Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthdays in a Blended World

As a Step Mo I have mastered the skill of biting my lip.  Step mothering and mothering in general is about continuously choosing my battles and negotiating relationships.  I believe with step families it is a tad bit more difficult at times because there are so many "extra people" loving the children.   I have always labeled all that extra love as a “good thing” of blended life. 

I’ve experienced a personal blip on our blended family life and it is a difficult one for me to process.  Birthdays and holidays are one of the more stressful items on the blended family agenda.  Negotiating all those “extra people loving the children” during these momentous occasions can be a challenge.  I have found it is usually best to smile and be gracious and kind.  I think I do that quite well.  I am a peace maker, rule follower by nature so it isn’t my wish to rob someone of their special moment to shine.  For example, we all packed into church this weekend to celebrate our daughter’s confirmation.  I was a proud and very teary Step Mo.  I love when our family makes or should I say shares “history.”  I like that we have been together for many of life’s special moments and it is certainly a joy to see our young Catholic girl become an adult in the church.  “We’ve got history, baby!” Is one of my favorite lines to the World’s Greatest Husband.

So here is the deal.... This week there is a birthday party for the entire class at the other house.  The party includes all children in the blender, which is progress.  All the girls in the class are invited to party and sleep over once the moon bounce, swimming and cake are done.  All except my daughter (who is not only in the family but in the class too!)  Maybe I am just a cranky Step Mo but having to explain to my heart broken little girl why she can’t stay and sleep over is making me a little nutty.  I must admit, she is a trooper, my daughter has handled this with style and grace publicly, but in her mother’s arms she has been all of what a hurt nine year old should be….mush.  I understand we all have limits and this is obviously one of those limits for the parties involved, I am trying to respect that but at the same time, I am not sure a 9 year old has the capacity to begin to understand.  In her mind this is simply her sister…..

To add salt to this wound… last’s nights phone call to say good night was all about calling the girlfriends to remind them of a date change for the sleep over…. Couldn’t that have happened at the other house? As to not call more attention to the fact that there will be one special guest missing….

It's not all cupcakes and ice cream in a blended life, I am going to work on this in my head so I can be that woman of grace and style that my daughter is so bravely being…. flexibility is the key to a sane and happy blended life.  I am being challenged on this one!
Have a great Back to Work Monday.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dear Santa - In 6 months I'll be 40!

Dear Santa,
In  6 months you will be arriving.  It will be a BIG Christmas as I will turn the BIG 4-0 on the eve of your big day!  I am looking forward to your arrival this year.  I like the when the mantel is all sparkly and the season of entertaining takes shape.  This year your arrival is sort of a turning point, and I've been meaning to make that LIST!  No, not your standard list of what I want or need, you know the deal, some pretty stationery, smelly stuff and a piece of jewelry usually do the trick.  No surprises there.   I am talking about the OMG your now 40 list! What have you accomplished? Are you the woman you want and need to be?  What are your children learning from your actions and words? The BIG LIST, the dreams are shifting, time is moving list, responsibilities continue to pile up and I am woman hear me roar (or cry) sort of list.  The mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend list.  Only I am a tad stuck.... there are a few things floating in my head....there are a few things I need to do.... there are a few things I dream of...  a few road blocks, a few opportunities and gosh, my body, sex drive and hair all keep changing!  Santa, I am going to work on my list. But I think I may address the next letter to Jesus, after all it is his birthday.  I will cc you. I imagine the list needs all the help I can get, do you have the address for the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? I'll be in touch soon! 
Paper Mom

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five for Friday

Five for Friday -
Five great things about today...
1. My kids come home! I've missed them.
2. All Star game tonight.
3.I am doing vlog research.  Soon you will see Paper Mom on your screen.  What Fun!
4. I started logging calories on my iphone app, Lose it.  I need to shed 10 more pounds... it's time to get serious.
5. Tomorrow we are celebrating our oldest daughters confirmation.  May God bless her.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guess where I went...

The Library!  I love going to the library for materials.  I encourage you to visit yours.  It’s free!  Free, free, free… it amazes me with each and every visit.  I love that I can take out a trillion books and thumb through, dive in or skim…. and then I bring them back and get more!  Here is my latest visit but I think I have 15 or so up in my bedroom.  I am not shy about checking out books.
Our children have been out of the house since Tuesday and two nights of pillow talk with the World’s Greatest Husband is wonderful treat.  We’ve stayed up late, late, late and that cracks me up… we usually fall into bed tired as can be at 10:30pm.  The kids leave and we are like two teenagers with their parents out of the house.  Of course we have been to practices, games and carpooling but our 9pm dinners for two with wine and yummies makes my summer sweet.

Shout out to my Paperly peeps!  Did you get your Summer of Stationery Mailing?  Well Guess what? Paperly just announced additional hostesss benefits for JULY!  It doesn’t get any better than that!  I hope you will consider hosting a party.  It is as much about gathering with family and friends as it is about quality, stylish papers. 
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

As I got up yesterday morning to get ready for work, they all slept.  The World’s Greatest Husband was at the gym, I actually took a shower, did my hair and put my make up on without interruption.  I kept thinking, “Mommy likes this.”  As they slowly emerged life became louder and as I drove to work (late as usual) I giggled to myself:  It may be summer, our schedule may have changed, but I still have plenty to blog about!

For example tonight, I need to be in several different places with several different kids at the same time.  Yes it is our summer schedule - but some things just don’t change.  I need pixie dust which may really just be Fish Eye Pinot Grigio in disguise…. Parenting five gets easier with a glass of wine.  Now, the World’s Greatest Husband and I are not big drinkers, but I found it to be hysterical that yesterday was his first day with the kids while I worked from 9am – 7pm.  He was in charge… when I woke up this morning I found a beer bottle on the ledge of our bathroom window!  The kids drove a non drinker to drink! The poor man was literally outside reorganizing our pool house at 10:30 last night and I imagine he brought in a cold one to enjoy as he came up to shower (the beer is left over from a Christmas party - - - I am not kidding!) I must admit it made me crack up…. One day with the kids and the poor guy has taken up drinking…. I think I’ll join him tonight….He is working until 9pm so I’ll be up to the task! He might find a bottle of wine on the window ledge ….

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Five for Friday

Five Great things about today (usually Friday but today, Saturday)

1. Today is awards day at the Little League field... Moon bounce, World's Greatest Husband (coach) in the dunk tank and free hot dogs at 9am!

2. Our 8th grader is thrilled with her pandora bracelet.

3. All star practice for our girls later today.  I think my little softball attitude has lessened.  I am in it for the long haul, I might as well bring my chair, water bottle and red hot summer read.

4. Tonight we will participate in Relay for life - honoring all the cancer survivors we know and those we've lost.  It is a beautiful event.

5. My new Nike flip flops are fabulous.  I am walking on little air pillows.  I love them!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Last day of school, we made it!!

Today is the day!
the Last day of 9th grade, 8th grade, 4th and 4th grade and kindergarten.
We made it.
School's out and summer is in (at 1:15pm)

I promise to blog (five for friday) more later, I just wanted to take a moment and check in on this special day and let you know I am doing the happy dance!

We are switching gears - all stars, vacations, swimming, flip flops, reading on the patio and bathing suits. Yes, the World's Greatest Husband and I will still be working but even that schedule changes up... of course this switch brings about a whole different host of issues which will probably make blogging interesting all summer long... stay tuned.

I'll write more later...after I stop dancing on the kitchen table and get these little monkeys to school (for the final time this school year!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

 Yesterday I received a blog comment from the World’s Greatest Husband.  This was shocking as he isn’t a Paper Mom reader.  I was giggly when I saw his comment, loving him even more and I must admit I was confused at the same time.  Reading Paper Mom? Why? Why now?  I’ve always wanted him to understand my place in bloggyland, so his thoughtful attempt to get a grasp on my hobby is sweet.  (A funny side line, I mentioned it was my best friend’s birthday and he replied, “yes I read that on the blog.” Hmm… Ladies, this could change the scope of the blog …. Maybe I should blog about the jewels I want, the vacation I need, and the foot rubbing that should occur.)   So just in case he is now addicted to my posts and reading, I want to send the most special, warmest, loving welcome to my husband who I look forward to falling into bed next to every single night. I am head over heels in love with you and am glad you’re here.

So keeping it in the family today…

I’ve been meaning to blog about my beautiful little niece.  I am so in love with this little girl it makes me want to “put her whole head in my mouth” Now are you saying…what the heck????? When I had my babies, I often said I wanted to kiss them by putting their whole head in my mouth, eating them up…. That was how intense I felt… just wanted to swallow them whole? No, no, no….. the comment means… just give them the biggest kiss possible…. And somehow that meant… eating them up…  Funny that she is the only other baby I have felt this for.  I love her little lady style, her caution, her wardrobe and her mommy and daddy too!  I’ve been thinking of her with a warm heart because her best mommy recently sent me a video of her “growling” through the screen door.  This was absolutely hysterical and if I could post it, I would.  Her little dainty style was replaced by some “inner ugly” and it was too much to handle.  I watched it three times and my kids had to pick me up off the floor from laughing so darn hard.  She was seriously playing the part of the mean kid….. it was funny!  This summer I am making a scrapbook of her first year of life, I am hoping this isn’t presented to her at her high school graduation…I’ve got to get going.  Unfortunately there are hundreds of miles between us but because of cell phone photography I see her every single day!  I always look forward to her dinner time photo shoot.  She’s a beauty and guess what? I am her favorite auntie….just don’t tell the other aunts in her life.

It’s Wednesday and we are one day closer to the end of the school year…. Have a good one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

4 more days! 4 more days! 4 more days!

Dear Lord,
Give me the patience for only 4 more school days.  That is only 4 chaotic mornings with 4 different bus stop times, 4 shuttle bus afternoons with only 7 games left (that’s before the all-star schedule) and 4 nights of tearful homework (I think Math may be over for the school year.)  I can do this if you are with me….

Special Paper Mom Shout Out!
Warmest, biggest and the best 39 Birthday Wishes are being sent to my dearest friend.   Happy Birthday!  You are a good friend, wonderful mom and sexy wifey  - Enjoy your day –  I love you!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Theme Song

Do you have a theme song for your life?  If the movie of your life was on the big screen what would the soundtrack be?  I never had a theme song until divorce.  Two songs were on the radio at that time that “spoke to me.”  Kelly Clarkson’s Break Away was the perfect tune for the changes that were going on - Make a wish, take a chance, make a change and break away.  I can remember driving to daycare with kids in tow, blasting this one and feeling like life is going to be ok – I’ll make it, we three will make it.

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky.
Make a wish, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget all the ones that I love.
I'll take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away

Then there was my get ready for a date song, feeling sort of sexy song.  (are you laughing at me? stop it!)  Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” has always done the trick.  I remember dancing to it with the World’s Greatest Husband in my living room when we were dating.  Maybe it was the glass of wine, but I do recall saying to my future husband (didn’t quite know that then) this song makes me want to strip.  Of course his response, “I love this song.” 

Have a GREAT Monday!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Five for Friday

Five for Friday
Five great things about today:
My house is actually, sort of, picked up.  It only takes five kids getting off the bus to change that… I think I will threaten them upon arrival.

We play ball (again) tonight.  I hope the rain holds off.

Summer of Stationery is shaping up nicely.  If you are on my mailing list you should receive information early next week.  If you want to be on my mailing list, leave a comment or email me your address at

8th grade dance was a success.  Our daughter looked pretty and had stars in her eyes when she returned.  I suspect a slow dance was involved.

Playing memory with my youngest.  We keep making comments to one another that we only have one more week of our mornings together.  He will be in full day school next year so our special morning routine will change.  I’ve been lucky to make this work with my job and looking back, I have a heart filled with gratitude.  We have done homework, shopped, snuggled, played and vegged out infront of the Today show.  It’s been a treat.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer To Do

Every summer we take a piece of paper and brainstorm a list of fun things we would like to do during summer.  (This is inspired by Grammy and Grandpa who started the tradition when we visit beautiful Marco Island. ) Our summer list is posted on the frig and the kids find joy in crossing off or looking forward to the next adventure.  The list often has things like: Night swimming, smores on the patio, light sparklers, go to the outside hamburger joint.  It is a cute little activity that keeps some fun anticipation alive in our lives.  School ends in a few days so we will be developing our list this weekend.  In spirit of lists, accomplishing goals and having hot summer fun, I am making a personal list for my personal summer must do’s

Read three books.
shop alone, all day, with a pocket full of money
Swim at least 10 times – my kids are always quick to announce to visitors “she never goes in the pool”
Stay in my pajamas for an entire day!
Sew! I’ve had this on my list for years!
Cook lobsters (for the first time in my life)
Go to yard sales one Saturday morning.
Complete scrapbook for my beautiful niece.
Host a dinner party on the patio complete with with candles and flowers floating in the pool
Lose 5 more pounds.
Organize the office/craft nook (AGAIN!)
Go to Waterfire
A night away with the World’s Greatest Husband
Write in my Kids journal more often
Visit with girlfriends

Wish me luck!  The biggest accomplishment would really be….. breathe, relax, enjoy the warm breeze, be in the moment.  Hope your having a good day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A blended family milestone, sort of?

I have to admit my patience meter is running on empty.  I sometimes shy away from voicing my blended family frustrations on this blog.  It is my bloggy therapy and somehow keeping it real, but also on the positive side helps me fill my heart with gratitude.  I really am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. 

Just not this morning. 

I have to believe many of my frustrations are normal for any mommy who works outside the home and in the home and in the hearts and minds of their children.  I am committed to building five strong young adults and that takes work, it takes empathy, it takes words, lots of words and it takes a tank full of gas and an ATM machine.

So here is the extra dynamic that exists with blended pups, it’s caution!  I walk a fine line in my role as Step Mo.  Our life is full of silly laughs, respect and kindness but there is more unexplainable caution than I care to admit to.  With my biological children, that simply doesn’t exist.  Maybe it comes with DNA? Although the World’s Greatest Husband and I share the same values and for the most part the same parenting style, there is simply “stuff” that can’t really be defined, that defines our roles.

For example:
Can’t find something? Quick pick up the phone and call Dad and work or Mom at home.  I want to scream NO – go the distance, continue to look, find it, search.  The house isn’t that big!   When  they pick up the phone, I use caution…am I supposed to say, NO don’t call your parent? Somehow that would seem to create some sort of line that would peg me as the enemy and honestly,  I wouldn’t want my ex to ever limit talk time between me and my kids….then I worry, their mother must think our house is a disaster if they can’t find their cleats.  She must think I refuse to help them look…. Yes, it’s crazy I know.  I encourage them but the pattern is…. pick up the phone for help and in this silly example, I feel nutty.

Another quick example….
Child: I want my earrings; I forgot them at mom’s house. 
Step Mo (using caution, but going for it)  “I wish you had them, but they are only earrings, and look you are wearing a pretty pair.  You can get them tomorrow when you are back at moms and wear them here next time so I can how pretty they are.” (At this point I label this as success, I’ve encouraged flexibility, delayed instant gratification, impressed upon planning ahead)
Child: (while saying goodnight to mom on the phone) I really wanted to wear my earrings tomorrow.  Can you bring them to school?
Mom:  Yes, I’ll bring them to the office before your field trip.
Step Mo (deflated, annoyed and feeling like it doesn’t matter what sort of people I am trying to build, there are still two families trying to create from two different places with little communication.)

Two silly examples but you get the picture.  No matter what - there are multiple families, his kids, my kids, our kids, multiple parents colliding in power, rules, and love.  I think for the most part we manage well.  As a parent working in this dynamic, I think I am often super flexible, super accommodating, super loving and oh yeah, super powerless.  I am grateful for my husband’s love and am an active partner in making our life work.  Any of you who really know me are laughing say “Oh, she sure does”.  I am working hard, but as our teenagers are blossoming, our family calendar fills and our roles get even further defined, I see us at a turning point.  Our “honeymoon” is over we are blended, mixed, stirred and sometimes shaken.  My former assistant (who also blended 5 kids) once told me it will take all of two years of marriage to feel fully connected…. Well we are at 2 years and 8 months and we’ve graduated. I am at the point where we need to create a few new rules, a place where some of our old tricks no longer work and a place where I feel like taking a deep breath.  I am proud of the family we have become, I love our children and I am tired, real tired.

Tonight I will fill that gas tank.  My ex is taking the children for an unexpected overnight.  The World’s Greatest Husband’s babes are with their mom for their regular Wednesday.   I plan to breath my husband in, knowing that is the therapy that always works for me, I plan to be a new woman once again tomorrow.  Talking with him, loving and laughing with the World’s Greatest Husband is way better than Tylenol PM. 

To my blended family readers.  You get this post, I know you do.  Stay strong, feel the love and stretch…. Because flexibility is the key. Yesterday, my step daughter hugged me and said you are the best Step Mo ever and I that made me tingle with delight.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer of Paperly!

Two posts on a Monday! Wow! Check out this Paper Mom - Paperly Promotion - Summer of Stationery! Paper on the Patio! This is going to be so much fun!Flyer

Happy Monday

I do not bake.
I tell the World’s Greatest Husband, I can only be good in one room – do you really want it to be the kitchen?
I do not bake.
But, If I have to bake, I love to do at 6:30 am after a few tears because I don’t have the heart shaped brownie pan that mom has.
The class now has fresh brownies, not heart shaped.

Moving on….

My house is a mess, our three girls are trying out for all-stars and our oldest made the summer league team.  Ok, so here we go until August.  If any of you know the World’s Greatest Husband remind him of my name when you bump into him.  Our life is moving way too fast and I am fighting tears.   Ever feel like one more thing may make you turn into the crazy lady that wears pink curlers and a hair net to the grocery store? Ladies, I’ve got those pink little lovelies in my drawer and I am not, I repeat, I am not afraid to use them!

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Five for Friday

Five for Friday is my most favorite day to blog.  It is quick it is easy, it is blog with purpose…
So here are my five great things about today:

1. There are only 10 days left of school.  Why does my morning stress level seem to lift as each child steps onto their bus?  I always feel relief when we have successfully completed our morning routine. Today our morning began with a heated argument between our 15 year old and our 13 year old.  They fought over a pair of shorts.   Even though the World’s Greatest Husband has to get up at 5am and fly out the door to commute 50 minutes, I believe he has the better end of the deal most mornings.  I would pick a quiet reflective hour ride with Gayle King’s XM radio show and a medium hazelnut with cream and one sweet and low any day! 

2. The 9 year old girls play again tonight.  I am looking forward to seeing them play.  They have improved so much and somehow a non school night game means I don’t have to stress about homework and dinner in quite the same way when we are still on the field at 8:15 pm.  I swear you can see and hear the stress levels increase among the parents on the bleachers as 8pm approaches.

3. Husband is off on Saturday night. I wish we had a hot date plan.  Instead we will be at a double header for our 13 year old.  There is always my rain dance….. but what I have learned is…. Make up games are more of a hassle than they are worth.

4. I have been spending my mornings developing a “Paperly Summer Stationery Promotion” which will include the most amazing “Paper on my Patio” event.  I am so excited about this Stationery Soiree! Details will be up on Monday.  If you have ever thought about hosting a Paperly party, you will want to host in June, July or August so you can receive a VIP Paper Princess invite to the this fun ladies night out.  The promotion will celebrate ink and paper in our electronic age! Stay tuned.

5. My final five for Friday? YOU! Today is my 100th post of 2010.  I have fallen in love with blogging and my posts and bloggy friends help me to “keep it real.” My life is crazy, hectic, really it is chaotic!  Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am a poster child for thriving and surviving in the blended family blender.  The fact that you indulge my inner mommy, step-mo, paper obsessed, almost 40, married to an amazing man, koo-koo – balancing act is amazing…. I hope you can appreciate how much a few minutes alone with my thoughts, typing on this blog helps to make me sane.  Thank you for reading.

Have a great weekend!  Kiss your husband, hug your kids, take a deep breath in through your nose out through your mouth.   

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oprah loves Stationery too!

Guess who has a little stationery line? My girlfriend Oprah, who knew?  I love her “O” note cards (on clearance) and her blank notes.  Of course the front sentiment on all 8 blank cards inspires me in true Oprah style. 
There is always room to grow when you lead with the truth
                So true, big believer in telling the truth.
A little restoration goes a long way.
I Could use a little R&R.  I am officially tired of our baseball season and school.  I would like the freedom of summer nights with no homework, practice or games to officially arrive.
Great communication begins with connection.
         In my professional life I am a fundraiser, everything begins with relationships!
Become more of yourself.
         I am focused on this as I approach 40.
Love what you’ve got.
I try to be aware of this every single day.  I am often overwhelmed with our crazy blended family life, but we have so much joy and love in our lives, I love what we’ve got! 
You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
        I try to figure this one out everyday!  I care too much about what others think say.
What I know for sure is that there is no strength without challenge, adversity, resistance and often pain
         I think we could teach our kids this with a bit more gusto! 
Strength comes from our ability to stand up, face resistance, and walk through it.
So true!  When you can look back on a situation and feel the growth from the experience… that is a darn good day!

Visit the O Store at her website or jump on a plane and visit Chicago.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Diamonds are a girls best friend

My worry stone is my engagement ring and wedding band.  I love my rings and when I am stressed, worried, or feeling his love, I often stare at them, almost pray over them.  The simple act of taking a moment to regroup, find some loving peace and think of the World’s Greatest Husband  while meditating over my diamonds has helped me get through tough situations on more than one occasion.   The rings are truly a symbol of his love for me.  He searched high and low for the perfect ring and was so happy when he found it. When we went searching for a wedding band he talked me into the bigger diamond channel.  I was ready to save a buck and go with the solid white gold band but he wanted me to have more diamonds.  I am really not making this up.  He said, “I think we should get the one with the diamonds, you deserve diamonds” as if I weren’t in love already? I fell deeper.

The day after he proposed, I went to get my nails done and the Asian man commented, “OOOooo, wow, ring” I must have been admiring it.  I enjoyed his comment, and my ring moment.  I felt like a princess.

Yesterday while shopping at Target I had another engagement ring moment.  The check- out clerk mouthed , while pointing at my hand, “look at her rock” to the other cashier.  Although she didn’t want her lips read by me, I witnessed it and I must admit, a few years later, I felt like that princess again.   The one where I want to shout, YEP he really, really, really loves me!   Honestly, my ring isn’t huge. Ok,  it is a bit sparkly and I absolutely love it…. But it isn’t show stopping HUGE….  That being said, I am tickled pink with the cashiers comment!  Now seriously, who wouldn’t want to hear “look at that rock?”

The World’s Greatest Husband is a diamond.  I am glad he is on my finger and in my heart.  Yep, I am full of myself today, and gushing over my guy.  Is there something wrong with that?

Have a good day – I’ll try to contain my love!


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