The First Dance

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

My 12-year-old daughter has her first dance this Saturday. She has a pretty dress, jewelry and shoes. We had a hard time finding shoes for her. She didn't want to go with heels because she wants to be able to dance comfortably. I told her most people just take their shoes off anyway but she insisted on flats. Since I didn't see any comfortable sandals (I saw online that Dansko makes some sandals that look comfortable but they weren't quite dressy enough for the dress we bought), we found her a pair of dressy flats to wear with her dress. It's a black and white dance with masquerade masks. Sounds fun!

The dress has spaghetti straps so we bought her a tiny bolero type shrug that covers her shoulders (it's against school policy to wear spaghetti straps). We also had to make sure it was long enough (finger tip test) and the front wasn't too low (the three finger rule). Seems like she's in a parochial school doesn't it? It's a public school.

I can't believe that my baby is going to her first dance. She'll be a teenager in a couple months. I wonder if I'll be happy on Saturday seeing her all dressed up like a young lady or teary. We shall see.


Trick or Treating with Stepkids?

Are you trick-or-treating with your stepkids this year? I know a lot of orders dictate which years which parent has them so it may not be your year this year. (If it's not your year to go begging for candy this year, perhaps you can volunteer for their class party tomorrow instead?)

A lot of schools don't even have class parties though. None of my school-aged kids had Halloween parties. It's seen in this town as an unnecessary holiday, a pagan holiday. They take all the fun out of it!! They even tried to schedule a choir and band concert during trick-or-treat hours! Can you believe that? After several parents threw a fit (me included), they backed off. They claimed they don't understand what the big deal was. I was so livid, they were probably beginning to wonder if they should be looking at life insurance rates and making sure their policies were updated.

We aren't trick-or-treating with the stepkids this year. Seeing how they are both in high school (geez, when did that happen), I'm not even sure if they are trick-or-treating. It's been a few years since we've taken them out begging for candy with us. Living 200 miles away kinda puts a damper on the festivities at times.


Black Friday & Bestselling Kids Toys

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here are the bestselling kids toys. You might want to check them out before your kids start handing you their Christmas lists.

Speaking of Christmas shopping, here are the Black Friday specials.


Wouldn't it be nice to grow a nice personality?

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

My stepdaughter has been seeing a chiropractor for the pain she's in due to probable scoliosis (the orthopedic surgeon will confirm the diagnosis next week). We knew the ex was going to take her to the chiropractor and were agreeable to paying half of the cost to do so, but then we didn't hear anything about it from the ex for several weeks. We assumed she hadn't scheduled any appointments yet because she's supposed to let their dad know about them. Come to find out by my stepdaughter, she's been going three times a week for several weeks now. Well, that was nice of the ex to let dad know! If not for my husband asking about it, we wouldn't have known until we received the bill.

Unfortunately, it hasn't helped her pain yet. So we wait until after the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to see what can be done now. I wonder if she'll let hubby know about that or if he'll have to chase the information down (does it give the ex a thrill to have hubby chasing after the information in some warped way?). Sure would have been nice if the ex had let my husband know about this scoliosis condition a couple years ago when the doctors first brought it up - you know, when my stepdaughter was still growing and before the pain started. Sure would be nice to stick the ex under some grow lights to grow a more cooperative parenting style as well!


Fun Family Times

>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two of my girls were doing a dance for me for my birthday the other day when my husband jumped in and joined them (unscripted and so funny). We have so much fun as a family together (in spite of the ex:)


Meteor Shower Tonight

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If you're going to be up around 1:00 a.m. tonight, look outside and look up. There's supposed to be an awesome show in the sky.

Less light pollution would be best so the boonies would give the best show. Don't forget to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. You should be able to pick out several planets and constellations too.

Set your alarm now!


Household Reminders for the Furnace

Just a reminder as we all start to turn on our furnaces in the north here: make sure your furnace is in good working order. Have regular maintenance performed on the unit. Make sure you change the furnace filters according to the recommendations (I need to pick up a few extra myself).
Don't forget to have a carbon monoxide detector (or two) in the house. We have one upstairs and one downstairs. I want to err on the side of caution rather than regret later, which is why I have several fire detectors on each level too. I'm neurotic when it comes to the safety of my family. I've been thinking about getting another carbon monoxide detector as well.

As a reminder, we turn our clocks back the first Sunday in November. Don't forget to check your batteries in all your detectors!


Rules and Discipline in a Stepfamily

>> Monday, October 19, 2009

How do you keep the peace in your house? How do you set rules and enforce rules if the other household doesn't do the same thing? Or worse yet, if they openly sabotage your efforts to maintain some type of consistency and peace in your house?

We dealt with that last question for so many years! It was chaos in our house every other weekend, alternating holidays and part of the summer. So stressful! What was REALLY frustrating was knowing it didn't have to be that way.

I wish we'd had a family guide book that each household HAD to follow or face the judge's wrath. Yeah right, judge's wrath. That's funny. Maybe in a world where the courts aren't biased would that happen. It was very difficult when we had rules and consequences and the other house criticized, ignored, or openly antagonized the situation.

That has been one advantage to a long-distance type schedule. Those times are now fewer with much more "calm" within our own family home now. It's been great not having to worry about the cussing and my own kids getting hurt on a weekly basis anymore (and not having to deal with the ex on a weekly basis either). I do miss them, but I don't miss the constant chaos.


Can't Take Promotion Until Child Support Done

>> Sunday, October 18, 2009

...and it's not what it sounds like.

I'm feeling a little down right now. My husband was offered a promotion at work. It is better hours (M-F office job as opposed to 3rd shift plant job) but because the overtime isn't there for this new position (and we need the overtime to make up for what goes out to the ex to meet our own bills), this new position wouldn't pay enough for our household expenses and child support.

I'm really upset. I wish it were four years into the future and child support was done and he could take this new position. It'd be the best thing for his health and for the family - our kids and his since he also can't talk to his kids during the week either. When he gets up to go to work (after 9), he's not "allowed" to call his older kids because they're supposedly in bed (yeah, right...they're bed my butt!). He used to call from his cell on the drive into work at 9:15 but the ex told him he can't. On the weekends, they're all over the place and hard to find (might be on purpose, who knows). We can't make weekend trips to see them because his 3rd shift job starts on Sunday night so the weekend isn't really a weekend.

3rd shift means he doesn't get to spend time with our kids during the week because when they get home from school, he's sleeping. When he gets up to go to work, they're in bed so he hugs who is still awake in bed and then leaves. It means he can't help with homework (sure could use his help with algebra with our oldest), have dinner with us, or go to the different sports events during the week. It means his body is getting battered on 3rd shift - he's sick more, he's crabby, etc. It's not been good for his health at all. We haven't had dinner together as a family consistently in almost four years because his body clock is opposite of ours.

Every major family decision over the years has been put off until child support was done. I wouldn't want to wish my kids to age 18 right away, but I sure wish my stepkids were 18 and we could then make decisions that would be best for our family as a whole instead of just for two.


Panic Sets in Over Swine Flu at School

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's asthma season for us here in our household. On Monday, right on schedule, my daughter started her barking asthma cough. It happens every October as the seasons change (it happens every spring too). There's never a fever or anything - just that barking cough that lasts 3-4 weeks.

Since she didn't have a fever, she went to school on Monday. The barking cough made her teachers nervous (H1N1, swine flu panic) so even though she didn't have a fever, and this has happened every year for the last several years, and the nurse knows this and remembered it herself, she was sent home. I was told by the nurse (whispered to so nobody else at the school heard) that she's fighting an uphill battle, to give her a little bit of time at home to make sure a fever doesn't develop and then to bring her back to school and she'll back me up. The fact that she had NO FEVER didn't mean anything in the panic.

So 48 hours later, I took her to her pediatrician to get a note clearing her for school. Like every year at this time, and just like I thought, it was her asthma. I didn't need to visit the doc in the lab coat for me to know that but I wanted 100% assurance when I took her back into school so they couldn't try to send her home again. She'd missed enough pre-algebra! I got my note and took her back to school. They had to allow her back in and the teachers will just have to deal with their panicky nerves over her asthma cough.


Scoliosis for Stepdaughter?

>> Monday, October 12, 2009

My stepdaughter likely has scoliosis. Apparently, the ex knew this was a good possibility from x-rays taken several years ago but she never bothered to tell my husband about any of this and the fact that his child might have a curved spine until a couple weeks ago! The ex is just now looking at treatment (now that she's in a lot of pain). Why not do something a few years ago when she was still growing? She should've mentioned it to dad. Does JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY not mean anything to that woman? I don't get this AT ALL.

Was DAD not there when these children were created? Has he not paid his child support on time, every week, for all these years? Was he not there to sign the Affidavit of Parentage as FATHER (even though the ex asked him not to sign this for their son because she didn't want to share him with dad and has made him pay for the last 14+ years for acknowledging his own son). He should've gotten a paternity test first in my opinion but it's a little late now. She must still be confused about the fact that he can still love his kids and not love her. She told him once that if he didn't love her...yada yada. You know how it goes. Getting sidetracked with old complaints...

There are times I really want to say "to heck with it all" and move where we want to move, where it doesn't get bitterly cold and give my daughter and I asthma problems. We stayed as close as possible for his kids but he has no input into their lives anyway! Sometimes I just want to run away from it all. I could book a cheap hotels gulf shores vacation to catch a break but we can't even afford cheap. It's been several years since we've had a vacation.

The economy is so bad right now. There is no overtime and there are rumors of paycuts. I told my husband this morning that in a couple weeks, we were going to have to start making decisions on which bills to pay and which bills to let go. Obviously, child support will be paid first. It always is. The six of us will have to suffer. My stepkids won't.


Do you do your kids school work for them?

>> Sunday, October 4, 2009

We are already thinking about Christmas here. With six kids to buy for, and our budget strained so badly right now, we're trying to figure out how to get a few things for each child that they really want, as opposed to junk they won't use for very long.

Last year, I wanted to find a small laptop for my stepdaughter who is now a junior in high school. We couldn't afford it then and we can't afford it now. I figured for typing reports, it would come in handy. Since finding that her mother types all her reports for when she's at work (how is this teaching her how to do this for college?), she doesn't need one anyway. Since we can't even afford a toy laptop, guess it doesn't matter now.

My 7th grade daughter types her own reports. I thought as a parent we were supposed to teach our kids to do for themselves, to be self-sufficient.


Child Support First

No matter how far behind we fall in our own family bills, like our house payment currently, the children's child support is always paid on time. Sometimes, it irritates me that she blows the support so easily when we struggle so much but that's the price I guess for not having child support accountability. It also irritates me sometimes that she always gets her money first and our four kids get denied things we can't afford. My kids aren't important in the eyes of the law unless I divorce their father. Then they become important because then they make money for the state (the state gets money from federal gov't for every dollar they collect in child support). Nothing we can do about it; it's just irritating sometimes.

With us falling behind in our own bills, I am looking at how to increase my own income more to make up for the lack of work and hours at my husband's employer right now. Blogging helps us a lot so if I, perhaps, create more blogs and concentrate on seo service to get new blogs out there in the blogosphere, maybe it'll bring in some more income. If we can get through the next four years (child support will be done) and keep our house, I'll be happy.


Google Maps

Have you checked out Google Maps lately? I did the other day and I was able to zoom right in to our old house to see what it looked like now! It was very cool. I was able to scroll around and check out what our neighbors' houses too. Our old house looks vacant. I'd heard that the new buyers let it go into foreclosure. Makes me want to go buy it up again but we can't move there since it's too far away from work.

I miss that big, old house. I miss the big rooms, tall ceilings, and huge closets. That big old house fit us all comfortably - our kids, the stepkids, all of our stuff.


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