Branching out the blog.

So it’s been awhile, right?  But I’ve been pondering what to do with this blog.  Although I still strongly identify with the single mamas, I have been successfully part of a blended family for about five years now.  I am a full-time stepmother of my stepson, as my husband has full physical custody and of course have full-custody of my girl.  Over the past five years, I have listened to others tell me how I need to write a book about blended families.  They have come to me with their problems and challenges and asked for advice.  Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy for me, but I think we’ve got a good handle on this whole dynamic and it’s taken a lot of research and compromising.  🙂  

So, are any of you interested in a blended family blog with tips, hints, stories and guest bloggers? Please comment and give me some of your super helpful feedback!  

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Ouch!

Well here we go.  My first injury in ages.  I mean ages.  I’m almost ashamed to mention it beause I’ve been so injury-free through my last couple half marathons and racing seasons…I just don’t know, why now?

Last night I iced them (did the whole RICE) thing, but I can still feel them throbbing and can barely walk.  This happened once last summer too, but you all know how hard it is to take time off from running when you are in training!  Ugh.  Any input?  I know I shouldn’t have trudged through my 35 minute tempo run last night but I can be a fiesty little brat sometimes.  I also think I dropped a nasty word when I had to stop for a sec and make sure I could still stand when I stopped moving.  For some reason the faster I ran, the pain seemed to lessen (maybe just numb).  A little old man in his flower bed, doing some gardening sure got a suprise.  I better take a different route for awhile.

On vacation this week with my precious daughter.  We day tripped to Montreal and got some school shopping done, practiced diving, got her hair cut and spent loads of quality time together, biking and chatting and re-organizing her closet (her choice, she loves that stuff).  And she got a new Shrek Opi nailpolish.  Another variant of blue!  I love staycations.  Today is our loungy, rest day.  Stepson is at his mom’s for two weeks and then he’ll be back with us.   Our kids start school a couple days after Labor Day so it’s not all that far off now.  Are you done your school shopping?  My daughter isn’t so about it this year.  She got a few things, but she wanted enough to start out and then buy more throughout the fall.  Much different than kindergarten when she started with over 35 outfits.  Oh those little Gymboree outfits with matching shoes and hair accessories.  Those were the days.  Cardigan, tights, skirt, sweater and headband…all matchy-matchy.

Happy 11th Birthday Sweet Girl.

This weekend we celebrated the 11th birthday of my baby girl with a fabulous trip to NYC.  We stayed on the 40th floor of a hotel right in the middle of Times Square and took in an 8pm showing of Wicked on Saturday.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you must.  Such a dynamic and jaw-dropping performance-worth every penny.  B and I spent the 5 hour commute home singing the soundtrack!

It made me even more aware how absolutely in sync we are.  We slept in the same bed and spent not a moment apart for 3 days and I left that weekend just wanting more.  What a joy that child is.  So grateful and gracious.  That being said, how she’s grown!  We spent the weekend traipsing the city to find the make up stores she longed to visit.  Now keep in mind, I don’t let her wear it really, outside of the house, but she’s got some sort of collection going on and it’s harmless.    She fell in love with Sephora and a little less in love with M.A.C.  .

She is still my entire world.  Nothing has changed that.  I still sneak into her room each night and breathe her air. She is deliciously young and an old soul at the very same time.  She is brave and kind, beautiful and giddy, a pacifist and a determined dreamer.  She is all of the best of me and none of the worst.  She is the culmination of a love between a daydreaming musician and a literary, intensely passionate realist.  How lucky are we to have been chosen as her parents?

I am brought to tears as I think of her growing up and away from me and pray ferociously that this never happens.  I know there will be trying times, but my heart longs to keep her 11.  Where she is forever mine and doesn’t give her heart away to someone that I know just isn’t worthy of such a luminous treasure.  Yet, I’m happy that her dreams are big, enormous even, and that the world is open to her every desire and possibility.  She has only to want something enough to make it her reality. And I will be here…always.  For the days when she still needs to climb in bed and feel her mothers arms wrap around her in a forever, eternally soothing embrace.  I love you, little girl.

11 is the new 15.

My daughter is going to be 11 this month.  However she both looks and acts 15.  I blame much of this on the YouTube videos she is obsessed with.  See for yourself at  JuicyStar07 .  Now these aren’t harmful by any stretch.  They just involve make-up and a young fashionista.  My daughter is not allowed to wear make-up out in public.  It’s just something she is playing with and having fun doing in her spare time.  But she spends a tremendous amount of time organizing her lovely new vanity and jewelry box.  I will have to take photos of this and add them in later (since I am at work).

She is particulary obsessed with M.A.C. cosmetics.  Something she will get to indulge a bit on our trip to NYC for her birthday.  It is fun and I can understand the “collecting” aspect of this newfound fascination.  And I will admit, I love that she’s so about organizing her room…so thank you to Blair Fowler (Miss JuicyStar07 herself) for that.

But I must admit, it makes me really happy when her friend comes over and they play with their dolls.  After all, those American Girl dolls need some love too.  And I need to see my baby acting like…well, like a little girl.  At least once in awhile.

Proud mama moment.

Graduation day was bittersweet-as they always are.

However there was a lovely surprise.  After a not-optimal year and a teacher that was the worst she’s had yet…my girl got the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence!  For those who don’t know (which I didn’t until after), it’s based on overall grades being 90-100, teacher recommendations and above 85th percentile on our state exams.  More on how ridiculous those state exams are later.  What a proud moment for her!  Her dad’s parents were there and my mom and me.  Lots of pictures and a lovely, happy, confident girl.  And now, we’re off to middle school.  And I profess this adamantly, that little girl you see up there in that adorable dress?  Yes, the one that people mistake for a 14 year old?  She’s 10.  And she’s my baby.  Still.  Always.  Ask her.  She’ll tell you.

Name change?

I’m going to start regular posting again, as I’ve had some people mention that they are having a hard time finding a blog that deals with blended families.  My question for all of you is…should I change the blog title from “Former Single Mommy”?  If so, any suggestions?  Catchy of course, is always good.

I think we’ve done a good job with our “blending”, now that we are three years into it, I feel like I can discuss it much better and with more detail.  I do have to say that the road isn’t easy or for the meek.  It’s been a very interesting transition, one that I am excited to share with all of you.  And hopefully, it will help those of you who are just entering this new life, to feel less alone and to have a place to vent.

For my single mom friends…I still want to remain part of your chats as well, since that part of my life is very dear to me.  And as those with blended families will assure you, once a single mom, always a single mom.  🙂  I definitely have my own parenting thing going on, in addition to the blended situation.

For those unfamiliar with my dynamic, I married a man who has full-custody of his eight year old son.  The son does go to his mother’s quite often.  Every other weekend and more frequently on school vacations.  More on how this came to be, later.

Roll call…anyone else out there?

Breastfeeding-At Least Please Try…

Ok, so I know this is going to generate some serious controversy, but that is not at all what I’m trying to do.  I’m just genuinely confused by something, and have been confused by it in the past, so I’m thinking my online blogger support team might be able to help me understand the rationale behind something.

Look at the photo contained in the link below and think for a moment, I mean really reflect, on the feelings it evokes. (I can’t link in or post the actual picture here right now, because of the ridiculous blocks this place has on my Internet-good thing I only have 26 days left here).

Anyway, for now, just click on it-the article is interesting too:

The reason this comes to mind yet again, is because someone I know just had their second child.  This person did not breastfeed the first daughter.  Now that in my mind is fine, it is one’s OWN choice after all, I’m not about requiring it to be mandatory.  But my question is about the fact that this person chose this option before ever even trying it ONCE.  As both an immunologist and a mother, I can’t understand it.  Maybe you can.  And you’ll help me to get it too.

First of all, I would not have been able to withstand the unending curiosity of what the whole process would BE like.  Second of all, in this era of all the moms who try to “one up” each other with all the advantages they give their child, it’s hard to believe that one would not at least give a little attempt…even a couple days of trying…  Trust me, it wasn’t a breeze for me.  Not by a long shot.  I had a hearty little eater in Miss B.  She latched on very easily, and she had an easy time of it.  However, I went through several rounds of infections, a few rounds of really embarrassing moments and one really, really gross incident that my ex-husband recalls all too well, where he came home from work to find me pumping bloody milk into a bottle while our daughter slept.  He asked me what I was doing and I said through clenched teeth “This little girl WILL be breast-fed for AT LEAST ONE  YEAR!”.  I threw out that milk by the way-I just wanted to keep pumping until I healed so that my milk would not dry up.  Ok, so even the ex will attest to my stubborn streak-which is even stronger when it comes to my little girl.  But it wasn’t just my obstinance that made me keep going this time.  I could not, in my right mind, give her that nasty tasting formula.  I tasted it out of that unending curiosity that I am made of and I nearly vomited.  For real  It.  Was.  Disgusting.  And yeppers, I tasted my milk and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t some really good stuff.  And I don’t even like milk!  It tasted like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Lucky Charms!

And also, as mentioned before, I’m a scientist who once planned on going to med school.  All those hours spent poring over medical books and studying MCAT study guides affected me in many ways and I’m just a tiny bit passionate about the health and well-being of our children.  I get why women stop after awhile.  It’s not convenient I know.  I leaked all over my best friends bachelorette party when B was just days old.  I then proceeded to bust out of the dress for her wedding a few days later and wound up pumping in a janitors closet.  Yes. I leaked all over that dress too.  (Laughing as I type this).  There were times I wanted to quit and it was certainly bittersweet when B was done and started to walk up to me to get her milk (happy to be “free” of that, but sad to be “free” of that)-but I couldn’t have imagined it any other way.  I want the best for her.  Always.  And that won’t always be convenient for me.  So when you have a baby, don’t you feel that you should TRY to breastfeed, unless it’s medically not possible or there is some substantial reason not to?  I guess I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t even try it ONCE?  I’m going to censor myself now and cut this post off…because I’m sure someone will be offended.  But I just really want to know a legitimate reason that will make me understand why a mother wouldn’t just try it.  Once.  That’s all.

For me

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