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the unconventional mother…

It has been a while since my last post. I wish I had a wonderful excuse. Sadly, I do not.

I have been busy, but not overly so.

Maybe it is the heat.  It has been in the 100s most of this week. We have all moved a little more sluggishly than normal.

Our upcoming trip to Vermont has me distracted with excitement. I have missed my family madly and my  two oldest children even more. They will spend the summer out here, in the Midwest, and are looking forward to all of the fun things we have planned. I am looking most forward to seeing their beautiful faces every day, and getting to hug them as many times as I can in the seven weeks they will be here.

When I got married at a young age, and had children, I never thought I would be added to the statistic of the “divorced“. I had dreams and hopes of raising my children in a loving family. Unfortunately this was not to be. Divorce is never a pretty thing, but mine was especially ugly, and after many a battle, we were left torn apart. Not only as a family but also as individuals. My children have always been absolutely wonderful in every sense. They have been through many changes, and somehow always smile through it all. They are brilliantly smart, artistic and well rounded. I could not have asked for more.

I met the wonderful man I am with today, while going through my emotionally and physically draining divorce, and we were blessed with a beautiful little boy.

A second chance at a family. It has never been conventional. Time share between homes for my oldest  was not always easy, but we were making it work.

And then two years ago an extremely sad event hit us all like a ton of bricks. My husband’s brother took his own life, and left us all devastated. Since his family was out here, 1700 miles from where we were at the time, we were faced with a very life changing decision.  His parents needed him near them during what was surely the hardest year any of them had ever faced. We decided to move to be closer to them for a few years, until we could figure out a better solution for everyone.

As I mentioned my divorce was a very ugly one. My Ex made the kind of money that afforded him a damn good lawyer. And since I had been a stay at home mother, I was basically on my own. Even though my children were my life, and I was the best mother I could be, a judge thought that my Ex was entitled to primary custody. His lawyer put a up a good fight, one that I, alone with no one to help me fight, did not stand a chance against. (I have always felt it came down to money, and the fact that the Judge and Lawyer were “friends” – that is another story for another day). Of course there is much more to this drawn out event in my life, but I have always struggled with the views of others regarding this matter. Because they assume that I MUST have done something to not get full custody. This is not the case.I guess in a way I have been labeled the Taboo Mother.

This was all six years ago. My children adapted much better than I. But we figured out a way to make it work.

I feel as if I am rambling, but wanted to give some background as to why my children did not move out west with us.

We talked about the move with our children for months before it happened. They were ok with what was going to happen. At the time I thought I would be ok, I knew that I would see them every few months. It is not nearly enough. Being a mother is something that has taught me so very much about love. About who I am as a person. I have learned that the only people who love you unconditionally, are the children you are blessed to bring into this world.

Life is rarely what we expect. There are surprises around every bend.

Right now, the twelve days I have to wait to see my babies, feels like a lifetime to me.

 

note: I changed the title of this post, because evidently “taboo mother” has a very alternative meaning from the one in which I was referring to. (go ahead, google it) 🙂 And I was getting a lot of search hits for this term, and very lewd comments….so a title change was called for.

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Posted by on pmpSun, 19 Jun 2011 14:36:52 +000036Sunday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Shag-a-delic

I always start my week with ambitious intentions. One being writing at least 4-5 posts a week. Well, we can all see how THAT is going.

We have yet to pick a country for our culinary travels for this week. (slacker) I guess we will be doing that this weekend. If I am done shagging by then, that is.

Instead of being focused on myself goals this week, I have spent it spring cleaning. And we all know how fun that can be with a 4 year old toting behind.

I spent more time picking up his attempt at helping, than I did actually getting anything done.

As a reward for his “help” I let him pick out something from Michael’s last night, while I picked up a few things I needed for a cake due tomorrow! It was 8:50, the store closes at 9:00. It was a mad dash, and an hour past my assistants bedtime. He goes in 12 hour cycles, and when the twelfth hour is upon us, look out. The other half of We decided to take Isaac to find the perfect reward, while I grabbed what I needed.

And guess what they chose? A shag, latch hook rug. SHAG. Hook. Rug. (and I quote the box: “Longer, plusher look!”) Not only is it shag, it is a rainbow swirl pattern. Lovely. All I could do was give the Big Guy a look. He smiled, and said “What, I loved these as a kid. We can all do it. It will be fun”. Mmmhmm. Right. Let me translate this for you; I will be doing all the shag hooking. (wow, does that sound as wrong to you as it does to me?)

The box claims the project to be:

 LIARS.

I had to purchase a latch hook tool. And that little gem is a giant pain in the @$$.

This is what I have done so far: (look how long and plush they look!)

At the rate I am going, I should be done by next month.

Isaac asked if he could help. Absolutely! He gave up within 5 seconds because he could not get the yarn wrapped around the hook tool. Poor guy. So I suggested he hand me the colors as I needed them. He seems content with that job. (and I am content not saying anything about the giant pile of yarn pieces now all over the floor, really – it looks like a rainbow threw up).

We took a break from our psychedelic rug making, and made some cupcakes. Because what I really need right now is a 4 year old tripped out on sugar to help me finish all that needs to get done today. (also I can use them as a bribe to get the Big Guy to help with the rug when he gets home)  Always stay one step ahead!

Vanilla Cupcakes, filled with chocolate orange ganache, topped with ganache buttercream.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on pmpThu, 12 May 2011 12:44:10 +000044Thursday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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three kids and a spider…

This is how brave I am.

Today there was a gigantic nickle sized jumping spider in the car. Instead of dealing with it like the adult I am, I squealed like a little girl and ran from the car. Leaving my 4 year old and his two cousins to fend for themselves. After taking a few deep breaths, I headed back to the car. At this point, I am sweating like I just ran a marathon, because I know that I am the only one who can get the spider out of the car. ME. Miss Arachnophobia. (if there was a pageant for this, I would surely win first place in all categories).  I stared at the children, they stared back. “Who is not afraid of spiders” I hear myself ask. Really? Really? I am asking these innocent wide eyed children to, god-forbid, touch a spider.

(Way to go super mom)

My nephew answers with “I’m not. I’m brave”. He is six. “Ok. here is a napkin” I said. And hand him a used napkin I found under the seat. He takes the napkin, and pushes it down into the cup holder the spider is now taking refuge in. “There”. Says my nephew. And then my son screams (louder than I did) and points to the other cup holder. The spider has jumped. Jumped! and is now in the other holder. All three children scream. (I think I may have screamed a little too.)

I decided that drastic measures were needed.

I ran into the house and grabbed a bottle of window cleaner and a clean, new, sturdier napkin, and rushed back to the car. I was now armed. The spider was still hunkered down, and did not see what was coming next.

I proceeded to spray half the bottle a few squirts of window cleaner, until it covered the helpless intruder. Who curled up in ball, on his back.

I said in my most victorious voice, “Yes! I got him”. And this is the point that I started to feel like the biggest jerk ever. Isaac started crying. “You hurt him”.

Uh-oh.

I had to think quick.

I told them that I did not hurt the spider, that it was just scared. (I know, pretty lame) I then, very, very bravely scooped the spider up with the napkin, and dropped  it onto the grass.

Isaac stopped crying, and smiled. “Now he can go back to his mom”, he said. I smiled, and nodded.

Gulp.

Poor spider.

Moral:

The next time I see an eight legged critter, I will wait until my husband gets home. He is much braver than I am, and will gladly pick it up with his BARE HAND, and let it go, unharmed. Back to it’s mom.

spider photo found on :

http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/2009/08/04/the-final-countdown-terrifying-giant-disgusting-critters-summer-television-blog-and-thirst-poster/

 
6 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 06 May 2011 19:55:43 +000055Friday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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it started with a fish…

and is now a mini zoo.

We have 5 pets. FIVE. I know that may not seem like a lot to some people, especially compared to the folks who are featured on Pet Hoarders, but it is. It all started simply enough with a beta fish. Who died and was replaced with our zen like aquatic friend, aka Rainbow, currently taking up residence on an end table.

Last April we decided we needed a more interactive pet. Preferably one that we could take with us on car trips and walks. We went to a local shelter and fell in love with a black and white fur ball. Izy. I thought all was good and balanced as far as our pet quota went.

Evidently I was mistaken.

Because for Christmas Isaac received a frog habitat. And really, what kind of mom would I be if I just left it empty, collecting dust in the corner of his room. So off we went to the pet store in search of a frog. We were now the proud new owners of a Green Tree frog. How very exciting. And once a week, we become the owners of a dozen store bought crickets. Feeding time is the highlight of McBoingBoing’s life. Its the only time he moves from his plastic tree stump.

Next enters the sweet lovable Lucy. Yup. Another dog. What? How did that happen? Because folks, I am sucker. A co-worker came home to find a pregnant stray at her house,and decided to keep her. Two weeks later,

7 puppies.

5 puppies had found good homes, she was keeping one, so that left the sad, lonely, soft, adorable Lucy. I agreed to meet with her, to see if she would be a good fit for our family. Really? Who was I kidding. It was a puppy. What wouldn’t fit? We now had dog number 2. Surely NOW everything was balanced, even slightly off balance. We had enough pets.

And then the Easter Bunny brought a hamster.

I know what your all thinking, this could have been prevented, for obvious reasons. But there was a reason, a good reason for pet number 5. I think I had been asked at least 100 times this year if we could get a hamster. My response was always the same, NO!  (Well, sometimes, I said maybe and used the “rodent card” as leverage to get things I wanted) The reason I thought it would be brilliant for EB to leave a furry friend, is this. About a month ago, a sassy little 9 year old (who shall remain anonymous) decided to tell my 4 year old that the Easter Bunny and Santa were not real, and that his father and I are liars. This brought my son to tears and for days he brought it up, asking me if I was sure they were real. He was crushed. (I was angry at the 9 year old).  And then I had a crazy brilliant idea. If on Easter morning, there was a hamster in Isaac’s basket, his faith would be restored. (He is 4, I want him to believe for as long as possible in this world where kids grow up WAY to fast) It worked. It was magical. He said “He is real, he is real”. And Elie the hamster fits right in with our family.

The one down side to all these critters is cleaning their poop, cages, and fish bowl. This past weekend after the “other half of WE” said “You know, the animals need to have their cages and bowl cleaned, and Lucy could use a bath”, I spent a good part of my morning doing just that. Because if I had left it up to him, I would have done it anyway. (he means well). I seriously considered scrubbing the frog’s lair with my man’s toothbrush. But instead, left all the dog poop for him to pick up.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on pmpThu, 05 May 2011 12:04:14 +000004Thursday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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the good, the bad and the eggy…

It’s that time of year. The grass is finally green again, trees are budding, flowers are starting to bloom. Spring is in the air. But what is that smell?

Ah yes, boiled eggs.

It is said that in medieval Europe, beautifully decorated eggs were given as gifts. I am guessing that back then, the smell blended in and no one took offense. Why this tradition started, I have no idea, but its something few of us can avoid during this vibrantly fragrant time of year.

(Yes this is all going somewhere).

Today we dyed eggs. I like to think that I have done my part to carry on the Easter funk tradition.

For most people, this may not seem like a big deal. And really it’s not. But in my house most projects turn into major events.

As a mother I have learned to take art projects of any kind done with my children, in stride. I am a bit of an control freak idealist when it comes to crafty undertakings. Countless times I have taken over one of my children’s projects. But as I have fine tuned my parenting skills, I have learned to let go of my ideals and what I think the outcome should be. Who cares if craft eyes are glued on where the mouth should be,  if they mix all the finger paints and make brown soup over the beautiful flower they just painted or that a “portrait” they are so proud of looks more like Sigmund the Sea Monster then me.

I have learned that the less I fret over them, the more fun we all have. And the outcome? Beautiful works of art that I will treasure forever.

So when my 4-year-old Picasso wanted to dye eggs today, I knew I needed to step back and let him do it HIS way.

The results:

Beautiful aren’t they? And all I did was boil the eggs and open the packets of dye.

 
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Posted by on pmpWed, 20 Apr 2011 13:10:13 +000010Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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let’s bake something…

…..(my baking adventure with a 4 year old foodie)

This afternoon my little chef in the making wanted to bake “something”. I asked him what he wanted to make.

“Brownies”.

Isaac loves to bake and cook. And at 4 years old knows more culinary terms than some adults I know. He is not just satisfied with stirring when he is assisting me, he has to be an active participant in all aspects of whatever it is that we are creating.  I knew a boxed mix  would just not cut it. The last time we made those, he deemed them “boring” because there was “not enough stuff to add”.  Hmmm….an easy recipe that wont take forever and not make a giant mess. (I have things to do today) I knew just what to do. I searched the shelf of my  beloved Bon Appetit magazines.

I found a recipe I had not tried yet. It seemed easy enough and would not take THAT long. (and it didn’t, after I rescued the magazine from behind the couch, it slipped off the top. I almost had a panic attack. My couch weighs a million and three pounds. I may be many things, but super woman is not one of them. Thankfully the ends of the couch recline, and I was able to shimmy my arm just far enough to reach the mag. Crisis diverted)

I had my assistant go wash his hands, while I preheated the oven and gathered our ingredients. While he was washing up, he “accidentally” spilled all the hand soap down the drain and all over the counter. (at this point we are already running about 30 mins behind MY schedule).  I head to the bathroom to clean up soap (I know seems redundant doesn’t it) and then I smell something burning. Hmmm that is weird, I have not even put anything in there yet. I open the oven to investigate said smell. And what do I find? A sheet pan with remnants of chicken from last night. (ugh I should have known) You see, my husband has a horrible habit of leaving things in the oven when he is done with them. (does anyone else have this problem) I often turn on the oven only to be met with a awful charred smell moments later. SO ANNOYING.(but to give him credit, he usually cleans the kitchen every night after dinner, even though he almost always forgets that small detail).

Ok…back to the recipe.

We finally got our brownies underway.

COCOA BROWNIES with BROWNED BUTTER

This recipe is from the February 2011 issue.  Alice Medrich who is a chocolate expert (what a wonderful thing to be an expert at!) created this recipe. I left out the nuts called for in this recipe. If you prefer nuts the original recipe calls for 1 cup of walnut pieces.

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces (I actually did not do this, I put them in the pan as is, minus wrapper of course)

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons water

2 large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (make sure there is nothing in the oven). Line 8×8 baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2 inch overhang. (give or take. I think i had way more then 2 inches of overhang). Coat foil with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 mins.

waiting patiently for butter to brown

FINALLY

browned butter

Remove from heat, pour into medium bowl. Immediately add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt. Stir to blend.

Let cool 5 minutes. Add eggs to mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny:

add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes (honestly we did not count how many strokes we made)

Transfer to prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. (a few moist crumbs attached) about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut and devour!

These are amazing. My new favorite brownie.  Even though it took longer then I wanted, so worth it! I got to spend quality time with one of my guys, and he had a blast. Nothing boring about these brownies!!!

And there is definitely NOTHING boring about this guy!!!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 08 Apr 2011 15:33:53 +000033Friday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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