Friday, December 3, 2010

Blending the Fam- Holiday Edition

So, the grand total of kids between me and my hubby is 6. We're always looking for ways to help our kids all feel part of the greater whole, and to develop bonds for their step siblings. Here's one fun thing that worked so well last Christmas, we had to do it again: Secret Santa. Each of the kids drew names the day after Thanksgiving, and they do something nice (and secret) for their chosen sibling each week.  Then they give that person a present and reveal their identity on Christmas. I know, it's not like we invented this idea. It's pretty fun, though. We, the parents get to stand back and watch, and occasionally help carry out secret acts of kindness. The kids have cleaned each others' rooms, written nice notes, hidden their favorite candy in their backpack and other great stuff. Next year, they want us to join in the fun. We'll see. This year, we're having so much fun watching it all go down. Blended Families: The Part AFTER Happily Ever After

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

Sometimes I get the distict feeling that the forces of nature are pitted against me. Take today, for instance. I needed to make a quick run to my kids' school to pick up paper and supplies to make a couple banners. You know, a low-key volunteer project- easy, right? So, I got in my car for the 1.6 mile pilgrimage to the school. It started sprinkling soon after I left. No big deal, I thought- I can handle a little rain. I got to the school and ran in.

Not 5 minutes later, I was ready to go back home, butcher paper in hand. Only now it was pouring. We're talking Hollywood movie rain. Whatever. If it came on this fast, it could let up soon, too. I waited under the eaves of the school for a break in the rain to run out to my car. (Parking is so not close to the office.) As I waited, it began to hail. Then the wind blew, pelting everything, including little me, hiding out under the eaves. I figured I better make a run for it. I ran as fast as my four inch heels could take me. (Fashion over practicality) I was soaked to the bone in under 30 seconds. The rain tapered off as I drove home, which took about 3 minutes. By the time I pulled into my nice, dry garage the rain had stopped. I must be sending out the wrong kinda vibes to the universe, or something.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Aspirations of a Child

So, the other day I was in the car with my 9 year old, Sydney. All of a sudden, she piped up and said "When I get old enough, I want to work at Beans n' Brews!" Then she proceeded to list the reasons. "First of all, I can drink all my favorite drinks on my breaks." (hot chocolate and grasshopper frappes without the coffee) "Also, you would come in all the time. so I'd get to see you. I would also get a discount for you and me to use." And there you have it, 'nuf said.

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Day of Chaos, I Mean- School

Our first day of school was, in a word- disastrous.  Oh, all the shopping was done, bags were packed well in advance, and the schedules were checked twice. See, we were out of town for a week and we got back home the night before the big day. Which would have been fine, except our basement flooded while we were gone. (Luckily, friends and neighbors moved our furniture and dried out the carpet. ) Our furniture was piled up in the living room, and the kids had to step lively to reach their rooms without tipping over a fan or stepping on tack strip.

On the morning of the Big Day, one kid broke a glass pitcher and got glass shards in her hand, the other wet the bed, breakfast took an inordinate amount of time, and the camera had a dead battery.  On top of that, things were hard to find in all the chaos that was our house. We were running dangerously late- and on the first day!

I was struggling to clean up all the messes and pack lunches while my new husband slept in. He usually has to get up at about 5:30, but not that day- so I was faced with a dilemma: should I get him up and ask him to help me, or do I blaze through it myself, like I so usually do? I really struggled with this one, because the kids in question are my kids, not ours and he never gets to sleep in. (His kids were not home) I finally had to cave and ask for help, but not without guilt.

Course, I waited too longto cry uncle. I had to hustle, and drove the kids to school and parked in a muddy puddle to run them in. I was so flustered that I got one kid to her class room after the bell rang, and took off with her bag of supplies! 

Interesting, isn't it? I spent years doing the single mom routine, wishing at times that I had someone to help me. Now that I got 'im, I feel bad asking for that help. I guess since I've done it alone for so long I think everyone expects me to keep that up. Weird.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dream Wedding on the Beach

Please excuse me while I gush like a school girl, but I married the most perfect guy (for me) in the most perfect wedding ceremony. I can't help feeling like the luckiest girl on earth.

A little history: I became a single mom in 2003, at the tender age of 28. I'm not exactly sure when it dawned on me, but I discovered that this meant I could get married all over again- and this time it would be on my terms.

Oh, the first wedding was ok. There was food, dancing and lots of people that I didn't really know. Being that I was only 20, and had no event planning experience and was quite hopelessly clueless, I left most of the details in my mom's hands, who passed them off to a wedding planner. I only cared about a few of these details, and my vote was quickly vetoed by the matrons in charge. It turned out, the wedding went nothing like I had envisioned, but my then-husband and I mused that simply meant we were headed for the perfect marriage. It's the law of averages or something. (Turns out that rule didn't apply to us... oh, well.)

Image my giddiness when I realized that I could do it all over again, only this time better... waaaay better. Next time, I decided, would be on a faraway beach: just me, my dream man, and any kids we may have collected. Weddings always seem to come with a heavy dose of drama involving who was invited and who wasn't, who has to sit next to each other and who can't afford to come. I wanted none of that. I didn't want to pour over stationary, flowers, menus or bridesmaid dresses. I just wanted to escape to a tropical paradise.

Well, I found my dream guy (times 100), and the wedding on the beach went off just the way I had invisioned it for years. I guess dreams can come true...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alrighty Then...

My fiance and I are getting married on the beach in Mexico, with only our kids in attendance. We went to great lengths to create an intimate setting, and to help the kids feel involved in this major life change. So, the other day my daughter and I were discussing my upcoming wedding plans. She turned to me and said "Next year, on our anniversary we should go to Paris!" Well, I guess the kids feel included...lemme figure out if this is a good thing.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Footloose and Fancy Free

This Independence Day, not only should you celebrate our great country, but your own independence. You may not feel like it's worth a celebration, but as a divorcee you're free from the bonds of a dysfunctional marriage. No longer do you have to justify how you spend your money or time to someone else. When I was married to the wrong person, I felt like I was under a microscope all the time. My taste, parenting style, spending habits and personality traits were always under scrutiny. I wasn't happy to get divorced, but I have since thoroughly enjoyed the immense freedom that comes with it. Free to spend my money, free to choose where I work, live shop and play. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong- marriage can be a good thing...with the right person. I'm planning to tie the knot with just that person in a few days. I knew he was right for me because he fully understands what freedom means to me.  I found someone who values my dreams and goals and doesn't get in the way of me achieving them. So, even though I will be single for not much longer, I celebrate my freedom, and you should too. Celebrate the strong person you are, and all that is yet to come. Celebrate your new life of independence. Remember- this is your opportunity to reinvent yourself.

For more on creating your new life after divorce, check out: Moving On After Divorce