New Gardasil Information for Parents to See

>> Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every parent should see this video here I've put up on my health blog. It's very important!!


Green Tea or Vinegar for Weight Loss

>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Has anyone tried any of the vinegar or green tea diets? I've seen the information online and wondered. I steer away from weight loss products that include things that I've never heard of before but who doesn't drink green tea or use vinegar safely? So, I was wondering if they work for weight loss too.

I looked up one of the green tea products offered called Green Tea Extreme at slimming pills review. It received negative reviews. I wonder if that is for this product alone or if all green tea products hyped for weight loss are bogus.


Poll Results: Step-parent Input When Making Decisions

The polls have closed for my latest poll. My question was:

As a step-parent, do you feel you should have some input into decision-making in your family if the stepkids are involved?

The results: 100% said Yes

My personal opinion agrees with the stats. I definitely believe I should be a part of the conversation with my spouse when it concerns his children if it impacts any party of our family such as our time, our finances, any current plans we have, household chores they should share, household rules/consequences, and our own children.

If you'd like to check out the results of the polls completed to date, click on "polls" in the labels section below this post.

Don't forget to look for the next poll coming soon!


How to discipline for bad grades from a teenager

>> Monday, April 27, 2009

The ex has been letting my stepson fail for the past three years. When I say "let" I literally mean she didn't do anything about it. He was missing too many assignments, failing tests, not doing his best on homework when he did it. This kid used to be an "A" student. We live 200 miles away so it's not like we could make him sit down and do his homework. Obviously she didn't either and she lives in the same home with him. The school even offered him tutoring at the beginning of this school year. Has he gone to tutoring all year? Nope.

She recently had a meeting with the school about his almost failing several classes (he's right on the edge). Her idea on how to get him to stop teetering on the edge of failure? Give him a reward at the end of the week if he does better. The kid isn't three years old and using a potty training chart! You have to understand that this 13-year-old boy already has an mp3 player, two electric guitars and amps, PSP, Nintendo, XBox, computer, cell phone, expensive clothes, eats out and goes to the movies regularly and basically does whatever he wants. What other "reward" can you give him? Let him goof off on myspace an additional few hours a day if he stops getting D's? Take him to two movies a week instead of one? Buy him two video games instead of just one? How about taking away some of those privileges away instead and giving them back when he brings up his grades? Hmmm...that would be too much like actually giving him CONSEQUENCES and we (she) can't do that!

My stepson loves his guitars. He's just like his dad in that way. If you took those guitars away for a couple weeks until interims came out showing he had improved his grades, I'll bet you he'd bring those grades up quickly. He's capable of it. His teachers know he is and state so in all their reports. He's just not being held accountable by his mom. It's a shame too because he has so much potential and she doesn't care enough to expect him to live up to it...or even attempt to do a little bit.

The ex won't listen to a word dad says and has to do it all her way. She thinks when we ground my stepson when he is here for inappropriate behavior that we are too strict (sending a boy to his room or taking away video games is too strict??). When did expecting your child to be responsible become too strict? Sometimes I worry about what some of these kids in society, like my stepson, are going to be like as adults.

Isn't a child's success or failure in school a custody consideration? I believe it is.


Approximately 10,000 Visits in Two Days

Wow, was I surprised to check my stats and see the amount of visitors the past two days. Thank you to everybody who visited. I hope your reading here helped you in some way.

Thanks again!


Stepkids School Trips

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My stepkids have school trips coming up within the next few weeks. Kids nowadays take REAL trips. I don't remember ever having the opportunity to take these kinds of trips as a kid.

One of my stepkids is going to Gettysburg (great history lesson). Another of my stepkids is going to Disney (what a fun trip!). I've never been to either place and certainly never had the opportunity for these types of trips as a kid from school. I wonder if my kids will have opportunities for trips like this when they are a little older (though how we could afford them is beyond me at this point). When my stepchild told me how much the ex paid for the school Disney trip, I think my mouth hit the floor!

I'd be worried about my kids the entire time - wondering if they were being chaperoned properly or that the chaperone was safe for them to be around to begin with (since you never know)!

I would imagine that the school has excellent travel medical insurance when taking children on long bus or airplane rides like this to cover unexpected illnesses or accidents, along with whatever other insurance schools carry. If they don't, I would imagine they offer it to the parents as part of the costs.

My oldest daughter has a camping trip through the school next month and that's only 30 minutes up the road. That's about as far as I want the school taking my kids at their age. My husband and I already did a drive-by to check the place out ourselves. It seems really nice. I hope she has fun but I know I'll be nervous until she's home. She can't take her cell phone either so that'll make it harder not being able to check in with her periodically. Oh well, I'm sure she'll have fun!


Mother's Day Sales

Have you seen the ads with Howie Mandel? If you haven't, you should check them all out. He's so funny! While you're there, check out all the good sales going on too. Mother's Day is coming up. Don't forget all the mothers (your wife, your mother, your grandmother, your mother-in-law, your godmother, your children's godmothers, your stepmother, your child's stepmother, etc.). I bet you didn't realize there were so many mothers you should show appreciate for did you?


Wonderful Week With Hubby

>> Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The few days last week that my in-laws were here and the week that my stepkids were here was great with my husband. While it was very busy, and some of my stepson's antics brought on some stress for me, my husband took four days off work last week and it was the first time in a long time where we had that block of time to spend together like that.

When I woke up, my husband made my green tea for me the way I like it. He's never done that before. He also got my breakfast ready for me several mornings last week AND...AND...this is big...

He filled the dishwasher and started it!! In the year we've had our dishwasher, he has never filled it. I didn't even know he knew how to start it! (His mistake that I know he knows how to use it, I expect him to.)

He is so much more relaxed without the stress of work and the crazy schedule on his back. It was wonderful.

I get my affectionate hubby back when he's not feeling the stress about his job. Despite my own hang-up over my weight right now, my husband made me feel beautiful and told me I was too. I might still be wishing for the the best diet pills but my husband doesn't seem to mind at all. It seems to be my own hang-up. Back to the original topic of my post though...

We had a great week, as a couple, despite some of the stress involved with a swearing step-teen or the damaged furniture.


Don't You Hate It When Part V

>> Monday, April 20, 2009

Onward with the "Don't You Hate It When" tradition. I have received a few more from readers so I thought I'd consolidate the last recent few here and add on...

  • Your DH's ex talks badly about you to the kids and continually sabotages any opportunity for a relationship with the them. She tries to control the household from afar. She endorses and encourages 'hatred' in them. She's the one who left. Why didn't she regret her decision before DH and I married. Oh, she wasn't threatened then.
  • Yeah, we get a lot of "you are not fulfilling your obligation to the children" when we told her we couldn't take them for half of spring break because we were going on our honeymoon. But, she has no problem with constantly asking us to take them on weekends that aren't his so she can go out of town for a girls' weekend or has company coming into town.
  • ...that the ex uses the children as pawns in her sick game but will "pawn" them off on her parents/babysitters/neighbors/hobos every chance she gets!
  • The ex expects you to chase her in order to get information on the it's some type of dating/relationship ritual instead of dad trying to get information on his child's health/school from their mother!
  • The ex won't pick up the phone to call dad but instead sends an email (to stepmom's email) telling him to call her. Pick up the phone and call him yourself! I'm not a friggen secretary!
  • The ex won't move on even after dad has remarried, had several more kids, and is coming on a decade and a half of marriage to somebody he is actually happy with. How do you go that long without a date, a OMG. Stop mooning over what you didn't appreciate when you had it and move on.
  • The ex let's the kid practically fail every class because actually parenting would be too difficult for her. It's easier to let the kids run things instead of the parent.

If you would like to add onto the Don't You Hate It When threads, feel free to comment with them here. When I get several more of them, I'll put them all into one post again.


Stepkid Damage

>> Sunday, April 19, 2009

When the stepkids come, it never fails that my stepson will break something. It used to be household items but it was also in the form of punches at my children's nose or pummeling his sister into the ground, I'd say it's an improvement when it is furniture over one of my children! It used to be really bad. He couldn't control his temper when he was younger. We used to keep a log of all his violence and it was scary stuff! (Of course, we had no cooperation from the ex either.) I dreaded what chaos would come with each visit and slept with one eye open. Now that he is a little older, he has a better handle on his reactions to anger. It seems like now is more rough-housing and seeing that he's a big kid, his rough-housing can leave some damage too unfortunately.

My three-year-old's sleigh toddler bed now has a broken wood support under the mattress. Seems my large 13-year-old stepson thought it was ok to jump on it and oops, he went through it. Sometimes I have to wonder what goes through his head.

My three-year-old had a little hero worship going on of her big brother during this visit for the first time. Even at that, she still wasn't afraid to stand up to his remarks, etc. We were sitting in the living room and coming up the stairs is my three-year-old saying, "Z says I suck and I don't suck!!" She was adamant that she didn't suck!

We had a problem with his language a few times during the visit. I had dad talk to him a couple times but it didn't seem to process because as soon as adults were out of hearing range, words my younger kids didn't need to hear spewed from his mouth ("white %itch" and "stupid a$$"...things like that) so they would come to me to tell.

By the end of the visit, my three-year-old, who actually bonded to my stepson unexpectedly this visit, had had enough too. After a week of him rough-housing with some of his sisters (sitting on them, wrestling, etc.) and teasing her personally, she couldn't take anymore I guess. The last time he sat on my oldest daughter (who already had a bruised arm and wrenched knee from his "play") the day they were to leave, my three year old told him not to do that and took a swing at him - in the nads.

My kids don't rough-house like that. I can remember as a kid, my brother would sit on our heads and pass gas or hold us under the covers after gassing it up, or tickle until I wanted to cry, etc. My kids don't do any of that stuff. Their brother's visits are always an experience for them (and me to tell you the truth). I am exhausted!


Poll Results: Derogatory Term for Ex

My first poll is over and here are the results -

In response to my poll question, "do you have a derogatory term or nickname that you call the ex in private conversation", the results were:

100% YES
I knew I wasn't the only one! Now, who wants to share their term/nickname? Anybody?


Stay at Westgate in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee

>> Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I wonder if you are tired of hearing me go on and on about the Smoky Mountains. I wish I could make it home, but the job market we need isn't there for us to live so we make do with vacations there when we can.

There is one place that we want to stay at with our kids called Westgate. It has an indoor water park so we figured when we weren't out and about the town, the kids would have a blast at the hotel too. We actually got close and made reservations once but we didn't make it there. It was too bad because it is something the kids would have loved.

Check out their web site and get a look at the accommodations. It looks like a really beautiful place to stay.


Two Days Until Stepkids Here

>> Thursday, April 9, 2009

The stepkids will be here in two days (should've been one but I've done my share of complaining about that already so I'll spare you the griping again). We haven't seen them since July. After a day of getting used to each other again, I'm hoping for some connection - at least for all the kids and my husband. I know they have to keep their distance from me to keep their mother off their backs.

I told myself I was going to go easy on the Easter candy this year because it's expensive for six kids but once at the store...well, I think I went overboard. I'm sure it won't be near as much as what the ex will give the stepkids, and I'm sure we'll hear about that (who cares), but that wasn't my concern. According to OUR standards, there's an awful lot of chocolate but it's CHOCOLATE! I'm a choco-holic. Five of the kids will also have a book for Easter as well and then for my three-year-old, who already has a ton of books, I bought her a little Dora toy and a $1 hair set (brush, hair bands) instead. In addition to the custom tote bags I made to put it all in, the kids did pretty dang good.


5 Hours for 6 Kids

>> Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It took me five hours this morning to do all six of the Easter bags for the kids that I mentioned in a previous post (one where I was complaining about the ex I am sure). I will get pictures of them later tonight or tomorrow and post them. Some look really good and some look so-so. My stepson's is one of the ones that looks so-so. The ex will probably think I did it on purpose (assuming he doesn't just leave it on the bedroom floor like trash when he leaves to go back to mommy dearest like he did last Easter instead of taking it with him). His was the one I did first though and I learned what to do as I went along. He's a boy; I don't think he'll notice but who knows. We'll see.


Not All Mothers Should Be Mothers

>> Sunday, April 5, 2009

In our society, mothers are generally given favorable bias in the family court system. Fathers are second-class citizens in family court (not all the time but too often). People don't want to believe that mothers could do anything to harm their own child. It happens. We see it in divorce situations. We see it in parental alienation (which should be a crime in my opinion). We see it in felony criminal cases as well.

For instance, take the "mother" who drugged her own 13-year-old daughter so the mother's 40-year-old boyfriend could get her pregnant in Pennsylvania. The mother and boyfriend attempted this THREE times. The girl, thankfully, prevented it every time. How awful for the child - not only the act tried against her but to know her own mother put her in harm's way on purpose. A MOTHER participated in trying to get her own child RAPED. Sick!

Not all mothers deserve the title of "mother". Some mothers are too sick, too selfish to be the mothers that our children deserve. It is past time that the family courts see this!!!



I am starting a new feature on my step blog. I am going to post polls. Some will be politically correct and likely, some won't. I'm not a politically correct person when seriously aggravated and given the ex we have to deal with, I am only human. The best you can hope for from me is that I won't swear, lol. You are welcome to place your vote. In fact, I hope you do starting now!!

Once they close, I will post the results in a post before removing it and starting a new one. I think it will be fun to see results of how other people in step situations live. How much alike, or how different, we may all be. I think the line will be drawn in a couple important ways - how long we've been a part of a stepfamily & the co-parenting relationship with the ex. I'm interested in the results.


Compromising for the Ex

Comparing your home with the ex's, how often have you compromised (in terms of parenting time or anything else concerning the kids) when the ex has asked versus the ex compromising for you?

My husband and I were discussing this last night - how much he goes out of his way to keep things civil with the ex. He says it is for the kids. That's what you're supposed to do right - be civil and cooperative with your children's other parent for them? The problem is, he does all the bending while she won't bend at all. He's paid extra for things he didn't legally have to when the ex incurred unnecessary health expenses yet she shorts him his child support abatements when he has the kids for extended lengths of time. He reimburses her within the 30 day requirement for health expenses yet she takes months to pay her share of the medical insurance he has on the kids (at the time of writing, she still hasn't paid for January, February, or March and here we are into April which she now owes for). He's given up time; she's given up none. So basically, he is doing all the compromising to her demands.

When I think about how much time my husband has lost over the years to "compromise" compared to the ex - she's not given up one extra minute!! Seriously.

The definition of compromise:

  • make a compromise; arrive at a compromise; "nobody will get everything he wants; we all must compromise"
  • settle by concession
  • a middle way between two extremes

Here's the definition of dictator:

  • dictator - authoritarian: a person who behaves in a tyrannical manner

Guess the ex is more like Hitler and less like a democracy. Usually I refer to her (when talking to my husband only) as "parasitic skank" but maybe she should be referred to as Hitler.


Scared of Cancer Tests

>> Saturday, April 4, 2009

I am sitting her right now trying to remember what type of cancer my uncle has. I'm too frazzled over the stepkids that I can't remember which form of cancer he has (either that or my thyroid disease has put more holes in my swiss cheese memory bank). My brain feels scrambled (along with my emotions). I know it's not Mesothelioma because I see those commercials all the time. It is either Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma I think. How awful that I can't even remember which form of cancer it is right now.

I have to go back to my doctor for my own biopsy (that I am seriously dreading); two different doctors for two different biopsies actually. I've put it off long enough and I have to stop doing that. Just thinking about the "c" word paralyzes me though. My husband is getting upset with me and he usually doesn't show much interest in medical stuff but he's really on my case about this. Nice to know he loves me eh? I'm being sarcastic...I'm in a mood over the ex and need to vent about something. He'd better love me after all I've put up with over the years with his ex, lol.


When do the tears stop?

After the disappointing news from the ex that she's not willing to give up the kids one extra day for spring break (technically, my husband is entitled to those three extra overnights, in addition to the week they are already scheduled, but he is only asking for one of them), I was so angry. He is always the one compromising for her and she gives up nothing. All the ex does is take, take, take.

My husband thinks part of the reason is the stepkids wanted to spend that evening with their friends and that the ex is letting them dictate the schedule (when they have the night before to spend with friends already). It makes me question why the heck I am putting so much time into making the kids custom bags for Easter? I don't even like to iron! Why did I spend time finding them the perfect book for their interests for Easter? Why do I always pick up cards to send to them from all of us all the time when they won't even acknowledge they received them? Why am I going out of my way to really accommodate my stepdaughter's vegetarian needs with a good variety of foods, and all the extra money that it takes to do so, instead of giving her a salad if she won't eat what is served at mealtime? When do I give up?

I am so angry at his ex for being such an uncompromising, selfish you know what. My husband is always the one to give up something when it comes to his kids. She never does. NEVER in 14 years has she given up one damn thing, not one minute, yet he will and has for them repeatedly. Do you know how much it GRATES on every last nerve to allow her to get away with doing this? I'd put her in her place in a heartbeat and enjoy every second of it. DH is handling it though and he keeps the peace by caving anymore. He thinks it is how his kids want it. I know his ex likes it this way.

I went into the bathroom to cry so my kids wouldn't see me. My husband came in and we talked. I told him that I miss my stepdaughter. He said something that is more true than I want to realize - - he said I miss who she used to be, not who she is now. He said she isn't the same person. My stepson has always been his mother's son but now, my stepdaughter has changed so much to make her mother happy. It's like their dad doesn't mean anything anymore.

When do you stop trying or caring? Right now, I am thinking the $1 plastic bucket for Easter is looking better than spending a couple hours making them something else like I had planned. I don't even want to see them now. They're not little kids anymore and old enough to know better. I'm so disappointed in them and angry at their mother. A couple more years and then the legal relationship with the ex is over. I can't wait.


Pathetic Excuse for a Mother: She never fails to remind me why I dislike her.

>> Friday, April 3, 2009

For my husband's spring break parenting time, he is getting them starting on Saturday, instead of on Friday (they don't have school on Friday and technically, he could get them Thursday after school lets out) but according to the ex...

They are spending the day (Friday) with her parents (who they see more often than any of us). My stepson is spending Friday evening with his friends (who he sees all the time) and my stepdaughter is spending Friday evening with her boyfriend (again, who she sees all the time).

They haven't see their dad or their four siblings since last July. They haven't seen their paternal grandparents since last Easter. However, none of that is important enough to the ex so hubby can't have them until Saturday. So instead of my in-laws being able to bring them down with them when they come here Friday (they live in the same state), hubby will drive the 200+ miles on Saturday to get the kids here (unless my in-laws change their plans for her).

She's such a pathetic excuse for a human being! She never fails to remind me why I can't stand her.

For summer parenting time, he is legally supposed to have five consecutive weeks. He doesn't take that lump visit like that because their mother can't handle them leaving her for very long..she cries and carries on when they'd leave her just for a weekend so you can imagine how she is for longer parenting time occurrences. Instead, he takes 1-2 weeks total...appeasing that nasty thing who puts the kids through heck with her behavior. I hope that he takes all five weeks in one lump sump like he is entitled to. I am so damn tired of her thinking that dad and our children aren't important enough. I also think it is important that my stepkids understand that this time is important too.


For Their Own Good

>> Thursday, April 2, 2009

I have unconditional love for my children.

I have expectations for my kids so they have expectations for themselves.

I have rules for my children so they have boundaries.

I have consequences for my children when they go outside the boundaries so they understand that actions have consequences AND consideration and respect (for themselves and others) is important.

I love my children enough to do these things. I am their parent, not their best friend. If I raise them right, one day when they are adults, maybe we will be best friends too.


Summer Clothes Shock

Today I went into a store to try on some shorts. I was disgusted at what I saw in the mirror. Even with the bad lighting and white skin from winter, it really put into perspective how much weight I've gained. I put the shorts back on the rack.

After that store, we went to the pharmacy. I have to admit that I lingered by the appetite suppressant for a minute. I don't eat a lot though. I think it is: 1) what I eat, and 2) my thyroid disease. I also need to be more active than I am to counteract my slow metabolism from being hypothyroid.

Boy do I long for the day when I could eat whatever I wanted and still be a size 2/4.


The Ex is Kissing Up Again

Spring Break is around the corner and the ex knows that my in-laws will be coming into town soon when the kids are here. It's time for her to pretend she's cooperative and accommodating with my husband for the annual show she puts on.

She e-mailed some pictures of the kids to my husband, his parents, and his sisters all in the same e-mail. She wants them to see how GREAT she is about communicating with dad. Except the pictures were reduced to the size of thumbnails (or less) so we couldn't even see them. The originals weren't that small (won't say how I know that but I do...have to take my evil stepmom word for it, lol).

Of course, they don't know that she's not updating him on what is going on with my stepson at school unless he calls and begs for the information. They don't know that she doesn't make my stepson do his homework or study and that he's come close to failing the last three years. They also don't know that she hasn't updated dad on the latest meeting (two days ago) with the school when she met with the teachers, counselor, and school psychologist to get my stepson on a 504 plan to address his low grades. She's waiting for him to call and beg her for the information. If she e-mails it, I might see it. *gasp* Can't have that now!! Never mind that I was the one taking him to all his child psychologist, occupational therapy and speech therapy appointments several years ago (which she did not attend once). Instead of her just making sure he does his homework every night or studies for tests when he has them, which she doesn't do either, it's easier for her to get a school plan in place to accommodate for her lack of parenting and refusal to give consequences to the boy. Must suck to be the mother of an all A student who has been close to failing (just because he can) for the last three years because she can't parent.

Oh yeah, instead of my husband having to call and beg her for the information, he (through me, lol) just requested they send copies of any and all information from the meeting to him which they said they'd be happy to do ASAP. That will be the day when my husband has to chase that woman (and I am really refraining of putting the word down that really describes her) down and beg for information on his own child. She plays stupid games.


Wishing for a Family Vacation

I wish we could have afforded a family vacation to the mountains this spring break when my stepkids are here in a week. I told myself I'd never do one again after my stepson's horrendous behavior during our last trip to the mountains with them but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment (and hoping it'll make a difference to them). I keep saying I am going to give up but then I never do with trying to reach my stepkids. Definitely a glutton for punishment I guess.

My husband mentioned a cruise, but that's not something I'd bring the kids on (or myself since I get seasick, lol). I've seen pictures of a cruise a friend took in Alaska. It was very beautiful!

We can't afford it this year (again) so it's not happening anyway.


Making Easter Baskets

This year, I decided to be a tiny bit creative and do something different over the "norm" of Easter baskets for the kids. With six kids, why would I want to do spend a bunch of time doing that? Well, because my stepson just tossed his basket aside (with different sports toys, lots of candy, etc.) aside last year (after he devoured all the candy) like it meant nothing to him (it most likely did but still). He left it here when he left on the floor of the boy's room. I thought I'd find something that had to mean something to each child and make it reusable.

Instead of Easter baskets, I bought tote bags. I am going to embellish them with different things (depends on which child and what means the most to them). Here's what I'm doing:

  • For my stepdaughter and oldest daughter, I have a "green" bag. It's not technically green but it will be about peace, earth-friendly, etc. because my daughter is huge on environmental issues and my stepdaughter is a vegetarian. In addition to candy, there will be a book in each one (teen vegetarian cookbook for my stepdaughter and a Harry Potter book for my oldest daughter who just recently started the series and is becoming a huge reader - - like her momma!). I am going to also add their name and bling it up a little bit.
  • For my stepson, I am going to make his all "rock guitar" because he inherited great musical ability on the guitar from his dad. I figured he could use it to carry his music back and forth to his lessons. Besides candy, I bought him a rock music book so he can learn some new rock songs with his dad while he's here for spring break.
  • For my son, I am going to do a rock bag for him too but use drum graphics instead. His book is one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books he loves them.
  • My middle and youngest daughter will have a bling-bling bag because they're both really girly. My middle daughter's bag will include a book with different stories about High School Musical (one of her favs) and I haven't bought the book for my three-year-old yet.

A lot of work. If I do all this work, only to have my stepson toss it aside again (or thank his dad and ignore me), then I'll deal with that if (or when) it happens. After 13 years, any appreciation probably isn't going to happen given how he's been taught to treat me but I'm hoping it will mean something on the inside where he can keep it hidden from his mother? Probably not, but who knows. I won't know until they're 18 and out from under alienating momma but we'll see.


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