Friday, November 30, 2007

Photo Hunters ~ Red

I didn't have to look far for inspiration. My son was painting the roof of his new bird feeder a nice shade of red last night.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A step in the right direction

I know that being a parent is hard, but I'm positive that being a step-parent is harder. At least that has been the case for me. As Bugs mommy I get hugs and kisses and adoration. Sure being a parent has challenges, but you get rewarded with so much.
As a stepmother, the rewards are fewer and farther between.

Let me tell you a bit about my stepson and our history. I have been in his life since he was three years old, he is now fifteen.

He is so smart this boy. When he was four his dad said to him "Look there's a shooting star" stepson said "Actually dad, a shooting star isn't really a star. It's a meteor and we can see it because it's burning up in the Earths atmosphere" Yes.. at four!

When he was three he used to say to me.. "Odum... I love you" It would melt my heart. When we would ride in the car he always wanted me to lean my seat all the way back. I would flip my hair over the seat and he would run his little hands through it. It helped him feel safe and comfortable, he had terrible anxiety about being away from his mom. The only time he wasn't with her was when he came to visit hubby and I. So it was very difficult for him.

During a visit with us, about a year into my relationship with hubby, stepson said to me out of the blue "My mom thinks your ugly" My heart sank, I said "Well, what do you think?" He thought about it for a second and said "I don't think your ugly" Ever since that time it has been a struggle connecting with him. He has felt torn between having a relationship with me and not wanting to betray his mom. I have tried not to push anything on him, when he felt more comfortable referring to me as his "step-friend" instead of "step-mom" I didn't mind. I told him he could refer to me however he felt comfortable.

I have struggled to keep in mind that he is a child and only says what he learns at home. I have had a hard time relating to him over the years. The life he lives with his mom and grandparents is very different than the one we live.

Until this year he was home schooled. He struggled interacting with other kids. He would try to parent them and correct them. He was overly mature in ways and under mature in other ways.

Two and a half years ago he moved with his mom and grandparents across the country. Since then we have not seen him often. It is up to us to purchase any and all plane tickets in order to see him and we have to rely on his mom to tell us when she will get him to the airport.

So this brings us to this past week, he flew out for Thanksgiving. He is now in High school now and boy what a change. He was so much more laid back. I wasn't walking on eggshells wondering what he would come up with to complain to his mom about. He was so much better with Bug, he didn't get as annoyed with him. Bug adores him, he wants to be in his face every second when he is here.

In fact if Bug was harassing me while I was cooking dinner, his big brother would come in and entertain him so that I could finish what I was doing.

I had good conversations with him, in depth talks about religion, politics, what he believes in. This boy is not the boy I saw 16 months ago. He is so much more mature. So it's a big huge step in the right direction for our relationship. One that has been a very long time coming.
Here are some pics from his visit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's a party!

Bug turns the big number 5 this week. So this past Saturday we had a birthday party for him.
Bug woke up around 6am, jumped into our bed and exclaimed

"GUYS.... do you know what kind of day it is today?

Daddy and Mommy: "Why no Bug, what day is it?"

Bug: "Mooooommm, Daaaadd, it's my PARTY day!"

Daddy and Mommy: " Oh right, we almost forgot."

As I was getting things ready, Bug started pouting that there weren't enough decorations. Little did he know I had another trip to town planned for balloons and a surprise pinata.
The party can only be referred to as a Spiderman extravaganza!

Bugs has a love of all things Spiderman, this despite the fact he hasn't really watched anything with Spiderman. We hung the pinata in the yard and let the kids go in order of age. Lucky for Bug he was youngest and it was his party so he got the first whack at it.

His cousin little T was next and gave it all he had, but Spidy wasn't breaking...

It wasn't until his cousin big T (the baseball player) gave it a hard knock that it's neck broke open. Big cousin C did it in and his poor big brother didn't even get a chance at it. There was a mad dash for the candy....

Good thing we had my stepson on dog doodoo duty that morning or all that diving could have been disastrous! Here is all that was left of poor Spiderman...

We went back inside to open presents and have some cake. I thought I would give a try at making the cake myself. Cake decorating is um ... not my thing.

I tried writing Happy Birthday but the letters were so bad that I gave up and just did circles. I guess I won't be giving up my day job.

Bug received some really nice gifts from our family. After everyone left he serenaded us with a song on his new keyboard that came complete with microphone. I can't remember the words to the song but it was pretty in depth and after wards he stood up and took a bow.

A fun time was had by all. Bug had so much fun he forgot that he wanted me to invite everyone from daycare and preschool to the party. He didn't however forget that he did not receive his number one requested toy... a red Mustang with white stripes. That he now thinks Santa is going to bring... sigh...

On another note, just prior to the pinata whacking I went to pick my camera off of the picnic table and gracefully dropped it onto the cement below. I couldn't even look at it. I sunk onto the bench and put my face in my hands ready to cry. From behind me came the always steady voice of reason that is my dad. "What? Nothings wrong, it's fine, it's not broken"

I put my head up .. astonished because in my brain I was certain I saw and heard glass breaking when it hit! Nope.. just a scratch on the bottom where it hit. Phew..

I can't believe my Buggy is almost five. How is it that time speeds up when you become a parent?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Earlier this week Bugs preschool teacher asked him to draw a picture of what he is thankful for. He drew the following picture.

Notice my hands ... in my knees. The purple "person" is his brother and Bug is the green one... oh so appropriate. But the best part is the red alien ship above daddy's head! Apparently Bug is very thankful for aliens. Bug was born on Thanksgiving day. Because of this we started a tradition that every Thanksgiving he gets to open one present. This morining he opened up a spiderman umbrella. You would have thought we gave him a million dollars, he loves this umbrella so much. So Bug is now thankful for the umbrella too, and I am thankful for Bug.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

I made it back!

Oh I am exhausted! Last Tuesday I woke up at 4am and drove two hours to the airport. Luckily that time of the morning there isn't much traffic and I made it with time to spare. You know, flying used to be fun but any more it's just like going to the livestock auction and you are the cow. They push you through and squish you into these ridiculously small seats. They temp you with food only to then tell you that "I'm sorry ma'am this tasteless, cardboard like pizza will cost you extra" Good grief why didn't I bring food. I pass on the cardboard pizza and just get by with the weird crackers they give out for free. So with coffee and crackers in my stomach I descend into Denver for a layover.

I don't know what happened to me in the last few years, but I just don't take motion as well as I used to. As we started to descend into Denver there was a lot of turbulence. I tried to keep my mind on things other than my stomach. Mind over matter... but all I could think of was whether or not there was a barf bag in the seat back in front of me. I check, nope no such luck. I look around for something else to barf into. My purse.. oh no I can't do that. Dang it.. stop thinking about it.. it's getting worse! I found myself doing Lamaze breathing to keep the nausea away. When did I start hating flying?

I made my connection in Denver and safely landed at my destination three hours later. My colleague and I went to pick up our rental car. We ended up with a purple PT cruiser. These are strange little cars. We got in and Claudia was going to drive, she did her normal checks. Lights.. check... wipers.. check. We backed out and started to leave. In order to leave the parking garage there was a gate and a guy had to check our documents to make sure we weren't stealing the car. Claudia went to put her window down. "Where is the window button?" I checked my door.. no button... I clicked the lock button.. no that's not it. We must have looked pretty funny as we frantically searched for the window button because the man in the booth yelled " IN THE CENTER OF THE DASH" through his laughter. nice..

When we got to the hotel it was really dark, Claudia clicked the lock button on the key chain. The headlights came on. Ok.. so we waited, thinking they would turn off. One minute, two minutes.. what the heck? Not wanting to risk a dead battery in a strange city we opened the door and turned on the lights, then off again and locked it from the inside. We never did figure out the lights on that dang car.

As we walked through the front door of the hotel we see..... huge plastic drapes.. dust.. oh jeez they were going through a huge remodel. Great. Luckily they put us up in some updated rooms on the top floors away from the noise.
On the second night my colleague went out to dinner with a relative of hers. My boss gave me directions to a mall that was supposed to be close by. I didn't write them down since it sounded so easy to find. I thought I would take the car and go find the mall. I felt I had followed the directions well, but I found myself on a road for what seemed like far to long. I was traveling through a residential neighborhood. It didn't feel right. I decided I better turn back and go the way I came. I made a left at a cross street, there was a police car sitting along side the road so I decided not to do a u-turn, or turn around in front of him. For fear I would look suspicious. Because you know the cops are going to wonder about a thirty three year old business women in a purple PT cruiser turning around on a quiet neighborhood street.. jeez. Anyway I thought I could do a series of left turns that would take me back to the road I was on and then I could back track to the hotel. WRONG. I ended up on a different road in rush hour traffic in the dark. Great, just great. I'll be driving around for hours in a strange city. Lucky for me I have a pretty good sense of direction and ended up on the same street that my companies office is on. Hallelujah! I found my way back to the hotel, went to the front desk and asked for a list of restaurants within walking distance.
I called hubby and Bug every night. Every morning Bug would wake up, rub his eyes and say "I miss mommy". But hubby made it better by taking him to see the Bee movie Friday night.

On the way home they routed me from the North East to Houston and then to the North West. Yes, that's right, I zig zagged my way across the country. I truly believe our employee travel department wants to kill me. After a three hour flight to Houston, a two hour layover and then a five hour flight home, I had to drive another two hours. Last Friday I woke up at 6am Eastern and didn't get to bed until Midnight pacific. The next morning hubby and I drove the two hours back to the airport to pick up my Step-son who flew in for Thanksgiving. Did I mention I am exhausted. The thought of getting into a moving vehicle makes me nauseous.
The good thing is, I really like my new boss. I think I'm going to like my new job once they are done training me. I'm back home and so thankful!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Have John Denver ringing in your head now? Good.. I needed to pass it on, I was getting sick of it. Tuesday I will be flying across the country on business. I have to do three days of training for my new job. This past week was really confusing so I'm hoping that everything comes together and clicks this next week during training.
Before I had Bug I traveled for work a lot. I loved traveling and it took me to some really cool places in the states and abroad. Then I had Bug... and my whole world changed.
The first three years of Bugs life I didn't travel for work. I didn't really have to and I didn't really want to leave him. Over the past two years however I have regrown my wings and this past year I made five short trips. Bug usually takes it in stride, he knows mommy is flying on the airplane and I have never been gone more than a night or two. He has not been so understanding for the last two trips.
The last time he grabbed onto my leg and said "Please don't go mommy, please, please, please don't go". Talk about ripping out a mommies heart, then stomping on it. I tried not to play into his manipulation, which is most of what he is doing. Sure I know he will miss me but I'm pretty sure it's mostly for show. My husband, for those of you who don't know, has worked a weird shift for the ten plus years we have been married. So when I would leave, Bug had to stay at one of his grandparents houses. This time however, he gets to hang out with daddy at home. Hubby will be working a regular day shift and he will be home in the evenings now. We are hoping this helps Bug accept my leaving a little better.
So I probably won't be around this week, I'll be back this weekend to tell you all about my travels.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Blogger bling!!!

Ok, I know how I said I didn't really aspire to have a following outside my friends and family with this blog. But when the first person I didn't know left me a comment (thank you Nap Warden) I was so stoked! And now my lovely and talented friend Corey over at living and loving every minute of it! bestowed this little award on me.

Bradley at Egels nest created this award for blogs just starting out. You know sorry little blogs like mine with only one or two comments per post. It is meant to help us grow. Go check out Corey's blog and the two other ladies she bestowed this award too. Woo Hoo.. I'm hatched and sitting on the edge of the nest just waiting to take the plunge!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I try and I try

I thought I would give the darn sunset shot another try last night. Bug and I hurried home, cameras in tow. We drove up the rode from our house a bit, the trees are thinner there with a good view of exactly where the sun goes over the hills. We stared at the horizon, shooting a few shots while we waited. There isn't a lot of traffic on our road so when I heard a car I turned to see, an old man was slowing way down, I wasn't sure what it was about until he went by me at a crawl pointing towards the horizon and giving me a thumbs up! He must have seen the sunset earlier this week. Well last night wasn't the same, there was no fog. The air just wasn't quite right. Bug gave it a good try with his little camera too. I did get a couple shots of Bug that I really like though.

And so he won't feel left out, here are Bugs shots from his fisher price camera.

Yes, it's pure talent that boy has.. and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mommy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

All Fogged up...

We have been socked in with fog the last few days. The kind of fog that only allows you to see maybe 10 to 15 feet. This is unusual for us since we live on a hill and normally we can see the fog fill the valley below us all while we are sitting in the sun. I love that about where we are, that and the view. When it is foggy like this I feel trapped. It's cold, and the goats don't feel like going over the hill to eat the brush.. instead they stand at the fence and cry when they catch a glimpse of me through the window.
It's affecting everyones mood. The dogs are constantly barking into the fog at nothing. I and hubby are moping around. The goats are crying, and Bug is crying.
Yesterday evening as I was heading out to pick up Bug from daycare I could see the fog lifting just a hundred feet up the hill... oh a reprieve from this blanket of cold, damp yuckiness!
I picked up Bug from daycare, it was still foggy in town. He was still in a foggy mood. As we got to the top of the hill the fog had lifted and we could see the sun was starting to set. Then as we started to descend and get closer to the house we both gasped as we rounded the corner. "Bug look at that!" The sun was at that magic moment where you can see the half round just on the other side of the horizon. The sky was blazing with pink, orange and red. Damn it... oh damn it all .. why did I not carry my camera with me???!!!
I told Bug as we got to the driveway.. " Mommas gonna stop the Jeep, undo your seat belt and sprint into the house to get her camera"
Bug was caught up with all my excitement... "Ok mom I'll get mine too!"
I threw the Jeep in park, let Bug loose and sprinted into the house, ducking under the garage door. Bug was on my tail, passing me in the kitchen to go find his camera "Wait for me momma" he yelled as he flew past. "Sorry honey the sun is setting I gotta go" I yelled back to him.
I sprinted out the door and up to our deck just in time to see ... I had missed it. Crap, I missed the magic moment. The round of the sun was down behind the horizon. So I shot a few shots through the tree limbs. Someone really needs to take a chain saw to some of these branches. Here is what I got.. NOT what I wanted.

Bug came out, I could hear him coming. He was collapsing at the side of our shop in tears.. "I .. cccouldnnn't ffffind mmmyy cccammera" He sobbed. Poor Bug, I've made him as neurotic about the perfect picture as me. Or maybe it was just the foggy mood he was in. I assured him we would try again tomorrow and I promised to always put both our cameras in the car.
We did try again tonight but missed that perfect time again due to a stupid grocery store run for paper towels and cereal. Moral of the story.. always bring your camera. You never know what you will see and want to capture.

Monday, November 5, 2007

How did you spend your extra hour?

I love getting free time. When I was turning our clocks back Sunday morning I wasn't thinking about what I would do with my extra hour. I was just changing the clocks. By the end of the day I realized that I spent my time well. It was a very nice Autumn day Sunday.
We were walking around our yard, enjoying the gorgeous fall weather and admiring all the different colors of the season.
Bug was under the Oak tree trying to figure out if he could make a big enough pile of leaves to jump into. This is something he has been pre-occupied with doing since the leaves started to change.

He first noticed a beetle like bug and screeched with delight. "Mom look, look at this beetle bug" Just then he saw a lady bug, he picked it up gently and closed his hand so that it couldn't escape.
Then there was another lady bug and another and another. This went on until he had no less than seven lady bugs in his hands. He passed them on to me to hold while he ran to the house to get his Bug catcher. "Don't loose any of them mom" He kept repeating, like they were little golden treasures, worth millions. I assured him that I wouldn't loose any, but to please hurry because they were tickling my hand and I think one or two had peed on me already.
Really, I think they did. Some sort of protection mechanism they must have. Any way Bug rushed back with his bug catcher house and we dumped them in.

He then spent several more minutes catching as many as he could. They were hiding under the oak leaves, I just had to know why. Bug asked if he could keep them and I told him we needed to find out more about these little bugs first. We didn't want them to die, we needed to know they would be ok in there.
So we went into the house and Googled ladybugs. It turns out they were looking for a place to hibernate. Often ladybugs will try to find their way indoors in the winter. The only issue would be that it could be too dry for them. They didn't need anything to eat this time of year, since they munch on aphids the rest of the year.
So I guess we are going to try and keep them around for the winter and let them out in the spring. Probably next to my Rose bushes so they can do their job and get rid of the aphids. They don't look to unhappy about being locked up.

Funny enough people can actually order ladybugs if they have an aphid problem. For a moment I thought maybe I could make a buck, until I realized the price was only $20.00 for 1000 of the little suckers. Wow it would take me a month to find that many, not good money by the hour.
I hope you all had as much fun with your extra hour as Bug and I did.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Endings and New beginnings

I had a hard day today. As some of you know, in July I was advised that the company I work for lost the account that I work on. My position was paid for directly by the client and I would be losing my job, along with many other people. I have worked for the same company eleven years and on this specific account almost ten. I knew I had until the beginning of November to find a new position, within or outside of the company. I telecommute from my home office, I like my work and the company I work for. Luckily I found another position within the company, doing something very different than what I did.

Today was the last day in my current position and the last day that we serviced the account. I didn't really think it would phase me, until I opened my email this morning. Three good luck and good bye emails. UGH.. I started to cry. It went on like that all day, emails, IM, phone calls. Most of the people who worked on the account went to the main office today. To close it out and have a little party. I couldn't go because I wasn't able to find anywhere for Bug to go. So I sat at my desk sobbing intermittently all day. What a sap I am.

I'm a person that takes change pretty well. I'm very excited to start my new position, but I know I will not be working directly with any of the people I have been. So today was hard. But I am resolved to not cry again, I'm looking toward the future. I'm going on a new adventure and I'm stretching my comfort zone.

So to all of those wonderful people that I have worked with over the last decade. I raise my glass of Merlot and toast you. Getting to know you all has made me a better person.

Good luck to you all in your new adventures!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

Bug, Granny and I went trick or treating in our nearby town. We chose a neighborhood that is steep as heck, thinking this would wear out the bug and he would not drag granny and I to fifty houses. The plan worked, by the time we made our loop and announced it was the last house Bug didn't protest a bit. He was fine with getting in the car and heading home. This year I stood back a little letting Bug go to the door and knock. We came to a house with several steps leading to the front door. Bug got to the top and knocked, out popped a witch saying " Hello my pretty" In her best witchy voice. Bug took three steps back and turned to grandma and I. I yelled out "It's ok, it's just a costume" The lady was nice enough to change her voice and said "It's ok honey I'm not really a witch" He came down the stairs pretty fast from that house. When we got to the last house the woman handing out candy was vaguely familiar. Then a small child poked their head around the door. Bug exclaimed his pre-school friends name.. then said " What the heck are you doing here?"

I had to explain that his little friend LIVED their. We arrived back home at 7pm and Bug was asleep in grandma's arms by 7:20. Here he is.. the Power Ranger. I know, I know.. violence and all that.. but he really really wanted this costume.. muscles and all.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!