Friday, February 29, 2008

Encore! Encore!

Today is Cinderella's cast party to celebrate the success of their drama club performance (of 3 weeks ago).
I'm a little sad that I won't be able to be there.
I didn't realize how much fun I had with those kooky and wacky middle schoolers, until my time with them was over.
"This is the happiest I have seen you in a long time."
My mother's observation was right-on and a little shocking.
I had no idea I would have this much fun working with Cinderella and her classmates.
They're funny, exuberant and stuck in that awesome and awkward place between childhood and adulthood. The dynamics of their relationships are laced with sexual tension that they have yet to understand or even realize. They are beautifully innocent and frighteningly grown-up all at the same time.
Being backstage with them left me feeling something like a Big Sister, Friend, Mom and Warden all rolled into one. I wanted to strangle them and laugh and hug and run around being silly with them all at the same time.
Cinderella and I bonded in a way we had never done before. Her play gave us something in common - something neutral to enjoy together, that existed beyond our home and chores and custody/visitation issues and the problems with her Mom and the dynamics of our Stepmom/Stepdaughter relationship. We connected easily. We chatted, gossiped, planned and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. 
This experience has left me wanting more.
I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spring May Now Come

As we have successfully filled our snow fun quota for the season after Friday's storm dumped close to a foot of snow.

Yep, he's totally aiming for his unsuspecting sister.

But then realized it's way more fun to simply run down the snow-covered hill...

... because snow suits are just as slippery as any sled.

No snow day is complete without hot cocoa. This time, I was smart and started the machine BEFORE we went outside so it was ready-and-waiting for us when we came back inside.

All the fixin's.

Apparently, it's all about the marshmallows.

The perfect cup.

The perfect ending to a perfect day.

(Man these photos suck ass in terms of quality. I just got a new camera and have yet to figure out the proper settings.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Make Tracks

Nothing beats being the FIRST to make tracks in the newly fallen snow.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that it's snowing and that they are predicting close to 11 inches by the time it stops. Whhheeeeeee!!!!!!!!

(Shut up. It's not like *you* have to shovel it!)

(Well, that's only true if you don't live on the East Coast and, if you do live in the tri-state area, well... suck it up! *I'm* happy about the snow!)

(And yes it *is* all about me.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Knitting My Fingers to the Bone...

... in preparation for a Baby Shower this weekend for my StepBrother and Sister-in-Law.

Over the holidays, I was given a hand-knitted dishcloth by a fellow knitting friend on Twitter and I LOVE it. It's super absorbent, makes a great pot holder and is oh-so-pretty.

So I decided to make some washcloths to go in a layette basket for my new nephews.

Cute. Right?

And some bibs too ...

I think I may be addicted because they are so quick to knit and I am an instant-gratification-kinda-gal. I predict gifts of washcloths and dishcloths for EVERYONE!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When BioMom Asks You To Lie (The Resolution)

Lucky for us, this situation (which took place three weeks ago) resolved itself within 24 hours.
After her Friday night phone call with Cinderella, Prince Charming spoke with Maleficent and convinced her it was better to tell their daughter about the surgery because what upsets her more than anything is KNOWING when he is not being told the whole truth.
The next day was Saturday. The day of Cinderella's school play.
She had two performances that day. Prince Charming wanted to bring Cinderella to see Maleficent during the break in between performances. Cinderella needed to see her Mom to know that she *really* was ok. Maleficent agreed.
Cinderella made her Mom a get well card Friday night and asked her Dad and I to sign it. We did.
Prince Charming picked up a bouquet of flowers for Cinderella to give to her Mom.
Their visit that Saturday was brief but gave Cinderella the chance to see that her Mom would be ok and gave Maleficent the chance to tell Cinderella the truth.
Cinderella handled it well and wound up spending the night with her Mom after her final performance that Saturday night.
We were relieved. More importantly so was Cinderella.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Momma Always Said...

Hansel: "Mommy what's a cowlick?"

Me: "It's what happens to your hair when a cow licks you."

Top that, Mrs. Gump.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When BioMom Asks You To Lie (Part II)

Since we could not get a hold of Maleficent and speak with her directly (Prince Charming did reach her faithful companion, Diablo, who told him it was a ruptured ovarian cyst that required surgery and Maleficent was currently in the recovery room) I told Cinderella that her Mom wasn't coming due to a combination of the icy roads and her not feeling well.
Cinderella was crushed.
Instantly she began to stress...
Will she come and get me tomorrow? Who is taking me to my play tomorrow? Will Mommy be there for the performances?
I did my best to play it down as no big deal, and even joked with her about stressing too much, and that she can ask all of this when her Mom calls later on.
Maleficent did call that evening and told Cinderella she was, in fact in the hospital.
We now understood that Maleficent wanted to be the one to tell her.
Prince Charming and I were relieved and proud of Maleficent for having faith that Cinderella could handle the news.


Later on, I tried talking with Cinderella about the situation. I wanted to make sure she understood what had happened and wanted to reassure her in case she had any questions.
I was sure she must be a little worried and scared over the thought of her Mom having surgery.
I also thought she might be confused over the procedure.
Oh, no. I understand what happened to Mommy. She had a cyst on her hip, like the one she gets on her wrist and her doctor sent her to the hospital for testing. It's not like she had surgery or anything.

Umm... WHAT?!
I thought SURELY she misunderstood what her Mom had told her. But then I quickly realized that Maleficent had LIED to Cinderella. I caught myself just before I corrected her.
So we were back to square one. Having to keep a new lie.
I said nothing. I simply smiled and walked away.
Maleficent was to be in the hospital for the remainder of the weekend. She would not be able to take Cinderella for the weekend OR see the play.
How were we going to explain THAT?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Who Needs a Hot Water Bottle?

When you have a feverish toddler to keep you warm!

If she wasn't in bed WITH me, she was ON me.

All. Day.

For TWO days.

She's better today. No fever but you can hear the "stuff" taking up residence in her nose. I better stock up on tissues with lotion.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

When BioMom Asks You To Lie

It's Friday.
Opening night for Cinderella's play.
It's Maleficent's visitation weekend, so she is to be here at 5pm to pick up Cinderella and bring her to the school early for hair and make-up.

6am: We get the call informing us that school's been closed on account of freezing rain.

7am: I get the email telling me the play has also been canceled.

A flurry of emails ensue throughout the day from her Drama teacher updating the parents on how this impacts the remaining performances.
Maleficent is not on the distribution list so I forward each one to ensure she is equally informed, especially since the responsibility of picking up and dropping off in between performances falls on her.
Around lunchtime Cinderella calls her Mom to confirm she knows the play has been canceled and that she is still coming at 5pm for their regular visitation.
Maleficent does not pick up. Cinderella leaves messages on her cell and home numbers and continues to stress throughout the day because that's what she does. She needs constant reassurance for even the most routine of events.

3pm: Maleficent leaves a cryptic message on our voicemail:

I won't be able to take Cinderella to her play tonight. I'm in the hospital. But don't tell her that. Just tell her I'm not feeling well and that I love her.

She is audibly distressed. She's been crying.
She has no idea school's been cancelled. No idea the play is not happening tonight.
I start to worry. I know she has been having medical problems for the past year, but the details are fuzzy. Maleficent hasn't exactly been very forthcoming, so most of what we "know" comes from Cinderella's offhand comments and show of concern for her Mom.
How the hell am I going to explain to her that her Mom is not coming without being bombarded with a flurry of questions about the rest of the weekend? This is her visitation weekend with her Mom. Will she see her at all?
Cinderella is naturally inquisitive and obsesses over her pick ups and drop offs. She is not going to accept this.
I can't accept it either. She is eleven years old. Old enough to know the truth. She deserves it.
(Never mind that in my head I am imagining the worst case scenario and wondering if we could live with ourselves should something terrible happen and Cinderella not be given the chance to see her Mom in the hospital.)
It takes me an hour to get a hold of Prince Charming to find out if he knows any more so we can decide what and how to tell Cinderella.
The message from Maleficent on his voice mail mentions that she may need surgery.
And, again, she asked that we NOT to tell Cinderella.
It's now one hour before Maleficent is supposed to be here.
The Prince and I go back and forth on what to do.
Do we tell her?
Or do we honor her mother's request?

What would YOU do?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Don't Know How You Do That VooDoo That You Do So Well...

Friday night was supposed to be opening night for Cinderella's school play.
But because Mother Nature SUX! school was closed on account of "freezing rain" and all after-school activities were canceled.
These final weeks of rehearsals and preparations were not without some added (unnecessary) drama - opening night was pushed back a week to accommodate mid-terms, flu befell some cast members and threatened their performance, parental tempers ran high over the late nights of rehearsals - so this last minute cancellation was not taken well.
Cinderella's drama teacher needed cheering up.
So, what else does one do on a rain day but make voodoo dolls to put an end to the bad juju?

All that is needed were two bamboo skewers, some cotton batting, twine and fabric (I used an old pillow case).

I used this pattern for inspiration.