Raising a Blended Family

Married ‘n Stuff!

So first off, I have to come out and say a huge thank you to you guys, the blog community, for being so awesome and for your kind words of support on that last post. It was by far the hardest one I’ve ever written and to have y’all respond with such sweet and uplifting comments was amazing. It was exactly what we needed to hear and it did us a world of good. So thank you, for that.

Second, the big announcement of the day, is that today Shorty and I drove out to Iowa and got legally hitched!!! It’s official!!! We can’t quite believe it- after two and a half years of “yes we’re married insert caveat here,” there is no more caveat. And we legally have the same last name as the one we gave Pax, which is the hyphen of our two last names combined. So awesome.

It was a long drive out here, but luckily the kids did AMAZING. It was a seven hour drive to our final destination and we left very early (5am). Everyone except me slept for the first three hours of the trip, and then we stopped for breakfast at a Mcd’s playplace and let the kids run around. After that we had to drive to the place to pick up our marriage license (two more hours, then got out of the car, half hour break), drive to the courthouse where we actually got married (one hour trip, hour and a half break out of the car), and then an hour drive to a nearby city to see a friend, and to check into a hotel for the night. Throughout all that driving, Thing One occupied herself with her DS, reading, and naps, and Pax alternated between napping and happily babbling. We only had a very few brief periods of starting-to-get-fussy, which were easily quelled by food, a lullabies CD, or both. And Thing One only asked “how many more minutes” less than twenty times, which for seven hours I’m going to call that a win! They were incredibly patient for a one- and eight-year-old.

And back to that wedding- after a rocky start, it went more smoothly than we could have hoped. We had lined up a friend-of-a-friend to perform the ceremony for us tomorrow, and were planning on having our in-town friends witness. That was, until yesterday when I spoke to the officiant who cancelled on us! We were so upset. I spent the day on the phone with literally half the counties in Iowa, trying to find a courthouse that performs weddings on Friday with a one day notice. I thought courthouse weddings were common but apparently they are not: most counties I spoke to no longer even perform them, instead referring people to outside ministers and magistrates who would have charge $200 just to sign papers! Luckily though, I finally got ahold of someone who was sympathetic to my sob story and contacted a local judge who does do courthouse weddings- and she had an opening for today. Thank everything! Unfortunately, though, our witness friends weren’t able to be there for the appointment time we got (in a different city, at that) and so we were forced to wing it. We needed two witnesses and so we stood in the lobby of the courthouse for half an hour asking random strangers if they would mind witnessing for us. One man said no because we were gay (jerk), two were courthouse employees, and the next man who walked in was the judge’s husband (ineligible). But we finally found two people (phew) and the rest went off without a hitch- and we got hitched!

Finally. Legally married. Two and a half years later.










It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Y’all. I know this blog has been pretty quiet around here lately, and I think you deserve an explanation.

The defeaning silence around here has been the sound of us getting our asses kicked, on so many fronts… quietly.

And by “quietly,” I mean several different things. First, that I have not posted here much because I have been tired/downtrodden/not felt like it/etc. When life gets so hard it just doesn’t leave a lot of desire for a social life leftover, including social blogging.

But second, I literally do mean we have been getting our asses kicked quietly in that we have not talked about us getting our asses kicked, or just how much we are getting our asses kicked, to many people or to great extent. Mostly we have been silent about it and suffered through it all quietly, and people who would normally be our support network have been left out of the loop or told the barest extent, or only recently let in on the gig.

I think this is because all of this has to do, largely, with money. In our society money is something that is taken for granted a lot of the time. You plan a day out with your girlfriends and you go out to eat (kaching), walk around downtown, poke into shops (kaching kaching) and drive all over (kaching empty gas tank kaching) in the name of fun. Or someone invites you out to the local high school production of the latest musical (kaching x 3 family members) as a fun way to spend a Friday night. In the summer there are parks and free open outdoor spaces to hold gatherings, but even those involve money when someone says hey! Let’s do a pitch in! Can you bring ________? (Grocery trip to the store, kaching). My point is, a lot of being social involves spending money. No one wants to be the person who just.can’t.afford twenty for those high school musical tickets, or even TEN for that pitch in, and so you say “oh, I can’t, I had plans” or “no, I think we’ll stay in tonight” and before you know it you’re wedged tighter in your shell than a damn hermit crab.

It is shaming to be broke. It is shaming to have NO extra money to spare. Society tells us that worth is based on money and you never realize how ingrained this message is until you don’t have any dollars to spend and your bank account starts with a negative sign.

So, we have stayed silent, hoping for things to get better and wanting the world to right itself again without our having to out ourselves. I finally had a sobbing conversation with my mother in which I admitted to her the hole we were because we had some bills that had to be paid and we had to have help. Even then, I felt terribly guilty and horrible admitting it- and this was to my own mother. It was shaming to have to ask for help.

Since then, things have started to look like they are on the upswing, thank god. We had to have some hard conversations and change some things. And, I am going back to work. I start next week and while it is not my ideal job and certainly not a career, it will pay the bills and put food on the table while I look for something else and for that I am thankful. Another result of our hard conversation is that I will be going back to school sooner rather than later. I need a CAREER, not just a job, and for that I need to go back to school. I’m starting some prerequisite classes in January and hoping to start my actual program in June. We will have to figure out childcare now that I will no longer be a full time stay at home mom, and I am mourning the end of that time period (whole other post!) but we will do what we have to do for our family. The bright streak (well, more of a glimmer) in the middle of all this gloom is that Shorty finally heard back from
Federal and was told…a timeline. Not a start date, but a timeline of when she will HAVE a start date by. It is frustrating but the point is, she WILL have a start date. She WILL start this job. We just have to be patient a bit longer (they said by January 1).

So that’s the money stuff starting to look up. Unfortunately, though, the ass-kicking is not all about money. We had a bit of tragedy strike our family last week and it sucked so hard. We were fostering a dog (remember my last post) who didn’t work out (because she would not go to the bathroom OUTDOORS) and when we returned her, they asked us if we wanted to foster another dog. We said sure, which is how we ended up with Lokey. Lokey was part Husky, part grey wolf (they think) and he was the PRETTIEST dog I have ever seen.



We picked him up Thursday night and took him home, but the lady lived out in the country so we didn’t get home until late. We brought him in, let him sniff around the house and meet everyone, and then I took him into the yard to do his doggy business. He was more interested in sniffing than going pee so I figured a bit of a walk might help to get him to go. We went on the walk around the block and he stayed calmly at my side the whole time, not pulling on the leash at all. On the corner of my block though, a mere three houses from home, a person on the other side of the street walking two little dogs spooked him, and he jerked hard away from me. He jerked once, twice, three times and on the third time he slipped his collar and took off like a bat out of hell. I knew I wouldn’t catch him so I ran down to the house, grabbed my keys and took off after him in the car. By then (9pm) there was no sign of him and Shorty and I spent the rest of the night searching on foot and by car in our neighborhood and surrounding areas. I was literally up until two am, searching for this dog and hoping we would find him. We never did and I contacted our foster coordinator to make a plan for the morning- fliers, checking with each humane society, Facebook, and more searching. It never came to that though- I was up early the next morning and as I drove under a bridge a mile from the house I found him. He had been hit by a car and left there. It was HORRIBLE and I literally stood there sobbing while traffic slowed around me. I called Shorty at work and she rushed over to me and helped me to take him home. It was horrible. We had been looking forward all week to getting this dog, he was AMAZING and well behaved and beautiful, and I just really really wanted him to be our forever dog. Compounding the fuckidyness (yes, I made up my own word) was that his former owner had only surrendered him because she had to and had been in tears over it… and I got to be the one to call and tell her her dog had escaped us and been hit, on his FIRST NIGHT HOME no less. Seriously, it sucked. I don’t think it could have sucked any more.

And, the final shoe contributing to the giant ass kicking we’ve been recieving is that the 15th, the same day we found Lokey, was also the five year anniversary of Shorty’s father’s death. He died suddenly in a hunting accident five years ago and every year, November is hard… But this year and that day especially sucked, especially for my poor wife. Let’s just say that I was not a happy camper that day and she was really REALLY not a happy camper. We were both relieved when it was finally time to go to bed and put that day behind us.

In summary, we’re kind of a hot mess around here. November has sucked and although December looks to be kinder, I am quite frankly excited to see the end of this whole damn year. Fast forward to January, please. I’m ready for a new start.

/end blog silence.


Goin’ to the chapel…

… Or, you know, the county courthouse. Either or.

Shorty and I had our big wedding with the big poofy dress and all the guests and that two and a half years ago on the beach in California. We said our “I Dos” with the waves crashing behind us and spent the night partying it up. Thing One was our flower girl and it was amazing- we had a blast.

…Which is why we absolutely cannot get Thing One to understand why Mommy and Mama will be getting married AGAIN.

“Will there be cake again?” she asks.
“No, sweetheart. No cake.”
“Will I get the be flower girl again?”
“No sweetheart. There won’t BE a flower girl this time.”
“Well then,” she usually replies, stomping an imperious foot. “WHAT is the POINT of getting married AGAIN? You already love each other!”

This is so very, very true. And would be spot-on advice, too, except for the fact that, like many of you, we are married but not legally so. The state where we wed was, at the time, having a spat with itself (California and Prop 8) and our home state does not allow it either. So we are trying to put together a very last-minute trip to New York* to get married before the end of the year.

We need to do this for two (very non-romantic) reasons: insurance and taxes. Now that we can legally file together, we would like to do so! And, we are trying to get Obamacare insurance for our whole family, since Shorty’s work will not recognize our marriage and therefore she cannot carry me on her insurance, plus her insurance sucks and we pay ridiculous amounts of money to have a huge deductible that we will never meet. So, marriage. Legally this time.

We think we’ll be road tripping it in two weeks’ time, hoping to stay with a friend who lives in the city. This will be a very last-minute, budget trip, and the plan is to drive out overnight Wednesday (we have to be there Thursday to apply for the license to be able to marry Friday, since there is a 24 hour waiting period). We don’t have a lot of time (and would fly if plane tickets weren’t so damn expensive!) but if anyone lives in NY or on the drive to/from (coming from Indiana), we would love to take a pit stop and meet you

*New York: randomly chosen as one of the states within driving distance that has the smallest (24hr) wait period between applying for a license and being granted one; most other states where it is legal are 72hr wait period).

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First Trip to a Childhood Mecca

A few days ago, we took Pax on his first trip to that Mecca of childhood, that symbol of childhood magic and freedom, that one place that every child asks their parents to go see…

…the McDonald’s play place.

I know, I know, you were probably thinking Disneyland or something. Sorry about that.

Anyways, we were on a long car trip and in our second or third hour on the road, and Pax decided he was done. D-o-n-e done. I knew we needed to get off the road and I knew that he needed somewhere to get out of his carseat and get moving for a little while. It was too rainy and cold to stop at a park but then those magical Golden Arches flashed by like a sign from the fast food Gods themselves, and best of all, underneath the arches were the words “playplace.” Hot damn!


We peeled off the road and skidded into a parking spot, and when I grabbed the screaming baby from his car seat he magically just stopped crying. It was like he knew.

In we went, and after a quick food purchase, were on our way to the inner Mecca itself. Blatantly disregarding both the posted age limits (4-12 years) and the posted “no shoes” signs (no way was I exposing my feet to that floor and I figured his Skidderz didn’t count), Pax was on his way to fast-food-playplace-bliss. And y’all, this was like the Holy Grail of all playplaces… It had the standard tubes and slides, but it also had a fuzball table, a basketball court (I kid you not), play station games, and some extra tubes and slides. It was HUGE!


Pax wasn’t sure what to approach first but he got into it pretty quickly. He expediently went for his favorite activity
In The World (stair climbing!) and started at it.



He got a bit distressed once we got up into the tunnels themselves, perhaps because the cacophony of older children screaming was a little overwhelming at that point in time, but a quick exit and a trip to the ball court led to a happy Pax toddling around with a “basketball” for the rest of our time there.




He also made a little friend who was only two days older than him and they were taking turns “sharing” (read: stealing) the ball from each other. I don’t have pictures of this because frankly, I wasn’t sure if the mom-taking-pictures-of-other-people’s-children-at-mcd’s-playplace was something that would fly or that I wanted to chance seeing again on news headlines the next day, with the tag line “Have you seen this woman?”. So I stuck to taking pics of my own kid instead.

At the end of the hour the toddler was successfully toddled out, as evidenced by the fact that he passed. the frick. out. as soon as we got on the road again. And hey, if he came out of there with a few million more germs than he walked in there with (complimentary hand sanitizing wipes notwithstanding), well, that’s what childhood is all about, right? Building immunity through the transfer of snot and other nasties onto shared play equipment, which other children then touch with their hands which then go into their mouths at some point. Shudder.

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happy birthday to my wife!

Today is my lovely, sweet, smart, kind-hearted wifey’s birthday! We do birthday weekends in this house so we’ve been celebrating all weekend, but today is the actual day.

On Saturday, we went out to a sushi dinner and I gave her her main gift- a glider that her dearly departed father had given her long ago when she was pregnant with T1. The poor glider was worn down to threadbare with just a tiny bit of cushion left, and we were storing it in the garage where it was collecting cobwebs and getting in the way. Shorty was convinced that the next step was to throw it in the trash and so she was super happy when I surprised her with it, restored, reupholstered, and with the kids’ names embroidered. She even cried. 🙂




Sunday we just bummed around the house, annnnd oh yeah… Got a dog. No baby, new pet, anyone? We are technically fostering this dog, but we are fostering-to-adopt, assuming everything goes well. She is a pit mix which I honestly never thought I would have (pit stigma and all), but she is the SWEETEST, most gentle, loving dog I have ever met. She is great when Pax climbs all over her and when Thing One gets all hyper in her face. She needs some training- leash training and a refresher course on house training but we have already begun those and she is doing great! We love her already.




Today Shorty worked, but I did manage to bake her a pumpkin roll (her favorite treat) and drop it, a Pepsi (another favorite) and a card off at her work for her. I had chicken and dumplings waiting at home for dinner (another fave) and we sang her happy birthday and lit candles in a cheesecake for the grand finale. She said she’s enjoyed her birthday. 🙂



One more (non-birthday related) mini update: speaking of no baby, new pet: no baby! Not even another try yet, because unfortunately, we missed my ovulation this cycle! I have been temping and using OPKs 2x/day, but the OPKs were the wondfo ones, which are soooo hard to interpret. I took soy this cycle and sure enough, I have a sustained temp shift from CD13 onwards, but never got a positive OPK (just almost-positive ones).


We’re thinking we just missed and/or misinterpreted the wondfos. I saved all my OPKs in order and looking back, there are some pretty dark is-it-or-isn’t-it positive ones on the day FF and my temps say I ovulated. Next cycle we will just get the smileys again, even though they’re expensive- there is no mistaking a positive with those and the wondfos are too hard to interpret! Also, my CM this cycle has been plentiful (strange, for me) but I never got clear egg white CM, just creamy stretchy stuff… So that contributed to the confusion as well. But that was on CD12, which is when FF says I ovulated. So I guess that WAS my fertile CM, I just never noticed! Oh well. We’ll try again next cycle. At least I ovulated!

Off to celebrate more birthday with my wife. 🙂 Happy November, y’all.

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