Category Archives: steppers

Mother’s Day

Nine made me a Mother’s Day card this year in school. It’s AMAZING. it’s also my first ever nod from the little dudes on a Mother’s Day. And it felt more than amazing. It felt like crying, and it felt like ratcheting down those tears so sweet Nine didn’t think he’d done something wrong.


Step-parenting is a really weird thing. In my situation, I’m doing all the things a mom would do – the homework checks, the dinner prep, the hugs and kisses, the love, the reprimands, the ferry service, the career day at school, the ball games, finding summer camps, talking over problems with other kids, the chats over meals – but they HAVE a perfectly wonderful ACTUAL mom, so as much as I also love and care for these kids, well. There’s not usually a Mother’s Day for me.

And you know?

That’s totally fine with me. I know these dudes love me. I don’t need a Hallmark holiday contributing to the fetishization of the mom to appreciate what I do – maybe because, as a step-parent, I CHOSE this level of engagement. I decided to be this kind of person in their lives. And I went into it expecting it to be outside of the traditional recognition categories. Traditionally there’s usually evil stepmoms, you know? There’s no holiday for that.

But when the sweetest Nine you know gives you a card that he made in school, which means he was thinking about you when you’re apart, and which says sweet things inside – holy cow. I squeed in the quietest, coolest way possible.

But guys! I got a Mother’s Day card!


Spring sports


Spring sports officially started today. Nine had his first baseball practice and Thirteen had lacrosse. It was COLD. 30 deg F or less and snowing intermittently. I wore my snow skirt and chattered on the sidelines. Total besters move, though, was bringing them hot chocolate for after the practice.

I tell you, though – the hardest part about modern parenting seems to be squeezing it all in. Baseball is at 5 PM and lacrosse is at 5:15. Thankfully Thirteen is old enough to be left alone at the field, but the very real complication of having to get from work 45 miles away by car (me) or 2 hrs on a train (mike) every single day of the week to a sports practice by 5p – when most of my colleagues are still plugging away – remains. We will have to rely heavily on the Grammy brigade, I believe.

number 5 in #35to36

Open Letter to my Little Dudes


Dear Little Dudes,

Thirteen, remember how yesterday someone asked me if you were my son? I am writing this letter to let you and your brother know that in my head, I faced the always-there questions: will this new person ever find out that I’m lying if I just say: “yes?” will this get back to the rest of your family? will someone catch me if I claim you as my own?

I’m not sure if you two have noticed – especially because for so many years you have been so gleeful to tell people that I’m NOT your mother, and perhaps because I’m so quick to say “but you two HAVE a mother,” – but I am constantly weighing the pros and cons of just saying “Yes, this IS my son.” And it’s not out of any kind of creepy acquisition or or baby-stealing desire, I promise. Out of respect for you and for your mom, of course I will keep calling you my stepsons. It’s just… I’m so tired of the term “step” being so loaded. I don’t want you to think that love you any less than I do, or even less than I possibly could. Stepson is not a less-than proposition. You are my only sons, my lovely and infuriating and charming sons. It’s just that – you ARE my stepsons. That’s the way this family was built. And in a world of labels and buckets, where it seems like everyone must fit in just so or risk tearing the fabric of society irreparably, well. I’m forever reduced to expediency, honesty, and respect, and I have to tell people you’re my stepson.

Thirteen, after you and I got home last night there was nothing better in the world than sitting on the loveseat next to you and prepping for your next big math project (due next tuesday) while you sawed on a harmonica like a politely surly hobo. Nine, having you sit across the room on the couch fiercely creating things in minecraft while your dad looked up hedgehog videos on his phone – I’m hard put to describe a better fifteen minutes of family bliss.

So, look: you both delight me. I am devoted to your success and happiness. I brag on you and bite my tongue so as not to be boring to other people who aren’t as interested in you as I am. I’m sorry that there are so many evil stepmonster stories out there and they all make “stepson” feel like such a sad term. I am so proud of my stepsons. And honestly, I’m not worried that you aren’t aware of how much I love and care for you. I think we do a pretty good job of telling each other how we feel. But sometimes I want to make the world understand that too. You two are amazing, and interesting, and sometimes intolerable. You’re my kids. My stepkids, but — That’s not less than anything. It’s all of everything.


Your horribly embarrassing stepmonster.

PS: I am writing this as an open letter so you never have to read it or hear it from me, and if you do read it, you can pretend it never happened. BUT IT’S ALL TRUE. LOVE YOU, PEACHES.

Sappiest post yet for number 4: #35to36

When New Friends leads to Better Blogging

Maybe you’re a new friend, and you’re here from my story about NOT changing my last name – which was published this morning over at A Practical Wedding?


I feel like I should clarify a couple of things. It’s kind of embarrassing when you send a sweetly written piece about something you really care about into the world, and when the world looks back and says “OH HI” your blog is just this side of stagnant! So, here’s an abbreviated about me in case you want to stick around and see what happens.

1. I really want to offer an alternative to the evil stepmonster/evil biomom narrative that you find if you look for stories about step-parenting. Did you know that most of the “mommy bloggers” I read are actually adoptive parents? because they ACTUALLY ESPOUSE the apparently CONTROVERSIAL BELIEF that you can love children that aren’t yours biologically?

2. I’m so super lucky in the stepkids department. SO super lucky. These sweet boys didn’t know any better when they met me, because their parents hadn’t dated other people seriously before they met me. They never got to understand that sometimes adults just bail. They never thought that someone their dad brought home might not choose to stay. They never figured out that some grownups don’t like kids the way all the other grownups in their lives do – with full-on love, full responsibility, and full pride. I got to walk on in, gain their friendship and trust, and they believed that I was going to love them and take care of them like every other grownup in their lives does. I am so super lucky.

3. I’m not the most regular at the blogging thing, though I have been in the past. I am not the most TARGETED at the blogging thing, either. Stick with me and you’ll get stories about my steppers, stories about my job, stories about my motorcycle, and stories about all the food I eat. (OCCASIONALLY you’ll get a story about a craft I finish – but that so rarely happens, don’t hold your breath.) I’m a renaissance woman. But without a wimple.


OH MY GOSH I have the best idea. I need to do a EVERY DAY I WILL BLOG deal, up until my birthday at least, which is next month. WHICH IS 35 DAYS. until I turn 36. IT’S PERFECT. Anyone want to join me? #35to36. See how easy social media is? ha!

Super good parenting advice

If you are a knitter, you probably already read The Yarn Harlot.

If had to give a quick list to someone going into parenting teens, it would be to remember this: A) SHUT UP.  B) Don’t take the bait. C) Don’t take it personally. D) You are probably too pretty for prison. Walk it off.

If you’re a not knitter and not already reading The Yarn Harlot but sorta like looking at pictures of knitting, you may want to add her to your blog feeds.

Thirteen is causing me to EXACTLY need this list right now. He is so charming and wonderful and then he flips directly into FULL ON ARGUMENT where if I say something is white he says it’s black, if I say it’s up he says it’s down, when I say he is Thirteen he makes up an entirely new and actually untruething just to pick a fight. It’s horrible. So far I only last for about 3 minutes before I am pulling out the STERN VOICE and GLARING AT HIM THROUGH MY BUSHY GRAMPA EYEBROWS and USING CUSS WORDS FOR EMPHASIS. Which is exactly what he wants, because then he gets to put on a full body “nobody loves me” suit and wear his “everyone picks on me” hat and snit on out of the room.

And I’m fairly certain that as soon as I learn to deal with this tactic of his he will switch strategies and find an entirely new way of interacting that will make me question my actual capabilities to be The Adult.

Luckily he is also charming, adorables, sweet, and really fun to be around.

Luckily, I am too.


A Practical Wedding Post

Did I ever mention (of course I didn’t) that I wrote a piece about our convoluted wedding planning, and it was published on what is possibly the only wedding blog any newly engaged (or long time engaged or old married) person should ever read? That website being A Practical Wedding?

I did, it’s here.

I’ve been with my sweetheart for over four years now, and our first few months were a whirlwind of “How did we ever find each other on the Internet;” “Thank goodness you have a lease, or we’d be moving in together way too quickly;” and “Oh gosh I hope his kids love me.” Since we met I have learned to ride a motorcycle, determined how to ask for what I need from my partner as we share the household responsibilities, and figured out a way to make a blended family without feeling threatened by former spouses or the fact that I moved to a small town with everyone else ever formerly and currently involved in my partner’s life. We negotiated a refinance of our big old house, made a budget together, and put together a list of short-term and long-term financial goals. It all sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? The subtext for all of this is, however, how over the last four years I’ve learned how to love the idea of Marriage.

Is it weird to quote yourself? I think it’s kind of weird.



Now that we’re home and officially married instead of just informally and semi-secretly all partnered up, I can’t help but tell people who ask “how does it feel to be a married lady?” that it’s exactly the same as being a living-in-sin lady—although if I’m honest with myself, it’s not exactly the same. Mike and I are exactly as we were. Our relationship didn’t change, we were fully committed to a partnership before the Judge and the State of New York approved of our union. But as much as I have been skeptical of what a legal marriage would bring to our relationship, it turns out that our community really does factor into it. I was surprised and humbled by the well wishes we received from our friends, family, and colleagues. Even though we’ve been warned that when the wedding and the marriage are decoupled like this, odds are we won’t ever get around to having a big celebration party later, I am even more sure that inviting our community to celebrate with us and mark this occasion will be a tremendously important part of our relationship and our family history. Wish us luck as we plan our celebration party to be as beautiful and loving as our life together, while staying, most romantically, below the cost of two mortgage payments.

Read all the inbetweens!



I made a field visit to my big project job site this morning. I didn’t do a field walk today but took this picture a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to impress Thirteen with my awesome job. He was just moderately interested. My sweetheart, on the other hand, showed off the picture to his coworkers saying “hey! Look! It’s my wife!” apparently responses were split between “what does she do?” and “no, it’s half of your wife.”

Homework Monster

Lately I am the homework monster. Mike’s “new” job has a long commute and a lot of afternoon meetings, so frequently I am picking up the boys after work, bringing them to my house, making dinner and checking their homework. Then Mike rolls in at 7:30 and I give him a kiss on the cheek and serve him dinner. (for the record, then he cleans ALL THE KITCHEN after the boys are to bed and I climb under my own covers with a glass of wine and a good novel.)

photo Nine is, well, NINE. he is not interested in doing homework. He gets it out at his sitters after school and does it to about 95% completion. I’ve been making a point this year to check his homework whenever he’s at our house, and make sure that his answers are correct and he’s done everything he’s supposed to do.



photo Thirteen is, well, THIRTEEN. and he REALLY doesn’t want us to butt in to his schedule and so for now, we are letting him check his own work. If his grades change then that’ll change too. We bought him a new planner and showed him how we get notifications from his teachers if he misses a homework assignment. He knows the plan and hunkers down to work as soon as we get into the house.

This week I spent nearly 2 hours with Nine going over homework. He’d left his homework packet at our house on Thursday morning, so he couldn’t hand in homework that was due on Thursday, Friday, or Monday. He didn’t tell his mom or his babysitter about it, and he passed it off to his teacher as a “dad’s house/mom’s house” issue. So he got a big talk. He had to finish all the homework he would have had to complete last week – a math worksheet, some reading, and a book report – and then we talked about all the homework he hadn’t gotten done the week before, how leaving homework at our house is NOT an excuse because hey: your mom and dad talk, kiddo, a lot, and how he needs to be more responsible for his own homework.

(This is all really crazy for me because I never did homework when I was a little kid. Don’t tell Nine.)

It turns out I’m the homework heavy. I’ve been talking to Mike all summer about Thirteen, and how to help him succeed at school. I totally laid down the law for Nine this week. Thankfully Mike backs me up, and the boys’ mom agrees too. But I just never thought I’d be the one enforcing this stuff for these little dudes, and I certainly didn’t expect it to take as much time as it does.  HOLY COW DOES IT TAKE A LOT OF TIME.


I wrote in April about how much parenting I take on with the little dudes, and you know, I’ve been doing about the same level of engagement for a few years now. But no matter what happens I have a very little insecure stepmonster deep inside who manages to derail me frequently with whispers of “who ARE you, anyway, to force your value system on these children? They’re not even yours.” UGH. torturecakes. What a nasty little voice.

And you know, it’s KIND OF true. They’re not biologically *my kids.* They are, however, the kids I’ve got and the kids I’m caring for. So I have to remind myself to shut UP that insecure stepmonster voice. Kids LOVE structure. Kids LOVE having reasonable expectations placed on them, because kids also LOVE success and accomplishment, and with reasonable expectations there are endless opportunities for success and accomplishment.

Just by knowing me and seeing me as frequently as they do, the little dudes will pick up on my value system. If I chain-smoked and drank with breakfast and cussed all the time, they would notice that. If I went to church 5x a week and prayed before meals, they would notice that. I’m a reasonable person with very reasonable expectations: do your very best in school. No iPhones at the dinner table. We will all eat together for dinner. Eat vegetables every day. Read a book every now and then. Pretty easy stuff, right?

Things we made

Mike and I made two things in the month of August.

First – a chuck wagon! For camping! It came out great and was so marvelous at the beach. It DID require about a zillion screws placed every 3 inches. But totally worth it.


Then we made a wedding. I KNOW! We planned it in 2 weeks and had a great time getting hitched at the courtroom with our parents and the boys in attendance.


And right after we married each other, we loaded up the chuck wagon and headed to the beach for our regularly scheduled camping trip.


I have a really good life, y’all.

How much parenting does a steppers DO, anyway?

Y’all, it’s NICE to read about insta-families. This post from a young soon-to-be stepmom totally made my morning – you know, there are a lot of mommy blogs. There are a a lot of stepmonster blogs. But there’s not a lot of blogs of happy blended families. It’s almost like everyone buys that terrible line “you don’t know true love until you have your own baby.” As both a stepchild and a stepparent, I reject this entirely. (Is it any wonder that I read a bunch of adoptive parent blogs? I mean, they know it’s possible to love another persons biological kid.)

After I met the kids a whole 3 1/2 years ago, I still had another six months to go before moving in. At that time Mike was working at home and able to manage most of the stuff for the kids. I was dealing with regular working-outside-of-the-area issues, like how do I manage to get to a third grade recorder concert when it’s at TWELVE NOON?! We did ok. I managed to make it to important things and we made it an important ritual to eat dinner together at the table when we have the kids over. and no bathroom talk allowed while eating.


In general, though, Mike had tried to shield me from the general parenting responsibilities for a long time – partly because he hates that dads get such a bad reputation as actual full-time PARENTS. I wonder if it was also partly that he didn’t want to put too much responsibility on me in case I didn’t want it after all. It was resolved through both discussion and necessity: we had a couple of conversations where I was insisting I wanted to help him with the boys more so we could have better times together as a family. Plus, as the kids got older and had more friends-activities to do that were sometimes in conflict,  it was natural for me to start to bring them to birthday parties, help them with homework, and take them to scouts (or staying home with the littler one on scouts nights).

Two years ago Mike’s schedule changed from working at home to working in an office two hours away from our home. I HAD to pitch in more, and he HAD to let me. We wouldn’t have been able to spend so much time with the boys otherwise. And that was what was important: that we continue to build our insta-family, and that we make sure we were supporting the boys.

The first month at Mike’s new job he got a free pass: he was a wreck! He was exhausted and his schedule was a disaster scene. It was trial by fire for me. I ended up pitching in much more than I had previously – with his new four-hour-a-day commute, I was working in my office (which is 45min away from our home), picking up dinner stuff during the day, leaving early and driving home to get the kids from after-school, making dinner, and hopefully getting it on the table by the time Mike got home after HIS dash home from work. Then in the mornings I would drop the boys off at their Mom’s house so they could catch the bus to school.

After that first month *I* was a wreck and I told Mike we had to figure this out more equally – and he started to work from home one day a week so he could wrangle the kids and the dinner half the time.


True story: I still don’t know how to respond when people say “well, he should do that because they’re HIS kids, not yours.” Well, yes. That is totally  biologically true. But when I committed to partner up with my sweetheart I was also partnering up with his kids. If we aren’t acting as a team we aren’t getting things done the right way. If we are wasting time keeping track of who is responsible for what and letting each other get overwhelmed and overloaded, we don’t have extra time for fun and fist bumps and motorcycling and smooching.

So now the general way things work is this: I pick the boys up and work with them on dinner on half of the nights we have them. Homework is fair game for whichever grown-up is around to help. Mike reads the bedtime story, but we both tuck in and kiss. If Mike is away I read the story too – you really CAN’T miss a bedtime story. Wake-ups are also about half time. (Honestly though, Mike is preferred, because he does a really hilarious grouchy Elmo puppet-routine and I am incorrigibly cheerful in the mornings.)

Last week Mike started a new job so I managed morning wake-ups, breakfast, and off-to-schools on the two mornings they woke at our house plus pickups after school when they were coming over. We don’t know how our roles and responsibilities will shake down as he gets used to his new employer – hopefully he’ll be able to schedule a work-at-home day on the Wednesdays we’ve always got the kids, but it’s still early steps.


The key is, though: it all kind of *works.* It works for us and it works for the kids. This weekend I went with Twelve to his scout candy sale. It wasn’t even our weekend with the kids, but their mom had a bunch of errands and Mike had volunteer fire department stuff to do, so I stood around for two hours while Twelve sold candy bars at a local sporting goods store. Then we had Taco Bell together and I dropped him off again at his mom’s. Last week Twelve and I went through a paragraph-by-paragraph revision of his paper on the Erie Canal (one of my secret areas of expertise, to his chagrin). Mike was sitting right there, but he asked me to do it because he knows one of my secret super powers is “sharing information with others in a written format.”

I’m thankful that we’re pulling together as a team, that we’re organizing our schedules and we’re making fun family time a priority over the whole “whose responsibility is it” game. I want to have a family with these two little dudes and their dad, and I’m thankful that everyone else is working with me to make this happen. Most importantly, I want these little dudes to know that I love them very much, that they are important to me, and that they can count on me to support them.

Strange footprints


I found some strange tracks near my car this morning. The Internet tells me they are squirrel: five fingers in the back, four in the front.

As I took this photo Twelve was walking down to the bus stop and asked me what I was photoing… When I told him “crazy footprints” he didn’t even want to look, and shrugged his way down the driveway leaving the impression that he’d only asked me because, clearly, he is Twelve. Duh.

Day hikes

We coerced the boys into a 3-mile hike today. Those guys are so frustrating! They were adamantly opposed to hiking today – Twelve looked like he was on the verge of tears for the hour of coercion, executive decisions, and prep he had to endure. And as soon as we hit the trail he made up this brilliant walking form of Minecraft-meets-dungeons-and-dragons that fully occupied Twelve and Eight for the first 2 1/2 miles if our walk.

Wouldn’t you know it: 10 min into the walk Twelve said “I like going on hikes like this together. We should do this more!”

Mike and I nearly rolled off the mountain. Unfortunately I couldn’t get him to repeat that statement into my voice recorder.

It turns out that the hardest thing about parenting is probably the constant feeling that you are doing it wrong. either society tells us this, or we are too hard on ourselves, or the kids say so. Luckily if you push through this awful sneaking sensation the odds are you’ll have a potentially frustrating yet rewarding moment of zen in the woods, where the kids decide they are having the time of their lives. And if you can avoid a hard-hitting “told you so!” those moments are so worth it.

I’m blogging a photo a day for the month of February. You should too! #29in29

It’s not bowling alone, really.


Last weekend I accompanied Eight to a birthday party of one of his classmates. It was at a bowling alley, and the other mom’s (no dads this time) sat at tables at the back of the room. Mike had a bunch of stuff to do at home in order to finish up his dad’s birthday present (and I had just cranked mine out that morning), so I offered to take the little chipmunk.

And! it was a little weird. but then it always is, right? when you show up with “someone elses” kid? and you don’t know any of the parents, and they’re already sitting down at tables for 3 or 4 with no room to buttinsky and introduce yourself?

So I sat right next to them, smiled a lot, and knit away, fiercely, on my latest hat. I mean, already I was sticking out as the new person. And to top it off I was wearing – as I typically do – a short skirt, knee socks, and my converse with pirate shoelaces. I find myself knitting in public and hoping that this tiny thing is what will make me seem a little less cool (because obviously I am ultra cool, with my short skirts and knee socks and lack of mom-pants and branded sweatshirts) and a little more approachable.

At football practice I’ve noticed that the way parents get to know one another is you show up a few times and then you just start talking to each other (or even eavesdropping and then joining their conversations) on the bleachers as if you’ve been formally introduced, or actually gone to the effort to meet one-another. But at the birthday parties, they all seem to know each other.

And I’m the STEPPERS. I don’t get to go to parent-teacher night. I don’t get to do the early-dismissal pick-up line. I don’t get to join the PTA.  I am not even the normal regular person who brings Eight to birthday parties. So how the heck does one even make friends with the other parents? Or even get the chance to find out if one wants to?


Eight told me on the way home that he told the other kids I am his mom. He does this, see, because it’s EASIER. No reflection on his ACTUAL mom, none at all. plus, then he gets to be the center of attention if any of his friends call him on it. I don’t blame him – man! what a mouthful! I’ve been there myself! – but of course I said “oh, I told all the other parents I’m your stepmom!” and he and I had a good laugh imagining the kids and parents comparing stories about us after the party.

“cause, you know, he founded America.”

Last night Twelve and I were sitting in the living room, illuminated only by the glow of our respective laptops. Which, of course, is the perfect time to share a heartfelt conversation.

Twelve: So what are you doing tomorrow?
Me: oh, I have to work. I don’t get the day off. So I’m going in to the office.
Twelve: what?! that sucks! it’s a HOLIDAY!
Me: yeah, it sucks that I’m going to miss time with you and Eight and your Dad, but you know, it’s not really an important holiday.
Twelve: of course it is! Columbus FOUNDED AMERICA!
Me: [boggling. playing it cool.] What? no he didn’t! he wasn’t even an American! he was some Italian guy! And there were people here already! And he wasn’t a founding father!
Twelve: he TOTALLY founded America.
Me: Ok, ok – when did Columbus “discover” America?
Twelve: um, I don’t know. 1900-something?
Me: [oh crap] 1492. Ok, so when was America founded?
Twelve: [starting to check out, because CLEARLY he should have known this.] I don’t know.
Me: 1776.
Twelve: [sticking to guns!] but he totally founded America.
Me: Dude. That was almost 300 years later. And we fought the English, not the Italians or the Spanish!
Twelve: …..
Me: Look, he didn’t even NAME America! it was named after Amerigo Vespuchi! [secret furious googling] And that was by a GERMAN DUDE, who made maps, and just wrote it on there! In the 1500s! AFTER 1492!
Twelve: whatever! He founded America!
Me: Dude, do you know what Columbus did when he got here? he gave the Native Americans, who, you know, were here already – he gave them these blankets that were full of small pox germs and then THEY ALL DIED. [gross simplification designed wake up the checking-out Twelve.] He wasn’t even into democracy, he was a crazy genocidal authoritarian maniac!
Twelve: Whatever.

Yeah, whatever, Twelve. My boy, Columbus may have founded ‘MURRIKA. but definitely not America.

(Also, I am pretty sure I need to spend more time with Twelve talking about history. OH GRACIOUS LORDY ME.)

Working from Home

Normally Mike will work from home on Wednesdays so he can manage the boys in the late afternoon one day a week. We have an alternating schedule – they are either at our house on Monday-Wednesday-Friday nights for an overnight or they are here for the Wednesday. I can get them a couple of times a week but on weeks when we have them 3x it was becoming disruptive to my job to have to jump up and leave at 4:30 every other day. We schedule all kinds of awkward stuff for Mike to manage when he’s at home, for example our every-two-weeks cleaners come on Wednesdays too.

But today he had to go into NYC for an all-hands work-activity, so I am working from home so I can let the cleaners in and get the boys at around 5PM. He gets home around 630, when we have the little dudes.

And I’m shifting floors to stay out of the way of the cleaner – she did the upstairs bathroom and I worked in the dining room, and now she’s doing the downstairs bathroom, kitchen-dining-room-living-room combo and I’m hiding in the upstairs library.

Book is also hiding:




He is awfully handsome, isn’t he? We think he may be a French Chartreux. Mike’s mom saw a television program about them and told me all about it. It fits – he has the tiniest meow, and he’s a fabulous hunter.

I Love To Do Dishes is back stateside, and I believe she’s figuring out her next steps and living arrangements – so poor melancholy Book, don’t worry. Your Human will come and fetch you soon. Sometime.

Tip Grundzilla goes to the circus


It’s intermission at the big apple circus and the show is just BRILLIANT. Totally silly, and I don’t know who is laughing harder: Mike or Twelve!

Strange Brew and Easter Bunnies

Mister Seven and I are at home tonight while Mike and Twelve are at scouts. I asked Seven what he wanted to do tonight and he chose watching Strange Brew until bedtime.


And what could go better with a movie than a chocolate bunny from Easter? (you have no idea how hard it was to not eat the bunnies.)

(and also, both Seven and Twelve love Strange Brew! It’s one of the most hilarious things about them.)

Boy scouts and dirty dishes

I took Eleven to scouts today and we quite literally ran out the door. He was still getting his uniform on when we drove over, and we got there 15 min late. Of course, he and I spent so much time reviewing his math homework that when Mike got in from the train he had to make dinner instead of sitting smoothly down to eat. We were too busy with the high points of unit conversion.

So Eleven and I drove off with the undercarriage of my car flapping merrily along and Seven and Mike built an airplane and when I got home the dinner dishes were still on the table. Of course the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, so I am just going to bed.

But it was so clean in here! Just yesterday! Huge sigh.

Erik loves Lukes drawing

So extra cute: Luke drew Erik a picture and he loves it. Kelly put it in a frame so he can look at it as she rocks him before bed. Love!

Meeting the Kids

One of the things that I liked best about my partner was how he immediately jumped to very cute conclusions on our third date and said in a moment of non-smooching: “You’re not meeting the kids for at least six months.” I think my response was something a long the lines of: “that’s for damn sure!” I hate to sound smug and loverly but we clicked right away, and we tried as hard as we could to drag our heels to prolong the inevitability of shacking up and living blissfully together forever-after. And the kids thing was a big deal.

For sure, I was immediately concerned with protecting the kids. Part of that is my own damage – I didn’t want any poor innocent to be visited upon by the future specter of The Classic Abandonment Complex, you know? At least not at my hands. So no matter what my partner said, I wouldn’t have met them until I was rock-solid sure that we were going to work out. It’s not like that for everyone, many people are sure right away, and many kids are used to meeting new people, and they are used to their parents having friends who might be romantical. My friendly receptionist at work thought it was insane to wait for so long. She thought that if my partner was really committing to me, he would immediately share his children with me, and not keep that part of his life separated. but it wasn’t about ME, so I didn’t think that would be appropriate. And it was more valuable to me to recognize that he was serious about making sure his little dudes weren’t negatively impacted by any new ladies – serious enough to inconvenience us all as we tried to accommodate his full child-time schedule around our full getting-to-know-one-another schedule.

It was important, though, that we had a timeframe and a plan. We started seeing each other in March. In September, my partner decided to have a housewarming party and invited an awkward-for-me mix of his local friends, consisting mainly of his ex’s cousins and second cousins. Also the boys were there, but there were enough “new faces” that I don’t think they clued in to my specialness.

And then a month later we managed to plan a family-type trip to the local pumpkin patch, and we had a nice time picking out pumpkins and trying out the hay maze, and carving pumpkins.


From there we moved on to other carefully planned events, like hiking up to Sam’s Point

and going to local museums together.

Eventually the boys got more used to me. There wasn’t any serious conversations ala Boys, Kari is my new GIRLFRIEND and you need to be nice to her, which I think had as much to do with the fact that I was the first new lady to be brought around as anything else. I really lucked out, y’all: this was no-drama because I hadn’t been preceded by any drama. The kids had just gotten used to their dad having a new house, and not living with their mom any more. They hadn’t had to meet any Baronesses with plans to send them to boarding school. I was non-threatening, I didn’t start bossing them around, and to be honest I don’t think that their dad and I kissed around them for an exceptionally long time. Plus their mother had a “friend” start to hang around at the same time, so there wasn’t really a chance for split-loyalties.

And now the kids and I have these crazy conversations. We can’t believe that we’ve known each other for so long. I will run through the timeline with them: Your dad bought this house three years ago this month. I didn’t meet him until a month after that. I didn’t meet YOU for another seven months. Can you believe it? it seems so long ago! How crazy that we haven’t always known each other.

If you’ve got little snickerdoodles, how long did you wait before meeting them?