Showing posts from December, 2009

End of Year Chicken

Havi Brooks does this thing on her blog called the Friday Chicken, wherein every Friday she talks about the hard and the good aspects of her week. I think it’s a great exercise, so I thought I’d give it a try as an end of year review. Turns out she did the same thing in New Year’s: The Great 2009 Chicken . I was going to call it the Year End Chicken, but I think The Great 2009 Chicken has more flair. Anyhow, on with the list… The Hard Infertility This year started off with me still trying to move past a miscarriage from the end of 2008. This is probably the hardest thing I dealt with this year. I cried. A lot. I sunk into depression. I tried to focus on the good things, but it just didn’t help that I felt empty and lost. Conception still hasn’t happened for us as of now, more than a year later, which makes things even harder. In October we started seeing an infertility specialist to check for any problems. All the tests have come up “everything is great/perfect/right where

Cooking for How Many?

I know how to cook for two. I know how much food to take out if I want just enough or if I want there to be leftovers. When I got divorced, I had to learn how to cook for one, which is difficult because food tends not to come in single servings. It's also tough to be motivated to cook for one. I had a lot of cereal, soup, and pasta- things that could easily be portioned. When I got remarried, I suddenly had to cook for three. I now know that 3/4 of a pound of pasta and one jar of sauce is just about right. If I kick up the sauce with extra ingredients and use the full pound of pasta, there will be leftovers. Chicken tenderloins come seven to a package. That's three for my husband, two for me, and two for my stepson. One can of corn splits three ways perfectly. I can buy a two pack of steak, plus one individually wrapped steak to feed three. One head of broccoli steams a serving for each of us. It took a lot of trial and error to get to this point. I made meals that l

Blogging About Stepfamily Life

Early this fall, I started thinking more about my life as a stepmom, more about my relationships with my own stepparents and step-siblings, and I realized I needed an outlet for those types of discussions. It's hard to admit, but sometimes I feel like I'm crazy. As in honest-to-goodness crazy. I get emotional, fearful, and have some really tough days. It wasn't until I read Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do that I realized I wasn't crazy. In fact, everything that I have felt and thought over the last few years as I've entered in to stepmotherhood are things other stepmoms go through. It was such a relief. Since then, I approach things with more gentleness (to myself and my family). I do my best not to take offense at things where no offense was intended. I try to be helpful to my husband and my stepson and I also try to recognize my own needs and desires. It's things like this that made me think maybe o

Christmas Photos

Before Christmas is a long lost memory, here are some of my favorite photographs from the holidays. May we hold tight to Christmas spirit all year long.

Today I am an artist

I love this time of year because it fills me with a feeling that anything is possible. For the past few days, I have been off work and I won't be returning until after the New Year. I spent those first few days cooking and doing some last minute shopping in preparation for Christmas. Today begins a week without work or holidays to prepare for. I've already begun to let loose and do whatever strikes my fancy, no matter how silly. This morning, that meant dusting off my vision journal and ripping up magazines for a little collage work. I started by cutting out pictures that resonated with me to create a vision board. I'm still deciphering the message, but I see lots of soft rounded shapes and rich earth tones. Then I morphed an idea from Keri Smith's Living Out Loud . She talks about creating a finder by cutting a one-inch square out of a small piece of paper. By looking through the hole, you notice textures and details in the world around you, rather than only s

Working Mother Wednesday: Christmas Traditions

In keeping with yesterday's post about The Night Before Christmas reading we do in our family every Christmas Eve, I continued the discussion of Christmas traditions on the Working Mother Mom Blogs today. What Christmas traditions do you have with your family?

The little book: a Christmas tradition

“It’s only two days ‘til Christmas,” my 12-year-old stepson keeps saying. It has now been “two days ‘til Christmas” since last Friday. Wishful thinking? I can’t help but share his enthusiasm. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the bustle of people, shopping for the perfect gift, and wrapping gifts in cheerful paper. It really is a wonderful time of year for me. The other day my stepson asked what we were doing in the coming days. When we got to Christmas Eve I said that we would be visiting our friends for the Feast of Seven Fishes, just like we had last year. (He loved the Feast last year. Any day he can have shrimp is a good day.) I continued that we would get home late, go to bed, and wake up for our usual Christmas morning routine. “But when are we going to read the little book?” he asked, almost whining. My heart filled with joy in that moment. You see, “the little book” is one of my Christmas ornaments. It is a 2x2” red leather bound copy of The Night Before Christm

Working Mother Wednesday

For some reason it seems like I don't meet a lot of stepmoms. So when I started talking about this blog, I was surprised to to hear that Working Mother was seeing increased interest in blended families. It makes sense. With divorce rates as high as they are, there must be a fair number of stepfamilies out there. Where are they hiding? I'll have to do a little research on that. I was even more surprised to be asked to write on the Mom Blogs at What an honor! Every Wednesday I will be writing Stepmom Diaries at the Mom Blogs. My first post launched yesterday. (A day early- oops!) I hope that through Stepmom Diaries and here at Too Many Toasters we can get a dialogue going about stepfamily life. Happy Wednesday!

How Many Toasters Can One House Hold?

Through a series of unfortunate events, my in-laws recently had to move in with us. Of all the things that could happen a year and four months into marriage, this is not one I expected. I was just beginning to feel there was a rhythm to the new life my husband, my stepson, and I were creating. Routines were starting to fall into place and relationships were settling in. I even have the frozen setting on the toaster figured out. My in-laws used to live five minutes from us and have been an active part of our family. Nana, in particular, spent several days a week with my stepson after school, which was extremely helpful while my husband and I were at work. My new family is much tighter on a day-to-day basis than what I was used to with my own family. My father lives close to 200 miles away and my mother is well over 2,000 miles away. Now, however, my in-laws are 5 seconds away – just across the hall in the guest bedroom. (I know the math is wrong but I think to get from 5 minutes

Scheduling Around the Stepson

Adjusting to life with a pre-teen child is unusual. For me it was especially unusual because I "joined a family already in progress," as the lovely Erin of Stepchicks so perfectly describes it. I had no children of my own coming in to my marriage. My stepson was nearly 9 years old when I met him. In no time flat, my life went from being mostly about me to being much more about my stepson. There was homework to help with, sporting events to attend, and after school arrangements to be made. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the family time, but I didn’t want to lose the “me” I was for the “us” I was becoming. My husband coaches baseball and soccer, so even when my stepson didn't have a game, my husband's time was swallowed up quickly with phone calls to parents, field preparation, or scheduling umpires and referees. I would suggest an outing to a park or a store to find out that "we have practice from 1:00 to 4:00, but maybe after that." Learning that my sch

DRAFT: Meeting a child

A lot of people must feel they have jumped head first into parenting.  To go from being a couple to being a full-fledged family in nine short months must be a great, yet terrifying, experience. My family didn't come about that way.  My child was nearing 9 when I first met him.  He was already a thinking, functioning human being with a routine, friends, likes and dislikes, favorite foods, and a fiercely protective Nana.

Too Many Toasters

I am part of a stepfamily. Technically I guess I'm part of three stepfamilies. Whatever the case, merging families is a complex task involving the "blending" of three P's: people, personalities, and possessions. When my husband and I took the gigantic step of moving in together, it was I that moved in to his home.  My one bedroom apartment wasn't going to fit all three P's and his house was two minutes from his 9-year-old son's school. Instant household. We spent the following weeks taking inventory of our possessions. The extra bedroom set became guest room furniture. The extra glassware made for a well-rounded collection. The toasters, well, there were two and how many toasters does one house really need? As I pulled my toaster from the box my (now) husband said, "I guess we can get rid of that." What? Get rid of my toaster? There's nothing like merging households to make you really sentimental about a toaster.  After all, it was the toaste