ... sends them to voice mail. You should have seen my step son's face.

He said "why wouldn't she pick up the phone"?

I told him, "she thought it was me".

He responded "oh yea, she doesn't answer the phone when you or Dad call".

This drives me crazy... this is the legacy you're leaving your kid? That his Dad is a deadbeat because.... why? Because he got tired of all the stupid petty little games played by you (Wife #1) and you're ticked that you lost your meal ticket and have to (GASP) WORK now. So, you're teaching your kid that his father isn't worth enough to answer the phone?

When I was pregnant with Baby C, I went in for my ultrasound with my husband. When I saw his tiny little feet and tiny little hands I cried... I cried through the entire ultrasound. I was suddenly overwhelmed with love and joy and a sense that this little person is my responsibility. That every little thing I do is being absorbed by this adorable boy and he'll emulate that in his life.

I came to a realization that I needed to be a better person for him... so that he would be a better person than me. I'm still trying to be a better person for him. That being said, I just don't understand why someone would want their child to be petty and play these same stupid little games. The only reason why I think they would want this is ...well, she's crazy.

What I'm learning about having this type of lunatic ex wife in the mix is that it's not uncommon. Apparently,  my husband's ex is cut from the same cloth as many money grubbing, white trash women in this world. For every one of them there has to be someone like me, who's tired of the petty stupid little games.

So, for those of you who have been dealing with the same garbage on a daily basis, I feel your pain. Fight on, ladies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Who knew coupons were an intelligence test?

I use coupons… a lot. I figure, it’s money in the bank. Most of the time I download coupons while watching TV. I’m just sitting there on the couch anyway, why not be productive, too. I digress… I love coupons, and more importantly, love a good deal.

So when I saw that my favorite hippie organic granola (yea, I eat granola) was 2 bucks off at the store through today. I also remembered that I had a coupon for $1 buck off of 2 boxes, so I made sure to stop by the store last night after picking up Baby C from daycare. 

The granola had an additional coupon on each box for $1 off 2 boxes (score: more coupons!). I figured I’d put the new ones in my stash and use the one I already have. I happily went to check out, thinking that I got a good deal this week. 

I put all of my items on the belt and put my coupon on one of the boxes of granola. The checker started scanning. After she scanned the 2 boxes of granola, I noticed that the coupon didn’t show up on the computer (yes, I’m THAT woman in line at the grocery store), so I asked the checker if she scanned the coupon. She said “what coupon”? I reached down and handed her the coupon, that was still on the belt. 

She said “but this is for 2 boxes” and looked very confused. She looked at the coupon, looked at the box that she still had in her hand, looked at the coupon and looked back at he box. I said “yes, I have 2 boxes”. She looked at the items she just scanned, including 2 boxes of granola. The checker then noticed that each box had another “buy 2 get $1 buck off” coupon. 

Again, confusion set in. She proceeded to take the coupon off of the box and look at the first coupon, and then look at the 2nd coupon (that she just took off the box). Keep in mind, it’s the same coupon on each box. The bagger seemed to be equally confused and proceeded to take the coupon off of the 2nd box. He looked at me very puzzled and asked “did you want this”? After I said “yes” they both tried to put the coupons back on the boxes.

I tried my best to be nice, honestly I did. It took me a few minutes, but I finally got the whole situation squared away. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a 2nd coupon in the mix, otherwise it might have gotten really confusing.

Stay in school, kids.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Life: Then and now

My cousin came to visit this week. I don't have any sisters, so she's like my little sister. My much taller, skinny, gorgeous little sister (she's so pretty that if I didn't love her, I'd have to hate her). When my cousin's in town we gossip about family like we're teenagers and drink like I did when I was back in college.

We were in the car, laughing about silly stuff, when my gorgeous cousin reminded me of how I was BC... before children. Apparently, I used to get very annoyed at loud children in restaurant, especially, those who were screaming and ignored by their parents. I would huff and say things like "why don't they just take the kids OUT of the restaurant". I remember this about myself.

The whole conversation made me stop and think about myself then... and now.

Before my baby boy, I was... let's just say... very self focused. But for someone who has never had to take care of someone else, it's easy to understand. I had never had to be responsible for someone other than myself. I had never been up all night with a baby or had to leave a restaurant in a hurry because a 2 year old was having a melt down. I didn't get it.

And now, I get it.

Since having my son I've come to an understanding about life. It has it's phases. I didn't understand my married friends when I was single. I thought that they drank the cool aid. I had one friend who went from closing down bars to making pies. She went through the single phase, and then she was in the family phase. I get it.

I, too, make pies, although my boys prefer muffins. That doesn't mean that I drank the cool aid. That means that I'm a Mom and I do whatever I can to make my people happy.  There's something about being a mother that makes you understand that not everything in life is about you. You're responsible for the adorable, tiny, screaming little bundle of joy and it's your job, as a Mom, to love and protect them.

While my cousin reminded me that life has changed. And some things haven't changed. I'm still annoyed when parents ignore their kids in a restaurant.