Monday, December 26, 2011

A New "Family" Member...

So, it seems there is a new "G" family member; Princess' Uncle EJB and his girlfriend SW had a baby boy the day before Santamas; first name is Liam, middle is James (same as the uncle's middle name), and last is (of course) the same as the uncle's last. Liam was due in early February, but due to some complications, came a little over a month early. He was just over 5lbs, and will be in the NICU a while, but will most likely be fine.

The astonishing part (although, after all these years of secrecy for no reason from that side of Princess' family, you'd think we'd be used to it by now) is that during any number of phone calls over the last 6 or 7 months (ok, we all know he rarely calls, but there have been - on average - one per month since he lost his p/t), her bio never shared with her that she was going to have a new cousin. Did he decide it didn't matter, since she never sees that side anyway? Or, did he think she wouldn't care? Or... what?

I don't know. I also don't know why he (*she* -- 'cuz you know it's bio's wife) thinks it's perfectly appropriate to send Princess a holiday card full of photos of his other family, but nothing else; for the second year in a row, all she got was a Christmas--oriented photo card... no note, no gifts, nothing. I suppose in the long run, these things only add to the ever-lengthening list of reasons why he's most likely never to get any parenting time with her. Because, as a general rule, REAL parents would share familial information with their children, not make them erased.

Santamas Recap

This year, we had three celebrations...

Round One: Sunday, December 18th, I brought the girls to Mimi's church to pick her up, then we drove to the club my mom belongs to. They were hosting/throwing an Xmas Brunch, and we had reservations for 1215p. After about an hour, we had all more than had our fill (definitely got our $30/person worth of food!), and headed up to Mimi's to unwrap some gifts. Highlights of that round -- Princess got books (one of which is all about Australia; their next adventure spot!) & some college money, Squeeks got a hand-made gloves/scarf/hat set & pillowcase and some new ornaments, and I got tickets for Storm Large's show in April (to see with Ace, of course).

Round Two: Saturday, December 24th, we invited Ace's sister & BIL up from Salem and GamerBoy down from the mountain. Everyone arrived between 1230p & 1p. We had a lovely ham dinner, fully prepared by Ace, and finished with lots of goodies for dessert (some made by me, some made by Ace, some bought). A small gift exchange, photos session, & lots of talking ensued soon after. We were happy to find that GamerBoy's next term is already scheduled, and he's really pushing himself to find a job (turning in roughly 15 applications per week); he's had interviews, but nothing's panned out yet. Everyone left around 530p, so the rest of the evening consisted of leftovers for dinner & playing games.

Round Three: Sunday, December 25th, both girls & Ace all slept 'til after 930a, so I spent a quiet morning with my mocha, my laptop, & my dogs... and wishing some friends & friends a Merry Santamas via text messages. Once everyone was up (& Ace was coffee'd), we got to opening the rest of the gifts. Every single gift this year was bought with CASH (or debit; no credit cards); so proud of that. Anyway, highlight gifts included: Ace got a new weather station system, I got a promise for an acrylic craft paint shaker (trust me, this is an awesome thing in my work world -- my arm's starting to hurt from all the bottle shaking I have to do) & Ace had my CND certificate professionally framed, Squeeks & Princess both got books, clothes, and lots of gift cards.

Ace & I spent the afternoon watching Stephen King's miniseries (recorded earlier in the day) "BAG OF BONES", based on his novel of the same name, but with a *lot* of updates. The girls, meanwhile, played on the computer, downloaded some music using their Amazon gift cards, and hung out together.

Today is another quiet day... I took the girls to Target this morning (not super-early though; those "early birds" are certifiably crazy -- NO deal is worth the lack of sleep). With their 50% off, plus using my Target card (an extra 5% off, plus $$ for Princess' school), I spent just under $60 on boxes, tissue, tins, cards, etc... prepping for next year! Princess got herself a new tank top & some new headphones, and Squeeks chose to wait to spend her gift cards for now.

Princess & Ace will get some one-on-one time this afternoon/evening while I drop Squeeks off at her friends' house, head up to work for a few hours, then pick her back up so we all can enjoy one more family dinner before she returns to her mother's tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Update

So, this weekend did not go as originally planned...

The biggest thing: T & his family was missing from my mom's Friday Feast. You see, his father-in-law was rushed to the hospital for (without going into detail; if you know my brother or sister-in-law, you should already know what's going on) some serious medical issues.

At first, it was just D, Firefly, & D's sister (LS). Then, it got more serious, so on Wednesday, T & Bug drove to where everyone else was & ended up staying for the weekend. Of course, that meant that we were four people short for our feast. That was the first thing.

Then, with them not at mom's for the weekend (as they usually do), Princess was a bit lost without her young cousins to hang out with. Instead of staying at Mimi's for the whole long weekend, she came back & forth with me.

Saturday morning, there was no Santa at Macy's... I suppose I could have taken Princess by herself, but a 12yo getting Santa photos by herself? A bit on the "ehhhh" side. So, we slept in instead, had a nice quiet morning, and picked up one of her friends instead.

Bug & Princess were also supposed to accompany Mimi to a ballet rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream (which Princess has seen in Ashland during the Shakespeare Festival -- the best way to see Shakespeare, if you ask me!). Princess & KP had a great time (but Princess still missed Bug), and got to decorate the gingerbread house (Princess made the dough, Mimi baked & frosting/glued the house together).

Squeeks was able to time her transit ride to coincide with the girls' return; leaving Mimi free to have dinner with DLW & JK. After I dropped KP off at her house, we went home to pick up some money & fudge, drop of Squeeks, and be picked up by my friend ShaM for our monthly BUNCO night out (good night; Princess & I both won $$!).

Sunday, Squeeks & Ace went to have Squeeks' "school" pics taken (holy crap; she's a beauty!) while Princess went with Mimi to prep & serve chili, etc at her church (reminder -- Ace & I do not believe in any god/deity, but we believe religion is a personal choice, so we encourage Princess to experience it & make her own, educated, decision).

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting up our SANTAmas (a future blog will explain my use of this word) decorations inside the house. With our new (skinnier/taller) tree, the house seems to not be as packed full of decor... or maybe it's just that we don't have the lights up yet. :)



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Some years, it's difficult to come up with anything to be thankful for. Some years, I have a LONG LIST. This year, I decided to blog it:

1. My friends, old & new.
2. My animals; two of which have health issues, but they're still here.
3. My home; paid off completely four years ago, and almost done being upgraded.
4. My career, the success I'm having with it, & the flexibility it gives me for home life.
5. My clients, old & new.
6. My SKs. Gamerboy is (slowly but surely) maturing into a responsible adult. Squeeks has such plans; we just continue to offer support.
7. My husband. We've been through some crap, I'll tell you. But, he's my rock, and he works very hard to make sure we're well taken care of. He's working today, even, because working today gives him Christmas off.
8. My daughter. In her 12 years of life (so far), she's had some terrible things happen to her; things no one should ever have to go through. In spite of everything, she is happy, healthy, and very loved; and she knows it.
9. Food on my table. There are a lot of people who go hungry. I am not one of them.
10. My health, and that of those around me.
11. My beautiful nieces, Bug & Firefly. Those two continue to amaze me. They are smart, and oh so sweet to each other, and adore their cousin!
12. My mother. She is way too nosey, smothers my daughter (& me) at times, & pisses me off on a regular basis... but (especially after her health scare a couple months ago) I realized recently that life without her in it would never be the same.
13. My parents. My dad & smom are wonderful people. They raised us to be self-sufficient, independent, loving, & responsible people. We all have become successful because of their gentle pushes during our childhood.
14. The rest of my family -- "adopted", married-in, &/or birthed. MWAH!
15. Facebook -- for helping me to find lost friends and family I didn't even know existed.

Now, eat, drink, and love on your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

There's a Difference Between DEfensive Driving & OFfensive Driving...

This post is specifically for those of you who think you don't have to abide by the rules & laws of the road: YOU DO! Those laws & rules are for EVERYONE, not just some of us... I know I'm not the only one to get pissed when they get cut off in traffic, and I know I'm not the only one who laughs my ass off when that same driver is seen pulled over by the cops just up the road. So, here are a few things to remember when driving (especially in inclement weather, but really... anytime):

1. Whether you want to turn or just change lanes, turn on your signal. If your signals don't work, it is perfectly acceptable (and legal) to use bicyclist's hand signals.
2. When you are merging from two lanes down to one, it should be "left car, right car, left car, right car..." Don't be rude & push your way in behind a car that was already let in.
3. When a driver allows you in front of them (regardless of if it was your turn or not), waving to them is the correct "thank you."
4. Drive the speed limit; a bit slower in bad weather, a bit faster in good weather (keeping up with traffic). If you MUST go slower, use the right lane; that's what it's for. If you MUST pass, use the left lane. Going a lot slower than moving traffic is not any safer than speeding; both can lead to accidents (which, btw, aren't "accidental" in my book; they're on purpose because of your stupidity).
5. Keep your distance. In good weather, the proper distance between cars is one car length per 10m/hr (that's 5-6 car lengths apart on the freeways, people!). In inclement weather (rainy, windy, snowy, icy), that distance should be more... and slow down! Your car's response time is not as fast as you think it is.
6. Make sure you have proper insurance, as well as a current driver's license. Failure to have these could lead to some serious consequences -- tickets, having your vehicle towed, losing/suspending your license & possibly jail.

Readers -- this is definitely not a complete list, but one off the top of my head after driving to & from work today, and watching the idiots act... well... like idiots on the road. Please feel free to comment, adding more to this list. I hope to share it on my FB wall. Thanks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Once More... With Feeling!

If you'll remember, back on the 1st of this month, I openly requested contact information of Princess' bio's side of the family, knowing full-well that Princess' stepmother reads all my blogs and hoping (for once) she would do the right thing, and share the information. Since that was ignored, I also sent a PM to Princess' bio via text, and two other family members on his side through Facebook.

Only ONE was answered; claiming not to have any. Whether *that* is true or not, this is my fifth, and final, request for any & all contact information for all members of the G-family. I know of AT LEAST five people who have moved, one that has a pregnant girlfriend, and one that has remarried. Here's the kicker... most of them LIVE IN TOWN! Screw you.

So, here it is: I will no longer be sending any card to any G-family member: "c/o K**** J******" in Aloha... If a G-family member wants Princess to send a Santamas card and maybe even a current photo, MG will give my current email address to them so that they may send their current contact information to me. If I don't have the current contact information for a person/family by the time I sent cards out, we will not send a card.

And, a note to every G-family who hasn't bothered to make one iota of an effort in the last four years: You can blame me all you want to, but I didn't cut off contact. I haven't moved. I haven't changed my phone numbers. I haven't chosen one (selfish) blood relative over another INNOCENT one. So screw you, too. You don't deserve to have her in your life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do I HAVE to?

Every year for the last few years, Princess hasn't really want to send her bio anything for his birthday. And, every year, about a week before, I always remind her that it's coming up. I ask if she wants to make a card or buy one from the store. Most of the time, she chooses to buy one.

She will spend time looking at the "dad birthday" cards, rejecting each & every one of them because they're almost all either sappy or about "what a great dad you are"... She barely even tolerates getting him a card; she's not about to lie with its message. So, she wanders to the "funny birthday" card section.

This year, I took her to Target (two days ago)... same scenario. She actually wanted to buy one that was a belated greeting, but I said no. And, since she cut it so close, I had her sign it, address it, & get it in the mailbox asap. He should get it today (his actual birthday). It's called Doing The Right Thing (something a lot of others have a problem doing).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Well Said, Dan...

Please head over to Dan Pearce's page, "Single Dad Laughing"... His post today hit spot-on with me. Mostly, because the so-called "Christians" I deal with fairly regularly are EXACTLY like this:

http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAdventuresOfDanAndNoah+%28SDL%29


Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

Today was the last event of Fall Soccer, 2011 -- the End Of Season Party. Once again, Princess & I were very ready to be done with the season... the three hours or more of practice every week, the cold & wet weather, the early games, etc. We both love it, but by the time November rolls around, we're definitely ready for the break.

Once again, I was Snack Parent; coordinating the snack & drink schedule for each game and making sure the parents didn't forget each week. I also was unofficial Medical Parent (haha); providing ice packs, heat packs, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, bandages, and more to any of the girls who needed them (some needed stuff more than once).

Season tally (technically unofficial): 5 wins, 2 ties, 4 losses. They could have won more but Coach D was more focused on working on different skills rather than just winning at all costs. Some of the other teams seemed to be encouraged to push, trip, & elbow our girls (most likely, all teams they played against), but that is dirty playing (and illegal within the sport); our girls learned to play outside of their comfort zone -- different positions, different side kicking, more/less aggressive based on their norm, etc...

Anyway, she's signed up for Spring Soccer again. Now, to figure out what, if anything, she'll do for Winter...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Post

My friend, Kim, posted this on my wall yesterday... I thought it was worth sharing:

"You can call him a Step-Dad all you want but the only thing step about him is he stepped up."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not Quite a Teen...

My baby girl turned 12 today... I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating: I don't feel older with my own birthdays; I feel older with hers. Every year, I look back at how she's grown over the past year... and every year, I watch her turn more & more into a wonderful person.

She's kind, funny, smart, beautiful... she loves small kids; taking opportunities to spend time with them & teach them. She loves her sister, Squeeks; even when they bicker, you can hear them laughing 10 seconds later. And, of course, she loves us - her parents; reminding Ace & I every day just how much.

Friday I had the day off work so I took the opportunity to get all the laundry done & do my nails in a birthday design. We also met up with my nephew; in town from Alabama for a long weekend. With my mom, we had dinner and a nice visit. I then drove him to his cousin's house. That man is about 50% his father (my eldest brother). The rest is kind, mature, and full of potential!

Saturday was Princess' last soccer game of this season. Her aunt & uncle (S&G) came to watch, and brought her some gifts (CD, money, gift card). Her bio & MKG -- older of the two half-sisters, also her favorite of the three -- came, but were late. They brought her some gifts; as usual, the clothing didn't fit, but the rest was obviously bought after checking her wish list.

We came home, dropped off her gear & those gifts, then we celebrated Princess's birthday by taking her & a couple of her friends to the coast. The girls had a blast, even though we were only there for one overnight. We walked the strip mall, played games, and of course went down to the beach. She also got a couple gifts from her friends (girly stuff like lotions & perfume, and a gift card). It was quite stormy, but that's just how we like it! We even had the Pig 'n Pancake crew sing/embarrass her!

We got back this afternoon and dropped her friends off at their homes, then came home & unloaded our stuff. Princess wanted to go out for dinner, then she got to unwrap her gifts from us. Since she now has her own room, we decided it was time for a new bedding set -- peace symbols using the turquoise & lavender color scheme her room already has. She also got a headphone adapter (so her Sony earbuds will work with her cell phone's jack), green piggy flip flops (from Angry Birds), an Amazon gift card (for more music), and some clothes.

Next weekend, we're planning on having a few more of her friends over here, since she couldn't have them all come to the beach. Should be fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Open Request

Since I am fully aware of my personal cyber-stalkers... I have a simple request directed at my daughter's bio-dad's family... I need addresses, phone numbers, & any other contact information you may have for all G family with the exception of R&C, and bio-dad.

I am aware of multiple family members who have moved, married, &/or added to their family(ies). Please email any/all info to me at my new gmail address asap; Princess will be sending out Santamas cards sometime this month, and she'd like to actually send them directly to the people who should be receiving them.

Thank you,
-me-

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Still Not Healed, & Pissed Off

This is officially my 100th post in this blog... I wanted to make it an important one, so I chose to blog about my daughter's abduction, once again. It's been four years since her biological father & stepmother took her from our home (I call it "kidnapping", the legal definition is "parental abduction"). Even with counseling, she's still not whole... and neither am I. Whole-ness will not come until trust is restored.

Since last year, I can easily count how many events of hers he's attended. Final count for last year's Fall soccer -- 2 games. Basketball season -- nothing. Spring soccer - nothing. School events, 5th grade -- 2 (a conference and a band concert). Fall soccer so far this year -- 2 games. School events, 6th grade -- 1 (a conference; she hasn't had anything else, yet, though). He's called, on average, about once a month. He didn't call at all last summer.

Not that she wants to talk to him on the phone, anyway... When he does call, if we're even home, she lets it go to voicemail & doesn't call him back. No, I don't make her. She's old enough now to make that decision for herself; she'll be 12yo soon. She's not, however, completely ready to tell him to his face how she feels, but has started a letter to him. No idea if that'll help the situation, but it will help her by allowing her to get her feelings out.

One thing I've been thinking about doing, too, is allowing him to email her. On the plus side - it would allow her to determine when she "talks" to him and what she shares. On the down side - it is impossible to guarantee that it is only him that she's "talking" to. Her stepmother has a horrible habit of using bd's email to communicate with me; what's to stop her from doing it with Princess? Nothing. Still thinking about this idea...

He hasn't made even one attempt to try to pay me back any of the money he owes me -- remember, it's six attorney's fees judgments (averaging $4000 each), plus accruing child support. The support, alone, is currently just under $8500. In the past year, I've gotten a grand total of $193 -- none of them paid willingly. Not sure what he thinks that's supposed to cover... Both he & his wife have also told his mother that he's paying me $100/month, like he's supposed to. Wonder what she'd say/think if I sent her a copy of the child support printout?

And now, probably for no other reason except that his wife is making him (guess her own three kids & whatever she does during the day doesn't keep her busy enough; she has to piss on my parade, too), he's started some crap about not being able to volunteer at Princess' school. Really? After all these years... that's his angle?

Well, guess what? She doesn't want him to!! But, before pitching a fit at the school district, did he even bother to ask HER how she felt about it? No. Once again, to them, it's not about doing what's best for Princess; it's about what THEY want and what is in THEIR best interests. Time & time again, they've proven that they only care about two things -- (1) getting under my skin, and (2) getting what they want, regardless of who it hurts.

It was their own selfishness that got him into this situation... and it will be complete selfLESSness that will get him out. All the crap his wife likes to say against me -- claiming Parental Alienation Syndrome, etc -- is just her pathetic attempt to make herself & him look like the innocent victims. PRINCESS is the only innocent victim, here.

So, I look forward to whatever the outcome of this latest stunt is... but they should consider themselves warned: I will protect my daughter from anything, and anyONE, out to harm her.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Just One Person's Opinion...

...but MY opinion is: Kaiser sucks. Seriously. I may have been born at one, but that was over 37 years ago; apparently, times have changed. Or, maybe it's just their treatment of the elderly (I mean no disrespect by the term "elderly", btw... for reference, I'm talking about people over the age of 60).

Two weeks ago, I was headed to my studio (about 40m drive from my house), when my cell rang. My mother was on the other end (she was supposed to be my first client) & told me that she "doesn't feel well", had a call into her doc, & would I mind just doing her nail appt at her house? I thought, "Crap... now SHE'S getting sick on me" (my daughter had just recovered from a mild fever & small cough), but said, "Sure. Let me stop by the salon & grab a few things."

Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of the salon and my phone rings again... "Never mind on the nail appointment; I need you to drive me straight to the doc's office." I still had another appointment later, so I had to grab some stuff from my studio, then I drove to mom's condo to pick her up.

I'd only been to her doc's once before, so in between the moans & groans of the pain she was obviously in (she said it was worse than labor pains & giving birth... but I don't actually know what that feels like since technically, I didn't "give birth" -- Princess was emergency C-section), she directed me to her doc's office. Apparently, the doc over the phone thought she possibly had appendicitis; she told mom to go straight to the emergency room if the pain got worse.

We got to the hospital, and I headed toward the area that says "Emergency Room" and "Urgent Care", dropped mom at the doors, and parked my car. I went in to find her getting her vitals taken by the UC guy, who then proceeded to tell me two things. (1) That "hospital" is actually not a hospital, but a "medical center"; they no longer have an ER, and (2) UC doesn't open 'til 2p, but he didn't mind taking her vitals & getting her up to her doc's office (two floors up) while I took care of her co-pay.

I then found her doc's office, where she was in so much pain, she was throwing up (Exorcist-style), but NO ONE would give her pain meds. They didn't know what was wrong (definitely NOT appendicitis), and were not equipped to find out. Someone asked me if I wanted to drive her to the ER (about 20 minutes away, btw) or have them call her an ambulance... um, duh? Ambulances are faster, right? HA!

Almost AN HOUR later, the ambulance arrived; the two techs obviously in no hurry (she's not dying, so they can take their time?!?!). They allowed me to ride with her, and gave her pain meds en-route. No lights, no sirens... We pulled in, they wheeled her to the ER desk, & handed the head nurse her info from her regular doc. She was given a room, and Mark (her nurse for the majority of the day) proceeded to take as good care of her as he could.

Over the course of the next seven hours (!!), they took a blood sample, a urine sample, and made her drink some special concoction to make her insides light up during the CT scan. She had been given doses of morphine, but they weren't very good at keeping up with it. Many hours went by in-between doses (morphine wears off very quickly, so she should have been given doses every couple of hours). She can't take a lot of stronger meds; they make her sick.

Having not planned on being in the ER for (a total of 10) hours, I had only grabbed my purse from my car, so I had my wallet/money, but not snacks & water I usually have on me on all times. By 245p, I was starving, my phone was dead, and mom's was down to 2 cells. I'd been keeping my siblings, husband, & daughter in the loop, along with a bunch of mom's friends.

While she was getting her CT scan, I decide to go to the gift shop to grab some "food" (bags of peanuts & a Snickers bar), which held me over until I got back to my car later that night (it's amazing how your body isn't hungry when you're stressed out). Since, at this point, we had no idea what was wrong, I didn't want to leave her alone for too long.

Making sure Princess was taken to practice, I just waited for the CT results. Mom & I also made a list of who else she wanted me to call, what needed to be canceled, and what stuff she needed me to bring her while she was recovering. They finally brought me a corded phone, so I could finish making all my calls. I also found out why mom wasn't getting her meds within a reasonable time frame... The head nurse NEVER ENTERED HER INTO THE SYSTEM!

At 630p, I called my husband and asked him to come up to the hospital (at that point, I'd be in the waiting room) to drive me back to my car, but to wait until after Princess' practice was done. He asked if I wanted him to grab food for me, but I said no. I just wanted to get back to my car, and get home. Then, they took mom into surgery.

Ace & Princess found me a little after 8p; we drove straight to the Med Center (argh), got my car, and went home. At 945p, I got a call from the head surgeon that mom's surgery went fine; she was in recovery for an hour or two, then would be in a medical observation room for the night. They were going to transfer her to a "regular" room the next morning. I sent update texts to everyone I could think of, asking some of them to pass along the info. By the time I got to bed, it was almost midnight.

The next morning, I sent a few more texts (one in response to my dad, who had texted his concern and asked about mom's health -- apparently, Spook had told him what was going on). Then, I get another call from the surgeon... she had a "bad reaction" to one of the meds they gave her during surgery so she was now in ICU for observation (um, you mean, one of the meds SHE TOLD YOU SHE HAS BAD REACTIONS TO?!?! That info apparently never made it into her chart!) for the day. Argh.

So, I texted/called that update to a bunch of family & friends, and headed in to work (exhausted both mentally & physically). I first stopped at her condo to pick up a few things for her, and her friend Linda met with me there. Linda was going to go visit (she could still have visitors) later that afternoon, and didn't mind taking it with her.

While I was taking care of one of my clients, one of my sisters texted to tell me she'd talked to mom, but thought I should go up to visit. Um, hello? I was in the ER with her for 12 HOURS the day before; she has plenty of friends to visit, & I would be going back (with Princess, along with T's family) on Thursday. I felt like saying (but didn't), "If you think she needs company so badly, YOU come up here!" (She lives in CA.)

Thursday, she'd had a second surgery to stitch her closed permanently. At this point, she was on colored liquids. She could be released when she could tolerate solid foods; as early as Saturday.

That afternoon, after Princess got done with an appointment, we all went up to visit. Since she was still in the ICU ('cuz they didn't have any regular rooms available) at this point, but wasn't critical, we figured they'd bend the rules (no children under age 12, masks & gowns, one at a time, etc), but when we got there, they told T "no kids under 12" (Princess looks a bit older than she is; she didn't have a problem). Bug threw a FIT! "I WANNA SEE GRAMMY!!"

Mom's nurse (down at the end of the hall, in her room) overheard, so as we came in, he said, "I'm gonna check with your mom's doc; I'm sure we can relax the rules about that." Doc said yes; the little ones got to visit, too. We stayed for about half hour, then went to have dinner. I then left Princess with T, and I went home.

Friday, I met up with M.E., who is "hosting" mom during her recovery process (she's also retired, and lives alone in a nice house in the hills of town). I made sure mom had clothes, shoes, etc for her stay (up to 6wks). She could have stayed in her own place, but she would have needed a round-the-clock nurse. Another alternative was a medical recovery center. I'm grateful M.E. was willing & able to do this for mom because with my own family & job, I couldn't have.

That morning was also T & D's weekend anniversary trip (one of a few trips mom was banned from going on while she recovers). T, Princess, D, the little ones, & mom's friend all went (missing mom, of course), but still had a reasonably good time. Princess saw two plays, got a backstage tour, and did some babysitting of her cousins.

When they returned Monday, we all met up at M.E.'s again. Mom was settled & healing. Wednesday, I returned to give her a "clean up" pedicure and found out that the resident surgeon had called to check on her (bonus points). When mom said her bandages were making her itch, the resident said, "Those were supposed to come off 48hrs after surgery!" (which, btw, would have been BEFORE she was released!).

Yesterday, Princess & I went up to visit. We took a short, slow walk with her down the hill to the end of the block then back up. She is still sore (as to be expected), can't go far without tiring, & can't really lift anything but after her follow up this Friday, the docs may decide she's well enough to return to her own condo.

So, dear readers, how many problems with Kaiser do *YOU* spot?!?!





Disclaimer -- the views of this blogger do not reflect the views of the patient. Mom said to tell you all she has "no qualms" about how she was treated there. (rolling my eyes)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BLING... It's For You

Two weeks ago, Princess finally broke Ace down; we got her a cell phone. Plus, we upgraded our current texting plan, too (we're grandfathered into the "unlimited data plan" as long s we stay with Verizon; which is great 'cuz I FB & email during breaks at work). The day we went to get Princess' & my passports renewed, Ace joined us. He ran a couple errands (new additions to our Halloween decor... lol), then asked us to join him at the Verizon store nearby.

He had been there about 30 minutes already and had chosen two cheap(er) slide phones for her to choose from. They were almost the same as far as features go (& both had a $50 rebate), but one was black & one was blue. She chose the blue one. We wanted: unlimited text, shared M2M, music, pics, and no data. Geoff (the store manager) upgraded our plan, and when all was said & done, ended up saving us $10/month (actually, probably more, since we get a discount on monthly service due to Ace's work). Her music & pics have to be down/uploaded to/from a computer (no data means no data transfer; including photos from phone to phone).

Then it was time to choose her number... which, for some reason, took three tries and another 45 minutes to go through (I thought computers were supposed to make our lives "easier"? Nope.). Since it took so long, Geoff gave us a free case (hot pink), and a free 2G memory card. He was *going* to throw in a free set of earbuds, but they didn't have any that fit her phone in stock (I just got her an adapter from The Shack for her current Sony pair). As we left, Geoff said to her, "You be good with that, ok? Don't disappoint your parents!" She said, "I won't! Thanks!"

On our way home, she took my phone & started loading numbers into it... Then, the texting started. Our rules currently are: (1) It gets turned on in the morning when she gets up, turned off when she gets to school, turned on when she gets out of school, and turned off again at (or around) 8pm every night, (2) No excessive texting, (3) Calls must be made to/from the house phone if calling is necessary; with unlimited texting, calling is RARELY necessary, (4) She pays $5/m toward the cost of her phone's service, (5) We pay for her insurance, but she must pay any replacement cost, (6) I read ALL texts before she can delete them, and (7) The phone gets charged every night.

Mainly, we had two reasons for getting her a phone. {A} Babysitting. She's been babysitting for one year (got her Babysitting Certification last November) and & parent-helper since she was little. A lot of people these days don't have home phones, so it was necessary to invest in her "business" by getting her a phone... and {B} Safety. We don't believe *having* the phone protects her, but we do believe that she can explore her independence a little easier now that she has the ability to easily check in (& we can track her if something *does* go wrong).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's A Matter Of Principle

Four, or maybe it was five, years ago, I was driving past the fairgrounds property in town and saw a HUGE banner on the side street building (it's an Armory building) that read something along the lines of "Huge Consignment/Resale Event -- Pass It On Sale" and the dates. So, that Saturday, I stopped by. I think I ended up buying a few things for different family members (my own kids included), and was pretty happy I got great deals (always the bargain shopper!).

Since then, it's moved a few times, but it's still in town. I've tried to hit it at least once per sale/season (they do two each year; once in the fall & once in the spring; now also available in a town about 2 hours south). Also since then, Princess' SM has gotten more & more involved each year. At first, we went at times/days when it would be less likely that she would be there, as Princess despises the woman. When that didn't work as planned, I went a couple times with friends (leaving Princess behind).

Sometimes I saw her; sometimes I didn't. Once, last year Fall, when Princess was with me, not only did we see her SM, but her bio was also there, as well as her younger half-sisters. MKG (the only one she really misses) was little miss chatty while I got checked out & paid for my items. When we left, though, Princess was shaking; visible upset. I asked what was wrong and she said, "I can't... mom... I can't do this anymore." That was the last time I shopped the sale.

Every time Princess is around her bio &/or her SM, she gets the shakes. I've had her in & out of counseling many times over the years, but since her bio refuses to come in, talk to her & the counselor, and actually work toward healing their relationship (apparently, it's "easier" to blame ME for the way Princess feels), it's no wonder she freaks out. She still thinks, after all these years (almost four, to be exact) that they will abduct her again if given half a chance. To be honest, I do too.

Princess' feelings are, of course, my main concern, but the other reason is about money. You see, my ex has NEVER willingly paid child support; ever. I'm not saying he hasn't paid it, but when I *do* get it, it's almost always garnished by the feds (from tax returns), the state (tax returns & unemployment pay), or whatever real job he happens to have at the time (wage garnishment). There have been a couple of small payments made while he was in the process of having it reduced last winter (jobless with an additional kid), but even though it's now $100/m instead of $288/m, he's still not paying... the arrears are just accruing at a slower rate.

As I understand, aside from being the "Sponsor Coordinator" for PIO, he is a stay-at-home dad for his two youngest. A noble choice, if you don't actually have financial responsibilities to take care of, such as CHILD SUPPORT, but that's another blog. If him staying home with the two younger children is really in the best interest of their household, perhaps his wife should step up and pay his child support with her income.

I don't know for sure if she has a "real" job, but I do know that she makes a pretty large chunk of money from the PIO sales, not to mention her c.s. for her own daughter (now 16yo). I also know she's been "promoted" and is the sale owner's 2nd in command. All that being said, I just cannot bring myself to spend MY money at a resale event where they are a huge part, when I'm not receiving any child support.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Difficult Conversations

How do you get across to someone that you don't want to have anything to do with them? Especially if that person was a very important person in your life for a long time? How do you explain that you no longer trust this person?

My princess is dealing with this issue with her biological father, as I am with my ex best friend. The odd/interesting thing is: both events that broke the relationships happened at roughly the same time; 4 years ago.

For the Princess, it was one dramatic event -- her father & stepmother abducted her from our doorstep. For me, it was multiple, seemingly-insignificant, events over the few years prior to our "break up". The end result, however, is the same: broken trust.

Princess is at the point now of wanting nothing to do with her bio. She doesn't want him to be part of her life; in any aspect. She doesn't want him at any school function, any sporting event, any kind of activity pertaining to her life at all. She doesn't even want to TALK to him. How sad for him... and, even sadder, he refuses to believe it; choosing to blame me for how she feels.

In my own situation with my ex-bff, I also want nothing to do with her. However, I share a friendship with her sister, her brother, her sister-in-law, and many mutual friends (including her baby #4's daddy). Such shared moments (like birthday parties, weddings, graduations, summer barbecues, etc) require me to be civil. That, for me, is not a problem. The problem comes from her continued pushing to still be friends.

So, here we are; mom & daughter in completely different but similar situations. Lucky for me, I'm a strong person; I can handle it all. Lucky for her, she's got me as a mom.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Swift Kicks & Broken Promises

First topic -- Princess' soccer games started yesterday with a Jamboree. These are half-games (two 15m halves with 5m halftime); with stops & starts, they last about 40-45 minutes. Ours were at a middle school, about half an hour away from home. We were up at 6am (ugh), got dressed, packed some food & lots of water, I made a mocha, & we were off. I stopped at Dutch Bros to get her a small mocha (didn't think to make her one at home).

We got to the school just at 730a. Coach asks that the girls try to be on the fields for warm-ups half hour before game time. Since game time was 8am, that was perfect timing. Princess was even chilly (at 730a, it was only 62`)... but not for long! First game, they won 2-0. We had about an hour & a half before the next game, so we scooted our game chairs back to allow other parents to watch their games, and had a small snack.

It was starting to warm-up so off came the sweatshirts and on went the sunscreen. Second game was lost 0-1, but it was a lucky "hail-mary" type shot at the end of the game. By this point, the girls were hot & hungry, so I set out a blanket & opened up the cooler. We had a lunch of sandwiches, Sun Chips (mmmmm, French Onion), & cherries. I had brought a magazine, cards, and a word search book to keep us entertained, but never took any of it out; soccer moms are entertaining enough sometimes!

At this point, it's 1130a, and we knew the games were starting to run over (our last one was scheduled for 1150a, but the one before ours had *just* started), so again, we sunscreened ourselves & our girls, I made sure Princess had enough water, and I got my umbrella out for leg protection (I already have an umbrella chair), & situated my blanket over my chair to cover more of the sides & back. CP (KP's mom) made fun of my "cocoon" but my French-mix skin is not made for all that sun!

The last game started at 1205p... *only* 15 minutes late. That one was also won 2-0. The girls were hot, dirty, and completely exhausted by the end. Snack & drinks were provided by two of the families (once again, I am in charge of coordinating this, as I've done almost every season since Princess started playing) -- mini Oreos & Gatorade. We loaded up the car, and when we got home, she took a much-needed shower. At 6p, I dropped her off at the MAX (my mom met us there; she's not old enough to ride alone yet); she slept long & well last night.



Second topic -- Does anyone know why someone would make a promise, then break said promise? Not once, not twice, not ten times... try many hundreds, over the last 10 or so years. Princess' biological father is one of those people, and it drives us both crazy. Well, correction; it USED to drive us both crazy. Now, it's just par for the course. No matter what he says (to her on the phone, or to me, through his wife, via email), we both have this, "Yeah, whatever... I'll believe it when I see it" attitude. Specifically, when he says he'll come to something.

Let me backtrack. The last phone call he made to her was early May (yes, five months ago). She & Ace were home (I was at work), so when I got home & saw a message from him, I asked why she didn't answer the phone. She said, "I don't want to talk to him. I have nothing to say." Ok, then. At this point, she *had* actually spoken to him over the phone about a month prior, so I figured no big deal. Then the months went by...

I sent him an email in early August with the soccer practice schedule; no response. I then sent him an updated schedule in mid-August, and got "Thanks for the info, we are busy this Thursday but we'll come next Monday for sure, M****** is also playing soccer and is eager to watch her sister play. Do you have her game schedule yet?" I replied, "She will not be there the next two Mondays (22nd & 29th), nor the Thursday in between (25th). Game schedule is always posted around Labor Day weekend."

Of course, I know full well it's always Princess' SM, *NOT* her father, answering the emails, which is sad for them... After all these years, she still doesn't "allow" him to communicate with me without her interference. Trust issues, much? Anyway, her response back to me was, "I did not receive the required notification that she would be going away." -- um, maybe because I'm not required to give you anything when she travels with ME? Regardless, I just ignored (my attorney got a copy of all of these, btw).

First day of school, I sent a (very small) version of Princess' first day of school pic. I got, "Thank you. Who is her teacher this year?" which I also ignored. I figure if HER "FATHER" really cared, he'd call & actually ask her. Apparently, he *did* call her that night. They spoke for about 10 minutes. I think that's the longest phone convo they've ever had. During that conversation, he asked all sorts of information, including her soccer game schedule ("I'm sure it's online," was her answer). He then told her he was going to *try* to "stop by" her game.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark, here, and assume he hadn't seen the schedule yet, because (as I've already said) she had three games, not one, and (like I said) they were 1/2 hour from my house; he lives even further away from that town than I do. Friday night, he called again. This time, she recognized his number and didn't want to answer the phone this time. I told her that it is her decision what kind of contact she allows him to have, so she let it go to voicemail. He left a message, making sure she would be at "tomorrow's game"...

Saturday came... no BD for the first game... maybe 8am is too early; fine. Second game... still no bio... Just before the third game started, Princess goes, "Good thing I wasn't holding my breath, huh, mom?" and off she went. Yes, baby; good thing. I hate that he does this to her, though. I don't understand why he makes promises he doesn't keep. All I ask is that he makes a commitment and sticks to it; make a promise & stick to it (I know, I know... he has the worst history with this).

She doesn't really care if he's there or not; in fact, she'd rather he DIDN'T come to things. But if he tells her he's going to do something, follow through! Truthfully, though, things are going to change around here regarding these things... He never did ask her who her teacher is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sore Butts & Potty Breaks...

For those who were paying attention, you should know that Princess & I just returned from our road trip/vacation to my parents' place in South Dakota. When we first started planning to go, I was thinking, "Oh, I should have BD's tax refund from back-owed child support; I can use it for our tickets out there!" Not that I can't afford plane tickets, but since he owes a bit more than $8000 in c.s. (alone -- remember the attorney fees owed, as well), that was my first thought.

No surprise, I haven't gotten a dime of child support in months... the last payment was $15 back in early May. But, that's another story. T asked if I wanted to drive with him & his family, since he has an 8-passenger vehicle, and was already going to be in my area (returning w/mom, Princess, & his family from a weekend at the beach). By this point, Ace had decided to stay home (can't take that much time off work if he wants to be paid for the Santamas vaca he'll be taking this year), so that made six of us, plus "stuff".

We headed up & over to SE Washington (where T's crew lives) Sunday night (August 21st), stayed overnight at T's house, then left Monday morning; headed east! My parents' campground (Fort Welikit Family Campground) is in Custer, SD (and currently for sale, if you're interested!), so this drive took two days (with an overnight in Bozeman, MT & a rock through the windshield at some point) since we had T's two small children with us (Bug is potty-taught, but has a tiny bladder!).

Our visit was filled with family (including a cousin I haven't seen in person since I was 5yo!), food, and some tourist-fun (T's girls had a lot of fun at the petting zoo). There were also some great thunder & lightning shows... Of course, I think South Dakota has THE BEST thunderstorms! I got a bit of video (hard to get good pics); hopefully it turned out okay. Saturday, everyone came to the campground for lunch on the barbeque and a couple hours of visiting.

By Monday morning, though, our trip was over... it was time to head back. In Billings, we hit a storm (no broken windshields this time), and finally got to our hotel (in Butte) about 6p; in time for dinner and a little swim before the little ones went to bed. We rolled into T's a little after 6p, helped them unpack, repacked our own things, and played a little cards. I finally got to use my "Easy Sleep" program on my phone; works great... and I needed it!

We were awakened around 6am with T's shower & the automatic garage opener, but went back to sleep until about 8am. After coffee, breakfast, and a bit more visiting with the little ones & D, we were on the road by 10am. When you only make two stops (potty & gas), and eat while driving (sandwiches; quit freaking out), it doesn't take nearly as long to make the trip home; we were in my door at 405p.

Now, it's all about laundry (already on load four) and going through all the photos!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

She Was Calling...

We left Saturday, only an hour after we had originally planned to be gone. We returned late Wednesday night. My wonderful neighbor took care of my house, mail, & cat while we were gone, and our vet's office took care of our dogs (they now have boarding, and it's cheaper than any other place around; plus, they walk & play with them for no extra charge).

Highlights of this trip included: lots of waterfalls/lakes/rivers/reservoirs, hiking, spelunking, rock formations, over 1000 miles, 4X4 required territory, camping, swimming, smores, Klamath drive-through, fishing... and lots of photos. "Head of the River" was the first night, then after a drive through Campbell Lake (desecrated by beetle kill), we decided to head to Lofton Reservior (stayed for two nights), on to the Lava Beds, into Klamath for the last night, then home.

Along the way, we stopped at many little spots along the way (most of this trip took us through some of Ace's old stomping grounds - both as a fire fighter on the Forest Service, and as a kid/teen/college student). There were lookout points on top of buttes, cool rock formations you have to hike to, many waterfalls & creeks (some of which we didn't even know were there except when checking out other things, like a memorial site, until we heard them), miles of caves to explore, a lot of dirt or red cinder roads (most of them Forestry), and (for the most part) very few people.

In Klamath, he was disappointed to find his old house & land (5 acres) had been parcelled out, the current owners of the house had totally let his mom's old garden go to $h*t, and a big chunk of that area was no longer mostly land... there were "housing communities" all over. However, all of his old schools are still standing (& being used). His college campus (OIT) has a couple new buildings, but for the most part, it was the same, too; he was happy about that.

Ace said he felt "pulled". That's the biggest reason we went on this camping/road trip/excursion into the wild. I believe in ghosts (& he just may be coming around to my way of thinking); I also believe that his deceased sister, K, was urging him back "home", I just don't know why... She died when she was 7, of complications from surgery to fix/cure a brain tumor. His living sister, S, had just turned three. Ace was not even a twinkle in his parents' eye (as the saying goes). One of our last stops in Klamath was to visit her grave, and leave flowers in her vase.

Before heading home, though, we had one last big thing to do: Crater Lake. I've lived in Oregon since 1985 (except for a brief stint 1995-1996, when I returned to California), and have never seen it in person. I was not surprised by the beauty of the water, but I was surprised at the snow still on the ground. Granted, we were at 6000'-7000' above sea level on Mount Mazama, but it was 62'-65' (at different points along the route)! It wasn't just little drifts, either; it was full-on piles, up to 14" thick in some spots!

Driving home on the North Umpqua Highway (aka 138), we also saw (and stopped at) some little campgrounds & waterfalls. One we had to hike into, but it was soooo worth it! We also noticed a LOT of tiny, 1-4 site, campgrounds along the Umpqua River; many of which are fishing spots, but two of which are rafting in/out spots. When we returned home, we looked up some info about rafting on the Umpqua... and started thinking about our next family adventures.

Here are some photos (I actually took 272, plus two videos... but narrowed it down to 212 on my computer, and *only* 133 on my FB page):



Salt Creek Falls


Me with my "Camp Mocha" at Head of the River


Sunset at Lofton Reservoir


Stay on the path... spelunking in the Caves


Me & The Princess at Watchmen's Lookout (Crater Lake)


Papa (Ace) with his Munky (Princess) at Whitehorse Falls

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Please...

I was going to post a really long blog, detailing all the ways people are lacking in manners these days, but since the last two blogs were kind of long, I'll make this one a lot shorter than originally intended.

I have this (odd, to some people, apparently) belief that everyone should use proper manners. I'm not talking about which fork to use or where your napkin goes when eating... I'm just asking for more than what the general public has deemed necessary.

Manners are much more than "please" and "thank you". You can blame how you were raised (or, really, how you WEREN'T raised), but your actions, good & bad, are made by you, and you alone. As a child, it IS your parents' responsibility to raise you to have manners, but once you become an adult, you're on your own.

So, with that in mind, here are just a few rules of society that will help you get further in life (job, school, friends, SOs, etc):
1. "Yes, please" and "no, thank you" are proper answers when asked questions by your elders; even better if you use them with everyone you come across.
2. Hold doors open for those behind you; say thank you to those who hold the door open for you.
3. Leave yourself extra time to get to & from places (like work &/or appointments). That way, there is no need to speed, cut people off, tailgate, and otherwise make other drivers mad at you. Road rage is not a good look on anyone.
4. When you call someone (whether it's a home phone, a cell phone, or a place of business), leave a brief message; clearly stating who you are, whom you're calling, and the best way/time/number to call you back. Don't keep calling back; one message will do.
5. Periodically ask your family (parents, siblings, kids, SOs, etc) what you can do that would make their lives a little bit easier. Bonus points if you already know, and just do them without asking.

I know this is a very short list, but I mostly posted this so that you pay more attention to others in your life; whether you like them or not, &/or know them well or not at all... I totally believe in Karma, and even if you don't, doing nice things for people & using your manners could very well completely change a person's outlook.

Realistic Advice For Teenage Girls

Borrowed from "Backwoods Mom", and adapted just a little, to coordinate with my own philosophies about life:

Because naive parenting leads to unprepared teenagers...

Nobody really looks like that. Stop trying to achieve the impossible.
That eighty dollar pair of jeans looks exactly the same as that thirty dollar pair of jeans.
Tattoos are permanent... PERMANENT!
In ten years you will be nothing like the person you are today. I know you don't believe me. But please try not to embarrass the future you.
Having a baby as a teenager is fun for about six minutes. And then all your friends get tired of holding the baby and slowly drift away, back to their silly, teenager lives. Yours is now over.
Learn how to swing a hammer, change your own oil, and flip a breaker (to name a few).
It does not hurt him when you say, “NO”. He will not explode and die (as he may try to convince you).
Do not text pictures of your body to anyone. I can’t even begin to explain how this cheapens you.
If you wear makeup, it should be worn so that it looks like it’s not being worn.
You will remember your "first time" your entire life. Make sure he’s worth remembering.
Do not post Facebook pictures of yourself scantily dressed in your bathroom mirror. Everyone hates it (except those creepy boys).
If you must, when you're legal, a two drink limit keeps things in perspective.
Learn to cook.
You do not have to be tomorrow who you were yesterday.
If you have to look in the mirror more than twice a day, you are spending too much time on your looks.
There is a fine line between sexy and sleazy. If you don’t know what the line is, you are probably sleazy.
Relying on your looks will only last until the first pregnancy. Plan, & SAVE, for college.
Showing your cleavage is not what attracts him. He knows what’s in there and his imagination is even more generous than your proportions. Cover yourself a bit…
Wear comfortable shoes.
Nobody noticed that zit until you pinched the crap out of it. Smile, they will only notice your gleam.
Sometimes lust feels like love. Identify the difference as soon as possible and you will have fewer regrets.
If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to know you are doing it, don’t do it.
Jeans and a t-shirt always wins.
Playing stupid only makes you look stupid.
He is not going to change. No, he’s not. Stop arguing. You can’t fix him.
Peer pressure is no excuse for stupidity.
If he says the words, “But, if you loved me you would…” run the other direction. Don’t walk, run. (As a counter-argument, if he loved you, he wouldn't...)
There will be moments later in life when you wonder what the Hell you were thinking back then. At each pivotal moment of your teenage years, ask yourself whether this could be one of them.


There is, of course, much more I could add, but for now, I will only say one more thing: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pay attention to what your children, especially your teenage daughters, are doing online & out in public...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Out, One In... Sort Of

Most of you are aware of our... shall we call them "issues"... with GamerBoy. Since Ace & I got together (the summer before GamerBoy turned 9yo), he's been a pain in our sides. We originally thought it was just your typical "dad's dating again" behaviors, but over the years, with his "beloved mama's" assistance, he's gotten worse. She has done everything she can think of to screw up those kids' (GamerBoy, as well as his sister, Squeeks) relationship with their father, and any hope of a normal stepparent relationship with me.

She pushed & prodded Ace excessively to reduce his parenting time (he originally had 48% time), moved 2 hours away (to try to push this issue more - didn't work; we just had it reconfigured), she told the kids time & again that their father was behind on his child support (impossible with a real job - 17yrs now - which has a payroll department), that we owe her money for this/that/the other thing, that we live in a mobile home (WTF?!?), that I'm trying to take over being their mom (um, no thanks!), that they don't have to listen to me or follow the rules in this house because I'm not their "real" mom, that our relationship won't last, and a thousand other mean/disrespectful things; most of them downright lies.

We've dealt with it, and them, by being honest; sometimes brutally so (which sometimes included "making her look bad" - her words). You can't lie to your kids about something regarding yourself when your ex-other-half knows better... She's gone through men like she has a revolving door and always tells the kids it's a broken loyalty or -trust issue (now evident in Squeeks' "relationships" with boys -- ugh); she stretches the truth on her personal website as well as that of another (where she has a side job) regarding her experiences with animals; she told the kids that not only did she graduate high school, but that she did so with honors (truth: she dropped out at age 14, got her GED at the age of 32, tried unsuccessfully multiple times - she supposedly has social phobias, but her career is dog-trainer - to go to college, & finally stopped trying about 5 years ago); when she moved them to the base of the mountain (2 hours away, 6 or 7 years ago), she decided GamerBoy needed only her love to heal his ADHD -- no more counseling & no more medication... cold turkey from both. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist.

Personally, I started stepping away from parenting them when GamerBoy was about 12. They, of course, still were required to obey the house rules and do chores when they came over, but I decided that if they didn't want me to act like a mom to them, I wouldn't. By the time GamerBoy was 15 (which is also when he got his own room, & the girls started sharing one), THAT was seriously biting them both in the booty -- they WANTED me to do some "mom" things for them... like their laundry, help with homework, take them shopping, etc. Sorry, kids; I'm not your mother (hehehe). I'll be honest; letting Ace take care of all their parent needs in our house was excruciating in one way (let's just say: we have "differing" parenting techniques), but such a relief at the same time. I had only one kid - Princess - to worry about.

By the time GamerBoy was 16, he was being talked to (read: LECTURED) at both houses about getting a job, getting a driver's license, being more responsible, etc... He was also reminded that 18yo was not far away and if his negative behaviors continued once he was an adult, he would no longer be welcome in our home (we found out recently that he'd been told that same things at his mama's since about then, too; she was telling us, however, that everything was hunky-dory over there, and the blame was placed on our house/rules for his misbehavior). Unfortunately, the responsibility did not come... Once he finally turned 18 (back in December of last year), he still did not have a job, he still did not have a driver's license, and he had decided (since he was "an adult") that he no longer had to help out with daily chores. He also stayed up 'til 2 or 3am, tried to sleep late (we don't allow that, here; sorry), and stayed in his room THE WHOLE DAY; only coming out to eat, use the restroom, or demand things from us.

This was when Ace said, & repeated over the next few months, "We only feel obligated to allow you to continue to come over here -- leeching off of us -- until you graduate. Once you are done with high school, if these behaviors continue, you will no longer be welcome in our home. It is your choice, and your choice alone." We started making plans to move Squeeks into his room; giving the girls their own rooms (finally). GamerBoy's biggest argument: "Well, what if I decide I want to come over?" My response: "What do you need a bedroom for if you're actually coming over to visit?," (knowing full-well he's used the term "visit" for coming over to leech our internet, electricity, food, & water since he turned 18; he's not actually "visiting" with anyone). "What if I want to spend the night, then?," he asked. "There's floor space in both your sisters' rooms."

Fast forward to Sunday evening, June 12th. GamerBoy decided he would join his sister for "a couple of days" of our parenting time with her. By Tuesday, his attitude (only changing for the worse) had Ace's blood pressure up quite a bit more than usual, and we had boxes stacked in our living room with closet organizer parts for both girls' rooms, so I asked him when he was going home. He said, "Well, I don't know... I was thinking of staying for a bit. I did say up to a week." "No, you didn't. You asked if you could stay for a couple days; that's two, maybe three. Time's up." In a huff, he called his mother to see if she would mind if he rode the train with Squeeks the following day (she has a Wednesday night training class she's working with her mother) & come home; he got off the phone and told us that she said she required a 48 hour or more notice for him to come home (WTF?!?!).

This threw our plans for a huge loop, but what were we supposed to do? We weren't going to boot him with nowhere to go for a couple days! So, we started working on Princess' closet organizer. That meant clearing out her closet, removing all the wood & the rod, repairing/filling holes, priming, & painting any areas that weren't already light teal (three walls are light teal, one is white); that took a full day. Next came the install of the new unit; that took another day. During these two days, I was also trying to work some of the time... but that made the rest of the week pass by fast.

By the time I got home from work on Friday, it was after 5p. GamerBoy was finishing packing up his things (clothes, shoes, new - grad gift - computer, some personal effects from his room, etc), and loading it all into the 4Runner. Ace was taking him back to mama's for the last time. When he returned, he was (of course) upset; basically feeling a combination of "empty nest," "I just threw my son under the bus," and "Wahoo!" I fully believe in tough love; there's no need to coddle our children to the point that they feel no sense of responsibility for themselves, their actions, & the well-being of others. You are only setting them up for failure when real life bites them in the butt.
Mama is learning THAT lesson as we speak...

The next day, we got to work clearing out & cleaning that bedroom. The old closet rod & boards were pulled, holes were repaired, priming was done. I washed all the walls, and Ace removed the light fixture. EVERYTHING got painted -- white walls got a new coat, ceiling was done, baseboards were done, window sill, and Squeeks new decorative wall went from red (GamerBoy's color choice) to a pretty, deep, grape-ish purple. The new closet organizer went in, and was stocked with Squeeks' things. By the end of the day, were were done with painting the room... and Ace was feeling a bit better about things. Sunday was Father's Day; not much work was done on Squeeks' room. Princess walked (as she has many other times) in the "Pride Parade" with Mimi & her church friends. We had burgers for dinner... a nice, pretty quiet (successful) Father's Day.

Monday, I had another long-ish day at work, and when I returned, Squeeks was priming her old bed frame (we'd been holding on to it for just this occasion). I put my things away and went to help her, then we started on the purple (same as the wall), while Ace sanded and primed the rails. With dry-time, it took the three of us about 3 hours to get the bed finished... then it had to dry, of course. We let it sit for a few days to let the paint harden. In the meantime, we set up a mattress & box spring, and had her put her old bedding set on it (the set that is for the other half of the bunk in Princess' room) until we could get her one that matched the new scheme. Poor Ace... he'd been hoping we could "get away" with just putting Squeeks' stuff in GamerBoy's old room! Silly Papa.

Later that evening, Ace told me that GamerBoy had called... to wish him a "belated Happy Father's Day", and grill him about computer stuff ("Papa's I.T. Service..."). I held my tongue, but seriously?!?! HOW DO YOU FORGET?!?! Argh... typical behavior for this manchild. Ace no longer felt guilty for kicking him out. During the rest of that week, Ace got Squeeks' computer up & running (& made some tweaks & updates). We also found time to celebrate my birthday, and there were trips to Target, Freddy's, BedBath&Beyond, and a few others -- we basically got her new bedding & accessories in mostly the dark purple color of her wall, but some black & white, too.

The following Friday, Princess left for an overnight to the beach with Mimi before they headed to Canada (Quebec - Tadoussac - Quebec), and on Saturday, I had my birthday barbecue (see previous post). After another long Monday work day for me, we took Squeeks down to S&G's then headed to the beach house for a few days. OMG... seriously needed that - a vacation from Ace's vacation (& a nice three days off of my work). We basically ate out at some places we hadn't tried yet, stopped at a few of our regular shops for goodies to take home, walked on the beach with the dogs, read, slept, and did a bit of shopping/meandering at the outlet stores.

Once we returned, and Squeeks was brought home, her attitude went completely downhill... so instead of returning to us for a couple more days after working for her mother on Saturday, Ace told her to just stay with her mom; we were tired of her mouth (among her whining: "D*** NEVER does ANYthing for me!!" Um, really?!? So, that wasn't me that busted my butt helping clean, paint, & shop for YOUR room?!?! She's turning into her brother... argh). This gave us an unexpected couple of days kid-free; we were kinda thrown for a loop. We decided to get caught up on house chores and errands, and tried a new local restaurant. Independence Day was quiet (except for the bang-whizzes from our neighbors); first time EVER we've not had kids.

Princess & Mimi returned home that night, but no way was I going to even attempt to drive all the way to the airport to pick them up; I settled for meeting them at Mimi's house. By the time they returned from the airport, it was 11p... we were all tired. Got Princess home & settled in her (now clean & organized - my doing) room, and she had a good sleep-in the following day. She even did all her laundry before I got home from work! Now, all we need is for T&D to let us know when they're coming to pick up the bunk bed so we can repaint GamerBoy's frame for Princess (no need for a bunk anymore; although, we may give at least one, if not both, girls a trundle for when friends sleep over) and some artwork for Squeeks' walls (we're on the hunt -- anyone want to paint something?)!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

As most of you know, my birthday was last Wednesday. I took the day off work (being self-employed, I can do that) to spend with my family. The original plan was to sleep in, have my coffee, get dressed, go ring shopping, have a mommy/daughter date, have my husband make a yummy dinner, and have Krispy Kremes while opening my gifts from my girls... Well, let's just say the day didn't quite go as planned (What my brother says about plans -- "Plan: (N) 1. A list of things that don't happen." HAHA!).

Oh, I slept in... 'til 9a (that's late for me), then Princess made my mocha. As I'm sitting on the couch, Ace comes in from outside (he was painting the rails for Squeeks' bed - her bedroom redo will be another post) and said, "Put on your glasses & come outside." He was a little harsh about it, so I was a bit confused... "but, it's my birthday!" I set down my laptop & mocha, and put on my glasses, then went outside to join him.

We're standing on the lawn & he goes, "What's that?" as he's pointing to a neighbor's driveway. I said, "That's a safe." (Back-story: a couple months ago, a detective showed up in our neighborhood, asking questions about the activities of one of my neighbors. We were all asked to keep an eye out, and call him if we heard or saw anything related to those activities.) He goes, "Call the detective."

I dug his business card out of the recycling (it's been two months, and we hadn't heard or seen anything he was talking about... figured I didn't need it), and gave him a call. He answered, "Detective XX." "Detective, this is D... G......-K....; you came by our house a couple months ago, asking about the activities of our neighbor, Kevin?" He said, "Yes. Do you have information for me?" "Um, he's got his garage open & a trailer in his driveway. The trailer is open in the back, facing the garage, but there's a safe in the back." He goes,"Right now?!?!" I answered, "Yes." He seemed excited, and said, "OKTHANKSBYE!" It took him & his team about 6 minutes to get here.

For the next hour, they took photos, asked us a couple questions, one of my other neighbors (M), was texting; asking what was going on... They also questioned some lady who was over there (Kevin's girlfriend, perhaps? FTR - Kevin, et al, have been MIA ever since...). At this point, we left to go ring shopping (my promise ring's stone - a fire opal - has chipped in a couple places; apparently, opals are almost as soft as pearls so I'm lucky it lasted almost 10 years).

We got to the local shopping center... turns out that the store where Ace got my promise ring no longer sells Black Hills gold. The sales associate told me that when the price of gold started going up a few years ago, the BH gold makers were charging "too much" for them to feel comfortable continuing to carry their product so they got rid of it. While there, we had my ring sized, 'cuz I couldn't remember what size it was. Then, we went to another store... they, too, no longer carry BH gold.

When I asked if she knew any local store that still did, she looked down her nose at me and said, "KMart does." I was irritated at her attitude, and said, "I'm not buying jewelry at KMart, but thanks." She glared (GLARED!!) at me, and said, "KMart's owned by Sears now, ya know!" Um, yeah... that doesn't make it better. I wouldn't buy jewelry at Sears, either... Frustrated, we went home. Ace, knowing my size now, went on an online search and found five or six he liked, made by the same company who made my wedding set.

In the meantime, Princess & I went to Newport Bay for lunch. Since it was a Wednesday afternoon, they weren't busy. We shared a plate of sushi, a bay shrimp salad, & crab cakes. We also each got a citrus-flavored Mojito Breeze; yum! When we were about half-done, the manager came over and challenged Princess to a tic-tac-toe game. He said, "I heard you think you're the best tic-tac-toe player this side of the Rockies..." She was obviously confused, and said, "What? I didn't say that..." He said, "Tell you what; how about we play a round of tic-tac-toe. You win, I'll buy you & your mom a dessert of your choice."

She lost, but he gave us dessert anyway (I had a convo with her about hospitality, and going above & beyond). We then headed to the movie theater to see "Mr Popper's Penguins", which was cute. On our way home, we decided to hold off getting the donuts, seeing as Squeeks was working with her mother that night and wouldn't be home for dinner anyway.

When we got home, I chose my favorite of the rings Ace had picked out online, & he ordered it (should be here next week). Squeeks was already gone (Ace took her to the MAX early, so she could meet up with a couple friends at the mall before heading over to her job). Throughout the day, some of my friends & family had texted, a couple of them called. We did "Make Your Own" for dinner. The rest of the day was just chill.

Thursday, I made up for taking Wednesday off; I worked a longer day than usual. Mom, my first client of the day, had made me lightweight slipper socks for summer (she'd already made me a heavy pair for winter). However, I had forgotten, until I was almost home, to pick up the donuts! So, Friday, I took Princess to work with me, did her nails for her trip (she's in Canada 'til 4th July with my mom), took care of a client, hit up the beauty supply, and finally picked up the donuts!

We ate them for snack, and I finally got a chance to open my gifts from the girls. Princess made me a poster that says, "You ROCK!" with hearts, and a mini tree skirt (she sewed it) for my mini Xmas tree I have for my office! Squeeks bought me a new set of mini nail art brushes. My mother showed up shortly after that to pick up Princess for her trip, so we made sure she had everything she needed and said goodbye.

Saturday, Ace & I got up a little earlier than normal... we were expecting some friends for a bbq around 2p, and still had to clean house & grocery shop! Squeeks pitched in, and by 11a, the house was clean. Ace & I made a list and headed to Costco then Safeway; we were home by 130p. We quickly set up the table & island with munchies and waited for our friends to get here.

My friend, Jessica, MADE me a flip flop cake (from scratch... she even makes her own fondant), and about 20 of my friends (plus some of their kids) came over for food, visiting, cake, & some presents. I set up chairs & a ground cover outside; everyone was relaxed & enjoyed themselves. Those who hadn't seen our home improvements were wow'd. Even Ace (usually a very reserved person) was visibly enjoying himself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update

My offer on EBay was accepted; paid roughly half of the cost of new, each, for two new BODY GLOVE cases for my phone. They came yesterday. I changed out my beat-up old one for my brand new one, and I am now good to go!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Faster Doesn't Mean Easier...

Is it just me who makes her kids do things around the house? It's come to my attention recently that many of my friends either do things for their kids that their kids are perfectly able to do themselves (fold & put away laundry, make school lunch, etc) or do things that take a lot of time for no reason (ie: folding socks &/or ironing jeans)!

Let me break this down for you: My kids are: age 18 (SS, graduated from h.s., comes over for a couple days here & there right now), age 16 (SD, finished sophomore year, comes over for scheduled parenting time), and age 11 1/2 (DD, finished 5th grade, lives here permanently). They do MANY things for themselves; sometimes willingly, sometimes not so much... but they still do it.

Age: Walking -- old enough to help parents pick up toys, books, etc.
Age: 2 or 3 -- old enough to start helping prepare meals, try to brush teeth & wash body without parental help (obviously, you still should keep eyes on them), etc...
Age: 4 or 5 -- old enough to put their own laundry away (who cares if it's folded as long as it fits in the drawers?), wipe down counters, dust, empty small garbages, etc...
Age: 7 or 8 -- old enough to empty the dishwasher (with help for higher shelves & sharp utensils), reload with assistance, make their bed, make school lunch & simple at-home foods, vacuum, empty larger garbages, home improvement assistance (painting, using a screwdriver &/or hammer), etc...
Age: 10: old enough to properly feed animals (cats or larger -- understanding portion control), gather & separate laundry to be washed, clean the toilet, load dishwasher, etc...
Age 12: old enough to do almost any regular chore & required food prep for most meals, can now babysit (in Oregon, you can take a babysitting safety class at age 11), etc...

Now, obviously, this is NOT an "all-inclusive" list. I also hope you understand that some kids can do these things (& more) before these ages. This was to give you an idea of what kids are capable of, if WE JUST LET THEM! No, the toilet isn't going to be as perfectly clean as it is when YOU do it, but "It's just easier if I do it" shouldn't be your motto. Teach your children how you want it done; MAKE the time, and find the patience to do so. In the end, you'll still have (most of) your sanity and they'll know EXACTLY what it takes to keep your household running smoothly.

For the record -- my 18yo & 16yo now do their own laundry, my 11 1/2 yo will help by collecting/swapping loads/folding/etc. All the kids take out trash/recycling, load & unload the dishwasher, set & clear the table, cook occasionally, vacuum, dust, clean the whole bathroom, and much more... They don't always do it "my" way the first time, but with some encouragement (or full-on just watching them do it, start to finish), it's eventually done correctly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Guaranteed", my patootie!

Seven months ago, Ace & I bought our new fancy smartphones. We had the OMNIAs previously and upgraded to the DROID X. Silicon cases had never been a good idea for us; we're rough on our phones. So we opted for the hard cases made by Body Glove. We spent a little more on them, buying from Verizon instead of online, because we were told they were "guaranteed; we'll replace them free if they break".

Fast forward to last Tuesday. My case had basically fallen apart. The two parts were no longer snapping closed and the rubber outer part was peeling away from the plastic. So, among our errands for that day, we stopped at the Verizon store in our area (the same store where we bought our phones).

When I asked about replacing the case, the customer rep said, "Yes, of course. We don't carry them in stock anymore, now that the Droid 2s are out, but let me see what I can find." He proceeded to look it up on his computer to see if other stores have one. One showed up in the Klamath Falls store, but when he called, it turned out to be a computer glitch. So, then I asked about another kind of case; I'd even take a silicon one until I can replace it. Nope; not even silicon.

I will give the man credit; he was appropriately sympathetic and really tried to find me a replacement (checked stores in Washington, Oregon, & Idaho), but what he DIDN'T do is offer me a discount on my next month's service, or reimburse me the cost of replacing it online, or have me talk to the manager to see if HE/SHE could do anything... something to satisfy my need of a new case.

So, I am waiting to hear back from a "make offer" on EBay... but I'm greatly disappointed in Verizon right now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The "Pre-Teens" Are Here...

It's official. The Princess has completely turned into a pre-teen. Remember when I asked your opinions about getting her a cell phone? Yeah, that has been put on hold; she's having a problem with being responsible in certain aspects of life. Her homework is still being done on time, she has no problem getting herself up & ready for school, or any of that... What she has a problem with is remembering to call or text (from a friend's phone) when she's staying at the school (AV Club, playing with a couple friends, etc), and being home on time when I do let her stay to play.

For the record, the other two incidents were minor (she was told to be home at a certain time, after hanging at the playground after school, but left the school at that time, instead -- minor, but you have to earn the right to have a time-cushion), but she had been warned that the "next time" she was irresponsible like that, there would be major consequences.

Yesterday was the third "strike" so-to-speak. She was supposed to text Ace's cell to let him know if she was staying for AV Club or not (they've spent the last four Mondays & Tuesdays making an anti-drug/alcohol mini-movie). He went out to where we normally meet her... 5 minutes... 10 minutes... 15 minutes. He then walks the rest of the way to the school & texts me (I was at work) asking if I'd heard from her. I said, "No... Text K's phone."

At this point, I'm kinda mini-freaking out (Ace said he was only really irritated, but I think he was a little worried at first, too... after what her bio & SM did...). A few minutes goes by and he texts me back, letting me know he was at the school and saw her "skip by" inside (she didn't see him, apparently), then K texted him back to say that Princess was on her way home.

She beat him by a few minutes, so when she got home, she called my cell; half-crying ('cuz no one was home) and half-worried ('cuz she knew she was in serious trouble for not calling/texing). I told her that Ace was probably on his way back, 'cuz he had gone to the school looking for her, yes, she was in big trouble, and "I'm sorry; I forgot" doesn't cut it.

By the time I got home, Ace hadn't decided on a punishment, so we discussed it and decided that "third strike" meant no cell phone for a while (we'll revisit it after her Canada trip this summer) and no more staying after school for anything non-school related for the rest of the school year. For a kid who rarely gets into trouble, quite frankly, I'm surprised!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Over, Already?!?

Yup, Spring Soccer is done. I know what you're thinking... "That was quick!" Yes, especially considering that we're used to Fall Soccer around here, which lasts from mid- to late-July through early- to mid- November! So, I don't have the official scorecards, but I seem to remember one HUGE win (7-0), a few smaller wins, a couple of ties, and two losses. Princess gained a LOT of momentum toward the end of the season, as well, and decided she'll play again in the Fall!! She understands she'll have to push herself harder than she's ever done before; her coach will no longer tolerate half-hearted play.

She will soon be a 6th grader; that is the last year of elementary school around here. She needs to think about her "activities future" and figure out if she's going to stick with soccer, or move on to something else. Middle school, and definitely high school, are NOT the time to start a new activity, so now IS the time. She's expressed a serious interest in continuing her hip hop classes (she wants to do Dance Team in high school), as well as trying volleyball, next year, so we will look into those as well (as long as they don't interfere with each other or schoolwork, of course; I'm not a parent who believes in scheduling their kid for too many things at once).

Now, though, she's taking five, 1/2 hour, swim classes at the local rec center. She'll be travelling to Canada with her Mimi this summer, and the majority of that trip is on or near the water, so a "refresher" course class was in order. Beside that, between now and the end of school, we have nothing else planned outside of school... and that's a good thing for both of us!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who Calls It "Fun" To Run?

This morning, Princess, along with the whole school, participated in what they refer to as a "Fun Run" to raise money to hire an AmeriCorp member for next year. This "Fun Run" is the only event that pays for the AC member, so the kids really push themselves to raise a lot of money. These men & women (it's one person every year) coordinate inexpensive after school activities for the children throughout the year and help in classrooms when needed. Plus, there are prizes for whichever class raises the most money. The prizes this year include gift certificates to the local movie theater, a pizza party, and making a human carwash to "torture" their principal!

We won't know which class is the winner until next week, but today, my princess ran/walked a WHOPPING 23 LAPS -- that's almost 3 miles! Last year, she only did 8 laps! I am so proud of her! You can donate either a $ amount/lap (1/8mile) or a flat $ amount. Either way, I owe a LOT more $$ than last year. Had she told me about it last week, instead of yesterday, I would have asked family & friends to donate... Although, if you'd like to, you CAN still donate to the school for the AC member through May 27th. Let me know; I'll send you the info.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

Ok, I know I'm running a little late on this one; I fully intended to get it written & finished by yesterday (Monday) morning, but as usual, life had other plans... So, here it is, better late than never:

Twelve years ago, while I was pregnant with Princess, I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day as a mom. Obviously I've celebrated many Mother's Days, as I have not one, but TWO moms. But, this was the first one where I was spoiled. I don't remember all the details but I do remember MG was good to me that day.

Over the years, Princess has made or bought (or both) me at least three presents every year. Ace (her Papa) has encouraged her to think of things I would like her to do (not necessarily buy). She's also done something in school every year. My mother, since she lives close by, likes to spend part of the day with us, so I usually end up having brunch with them both.

Saturday, we got to sleep in (a rare thing on a Saturday). I had one client at noon, so mom took her to the Keen store for walking sandals (something she can use in or out of the water this summer), then we had lunch and headed to her game. Princess had volunteered to do "coffee service" at my mom's church on Sunday, so that meant that after her soccer game, she went back to "Mimi's". They made seven dozen sugar cookies (tulips), and on Sunday, after the service, they served them, along with lemonade, tea, & coffee.

I picked them up at 1215p, and we headed to the M.A.C. (where my mother is a member) for brunch. There, Princess gave me two of the gifts she made me this year -- a really cool card and a piece of pottery. She left the third at Mimi's, which we picked up on our way home. While they were making the tulip cookies, she also made me (hand-shaped) M O M and three pairs of feet, complete with toenail polish! She said to me, "You can share the feet, but you have to eat the mom by yourself." lol

When we got home, Ace & I left her to dust (he'd already vacuumed and done the dishes while we were having brunch) while we went to Lowe's, Target, & Safeway. Then, she insisted on helping her Papa make dinner (including the marinade for the steaks, of course), and cleaned up after. Before heading to bed, she crawled up onto the couch with me and asked, "Mom, did you like your Mother's Day?" I gave her a big hug and answered, "The best ever."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Deeds

It occurred to me, after writing yesterday's blog, that I should address my daughter's good deeds. So many people have asked, "Where do you find volunteer opportunities?" The answer? EVERYWHERE! Start with your local newspaper or online. Ask your church, your club, your school. Heck, if you want, you can organize your own! Princess, with the help of my mother, has been volunteering in many different ways since she was little. This year, she made a promise to herself that she would do at least one volunteer job every month. In January, they did a neighborhood cleanup. In February, they filled food boxes at the local food bank. Last month, she helped serve snacks & drinks after church. This month, she did two -- a SOLV-sponsored cleanup & replant at her school, and feeding the homeless at my mother's church's shelter (now open year round). Next month, she's planning on once again serving at the church. I am, however, asking YOU for suggestions for the rest of the year...

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Holiday" weekend

You can look at it however you want, but since we're not a religious family, we do not celebrate the Christian idea of "Easter". When the kids were younger, we did the baskets & colored eggs (which is more a celebration of Spring -- you can easily Google the pagan beliefs to see where I'm coming from), but the older two are "too old" for that, and the Princess isn't a big candy, or hard-boiled egg, person. These festivities will be saved for when we have grandchildren (hopefully, MANY years in the future), but in the meantime, we treat it as a normal Sunday. This time, we only had one of our three kids -- Princess spent Saturday overnight with Mimi, after her game, as they were cooking & serving food at Mimi's church's family shelter (they made lasagnas & brownies), and GamerBoy decided to stay home (at his mother's). Squeeks came over Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday, Ace took her to run some errands (one of which was picking up an amp for his new bass guitar), which left me to spend the afternoon giving myself a gel pedicure and watching HGTV for a few hours. I've seen a lot of family's celebrations on FaceBook, and love seeing all the little ones in their cute outfits, hunting eggs on lawns, and eating their chocolate bunnies. So, however YOU spent the weekend, I hope it was a good one.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

To Buy or Not To Buy...

A cell phone... for my 11yo. Ok, she's 11 1/2, but still. Remember the days when you went to a friend's house, and your parents just called over there (or yelled out the door, if your friend lived close enough) if they wanted you home? Unfortunately, this is no longer a smart thing to do. Ever since her father & stepmother abducted her, Princess has been a little slower than average at "spreading her wings"... She has "safe zones" (school, home, friend's homes, Mimi's home, church, etc); places she feels that her father either won't come to &/or can't come to. Lately, though, she has asked more & more to be left home while we run errands, wants to babysit (she even made flyers) this summer, and loves walking to the school to meet up with a couple girlfriends. Granted, these things don't happen often, but often enough that we're considering getting her a cell phone. Part of me wants to fight it; she's my "baby" after all... but the other part wants her to push her limits; heck, push OUR limits. But, to be honest, she's one of the most responsible, respectful preteens I know. In a typical school day, she gets herself up and ready for school (with only 5 minute reminders from me), does required work plus a bit of tutoring in class, comes home to grab a snack & do her homework, and gets herself ready & off to bed with no hassles. She watches less than two hours per week of t.v., and is rarely on the computer. We've already discussed phone rules -- it will have a "curfew" of 8p (off & charging), she will have a basic phone plan (text & talk; she's spoiled, not spoiled rotten), her activities on it will be monitored, etc... She's taken such good care of her MP3 player (4 years & counting), Nintendo DS (for car- & my work- use, only), books, and much more; I have faith she'll take care of a phone & respect the rules. I think having a phone will allow her, and us, to be more comfortable with her bouts of independence. Now, on to convince Ace that sooner is better...