Shake It Off

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Oreo Coal for Christmas

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This is the easiest thing ever!


Oreo Coal

  • 1 box Oreos
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick butter

Send the Oreos through the food processor until fine. Melt butter + marshmallows in microwave 1 min + 1 min (2 min in a row will make them puff up over the edge!), then fold the Oreo crumbs into the marshmallows/butter. You can flatten out like a bar, roll into balls, or make into coal shapes!

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Breaking News! AAP to Change Stance on Screen Time!

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Mothers everywhere, relax. You’re no longer a bad mom. From The Huffington Post:

Parents across the Internet rejoiced this week, declaring themselves well rid of “screen time guilt” after an announcement by the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly signaled it will amend media guidelines discouraging screen time for children under two and limiting it to two hours a day for older kids… after the organization’s 2016 national conference on the topic.

12003340_10153677979509801_2764872134249134331_nSo does that mean we can go ahead and let the TV babysit our kids? Of course not. But it does mean that the American Academy of Pediatrics is finally going to be up to date with the way real people live their lives. I’ll be the first to admit, as I have in the past, that screen time (a term I absolutely hate, by the way) plays a HUGE part in our everyday lives. Because JI’s brain is moving so fast and he has such a difficult time focusing and calming down, the tablet has always been a great way to get him to do those things. It’s also a great motivator, reward, etc. He plays with12027586_10153685243159801_9117712163234884203_n educational apps, such as Nick Jr (on the computer only), ABC Mouse, and Math Monkey to name a few. He also plays games such as Plants vs Zombies, which might not be educational per say, but that require a higher level of thinking and planning. I started playing PvZ when I was in my mid 20’s and had a difficult time beating some of the levels – hell, I still have a hard time with some of them! JI can fly through level after level with ease, earning the gems and sprouts and so forth that help him advance to higher levels. It’s amazing. Even Poke can’t play as well as JI does!

JI doesn’t care for movies or many TV shows, but he does like to watch videos on YouTube of people playing video games. He watches them play, and then goes and plays the same game and beats it right away. It’s not like he’s taking the easy way either, because he usually doesn’t follow their directions (ha!) and if he does, it’s only for levels that he’s really struggling with. The rest of the time he12002368_10153667994864801_3267765275522840393_o watches them for entertainment. JI also likes to watch videos of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other crazy weather stuff. He’s been interested in weather since he was a newborn, and meteorologist is on his list of things to be when he grows up.

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Is this your idea of fun, mom? Where is the tablet?

Would I like for JI to be more in tune with the present moment? Yes. But I know my child will never be that way. I used to think I was a bad mom because I couldn’t get him to play with toys or do puzzles or anything like that. Then I realized, through the whole autism evaluation process, that those things are, for lack of better words, beneath him. JI never played with toys creatively, and if he did play with a toy he played exactly how it was supposed to be used – ie, A spoon is for stirring, it cannot be a drumstick, and a pot is for cooking, it cannot be a drum. He gets angry at “silly” things. If he doesn’t see the point to what you’re asking him to do, he won’t do it. Using the tablet lets him be creative and learn at the same time, while also challenging him and adapting to his current cognitive level. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be an app developer and put mommy in the fanciest nursing home!

Halloween Happy Box

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I know that Halloween is all about Candy CANDY CANDY, but I like for the kids to get something else too, something that will enhance their minds rather than just rot their teeth. Something educationally healthy! I know, I’m a nerd. Either way, I gave Squeaks a bib and two Halloween outfits, and JI got a decorated box full of Halloween books.

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The Single Life

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wpid-wp-1444259775007.jpegWow. Being a single mom is absolutely nothing like being a single childless person. It’s awesome, because I am fully in control and I don’t have to worry about Poke fucking things up anymore, don’t have to worry about co-parenting or who is doing which chores, or if he’s cheating on me again. I don’t have to clear things with him, ask for permission, or wonder what effect my actions will have on him or our relationship. SO, basically, I’m acting like he did the whole time we were together! Ba-da-bup! But seriously, it is amazing. I am still incredibly happy, though the “honeymoon” – or anti-honeymoon – phase has ended.

I am glad that Seanatello was around for the six weeks that he was, because it helped me get through the toughest part of leaving Poke. If he hadn’t been here, there’s a good chance that on those long nights and difficult days when I missed Poke, I would have asked him to come back. But, because I was distracted with Seanatello, I never even considered it, thank wpid-wp-1444259589791.jpeggod. That would have been a huge mistake. Now that Seanatello is gone, it sucks to be alone, but at least he left his dog. *rolls eyes*

Being a single mom is horrible. Everything is on my shoulders, and I have nobody to blame but myself, ever. I never get any kind of relief, I am literally with at least two children 24/7 – during the day, it’s four to six kids, all boys! – and I have very little adult interaction in real life. When I need a hug, I have to get it from JI. When I am horny, I have to take care of myself. Well, that’s typical anyway, but as a single person with no kids, I could just go out to the bar and take my pick! And, because Poke and his heartless, evil mother refuse to take the boys on weekends anymore, I literally, literally have zero time off. Yes, you read that right, he’s completely abandoned his children, with the guidance or support from his mother. It’s disgusting, because Poke grew up without a father, so he should know better. Apparently he doesn’t give a flying fuck about JI’s feelings. Squeaks is too little yet, and hopefully will have no memories of this traumatic time.

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Speaking of trauma, JI has been absolutely fucked up by this entire situation. After Bitch Mother in Law came to my house and said, in front of JI, that she doesn’t want him anymore and that he is too bad to come over, JI has been a completely different child. He has had one green day, one yellow day, and FIVE red days in 7 days of school. Prior to her tantrum, he’d had only ONE red day, which was because he’d only gotten two hours of sleep before school. JI was set to have an amazing wpid-wp-1444259884824.jpegyear, and now he’s back on the shit track. I can’t control his behaviour anymore; he’s either angry or crying, clinging to me or being a bully to the other kids. He even hit two kids at school! Poke doesn’t care either; when I text him and tell him what is happening, he only has something snarky to reply or he doesn’t reply at all. What a fucking loser. In the long run these boys will be better off without him in their lives, but right now JI isn’t emotionally mature enough to deal with it, and I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to get him into counseling as a start.

…that’s it for now. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and so forth. Tomorrow I find out more information on JI’s autism (or not) diagnosis, so that’ll will hopefully be one less thing to worry about. Even if he does get an affirmative diagnosis, at least I’ll finally know.

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Bio Family Update

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The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

I’m Still Here, I Promise!

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Oh my gosh you guys, these have been the busiest two weeks I’ve had in awhile. Squeaks was baptised on the 28th, so I basically spent the whole week leading up to that preparing for the celebration, and the week before that was spent trying to get big projects in the house and yard taken care of so that I wasn’t doing them at the last minute. My backyard and house look great!

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I succeeded in pulling most of the weeds, yay, at least enough to lie down river pebbles and make a nice walkway in the back and fill in the bed in front of our large picture window. I also got the patio furniture painted and arranged, the sidewalk around the shed cleared of weeds, and the front sidewalk cleared of weeds. Inside I rearranged the living room so that the vents are cleared for the air conditioning to blow cold air out (instead of into the bottom of the couch and/or desk!), and cleared a lot of random junk off the kitchen counters and out of the drawers. Thinking back on everything I’ve done around here the past two weeks, I don’t know HOW I got it all done! I think I channeled my inner Wonder Woman.

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In between all of that, we hit up the zoo a few times, played in the pool, and I bought a new bathing suit. I had a one-piece that fits okay, but it’s a halter top with an underwire and it is impossible – literally – for me to get it on by myself unless I’m completely bone dry. If there is one drop of sweat on my skin, it’s over. I went to Lane Bryant and Torrid looking for a plus-size two piece; LB’s were way expensive and not flattering. Luckily I found these top and bottom separates on clearance at Torrid. Yahoo! I’m not afraid of a two piece, but I am afraid of not getting into or out of my bathing suit hahaha this sweet little number calms that fear! Squeaks had his four month checkup and has grown immensely, and even started eating real food – so far, just cereal and spinach, but he loves it. I promise, in the photo, he’s crying because I stopped to take a picture!

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The baptism was a wonderful ceremony. We are Catholic, so it was a bit involved, but it went quickly. I ended up having about thirty people at my house (950 sq ft, thank you!) including family and friends. Overall, everything went off without a hitch and now Squeaks is officially in the Catholic Club.

Woo boy, this summer is going to be a crazy one!

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Trip to the Zoo!