I am the MOM and I was here FIRST!

My photo
I am a 44 year old mother of three children and grandmother of one. I am divorced from my children's father whom I share joint physical custody of our youngest two children with. I have been married to my fabulous husband for over 9 near-perfect years. I LOVE this man! He is a wonderful generous, affectionate, tolerant and all forgiving husband. He is also a terrific step-dad/male role model to my kids and an even better grand father to our two year old grand daughter. My oldest daughter attends college to obtain her nursing degree. She has been on her own for over three years now (no longer part of a shared custody arrangement like her brother & sister) My middle daughter is in high school and plays on the freshmen volleyball & soccer teams. She's really creative and talented. My son is in middle school and plays hockey and lacrosse. He is a sweet sensitive boy who still says "I love you Mom" frequently. I work part time running an online ebay store. I have terrific and supportive relationships with my family, friends and of course my kids. I am extremely close to my sister, my Mom and my sister-in-laws. They are my best friends.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Last Years Halloween Pics

Halloween is tomorrow. This is the first year that all three of my children will not be going out for trick or treating from our home. Of course my oldest daughter stopped going a long time ago. My 14 year old daughter and 12 year old son will be at their Father's this year.

Luckily, we have a 2 year old granddaughter to start all the traditions that my 3 kids will eventually outgrow. She was a pony last year. I can't wait to see what she comes over as tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vegas=White Trash??

Please allow me a petty gossip moment.

If you've read my "Viva Las Vegas" post, you know how much I love to vacation in Vegas.

And if you've read my "The Answer of Avoidance", "She Sends Her Evil Comments" or "Am I the Only One" posts, you know how much (and why) I don't like my children's Stepmother.

I share joint physical custody of my kids with their Father, therefore, I let my ex-husband know when/where I'll be when I go on a vacation. (This also means that his 2ND wife, my children's stepmother also knows where I'm going)

Our yearly trip to Las Vegas is approaching next month and recently my kids stepmother told my kids
(and I quote) ...

"Las Vegas is for white trash"

Up until that comment, I truly did not know exactly what white trash meant, so I've taken the liberty of copying the definition that I found on the Internet below.


an offensive term for White people who are impoverished

White trash is a derogatory term with a classist component targeted almost exclusively at non-Latino white people and connoting low social status or poor prospects (i.e., downward mobility) or lack of education. ...

That poor woman is just so obnoxious!

Hockey Parents

Hockey has been a big part of our family life for about 15 years now. My ex-husband has played on a "senior" league since I've know him. He's been playing hockey since he was a child. This interested our oldest daughter who started playing hockey at the age of 6 and until she was 16 years old. Our son has been playing hockey since he was 4 years old.

Recently we attended one of my 12 year old son's hockey game. It started out nice enough, but progressed into something ugly and loud by the third period. And I'm not talking about the players. I'm talking about the parents. As our home team pulled ahead by two goals in the third period, several parents from the other team started shouting and hollering at the ref's about every call and one lady screamed "HIT HIM" at the top of her lungs, several times, I presume to her own child. This comment got some parents on our team heated and "talking back" at the other team's parents. It became difficult to just enjoy watching my son participate in a game he has loved since he yielded a mini hockey stick in diapers.

The children on these two teams are still tweens. They're out there skating and having fun, trying to enjoy the game, while some parents are projecting their own emotions and passionate need to win on their children. I truly was disgusted by some of the parents display of poor sportsmanship and their aggressive demeanor. Their anger was written all over their faces and clearly amplified in their shouts.

These kids are not going to be professional NHL hockey players. They're not going to the be in the Olympics. I just hope the good memories these children should have by just loving to play the game are not overshadowed by their parents ignorant embarrassing behavior.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Las Vegas

My husband and I go to Las Vegas every year. We're never there alone. It's a big production.

It all started 15 years ago with my sisters wedding. About 30 of our family members and friends met out there for the event. Many of us have been going back every year since. My parents along with my husband and I have consistently met up in Vegas with whoever else could make it that year, for the last 9 years. I guess you could say we are the constant consistent originals of the group.

Most people might assume that vacationing with other people, let alone a bunch of people would be difficult. But, somehow from the beginning, it's always been easy and tons of fun. Obviously we can't, nor would we want, to do everything together all the time, but we plan a meal a day together and coordinate itineraries to meet for cocktails, sight-seeing, or shows etc. throughout our stay.

Some of the very best times in my entire life have been while vacationing with these people.

The month long countdown before we all leave our various locations in the USA to meet starts today. I truly can't wait.

Juicy Juice

My 12 year old son doesn't like fruit. He won't eat it. At all.

He likes broccoli, cauli flower, green beans and corn... but that's about it for vegetables.

He likes juice... apple, grape, and orange.


No sugar added
120% Vitamin C
The first three ingredients are pear juice, apple juice & carrot juice.
A good source of BETA CAROTENE

Juicy Juice Harvest Surprise contains 25% of your child's recommended combined servings of fruits & vegetables in every 8 ounce glass.

He loves it. I was pouring it for him every morning because I didn't want him to see the label. (See pic)

One day, he went to pour himself a glass. He happened to see the label (darn it), started backing slowly away from the counter as if he were going to catch cooties from the bottles contents and said:

"Whoa!... Hey... whoa.... whoa... wait a minute... what's this veggie juice stuff?"

I said:

"Relax. That is the same juice you've been drinking all along for weeks now. Ignore the label. You already like it."

And he does.

(Gotcha little boy!)

The Dentist

I have a Dentist appointment for my 6 month cleaning next Tuesday.

But... as luck would have it, the dentists office tracked me down yesterday, on my way to pick up my kids, through my cell phone with exciting news ....

They had a cancellation and could fit me in a week early ... meaning today.

I HATE (HATE HATE HATE) going to the dentist... HATE IT!!!

I can't handle the scraping. And no matter how well I floss and brush... there is going to be scraping.

I clench my fists. Every muscle that I didn't know I had gets tight. I get hot. I can't breath. Did I mention that I hate it??

Oh.... how easy it would be to just NOT go....

But I'll go. It will take less than an hour. I will be slightly dizzy and white as a ghost. I will check out, pay my deductible and make my next 6 month appointment.

And at last... Before I drive away... I will have no choice other than to sit in my parked car for a few minutes awaiting the return of normal blood pressure and color to my face.

I hate it ...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Morning Recipe

Good Morning ...

I thought I'd share a favorite recipe of mine. You can prepare it the night before and just put it in the oven to bake the next morning. It makes a terrific "special" breakfast for the holidays and weekends.

It's a family favorite in our house.


1 Loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread (or Raisin Bread)
6 Eggs
3 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Layer the bread in a 9x13 glass pan that has been sprayed generously with Pam. Use the whole loaf. (You'll have 2 full layers of bread. I just put any remaining "odd" pieces across the top too.)

Beat the eggs, milk, brown sugar and vanilla together with a whisk and pour over the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. (Check on it after 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown and slightly crisp while the inside is soft)

Serve with butter and syrup or fruit topping & whipped cream.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Speaking of Elvis

I am a HUGE Elvis fan! Everyone who knows me knows this about me. I'm not the kind of fan that would have thrown myself at him. It's not love or lust. I just have this tremendous empathy for his struggles near the end of his short life. I have cried watching his last concert performance. My heart breaks because he's no longer here.

And so of course ...

I have most, if not all of his music. I have seen many of his movies.

I have an Elvis overnight tote bag that I get many compliments on from older folks down to the girls on my daughter's volleyball team.

I have an Elvis figure that hangs from the rear view mirror of my car. The hips are attached to the torso by a spring and so with every movement of the car... so goes Elvis.

I have an Elvis clock in my kitchen.

I have an Elvis purse complete with sequins that I take with me every year when I go to Las Vegas.

I've been getting Elvis Christmas ornaments from my kids and/or husband for years now.

Elvis is popular in my house and with my children. We listen to his music all the time. My kids sing along. They know all the words to his songs. And they like to introduce the music of Elvis to their friends. It was the popular CD of choice when I would chaperon their elementary school field trips in my car. My favorite song is Suspicious Minds followed closely by Blue Christmas. The kids like Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog.

Whenever we are out at a restaurant, or shopping, etc and I hear an Elvis song come on, I'll say "Who's that on the radio?!" And whoever is with us at the time, be it kids, friends, parents, family .... they will simultaneously shout out "ELVIS!" I love it!

When I'm gone from this earth, (hanging out with Elvis) ... I hope that whenever my kids are together and they hear an Elvis song, they will turn to each other and simply smile.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who's The King?

In the summer of 2000, we took our two youngest kids to Mackinac to visit all the "must see" tourist attractions in this historic city.

At Fort Michilmackinac, there was an interactive demonstration where the children got to go up with the soldiers. They were taught briefly how to handle the rifles and march within an army. During this demonstration, our group was also getting a mini lesson in history about the French, Europe... and whatever. (I wasn't really listening well because I was so busy watching how cute my kids were)

At one point in the lesson, one of the soldiers asked "Does anybody know who the king was?"

One little boy shouted ... "ELVIS!!"

The entire group was cracking up. Every parent was videotaping the event including my husband.

Two years later we were all watching "America's Funniest Videos" (It's still a family Sunday night ritual for us) The video was part of the show! My kids faces were blurred out, (legal reasons, I'm sure) but there they were! So cool.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


My sister and I are 9 months apart. We are the best of friends.
Between us, we have 5 children. They are growing up together.
We hope our children will be best friends too!











I love Fall!

And Scrapbooking!

The Cable Guy: Part 2


The cable guy showed up at 9:00am and was only here for 20 minutes.


He was lacking in personal hygiene to say the least.

He used my guest bathroom, apparently thinking that someone was lurking in the bathtub, because the shower curtain was 2 feet away from the wall went I went in to spray.

He left the toilette seat up.

He did not wash his hands.



The Cable Guy: Part 1

I got a message on my answering machine yesterday that the cable guy that is coming to install cable internet service for us will be here between 8:00am-10:00am today.

I'll start looking for him around 4:15pm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Visiting Grandma

We have to fit in one more visit this year to my husbands Grandma.

We have been there three times this year.

She lives 4 hours from us by car, so a clear non-threat of snow or foul weather weekend on the calender is needed to make the trip before this year is up.

The first hour of our visit will consist of hearing which grandchild came when, who sent a card for Grandparents day, which grandchild is coming back next, whom has called the most, whom has called the least, who borrowed money, etc...

The next hour will consist of deciding where we will eat lunch. And the prayer Grandma will say at this meal will go something like this... "Dear Lord, Thank you for getting the kids safely to visit me FINALLY (emphasis on the word finally) ... hope they'll be able to stay LONGER than last time (emphasis on the word longer) ..." etc...

Then we'll go back to Grandma's and spend the next hour deciding where we will eat dinner ...

Repeat all of the above about 6 more times over the course of a weekend with lots of awkward silence in between ...

But, we love her ... and so we go.

Homecoming Dance

Buying the very first dress that she tried on ..... $80.00 on Chase Master Card

Finding matching shoes at the store next door .... $29.99 on Capital One Visa

Purchasing the perfect jewelry ensemble ... $15.00 on a Citi-Bank Master Card

Disposable Camera ... $7.99 on Bank of America Visa

Clutch Purse .... $12.99 on Discover Card

Knowing how to shuffle my credit limits without being declined even once .... PRICELESS!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The answer of avoidance

My 12 year old son's stepmother had him cornered not that long ago while she attempted to get him to answer a question about me with a response that suited her agenda of making me look bad.

Side note:
My ex-husband and his wife continually sign the kids that I share joint physical custody with up for nonstop sports all year long without any consent or input from me nor any regard for what I or the kids may want to do when they are with me. Sometimes I am unable to comply with their plans for my week with the kids. Most of the time, I go ahead with it for the sake and peace of my kids but God forgive me when I make wholesome family plans during my children's time with me that doesn't include the animosity and negativity of my ex-husband and his overbearing wife packed into hot gyms and cold ice rinks.

So the conversation went something like this:

STEPMOM: "So... what do you think about your Mother not letting you go to hockey this weekend?"

Side note:
We were taking the kids to an indoor water park resort for a weekend getaway in the dead of winter... I know... "terrible parents".

My 12 year old son stood there trying not to answer the question because his answer would NOT be what his step mom was hoping to hear. He was excited about the water park, but couldn't tell her the truth because that would make her mad. He wasn't going to lie. So instead of answering her question, and with the intent of changing the subject, he looked at her and said...

"Are you trying to grow a mustache?"

The story looses something as it's told in writing as opposed to my son (oblivious to the hilarity of his comment) innocently telling my family about it. He was not trying to be mean. He does not know why we find it so funny. He answered her question with a question of his own to deflect the attention away from the current uncomfortable inquest from her.

Any time someone in our family (parents, kids, sister, aunts, uncles... even friends) asks an uncomfortable question or if we simply don't know how to answer one another, or want an easy chuckle... we answer with "Are you trying to grow a mustache?"

It has become our choice answer of avoidance. And it makes us laugh every time one of us utters it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Awkward Moments

I was over at The Erin Experiment the other day and she requested awkward moment comments, so I thought I'd repost my comment here too.

So my Mom is in Las Vegas at one of the casinos and she has to use the restroom located on the opposite side from where she is sitting. She walks all the way over there. Mind you, she has a legitimate balance problem and often looks like a drunk while walking. She uses the ladies room, walks all the way back to the machine she was playing at and proceeds to continue (throwing my inheritance away) playing. After a few minutes, she feels as if something is just not feeling right about the waistband of her pants. She reaches behind her back to adjust whatever the heck is annoying her and discovers not ONE, but TWO toilette seat covers hanging out of her waistband, flapping in the wind. My Mother is not anything if she isn't a lady so she discreetly pulls them from her pants (as one would do in this situation), daintily crumbles them into a ball and heads to the nearest trash can, followed by a FAST exit outta there!

I can only wonder what the security surveillance camera operators thought. I'm sure they've seen thousands of victims with the dreaded toilette paper stuck to their shoes, but this? How does one get a toilette seat cover stuck in their pants? But more importantly, why did she need two?

Ummmmm... Less is More

My husband was excited to show me what he had done in our front yard to decorate for Halloween last night. So... I went out to look.

"Looks great honey. nice work;" I said.

It is modest and tastefully done. There are some orange lights on the front bushes, corn stalks flanking the four posts of our porch, a few large pumpkins, a bale of hay and a scarecrow. Nothing too much; Nothing over the top;

Then I slowly turned my head towards the lights in my peripheral vision to look across the street at the neighbors house. I didn't want to, but it's like an accident that you pass on the freeway... you just have to look. As I peered around their large recreational camper van that is perpetually parked in front of my home directly in the middle of our double lot, I was blinded by the light-up plastic "decorations" that are lined up across the front of their home AND their adjoining second lot (decreasing the value of all other homes on our block).

Now ... our address is posted in two places in the front of our home. We are the 9Th house on the right when coming from the main road. We have a country front porch complete with Cracker Barrel rocking chairs, and two GM cars in our driveway. BUT ... if you really want to find our home quickly, without hesitation or question... We are "the house across the street from the house that has all the plastic light-up shit in front of it." Google our address... it's true.

So, while we have chosen to build more home and house on our double lot, our neighbors have chosen to use their second lot as a display area, a shrine if you will, for lawn ornaments. Even when it's not a holiday, the entire lot is lined with things like ... a donkey pulling a cart, one of those lawn jockeys holding a lantern, a bear complete with honey pot (not Winnie the Pooh though), a dutch boy & dutch girl kissing, Hansel & Gretel's house, two windmills (the traditional wood Dutch windmill and the large metal farm kind), Snow White AND ALL of the seven dwarfs along with some things I just can't make out due to their fading paint. BUT when it's a holiday... look out, put on your sunglasses at night, and double check to make sure they are not hacking into our electricity! It is insane. And they just keep adding more stuff (junk) every year and every season. We have witnessed them out there contemplating where the new piece/pieces will go (fit) as they dump a bunch of green and orange outdoor extenstion cords from a plastic bag marked ACO HARDWARE onto the lawn.

Not that long ago, I came out of our bedroom at night to get a drink. Our living room which would usually be pitch black at this hour was lit up with a red light that was continuously spinning and flashing around the perimeter of the ceiling as it found it's way in through the half-circle shaped glass window of the front door.

"Honey, come out here... there's an ambulance out front or a fire truck or the police (again)."

Upon opening our front door to look (gawk) at whoever was going to the hospital or who's house was on fire (this time), or who was going back to jail, our eyes were drawn to a large light house, sitting in the middle of the neighbors second lot (devoted to all things plastic and/or glowing) It was at least 20 feet tall with a SUPER BRIGHT beacon of a light, that was not the expected color of white, but RED?! It was beaming, spinning, and flashing like a strobe light in a disco (whore house)! We don't live on the water! We don't live in the red district (anymore). Not that it matters. This isn't Disney World either, but there are enough characters over there to start up a small theme park or miniature golf course.

Most of the time, I'm a "live and let live", "to each his own" kind of gal and I really don't care how much they add to the decor of their property. But this time, their latest lawn addition was invading our home, flooding our living room like a spot light at the Emmy's. I was afraid that this light flashing all the time all over the walls would cause our family to suffer seizures. But I didn't have to worry long, because by the next night, the light house was gone. Someone must have complained (wasn't me). Maybe the coast guard? Perhaps air traffic control? I caught a glimpse of the light house in back of their garage later that week after the boat, two cars, three motorcycles and two picnic tables with umbrellas were put away till warmer weather, unblocking my view. Now leaving more than enough room in their driveway for the above mentioned recreational camper van to be stored on. But the only time the obtrusive van cannot be found parked (stored) in front of our house is when the street sweepers come every Tuesday morning between 8:30am - 11:30am because they'll get a ticket otherwise. They probably continue to park it in front of our home because they just can't bear to look at our boring minimalistic seasonal decor.

And so last week, as our family piled into the car one evening after dark, my 14 year old daughter's attention was inevitably averted from opening her car door to all the lights across the street. Upon looking (as she couldn't help it) she whispered "Ummmmm.... less is more."

Just wait till Christmas. There's stuff on their roof for that holiday! I'll try to get a picture on a Tuesday when their van isn't blocking my view.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today I am torn

I am always torn between my two distinct lives every other Wednesday. As my children go to their Dad's tonight, I segue from being a full time Mother this last week to a married couple without kids this upcoming week. Every other Wednesday is simply bittersweet for me.

This week, I will miss my kids not being here. I will miss meals with them. I will miss the sound of their laughter (and even the sound of their bickering). I will miss their week here that is focused on family togetherness, chock full of the things we have come to enjoy as a family, like movie nights, bonfires, trips to the park, baseball games, basketball in the driveway, poker on the back deck with the CD player playing our favorite music or playing a slew of board games.

It's all about my kids when they are with us. We do what they want to do. They know this. And they have grown to cherish this.

This week I will reconnect with my Husband. We have the opportunity to do just what he and I want to do. With such a terrific friendship that is our foundation, we both look forward to whatever exciting adventure we want to embark on during our "childless" weekends like checking into a romantic hotel with a jacuzzi AND a fireplace, going antiquing, (YES, he enjoys that.... I know... "lucky girl"!), meeting friends for dinner and drinks, staying in our sweats all weekend to watch movies and eat carry out, or working on home improvement projects.

It's all about my marriage when my Husband and I are alone. We do what we want to do. We know this. And we have grown to cherish this.

I miss my children when they are not here and yet I enjoy the intimacy and reconnection their absence allows my Husband and I. In our situation, life consists of the perfect balance. We are lucky. (We know this. And we have grown to cherish this).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

She sends her evil comments through my kids

I haven't had anything but recent eye contact with my children's Step mom for years now. No emails. No phone calls. No chit chats.... ZIP ... NADA... NOTHING! That's not the problem. She sends her evil nonsense to and through my kids.

Step mom won't use my name. She calls me things like... "the birth mother", "she who shall not be named", "YOUR EX-WIFE!!" and believe it or not... has referred to me as "SATAN"... etc...

Step mom solicits money from me through me children with comments such as, "We can't afford for you to text your Mother, because we're still in debt from the last time she took us to court", "If you're mom's taking you to registration, she's gonna need about $100.00", "We're not buying your yearbook, get your Mom to", "We're not buying your homecoming dress, get your Mom to", "We can barely afford food in this house from the last time your Mother took us to court" etc...

Side note:
I took "them" to court because they moved 23 miles away from me (without telling me) and TOLD me they were enrolling the two youngest kids in the school near them. WHAT??!!! No you're not! I am the stay at home Mom who takes these kids to school, who picks these kids up from school, who knows every teacher, secretary, janitor and principal in their school because I've been THAT involved since they were in pre-school. (By the way... I won the lawsuit. When you have Joint shared custody of kids, one parent cannot unilaterally try to change school districts without the other parents consent, BETTER YET KNOWLEDGE.... DUH!) "They're debt has absolutely nothing to do with me and definitely NOTHING to do with the children.

Her comments serve to alienate me and make me look bad to my children. But since they are 14 and 12, that is simply not going to happen. What she has managed to do is make my children dislike and distrust her and more importantly, wonder why their Father can't/won't save them from stepmom's hatred of a Mother that they love dearly and want to protect.

Am I the only one?

I have seen hundreds of blogs written by stepmother's about their awful dealings with a bio mom and I sincerely feel for those step moms. But I have yet to see a blog where the tables are turned where the bio Mom is trying to make the shared custody situation work and the step mom is making it DIFFICULT!

I am the Mom and have to deal with a horrific step mom to my children. I share custody of my kids with my ex-husband. It's nearly 50/50. I have always been very involved with my children, yet this 2ND wife came along and felt the need to insert herself as my children's mother. She's been competing with me (by herself) for about 5 years now. I will not compete. I don't need to compete. I'm just living my life as a wife, daughter, sister, grandmother, and mother.

I was all for having my ex-husbands new wife as a friend. A companion that I would share stories about the children with. An addition to the bleachers as we watched the children compete in sports, concerts and plays together.... NOT TO BE!

From day 1, this new woman in ex-hubby's life deemed my friendship with ex-hubby, ex-in-laws, ex-brother in-laws, ex-sister in-laws INAPPROPRIATE! WHAT??? Lines were drawn in the sand. It was the beginning of the end for any hope of my children's childhood remaining peaceful. And her venom has affected almost every single member of my ex's family as some struggle to maintain their strong bonds and friendships with me. Those who have chosen to remain friends with me are not spoken too any longer by ex and his wife. (This includes 2 brothers and their wives and cousin here and there)

My oldest daughter has not spoken to her father in over 2 years. She has lost her paternal grandparents and her place in her father's side of the family. It was just easier for her, by her own decision as an adult to just drop out of the hatred and the pressure to "choose" a parent. I never made her choose. Stepmom made her choose. And so Daughter did. Who couldn't see that one coming??

Can I possibly be the only Mom who has to deal with this?