Woman Breastfeeds While Driving in Ohio

>> Saturday, February 28, 2009

A woman in Ohio is being charged for breastfeeding her child under the age of two while driving! Are you kidding me? The video is below.

I am 100% for breastfeeding. I've nursed and weaned my last child at two years old. However, you don't nurse a child while you are driving. Where is the brain matter?

Apparently, the mother said she wouldn't let her child go hungry. Nobody expects her to!! She can't pull her butt over to nurse her baby but she can endanger the child's life by not only removing the child from a child safety restraint but having the child in between the steering wheel and herself? Unless she has mammoth breasts that reach to another seat (*sarcasm here*), the baby could be nowhere else. If that woman had been in a car accident, the baby would have been through the windshield or crushed between the steering wheel and mother.

This woman faces up to 180 days in jail and $1,800 fine. How about parenting classes? How about Social Services keeping an eye on this dingbat?

The report from another motorist who made the call actually said she was breastfeeding AND talking on the cell phone. I hope she wasn't doing both of those at the same time.

So, mom isn't denying driving while breasfeeding.


39,000 Units (Toys) Recalled

>> Thursday, February 26, 2009

There is a large recall of 39,000 units of toys sold at dollar stores and toy stores due to choking hazard and lead violation. They were manufactured in China.

You can see the product models and pictures here.


Blues Clues "Magenta" Toy Recall

Magenta Plush Toy by Ty Inc.

Blue Eyes & Purple Glasses

Approx. 14 cm High

SKU # 40346 or by UPC 008421403462

This is happening in Canada. I do not know if any of these were sold in the United States.


Latest Gardasil Information

>> Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For the latest in information on the Gardasil vaccine, check it out on Finding A Healthy Me. I just went through the ingredients and then looked those up online. I was surprised at what I found. I think you will be too. Think: Roach Killer & Fire Retardant


Memory for Electronics

I take so many pictures and videos of my children that I overtaxed the memory on my laptop. My computer kept shutting down every time I tried to turn the individual videos into one family video. I ended up with a back-up system that holds all my photos and videos for me.

If you are looking for PC or Mac memory, The Memory Suppliers has a "memory finder" so you can find the memory that fits your computer system. They also supply memory for cameras, cell phones, mp3 players and PDA's.


Dad's Pregnant Girlfriend Shot Dead By His Son?

>> Sunday, February 22, 2009

Police say an 11-year-old boy shot his father's live-in, eight month pregnant girlfriend once at point-blank range, killing her and her unborn child. This happened in western Pennsylvania. The boy is being charged with criminal homicide and homicide of an unborn child. The victim, Kenzie Marie Houk, was 26 years old and had a four-year-old daughter who found her mother dead in her bed on Friday.

This is just awful. So sad.

For those of us who have seen violence from a stepchild, this hits too close to home. I used to worry that one of my children were going to be permanently harmed or worse when a stepchild was becoming violent (trying to stomp on a baby's head, pounding the crap out of a sibling, "dead stares" from the stepchild, no remorse or empathy, just to name a few - we have logs of behaviors like this). When it was to the point that I was taking my block of knives off the counter and hiding them whenever my stepchildren were due to arrive and worried about going to sleep at night, it became unbearable. When I had to put baby monitors in the bedrooms of older children, it became unbearable. When my stepchild's pediatrician, who was also my children's pediatrician, warned me when I was pregnant with my last child that she feared that I was going to get hurt, it became unbearable.

Violent behavior from a stepchild is downright scary. The newspaper does not indicate whether there was other violence in the home from this child or have any reports of child abuse. I guess we will all wait for further reports to be made public. In our case, my stepchild's therapist confirmed what we already knew to be the problem (his mother).

I don't know what happened in the case of this boy murdering his father's pregnant girlfriend, but I do know what my own stepchildren went through and the damage that occurred because of it. Children don't belong in the middle of a parent's emotional warfare towards the other parent and other parent's family. It tears them apart and messes them up. If you do this to a child, then you don't know how to parent or love a child appropriately. Any parent who does this is grossly selfish and should seek professional help immediately before you irreparably harm your child.


Sex Offender Registries

>> Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some sites people should be aware of, especially parents:

Family Watchdog
U. S. Dept. of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website
FBI Sex Offender Registry
Stop Sex Offenders

When my girls were invited to a sleepover at the grandparents of a school friend of theirs, I went online (to a sex offender registry and county property records) to check out the family and the area surrounding the family. I found a relative, who had property next door to the home where the party was, on the sex offender registry list. This family member could, in all likelihood, had been at the child's birthday party, with my children, had I allowed them to go.

I didn't. Thank god!

Will the registry find every pedophile? Absolutely not. For all that are caught, there are probably twice as many who aren't. However, it certainly helped us when we needed it.


How Do I Use a SLR Camera?

My husband went searching for digital cameras last year for me for a birthday gift because the picture quality on my old camera was becoming distorted. I guess I wore it out. He ended up finding me a nice SLR camera and here I am, all these months later, and I still don't know how to use it right. I really need a good online photography class or great book that can summarize, in laymen terms, how to use this thing.

I am a photography nut. I am always taking pictures. I'd like to be able to use this to its full capabilities. Anybody have a general working knowlege of SLR camera, or a good online source on how to use them?


Ideas for Long Distance Contact

For the long distance parents who see their kids in between long intervals when they are with their other parent, what have you found to be the best way to maintain contact, to maintain a connection, with them? To let them know you are thinking about them? To express love long distance? To counteract alienation that occurs during those long intervals? I'm open to ideas!


We're all WHAT??

>> Friday, February 20, 2009

Open up your child's MySpace (only the initial header page seen by the public) and see this as his status:


It's what my 13 year old stepson has on his myspace profile page for the public to see. His myspace is actually private so who knows what he's writing inside that we can't see or who he is talking to. We're not allowed to be friends with him on MySpace (the ex and her control issues) so we can't keep an eye on him. His mother hasn't logged into her myspace account at all this month so I wonder who is watching this kid on MySpace? A 13-year-old has no business being unsupervised on these social networking sites.


Becoming Hardened Emotionally

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recently, the ex seemed to be planning a night out at a rock nightclub. It wasn't on a night when it was "all ages". It wouldn't be the first time she's brought my stepkids into a drinking establishment until the morning hours (according to my stepkids) but it has been awhile so I was surprised to hear of these plans. We figured the kids would be with her this time too because they have been before and she won't leave them with anybody while she goes out (seriously, she has not had a date since my husband left her 14? 15? years ago). Plans change though. Apparently she was in the emergency room instead because she'd been vomiting for a couple hours. Their diagnosis was the flu. I felt ZERO sympathy for her. I felt bad for the kids because they were probably scared but nothing for her.

Personally, I'd rather see HER in the emergency room than my underage stepkids in a nightclub! Is that bad of me to have little to no sympathy for her? I used to, but the first time I showed her sympathy when she was ill by picking up ginger ale and stuff for her so she didn't have to run out with the kids while she was miserably sick, it got thrown back in my face. I've been sick as a dog before and it was horrible. I lost weight from days of being so ill; I certainly didn't need any weight loss products when my flu was my diet. It was bad. I thought I was being nice by making sure she had everything she needed to get well. Obviously I was wrong.

Becoming a stepmother of a stepson who spent years in "violent" mode and dealing with his mother has changed me, hardened me emotionally. I guess it is a good thing in that she can't control me through my emotions anymore, but it bothers me that I have changed that much.


Making A Home For Stepkids

>> Monday, February 16, 2009

Given the decrease in time the stepkids spend with us anymore, I am not sure what to do to make our home seem like more than just a place they visit. It's always been their mother's intention that this be nothing more to them than the place they leave her for, not their home. She got her way after years of doing what she does best.

How do I make our home seem more "homey" to them other than adding a bunch of furniture that would stand empty and unused a majority of the year? The kids might be coming in April (my husband is going to request the time but it doesn't mean they'll be here) and I'd like to have or do something that makes it seem like home to them as well. They have our time when they are here, but it's not enough to make it "home". What can I do that would make a home they rarely come to seem more comfortable for them, like home?

Then I wonder if it is too late. At 13 and 16, have we lost them regardless of what we do...that's what I wonder.


No Contact With Stepkids Unless BM Controls It

Phone calls rarely get answered and take forever to get a return call back, if they even return the call! They don't respond to letters or to the questions asking them if they received them.

My stepkids aren't allowed to accept our friend requests for our private Myspace pages. Every single one of them is refused. When we ask them why, they lie (badly). There were times when their mother would use my stepdaughter's email address and respond "why" pretending to be my stepdaughter. I know my stepdaughter - she uses IM speak all the time. There isn't one sentence that doesn't include some IM language. You could tell this email was written from an adult and it was written at a time when my stepdaughter was in school. How pathetic is that!?! They can't go onto our private Facebook page either.

So, we set up a private forum that you have to log-in to and get approved for before you can enter. We figured it'd be a safe place online to chat with them about stuff since their Myspace pages were off limits to us. Nobody else online would have access so there were no worries about cyber-weirdos. They aren't allowed into there either.

The web site we made for them is still being ignored. They won't even click on the link! I will continue to update it over the next four years until they are both 18. We left them an entry in their guestbook and added a Valentine greetings page too just this past week. We will update it for every holiday and whenever else we want to update it. Maybe when they are out from under their mother, they'll finally see it.

I think I know why the ex is refusing to allow them to participate with us on anything. I believe it is because the ex would not have open access to it (without logging in as her kids to snoop) and if she can't "control" what the stepkids say to us, or how much we talk to them, she won't allow it. She wouldn't be on our myspace or facebook pages so she would have no control over pictures we show the kids, messages we have from them or send to them, etc. It's all about control to her.


Don't You Hate It When Part IV

>> Friday, February 13, 2009

I have had several comments from others to my original "Don't You Hate It When" post, and subsequent posts, on things they don't like about some ex/step issues. I thought I'd make a new post from those comments. If you would like to add yours, please feel free to comment to this post and after I get several of them, I'll make a Part V to this post with your dislikes about the situation.

Here are the most recent additions of comments or emails from readers:

  • I hate it when my DH's EX brainwashes their kids to hate me. I hate it when the EX writes a blog about me and uses my real name and allows the skids to leave nasty comments about me afterwards!
  • Don't you hate it when the ex who is responsible for paying child support think they have a say in how the child support is spent? Child support is reimbursing the other parent for what they pay out for everything. Don't you hate it when the ex and/or his or her latest love interest have the nerve to gripe about how the cp spends the support? Don't you hate it when the clothes,shoes, new toys, etc that you bought and let the kids wear or take to visitation end up torn up or not brought back at all? That is why my kids wear old clothes for visits unless the ex specifically says there is a special occasion. GROW UP PEOPLE AND YOU WOULD FIND YOUR LIFE MUCH BETTER IF YOU FOCUSED MORE ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR KIDS OR STEPKIDS INSTEAD OF BEING IN A PISSING MATCH OVER THEM. PARENT THEM AND LOVE THEM AND CHERISH THE TIME SPENT AND STOP DEMANDING AN ACCOUNTING OF THE WRONGS AND KEEP AN ACCOUNTING OF THE RIGHTS WHEN THEY ARE THERE TO GIVE YOU JOY. FROM A MOM WHO BELIEVES THAT A STEPMOM OR STEPDAD IS JUST MORE PARENTS TO LOVE AND SEE HOW GREAT YOUR KIDS ARE.
  • ... the ex wife gets away with murder because 1. "She's the mother of those children" (so she MUST know best, without question) or 2. "She's still hurt from the divorce" (years later, despite her new marriage) 3. Because she "has a disability/condition and can't help it" (she's mentally ill and doesn't take her meds, how is this ok?)
  • ... you, as the new wife, are automatically assummed to be a homewrecking whore (even if the facts and dates prove otherwise) just because you are the "new wife"!
  • ...when you (the new wife) are truely suffering at the hands of the ex-wife, working your butt off to be the best step-parent and newlywed you can be, and ask someone for advice they say "well, you married into it!" That's about as helpful as saying "well, you knew your job would suck when they hired you"!!!!
  • The other parent lies to your current lover saying youve been sleeping together to try and get her to leave you so she can have you back. (like that would happen)

Here is another:

  • When the stepkids blow off dad and the rest of their family with dad for self-preservation rather than dealing with their mother's behavior, anger, etc. over them having a relationship with any of them, including half-siblings who get hurt everytime the stepkids hang up on them, ignore them, pretend they don't exist, etc. after years of closeness (which finally disintegrated after years of emotional manipulation from the ex).

Do you have any of your own to add? Or perhaps you agree or disagree with some of these yourself? Feel free to comment about it.


Gardasil Information

I am going to be posting information on adverse reactions to Gardasil on my health blog. The latest reports can be found there at Healthy Me. Somebody needs to look into these reactions more closely and it CAN NOT be the same company or organization who has a financial stake in the drug in any way.


Kids Won't Admit to Receiving Letters and More

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Well, I've asked my stepdaughter twice if she's received the letter, pictures, and card we sent her (she should have received it by this past Saturday). She ignored my question both times.

I asked her if she'd seen the web site we'd made for them (we put up pics for them of siblings, leave them holiday greetings, etc.). It's just a site so they know we are thinking about them, etc. I sent her the link to the web site twice and asked her twice. She ignores those questions too. I've checked the stats on the web site and neither stepchild has visited the web site since sending them the link either time. Now, I know for sure my stepdaughter received the link because she answered everything else in those emails BUT the questions about the letters and web site.

What is the point of ignoring answering whether they've received our letter, card, and pictures of their siblings? Seriously, what is the point?

What is the point of not even bothering to look at the web site we made for them or refusing to answer? Maybe their mother told them we might have planted a virus in it or something and they can't visit the link. I know that's the reason she won't let them hook up their digital cameras (we bought for them for 2007 xmas) to their computer to download their pictures. God forbid they might download some pics of themselves and email them to us...that would be HORRIBLE. Who the heck knows. All I know is that this type of behavior is beyond comprehension.

What does this teach the kids?

You know what I wish? I wish my husband would call his kids on it. Call them on it and put them into a position to tell the truth for once in several years. Refuse to allow them to be disrespectful.


Facebook Divorce

Facebook can be addicting. Hooking up with old friends, coworkers, and family can have you checking your Facebook account more times than some would like to admit to. Usually, it's all good. However, if you are Emma Brady, you logged in to find out your husband had announced he was ending the marriage. When she saw him next, he didn't even mention it according to the news report...she had to press him to get it out of him.

Most people, I would assume, don't get caught totally by surprise by divorce announcements. You generally know when there is trouble in a marriage at some level (even if you refuse to admit it). However, logging into Facebook for the information...harsh!




Stepchild's Vision Expenses

>> Monday, February 9, 2009

Last week, I wrote about hemorrhaging money to the ex after receiving a bill that included unnecessary expenses on it for my stepdaughter. Usually, we've paid them in the past. This time, I set it on my husband's desk and waited for him to say something about it. I wasn't too keen on putting out money right now because:

  1. We don't have it. Our house payment is late this month and we have a $702 propane bill that is due in a week as well.
  2. We paid extra the last time for more expensive frames, that was an unnecessary expense because our insurance does cover frames to a certain amount. The ex and my stepdaughter decided between them to go over. We didn't HAVE to pay it, but we did anyway.
  3. I thought to myself: Would I have done this for one of my own children? The answer to that is no, not if we didn't have the money. Times are hard and we live on a very tight budget that leaves little room for anything extra right now. Everybody has to "make do" and that doesn't change because two of the kids live with their mother, who gets more money from us in support for two children than we spend on our own four children.
  4. I am way behind in scheduling my own eye appointment, putting it off beyond when I should have because we didn't have the money. If I can't afford new glasses, that this almost blind old bat needed months ago, why would I pay unnecessary vision expenses for somebody else? I wouldn't.

Anyway, my husband asked me this morning what I thought we should do about it. I gave him the reasons above (reason #1, #2 & #4) and he was agreeable. I did compromise and told him that we would pay the necessary vision portion of it, as we should and have always done, and if we have the extra money down the road, then we would send it to the ex for the unnecessary expense. It's not like she asked my husband BEFORE she spent the extra money if it was something he'd be agreeable to and it's not like the ex or stepdaughter would be appreciative of it anyway.


Flat Panel TV Stands

>> Sunday, February 8, 2009

Have you given in and bought your husband a flat panel television yet? I haven't yet.

My husband has been hinting (not really "hinting"...more like whining) for a flat screen television for the last couple of years. He saw them in Japan before they'd even hit the states so I've had to deal with the "wanting" for much longer than most, unfortunately. His parents just bought one so that increased the volume of his requests. I didn't tell him that my sister did too.

If I agree to this, it changes my whole living room because then I will need the type of tv stands they make for these types of televisions instead of my big armoire that I absolutely love. My compromise to that would be if he gets his flat panel, then I get all new furniture for my living room.

I can compromise!


Autoimmune Disorders in Stepfamilies

>> Saturday, February 7, 2009

I've read quite a bit about how stress can affect your health, particularly with the development of autoimmune disorders where your body basically attacks itself. I'm wondering how many of us stepmoms have developed an autoimmune disorder since marrying into a family, becoming a stepfamily, or developed some other type of health problem?

For me, I have TMJ (caused by clenching my teeth when stressed, damaging my jaw), my asthma went from an annoyance to life-threatening, and I developed Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (along with nodules, goiter, hypothyroidism).

According to MedicineNet.com:

"Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues.

Examples of autoimmune diseases include systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren syndrome, Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile (type 1) diabetes, polymyositis, scleroderma, Addison disease, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, glomerulonephritis, and pulmonary fibrosis."

This was just a few. There are over 80 autoimmune disorders.


Sidewalk Chalk Time Is Coming

It may not seem like it now, with a foot of snow outside my window, but spring is coming. Every year, without fail, my kids get outside with sidewalk chalk and decorate every cement surface they can find. Just seeing the picture of chalk gave me a little thrill - spring will be here before we know it! For our family, it is the sign of new growth in the ground, the melting snow, and sidewalk chalk that brings in spring. Despite what is going on with our economy, the kids continue to play.


Keeping Contact with the Kids

...even if they act like it doesn't matter and that a few weeks of their time with us a year is more a burden than a joy (to them).

Despite the kids' change in attitude the last few years to protect their mother's feelings over their relationship with us, and the resulting lessening of contact by them, we still continue to maintain it. It's not easy. There have been so many times where I've thrown my hands up and said "to hell with it" because of something the kids have done, or not done (usually not done) but it's an emotional reaction that calms and cooler heads prevail once it's over and you do what you have to for the kids in the hopes that when they are adults, they will realize (yeah, right, but there's always hope right?).

At no time, EVER, will the kids be able to say that we didn't care, that we didn't love them. Oh yeah, I'm sure they will try, because parental alienation is a hard nut to crack, but boxes of copies of everything can't be wrong though now can it?

So we continue contact. Hubby calls them regularly even if they don't say a whole lot on the phone. This past week, we sent them a text with pic of their sister at the basketball game, a greeting card, a letter on the happenings in the family (mostly with their siblings who they don't show enough attention to!) and their siblings' school pictures. Who knows what they receive though, ya know? There were times when we'd ask the kids if they received a letter, etc. and they'd have no idea what we were talking about. After we asked, it would show up. Imagine that!

Spring break is coming which means it is time to consider dates for parenting time. Do they want to be here? No, because it means leaving their mother alone and too many times of seeing her crying when they left did its work on them.

I just want to let out a huge sigh just thinking about it and what should be (without parental alienation) instead of what is.


Childhood Heartaches

>> Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My 12 year old came home crying the other day because her best friend might be moving. These girls are so close and such good friends. It's going to be hard if a move is inevitable.

Come on! What's not to like? Warmer temperatures than we have... Beaches... I might as well just plan on having a very teary pre-teen for the summer. We've thought about heading to the southeast ourselves but I'm not looking at Wilmington NC real estate just yet. Maybe for retirement.

On top of that, there will be the inevitable tears after my stepkids' summer visit when it is time to go back to their mother's (assuming they are coming...it's not been mentioned and the older they get, the less it will be). It's looking to be an emotional summer.

I would love to move south into Tennessee or North Carolina. We can't do it now since work is here but maybe when the kids are older, we can get ourselves a little vacation place somewhere and make it a place for the family to convene a few times a year to vacation together (and sneak away with just my husband for some one-on-one time).


Hemorrhage Money to Ex

>> Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do you ever feel like you just hemorrhage money to the ex?

We have vision insurance on my stepkids. It covers lenses annually and new frames (up to a certain amount) every other year. The ex's insurance doesn't include vision.

My stepdaughter got new glasses last year of which the ex allowed her to buy way over what insurance covered (that we paid for even though we didn't have to). She just had her annual check-up a week ago and instead of just getting her new lenses for last year's expensive frames, the ex bought her new frames too. Cha-Ching! She sent us the bill.

My stepson, for the first time, needs glasses this year. Apparently, he doesn't want to wear them so the ex didn't get him any. He's 13. I'm sorry but I'd remove both his uber expensive guitars from his little hands until he wore the dang things (at least in my presence).

So glasses for my stepson, that would've been covered, the ex doesn't get because he doesn't want them (nevermind the exam showed he needed them). Frames for my stepdaughter, who only needed new lenses, she gets even though it's not covered by insurance, leaving a bill to send to daddy. Do you ever wonder what your spouse was thinking when it comes to their ex?

Then there's me. I was due for new frames 6-8 months ago but haven't gone because we don't have the extra money for co-pays. I have very bad vision and really need to go but put it off because of money.

Whatcha wanna bet that we pay for my stepdaughter's frames that she didn't need and that insurance didn't cover? We aren't legally bound to but you know how it goes...


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