Archives for September 2010

Thursday Ten: Art and Music and Onion Rings, Oh My! Edition

1.  Last week, I posted a review of Maroon 5’s new album, “Hands All Over”. This week, I’m letting you know that A&M is letting me giveaway an autographed copy of this album. You want it? Leave a comment for me telling me so. I’ll randomly pick a winner next week Thursday.

2. I’ve been still hooked on visiting ArtPrize. I had a two day span where I didn’t go see art, and I was starting to get a little bit TWITCHY. It’s one of the coolest things Grand Rapids has to offer, and I look forward to them announcing the Top Ten pieces later today. The public votes on the winner.

One of the pieces I love is made entirely out of wine corks. Wonder if the artist drank all the wine himself?

3. During ArtPrize, I’ve been loading all my pictures into a Flickr – it’s been fun to see other people’s shots of ArtPrize and to share my own. The downside? Even though I do not have my photos labeled with a Creative Commons license, I’ve noticed that a few of my pictures have been used on other blogs. And it’s a weird feeling – I want to be flattered that someone liked it enough to use it but… That’s Stealing. Odds are, if someone had asked, I’d have said okay. Please pay attention when you’re taking images from Flickr to see if the owner of that picture has authorized its use. If he/she hasn’t, try asking them if you can use it. (Okay, off my soapbox)

4. As I type this, the dog is at the vet getting neutered. Poor little dude – not. Meanwhile, while he’s not underfoot, I have vacuumed and scrubbed my floors. Having the dog not in the house is not unlike when your toddler takes a nap at the crucial point where you need to get a lot of stuff done. Yes, I’m saying dogs and toddlers are similar… except I’ve never REALLY been allergic to a toddler.

5. Music of the week — My friend Lotus clued me in to the free single on iTunes this week, Cory Morrow’s “Second Chance”. Loter’s hubby plays guitar for Cory, and though country music is not usually my thing, the song is pretty good and hey, it’s Lotus-by-proxy. And that’s a good thing. Other recent downloads include (blush) a few of the Glee renditions of Britney songs.

6. Let’s talk about Glee for a second, why don’t we? I like the show – a lot. But I’m beginning to hate these themed episodes. It feels like all the dialogue in between is just filler to get to the next themed song. And while Britney’s music doesn’t annoy me, this episode kind of did and not just because of that BIG EFFING SNAKE. Of all the Britney things to copy, they had to copy the snake? Why didn’t they copy the ratty jean shorts with the gas station bathroom key in one hand and a bag of Cheetos in the other? MUCH less freak-outty than the snake.

7. I saw this clip posted of Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and The Roots with the History of Rap. Starting and ending with Sugarhill Gang, this is a pretty awesome clip. (If the embedding doesn’t work, it’s worth the click through)

8. After three days of craving onion rings and a failed attempt making healthy oven baked onion rings at home, I caved and ordered them in a restaurant last night. They were SO GOOD, as I knew they would be. They also made my stomach hurty later. Me and fried foods? Not friends.

9. Tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER. And you know what that means? My birthday month. Yes, month. Eventually, I will get to hate my birthday and won’t celebrate it (no, I won’t) and won’t require a whole month of celebration, but for now? OCTOBER’S (almost) IN THE HOUSE!

10. And since October is traditional Breast Cancer Awareness month, I want to remind you to not limit your awareness of this disease to a mere 31 days a year. So many amazing groups doing great things. My friend Rachel and her friend Tricia are working on a Saving 2nd Base project – also, if at any time you feel like donating to support me in my 2011 Avon Walk, my donation link can be found HERE.

TIL Tuesday: Tide Acti-Lift & Downy Fabric Softener

I learned how to do laundry in a trial by fire manner. I learned by desperation in the laundry room of my dorm at the beginning of my freshman year of college. Because my mom loves doing laundry – really – I’d never done laundry before. Admittedly some of the habits I created that year stuck with me for a long time (like… uh… 16 years).

For starters, remember, dorm washing machines cost money per load. This is where I developed my patented “Shove as much laundry as you can in the machine” method (trademark pending). Unfortunately, I hung on to this method because the fewer loads of laundry you do – the sooner you’re done, right?

Well, apparently the downside to this method is… well…. your clothes don’t get clean. There’s no room for the washing machine to do the hokey pokey and turn itself about. And without the agitation of the washing machine and the ability for the water to move around – your stuff just isn’t gonna get as clean.


At least I know that NOW.

I learned a lot in my two days in Cincinnati this summer at Proctor & Gamble’s Fabric Care University. Not only did I learn that my love for Tim Gunn is TOTALLY justified, I learned a ton about the actual process of washing clothes.

And, I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to try some new products from P&G – which, I happen to love.

Like a fool, when I was in Cincinnati, I told them, “I have daughters. I don’t worry about stain removal. I just want my clothes to smell pretty.” In fact, I had been using Gain for years – solely for the smell factor (it smells SO good). When the folks at P&G showed us how Acti-Lift worked, I was amazed — but thought for sure that there was no way my dainty lil daughters would ever require such a detergent.

Uh. Yeah. Well, summer is peak ice cream eating season (my oldest likes those vanilla soft serve cones with the dark chocolate shell coating). Drip drip.

And then there was the dye from another piece of clothing that rubbed onto my daughter’s favorite shirt.

And I had a pair of JCrew pants that I spilled something on over a year ago that have been sitting in my laundry room for all this time – as if I was waiting for osmosis to make them wearable again. Am I even that size anymore? Who knew.

ActiLift got the ice cream out. No more chocolate. It got the dye off my kid’s shirt. Spectacular. And it even picked up enough of the stain from my khakis that if I hold my breath and move really slowly, I can still squeeze into them again. Oh, and the stain is barely visible (it’s still kind of there – but not as prominently as it was).

Stain removal isn’t something I require ALL the time – but when we do need it, it’s nice to have it. I’ve been digging Coldwater Tide – trying to save some bucks on the electric bill. And yeah, it smells pretty good. Except Mountain Spring. I avoid the Mountain Spring scent like the plague. It’s just not…pleasing to my senses.

The second product I had the opportunity to try was the new Downy. I already used Downy so it wasn’t a hard conversion (April Fresh has always been my go-to). However, so many people at FCU were raving about the Bounce Bar that I ditched liquid detergent in order to try it. I am kind of a little bit in love with the Bounce Bar and how it lets me add an element of lazy to the laundry process.

But I wanted to try the new Downy because it promises “Clean Sheet Week”. The ONLY thing I like about doing laundry is the fresh sheet feeling (well, that and finding jewelry – but there’s been no new gems in my washer for awhile). To extend that feeling for more than the first day? Worth a shot, right?

The first night of use, I was hyper-aware of what the sheets felt like. I was trying to be observant so that when I came to tell y’all about it, I would have a very thorough review. Same with the second night – still felt great. Third night – fabulous. After the third night, I forgot to pay attention. I’m sorry, life got in the way. (Would you still love me if I took notes for all seven nights – I suspect that would be a little too Becky Home-ecky for some of you. And it would probably scare me a little also). So, yes, there’s an extended sense of “clean sheet feeling” – does it last seven days? I’m not sure. But it definitely lasted three. Which is still pretty good. And I’m a fragrance girl, so if I didn’t mention how much I LOVE the new scent, well… I’d be remiss.

Do I love doing laundry? Um. No. Hate it. But I do love the Tide and Downy family of products and they work well enough that my ineptitude isn’t obvious. Thank goodness.

The products were provided to me free of charge but the opinions are my own, as always. And if anyone would like to come do my laundry and be my laundry slave, I’d be happy to hire you and pay you in cookies.

The state of education and this mom’s opinion

I watch Oprah. This may not be a surprise to many of you – I tend to like stuff like that – “Aha! moments” make me smile (except when they don’t) and I kind of like the potpourri of stuff she shows on her show. [NOT that I can get tickets for any of her tapings because I’ve tried and failed – so Oprah? Call me].

Lately, if you’ve been watching O, you know that EDUCATION has been a big theme on the show. There’ve been people talking about the state of education. There’s been talk of the movie “Waiting For Superman”, bad teachers, and the little dude from Facebook giving Newark, NJ a pretty hefty wad of cash to make some huge changes in the schools there.

Geoffrey Canada – a guest on Oprah’s show that has been working with schools in Harlem – said on her show something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing, yo), No other business could consistently decline and still be getting business. Essentially – the schools are getting yuckier and yet… they’re schools. Many of us still send our kids into the public school sytems, even though in many parts of the country, the performance of public schools keeps getting less and less fabulous.

It’s thought provoking for sure.

And I can only speak for where I live and the programs I know and the teachers I’ve met. If you live in Topeka, I don’t know how it is where you live. If you’re rolling in Denver, I am pretty much clueless about life in your neck of the woods either. I know Michigan. Specifically, this little piece of it.

Here: it could be worse. It could be a LOT worse. But, it could be better.

While I don’t love the administration of the schools here and I don’t love how they allocate their budgets, what I give our area much credit for is that somehow they have picked a phenomenal teaching staff. While I think our school lacks resources and lacks some essential programs – the teachers are top notch. This is what redeems the schools here, in my opinion.

Never underestimate the power of a teacher who gives a damn. Truly, it can counter more than a few of the negatives.

I’ve seen the schools with regards to its special education programs, which my stepson utilizes. There is an amazing, caring group of teachers and administrators who work quite hard to help each kid maximize his or her potential. The IEP process could be more seamless, I suppose – but it seems like one of those red tape things that’s probably a pain in the booty anywhere you go. The school has always gone above and beyond to ensure my stepson’s educational needs are met – even among some extremely challenging situations.

I think that is the area where many parents find fault in their schools. Fortunately, we don’t. Not there.

Surprisingly where the school IS lacking is in terms of the kids who are excelling. The kids who are meeting the requirements are the ones who get left behind here. And I’m not sure why.

This means that we struggle with The Princess who is in third grade. She’s meeting every requirement – and so it’s easy for her to fall through the cracks. There’s no process that seems to hold the school system accountable for children who need program adjustments in the other direction – more work, more challenging work, possibly more autonomy.

In the education realm, this is called “differentiation”. Differentiation is:

the practice of making lessons different to accommodate the different students in a single classroom. A classroom may have students with a wide range of abilities and rather than “teach to the middle,” thereby losing the students who need extra help as well as those who need little repetition, a teacher may alter lessons so that all students in a classroom will benefit.

So far – we were tremendously lucky last year. The Princess had a teacher who saw that she was bored, saw that she was easily breezing through things. She used differentiation to challenge my daughter – she created a spelling list for just my daughter, as well as adjusting the number of books my reader is allowed to check out from the library (and the type of book, as well).

The administrators aren’t working with MY children every day. I can’t expect them to know the idiosyncrasies of my children and each and every other child in the room – I count on the teachers to see where there is a need and help us find ways to meet them.

Does it always happen? Um… no.

But does that mean we stop trying? Definitely not. At the beginning of a school year, it means being the squeaky wheel and talking to the teacher about his or her plans for her curriculum – how is the teacher going to bend the lesson plan to account for where she’s performing? Is he or she willing to work with us to find the best solutions for our child? We hope so.

I don’t remember these things as issues when I was in school – perhaps it truly is a decline of the education system. Perhaps I was too busy pulling the arms off my Barbie dolls or buried in a Judy Blume novel to pay attention to what my parents were experiencing – for my daughter is a lot like me, and my stepson is somehow a lot like my brother. Surely, my parents encountered some of the similar situations. Then again… perhaps they didn’t.

What do you find to be the biggest challenges with your school systems? What are you loving about them? What don’t you like (example: I bet I get three tons of paper sent home each school year. I recycle it all, but think of the expense of  the paper line item on the school budget. INSANE). If you homeschool, were you driven by the state of your school system to make that decision? If Mark Zuckerberg gave YOU a wad of cash to improve your child’s schools, what would you do with it?

I’m curious – there’s much talk about how the school system needs improving – but where do we begin?

Weekly Winners: Art Prize Style

Some of my favorite shots this week have been from Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition which is ongoing. I’ve been twice – and will likely go several more times before it’s over.

For more weekly winners, visit LOTUS.

Memorial for Stephanie J Tubbs (Artist: M. Murphy)

Street Pianos, Luke Jerram

Lure/Forest (Artist: Beili Liu)

Collage of "Seven Days of Creation" (Artist: Suzi Furtwangler) - this is made entirely of crayons!

Vessel (Artist: Amanda Katz)

Dream Big (Artist: Pete Fecteu) - made entirely out of Rubik's Cubes

Dream Big (detail)

Dream Collection (Artist: Heather Holloman)

Dream Collection

Thursday Ten: What A WEEK! Edition

1. I think I overscheduled this week. I know, I was complaining about it in last night’s post – but back to back back-to-school nights… well, that may have pushed me over the edge. The plus side is that I am really digging both of my daughters’ teachers, and I am crossing my fingers that both my girls have an amazing school year.

2. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to dog saliva. How fabulous is that? I was so giddy that I wasn’t actually allergic to Sir Doggy Dog, but… I think his spit makes me itch. And he’s teething so he’s constantly trying to mouth people’s arms (specifically MINE) and ugh. I’m not sure what to do now!

3. Grand Rapids’ Art Prize started yesterday. I’m hoping to get out this week and see some of the fantastic art and support some local businesses downtown. I’m not always the biggest fan of west Michigan – but I really dig Art Prize, what it’s about and getting a chance to expose my kids to some really creative minds and fabulous sights.

4. Storms in Grand Rapids knocked out a lot of power… including many many traffic lights. It’s amazing how many people have forgotten that when the light is out, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop. Driving around yesterday was kind of scary – since most of Michigan has evidently forgotten driver’s training.

5. Music of the week… I already talked about Maroon 5, but Michael Franti and Spearhead had a new album released on Tuesday and it’s FANTASTIC. It’s a little more pop and a little less political than some of their previous albums, but I still have crazy crazy love for this collection. “Hey Hey Hey” is on repeat right now, and the song makes me so totally happy, I could listen to it all day.

6. In guitar class, we’re working on open seventh chords and I hate them. I hate them big time. But we’re swinging back around to work on “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall to utilize some of those ugly chords.

7. I spent forty minutes on the phone with an insurance company today and got absolutely nowhere. I am so grateful that I have insurance. I’m not grateful for how tedious the process is. Surely, surely, surely it could be a little less of a mess. Right?

8. My sister and I went shopping the other day and were lured into Victoria’s Secret, drawn in by their Collegiate Collection.  You’re not a true fan if you don’t have game day undies (GO BLUE!). I even bought a Michigan State pair for my sister, though it somewhat pained me to do so. But clearly, I’m a nice big sister.

9. Halloween decorations and stuff are starting to come out at stores (Starting? I kid. I know they’ve been out since August). Do you like Halloween? Do you get into it and dress up along with your kids or do you think it’s a silly “holiday”? I’m not a fan. Except for the candy part.

10. Glee is back and they sang a bunch of songs I don’t like. Sigh. I don’t like Lea Michele’s bangs, either. I did love all the plastic surgery jokes, though. If you’re a Glee nerd like me, what’d you think?

This Mom’s…Tired

There’s a familiar phenomenon that seems to take over my household every year around this time. It’s a month of chaos. It’s a month of exhaustion. It’s a month of trying to get my groove back (though WITHOUT Stella’s trip to Jamaica. Or Taye Diggs). It’s a month of mounds of paperwork (kill the planet much, school system?) and various appointments. It’s a month of figuring out the school bus driver’s timing and readjusting the evening schedule to include homework. It’s gymnastics lessons and school fundraisers.

It’s the time of year when even if I get 8 hours of sleep at night, I still find myself hitting a wall by mid-afternoon. Heavy eyelids, sluggish brain, desperate for a nap.

September is hard, y’all.

Once the girls ventured into school, I started catching up on appointments. I seem to schedule a slew of typical appointments for September – the typical yearly stuff (the girly check up, the please-don’t-let-me-have-skin-cancer mole check) and other assorted things. Today I had two appointments. For those two appointments, I spent nearly two hours total on the road. I spent about twenty minutes sitting in waiting rooms. Forty minutes in actual appointments. Two minutes taking random pictures in the mirror of me rocking my super fancy hospital gown (hello mole check at the dermatologist’s).

Here's me. Holding my gown closed. FANCY. P.S. Everything looked fine, no suspicious moles, no skin cancer. WHOOHOO!

And in the midst of all this extra stuff – the appointments and back to school night meetings at the school and schlepping The Princess to gymnastics class and random family gatherings – I still have to do the typical stuff. I have to work. I have projects I’ve got to get done and things I need to accomplish. I have to keep my house from looking like an episode of Hoarders. I have to get my exercise in (endorphins are nature’s relaxation device – for me anyway).  Oh, and feed my family. I have to do that too. I guess. (My cooking for them is not necessarily something anyone is enthused about).

Once October rolls around, things settle a bit. The madness eases up, the schedule calms down a bit, there is less handwriting on my calendar. And, well… I’m sorta glad.

Because right now?


Released Today — Maroon 5: Hands All Over

I’m nothing if not a bit stubborn. Okay, kind of more than a bit. I have a tendency to judge books by covers. I tend to judge bands by one or two singles played every 48 minutes in some radio station’s rotation. This habit of mine means I kind of miss out on a lot.

This is the case with John Mayer. I hated “Your Body Is A Wonderland” – I hated it even worse once someone told me that during sound check, he would sing it as “Your body is a taco stand.” I mean, it’s kind of funny. But. Really, JM. No. But then I saw him live – and was BLOWN. AWAY. And now? Huge fan. Of his music and his writing, anyway. But really, I would have missed out if I had written him off from the Wonderland/Taco Stand debacle. I’d have missed out on “In Your Atmosphere” and “Heart of Life” – and that’d have been seriously bad.

Same case with Maroon 5. Last summer, they were touring with the Counting Crows – it was a double bill – and they alternated opening for the other. Some nights, CC would open, some nights M5 would open. The night of the show, I said, “Man, I hope Counting Crows open so that I don’t have to stay for the whole show. It’s a long drive home.”

And Counting Crows opened. I was all set to duck out midway through Maroon 5’s set.

Then they came out and put on a phenomenal show. And when they sang “I Won’t Go Home Without You”, the venue was lit by the glow of thousands of cell phone faces (which I think is way cooler than lighters, because hello? I can’t be the only one who has been afraid the person behind me would slip and set me on fire, and I don’t smoke and I don’t carry a lighter so I always felt kinda left out).

And since then? Yep. I’m a fan.

So, when I received the opportunity to preview Maroon 5’s new album “Hands All Over“*, I kind of jumped at the chance. And it’s been on perma-rotation in my ear for the past few days.

This album is totally alike and different than Maroon 5’s previous releases. My gut reaction is that this wasn’t a huge departure from anything they’ve ever done – I stand by that – this sound is still recognizably Maroon 5. The lyrics are still pretty typical fare from their frontman, Adam Levine.

What’s new this time around? Well, producer “Mutt” Lange, for one. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He is the former hubby of Shania Twain (and yeah, he produced A LOT of her music). These songs are polished and clean. This is definitely an accessible album – very radio-friendly, catchy, hook-filled tunes. Infectious melodies.

One of the album’s standouts for me was the greatest departure from their trademark sound – “Out of Goodbyes”, their collaboration with country crossover group, Lady Antebellum. The slowed down country feel and harmonies doesn’t scream “MAROON 5!” to me – but… I love it, nonetheless. Or maybe because of it.

The first single, “Misery” is undeniably Maroon 5 – evoking to me, their sound on “This Love” — this is what I expect and know (and like) from Maroon 5.

There are very few low points to this album – the title song “Hands All Over” was my least favorite track – but so many songs on this album (“Just a Feeling”, “I Can’t Lie”, “Stutter”, “Out of Goodbyes”) were so immensely likable, I don’t doubt this album will be getting a lot of play on my iPod.

*affiliate link

A review copy of this album was received but the opinions as always are my own.

Weekly Winners, Week ending 9.18.10

These look like tiny beads ready to be strung onto a necklace

When the day gets to be too much, put on your favorite orange sweatshirt. And hide.

A little play before baking a cheesecake


For more, go visit LOTUS.

Thursday Ten: The Acoustics Are Best In the Bathroom Edition

1. I sing in the shower. I sing LOUDLY in the shower. I’m not a fabulous singer. I’m passable. And I only do it when no one is home (see: singer, not a fabulous). But the acoustics in most bathrooms are pretty freaking amazing and it all but dares you to belt something out. My repertoire varies from the ridiculous (Christmas carols in May) to mainstream pop music, but I can’t help it.

2. Since we’re talking music, lately, I’m listening to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” – which I hadn’t really heard until I saw it on someone’s blog yesterday. Clearly, I live under a rock because it’s on iTunes’ Top 10 most downloaded singles — not sure how I avoided it so far – must be because our local radio station is busy playing Ke$ha’s “Take It Off” on repeat. I also downloaded “The Story” from Brandi Carlile – because it reminds me of my friends – and I needed a nice reminder of my girlfriends.

3. And continuing along the music vein (BECAUSE WHY NOT)… In guitar class, we’re working on open seventh chords. They are ugly and discordant and I hate them. And I have yet to find a song to learn with these stupid chords that I dig. I think we might have found one – we may start learning Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” next week.

4. The girls are doing well in school so far. Pumpkin brought home her first homework on Tuesday. The Princess? She’s bored. I hope her teacher gets busy challenging her soon or we’re going to lose enthusiasm quickly.

5. With the start of school begins the flood of notices getting sent from school for variances organizations and groups and school related activities. They are ALL in Comic Sans. PEOPLE: DO NOT DO THIS. Just because it’s child related, doesn’t mean the use of Comic Sans is appropriate. Yes. I’m a font-snob.

6. I don’t know why I had no idea before we got our pup that puppies have baby teeth and grown up teeth. Our pup is teething. He lost several teeth last week and new ones are already starting to peek through. Thank DOG there’s not a puppy tooth fairy.

7. Dealing with issues with my stepson the past week has reminded me that perhaps my coping mechanisms are less than stellar (Eating your feelings will eventually catch up with you). How do you deal with stressful times?

8. I’m SO loving my Kindle already. I didn’t think I’d love it quite this much – but frankly? It’s pretty handy. Will I ditch “the real thing”? No. I really love paper books — and I don’t see that changing – but the Kindle is easy, so portable, and the screen really does mimic words on a page.

9. PROJECT RUNWAY NIGHT. Buh-bye Casanova. I couldn’t believe he was the one to go last week and that wretched Ivy gets another week. We’re getting to the point where the cast is narrowed down enough that I start developing opinions besides just really hating Gretchen.

10. One month from today is my birthday. I will be almost old enough to run for the Presidency of the United States. Don’t worry. I won’t. I wouldn’t mind getting older if I had an unlimited wrinkle cream fund. Alas, I don’t… so I just keep reapplying that sunscreen.

Don’t Step On Me

I spent one summer making ice cream cones and malts and milk shakes and blizzardy-type drinks every day. I’d see those vans pull up stuffed to the gills with kids and I knew everyone would be demanding something labor-intensive. I’d go home at the end of the day, arms coated with a layer of ice cream, soles of my shoes gritty and sticky.

I also spent several years as a registration clerk in an emergency room. Almost literally, I was the person asking for your insurance card while you were bleeding from the head. I’d be seeing people at their worst – drunks scooped up from city streets by EMTs, children in the throes of high fevers (accompanied by panicked parents), GSWs, car accidents, and more commonly, sore throats, ear infections and STDs. Seeing people at their worst in eight hour stretches. I loved that job, but boy, could it be stressful.

What is my point?

Those jobs – as stressful and thankless as they could be – were leaps and bounds easier than stepparenting.

I made a somewhat conscious decision to not blog about stepparenting much. That’s because we are in one of those scenarios that is rife with conflict – so it’s not exactly fun blogging fodder.

Last week, after a particularly gruesome day – my stepson got suspended on the first day of school, his mother had a temper tantrum on my front porch – I was feeling mad, sad and frustrated. I was angry and I was hurt. I felt the need to feed my feelings with coffee, a new book from Target and lingering fantasies about cookies. In the many years I have been a stepmother, it’s never been smooth sailing – my stepson has had struggles and our home is probably as different from his other home as you can get – so there has always been conflict. It’s been hard. And the other day I thought to myself, “This is TOO hard. Why is everything so difficult?”

My mom gave me the number of a friend of hers – a friend who is walking in very similar shoes – and said, “CALL. HER. She knows what you’re going through.”

And I did. We spoke for forty minutes. We were able to commiserate, share stories, and even… (gasp) LAUGH. Laugh about the similarities in what we’re going through, laugh about the things you think and don’t say, laugh about trivialities.

I can’t speak for being a stepfather (since, y’know, I’ve never been one), but I’ve never known a stepmother who thought life was a cakewalk all of the time. By and large, blended family stuff is tough-stuff, and it’s not really easy for anyone. So, if you’re walking in some shoes that look a lot like mine, know this:

I hear you and I understand. Take a deep breath. Buy that cup of coffee. Know you’re not alone in that boat.