Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stepmommy issues

This time last year I was writing a lot about mother daughter issues, mostly my issues as a daughter/daughter in law.

It seems ironic that this year the issue would be about my issues as a stepmother.  Anytime now we should be getting the judge’s decision about custody.  Anytime now I could be more than tripling my time as a parent.

I recently told my best friend that I was scared either way.  I’m scared about the challenge of day to day parenting, something I never expected to do, and I’m also scared about losing.  Either way, the coming months are bound to be crazy.  I’ll either be trying to find my groove with the kids, or trying to deal with everyone’s grief at not getting joint custody.

The bio mom has intensified her attacks, I feel like every time I think she has reached the point of ultimate viciousness, she ups her game and hits even lower.  My best friend keeps reminding me that things can’t really get much worse than they are now, we can’t see the kids any less, and my BF is already paying the maximum in child support. 

I feel like lately all I have been doing is trying to shield everyone around me, and then I go to bed at night and worry about how I will get through it all.  That is when I remember my Nanny telling me that when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, just focus on your feet, and put one foot in front of the other.  Eventually, you’ll get there.

So I’m just focusing on the simple things, my new job, getting a Christmas tree for the kids, and trying to fit in all of the family parties.  This year I’m just gonna cross my fingers, let go, and hope for the best.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : What were you blogging about a year ago today? What has changed?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thank you Pinterest for making me look smart

I have a Pinterest bord on parenting / stepmom humour. This past weekend, however, I actually used this one

 On Friday night, I got up around midnight and as I always do, I checked on the kids while I was up.

When I looked in the boys' room, I was furious to find them with the TV on playing video games. They had actually woken up, turned on the TV, and muted it so we wouldn't hear and were playing. When I busted them they jumped about two feet, and turned everything off and went to bed without saying a word. We thought we had it covered by bringing their remote and Nintendo DS with us to bed, and making sure they were asleep before going to bed ourselves. They had outsmarted us, for the moment.

The next day I talked it over with my BF. What to do? The TV in their room is 40'', so too big to take it out. They had apparently found the buttons behind the TV so keeping the remote was useless, and there were just too many things hooked up to make taking anything out of the room an option.

Then it hit me, I looked at my board and thought, hey, it's worth a shot. That day I stopped by a dollar store and picked up a luggage lock and that night when we put them to bed, we unplugged the TV and put the lock through the plug. At first I don't think they quite understood what we were doing, but when we left the room we listened at the door. We couldn't help chuckling to ourselves when it dawned on them, without the key, they couldn't plug the TV in, and no TV, no games.

The next morning, the oldest asked why we did that, we told him that it was to make sure they couldn't get up and play video games in the middle of the night. He conceded that it was a pretty smart idea. I didn't tell him I saw it anywhere, we figure it will be better off if he just thinks we're that much smarter than them.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : You saw it on Pinterest…does it really work?


Mama’s Losin’ It

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Today is the day

There have been so many little moments that I felt like I was really becoming a parent, but I think today it really hit me.  Today I realized that I was a parent, no matter what happens in the future, even if one day I am not with my BF anymore, my life and my perspective is forever changed.

I can say with absolute certainty, that the past two weeks have been the hardest of my entire life.  From someone with a past of abuse and suicide attempts, that is saying a lot.  In the past two weeks, my BF went to court to fight for his kids, then we had the maddening waiting, then I got fired.  I have no job, and I have no idea what my life will look like tomorrow let alone next week.

More than once, I have sat and thought of myself ''why haven't I cracked?''.  Far less pressure has pushed me over the edge in the past. 

Last night, we had a hard decision to make, in a very delicate situation, with a lot on the line.  One false move and the effects on our family could be irreparable.  We have suspected for a while that something was happening to his youngest at their mom's, something that happened before and last night we got to a point where we had to act.  We waited until the boys were asleep and bundled her up to go to the emergency room.  My sister in law came over with her baby and sat with the sleeping boys.

We waited for the social workers, and her mom was called, I went home to wait and see.  That is the most maddening part, the fact that in the most serious situations, I can do nothing, I just have to wait and trust that everything will work out.  When they came back from the hospital, my SD came and snuggle in next to me in our bed and fell immediately asleep.

Later in the wee hours of the morning, their mom finally got her message and came over upset and my BF explained everything, well more like he angrily told her.  I said that everyone should just calm down and that she should come back the next day.  She left, and we attempted to sleep.  I went to bed thinking to myself, ''this is it, I'm gonna wake up and I'm not gonna be able to get out of bed''.  I don't know how I managed to fall asleep.
I woke up, got out of bed, and took care of the kids.  I made lunch and waited with my BF for the kids' mom to come over.  When she got here with her best friend the three of them went to talk to my SD.  When they came out, they were visibly shaken.  My SD told her mom what happened, and she looked terrible.  I told her that we will make it through this, and that we will put aside all of our differences and do what is right for the kids.  She thanked me and the three of them left for the police station to file the report.

After they left, I called a friend, and fellow step mom, to talk.  I told her how I don't know how I am dealing with this, and then it hit me.  I am dealing with this because I no longer have a choice.  I thought about the last time when I stopped myself before an attempt, it was the first time I asked for help, and it was because I had my family here, I thought about them, I had a responsibility to them.

This time I think something inside me realized that I can't even allow myself to get to that point, this time I have a spouse and kids.  I am more scared than ever before, I have more to lose than ever before, and apparently I am stronger than ever before.

Today I understand what it means to truly be a parent and put your family first.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I am thankful

This week I am thankful for the people around me. 

I am thankful for my godson who was cool with me doing his birthday thing with him a week early because we were going to be in court on his actual birthday.

For my cousin who went shopping with me to get my mind off everything for just a few hours.

For the friend who is also a stepmom and who knows exactly what I was going through who helped me feel normal and let me vent my feelings without me having to try and explain why I felt that way.

For all the people who kept our spirits up telling us that we were doing the right thing and that i twill all work out.

For the guy at the court who smiled at me every time he walked past me sitting alone on my bench, he knew that it was my BF in there and would tell me not to worry he was doing fine.

For the judge, who stayed until 6pm to make sure he heard all of the case and that nothing was rushed, I know he was fair.

For my coworkers and boss who were very understanding with my absences and my general stressed out sate of mind.

For my BF, who helped me stay strong by being strong himself.

I am thankful for everyone around me who knows that waiting for the verdict is much more hellish on us than on them and not pestering me every day to know if the verdict is in.  They actually believe me that when I have news, they will.

I am even thankful for his ex, for leaving me the hell alone and not speaking to me this week, thereby allowing me to mostly pretend she doesn’t exist.

This week I am thankful to be so blessed as to have all of these people in my life.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop Something you’re thankful for this week.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, November 11, 2013

Waiting

I can’t think of anything more torturous for me than what I am feeling right now.

After almost a full day of changing judges and postponements, my BF has finally gone in to the courtroom for his custody hearing.  He was supposed to go in at 9 :15, it is now just past three, and I, being just the stepmom, am waiting on a hard wooden bench just outside the courtroom, waiting, not allowed in since they are not my kids.

He is trying to get shared custody, a process that he started in April, and a process that has been infuriatingly slow.   Not once since the very beginning of our relationship have I felt so much an outsider.  I have been there every step of the way, making phone calls for him, seeking out documentation, lawyer visits, the whole shebang, right up until this moment.  In this moment, I am set aside.

I doesn’t matter that my future is being decided on the other side of those double doors as much as everyone else in the room.  If he wins, I will go from being an every other weekend stepmom, to 50% of the time.  I will share in all the details and responsibilities that it entails, homework, packing lunches, school pickups, but I can’t share in this.  By supporting his decision, I have effectively committed myself to a relationship more than any other in my past, the next 15 years at least.  If he loses, I will share in his grief for the home and family that could have been.

No matter that I am as involved, I don’t get a say, I don’t even get to watch.  I get to sit here, alone, for the next few hours while the lawyers and my BF and his ex fight it out.  Waiting.

If I am honest with myself, I know that whatever happens I will adapt, that is not what worries me.  If we win, her anger at me will multiply and there will surely be even more attacks on me, and that is a burden I am willing to take on if it means I can shield the kids 50% of the time and offer them stability.  If we lose, I worry about how my BF and the kids will take it.  We have a couple of friends who lost their custody battle 5 years ago and now they are picking up the pieces of some very damaged teenagers. 

I think that is what worries me most.  If we lose, i twill reinforce the idea that she is all powerful and all deciding to the kids, and I worry they will stop standing up for themselves and give up.  I don’t want them to lose the confidence and empowerment we have worked so hard to instill in them.  I would hate for them to think that it’s not worth fighting for your family against someone like her.  I want them to see that if you fight together, as a family, you can win.


But it’s the waiting that is killing me, wondering if it’s going ok, if she’s lying, if the judge seems to believe her.  At this point I can do no more, it is up to the judge, and I know I should let go, let the proof speak for us.  All I can do is wait, hope, and who knows, maybe even pray a little.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On being Hated

I have been disliked in the past, a lot even.  This time is different, I have never been hated, reviled even, until now.  I have never had anyone look at me with such intensity that I knew if they could make my head explode, they would.

At first I thought I could make her like me, that I would be such a great stepmom to her kids that she would thank my BF for having found such a fine woman.  Oh how deluded I was.

When I finally came to my senses about that one, I thought we could at least settle into some sort of mutual respect.  That she would at least accept the contribution I was making and put down her weapons.

Then I thought that she at the very least wanted the best for her kids and would agree to a ceasefire for their sake.  She didn't have to like me , or even respect me, just pretend politeness in front of the kids.

I was wrong on all accounts.  It has gotten to the point that the kids aren't allowed to sit with their father if I am there, and there is no option of showing me any kind of affection in front of her.  the ironic thing is that the kid who insists on showing me affection in front of his mom, no matter her reaction, is the one who in general is the least affectionate.

I think that for the other kids, they know that I am understanding and that I don't hold it against them and they will get plenty of affection from me when she isn't around.  The middle child, he is very insecure and afraid of losing the people he loves, he did lose 4 stepdads in the past two years.  So I think for him showing me affection in front of his mom is his way of saying that he doesn't care what she says, he is not losing me too.

Me, I can honestly say that it was more surprising than anything.  I didn't expect her to be the type of person to let hate take over.  I refuse to hate her because I don't want to let her take up that much space in my life, and to let that kind of negativity into my heart.

What bothers me is that the kids are so torn.  They love me, but they are made to feel as though by loving me, they are betraying their mother.  She is so focused on hating me that she actually asked for a clause that the kids had to stop calling me mom in the custody agreement.  They have never called me anything but my given name, but in her mind, I am trying to usurp her.

I have taken so many steps back to avoid conflict with her that the only step back I have left is to leave all together, and I will not do that.

The custody hearing is on Monday, we have done all that we can, gotten all of the reports and testimonys we can.  All that is left is for my wonderful BF to tell his side on the witness stand, and their mom to tell hers, and then for a judge to decide.  All the while I'll be sitting in the hall outside the courtroom, waiting and trying not to go crazy.  I'm not allowed in the room you see, I'm just the stepmom.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I was wrong

I thought it would be different than everyone said, but it was worse.
I thought I could fix things, but I couldn’t.
I thought she would see the good I was doing and come around, but she didn’t.
I thought I could protect the kids, but I can’t.
I thought she couldn’t hurt me, but she found a way.
I didn’t think I would have to fight this hard, apparently I do.

Most importantly, I thought I wasn’t ready for all of this, but I know now that I am.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : Something you were wrong about

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Before I grew up

When I was little, I wanted to be a nun.  Go ahead, laugh, take your time.

I had some very catholic grandmothers, and I went to catholic school, mostly because it was the only way to go to French school.  Though my mom was not religious at all, she fully supported that I loved going to church.  I loved learning about the saints and reading the bible stories.  I used to beg to go to Sunday school, and my mom would always find someone to take me.

I also had a lot of faith in God, though I do suppose that since I really only had one notion of God, it was by default a catholic one.  I remember how peaceful it was to sit in mass, how much the repetition and ritual of it all was soothing compared to the chaos at home.  I said my prayers every night like a good little girl, and when I learned that in addition to the peacefulness of it all I would probably get to spend my life learning, well then it was settled.

Then when I was 12, that all changed.  When I was in 7th grade, we did our confirmation at school.  I started my first real crisis of faith.  If God loved me so much, why didn’t he help me with all that was going on at home?   I said my prayers, ad did my charity, helped others, and yet my suffering worsened.  About a week before my confirmation I told the priest that I didn’t feel comfortable going up in front of everyone and making a promise that I didn’t feel in my heart.  I loved God and believed in him, but I just wasn’t ready. His reply was that since it was a part of the school curriculum, I would receive a fail grade if I didn’t do it.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  He was telling me that it was preferable that I lie, that I just go through the motions, than wait a year or so and really mean it.  I was devastated.  My faith was shattered.  I stopped going to church except when it was mandatory.  My mom was supportive, she told me I would either find my way back to the church, or I would find God somewhere else.

That year I changed schools, and the new school did their confirmation in 8th grade.  I told my teacher that I had already done all of this, and asked if I could have extra work in English since it was the subject I needed improvement in.  I got the same reply as the priest the year before.  I would not have to perform the actual ceremony, but I still had to do the rest or else my grades would suffer.

That was the last nail in the coffin; I lost faith in the church.  I still believed in a higher power, but not a church that placed more importance on appearance than belief.  People who know me find the idea that I wanted to be a nun quite hilarious, especially seeing the person I’ve become.  I am far from the traditional idea of a nun, I’m known for being a rebel and non-conformist who questions authority.


And when I look at the church now, and what it’s become, I kinda feel sorry for them, they could have used some nuns like me, nuns who would modernise.  I look at the group of nuns in the US who protest for readily available contraception and I can’t help smiling to myself, that was probably the kind of nun I would have turned out to be.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshopSomething you wanted to be when you grew up


Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crest Pro Health

I have never admitted this publicly before, but I am not a oral hygiene enthusiast.  I’m very lucky in that I have a good set of teeth that don’t seem to need any special care, I don’t floss or go to the dentist regularly.  This is one behaviour that I am currently trying to change, mostly because I feel I should set a good example for the kids.  So when I saw this campaign come up I thought that it would be a great opportunity to change that.

The evening I got my kit, I tried it all out for the first time.  I’ve never been brand loyal about tooth products in the past, so I can’t even tell you what brands I was using before other that it was the brand on sale at the time I needed to buy stuff.

The toothbrush is interesting; it has these rubbery massager thingies that I am not yet sure how I feel about yet.  The toothpaste was not too strong, which I really like, and the mouthwash didn’t leave my mouth feeling dry after.


My mouth felt clean for sure, cleaner than with any other brand, that remains to be seen.  According to the info, the full results will be seen after four weeks, and since four weeks is usually how long they say it takes to form a new habit, I’ll be setting a good example in no time.

***Please note that I am a BzzAgent, which means that they send me new products to try and I give my honest opinions about it ***

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Brave

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and be brave.  At the time this meant that I would be an archeologist or an anthropologist, travelling the world to obscure and secluded places a la Indiana Jones.  I remember reading somewhere that courage was being scared but doing the right thing anyways, and I believed in that.

Then the teenaged years hit, and I no longer wanted to be brave, I wanted to forget, to not feel.  By my late teens, there was no more need to be brave; I was so self destructive that no one around me thought I would make it past 27.  Since the future and the unknown/uncontrollable is usually what scares me the most, not expecting to have a future made being brave easy.

Then in my early 20s I wizened up, moved here and started over.  After my first year here, the thing that scared me the most was normalcy.  I didn’t want to get sucked into what I saw as a mind numbingly boring life with a husband and 2.4 kids and a house in my teeny tiny hometown.  My family tried for years to stuff me into that mold, and I fought just as hard to do the exact opposite.  By this point I had realized and come to terms with the fact that I was pretty messed up and I decided not to impose my craziness on anyone else.  I would brave my life alone, independent, no man, no kids.

After a few years, a couple of relationships, a total breakdown,  a bunch of therapy and the was even more secure in my idea that I should be alone, and that it would be fine.  My definition of bravery had gone from grand adventure to facing a future alone, and I was ok with that idea.

Then I met my BF, and as I got more and more involved with him I encountered a fear more intense than any I have ever encountered before.  I realised that this relationship was different, whereas before I had loved someone and taken the risk of losing that person, this time I was quadrupling my risk, this time around I risked losing a family.  There was a turning point where I had to make a decision.  The more involved I got, the more I would have to lose and the less control I had over the future, and the more terrified I was.  Then I remembered that bravery was being scared and doing it anyways, and I dove in.  Almost immediately, another realization hit, I was headed head first into that mind numbing boring life I didn’t want.  That second fear I rationalized away, I told myself that I was only a weekend stepmom, and that I wouldn’t have the day to day boring parenting stuff to do.

I spent the next year and a half or so patting myself on the back, I had conquered my fear, and had triumphed, all would be well…or so I thought.

A few months back we got hit with a whole lotta crap, and we hit another crossroads.  It was starting to look more and more like the best thing for the kids, and us, was to ask for shared custody.  Then one day, SS1 came right out and asked for it.  My BF, being the wonderful guy he is put no pressure on me other than to say that he was seriously thinking about it, but that he would not, and could not, do it without me being 100% on board.

Just as I was finally hitting my stride with this whole step-parent thing, BAM! Right in the kisser.  The fear was even more intense than the last time; there were so many more questions, and doubts.  We discussed it over and over, the pros, the cons, the uncertainties.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready, or if I would be any good at the day to day stuff.  I knew the Ex would have a fit and would take out all of her rage on me.  Was I willing to give up the faint, yet still present possibility of a adventure filled life to devote myself to his kids for the next 14 or so years.  Anyone who knows me will tell you right off the bat that I am not a long term commitment person.  The longest I’ve had a job is 2.5 years, same for relationships.   Lucky for me, I have a lot of supportive people around me who whole heartedly believe that I will make a good parent, even if I’m not sure.

The truth is, I still don’t have any answers to any of those questions, and I am still terrified, which is why I’ve been hiding from the interwebs for the past while.  The only thing I do know, is that I have decided that I am willing to dive in even further, and that this family we have created is worth the fear.  We started proceedings for shared custody this summer, and have our court date for November.  This time the fear is not going away, or even lessening, but I am doing it anyways, and hoping it’s the right thing.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshopWrite a post inspired by the word: brave


Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lament of a Bra

The humble bra...such a small thing to take up such a big place in my life. 

From ages 10 to 13 they made me cry. I was a flat chested at the time and as girl after girl around me started to blossom I would look down and see nothing happen.  The boys even had a rhyme, not a very good one I admit, but it still hurt.  "Roses are red my watch is gold, you’ll never wear a bra cus you’ll have nothing to hold".  20 years later I can still hear them taunting me.  My mom tried to reassure me that all I had to do was look around me and the women in my family, surely I could see this would not be an issue for me.  I wanted to believe her but another thing I knew was that my family were notoriously early bloomers, not near as late as me.  I remember even wearing a bikini top under my shirt so that I would have something like the other girls when we all changed for gym. 

The summer was 13 I went to see my family in Quebec and my cousin went through her clothes like she did every year to give me what no longer fit.  I told her about my fears and she reassured me that it would all work out.  She then gave me a baby blue bra with a little pink bow in the middle she told me that she didn't need it anymore and that she was sure I would need it soon.  I remember thinking it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen.  It was not long that it was not long after that maybe too much that I actually started to use it. 

Then at 14 BAM! Everything happened at once.   It even happened so quickly that there were rumors that I had a boob job during the summer.  By age 16 I was a very full DD.  That was when I started having trouble buying bras.  The ones available either offered very little support or were too small.  Even finding a 34DD was hard, the stores usually started at 36 so I had an aunt who would take in the back for me.  Less than ideal, but the best option I had at the time.

Then about 6 years ago I gained weight, and the DD's didn't fit anymore.  The regular stores had 34 36 but stopped at DD and Plus size stores had bigger cup sizes but the bands started around 40, too big to even take in.  I started buying online.  I would pick a few try them out and if all was good buy more of the same model.  About 1 in 3 fit well enough to wear, the others I gave away because the shipping for returns made it more trouble than it was worth.

For the past six years I've been wearing "OK" fitting bras, none of them really fit and supported the way I wanted them to but it was better than nothing. 

A few months ago a miracle happened.  I was on a freebie site and got a coupon for $20 off $50 purchase at Addition Elle, a plus size chain.  I knew I couldn’t buy clothes there, but I figured they had shoes and accessories, so I may as well use the coupon.  I was walking around the store I saw magical thing, a big sign that said "now offered in 36".  I tried not to get my hopes up as I moved closer to be sure.  Then I saw it, a 36G bra.  I turned over to the sales lady and asked if she had any more.  She said I could have a fitting; she would bring me the options.  I went to the changing room and removed my much worn out bra as I waited for her to come back. 

She had six bras with her, SIX, and in colors and patterns.  Tears welled up in my eyes; it had been years since I had had a pretty bra.  They fit like a dream; I didn’t know which to choose.  She saw my dilemma and told me that since I was a new customer she could sign me up for the free store card and I would get more coupons by mail, and that that weekend they were doing a promotion that if you buy for over $50 they give you another coupon for $50 off a purchase of $100.  She suggested that I take one of every model and try them out for a month, and then come back with my rebates to get other colours for the ones I like.

I don't remember the last time I so badly wanted to hug a complete stranger.  I went home at a floating on air, excited to show off my new turquoise lace bra to my boyfriend who chuckled a bit about how happy I was over such a small thing.

Over the past few months I've been slowly rebuilding my bra wardrobe and getting rid of any that don’t fit right, slowly because even though they are a necessity, they are still crazy expensive.  I still marvel every day at the comfort of properly fitting bras and every time I put on a colourful or lacy one, it feels just like that first blue lace one with the pink bow that my cousin gave me almost 20 years ago.

I guess you could say that the right bra is a lot like the right shoe; it can change your whole outlook and make your entire day better.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshopWrite a post inspired by the word: bra

Monday, June 3, 2013

Morning surprises

This past monday we had the kids, biomom had a thing out of town and is just getting back this afternoon, so we offered to do the school run. Here are some things I have never had to say/do before that I found myself doing last night/this morning.

1-Arguing with someone about the necessity of wearing pants - "Yes you have to wear pants, but you can take them off when we get to your aunt's house if you want."

2-Convincing someone to change their underwear - "I don't care how you do things at your mom's, here we change our underwear every day"

3-Make lunches for someone other than myself.

4-Eagerly waiting for the kids to go to bed so we can watch our grown up movie

5-Getting ready with other people around - My BF has usually left for work by the time I wake up, so I am usually alone in the morning.

6-Getting fully dressed immediatly upon waking up - I usually get hair/makeup done in my underwear, see point 5

7-Smiling in the morning - I am not a morning person, and it usually takes me a while to feel human, see point 5

8-Saying, honestly and without a hint of sarcasm, "Yes honey, I'm very proud of you for not pooping in the bathtub, I'll be sure to tell mommy, she'll be so happy"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pinterest Win

I want to start off saying that I absolutely love it when things like this happen.  Here I was, just finished with a Pinterest inspired success, thinking that I really should write a blog post about it, and when I open up this week’s writing prompts, I see « Pinterest Inspired! Share something you pinned and actually tried. ».  Serendipity.

As you probably know if you are reading my posts, we area household comprised of 2 adults, 3 step kids, and 2 cats in a large 3 bedroom apartment.  By large I mean large for an apartment, not large enough to hold all of our stuff without a f***ton of creativity.  So I often turn to Pinterest for ideas on how to maximize space and attempt to keep us organized.

Then last weekend we took the kids to the local library’s annual book sale.  I usually don’t allow myself to go being a book addict and all (which is best saved for another post), but I want the kids to enjoy books and learning.  The books are sold by weight, so initially when the kids asked how many they could choose I said about 4-5 each.  We got there, grabbed a box, by which I mean my BF grabbed a box while we started to fill it up.

We told them that the plan was to grab all of the books they liked and that after we went around, we would sit down and sort out which ones we wanted to bring home.  So we did that, and when I started to look through their choices, I immediately knew I would have trouble.  They made fantastic choices, 75% were reference books, or books of science experiments and the like.  Just as I was starting to add up the daunting total in my head, a volunteer came by, and told us that he was in charge of choosing winners for the day and that he had chosen us.  He then handed us a certificate for 15 kilos of free books.

We weighed our box, 18 kilos, I told the kids that we could keep all of the books they had chosen (57 in all) and it cost us a grand total of 12$.  When we got home, reality hit, and we realized that we had nowhere to put the books.  I went to my computer and opened up my Pinterest board labeled Kids to see if I had pinned any ideas that would work.  I saw this: http://pinterest.com/pin/132504414008802258/

And this past long weekend, we built this :


My very first Pinterest win.


Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : Pinterest Inspired! Share something you pinned and actually tried.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sekhmet

I decided that this would be a good time to properly introduce my kitten of mass destruction, Sekhmet.  I wasn’t planning on getting her, she sort of decided for us.  I kind of touched on the story of how we acquired her in a previous post, but this is a great opportunity to present her to the unsuspecting world.

I have a cousin; she is pretty much my favorite cousin.  She is sweet natured and gentle and soft hearted, basically the opposite of me.  Seriously, she seems to have infinite patience, and if it weren’t for the fact that I have known her my whole life, I would be suspicious.  She is one of the very few people that I can honestly say I trust completely and who, when she says something critical I don’t get defensive because I know she wants the best for me.

Anyhow, there were these two stray cats that would come to her door every day and she would feed them, and when it was really cold in the winter she would let them into the basement for the night.  One was an all black tom, and the other was a brown tabby female.  The female was very friendly, and would purr like nobody’s business when you held or pet her.  Eventually, the female got pregnant, by the male, and when my cousin found out, she let her in to give birth in the basement.

She had a litter of 6 black and white kittens.  I was unemployed at the time and went over to visit; they were only a couple of days old.  From that day on, every time I would go over to my cousin’s, this one little kitten would come right over to me.  When I got my other cat, I had wanted a black female, but I ended up with a gray and white tom.  Here was this tiny black fur ball, with 7 toes on each paw and a purr that visibly shook her little body.

My godson started bugging me to bring the kitten home with me, I immediately started to delay and give the multitude of reasons why I couldn’t, the main one being that my other cat, who is almost 12, was a very solitary cat and got nasty and territorial whenever I had tried to bring another pet into the house.
Time went on, and all of the other kittens were spoken for, except this one.  Finally I caved and said I would try it out, but that I would bring it back if my other cat didn’t accept her.  I brought her home, and after much hissing and spitting, three days later he was playing with her and grooming her.

I had been had, but I had no idea how much she would change our household dynamic. 

I named her Sekhmet, after the Egyptian Goddess.  Sekhmet was a fierce lioness whose name means « the (one who is) powerful ».  She is clumsy, very vocal, and adorably stupid.  Though she spends most of her time running and playing, she is double her ideal weight.  She unintentionally destroys most things she comes into contact with, but will then come up to you, with her mother’s loud purr, and snuggle away all of your anger.  
Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - Introduce a pet


Mama’s Losin’ It

***UPDATE***



Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Berlin wall

I was almost 8, my mom called me to the living room and told me that I had to pay attention.  There was a wall in Germany that was coming down.  I knew almost nothing about Germany at the time, except that mu aunt was from there.  I knew even less about communism.

My mom told me to pay attention, that this was important and that I would be happy later that I could say that I had seen it.  I sat down cross legged on he floor and watched.  At first I didn’t understand how something so violent, so destructive, could be good.  I asked my mom about it and she explained about communism, and world war 2 etc.

Again, I was confused, communism sounded good to me in my child’s mind.  Everyone sharing, wasn’t that what the grown ups were always telling us to do.  My mom eventually gave up on trying to answer my questions and suggested we go to the library.  This was pre internet, so we headed to the encyclopedias.

This event sparked a life-long interest in history, politics, and world events for me.  From then on I would watch what was going on in the world, and become active whenever I could.  It sparked the journey of learning that would mold my ideals and beliefs and help to create the woman I am today.

This made me curious about other cultures, other religions and belief systems which mold and shape other people’s ideals, and affect how the world works, and evolves.  That day showed me that not all that seems peaceful is good, and not all violence is unnecessary.  That one man’s terrorist an be another’s freedom fighter, and that things are always more complex than they seem.

Today I must admit that my mom was right, I am glad that she made me sit down and watch that day, and you better believe that I will make current and world events a part of my stepchildren’s education whenever possible

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - How old were you? Share one of the first news stories you remember caring about


Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A year ago

A year ago this week on my blog, there was nothing.  A year ago we were living one of the hardest things one can as a family, the possibility of one of the children being abused, and not knowing by who.  We were meeting with children’s services, and generealy just trying to keep our s**t together.

A year ago I had hope, because the kids’ mom and us were acting as a unit, a team, in the best interests of the kids.  I had hoped that it would be a new beginning for us all.

Sadly, my hopes were dashed, and while everthing worked out last year, this year is different.  

A year later we are having to fight for my BF’s visitation with the kids, and with the constant threats on her part that she will make sure we never see them.  This year, instead of her asking for my help, she is hurling insults and threats at me.  It has been over two months since she said she no longer wanted to see me or hear from me, and I have respected that.  Now she says that she wants a court order to make sure I can’t have contact with the kids, that I would have to leave my home when they are there.

ven if I know I have done nothing wrong, the threat is there.  I wonder what vile thing she will say, what will she accuse me of in order to get her way.  I know she can’t simply say «  I don’t want my kids to see her » as a reason, so what will she say?  I worry constantly about what she says to the kids about me, and how she may be making them feel conflicted about their feelings.

A year has passed, and though the particuliar situation has changed, I am still just trying to go one daya t a time and keep my s**t together.  This time it is much harder to hope and have faith that everything will work out.  I keep trying to remember my Nanny’s words, « when things are so dark that you can’t see the light, you just look down at your feet and focus on each step, eventually you will reach the light. »

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - Look into your archives. What were you blogging about a year ago around this time? Are you still dealing with the same thing? Your thoughts?


Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My 6 favorite quotes



Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - My 6 favorite quotes

Mama’s Losin’ It


****UPDATE****
Just a few more :)
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A couch...or is it more than that?

The last time I faced a fear isn’t even over with, it’s in progress, and it's to the point I am breaking out in hives.  It is a fear that most people would say i stupid, or irrational.  My fear is a couch, though I guess you could say it’s not so much the couch as what it represents.

For the past 8 years, I have had the same couch.  It’s a nice couch, very comfortable, my cousin gave it to me when I got my first apartment here.  I have spent a lot of time with that couch, and even gotten many compliments on it.  When I met my boyfriend, the first time he came over he immediatly started laughing because he had the exact same one at home.  I remember joking that it meant we were meant to be. 

When we moved to the new apartment, we decided to bring my couch, since it was in better condition.  Another important thing to note is that though we have lived together for a year and a half, we have no common possessions.  Everything is either mine or his, it’s all very cut and dry.

Then a while back we started talking about how the next thing we would like to upgrade is the couch, because as nice and comfy as it it, it’s starting to show it’s age.  We weren’t actively shopping for a replacement, but we got an offer we couldn’t refuse.  A one year old Lazyboy, in almost new condition, still under store warrenty, but for a third of the price of new.  The couch in question was even in our current colours, no no redecorating.  We discussed it, and after some creative budgeting, we said yes.

The couch gets delivered today, and I’m not ashamed to say that I had a mini panick attack last night and became suddenly, irrationally attached to my old couch.  All it took was my BF asking what we were to do with the old couch when the new one came and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My couch would no longer be a « my couch », it would be an « our couch », half his.  It is a significant investment in our home, the first major one, as in over 50$.  For someone like me who had nothing but instability growing up, having owned the same large piece of furniture for almost a decade is in itself a big step.  I hadn’t realized it, but my couch represented a lot to me.  It was a symbol of my growing up, adulthood, reponsibility and stability. 

In just a few hours that symbol will be gone, replaced with another symbol.  A symbol of us, and our home, and our building a life together, and while that is stilla great symbol, of great things, it scares the bejeezuz out of me.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - The last time you faced a fear

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A love story the makes me happy.


It was summer 1943, a 17 year old girl went with her sister to go meet a young man that her parents thought suitable for her.  Being in a rural area, they were to go and sit with the boys on the porch at the boys’ home, dating the way we think of it didn’t exist.  The went by buggy, since the boys were one town over, and while they were to be chaperoned with the boys, for the buggy ride it was just the two girls.  The eldest was used to her independance, as she had been working for the family from a young age, either carrying homemade jams into town to sell, or helping out for women who had recently given birth.  A sort buggy ride was nothing new or daunting to her.

Meanwhile, two young men, aged 18 and 19 were making themselves as presentable as possible after a hard day of clearing forest by hand.  They washed away the sweat and dirt with the help of their mother and then sat on the porch to await the young ladies coming to meet them.  Meanwhile, another young man, only just 16, teased his brothers about their "wife shopping".  He did his usual quick wash up after a days’ work, and sat with his brothers.

They would later say it was instant, fireworks.  The 17 year old, fiercly independant girl, and the shy barely 16 year old boy.  In those days i twas almost unheard of for a girl to be older than her fiance, and it turned out to be quite the scandal since she had been intended for his eldest brother, but from that day on, they only had eyes for eachother and neither would budge.

Almost two years later, after a long courtship due to the groom being on the young side and a little cought unawares and unprepared, they were married in a triple ceremony.  Two sisters and a brother married two brothers and a sister.  The war was coming, and this was not a rich area, so no one thought it odd that they would all share the ceremony since the guest lists would be the same anyways.

For their time and their place, they were quite the odd couple to an outsider’s eyes.  He was a tall, stocky man, she a tiny wisp of a woman who only ever weighed 100lbs when she was pregnant.  She hated cooking, so she bought ready made food during the week, and he would cook the family dinners on the weekends when he was home.  During the week she wore pants, and drove a car, and took care of most aspects of her husband’s affaires.  It was widely known that it was he who was the soft touch.

They would share in 15 pregnancies, 11 births, and 9 children who survived to adulthood.  At the wedding of their second child, she was pregnant with the last.  When people would ask why she didn’t demand a second bedroom as most women did at the time, she would just smile, and say that her husband belonged in her bed.

Years later he would be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and as his health deteriorated, people would ask why she didn’t just place him in a home, she would just smile, and say that her husband belonged in her bed.

Eventually, he was so sick that he had no mobility whatsoever, and it was then that her children decided to force her to put him in a nursing home.  The home was a 20 minute drive away, but she went every day.

In 1995, he died, less than a year later it was her in the nursing home.  She gave up driving, shopping and most activities, the only thing she enjoyed anymore was visits from her family, where she would always repeat the family is what is most important in this world.

In 2009, when she was nearing the end, her mind started to wander, and often happens, and she would spend most of her time reliving other periods of her life.  They all included him.  Once, she asked for her blue shoes, when asked why, she replied that the blue shoes went with her blue dress and that she had to hurry and get ready because Nelson was on his way to take her dancing.  Almost 15 years after his death, he was still alive, and well, and young and handsome in her head.

This story makes me smile because it is the story of my grandparents.  They were far from perfect, but they had an amazing love and a true partnership.  No matter how jaded I became, I would imagine them young, her in her blue dress, dancing, and I would remember that though it is rare, that kind of love does exist.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - A love story the makes you happy

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How I met his kids


We had been dating for a couple of months, things were going well so far, and we had been keeping things on the down low because we wanted to see if things worked between us without adding in any extra variables.  I had always refused to date guys with kids before, and I knew that his relationship with his ex was complicated to say the least, but I had a good feeling about this one.  I was beyond freaked out though, I wasn’t sure I was up to the task of being a stepmom, or even if I wanted to be.

Then there came a point where we had to see how things would go with the kids.  As much as we were into each other, we know that my bond with the kids, or lack thereof, would be a deal breaker.  So we took the plunge.

We decided to start with the boys, as they were older, and his daughter was only 18 months old at the time.  We picked a nice neutral place, bowling.  He had told me a lot about them already, so I had an idea of what to expect.  Boy 1, the oldest, was friendly and outgoing and affectionate, Boy 2 was quiet and reserved, mostly due to his dysphasia and lack of verbal skills.  We met at the alley, played a few sets.  Boy 1 didn’t take long to warm to me, Boy 2 only gave me a few smiles, but my BF said he thought it went well, the kids liked me, and I liked them.

A couple of weeks later it was Easter, and I was invited to meet his family, as well as his daughter.  Everyone was there by the time I arrived.  I opened the door to my name being shrieked.  Boy 1 ran to me and gave me a great big hug.  My future MIL smiled, so far I was making a great first impression.  Then as I was taking off my shoes, Boy 2 calmly walked up to me and gave me a quick hug around my legs, I didn’t realize then how meaningful that was.  My MIL was shocked, but in a very pleasant way, she knew how rare it is for him to demonstrate physical affection, even if I didn’t at the time.

Next was the Girl, who proceeded to not say a word and give me the stink-eye all through brunch.  Even an Easter chocolate only got me a warily opened hand.  She was only 18 months old at the time, but her little personality was starting to show.  It was only late in the evening that I got a small smile from her.  I know now that it’s just the way she reacts to unfamiliarity, she basically shuts down, no sound, no expression of any kind.

I focused on the boys, and the in-laws that I had just met.  I remember it felt like a really stressful job interview, both sides trying to figure out whether or not I could one day fit into this family.  MIL1 was distant but polite, but the fact that I obviously made her son and grandsons happy encouraged her.

Fast forward to my BF’s next visitation weekend, he gets the kids in the car, put the key in the ignition, and immediately hears “Where’s Damsel?”, and that was it, I was in for the ride of my life.  Now I think of easter as our family's anniversary, the day our new family started.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - An Easter memory

Mama’s Losin’ It

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Someone I talked to today

I am not by nature a patient person, though I try to be as patient as possible with the kids.  This week at the new job really took its toll on my energy levels, and patience.  Today I had a bad stepmom moment that unexpectedly turned into a reassurance moment.  I was at the grocery store with SS1 and SD, and all morning I had been hearing “my mom does…this way” from SS1.  I have a rule that I never badmouth their mom in front of them, but the constant repetition of “at mom’s house” and the such really gets on my nerves.

We were in the cereal aisle when SS1 informed me that his mom went through all of the aisles when she does the groceries, and I replied “Am I your mom?” to which he said no, and I said “then can you stop bugging me with that!”.  As soon as the words left my mouth I felt horrible.  SS1 continued on his way as if nothing happened, but I just stood there wishing I could take back my words when I realised that there was a woman behind me, which of course compounded my guilt.  Not only was I a horrible stepmom, but a stranger was probably judging me about it too.

Then she smiled, chuckled, and said “I’ve been there.”  She went on to tell me that she had 3 step kids of her own and asked me if I had any children of my own.  I told her no and she said that she didn’t have any either.  I smiled and said that it gave me hope since she seemed to have made it out alive.  She looked at me knowingly and said that hers were grown now and they have a great relationship, and that I just needed to push through and do my best and everything will work out fine, and to not be shy about teaching them my values.  I thanked her and she smiled and continued on her way.

I went from feeling horrible to hopeful, and I hope that woman realized how her kindness and understanding helped another stepmom.  The more I reach out, the more I see that the support is out there and I am not as alone as I think, not even in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - Someone I talked to today
Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sooo tired


I started a new job this week, and as with all of the other times, I'm exhausted.  Too much information for my brain, and I have to put a lot of effort into staying awake until at least 8pm.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, and I know that this will get better as I get more and more used to the new place, but I always seem to forget how rough the first weeks are at a new place.  Lucky for me my BF has been picking up the slack with the household stuff and been generally very understanding.

Of course this is also the time that my family and friends start to realize that, hey, it's been a while and we should really get together.  I am realizing more and more that March is going to be another one of those months where I have to focus on just putting one step in front of the other and just push through until I regain my bearings.  It actually took me 6 days to return a friend's phone call.  Thankfully she knows me well enough to know right away that there must be something going on because that is so not like me. 

On my plate right now, and for the foreseeable future are one friend recently out of rehab, a sister-in-law/very good friend who is going to give birth any second now, a very needy mother, at least 3 families who want get togethers with us and the kids soon, a friend's birthday bash coming up that I promised ages ago to go to, and tax season.  All of this along with the new job and crazy babymomma.

As a very good friend once said "Stepmommy needs a cocktail!"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 random things I know how to do


First off let me say once again that I adore my cleaning lady.  Mostly because on days like today, when I’m feeling especially crummy and have no motivation, I look at my agenda and am happier, because no matter how crappy the day goes, I’ll be going home to a spotless house.  These days I am finding it really hard to be optimistic and motivated; today I learned that my layoff is being turned into a let-go. I’m waiting on news from a few interviews, but there is nothing concrete.  It’s hard to be back at square one.  I’m trying to focus on what I have rather than what I’m losing, but it’s easier said than done. 

With that said, change of topic.  Here are 10 random things I know how to do.

1.      Take off a belt using only my teeth (off of someone else of course, if I could take off my own with my teeth, that would be even more impressive lol)
2.      Properly apply vinyl designs to cars, windows and signs
3.      Knit
4.      Tie a cherry stem with my tongue (the tongue ring helps)
5.      Work a large format printer and laminating machine
6.      Say "will you sleep with me?" in 6 different languages (long story)
7.      Walk/Run in heels over 4 inches
8.      Make an incredible hummus
9.      Make network cables and plugs from scratch
10.  Basic car maintenance including changing tires.

And as an added bonus, here are some things that most people can do that I can’t
1.      Snap my fingers
2.      Wink with both eyes (I can only wink with my left)
3.      A cartwheel
4.      Drive stick (the car kind)
5.      Dive into a pool (I can jump in, and swim, but not dive)
6.      Touch my toes (I’ve never been able to, but I’m working on my flexibility, so hopefully this will change)

 Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - List 10 random things you know how to do
Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Burned


Lately it feels like all I’ve been doing is burning one way or another.

Burned with rage: At my BF’s ex and her constant manipulations and animosity.  I don’t fully understand why she hates me, and I wish she could understand the harm it is causing to everyone, herself included.

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Burned bridges: The Ex burned the bridge between us, and after my initial anger, I felt relief.  I could really step away from her for the first time in two years.

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.
Don Henley

Been burnt out: I’ve felt very disconnected from my spiritual self lately, which dramatically lowers my energy and patience levels.

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
Buddha

Burned up and been reborn:  My relationship.  For the first time my BF has stepped up, he has been the strong confident one this time, the optimist.  Through everything that has gone to crap the past week, he has really been there, and our relationship has changed for the better.  He reminded me that as a couple we are more than the sum of our parts, and that when we work together, we are stronger than anything.

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
Alexander Graham Bell

Now I have one more thing left to burn, the negative feelings I have left, so I can make room for the future.

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.
Kenji Miyazawa

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - Burned

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A guilt free recipe


My childhood comfort food was macaroni with a can of diced tomatoes.  Lately I have been trying to make better choices, especially when it comes to white bread products.  I love my bread, and pasta, and cake.  I stumbled on this recipe out of sheer laziness, but it is now my new comfort food, and it definitely fills you up. 

Quinoa and tomatoes (serves 2)
Ingredients
½ cup dry rinsed organic quinoa
½ cup water
1 793ml can dices tomatoes (I personally go for the low or no sodium option)

Directions
Place all ingredients in a rice cooker and stir.
Turn on rice cooker
Wait for rice cooker to « pop »
Eat yummy food

Calories – 240
Protein – 9.2g
Carbs – 47.6g
Fat – 3.3g

Inspired by Mama Kat’s pretty much world famous writing prompts - Let’s get healthy…share a guilt free meal you enjoy.

Mama’s Losin’ It