Friday, June 24, 2011

Dance. Dance. Dance.

I am a proud "dance mom".  I have the sticker on my vehicle to prove it!   This past weekend was the dance recital.  It is now Thursday and I think we are finally recovered from all the excitement.  The day started out with me getting up and taking my time getting ready to go.  I was able to center my emotions, and calm myself down a little bit.  I was so excited, nervous, scared, and exhilarated.  Around 10:00a, I left the house with the girls (hair still in curlers), while M stayed back with his family, and drove to a local gas station to get a caffeinated beverage.  It was going to be a long day.

Once at the auditorium, I unpacked our stuff, had the girls go potty, and sat down to take a few deep breaths before the chaos hit.  The other moms began arriving with their children... in full make-up/costume.  My girls were still in street clothes and curlers.  Hmmm...  I asked, and was told they were supposed to be in full costume (hair/make-up too).  So in the next twenty minutes, I rushed to get them both out of curlers, changed into their costumes, and said to heck with make up!  Everyone was on stage around 11:00 to practice the finale.  Then the girls and I sat in the audience waiting for their numbers to come up for dress rehearsal.  Vampire was number 9 before intermission, DQ was numbers 14 and 17 after intermission.  I stayed calm although Vampire was trying to run wild, and kept her consoled by feeding her an almond after every dance she sat through, and letting her play with my camera a bit taking photos.  M came up to the auditorium around 11:30, and I'm so thankful he was there.

When it was time for her to get up on stage it was around 1:15.  She ran around like a feral animal on the stage, wouldn't listen to instruction and at one point actually ran from the dance instructor.  It was chaos.  She was tired.  She was hungry.  She was grumpy.  She got kicked off the stage.  The dance teacher told me "I'm sorry.  I can't do this right now."  I told her I understand, and made Vampire sit through the performance and watch her fellow pirate tumblers.  When it was over, I calmly told M to take her to the car, let her eat her lunch, and make her nap, but be back in the auditorium around 3:00.  He did, and texted me a little bit later saying "she's asleep."  I responded "thank God."  I did not get to video the dress rehearsal, but here is a video of the leotard rehearsal for your viewing pleasure. 

DQ and I sat and ate our lunches, then we headed back down for her portion of the dress rehearsal.  I sat in the audience and fought back tears of pure love while watching her on stage dancing.  She did so well, and looked so beautiful while she did her tap performance, I beamed with pride while she did her ballet performance.  I couldn't wait till the real recital would be happening (in about an hour and a half) and my parents, M's Parents, and our friends could see these two beautiful little girls dance!

M brought the Vampire back in, and she seemed a little better after having napped.  I went backstage with the girls to apply make-up and touch up hair/costumes. Then it was time for the big show.  It went so much faster than I imagined it would.  I had time to relax, and then I had times I had to hurry and get the kids ready.  They both performed so very well.  I cried watching them because I was so stinking proud of them!  They were so beautiful.  So full of energy!  The Vampire did her own thing, and many parents told me that she was the star of the show.  DQ nailed her tap performance.  It was awesome.  She would have done well with the ballet performance, but there was another little girl who thought for sure that DQ was in her spot, and they had a bit of an argument. 

When all was said and done, we went home and changed, then went to a cookout at my aunt's house.  M's family were there, and we all played volley ball, and had a great time!  That weekend will stay in my memory forever.  Right before the recital started, I received another text from my sister.  The usual "tell the girls I love them and I miss them".  I don't know why she insists on texting now and then.  The therapist even asked why she does that.  I told the therapist that I guess it is just to let us know she's still there and thinking about the kids.  I'm unsure.  The therapist seems to think it could be a form of mental warfare that she's trying to wage.  I just ignore the text and keep moving.  I refused to let that gorgeous day be marred by my sister.  The kids did so well, and I am a proud dance mamma!

Aunt TT

Monday, June 13, 2011


Lil' Bit is in her first heat.  I have been calling her Hookie.  Use your imagination and figure that out for yourself.  The kiddos are young enough they haven't a clue what I am talking about.  We didn't get her to the vet in time to be spayed, so she has been... different.  On one hand, she is more loving and friendly!   She will let anyone, I do mean ANYONE pet her.  Of course she makes a spectacle of herself when they are petting her but I guess that comes with the territory.  She has done a fair amount of "catterwailing"  I think the worst of it is over, as she has started to be a little calmer than she was on my birthday when it all started.  The girls don't understand it, and we aren't really trying to explain it at this age.  M told them that she is acting funny because she is looking for a boyfriend, and if we ignore her she will quit.  I have to say, though, I have enjoyed the super lovable side she has been showing.  She is a truly great cat.  We're blessed.

We have been wearing out the Wii.   M and I finally tried the Wii Fit.   I love it!!   I am super sore today from doing 110 minutes yesterday.   It didn't seem like much, so I must admit, I over did it.  I was just having such fun.  Fun...  exercising!   Who would have guessed?  So now M and I have been competing against each other for top score in all the categories.  I've been burning up the Wii Step!!!  The girls haven't been able to play much as they have been acting out and doing a lot of yelling at us.  We have been using the Wii as incentive to stop those behaviors.  Not to say we don't let them have any fun.  We let them have plenty!   As I type this, DQ is playing a spelling game that she loves on the computer right now.  Granted, Vampire is in bed early due to screaming no at me when it was shower time, but we have to get her to listen somehow. 

This weekend (6/19) is dance recital.   I am so excited.  I have most of their stuff ready.  I just need to pick out the outfits they will wear to the recital as the shirts will have to come over their heads easily so we don't disturb the curlers (or curls) when we take the shirts off to put their costumes on.  I do have dance photos!   I will have to see if M can scan them into his computer sometime soon so I can upload them.  They came out so well, and the girls are so excited!   M's family will be here, and I am very excited to see them.  I know he and the girls are too.  One of my good friends will be at the recital with her kiddos, as will my aunt.  Anyone local who wants to go, let me know.  The tickets cost $7.00 apiece.  I'm sorry, we only got 7 tickets for our recital fees.

This weekend is also Fathers Day.  I hate that the girls will be wrapped up in dance all day long, but we weren't able to chose when the recital would happen.  No news from bio dad.  He attended the recital last year.  Last text I had from bio mom was a few days before my birthday.  I figure I will get another in the next week or two as are her habits.  I haven't told her about the recital.  I have thought about it.  Telling her that she can come and watch her kids, she just must not let them see her.  I hate to do that, though.  I don't really know what is right here.  It is such a bad situation to be in.  I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone. 

Vampire has still been doing mostly well.  She backpedaled a little bit last week, but has started this week out well.  She bit a child last week because he hit her.  M and I told her that biting is NEVER acceptable, and we expect her to walk away or tell an adult next time someone is being mean to her.  It's all we can do.

I'm going to go play a round of Wii Fit.  M thinks he can beat me at some of the Yoga moves, and I'm going to have to prove him wrong.  

Aunt TT

Monday, June 6, 2011

How we got a Wii...

So over the weekend, Uncle M is looking into a part time job. I hate for either of us to do that. We both all ready work at least 40 hours a week apiece. I hate for either of us to miss out on any more time with the kids. But anyway, I got really irritated with M yesterday because he was on the internet looking for a part time job and somehow... got to looking at Wii's instead. Yeah... I'm still trying to figure out the connection. Anyway, he found a Wii and gobs of games, Wii-motes, steering wheel, WiiFit (and board) Wii Just Dance (and dance mats), etc. I've been so irritated with him that I haven't bothered to look at it yet, but anyway long story short, he spent $220.00 that I was saving back as part of my emergency fund, to purchase the family a Wii. Now we are proud owners of a bright shiny white Wii. I've mixed feelings as I loathe to part with the cash, but I've always wanted to try the Wii Fit....

So how am I handling this. Last night I cried. I was emotional anyway with the text I got from my sister saying "happy early birthday.  i love you.  hug the girls for me."  I told M that I would get re-certified as a state tested nurse aide, and start pulling 32 hour weekends to make enough to cover daycare until they Vampire gets into school. He was adamant that he is the male and supposed to be the breadwinner. In the dark I was just trying to control my tears. Times have changed, but I guess he still clings to that stereotype. Remember, I pulled myself out of an abusive relationship where I was thrown out of my ex's house on a regular basis. I am now independent, and everything here is in my name, and I bear the burden of the bills. I get "rent" from M to help cover his expenses. So we had one of those late night talks where we are both exhausted, but are trying not to go to bed upset at each other, and fell asleep before I came to any kind of agreement.

M is like a kid with that Wii. He has been downloading old games to it, as the previous owner was signed up with a website to be able to do that. He has been fiddling with it in all of his spare time. I can't take the happiness from him by being angry or hateful that the money is now spent. Instead.... I have decided that it is his birthday present. Yes! His birthday is coming up in August, and I am going to tell him that since he did this, I will not give him any grief, but I will not be able to afford anything for his birthday in a couple of months. That way he will have his toy. I might be able to kick him off sometime and see how awful I am at WiiFit, the kids will enjoy playing with us, and I will be able to justify that money being gone.

The girls are very excited about the Wii.  We haven't had an opportunity to let them play it yet, but they are looking forward to it.   Another reward for good behavior!!   Speaking of behavior, V is still doing well at school.   I feel like I am starting to let down my guard a little about that.  I talk easily with the director of the daycare, and things feel... normal.  DQ looks forward to going to her daycare every day.  She LOVES the field trips, and seeing her smile reminds me that I am doing right by her. 

Dance recital is in two weeks.  I think we are ready.  It could prove to be difficult to roll their hair while M's family is down here, but I am excited that they are planning to be here for the recital!!  I'm a little nervous about the make-up, as they do better with cream based shadow, but it doesn't stay on as well.   *sigh*  I will work it out.  We get a total of 7 tickets for our guests.  I will be backstage the entire time, so those tickets will go to friends/family.  I figure we will have at least 12 people attending, so we will need to buy 5 extra tickets.  But I'm not going to complain!   The girls have a great support base, and I am so thankful for it.  I will be posting photos, etc after it is all said and done.

You will begin to see ads on my blog.  I am signing up with a few venues to put my blog out there, and maybe generate an income off my ramblings.  I hope it does not interfere with your viewing pleasure, I have tried to select ads that are well received by everyone.  Please keep reading, commenting, and enjoying what I type.  I love writing, and love hearing all of your comments!!!

Have a beautiful day!

Aunt TT

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dinner by a 6 Year Old

All day yesterday, M and I kept asking DQ what she was going to fix for dinner. At first she pouted and wouldn't talk to us. Then she decided that we would have pizza for dinner. I told her that's fine, but we have to make the dough. So I told her (at 2:30) that she would have to get out of the kiddie pool and come help me get the bread machine going. She backed out at that point, figuring it would be too much work. Then she decided that we would have Mac N Cheese. M told her at that point that Mac N Cheese doesn't cover all four food groups. So she decided to make burgers, corn, mac and cheese, and fruit salad.

She did very well cooking. I hovered in the kitchen the entire time and did everything she couldn't. M made her tell him when it was time to flip the burgers on the grill, and she stayed at the stove and stirred the mac n cheese. She wasn't sure how to mix the mac n cheese, and asked M if she should pour the cheese mixture in the boiling water with the noodles. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I looked at her with my worried, motherly look and said, "read the box." She insisted she couldn't, but I knew she could and coaxed her to do it.

Dinner didn't turn out too bad at all. I passed on the Sponge Bob Squarepants mac and cheese, and just had an ear of corn with my bean burger. I'm going through a meat free period. I do that now and then. She was very proud of her dinner. She kept asking if she did a good job by asking us if it was good. I kept assuring her it was delicious, but she needs to remember how much hard work went into the meal next time she thinks she doesn't like something M or I make. She seemed humbled.

I did not stay on track with my eating today. I will admit I have been a little depressed. Money has been stressing me out. I will get through this. I will find a way to pay for daycare and all my bills, etc. I stayed relatively active by cleaning house. I cleaned from top to bottom. Most all of the laundry is done. For dinner tonight I let the girls do what I call "choose your own adventure" pizza where I let them shape the crust and decide what goes on it, then I pop it in the oven for them. It's usually a hit. DQ wasn't happy with hers tonite cause she played with the dough too much and it wasn't as elastic as it should have been, and a lot of the oil I coated it with absorbed in her hands so it began to stick to the pan. Vampire had me help with hers.

My sister (the girls mother) texted me today too. It just said "happy early birthday. I love you. Hug the girls for me". I always feel awful when I get a "squishy" text like this. That little seed of guilt for having had to call Children's Services on my own flesh and blood grows a little when she is nice, loving and kind to me. It's an emotional battle for me. It's so easy to say that you love someone - it's quite another to actually SHOW it. Every time I see her say she loves me or the kids, I want it to be true. Well let me rephrase that. I know she means she loves us, but I wish she could show it. All of my adult life she has used my feelings for these kids against me. She has an addiction. I've never understood it. Don't know if I will ever be able to. Sometimes I wish I did more for her. I wish I was less involved with my own life, and more involved with hers. I wish she had turned to me instead of drugs. I wish I could have saved her.

I couldn't save her. So now I am saving her kids. Or at least trying to. It's just an off day for me. I usually have off days when my sister contacts me. All the regrets, worry, guilt, etc. come floating back to the surface. Over the next few days I will be able to repress them again, since there really is no fixing them. I will be good for the next few weeks till there is another text. Maybe the next text I will be stronger, and more capable of not letting the flood of emotions overpower me. There are only so many times anyone can go down the same road without learning from their mistakes. Maybe in writing about mine, I will be able to read back and learn from them. So please don't feel bad for me, because after I get these thoughts out of my mind, I am going to finish folding clothes, finish playing fetch with Lil Bit, our calico retriever, then go to sleep. Tomorrow is a brand new day for all of us!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Aunt TT

Who needs words....

 ....when you have photos!

Dragon Roller Coaster 5/15

Vampire is terrified, DQ is lovin it!

V got off the coaster, DQ is loving riding alone!

Biker momma on a carnival ride

Daredevil DQ riding in a "rocket ship"

Brave child....
In the belly of a dragon


Fun House

Hamsters in a wheel



DQ hooks up with an older boy for the ride

My brave little 6 year old

Another funhouse at another carnival

M trying not to crush children in a hamster wheel!

DQ on the slide!

Worn out little Vampire

Is it a Greenhouse?  Or a Jungle?

Greenhouse corn!!




Beans and Peas

Mint, Lettuce, Carrots

Broccoli and Spinach


Garden at the patio - lots of Tomatoes

Kiddie Pool
Itty Bitty Tomato flower

Sensitive plant, you touch it, it folds up, see next photo

Same sensitive plant - after the kids touched it

Baata got himself stuck behind my bedroom dresser

DQ was in charge of dinner.  She complains regularly about what M fixes, so we decided she would be in charge of dinner (supervised).  She chose what to fix, and had to handle most of the fixing of it.  Was a good learning experience.

Kate and her shopping cart full of baby dolls

DQ (with her 3rd tooth missing), showing off her coloring book page

Lil' Bit sitting in Hobie's food bowl.  She always does this to drink.

DQ playing with her doll baby.
Aunt TT

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Loooong Overdue!

I have been slacking as a blogger!!!   I need to bring you all up to speed on what has been going on in our lives.  The girls are doing pretty well.  We have two weeks from this Saturday then we will have our Dance Recital!  I'm excited and nervous!  It's hard to tell how Vampire will react to being on stage, but whatever happens, I'm sure that she will be adorable!  M and I have been kicking around putting DQ in competition dance this fall.  The cost would be 100.00 per month for the 3.5 hours of classes she would have to take, then another 15.00 per month for Vampire to be in ballet.  We would have to buy 4 costumes next year (Ballet for V, then Tap, Jazz, and Ballet for DQ) at around 50-60 dollars apiece, AND foot the expenses of traveling to and entering the 2 regional and 1 national competition that the instructor wants to do.  Dance lasts roughly 9 months of the year so for lessons alone, it would be 900.00.  The instructor is offering fund raisers, and if we chose to do the competition dance, I will have to bust my butt to raise extra money to pay for the expenses.  I would like to give her a shot at it because this would be so beneficial for her.  I have a little bit of time to figure out the expenses.

Speaking of expenses - DQ is out of school!  She has been out for an entire week now.  Summer is here!  M and I have put her in a summer daycare.  They go on weekly field trips every Wednesday to museums, the zoo, Omnimax theater (to see Tornado Alley), and even a local dairy!  On every Thursday they will either go bowling or skating rotating every week.  She also gets to spend the summer with her friends, a dear friend of mine's kids.  So although it exceeds our current income - it's worth it to give her the opportunity.  I have been giving plasma to help pay for the costs.  The first four donations are worth 220, then every week after I can make 50.00.  It doesn't cover the cost of the 126.00 per week entirely, but it does help to off set it.  I am looking into getting a second job on the weekends to keep my head above water.  I hate to do that because I will have to spend less time with the kids, but I have to generate more income into our household.  So if you have any ideas or suggestions, I am open to them.

Vampire is doing well in daycare.  They have hired a part time person to help with her.  I can not say enough about this daycare, and if you are local, and would like to learn more about them, then just get in touch with me, and I will tell you all.  The director pin pointed the hours that Vampire was acting out the worst and hired a part time girl to shadow her.  How amazing is that?  I told her I worried about that fix as I didn't know how long they could afford an extra person, and she told me not to worry about the expenses, that the room needed a third adult for a long time, and this was a good window of opportunity for that.  She said she would handle the finances, that I just needed to keep being the positive that V needs.  I can say to you now, she has not bit another child at all in around three weeks.  She did bite the part time teacher about 2 weeks ago, but that was it.  The director told me after that incident "we're all entitled to our bad days - even kids."  I am so blessed to have her there.  They work wonders with her.

The greenhouse is a jungle!  M has been working really hard on it to keep it watered, and to tend the plants.  He has been leaving the door open so we can get various insects in there to help pollinate the flowers that have bloomed.  I haven't been able to justify forking out the money to buy any bees for pollination purposes, so we are making do with what we can.  I will snap some photos of it, and post them later today so you can see how awesome it is!  M had to tear out the zucchini plants because they were taking over everything else.  Crazy!!

I have been told by another custodial aunt that I have befriended about the Kinship care program.  I am going to explore it and see if we can't get into it to get financial help.  I really hate to do it, because I know nothing is free, but 275 dollars a week for daycare is more than I can afford, and I have to work.  I have to pay my house payment.  I have to pay electric, and water bills.  I have to provide food for these children.  My custodial aunt friend lives in another state, but I am praying that the program is similar in Ohio.  From the way she described it - it helps out a lot!

I get a text message from my sister every two weeks or so.  It is always the same, "tell the girls that I love them and I miss them."  This last time I finally responded to her, usually I just save it to my phone and keep going with my life.  But I texted back "we do."  She responded "thanks".  Conversation over.  She hasn't asked to see them yet.  Part of me hopes she never does.  The entire situation has become trickier, though as my favorite aunt had to kick her 20 year old son out of her house about a month ago.  This beloved aunt lives literally right around the corner from me.  I know this broke her heart, and I wish I could ease her pain, but she found drugs in his bedroom, and gave him the boot.  I'm not talking pot either, I'm talking harder drugs.  He lived with my grandfather for a little while, then a couple of weeks ago left my grandfather's house to move in with...  my sister.  He is now living in the hotel that my sister is, because she promised him a job.  The job he has....  from what my aunt has said....  is watching children while my sister and her boyfriend work. CHILDREN.  Leading me to believe there could be more than one.  Leading me to wonder if the extra kids are my sisters or if they are someone else's.  Leaving me to fear that a drug addict is taking care of children.  My cousin also knows where I live.  He's been to our house, he's seen the kids, he voiced quite adamantly how he would knock some sense into my sister for leaving her children, and now - he is living with her.  So she knows where the kids are.  M has seen a white vehicle that looked suspicious on the street, so I am on guard. 

We also haven't received any statements that my sister is now paying into her child support.  She is VERY far behind.  About 7500 behind on the girls, and 5300 behind on Z-man.  I don't get the money, and personally don't care if she pays it or not.  I am telling you this because:
a.  there is no child support being withheld from her checks, so she is being paid cash, or being paid in free nights at this hotel
b.  she will get to a point where she is so far behind that she will be involved in legal problems, and could spend time in jail due to being in arrears, I hate to see that happen to her.
c.  for me this is all concrete evidence that she is still the same person she was when she left here, no matter how much she has said she has changed, and the child or children she has in her care is also in danger of suffering the life her eldest three did.

Over the weekend I watched a Lifetime Movie online.  It is called Gracie's Choice starring Kristen Bell and Anne Heche.  I saw my sister in Anne Heche's character.  It based on a true story, and over dramatized, but the basic personality of a drug addict who bounced from place to place, using anyone she could to keep her lifestyle the way she wants it was what I can see now in my sister.  It's what I never saw before.  It was like someone removed the blinders from my eyes, and I could finally see her clearly for what she truly is.  I cried a bit after watching it.  I think my tears were shed for the lives these children lead before I got them.  All of the strange men they were exposed to, all of the things they lost when being drug from home to home, all of the nights they didn't have a bed to sleep in, or clean clothes to wear, all came crashing down on me.  I can't ever let that happen again.  Ever. 

We haven't heard anything from the Redneck since October of last year.  My hope is that he continues to stay out of the picture.  I don't know what is going on with him, or why he couldn't at least call to check on or say hi to the girls, but I am glad he hasn't yet.  I wonder how anyone could walk away from a child like that.  When I watch DQ sit and read books (she is reading at a 1st-2nd grade level) to the Vampire, I wonder how anyone could chose to miss out on that.  When the Vampire throws her arms around me and yells "MOMMY!"  I think who could walk away from this?!?!  I think about everything I have had to sacrifice, and still - my decision would be the same.  To my readers who don't have children, it is a HUGE sacrifice.  I haven't been to the OBGYN or the eye doctor in two years.  I haven't had time.  I take so much time of work for their vision, dental, therapy, etc appointments, that I feel like I can't justify time for mine.  I have missed dentist appointments to the point that they sent me a certified letter saying they will start charging me for the missed appointments merely because I was so consumed by helping the Vampire stop biting.  I have to leave work early to take them to or pick them up from school.  I have had to work over to make up my time.  I haven't had real, honest to God vacation from work in nearly two years.  I take a day here, and a day there, but I haven't had a good solid 5-7 days off in what feels like forever.  I'm the breadwinner for two sweet little angels.  I have to make these sacrifices. 

I'm not complaining.  I'm just trying to justify why I can't be the friend I used to be.  I'm trying to establish why I'm not the sister I used to be.  Everything takes back seat to two little girls who have no clue how very much M and I do for them.  The sacrifices M has made have been even greater than mine in leaving his family, job, and everything he knew to come here and put up with DQ's mouthiness and Vampire's stubborn streak.

Finally, I had the surprise of a lifetime this weekend!  We went up to Michigan to visit M's family for the weekend.  We camped out in his cousin's back yard when we got up there on Saturday night and had a blast!  Sunday morning we played with Legos, as his cousin has the largest collection of Legos I have ever seen, then we all went to his other cousin's house for a cookout.  Now M had been acting weird.  He had said a couple of things to me, and I was preparing myself for him getting down on one knee in front of his entire family to propose to me.  As we get out of the car at his cousin's house some of the kids, and his Uncle Dennis come out to greet me.  Dennis tells me Happy Birthday, but I don't think much of it as his wife is a FB friend, and I won't see them again until after my birthday, so I figure he is just saying it while he can.  I thank him, and in a whirlwind of kids and my big dumb dog, head toward the house.  Inside the house, 275 miles away from home, there stands someone who looks like my dear friend Meg, and beside her in a chair, sits... my mom.  That person doesn't look like Meg, she IS Meg.  Mom, dad, Z-man, and Meg and her children drove all the way to MI to join in on this surprise party thrown in my honor.  I would have cried had "Broccoli" (nickname of M's 5 year old God-daughter) not been hanging on my arm and distracting me just enough that I was able to reign in the flood of emotions I felt.  I felt so loved.  M's family were pretty much all there, his cousin's wife made me some delicious chocolate cakes with peanut butter in the middle, and shaped like a Reeces cup!  I got a new sewing machine from M's mom, dad, sister, brother-n-law, niece, nephew, and M, some lavender bath salts from his very talented soap making aunt (AC), a gift card to a local restaurant from Meg, and everyone even sang Happy Birthday to me before the cakes were cut.  I tear up just writing the details of this surprise to you.  It touched my heart so deeply.  M's family are a great group of people, and I am so grateful they welcome me into their homes and lives.  I love being a part of them.  So thank you M.  Thank you for making the 32nd year of my life so special.  I don't know what I would do without you.  And thank you M's family!  I love you all!

Aunt TT