Spring Break Parenting Time

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My husband just requested a week of the kids' spring break parenting time - giving them more than four months notice.  Odds are that she'll come back with it already scheduled up the wazoo for the kids and tell him no. 

If she does that, I hope he demands his xmas parenting time.  That will include xmas and my stepdaughter's 18th birthday (which the ex is not going to want to miss).  He's given xmas to the ex the last several years because the kids don't want to leave her alone at xmas (whose fault is it that she is alone after all these years?  HERS!) and his employer has him working through some of it (most parents do) but there has to be one chunk of time he has with his kids this school year!


Lauren Klein Personalized Jewelry & Coupon Code

>> Friday, November 26, 2010

I've been looking at women's jewelry, looking for a bracelet or something similar as a gift for my daughter and came across this nice eternity band to use for our vow renewal at Lauren Klein Jewelry.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm a diamond girl!  Here is one of my favorites!

Anyway, I want to find personalized jewelry for my teenage daughter for the holidays and I am considering this bracelet:

This band and bracelet, and many others, can be found online at Lauren Klein.  They've been in the diamond business for over 55 years! They have a fantastic selection of women's jewelry. Initially, they sold through eBay and Amazon but with all the success they've had, their business is now from their online web site.

Lauren Klein is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15off and free shipping for Black Friday through Cyber Monday. This expires at midnight on November 29.  Also, a purchase enters you in a raffle to win a 1/10 Carat 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Circle Necklace.

What type of jewelry are you looking for?

A sexy anklet to wear out on New Year's Eve?  Lauren Klein has them! 

A gift for baby?  They sell the most adorable baby bangles it makes me want to borrow somebody's baby so I can go jewelry shopping.  They're so cute!!  In addition to the bangles, they also sell other baby jewelry like earrings and necklaces as well as silver baby gifts.

How about a bracelet for mom?  Yes, they have them!  Check them out in rose gold, white gold, diamond yellow gold, gemstone and Kabbalah bracelets. 

Looking for earrings for grandma?  The selection is huge! 

If earrings aren't what you're looking for, check out Lauren Klein's selection of necklaces, fashion jewelry, personalized jewelry, bridal jewelry, crosses, hearts, diamond key necklaces and my personal favorite:  evil eye jewelry.

There is something on here for every woman on your holiday list.  In fact, nobody is left out because in addition to women's jewelry, Lauren Klein also sells men's jewelry!


Ex Still Calls Hubby's Parents Mom and Dad

>> Thursday, November 25, 2010

The ex is calling my husband's parents "mom" and "dad".  She did on their facebook today.

So what's the big deal about that?  Lots of ex's still call the parents of the father of their children "mom" and "dad", right? 

  • First, they were never married and they didn't have a good relationship during their relationship and they didn't have one after it ended.
  • Second, he never loved her - they picked each other up in a bar and she got pregnant, tried to make it work for the baby, blah, blah, blah. 
  • Third, she hasn't bothered to send "mom" or "dad" any pictures of the kids at all this year and when they come into town, the stepkids are always too busy to spend any time with them (like they are with us) according to my husband's parents. 
  • Fourth, it's been over for almost 16 years and she couldn't drag him down the aisle during their relationship.  Time to move on, go on the first date since my husband left her 16 years ago, get a life, etc. 

Yeah, it bothered me a bit.  I know a lot of ex's still call the ex-in-laws "mom" and "dad" still but they were never HER in-laws and she has been nothing but nasty to my husband for 16 years.  They are grandparents to her children but they never became mom and dad by marriage. 

Does it bother you if the ex calls your in-laws "mom" and "dad" still?


Consignment or Garage Sale for Kids Clothes?

Do you guys know what is the best way to sell kids' clothes?  Is it through consignment shops or garage sales?  I have a ton of clothes for both boys and girls - baby clothes to age five in girls and baby clothes to age 10 in boys. That is a lot of clothes!  We're done having babies (unless there is an oopsie baby) so there is no point in my hanging onto them. 



Happy Thanksgiving to all the step-parents and their families!!

We'll actually be celebrating it on Saturday with my in-laws and great niece and great nephew (I think that's what they'd be called - my husband's nephew's kids...is that right?)  who are coming into town tomorrow to stay with us for the weekend.  Hope y'all are  having a great one.


Got My Karmic Smack Today

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Karma gave me a little smack today. I was sitting at lunch with my five-year-old at school, happy I'd brought lunch because the turkey gravy over mashed potatoes hot lunch looked like a fattening blob of something my dog yakked up. Right after I thought that, the little boy sitting diagonally yakked all over himself and the table. My lunch was over at that point. Guess I should only think happy thoughts:D


House Redecorating Wish List

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

I've made my household redecorating wish list up.  Here it is:

  • I want our bedroom painted.  We've not done this since we moved in - almost five years ago!
  • Utility sinks are a necessity with five dogs and six kids to keep the big messes out of the bathroom.  I want one in my laundry room. 
  • I want this butcher block island for my kitchen (need more counter and storage space):

  • I want two adirondack chairs for our backyard.  Maybe that'd be a good thing to put on the Santa list!
  • I want linoleum laid in the family room where the dogs go in and out - one piece that is easily mopped!  I think you can get linoleum now that looks like tile or wood so I can pretend to have the real thing.  I'm ok with that.
  • I want a new mattress.  Our mattress is over 15 years old!  Boy do the backaches get ya in the morning!  I want a double though instead of a queen...we need the extra room in our bedroom plus it will be like cuddling without actual cuddling since you have to sleep close in a smaller bed.
  • My way out there wish list, which is just a dream, is to either add on for a master suite or convert our attached garage (which isn't even used for our cars).  What I wouldn't give not to have to share a bedroom with all these kids!! 


Christmas Gifts for Stepkids - Check!

Our Christmas shopping for my stepkids is done.  My stepson is getting an Ibanez electric guitar and my stepdaughter is getting a Breedlove acoustic guitar.  Both great guitars!  We got a Best Buy kind of deal on the electric guitar. It's worth more than we paid for it. My stepdaughter's guitar is going to be a joint Christmas/birthday gift because it was expensive and her birthday falls within a few days of the holiday!  I don't think she'll realize exactly how great of a guitar she has but hubby did good on picking out the right guitars for both of them.  I hope they like them!


Best Place to Shop for Women's Clothes?

>> Friday, November 19, 2010

What is the best place to shop for women's clothes for trendy yet affordable clothes?  I did not get the fashion gene but as the weight drops off, I want to shop for better looking and better fitting clothes.  If I could figure out how to lose weight fast, I'd get myself some great clothes for the holidays as presents to myself.

I know of JCPenney, Wal-Mart (where I don't want to buy my clothes from anymore), and Maurice's but I want better choices.  Any ideas? 


Buying Men Flowers

How many of you buy flowers for your guy?  I did when we were dating but not since.  My husband gets me flowers for special occasions, when he's in trouble, or when he wants to buy something.  If he comes through the door with flowers and it isn't a special occasion, I ask him, "What did you do or what do you want?"  It can be a speeding ticket or it can be a big ticket item he wants to purchase.  Maybe I'll get him some valentine's day flowers 2011 in February and surprise the heck out of him. Make him wonder if I did something wrong or want to buy something. 


Lost 6 Pounds

I've lost six pounds!  Yippee! 

Actually, I think the last pound I lost was due to my gallbladder attack last night and dehydration so I probably should only count five pounds!  I guess "yakking your guts out" (in my 13-year-old's words last night) is the fastest fat burner.  I don't recommend gallbladder attacks for weight loss - ever.  I'm sure that pound will show up again in water weight.

I've been eating better and my doctor increased my thyroid pill dose and the weight is starting to drop again.  If I can get rid of these last 20 pounds, I'll be so much happier with looking in the mirror.  I fell off the healthy wagon two days ago when I was out running errands and my hypoglycemia took over and I needed food.  A drive-thru was the fastest way to get it - MISTAKE!  My gallbladder screamed at me for a few hours last night to tell me how bad of an idea that was.  I have learned now to keep healthy snacks in my purse to ward of the drop in blood sugar.


Competition Between the Two Homes

Is there competition between the two homes?  Which side is it coming from (yours, theirs, both)?  What do you do about it? 


Xmas Gifts for Stepkids Settled

>> Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wow!  The ex is "letting" hubby buy my stepdaughter the acoustic guitar (see previous post).  I hate using the word "let" because it implies he has less rights than she does - oh wait, he does in her eyes! 

After her email on how she was buying their daughter the guitar, he responded back to her how their daughter had told him that she wanted a laptop and acoustic guitar and he can't afford a laptop.  He went on to tell the ex why an experienced acoustic guitar player should pick out the guitar.  He worded it all very nicely in the email (while giving his own verbal rundown on his feelings for his ex while we typed up the email which was hilarious). 

Her response was a bit of a surprise (the money aspect of it). She responded that she is buying their daughter the laptop for her birthday (falls around xmas) and that the guitar was not going to be a xmas gift - just a gift.  Wow!  Must be nice to have that kind of spending money to plan to buy a laptop computer, xmas gifts, plus an acoustic guitar just because and that was just for one child.  Hubby responded back very nicely, thanking her and telling her how much he looked forward to buying her a guitar.

Sounds like my stepdaughter is getting what she wants for whatever the occasion for the holidays.  We are going to have to come up with another good idea for a graduation gift now and I really have no clue at this point - we were planning to save for a laptop for her:(  Maybe airline tickets to some awesome destination before college starts?

My stepdaughter turns 18 next month.  I believe child support will go until she graduates from high school, as well as health insurance.  I believe she'll just stay on our health insurance for as long as the insurance provider allows so she doesn't have to try to find some type of affordable health insurance on her own.  I'm just thrilled that we have the first of two kids turning 18 finally!  It's been a long, hard road to get here and with xmas settled now, I look forward to not having to deal with the ex again until at least Easter!


How do you handle xmas presents with the ex for the kids?

The ex just sent us an email to inform us that she is buying my stepdaughter an acoustic guitar for Christmas (this was after we'd sent her an email telling her that my stepdaughter had told us she wanted one so we would get it for her for Christmas).  My husband is the guitar player, he's played since he was a kid, he's been in bands, it's his "thing" with his kids - to play music with them - like he does with our kids.  He's taught them and he plays with them; she doesn't.  He knows which brand guitars are good and which ones aren't.  He knows neck size for her hands, if the neck is straight, action, wood, he knows what to listen for when he tries them out in the store first, etc.  The ex wouldn't know which end of the guitar to start with! 

We've already bought my stepson an electric guitar, which we didn't tell the ex about.  She'd probably try to stop that one too so she could get him another one first. 

I haven't told my hubby yet about his ex's email.  I wonder what he'll do about it - if he'll still go ahead and get her an acoustic guitar or if he'll find a different gift for her.  If the kids were here more often, I'd say "so what" and keep it here for her to play but they're not here that often. 

This just reminds me of how many times she's come back and said she was going to get them gifts that he had wanted to get for them, how she'd try to get the kids the DVD movie releases as soon as she could to beat us out of doing it first, and how she wouldn't let hubby participate in field trips unless she was there too.  She can never just let him do something for the kids without it being a competition.


What can go wrong, will go wrong...

>> Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I looked up my truck payment last week and figured out I only have 3-4 payments left on it until it is paid off.  Talk about being excited!  I haven't not had a car payment since I was a teenager!  I was getting excited thinking about not having any car payment for another year or two.  How great would that be!?!?!

Of course, if something can go wrong...

Friday night, my check gauge light comes on and the temp gage is showing it is running hot.  That lasted a couple minutes.  Huh, weird since I just had the thermostat replaced a month or two ago.

Yesterday I go to start my car to pick up my daughter from cheer practice and it won't start.  Get it started later that evening and it smells like something is burning. 

This morning, I drive it to the auto mechanic where along the way, my check gauge light comes on, temp gage dives to HOT, I have no heat, and if I have to slow down or stop, my car feels like it's going to just quite running on me. 

Apparently, now, I have pinhole size holes in the two silver lines that bring coolant for heat to the back seats of my Durango so all my coolant is leaking out.  According to the dealer (it's a dealer part so my mechanic has to get the part from them), 63 other people are in line waiting for the same part - it's on backorder with no idea if it'll be three weeks or seven months until the part is available for me.  Huh, 63 other people waiting for a backordered part - - HEY DODGE/CHRYSLER, DO YA THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE A FLAW IN THAT DESIGN OR WHAT? 



My Cowgirl

>> Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ride 'em Cowgirl!  This is my sweet, teenage daughter with her mare.  This horse was given to my daughter after my daughter's horse died unexpectedly and broke her heart.  She and her trainer broke this horse to ride (with my daughter doing the riding) last summer and they've just started teaching her to go over rails in preparation for jumping.  All our horsey pictures are at Cowgirl Up.  She rides English so she doesn't wear the cowboy hat (though she has one to go with those snakeskin boots she's wearing). 

My daughter has been just a big sweetie during my gallbladder attacks and my attempts to eat healthier!  She has been eating healthier along with me because she doesn't think it is fair that anybody eat anything in front of me that I can't eat myself (though she said she caved once and got nachos because she said, "I was sooooo hungry."  She's funny.  She's also noticed during this health kick this week that the school lunch menu isn't healthy at all.  She says there aren't a lot of healthy options for her to pick from.  The school lunch menu should be all healthy, but she's right; it's not. 

Here's my cowgirl again:


I Have Gallbladder Disease

Those painful attacks were definitely my gallbladder.  My doctor says, "Well, you know you have gallstones and you know you have gall bladder disease.  You might have to think about doing something about that in the future."

Ya think?

So I asked him what I could do to dissolve or get rid of the stones without losing my gallbladder.  I really don't want to lose my gallbladder.  He is waiting for my hospital records to see how big the gallstones are before he tells me what the next step is.  He doesn't want me starting any type of gallbladder stone/flush protocol until he knows they are small enough to get rid of without plugging a duct.  Good idea! 

He told me that I won't know what I can or can not eat without eating it and seeing what happens.  Boy, that could be painful experimentation!

I've been eating less fat and have avoided anymore gallbladder attacks so far.  Before seeing my doctor, I was barely eating any fat at all because I was so afraid of another attack but I've since added a little back into my diet.  Fat is necessary.  I have found out eating the last couple bites of my daughter's hot dog at a soccer game is a bad idea but I can handle a little bit of spinach artichoke dip with tortilla chips in moderation.  I choose grilled over fried (which stinks) and just watch what I eat in general. 


Holiday Personalized Gift Ideas for Baby

>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

If you are gearing up for the holidays and planning your shopping, I have a great coupon code for you from Baby Stuff Gifts for those personalized baby and sibling gifts!  You can give personalized clothing, blankets, towels, dolls, gift baskets, diaper covers, and more!  There is even a personalized Santa plate to leave cookies out for Santa!  My kids love the tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa so I just LOVE the Santa plate!!

Here are the sale details:

The sale is to enjoy 15% off your entire order...for 4 days only (11/4-11/7)...offer expires on Sunday at midnight. Shop now and save! 

COUPON CODE:  holiday2010

Available at Baby Stuff Gifts

If you have a shower coming up in your future (and seriously, we all do!), you'll want to check out Baby Stuff Gifts for their keepsake items that every mom would love to receive (and treasure for years after).  These are items of great quality you can put away after they're done wearing or playing with it to save to give to your child when they're older.  What a great idea!! 

If you know of a new mom or dad who hasn't registered yet for the baby shower, tell them about the Gift Registry at Baby Stuff Gifts for her baby shower.  Gift registries are the way to go!

Don't forget to check out the nursery decor and the free shipping on orders over $50!


Children Who Stutter

>> Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My nine-year-old daughter stutters.  It is worse during spontaneous speech (if she's telling you about something that happened at school for example) and times of stress for her or if there is a lot of stress in the home (wow was it bad when my stepson was here regularly during his "behavioral problem" period - which was from about age 4 to age 12 for him!).  She sings beautifully and never stutters.  She can read aloud from a book and not stutter.  She was recently teased at school by a boy over her stuttering.  Why are kids so mean?  It only makes the stutter worse, not better, when she's upset!  She was upset over the teasing.  I was mad that kids can be so rotten to each other.  We handled it by talking to her speech therapist about it, who talked to both her teacher, the boy's teacher, and the Dean of Students.  I was going to introduce myself to this boy's parents and talk to them about it personally at one of my daughter's football games (he plays football) but the school handled it before the game happened and it seems to have worked.  There haven't been anymore instances of teasing.

My 11-year-old son used to stutter frequently but now stutters only occasionally.  My five-year-old stuttered badly for awhile (but we're hoping that was age-appropriate and not the same as her older siblings) since it doesn't happen often anymore.  My stepson used to stutter, as well as make gulping and other sounds. They have all been in speech therapy for their different speech issues. 

The New England Journal of Medicine (Feb 25, 2010) researched the role genetics plays in stuttering.  Their article is called Genetic Susceptibility to Stuttering.  Wow, wish they would've talked to me.  I could've told them genetic plays a huge role given our family's stuttering history (my husband was/is a stutterer as are more than half of his children).  I can't read the whole article since I'm not a member but if you want information about stuttering, the National Stuttering Association has a web site at http://www.westutter.org/.  My daughter's speech therapist sent me information home yesterday from the NSA to read...brought tears to my eyes reading about this little girl who was teased in school and how she handled it. 

I have so much paperwork over the years on their different IEP's (Individualized Education Program), speech homework, speech notes, etc., that I need document management software to keep it straight. I would love to use it to have digital copies of everything from the ex for the last 15 years too! It would save a lot of storage space that is being taken up by boxes and boxes of files!


No Fat/Low Fat Eating - Oh I'm SOOOOO Hungry!!

>> Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I am on day 2 of the no-fat/low fat eating plan (hate to call it a diet because let's be realistic, it's the way I'm supposed to be eating anyway and haven't been) so I don't have anymore gallbladder attacks before my next doctor's appointment on Friday.  So, how's it going so far?  It stinks.  Seriously, I feel hungry all day long. 

I miss fat in my food.

I miss melted butter in every nook and cranny on my english muffin.

I miss chocolate candy bars. 

I miss pizza. 

Oh boy do I miss chocolate and pizza!! 

I miss feeling full.

I'm assuming it is my gallbladder that is causing me all the pain so I'm eating like it is to prevent anymore attacks.  I'll find out more on Friday. 

What is really sweet is my teenager told me last night that since I can't enjoy so many foods right now, she is going to eat like I have to eat so I don't feel left out.  She actually ate oatmeal for breakfast!!  She said she'll pick the salad at lunch instead of the nachos.  She has slept in my room for two nights in a row so she can "keep an eye on me."  She was upset to see me seriously crying the night before last when I was in so much pain (crying during sad parts in movies doesn't count).  She said she's only seen me cry once before and that was during an argument with her dad years ago (about the ex/stepkids of course).  She remembers listening on the stairs when she was supposed to be sleeping.  I guess my crying really hits her hard.  She's being so helpful.  She got all her siblings ready for school yesterday too!

I have good kids.  :) 


Water Damaged Christmas

Have you ever had your sump pump stop working that left you wondering how to fix water damage on pretty much everything on that floor level that was submerged?  We did.  What a mess!  We were able to fix and replace almost everything we needed to except for our Christmas tree.  It was an artificial tree that nobody could tell wasn't real.  It was beautiful and then it was gone.  We've not been able to find a replacement since.  Now we're stuck with the Charlie Brown christmas tree.  Ugh.  I don't think about it until this time of year when I think about hauling out the ugly tree. 

We've also had property messed up by wind damage.  It was a good thing our insurance covered the clean-up!  We found a reputable company in our area which is what you need to restore your home to a healthy, clean environment for the family.

If you live in the Dallas or Austin, Texas areas, and you've had smoke, fire, or water damage, The Steam Team has been in business since 1983! They clean floors, upholstery, air ducts, tile and more.  They also offer green services, leather cleaning, pet odor treatment, marble polishing, drapery cleaning, and oriental rug cleaning. 

There are plenty of specials being offered right now, such as:

If you're looking for the best carpet cleaners austin has to offer, definitely check out The Steam Team.


Well, that sucked!

>> Monday, November 1, 2010

I think I am having gallbladder attacks now.  I was in a lot of pain Friday night for about 4-5 hours and then excruciating pain last night for about 2-1/2 hours - pain on the right side under my rib cage, pain radiating around to my back, nausea, and vomiting.  It was a fun night last night! 

When I couldn't take anymore and got up to get dressed to drive myself to the hospital, it stopped.  It was over in between getting my pants on and putting my t-shirt on. 

I would seriously rather give birth.  That kind of non-stop pain was awful. 

I "think" it was gallbladder because of the symptoms that occurred after a fatty meal and because I know I have stones in my gallbladder (showed up in ultrasound/CT scan earlier this year for non-related illness) that have been asymptomatic (until now apparently).  I am waiting to hear back from my doctor to see what I need to do next.


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