Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doing it themselves.

A friend shared this article on Facebook and I like it a lot:

I see things in this light most of the time. I am a big believer in telling kids "do it yourself" and am more than okay with them encountering struggles and frustration along the way. If they fail a few times and dont seem to be improving, I will assist, but I will not do it for them. Its a growing and learning process.

Check out this burger!!

From Effies in Lewiston, Idaho!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Alex the excavator

Alex found a skull buried in the back yard... he seems to think that its a dinosaur. We told him thats pretty unlikely. Honestly im not too sure WHAT it is... Michelle is going to take it to school and have the science teachers take a look. I showed him how to use a hammer and "chisel" (screwdriver) to break up the dirt and then to brush it away from the bone. It was pretty cute.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cameo Heights

So Michelle and I got to have a little getaway yesterday that was quite lovely. Last year for Christmas I got her a gift certificate for Cameo Heights Mansion and we were finally able to use it! The place was absolutely lovely. Im iffy about Bed and Breakfasts usually because I dont really sharing bathrooms and living areas, many are tech-free.... Cameo doesnt come anywhere near my generalized view of B&Bs. There are seven suites, and every suite has a king sized bed, two person bathtub and shower, and a flat screen TV. The suites are HUGE. The "shared" living spaces are a game room and huge movie/media room, the summer-only outdoor pool, and year-round outdoor hot tub. There is a sit down breakfast included in the price, as well as an optional "wake up service" where they knock on your door at 8am and leave a tray with fresh pastries and drinks. The attached restaurant, The Vine, is fantastic. Our fondue dinner was fabulous, if a bit overpriced, but still delicious and we were both stuffed. All in all, pretty amazing. I will recommend Cameo to everyone, and am excited to try it out again in the summer.
A quick word of forewarning, we were a bit caught off guard when we arrived at Cameo and found that there were some pretty strong religious (LDS) undertones  Between a huge selection of religious movies in the movie room as well as paintings and newspaper articles on the walls, and the "morning musings" delivered with breakfast being filled with bible verses, it was somewhat predominant. However at no point did I ever feel any discrimination, they were only kids and helpful. Just something to be aware of.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


The kids were in the office doing MadLibs on the iPad this morning and were laughing at the final story of one of them. Alex then said "Lets go read it to our parents!" :-)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Job opportunity

I spent the day today job shadowing for a position in the school district where Michelle teaches and the kids go to school. A full time position is opening up for a para for two DD middle schoolers, one who is Deaf. The day went pretty well and I am excited about the possibility of an interview next week. I would be getting more hours, have a higher rate of pay, and be able to carpool to work in the morning with Michelle and the kids. Plus, I would be doing something I love. Signing all day today was pretty awesome.  Anyways, so now its a waiting game!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Preparing for the double digits?

Josie is definitely taking this 9 years old business seriously. I love it :-) Since her birthday on Sunday she has slept in her room alone all night the last three nights, woken up BEFORE us with her own alarm, and gotten showered and dressed without any direction. Its pretty awesome, and im pretty proud of her.
Of course, not to be outdone, Alex has been getting up when he hears her alarm, getting dressed, and then going to start the car and scrape the ice off for us.
These kids are awesome :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Oh, forgot to mention that on Friday night Everett's mom Laurie took Ev and Alex to Tri Cities to watch Motocross! They had a blast!!

Josie's 9th Birthday

So today is Josies 9th birthday! We had her party yesterday. Her first "big" birthday party with multiple people invited (since she was a toddler). It turned out awesome, and she had a blast. We went to the local roller rink, the kids skated and played games, then Josie and Alex got to go swimming at their grandparents hotel with Everett and have him spend the night. This morn we woke up and had leftover cake and Josie opened her gifts from Michelle and I. She is quite addicted to her Kindle Fire and I doubt we will be seeing her for a while. Awesome birthday weekend :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2013


This is my niece Lorelai playing with the front-facing camera on my phone. She ALWAYS makes me smile :-)

Plumbers assistant

Installed a new kitchen faucet yesterday while Michelle was at work... but never would have gotten it done without Alex's help!

The word "step-parent" tends to retain the stigma attached to it in the past, even though blended families are becoming much more common these days.
Of course, I tend to not think in labels, except for occasional definition needs. But the fact of the matter is, I am a "step-parent" now. Which means somehow the same directions I have always given the kids have an additional weight attached to them.
Its always been obvious that Michelle and I have different parenting styles. Thats true with the vast majority of parents. Add the fact that ive never parented my own child but have many other peoples  and that Michelle has been pretty much the ONLY parent to them their whole lives, and that we are pretty polar opposite... leads to some interesting situations. We are moving along pretty nicely. But at times the logistics of the situation do cross my mind.
The kids are doing well with it. I've been around for a while so its not really different. The only difference I guess is the re-enforcement in some situations. Like the other night I gave Josie a direction and she backtalked a bit, and Michelle scolded her for that. What it came down to it Michelle took back my direction and had her do something differently, but she DID tell Josie that she needs to follow my directions when I give them without argument.
Its little things we learn about each other and the way things work, every day. There are many areas where I am super lax and Michelle is very strict, and vice verse. I tend to be pretty "free range" in that I would be comfortable letting kids stay home alone for short periods, ride their bikes around the block, have a later bedtime, etc. But I am pretty strict about household organization, chores and responsiblities, and routine. I have the patience of a costumed Disneyland character (it comes from my time working in behavioral kindergarten), and am pretty strict about giving one informational message, one warning, and then a suitable punishment that I *WILL* follow through with. I dont make rash threats. (Im not saying that Michelle does/doesnt do any of this, just describing my own style). Anyways. The kids are getting used to it, its going well, and things are running smoothly. Michelle is being wonderful considering she has been the single-handed matriarch of her family for a significant amount of time and I know sharing control isnt easy. But shes being pretty amazing :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mothering Levels

Catching up today on Be A Good Mom after not having read it for a while, and found her breakdown of "Mothering Levels". I like it :-)

Level 1 Mothering: I take care of all your personal, emotional, hygiene, safety and nutrition needs.

Level 2 Mothering: You are responsible for dressing yourself, keeping yourself reasonably safe with moderate supervision, performing basic chores and generally maintaining your own body.

Level 3 Mothering: I am watching you. Show me that you have learned something in Levels 1 and 2.  Lets work together to get you to Level 4, where you can really stretch out. You may go places without me. Heck, I may even go places without you once in a while.

Level 4 Mothering: I supply transportation, emotional support and the opportunity to earn money. You may use the sharp knives. I will no longer pay your library fines. I will no longer buy you fruit flavored toothpaste.

Level 5 Mothering: Check in 2x a day. I will still drive you to the dentist and such. I will no longer pay for birthday presents for your friends.

Level 6 Mothering: Why are you still getting mail here?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kids' wedding reactions

The kids reaction to us getting married was "Cool." Non-nonchalant. Kind of funny, really. Josie was initially excited to tell people. We told them that they had to wait until after we went to the courthouse to tell people (there was a 3 day waiting period after we got the license before we could actually get married.) Since we got married on Friday, come Monday morning before school Michelle told the kids they could tell whoever they wanted but just to be aware that some people might think it was odd or not understand. Alex came home gushing that he had told every person! Josie came home and hadnt mentioned it to anyone. She is quite socially aware for her age. So while having a lesbian parent is the norm for her, hearing that something may be perceived as odd made her a bit more cautious. By Tuesday Michelle was hearing about it in the halls (The school district where she works and they go to school is quite small and news travels fast.) Evidently Alex was telling every person he came in contact with, from his classmates to teachers to the lunch ladies and the school nurse! And it spread from the elementary to the high school very quickly.
Alex says "Moms" on and off. Josie asked Michelle the day after we got married what she should call me. Michelle said that was up to her. Their little brains are turning, but nothing much has changed. We are existing just as we had.
We did go to Ellensburg once right after getting married and again right before Christmas. Of his own accord, Alex proudly announced to my parents that he now has three grandpas and two grandmas (and more to come once they meet more of my family!). He also clued in that they now have a great-grandma when they met my Gram :-)
On Christmas Eve morning we were at my dads house opening gifts with he and my stepmom BK. They had gotten quite a few things for the kids, that they were very excited about. At one point Alex looked at my dad and said "Hey Dude! You're crying!" And went over and gave him a hug, and then started crying himself. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. And it was a really wonderful feeling. On Christmas Eve night/Christmas day Michelles mom and stepdad were over and here mom at one point said "One of your moms will help you."
Its the little things :-)

The beginning :-)

So i've realized that I really miss blogging regularly, and im finally at a place where I think I can get into it again. A driving force in my yearn to update in here is that I want a way for my family to get to know... my family.
See, things have changed a bit around here. After a somewhat turbulent year, Michelle and I took a crazy leap and got married on December 14th. Best decision of my life. We are happy, the kids are happy, and life is as it should be.
It came as a bit of a surprise to many people as we didnt tell anyone until after we had gotten married. We wanted it to just be about us and the kids. We were even able to have the kids sign as our witnesses on the marriage certificate! The judge was absolutely amazing, by the end he was even in tears! It was a wonderful day all around.
And now, I have a beautiful wife and two awesome kids and I want to be able to use this as a place for my other family members to get to know them and get a glimpse into our every day life :-)