SD 19 Years Old Today

>> Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today my stepdaughter turned 19. She was two years old when I met her - this little thing that would come running into the apartment and the first thing out of her mouth was asking where I was. Then I would hear her little feet running through the place looking for me until she'd find me and run into my arms. She was a loving, sweet child.

What changed these past few years...

Years of having to be emotionally responsible for her mother?
Years of being put in the middle?
Years of living with white trash?
Parental alienation?
Years of hearing the verbal spewing from one side of the family?
Years of being emotionally punished for being loving to dad and dad's family?
Years of parenting time interference?
Years of being taught that dad isn't important?
Unnecessary Prozac?
Teenage Angst?

One of these?  All of the above?


I'm a Cheer Coach

Happy Holidays to me.  I bought myself some yoga apparel - two pairs of yoga pants. One of them are similar to these in the picture but the waist band is a little different.

I never realized how HARD yoga is until I tried it.  Wow does it hurt.  I really thought it was all gentle and relaxing and soothing - - it's hard holding positions.  Takes muscles I don't have.  That puts me in sad shape:) I have to whip it into gear in the coming months since I'm coaching two of my daughters' cheer squad and I don't want to be a sideline coach.  I should at least be able to show them jumps and cheers without hurting myself.  Right? 


Christmas & the Stepkids

>> Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Well, I waited to post about Christmas and the stepkids (as I said in my last post I was going to do).  I didn't want to make any predictions...though I knew exactly what was going to happen.

When I wrote that last post, my kids sat wrapping presents from them to their older half-siblings to add to the box of already over $300 worth of gifts going to my stepkids.  As they sat and wrapped, my husband opened a small UPS box he'd just received from the ex's place of employment.  It was an unwrapped sweatshirt stuffed into the box (literally stuffed and bulging) and a Christmas card signed from my two stepkids to their dad - only.  My husband, after opening his present from his children, hoped that it wasn't going to be the only thing from his kids to this house - - hoped they weren't going to ignore everybody else.  I mentioned how sad it was that as our kids wrap presents to their older siblings, they get ignored by them.  I don't actually expect them to spend money on any of us anymore for anything but they should have addressed their Christmas card to everybody - at least their siblings too.  That was a deliberate snub.  Nothing else came.

I mentioned during this discussion that we only had about $25 in the budget for a birthday gift for my stepdaughter (who turns 19 in two days) and told my husband when the latest it would have to be mailed out for her to get it in time.  I leave the rest to him.  Considering how today was that mailing cut-off date and my husband hasn't done anything yet, I am thinking this is going to be the first year her present is late, if he plans to send her one.  I don't care.  It's not my problem.  Unless he plans to spend the money he's been saving to replace his crappy computer, all she will get is $25 out of our budget - if he sends it.

I'm sure my husband probably received a Merry Christmas text from his children and perhaps even a thank you  from them via text though last I heard, he hadn't heard that they'd even received it (yeah, good thing we pay for the tracking to know they did).  The rest of us heard nothing.

I will be removing my stepdaughter from my Facebook.  She already dissed me over her graduation ceremony.  She doesn't get to act snotty to me on Facebook, totally dis her siblings during the holidays - who have never done a thing to either of them but love them, and then hold her hand out for expensive gifts (and oh wow...did she use her gift for the worst tattoo ever - wow is it awful).  The fallout from my blocking my stepdaughter from my FB will be felt through the whole family on his side - the ex and stepdaughter will make sure of it.  That will leave my husband to explain why to his adult "child" when she throws a fit (despite her age, she is emotionally stunted - due to the prozac or her mother or both - who knows), to his parents and rest of his family.  It's beyond time for him to speak out anyway.



>> Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My holiday shopping is done...I think.  I shipped out most of the packages that go out of state already (including to the stepkids) and my kids' and hubby's presents are hidden in a storage closet waiting for me to wrap them all.  My kids received the usual assortment of clothes, make-up, toys,and  electronics - depending on their age.  I bought my husband a down jacket (got it uber cheap on sale so couldn't NOT get it) and one of those Keurig single brew coffee makers (he is a coffee-aholic). He usually gets music stuff at birthdays (and we sometimes skip Christmas gift exchanges between us and just concentrate on the kids) but I wanted a change! The kids won't let him smoke cigars anymore (so no dutch masters cigars for him this year) but he made out pretty good.  With sales and coupons, I was able to get him the highest model Keurig coffeemaker at a low price and then several boxes of the different coffees for the machine.

The stepkids for Christmas - well, I think I'm just going to wait to talk about that.  My husband is holding out hope they won't be mean this holiday but I'm not holding my breath.  It is feeling a bit like a bi-polar Christmas with them this year so far.

I'm dreaming of a bi-polar Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know...


Blame It On The Cell Phone?

>> Friday, December 16, 2011

I guess hubby didn't give his ex his new cell phone number (she has our email and home number) because a text came in for him last night on my daughter's cell phone (his old number).  Maybe the ex will think she just has bad cell reception when he doesn't answer and should invest in a wilson booster to boost her service, lol.

I let my husband know his ex sent him a text that their teenage son had an ingrown hair that she took him to the doctor for - so silly. The doctor told her to soak it - duh! Nothing serious - didn't need to be cut or anything.  Maybe she scared him into thinking he had testicular cancer and had to get it checked out (like she did with my stepdaughter when she was his age).  I'm not sure if I should be annoyed over that doctor service call, monetarily-speaking, unhappy that she's turning the kids into being as neurotic as she is, or laugh because she is just so ridiculous!


Nervous - Daughter Leaving

>> Thursday, December 15, 2011

My 14yo is leaving on a school trip in about an hour to Disney.  I think I'm going to be sick.  She has been to cheer camp and band camp but those were only an hour away.  I've never had her on the other side of the country before, with this much freedom and responsibility, and she's not been away from home before for this long.

I told her this morning, "I hope I don't cry."

She said, "If you don't, I know I will."

I leave in 15 minutes to head the school to see her off - watch her get on that big bus and head off.  Yikes!!


I Disengage From Christmas with SD

>> Friday, December 9, 2011

My stepdaughter has asked for a new tattoo for Christmas.  After her rudeness online with me (got hit with it twice recently), I sure hope hubby is taking care of this one on his own.  I'm not.  I disengage.

I did take care of finding my stepson's big gift for my husband.  Somehow, my stepson's "could care less" behavior towards me is easier to handle than my stepdaughter's snotty behavior.  I guess because "could care less" is an improvement over the years of anger/violence he shot towards me/kids and my stepdaughter's snotty behavior is a more recent development?  Maybe because I used to be real close with my stepdaughter (wasn't with my stepson) so her snotty behavior affects me more? I don't know.

I am at the "not my kid, not my problem" point with my stepdaughter right now. Whoever thought it'd be easier when they became adults was wrong.  Oh yeah, that was me.  Oops.

**bangs head on desk**

You know, if she was here, she wouldn't have the nerve to be rude to me.  Funny how 200 miles and an internet connection makes bad behavior OK.


Frying My Computer

>> Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My computer (which I am typing on) is in the process of dying on me.  I go through a computer about every two years.  I just fry them up.  I did when I worked outside the home too.  My employer had to replace them often.  They said I typed too fast, ha ha.  There would literally be a burning smell coming from my computer and they'd know to look into ordering me a new one.

My husband bought me a laptop last week which I have sitting in a closet - not using yet.  The thought of transferring what I need (photos, music, budget, passwords, etc.) to the new laptop has been daunting.  I love computers. I know my way around the computer (don't know a thing about electronics in general - show me component video cables and I wouldn't know what to do) but with so many photos and videos to go through to see what I want to transfer and what I want to put on disk, I put off my new laptop and hope my desktop PC holds out a little longer for me.  Everything I NEED is on my desktop PC.  I need to get it to my laptop and save the rest off my PC.  A second external hard drive might be what I need...oh, hubby...


Make-Up for Eczema?

My face has become hyper-sensitive to facial cleansers and make-up (eczema type sensitive).  Does anybody know of any good products that I can use to cleanse my face and what brand of make-up won't cause the bumpy, itchy mess without spending a ton of money?  The drugstore brands I've used so far aren't working.

I can live with barely there lashes (don't need eyelash growth products yet) but the bumpy, itchy cheeks? Not so much. Even my eyebrows itch!!


Collectible Coins

>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

For custom challenge coins, check out Coins for Anything, Inc. for your business or events or other needs.

This would be one my son would like to collect. 

My husband had a coin collection as a child that his mother recently gave him back (he is 46 now). It's something neat from his childhood to have and show his own children.

He also collected stamps.  I didn't have any collections from my childhood that made it to adulthood.  Of course, most of my pictures and stuff became a casualty of my parent's divorce for them to fight over so who knows where anything is anymore.  I don't even have any of my senior pictures.

Parents really need to learn to leave their kids of the conflicts in divorce.  It's so unnecessary.


Answer Door in Lingerie?

How many women answer the door in lingerie when their ex's are coming to pick up the kids?  I was remembering when the ex tried answering the door in hardly nothing (and she didn't realize that I was picking up the kids for my husband, lol). I am thinking it is more common than seeing a man answering the door in mens sexy lingerie for their ex?

Too funny. One of those "ex" moments that always makes me chuckle a bit all these years later.


Snotty Step "Kid"

>> Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sometimes, it's hard to remember the sweet little girl a stepchild was 10-15 years ago when they've grown up to be snotty adults.

Getting real sick of her snottiness towards me on Facebook.  I'm thinking blocking might be a good idea. It seems to me that all these years caring for and about her should mean something and that "blocking" would never be an issue between us but...

I don't deserve her snottiness.
I don't have to put up with her snottiness.
My kids shouldn't have to see her snottiness.
My friends and other family shouldn't have to see her snottiness.

You'd think since she expects a Christmas present (she's already told us what she wants), she'd turn off the "snotty" until December 26th.


Educational & Fun - Music and Books for Kids

>> Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have been combining my children's Christmas lists with things that I think might actually last in the entertainment department.  I don't like spending money, only to find that it took my kids longer to unwrap it than it did for them to lose interest in it.  I am looking for a few good gifts that give them big smiles.

My six-year-old is a beginning reader.  Her vocabulary is just taking off!  What better way to keep her interest in reading than giving her a personalized book that makes her part of the story?  Music and Books 4 Kids offers personalized books like Scooby-Doo, Garfield, Three Little Pigs, Ballerina Princess, Batman, Sesame Street, Mother Goose & School is Fun.  These are actually licensed books!  For instance, Scooby-Doo is licensed by Hanna-Barbera.  Their prices are very reasonable - $12.95  for a personalized, licensed book!  I think this would be great for a child just beginning their love of reading, a child who would benefit by a book that would hold their interest and also great for those bedtime stories with your child.  Imagine the look on their face when you read their name as part of the story!

I am also looking for entertainment in the car for my youngest as well.  Music and Books 4 Kids offers personalized CD's with children's favorite characters - VeggieTales, Barney, Mickey Mouse, Elmo, The Wiggles, Disney Princesses and Elmo.  My six-year-old would love the Disney Princesses and The Wiggles!

Personalize it with their name and you'll get big smiles!  Two of my girls do not have the more common names or spelling and I found those on their list!  I can't believe it.  My daughter NEVER finds anything with the correct spelling of her name and Music and Books 4 Kids has personalized music and books for her too.

These would make great gifts as well for nieces, nephews, grandchildren, siblings or your godchildren for all occasions - birthdays, Christmas, good grades, etc.  Who needs an occasion? How about personalized music and books for kids just because they're special?

For the new parent, the personalized baby book for only $16.95 is a great idea for a gift! There is also space for you, or the new parent, to add photos and other personal items to the personalized baby book.

Shipping is by U. S. First Class Mail for $2.00 shipping and handling. Of course, if you prefer other shipping, they will accommodate you.

Now get Christmas shopping!


First Teen Love Christmas Gifts

>> Saturday, November 12, 2011

My teenager is in teen love.  Last week, she had her first kiss after the boy told her he was falling in love with her. Remember those really early years where you couldn't wait to go to school to see that boy in the halls?  She is living it right now.  I understand those teenage feelings (I can remember back that far) but as a mom, I dread the heartbreak that she will eventually go through.

He already knows what he is getting her for Christmas (I think jewelry). My daughter is still looking for a perfect gift for him.  Perhaps something personal from Personal Creations?  He says he wants a funny t-shirt for Christmas.  I would imagine she will do that, since he said it is what he wants, plus something more personal for him but age appropriate.

She asked me a few weeks ago if I thought she would be stupid if she thought she loved this boy.  Of course I don't think she is stupid.  I can remember writing "I love so and so" over and over when I was her age.  Gift buying in 2011 for a teen boy?  I have no clue.  While I remember the feelings of teen love, I have no idea what teen boys today want.  My son isn't a teenager yet.  I hope she doesn't need my help finding a personal gift for her boyfriend because I feel useless for this part.


Another Week, Another Birth Control Bill

Apparently, the ex was just getting caught up with the birth control bills she has been sending to dad. The bill we received last week was for my adult stepchild for October.  The bill we received the other day was for November.  She's all caught up now.  Good for her.  Hope she's not holding her breath.

I expect by the second week of December, we'll have another $60 bill and I'll just have more paper for the HGUE bonfire in one year, six months, and 11 days (when my stepson graduates).  Silly me thought the ex would go away where it concerned contact with us regarding my adult stepdaughter.


Cat Came Back

Yesterday, the missing momma kitty launched herself at the top of our screen, meowing frantically to let us know she was home after a week and wanted to come inside. She doesn't appear hurt, was a little dirty, and definitely skinnier. It appears she isn't a very good hunter, I guess, unless she has been locked up without access to food all this time.

What a surprise! Somebody is coming to look at one of her babies tomorrow night so she is in time to say good-bye anyway.


1 Cat, 4 Cats, 2 Cats

>> Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I think I posted before about the stray cat I found riding up above my muffler system in my truck?  I knocked on neighbor's doors, put signs up, called vets and animal shelters and nobody claimed this little girl. I always had cats around as a child.  I love cats but around the time it became legal for me to drink, I developed a cat allergy and asthma. Sad for my kids who always wanted a cat - hoping we'd keep her. Then this stray ended up giving us three baby kittens.  I am allergic.

I live in the middle of rural nowhere.  Where corn is plenty and farms dot the landscape - farms that have cats running around constantly.  Nobody wanted kittens.  Perhaps part of it was I was a stickler that they were going to an indoor home with vet care and love.  Their mom was a wanderer but her kittens are so docile that other farm cats, or coyotes, would  hurt them.  I am sure I could've found a farmer who would toss them into their barn with the rest of their outdoor flea-bitten cats.  Nope, not these kittens.  Again, I contacted shelters, posted signs at vets and boards in town, craigslist, our local paper, Facebook.  You would be surprised at how many people only want long hair kittens of a specific color (people were seriously getting on my nerves).

One person who said they wanted all the kittens didn't ask any questions about them. Red flag.  Then they asked if I could drive them to them because they don't have a car.  Yeah, right.  I'm not a taxi service for somebody who can't afford vet care and may be a hoarder or worse.  Another was coming with her boyfriend and their three-year-old to look at after day...only to stop emailing.  Whatever.  We ended up finding a home for the little female kitten, leaving us with two males and their momma the SUV riding kitty. (You know how to tell the gender of a cat?  Look up pictures on the Internet and compare.  So dignified! Ha Ha!)

Last week, Karma the wonder SUV riding momma kitty went on her usual outdoor hunt and hasn't come back.  It is so unlike her.  She always comes back within a few hours and hangs on the back of our screen door until we open it to admit her roaming tabby striped self.  This is a good reminder on why I never have cats who go outside - they don't come back eventually.  She came to us as a stray already with a roaming heart and trying to keep her in and safe - ripped screens! Anyway, I drove through the neighborhood (looking in yards and to be honest, roadkill) and didn't see her.  I drove through the rural countryside on the other side of our house (looking into fields and to be honest, roadkill) and didn't see her.  I wake and check the back screen every morning and again in the afternoon...and again at night.  I checked under our deck and bushes to make sure she wasn't hurt and hiding. My husband, who claims to hate cats, went to the screen, looked out, and sighed.  He's worried about her and missing her as well (he would feed her cheese from my kitchen table when I wasn't looking or hold her when I'd walk out of the room - like if I didn't see him loving on Karma, he could still claim to hate cats the rest of the time). I can only assume - 1) somebody saw a sweet "stray" wandering and took her home (in which case if she is within her usual jaunt she'll be back the first opportunity she gets to go outside, 2) she is dead by car, by animal, or by mean bratty kid, or 3) she is hurt somewhere and in hiding, unable to make it home.

As much as I wanted new homes for the cats, including momma kitty, because of my allergies, this was not how I wanted to be down a cat! I am worried about little Karma kitty and hope she is warm somewhere and not in pain.  We are left with her two boys - who are already bigger than her! After losing Karma this past week, I'm not so keen on finding homes for her boys right now.  I had my doctor give me a better asthma medicine this week while we wait for a little brown tabby to come home and hang from our screen.

Karma and my daughter sleeping together (obviously cropped since I don't want my daughter's face on here).


Another Birth Control Bill - is the ex clueless or hoping?

>> Thursday, November 3, 2011

We received ANOTHER new bill for my adult stepdaughter's birth control from my husband's ex-girlfriend.  I am wondering how many more times the ex is going to send us the monthly birth control bill for my adult stepdaughter, who we have no legal obligation to pay support for, let alone pay for her birth control - $60 per month - before she gets a clue! 

Even if child support was still ordered paid on my stepdaughter, which it isn't, birth control would never be a legal obligation.  


In-Laws Taking Sides During Divorces

>> Friday, October 28, 2011

I am paging through the All You magazine looking for coupons when I come across a relationship Q & A about a daughter going through an amicable divorce and her parents hoping the son-in-law will still be a part of their lives. The parents wanted to know how they could let their son-in-law know they want him to be a part of their lives without betraying their daughter.

Betrayal. A word I think a lot of us are familiar with.

The magazine's answer -

Basically, as long as it is amicable, it isn't a betrayal of their daughter but if at some point the divorce turns ugly, "your loyalty should always be with your daughter."   Agree!!  Unless your adult, divorcing "child" is a lunatic who is harmful to the children, loyalty should be with your son/daughter.


I think I might hurl...

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The ex just left a message on my sister-in-law's facebook and called her "sister" - my husband and his ex were never married.  She tried...oh boy did she try to drag him kicking and screaming down the aisle 17+ years ago.  She's such an idiot.


Found a little natural relief for allergies

>> Monday, October 24, 2011

My cat and dust allergies are just driving me crazy right now.  I take an allergy pill everyday - that does nothing. I was having an allergy storm yesterday - running nose, coughing, airways closing so using my inhaler often, sneezing - - it just would not stop.  I don't NEED to sneeze several hundred times a day.  I don't NEED to rub my nose raw with tissue.

I had bought Allergy Buster Nasal Spray (all natural spray for allergies) last week and took it out to try yesterday.  It's active ingredients are Capsicum Annuum, Eucalyptus and Urtica Dioica.  The initial spray is intense but wow are the results nice for several hours afterward.  It's non-drowsy and non-habit-forming.

Wanted to share this with other allergy sufferers.

Here is what it looks like:


Grounded!! Muahahahahaha!!

>> Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm downsizing my living room.  We have a small living room and HUGE entertainment center that holds our flat screen.  I need to look at tv mounts so I can move my entertainment center into the family room and put our television up off the floor to open up space.

Not that my kids will benefit from it just yet.  My two oldest are grounded from the television until further notice. I actually ground my kids. I think it's good for them when they deserve it. I'm an ogre that way.


Download YouTube Videos

I found a youtube downloader that is supposed to download YouTube videos to your computer in different formats (mp3, mpeg, HD, AAC, and FLV).  I've been wanting something like this to get videos off YouTube so I can put them on my kids' video game systems and phones.  Yeah!  Plus, it'll open up my Internet connection because my son is always on YouTube listening to his music.  Now he can watch and listen from his PSP or mp3 player.


15% Off Coupon Code for Lauren Klein Jewelry & Breast Cancer Research

>> Monday, October 17, 2011

Bling! Bling!

That's what my jewelry does.  I love jewelry.  It is what makes me girly.

Right now, Lauren Klein Jewelry is offering 15% off your entire order if you "like" the Lauren Klein Facebook page.  (Did you do it yet - - did you click and like it?  Go do it!)

In support of the 25th Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lauren Klein Jewelry will donate 10% of all sales during the month of October to breast cancer research (yeah for the girls, right?).  Hm, coupon code plus breast cancer research donation - great deal all around!

Because I just turned 40 yesterday (without tears by the way), I have to make my first mammogram appointment (I imagine THAT will bring me to tears), but hey, we have to do what we have to do.  How bad could it be after giving birth four times.  I'll get that done and then celebrate with something sparkly!


One Kitten Down, Two to Go

Ack! I'm so itchy!!!  Dry skin, eczema, hives from allergies and Keratosis Pilaris - I am a walking advertisement for terrible skin! I need to buy some bulk shea butter, roll around in it, and wrap myself up in saran wrap for the night.  Wouldn't that be attractive?  Not.

Oh well.  On the good news front, we finally found a home for one of the kittens (you know, the kittens I'm allergic to...ugh).  She went yesterday to a new home and they are naming her Raven.  That leaves her two brothers (who are actually cuter than she was - see picture - but they had the wrong equipment).  I think they have some Ragdoll in them - they lay in your arms like little ragdolls (the males do, the female was a nut), let you flip them around and hold them like babies.  Sad they have to go but my allergies would love it!

One thing that worries me is them being black and Halloween coming.  I don't want anybody wanting them for that reason.  I want them to want to love on them (the way I would if I could touch them for longer than a minute before having to run and wash my hands).


Made It Through 40 & Sweetest Day

I made it through my 40th birthday without a tear.  Yeah for me.  Dinner out (yeah for Peach Bellini's) and a shopping trip certainly helped keep any "turning 40 blues" away!

My stepdaughter sent me a "happy birthday" text. My stepson was the usual - nada.  From my kids, I received homemade cards and lots of birthday hugs.

Sweetest Day was nice too.  My husband bought me a chocolate bouquet (awesome!) and a suggestive card:)  Gotta love "suggestions" like that after almost 16 years of marriage, ha ha.


40 Years Old Today

>> Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today is my 40th birthday!  Yikes!  Happy Birthday to me!

What does 40 mean to me?

  • No more babies for one.  We are finished with procreating.  Between us, we have six kids, funds could not possibly get any tighter, and the risks for baby go up at my age. I'll enjoy buying personalized baby gifts for family and friends with babies, enjoy my baby-free time, and hope my kids hold off for many years with giving me grandkids.  
  • I am on the downhill now.  That is kind of depressing.  People tell me that 40 is the new 30.  Really?  I didn't have these lines on my face at 30, my stomach was tight, my joints didn't ache when I stood up, things didn't jiggle, and I hadn't been introduced to gravity yet.  
  • I need to pay more attention to my health.  I have for my thyroid disease but the rest - not so much.  I've not had a mammogram yet (and boy am I dreading that).  Squash!  Ouch!
  • Finally, we are about one year and seven months away from no more legal ties to the ex!  Woot! Woot!  Somebody better get to squashing some grapes because I am going to need cases of champagne for that party!


Our Insurance Billed for Ex's Psychiatrist Visit? Huh?

>> Monday, October 3, 2011

Argh!  I just checked online for our insurance medical claims and there is a medical claim for my stepdaughter's psychiatrist for HER MOTHER for over $100.  If the ex is seeing a psychiatrist - yeah for her.  She should've done that 15 years ago.  Our insurance shouldn't be getting billed for it though!  They were never married so it's not even remotely a possibility.  Geesh.

I'm assuming the provider made a mistake and billed our insurance, as they would for my stepdaughter, but it's just irritating to see this crap pop up and have to spend time getting it sorted out with the insurance company and provider. I think I'll just e-mail the ex and tell her that her psychiatrist bill, that we didn't even know she was seeing, is billing our insurance for her visit and let her take care of it with her mental health professional.  Yup, sounds like a plan to me.


Life Insurance

>> Friday, September 30, 2011

My husband has life insurance through his employer.  We also have it through our regular insurance company as well.  Our term insurance through our regular company changes in a week. If we keep it, it goes up to over $200/month.  Yikes!  That's just outrageous.  I guess its term is over and it's now time to convert it or pay the price of getting older.  It's not like we need high risk life insurance companies yet! I'm only turning 40!  I'm considering letting that policy go completely and just sticking with the employer policy, as long as we can take it with us if my husband ever changes employers.

I don't like this life insurance stuff.  It's so confusing!


I love couponing!!!

Today was a small, but good, coupon day!  I only spent $2.99 at Rite Aid and walked out of there with four full-size tubes of toothpaste (three of them the new Optic-White toothpaste), ice tea, and lipstick plus $8.69 in UP Rewards to use next week.  I spent $5.02 at Walgreens and walked out of there with four packs of UP2 Gum, two candy bars, and maxi pads, plus $7.00 in register rewards to use next week.  I loved walking out of there with more money (in UP rewards/register rewards) in my pocket to spend for next time than I actually spent in the store!

Usually, I buy a lot more than this but I didn't feel like doing a big shopping haul today.  Sometimes, I need a break.  Usually, I get a lot of cereals. juice, hair products, deodorants, body soap, laundry soap, etc.  Today was a small haul and with my supply of toothpastes building after today, I'll have a good donation to a women's crisis center soon!

I also need to save money for my daughter's band trip and the holidays.  I'm looking at Luminox navy seal watches for the husband. My daughter's band trip IS her Christmas present (and birthday) so that is one child down and five to go! Oy.


Ever wonder about DNA in your house?

>> Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The ex posted a link to a picture of her boss on my stepdaughter's Facebook today.  Her boss of 22 years looks like my stepson.  My husband and I talked about it years ago because as a child, I thought my stepson looked like her boss back then.  Guess what?  He still does as a teenager, in my opinion.  Coincidence?  I've always wondered.

Oh well, that's enough time spent on ex stuff today.  I have things to research (prices for a rheem heat pump being one of them) plus I need to YouTube a "how to" video on how to change the tub spout in the bathroom.  I figured I fixed the toilet by myself last month, changing out the spout in the tub should be easy too? I hope anyway.


What has the ex accused you of?

>> Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What are some truly pathetic things you have been accused of?

  • I've been accused of stealing my stepdaughter's black leggings when she was four years old. Seriously - I STOLE a pair of leggings?  Too pathetic.  The ex and her sister called to gripe and accuse me.  They had nothing better to do?  I had sent them back with my stepdaughter when she went to her mom's house clean and folded like I always did.  You know, that wicked stepmom doing her stepchildren's laundry and folding it neatly so it all went back to mom's house clean.  Then my stepdaughter wore them back to our house the next time she came over!  Hm, guess I didn't steal them.  Nope, no apology from the ex for that accusation (I didn't hold my breath waiting for one).
  • I've been accused of stealing my husband's manhood.  That one cracked me up!  I'm just a regular thief! I told her if she'd known what to do with his manhood to begin with, she wouldn't have lost it herself.  Yeah, I'm not nice when stupidity tries to cause problems in my family.
  • My husband was accused of stalking by the ex.  She said he sat outside her trailer and watched her because somebody told her they saw his car there - yeah, to pick up his kids!  I told her he didn't want her when he lived with her and that he and I were always together and she wasn't my type:)  That shut her up.  Give an uptight homophobe that line and she backs right off, lol. 
  • The ex tried to tell my hubby that I pushed their daughter when she was little (the same little girl who never did anything wrong as a little one and who was always sweet and loving...never laid a finger on either stepchild, never did and never will).  The ex did whatever she could to come between us. Her plan failed.

This is the same woman who, last year, sent her daughter to me to try to help her because she was having an emotional crisis.  Amazing what happens over the years.

Now I just wish she'd go away except for the few times a year we have to deal with her for my stepson.  These monthly bill sending sprees she has been on since my stepdaughter became an adult, that we aren't liable for, is getting old. She really needs to get a life.  It's been long enough.  Isn't 16 years long enough to stay hung up on the past and your ex?


ELLOS Jeans for Women, Men and Kids

Turning 40 doesn't have to mean drab and boring, right?  Not for me - I still have another 40 good years in me!!  Once I finish losing my weight, I plan on sporting some great fashions like those found at ELLOS.

I've been browsing the Ellos store online for men, women, and kids and I am loving the jeans!  They have such a great range of jeans for the whole family.  For myself, I do not want soccer mom kind of jeans. I want "I'm still a woman" jeans despite being a soccer mom, cheer mom, and dance mom.  ELLOS has them.

ELLOS also carries skirts, dresses, shorts, jackets, accessories (like gloves, jewelry and leg warmers), and some really pretty tops.  I've been online window shopping this pretty sleeveless top at ELLOS.  It can be casual sexy with one of the great pair of ELLOS jeans and boots or you can dress it up with a skirt.  Pretty, isn't it?

They also carry a men's line of clothing that includes jeans, shirts (polos, t-shirts, sweaters, cardigans), jackets, and accessories.  My son is the guy at school who dresses fashionably with the styled hair and clothes with the girls touching his hair.  ELLOS has some great jeans and sweaters to choose from for him for our cold winters.

ELLOS is not just for men and women, it's for the whole family.  Their kids' clothing line for boys and girls includes tops, jeans, trousers, skirts, jackets, shorts and accessories.  Aren't these just the cutest? I could picture my youngest in these adorable leggings.

Their boys jeans are fantastic too.  They offer loose, lined, Bermuda, fleece and combat pants to choose from. I just love shopping for my kids!  One personal favorite at ELLOS for boys' jeans -

Boys would love these jeans from Ellos!

ELLOS, founded in Sweden in 1947, is a trusted name in men, women and children's clothing.  They are the number one mail order brand in Sweden.  For my readers across the pond, Ellos delivers to the UK, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and BFPO Germany. They also have international sites in Sweden, France, Russia, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.  Check them out online.  It's so much fun to online window shop at Ellos - - and if you're like me, you will find plenty of fashions you will want for yourself and your family.


Testing From Phone

>> Monday, September 19, 2011

Just testing the blogger function from my phone! Testing the photo option too! Just ignore me.


Career Goals During High School

At what age do teenagers need to have a good idea of what they "think" they want to do, in terms of a career, and start planning it as far as what classes to take in high school and college?  My daughter is a freshman so she has a few years yet and I know my stepdaughter changed her career goals the last year of high school.  Many kids don't make up their mind until after high school, right?

My oldest used to want to be a vet, a nurse (though I can't see her shopping for nurse scrub sets at if the way she squealed when I cut my finger last week was any indication), an artist, a horse trainer, an architect, and now interior designer.  She is 14 - she has time to get it figured out.

As an adult, I would change my mind if we could afford it - I'd go to law school!  At the very least, I'd finish my paralegal degree but becoming an attorney would be my dream.


Child Wants What Stepkids Have

My ten-year-old is asking for a laptop for Christmas!  I can't believe she is talking about the latest laptops and wanting to put one on her list to Santa (she still sort of believes but I doubt that will be for much longer - - she is on the fence right now about Santa).  She saw my stepson and stepdaughter come over with their own laptops this summer, that they got for Christmas from their mom, and now she wants one too.  Yeah, that's not happening.  I hope she comes up with some smaller items on her list because Santa can't afford laptops this year (or next).  If she knew about Santa, I don't think she'd be asking for one.


Pregnancy and Vasectomies

How many valium does it take for a scaredy-cat man to get a vasectomy?  Anybody know?  Wondering what it will take to get hubby to get a little "work done", hee hee.

I've given birth to four of his children, lost a baby, and had one hysterical pregnancy.  I've done my part in the whole pregnancy area.  It's his turn now.  That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I took a pregnancy test this morning and was scared it was going to be positive.  I turn 40 in a few weeks and the risks involved for the baby with getting pregnant at my age, plus the whole starting over thing with no sleep and diapers...not ready to do that again.  I love my kids more than anything.  I love babies too.  However, despite the urge now and then for a baby, the cons far outweigh that real brief flare of wanting a baby in my arms again.  I'm good with holding somebody else's baby and giving them back when they start to cry.

The test was negative.


Homecoming Success

Homecoming was awesome for my freshman daughter!  She went with a group of friends but the boy she likes asked her to dance and they didn't stop for an hour.  He told her she was beautiful and asked her out to the movies.  He also told her he'd be honored if she'd wear his football jersey again this Friday on game day.  She was quite giddy telling me all about it when I picked her up from her homecoming dance.  I think she is well on her way to her first high school crush.

Yes, she obviously had a great time!


First Homecoming

>> Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tonight is my oldest daughter's first homecoming.  She's so excited.  I'll take her to get her hair put up later and then she has a homecoming dinner a senior invited her to from the marching band.  Afterwards, it'll be lots of pictures and then taking her to her dance (she is going with a group of dating yet).  Though the boy she likes will be there (he also gave her his football jersey to wear to school yesterday for their homecoming game which thrilled her).  Remember your high school days?  I do.

Last night, she marched in the band for their homecoming game and had a blast.  What a great game (we won).  After the game, the band marched off with everybody wearing their marching hats flipped backward and some of them dancing.  My daughter was wearing her friend's beret from the drum section (sure hope lice isn't a problem in high school right now...eek).

*fingers crossed* that the homecoming dance is without drama and is a blast for her. So far, she has good memories of her first homecoming activities...hope the dance is the same way for her.


Ex Not Advising Dad

>> Friday, September 16, 2011

The ex also sent us a bill for my stepson for glasses. The bill is dated at the end of July though we just received it two days ago.  Guess what?  The ex never told my husband his son needed glasses. That whole "advise dad" stuff in the court order must not apply to her though sending bills to us still does apply.

Considering she allowed him to get $190 glasses, when our insurance would've fully covered plenty of other ones not out of pocket, we could fight this for unreasonable and unnecessary if we wanted to.  I've not gotten that far yet.  Still working on this BS with my adult stepdaughter and the bills the ex just sent us.  Fun times!


Silly Me!

>> Thursday, September 15, 2011

Silly me - -

I thought when my stepdaughter turned 18, it'd be over with in terms of having to deal with the ex where it concerned my stepdaughter.  Boy was I wrong!!  The ex is acting like she never turned 18 in terms of what she expects us to pay if all the bills she is sending us is any indication (though she is not sharing information about health, etc. like she would have to do if she were still legally obligated to).  Pfft.


One Month From 40

A month from tomorrow, I will turn 40 years old.

*falls  over*


Ex Scamming Us?

We received another bill from the ex for my adult stepdaughter for an eye appointment.

First, we aren't legally required to pay for this. SD is an adult.

Second, the bill was for $180.50 even though my husband has good eye insurance.  Never have we received a bill this high for my sd's eyes so I did a little research.  I'm waiting to hear back from the eye insurance company but from what I can tell from the bill the ex sent us and the online statement at our eye insurance company, the ex allowed my stepdaughter to get both new glasses and contacts at once (in the past, it's always been either/or, never both because insurance only covers one or the other in a year).  The ex billed us for the contacts (which weren't covered at all BECAUSE her new glasses that my stepdaughter got, per our insurer online, were covered by our insurance instead).  The ex didn't tell us about the glasses!  Scammer. Unreasonable and unnecessary mean anything?   That's assuming we were legally obligated to pay for any of this - which we are not.  SD should get a job (yeah, she quit her very part-time job awhile ago).

Does the ex think we're stupid and she could pull one over on us?  Does she think that now that my sd is an adult that the rules change?  The only rules that changed as far as I can see is that WE AREN'T LEGALLY REQUIRED TO PAY FOR ANY OF THIS.

The ex never talked to us about whether we'd be willing to pay for my sd's stuff after she turned 18. She's just assuming we are.  She really shouldn't assume anything.


Another $60 birth control bill!!!!!!

>> Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We received another $60 birth control bill in the mail today from the ex for my adult stepdaughter (we didn't pay the last one so not sure what she's thinking).  The ex has NEVER spoke one word to my husband about us paying for sd's birth control...she just sent a bill - again.

My stepdaughter knows there is a clinic in her county that will provide exams and birth control for little to nothing out of pocket.  The ex is waiting for ME, "current wife" to her ex-boyfriend (that's how the ex has referred to me anyway) to call them and get information for her. Why in the heck should "I" call the clinic for my ADULT stepdaughter when she lives down the road from the place and I am in a different state?  Why doesn't the ADULT who is having sex call?  Why doesn't the ex call - the one who lives in that county and is allowing underage boys to sleep over at her house?  My husband says it is easier for her to pay the $60 every month (and send them to us) rather than make a phone call herself.  She probably doesn't want to talk to a stranger about *gasp* sexual activity her Catholic, adult daughter is having outside of marriage.  They have the addresses, hours, phone numbers, and info. the clinics provide - all they have to do is pick up the phone and set a time to go there around sd's schedule (which I don't know so I couldn't do it anyway). I firmly believe that sd is an adult and should be taking responsibility for making these arrangements anyway. Obviously both adults choose to wait until somebody else does it for them.

I've already looked up both counties' clinic information and provided it so my sd or the ex can do with it what they will.  This is their problem and yet they want stepmom to do everything for them. Heck, the boy who is sleeping with her can make a darn phone call too. This is stupid.  We aren't even involved in any of this and yet they want ME to do all the leg work for them.  Pfft.


Homecoming, Memorials, Turning 40

>> Saturday, September 10, 2011

Next weekend is my freshman daughter's first homecoming!  She and one other freshman were invited to a formal dinner by a senior in the school to attend before homecoming (catered by her family's restaurant I would imagine).  These two girls were the only freshman invited so my daughter got a thrill out of that.  This senior is a very nice girl and has been nice to my daughter, despite the age difference the last few years.  Then she'll attend her first homecoming with a group of her friends (no dating yet).  This weekend is dress shopping so she's very excited.

Next weekend is also the weekend of my grandmother's memorial that I am not going to attend.  I won't ask my daughter to give up her first homecoming to attend a memorial in another state for somebody she didn't know (I hadn't seen her in years - we had a falling out due to the very strained - antagonistic, angry - relationship I've had with my father (her son) from the time I was a child (total dysfunction in the family...rotten).  Anyway, my father tried to lay a guilt trip on me about not attending the memorial but after the childhood he gave me and the fact that he moved to the other side of the country from his own kids, grandkids and mother with my most recent stepmother (not one of the women he cheated on my mother with...this was three girlfriends later...or four, I don't know - lost count), pfft. I'm sure he knows where I think he should put his guilt trip!

No matter how old you get (and I'm staring at 40 next month), the family dysfunction never really goes away.

Speaking of 40 - I received a compliment last night.  I overheard one of my son's friends say, "That's your mom?  She looks like a teenager!"  hee hee  40 isn't looking too shabby to me at the moment! Maybe I won't cry as hard as I think I will.


Free Purina Puppy Training Pads

>> Friday, September 9, 2011

If you have a new puppy in your house, I wanted to share this rebate offer I am using.  If you buy the Purina Pet Gear Training Pads (20 count) at Wal-Mart ($6.94 at my Wal-Mart), there is a rebate available here that will reimburse you up to $8.00 so that makes these puppy training pads FREE after rebate!

Here's the actual wording for the rebate:

One (1) Purina® Pet Gear Training Pads 20 count carton at any Walmart Store between August 1, 2011 Thru October 31, 2011 to receive a rebate for the amount of the purchase up to $8.00, while supplies last.

Just thought I'd share!


Religion in Public School

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There is a 7th grade teacher who I don't get along with because he brings his religion to school with him (it's a public school and his religion isn't my kids' religion).  Anyway, my son has him this year and he hopefully learned to keep his mouth shut after my daughter's year with him because he didn't give his religious rules on the first day of school to the class like he did before.  Perhaps my whole "separate of church and aren't a private school" spiel to the principal worked?  Here I thought I was going to make my own funny t shirts to wear to parent-teacher conferences this year and now I don't have to. As long as he behaves, I'll behave.  I can behave.  Really.


No Time For Myself

School has been back in session for a week and I still haven't started my diet.  I was supposed to start their first day back at school but it was just too busy to plan meals, etc. when I was constantly on the go.  This week hasn't started off any better.  I really need to carve out some time for myself.

I have until mid-October to reach my goal and I think, if it goes as well as it did the last time I dieted, it should only take two weeks so I am not looking for diet pills that work yet but I better get myself in gear if I want to meet 40 happy with how I've aged.

I did get told a few days ago that some people thought I was in my early 30's. That's a good start considering 40 is six weeks away.  Now to get my body in line with how my face looks and maybe I won't cry so hard on my 40th birthday.


Memorial & Funeral or Homecoming?

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago in another state. There was drama over that in itself but I stayed out of it mostly, with the exception of talking to my sisters about it privately.  My uncle had his mom cremated and sent to his state for a memorial.  Her remains will come to the state I grew up in for another memorial in September and then burial. My grandmother had most of this planned (finances, where she wanted to be buried) and taken care of herself (good thing for funeral insurance).  Her kids picked the dates.  Making the arrangements and having it paid for, so who you leave behind doesn't have to, is such a good idea!

Anyway, the date my father planned the memorial in our home state is homecoming weekend for my high school daughter.  She is in the parade, a part of the homecoming football game and then, of course, the dance.  GRRRR!  Gee, how can I be in the state I grew up in for my grandmother's memorial and burial and at the same time be in our state for my daughter?  This stinks.


Out of the Mouths... Kid Stuff Humor

This morning was the second day of school for the new school year.  I gathered up book bags laying everywhere and piled all my kids' book bags by the stairs so they could grab them as they ran down and out the door.

My youngest, who couldn't find her book bag because it wasn't where she left it yelled at her oldest sister.

Oldest daughter responded to youngest daughter that I had moved them.

My youngest walked up to me and thanked me.

Oldest daughter was confused and said, "Huh?  You yell at me but thank mom?"

Youngest daughter said, "She's my mom."

I said, "Yeah, I gave birth to her."

Youngest daughter said, "Thank you mommy.  I wanted out."

Too cute!

Seeing how the hospital wasn't ready for her and she was almost born in the toilet (literally) and then was born on the bed as the doctor was scrambling for his gloves - she REALLY wanted out.


Budget for College Books

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For a brief moment, I thought my husband was dropping a bomb on me yesterday.  He started out saying, "We need to send * insert my stepdaughter's name here* money for her college books."  I knew we were going to contribute a little but wasn't expecting to pay all of it.  At a $65,000/year college, that would be so far outside our financial range, my stomach dropped.  My initial reaction was to get upset but I took a deep breath instead and asked him how much money he was thinking.  He asked me how much I was thinking and we were within $50 of each other and it is what we discussed in terms of her graduation present so no blowout.  Phew.

It's rough financially.  Our credit score is definitely wavering the last couple of years with the huge loss in hours.  In fact, it is that time of year again to check out our free credit score (and I'm dreading it).  We just can't risk our mortgage to pay thousands in college book fees; we have to keep a roof over our other childrens' heads too and put food on the table.  We've had discussions with our own four kids together about the necessity to work hard in school, get scholarships, save money at jobs when they can work, etc.  My stepkids weren't raised that way.  So as they become adults, when we thought it'd get easier, it's really not.  They still have huge expectations and we'll let them down.

Perhaps with student loans and such, my stepdaughter can be well on her way to the career she wants and establishing credit for herself.  It's too bad she didn't get a part-time job before now to start saving earlier.  It is what we expect of our own four kids together.  We have one budget that we have to maintain.  We don't keep separate budgets based on who mom is in our family.  It's very hard to raise six kids today but we manage.

I hope they all have the careers they want, however, like my husband and myself, our own four children will work very hard for their college education and have to work their way through college.  They will learn the value of a dollar, how to budget, and hopefully make good choices.  I think they'll appreciate more what they learn because honestly, I will be really surprised if my stepdaughter finishes this four-year, expensive college with the degree she is going for right now.  It is so far outside what she has ever wanted before (her boyfriend will be going into this field....that's when we started hearing she wanted to go into this field), I hope she's not wasting a whole lot of money.


Template Change

>> Saturday, August 20, 2011

I am thinking about changing the template on all my blogs.  Then I think about the work involved and put it off.  *smile*  I think I've had this one a couple years though so perhaps it is time to update it - new graphics, new colors, new layout.  We shall see.


Bill for Birth Control from Ex

>> Friday, August 19, 2011

The first birth control bill came in the mail the other day from the ex for my adult stepdaughter's birth control.  $60 a month.  Dad had sent his daughter the information for the health clinic in her area.  Guess she's not using it.

I was wondering why the ex finally paid up the year's worth of insurance dues she owed us.  Now I know.  She wants dad to pay for their adult kid's birth control.  Pfft.


GPS Units for Christmas

My husband's parents brought me their old gps unit to see if I could get it updated for them.  It stopped working and is requiring an update but the update has to be bought. Seems to me that buying a new gps unit would be the smarter choice.  My ex brother-in-law knows cheap trucker gps (he's a truck driver) but I don't know gps units. I just use my cell phone, which my in-laws will not use except for an emergency phone they use only for an occasional phone call. Any ideas on good little gps units as a christmas gift?


Who uses a tablet PC?

Who uses a tablet PC?  My oldest is starting to make a little noise about having one but I don't know a Eee Pad Asus from a hole in my head.  Desktops and laptops?  Yup, I can find my way around those.  I am usually up on technology but I guess with money so tight the last couple years, haven't wanted to torture myself by looking around.  Is a tablet PC just like a computer?  Does it require any extra expense to run every month?  What are the pros and cons?

I figure she'll have to babysit for quite awhile to save up for one if she's expecting to have one.


Oldest Starting High School

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I dropped my oldest off at freshman orientation this morning at the high school.  I can't believe my first born is starting high school already.  What I can't believe even more - - that I'm old enough to have a freshman high school kid!!  hee hee



>> Saturday, August 13, 2011

I am a little less than $10 away from reaching my AdSense minimum for payout.  Ack.  When I get this close, I get antsy about reaching it, lol.  Does anybody use AdSense or have any advice on how to increase earnings a little faster using it?


Anybody know how to invest?

My brother is a whiz at investing and he always seems to have money.  I'm not but I want to learn.  I bought a bunch of penny stock years ago and didn't know what to do with it after I bought it!  I had no clue what I was doing.  I wasted that investment.

I just bought a book on investing (a "simple" type book so the big words don't throw me off, ha ha). With the problems in the economy right now and on the market, I want to find stocks that I won't lose big on.  I am thinking medical might not be a bad investment - - always needed, always improving.  I am going to research the best medical penny stocks and see what I come up with.

It'd just be nice to have a little extra money to play with.  I knew when I married 15 years ago, money would be tight.  Thinking about it and living it are entirely different things though.

Anybody have any good investing tips on how to get started? I really have no clue what I'm doing.


Identity Theft

>> Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is one of those subjects you think will never happen to you.  I did.  Then two years ago, my bank card number was stolen and used to buy Coach purses, hotels, and taxi service in the UK and a charitable donation in the United States (making themselves feel better for draining my account I guess).  It was stressful, aggravating, and beyond maddening to have no money left.  I became real friendly with my bank at that point...spent a lot of time there getting things figured out.

I never thought about identity theft protection prior to that.  I didn't leave my credit cards laying out; they weren't physically stolen.  I thought I had to be careless for identity fraud to happen to me.  Then my bank debit card was used to provide a bit of fun for somebody else.  It was enough to make me cry.  We have six kids - we couldn't afford to have our money tied up in an identity fraud investigation!

If you're worried about it happening to you, there is a company called IdentityHawk that can help stop fraud before you become a victim of it.  In this economy, who can afford to have their identity stolen and credit rating affected? Identity fraud can happen to you.  It happened to this small-town soccer mom!


Inexpensive Vacations?

I've been thinking about inexpensive ways to have a family vacation.  Other than the one trip to my stepkids' state for her graduation, we couldn't afford to go anywhere else.  It was kind of a bummer.  I miss the Smoky Mountains! My sister picked up an uber inexpensive RV they got lucky and came across.  Does anybody know if motorhome repair and maintenance is similar to a car?  If we didn't have hotel costs and kennel fees to worry about, we'd be able to go on vacation more often.

My grandmother passed away a couple weeks ago and her memorial is in mid-September.  We can't afford to go to it (and if we also falls during homecoming weekend - game, parade, dance and my freshman daughter would be a part of all three).  It is in another state and after our trip to the stepkids' state, two visits from them this summer, and a visit from my mother a couple weeks ago, our funds are totally depleted. We really need a more cost-effective way to travel.


Weekend With Stepkids Went GREAT!!

My stepkids have come and gone.  They unexpectedly wanted to come in for a long weekend which was a surprise, but it went well.  My husband was himself this time.  My stepson wasn't grabbing my much loved guitar to play and bang into things.  When a PG-13 movie was going in, hubby sent the little ones out of that room to do something else.  He didn't exclude me from anything or do anything against the rules we have for our own kids.  We had a lot of fun.  This is the way it was supposed to be the last time and wasn't.

We even had a water balloon fight.  For $2.50, I bought a couple hundred water balloons and we had a blast! Hubby and my stepdaughter soaked me.  I got them both back with balloons on the head.  The kids took turns getting everybody with the hose in between filling balloons. We chased my stepson across our property, onto the neighbors and to the next road with water balloons. I was the only one who actually got him and then, it was only the bottom of his shorts so he won the water balloon fights.  I paid for it the next day - what was I thinking running that fast and far when running isn't something I've done in years. I hurt for three days after but it was fun.

Nothing was discussed about my stepdaughter's college books that I am aware of.  I don't know where she got the idea that we could afford to help her pay for her college books - - must've been a conversation she had with her dad because it wasn't with me.  He doesn't know either (she mentioned it to him and he never said yes or no - silence gives consent I guess) but I guess we'll see if she sends us any bills.  We'll tackle that issue if money is requested.  It's too bad it's not as easy as it is with our six-year-old - - find some scholastic coupons and buy inexpensive books! LOL.

They've gone back to their mom's house and I am getting our own kids ready for school to start in a week.  I'm in massive money saving mode to afford clothes and supplies for our four kids. Without the work hours, it's a stretch but I'm finding great deals and using coupons for all that I can.  The other day, I found our middle daughter a pair of Nike high tops for $15 (regularly in the $60's).  That's less than I'd pay at Payless so I grabbed them for her.  My freshman daughter and middle school son will need the most since they don't get hand-me-downs and being older, they don't want Walmart stuff anymore (can't blame them but oy the pocketbook is groaning).

I loved having the summer with them but am excited about the start of the school year too!  I am also very happy that this time, we had a good time with my stepkids and were "together" as parents instead of tense and not talking.


Math Help for Kids

>> Friday, August 5, 2011

I have just ordered all the Danica Kellar math books for my kids for math this year.  With my junior high son in an advanced math class and my high school daughter a year ahead in math as well, with a mom who SUCKS at math, I am going to need all the help I can get.  Last year, I helped my son on a worksheet and he got all of them wrong.  Boy I was a lot of help, eh?  I don't want a repeat of that again!  So I ordered these:

Here's to hoping I do better this year if they need help.  Since they are both a year ahead in math than their grade levels, I think these books will help.  I've heard a lot of good things about Danica Kellar's math books.  My 5th grade daughter has even started reading one of them cover to cover!


Unexpected Parenting Time

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My stepkids are supposed to come back at the beginning of August sometime for another long weekend.  Ack.  Two long weekends are more expensive than one full week because the gas going to their state and back gets doubled (and if it was a full week, hubby would get his child support back that week but that's not happening now).  Hubby told me about this unexpected trip, I was surprised and questioned the affordability of it, and that was the end of that conversation. I honestly didn't think it was going to happen because we really can't afford two more round trips to their state and back two weeks before school starts.  It's happening. I guess we can make August's car payment in September...:(

I let hubby know we weren't going to be going somewhere every day entertaining them (like their last trip) because we are stretched financially.  Disneyland Dad is so NOT happening! We have school fees, school supplies, and clothes for four coming up in 3-1/2 weeks.  I can't believe how fast this summer flew!

If this next parenting time goes like last parenting time, I will SCREAM! Literally.


Spammed the Friend of the Court

>> Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I just spammed the Friend of the Court (and the ex).  Oops.

My Yahoo mail was hacked yesterday.  Emails were sent to everybody in the my address book with a link.  These emails didn't show up in my sent mail though (?).  Weird.  The ex got three of them (she let me know, asking me if my computer had a virus).  I'm not sure how many the Friend of Court received, but I know for sure they received at least one because I got a vacation automatic reply from the person it was sent to (oops).

I changed my Yahoo password and it seems to be fixed now.  Thankfully!


Extreme Coupon Anyone?

>> Friday, July 15, 2011

Who coupons?  I've tried it in the past but never stuck to it (and no, I haven't seen that Extreme Coupon show on television that everybody is talking about).  Within the last few weeks, I've done some research online along with coupon cutting and printing and gave it another go with the new information I've learned (about stacking coupons, buying when on sale).  I don't want a year's worth of stockpile in my basement and if I get more than a small supply of extra things for little to nothing spent, they'll get donated to the retirement home up the road or a shelter.  However, knowing I'm not going to run out of toilet paper, shampoo or toothpaste with all these kids is a bonus.  I have to admit that walking out of CVS with several bags of stuff with only a few bucks out of my pocket felt good too!

I'm not ready to take my coupon binder into the grocery store yet (probably because of the whole Extreme Coupon craze where I've heard of people walking out with a hundred candy bars for nothing - it has to make sense to me instead of embarrass me or be bad for my family)...but maybe eventually I'll hit Kroger with my binder. I also won't steal coupons like some Extreme Couponers do, dumpster dive, or clear shelves of inventory.  I want my dignity left, a small supply of necessities, and some money saved.  Yeah me!

A coupon person recommended Ebates the other day on her blog and I used it to sign up for a subscription for All You magazine (they have good coupons every month inside).  I got the subscription, a $10 credit on the magazine, plus a $5.19 rebate that showed up today in my account.  With six kids, four dogs, four cats, two horses, and a child support bill, saving money is just fine with me.  I just won't take it to the extreme though.


Kids are gone...marriage damage?

>> Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The kids have come and gone.  I question the future of my marriage - will it make it through until our own kids become adults?  Will I want to remain married after they're grown?  Right now, I'm too livid to know the answer to that.  It's not even the kids.  They're being kids who just do what they're allowed to get away with!  I'm thoroughly disgusted with my husband's parenting after this.  He became somebody totally different and I can't say I liked this new him much.

What bugged me?  Disneyland Dad Syndrome?  Yeah, that's about it. Here are a few things that happened...who could know that so much crap could happen in so little time.

He put on a DVD that his daughter had said was really good (it was a scary flick, rated R) and allowed ALL the kids - his and ours - to watch it (down to the six-year-old).  We NEVER allow our young kids to watch these types of movies.  We even watch PG-13 movies FIRST before allowing any of the kids, including our 12-year-old and 14-year-old, to watch them.  When we want to watch PG-13 or R rated movies, we send them from the room or watch them after they go to bed.  Hubby being "cool dad" allowed all six kids to watch while I was editing computer videos and I was left with the fallout with my scared kids.  My ten-year-old scared, my six-year-old crying her eyes out.  My oldest two were ok, but the youngest two - grrrr!!  Then my husband comes into the bedroom wondering what is going on when he finds our two youngest scared and crying in our bed.  Really?  Are ya dense?

Then the swearing!  After all the issues that we have had to deal with on my stepson's vulgar mouth on facebook where his siblings can see it (I contacted the ex about it), my husband was swearing it up being "cool".  Parents swear sometimes.  It happens. I do it when I slam a finger in a drawer, etc.  He did it repeatedly to be funny.  His kids found him hilarious.  I found it disgusting, insulting and irritating that he'd behave like that in front of our kids.  Not only did he sound stupid, his kids will now see ME as the sole person who had a problem with all my stepson's vulgarities on facebook because obviously, it's all ok with dad!  My stepdaughter did all the correcting with her brother, telling him to watch his mouth too.  Dad didn't do squat.

Dad built a bonfire in the backyard one night and was outside with some of the kids.  Fireworks started going off down the street from our house so he sent our oldest in to get his son to go watch them.  He didn't ask if I wanted to go with our youngest two who were inside with me.  They left.  We were excluded.  I found out yesterday he was joking about mooning me as they walked out of the driveway to go see those fireworks. Really?  Not only do we get excluded but do you now have the maturity level of your teenaged son?

I don't allow our kids to have energy drinks.  I think they're dangerous and send too many kids to the doctor and emergency room.  I've told my husband several times of stories I've heard of kids becoming ill from them.  He knows perfectly how I feel about them and it's not something we've ever bought for our kids.  We wouldn't. When he got back from picking up his kids last week, his son had a huge energy drink when he walked in our door.  Whatever, maybe his mother bought it for him so I let it pass.  She allows him to drink them daily.  Yesterday, on the way to spend the day in another city with all the kids, we stopped at a gas station.  He bought one lemonade for five kids to share and an energy drink for his son and handed it to him right in front of me.  Boy, if that didn't feel like a big "f you" right there.  Not only does his son get his own while the rest have to share, it's the drink I won't allow kids to have but sure, go ahead and drink it in front of them.  Later that day, my oldest was asking to drink one and why couldn't she drink them too.

My husband works 3rd shift.  I do 99% of the parenting, rule setting and discipline in our house.  This past weekend just made my 'almost single parent status because of his work schedule' harder. Thanks a lot.

Before going to see fireworks, we met a friend at McD's with her kids.  My stepdaughter bought my daughter a Frappe (we don't give our kids coffee - - don't want them getting into the caffeine habit and that is something they can decide to do when they're a little older) and then my daughter was wondering why she was buzzing and feeling sick at the fireworks.  I told her it was from the Frappe and hubby said no, it wasn't.  Yes, they have three times the caffeine than a can of pepsi and she's not used to it.  Like the food wasn't bad enough.  Nobody asked me if she could have it.  Hubby took that upon himself or his daughter did and he didn't bother contradicting her.  See, if I'd been sitting with him, maybe I would've had some input but he didn't leave me a seat to sit with them at McD's.  Excluded again.  Another big "f you"?  My daughter told me now she wants a Caramel Frappe every time.  Not happening.  Thanks a lot for the parenting help, dad!

Forward to the fireworks at a local festival.  We bought the two folding chairs we own and a couple blankets.  The chairs were for the adults and the blankets for all the kids.  I said that as I was getting things together.  We get there and get them set up and my stepson calls "dibs" on a chair and parks his behind in it.  I look at my husband who just looks at me back. Really?  You are not going to say anything? Another big "f you"? Well, back atcha.  My stepdaughter speaks up and tells her brother he can't call dibs on it.  I told my stepson that the chairs were for the adults and blankets for the kids and that I would be sitting there.  He just looked at me, I looked at hubby and hubby didn't say a word.  I left to look for a friend who was there with one of my kids, found her and returned to our area and stepson still had his butt parked.  I waited and nothing.  Finally, dad quietly said the chairs were for the women (the friend and me) and the rest would sit on the ground.  My stepson didn't budge from the chair.  I stood there and waited...and waited...and waited.  Our friend tried to pretend she wasn't seeing what she was seeing.  Finally, dad tells his son to sit on the blanket.  Gee, thanks.  Glad you finally got around to it.

My stepson also took MY expensive guitar off the wall to play it, knocking it on an amp that was on the stand while he was at it.  Nobody touches my guitars.  My husband wouldn't ever allow any of our kids to play my guitars (like I would never allow the kids to touch his guitars) without asking me first.  Not only did he see him take it down and knock it into an amp, he let him walk away with it into his bedroom.

I get that he doesn't see them often.  That's his own damn fault. He should've insisted instead of letting the ex and the kids dictate to him. There's a court order.  Use it.  Instead, he doesn't see them as often as they should be spending time together and instead of the same rules apply for all of our kids like they used to (within reason because obviously older gets get some additional privileges) when we saw them on a regular basis, he totally undermined our own rules for our kids and turned into Disneyland Dad.  He will go back on his 3rd shift schedule, working all night and sleeping all day, and I will be single parent mom to our own four kids and try to keep the boundaries and privileges we've always had for our own kids despite his total disregard for them, and me.

I don't know. There were just so many instances where he excluded, where he disregarded our normal everyday rules, where his behavior to be "cool" wasn't good for our own kids.  It felt like a slap in the face so many times.

I could handle an adjustment period, a few irritating things to overlook.  His cussing up a storm to be funny?  OK, he hasn't had his kids here in awhile and it'll take time to get the parenting groove back on instead of trying to be cool dad.  Problem is, cool white trash dad stuck around the entire time.  Cool dad's behavior made our own kids cry, disrespected me in front of them, snubbed me several times and a couple of our kids at times, and allowed some of our kids to do things they aren't allowed to do and now they want to know why I say they can't when dad let them and his own kids over the weekend.

At this point, I am glad they went back to their state and that has nothing to do with them.  If things kept building up, I'd have lost it.  My stepson did what he was allowed to get away with.  It has everything to do with how dad behaved.  He turned into white trash disney dad and he's lucky I didn't turn into white trash jerry springer mom and throw all his stuff out the front door screaming like a banshee.

I have never felt so excluded, disrespected, trivialized, disregarded as a parent (not to his kids but to our own after his destruction of our own household rules/expectations).  When he excluded me from sitting with them at dinner, it literally felt like a physical slap.  I flinched.  I shopped, I cooked, I cleaned, made appointments for things to do, set up beds/linens and made sure to have favorite meals for his kids while they were here, gave him my more dependable car to use to get his kids there and back, etc.  Next time, I am thinking we'll trade states. When his kids come into town to see dad, our kids and I will head to their state and see my family.  I don't see myself ever wanting to do this again with him. I can't even look at my husband right now.  

We used to be united when his kids were with us.  We were a team.  We parented as a team.  Our marriage was important.  Before, he'd never intentionally hurt or disrespect.  Who was this guy?  There was such a huge divide between us this time.  It opened up the day they got here and the rip is still huge right now after they're back at their mom's.  Makes me wonder if we'll make it through the blended family minefield with a marriage at the end of it.


Stepkids Come Tomorrow (without the boyfriend:)

>> Thursday, June 30, 2011

My stepkids come tomorrow evening and stay until Tuesday evening.  I've shopped for a hungry teenage boy and I think my kitchen is ready for him!  My stepdaughter isn't a vegetarian anymore so I didn't need to shop a bit differently for her this time.  This time tomorrow, they'll be here.


Summer Visitation - Maybe - Sans the Boyfriend

>> Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My stepkids might be coming for a few days next month.  We had talked about it with my stepson when we were in their state a couple weeks ago but because my stepdaughter had a summer job and graduated high school, we didn't expect her to come.  She said she wants to come (she must've quit her job...huh, can't pay for birth control that way) but she wants to bring her high school boyfriend.  To sleep over.  For a week.  When he's a minor.  When we have our own four kids in the house.


Her mother allows it (sd even has pics of him in her bed on her facebook).  I'm not her mother. Thankfully, hubby and I were on the same page with the answer to the boyfriend coming too - NO!  

I'm curious to see if she'll come without the boyfriend.  


Worried About My Daughter

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We are being referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist and an immune specialist for my ten-year-old daughter.  She gets sick every few weeks - fevers, chills, vomiting, dizziness that lasts almost a week and then she has body aches all the time (in different places, not the same spot).  It's been going on since Fall.  She got dizzy yesterday and fell, hitting her head on the bathroom cabinet. It can't be viral going on this long!  Plus, she's not passing it to my other three kids so it doesn't seem to be anything contagious.

I'd prefer it be gastro-related (that does run in my side of the family with my sisters, dad, and uncle) rather than the "C" word.  I'm really worried about that.  These consistent illnesses just aren't normal.


Father's Day Remembered *falls over*

>> Monday, June 20, 2011

My stepkids remembered Father's Day this year.  I was glad to see that.  It really hurt my husband last year when they didn't bother to send him a text, email, letter, etc.  He received in the mail today a mug to where my stepdaughter will be going to college in the Fall.


Pictures of the Ex's Together: Yes or No?

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

Should mom and dad get pictures together with the kids without the other family members (new spouses, other kids)?  Does your answer make a difference if the divorce was a year ago or 20 years ago?  Does it make a difference if they were never married?

I'm curious to what everybody thinks.


Pay For My Birth Control

>> Saturday, June 18, 2011

All was quiet on the texting front since we got back from our trip to see my sd graduate.  There weren't any nasty texts these past six days (as opposed to the previous months of hostile texts).  Of course, we didn't get any "hi, how are ya" texts either but texts started coming in tonight for a reason - money.

My sd wants her dad to pay for half her birth control.  She said the ex is going to pay the other half.  It's the patch so she said it is a lot more expensive than the pill (she says she won't swallow a little pill).  

First, I am glad she wants to be responsible if she is going to have sex.  However, I have problems with this on different levels.

  • We already pay for her health insurance.  Her mother hasn't paid her share since last August.
  • She is an adult.  If she thinks she is old enough to have sex, she should be old enough to pay for her protection?
  • She won't work more than four hours a shift at her first job she's ever had (she's had it for a couple weeks now - unless she's quit and not told us).  It's not that she CAN'T work more than a few hours a few days a week, she just doesn't want to.  She said she'd quit her job if her boss scheduled her for more than that.  (Umm...might want to get a few more hours to pay for your birth control?)
  • Her boyfriend is a minor still in high school and I am SO not comfortable with paying for her birth control to sleep with a minor.
  • Shouldn't the boyfriend share some responsibility for this?
  • I don't believe in synthetic hormones unless absolutely necessary but if it's something she wants to do, as an adult, that's up to her (but financing it - that's up to us).
  • I'd never DREAM of asking my parents to pay for my birth control as an adult (heck, as a minor teenager either).  Never, ever, ever.
  • I don't understand the concept of having everything handed to you the way my stepkids do - cars, money, stereos, instruments, computers, etc. etc. etc. (it really is neverending).  I worked two jobs in high school (stepkids don't/won't have jobs in high school) and paid for my needs myself - clothing, birth control, lunches, car payments, dates, car insurance, inc.).  After I graduated, I immediately started working FULL-TIME (none of this 'if you schedule me for more than four hour shifts, I quit stuff' my sd is doing) while putting myself through college.  I didn't expect anybody to pay my way for anything.
  • She's not offering a penny of her own money for her own birth control.  
  • How long does she expect dad to pay for it?  Financially, I don't see anything changing for her for at least four years in terms of a career and she doesn't seem to want to work much at any other type of job and she's already threatened to quit her first job before the first week was up.   
  • Also, she only texts when it's to complain viciously about something or for money anymore.  She hasn't been to our home in over a year.  She had more important things to do than spend time with her family here. What makes it ok to hold your hand out for money when you want no part of us any other time?
My husband told me what she was texting about and I had a lot of questions - what is the birth control called, does she understand the possible side effects, why can't she swallow a pill versus the more expensive birth control, why can't she pay for them, etc.  My husband didn't know and threw his hands up with a "I don't know."  Well, if she expects you to pay for this, you have a right to ask these questions.  So he asked.  She didn't know the name of it.  What?  You are asking for money every month to pay for your birth control but you don't know the name of it?  Really?  

I gave my husband the link to my stepdaughter's county health department who provides family planning services on an income-based scale.  My gut says she will refuse to go to the health department (and the county they live in has some very expensive areas so it's not like she'd be going into the slums).  I guess we'll figure this out tomorrow - on Father's Day...a discussion about money...yeah.  At least this year, she'll have to contact her dad on Father's Day (to find out if he'll pay for this every month) - last year, she didn't bother contacting her dad at all on Father's Day.  


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