And It’s Only Wednesday…

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What a WEEK. I’m telling you, my life has been in a whirlwind the past month. I actually don’t even know where the month of November went. One second it was Halloween, the next thing you know I’m having the kids write out their Christmas lists.

I know I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but to be honest, I haven’t had the time. Since Matt opened up World of Beer, our lives have been flipped and turned upside down. He needed help in his store with all the financials and asked me if I would be his person to take care of it all. Of course I said yes! I actually love doing all of that kind of stuff. Invoices, writing checks (it’s so much more fun to write checks when the money isn’t coming out of YOUR bank account.), and pretty much being in charge of everything that goes on with any type of office work. I love the restaurant industry, it gives you an adrenaline rush and makes you think on your toes. So yes, I am enjoying this — but it does take me away from my blogging.

In other news, last Wednesday was the biggest bar night of the year. I’m assuming it’s because for the majority of people to deal with their families they need to drink first. I mean, can you blame them, especially after THIS election we just had. So, Stephanie had asked me if I wanted to grab a drink at World of Beer with her and Emily. In case you haven’t been keeping up, Stephanie is my stepkid’s mom, and Emily is a fellow blogger and also Stephanie’s boss (sorry Em, you are SO much more than just a boss, it’s just easier for me to describe it this way  😉 ). I was actually a little hesitant at first. I don’t mind hanging out with Stephanie. We sit together at baseball games and dance recitals, but this is a little different…alcohol will be involved…and it’s in my husband’s, her ex husband’s, tavern. So not only will I be there, but he will be there too. I thought, if she is comfortable enough to do this, then so am I!

And what a fun night it was! The three of us had a blast chatting and trying different beers. It wasn’t weird, or awkward, it was fun! In my book, this was another huge step for us. So for all of you who think it can’t be done, think again. We did it and no one died 😉 Maybe our daughter did a little bit, but that was just out of jealousy that she couldn’t join her moms.

Monday was our son’s birthday! He turned nine. NINE! I can’t even believe it myself. I feel like it was yesterday when I met him and he couldn’t even talk, couldn’t even say my name. To him, I was his “Ja” and now he is nine. A nine year old who walks, talks, and acts like a miniature version of his father. It just blows my mind and I had emotional tears all day. He asked me a few times last week if I would take him out for lunch for his birthday, even though he is in school. I told him I would think about it. Well, Monday came and I thought, you know what, I never do ANYTHING spontaneous with this boy and I know if I pull him out of school for half the day, it will just BLOW his mind. So I let him play hooky for half the day and we went out to lunch and saw the movie “Trolls”. (which was fabulous by the way, I loved it!) I can’t tell you how many times he told me “I love you mom, thank you for today!” — That alone verified that it was totally worth skipping half a day of school.

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Cookies my mom had made for him for James’ birthday!

Now on to Tuesday. TUESDAY had me on my toes this week. The power went out at World of Beer, which made the hubby and I show up there on our day off for all hands on deck. I fixed the computers, everything was up and running, so I sat at the bar to have a beer since we had an hour to kill before the kids were out of school. Oh, come on, you know it couldn’t have been THAT easy. The second I sat down my phone rang and it was the kid’s school. “We have Jordan here in the office. Her lip is split from running into a pole and she thinks her teeth are broken.” — Wait a minute, SHE thinks her teeth are broken or her teeth are broken? — “Well, I don’t know what they looked like before, so I don’t know.” Good thing we were five minutes away! I ran into the school with Matt trailing behind me and saw her just shaking and crying. “My teeth are gone!” is all she kept repeating and sure as shit, they were chipped into little vampire fangs. I asked her what happened and she told me she wasn’t paying attention and “bumped” into a pole on the playground during recess. What I WANTED to say was, “Girl, you didn’t BUMP into that pole, you ran full force like a drunk white girl and knocked your two front teeth out, don’t sugar coat it.” but that wasn’t going to make anything better, so I kept that to myself. LOL

We rushed her to her dentist and let me tell you guys — this place was AMAZING. I’m so thankful Stephanie found such an amazing dentist office who takes such great care of their patients. We were in and out in two hours with her teeth fixed! Jordan was so brave and she stuck it out, needles and all. She asked me to stay with her and hold her hand, which of course I did, but she was way stronger than I would have been. We are very proud of our girl! I told her I knew exactly what to put on her Christmas list. “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” Gotta find the humor in it!

That about sums up the past week. Crazy, right? Bear with me as I try and make organization out of all of this craziness!

The Day Before Thanksgiving

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It is the day before Thanksgiving. I cannot believe how time has flown by over the past month. The kids are still sleeping in their rooms — we had quite the night. (I also figured I could get some work done before they woke up!) They talked me into putting the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations up. So we made a quick stop at Taco Bell, carried up all the boxes of Christmas stuff and got to decorating!

I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree. I’m actually pretty firm on that. I don’t want Thanksgiving to be pushed aside, but yesterday in the car we were talking about things we were thankful for and one of the things the munchkins said was, “I’m thankful for family Christmas and being able to put up the Christmas tree with everyone!” They really know how to get what they want with me — just say something really sentimental and I break — every time.

I’m thankful for many things in my life.

I’m thankful for both of my jobs. They allow me to provide for our family while still being able to spend time with the kids.

I’m thankful for my husband and his dedication to providing for our family.

I’m thankful for my essential oils. James had this cough that all of us had one time or another the past month and just by putting Thieves oil on his feet, spine and diffusing it in his room over night — made his cough vanish!

I’m thankful for the relationship I have built with Stephanie over the past seven months. We have really come a long way and it has truly put me at peace. A sense of calmness has come over my life since we started working through our differences, anger, and hurt. I am truly thankful for her.

I’m thankful for our son, who is turning NINE on Monday. Since the first time I tucked him in to now, he still says, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. I love you.” I know with age these moments are going to fade out and I’m thankful for these moments each night he is here. Not going to brag, okay maybe just a little, but he has a heart of gold 💛 and he is going to make someone very happy one day.

I’m thankful for my blog. My blog, that I have built, without the help of close friends and family. It has given me a platform to speak about step-parenting issues and obstacles I have come across and put a lot of my resentment and anger to bed. I honestly feel like my old self again.

I’m thankful for our daughter. She might be sassy, she might be very opinionated and stubborn, but every bit of that makes her seven year old self who she is. She might be cute, she might look innocent, but don’t think for a second she can’t hold her own. She has been like that since day one, even at 18 months.

I’m thankful for all of you. Each and every one of you who read my blog and have supported me through this journey. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Happy Thanksgiving 

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Sunday Dinners at Dads

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My cover picture is from our wedding. We got married in my dad and stepmom’s back yard with 70 of our closest friends and family. Just about every Sunday we go to my parent’s house for dinner. It’s usually one of the first questions the kids ask when they come over Sunday afternoon. “Are we going to Papa Grande’s house for dinner!?” And most of the time the answer is yes.

Ever since the kids were little they have always known that Papa Grande and Marilyn’s house is a safe place. A place where they can be goofy, silly, but most of all, safe. The munchkins were learning to live in two separate houses and watching their family grow in size. Double the parents, double the siblings, double the grandparents, you catch my drift. Well, with all that “newness” my dad wanted the kids to know that they were safe there and Papa Grande and Marilyn’s house was meant for fun, love, and family. So over the years they have made themselves right at home at the house that sits on top of Fairhill Drive.

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Be still my heart. Back when Jordan had two tiny pig tails and James was becoming a non-stop talker.

Sundays are probably my most favorite day of the week. The kids come back over and we all get to have a family dinner together at Papa Grandes. James and Jordan usually bust through the back door in the house announcing themselves as they enter. The next stop they make are their hugs and then they go straight for the snacks that my parents set out. Fruits, veggies, crackers, and different cheeses. Over the past six years both of the kids have tried new and interesting foods while expanding their tiny palates, and I credit my parents for that.

My dad is from the western Kentucky countryside, a real southern gent 😉 , but he’s a suit and tie man every day of the week (he’s a banker). If you are ever over at the house, you will most likely find my dad outside doing something in the yard. The kids have grown to love the outdoors with him. Walking around the yard, making secret paths, and learning about composting (LOL). Whatever the case may be, a walk around the yard with Papa Grande is always a highlight of the trip.

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At a wedding. What you can’t see is my little brother to the left of my dad and my husband standing behind me. Photographers are known to capture amazing candids of us

This past Sunday it was just the kids and I over at the house. It has started to get dark earlier, so by 6:00 the sun had already set. My dad, the kids, and I were outside walking around and we decided to play a game of “hide and sneak”– James is a pro at this game. I never knew he could be so quiet and hold so very still. I felt like a kid again by the end of the game, and it was just what I needed after being sick all weekend, I think it was something we all needed because smiles beamed from everyone’s faces.

My dad reads my blog. I’m pretty sure he reads every post I write. Not a lot of people I know in my day to day life read my blog, but I know my dad does. He will send me a quick text giving me a compliment or call me with tears of joy of how proud he is of me and the woman/mother I have become. He has told me on many occasions “You are a far better parent then I ever was.”. Hearing your father tell you those words–I cannot even begin to explain the overwhelming feeling of love I get, because I know he means it. So here’s to you Daddy! Thank you for our Sunday Dinners. Thank you for loving us all the way you do. We really wouldn’t know what to do without Papa Grande in our life.

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At one of the friends and family night for the opening of World of Beer.

Wine Weekend in Traverse City

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Last weekend was my annual Ladies Wine Weekend in northern Michigan. Every year we get together as the leaves are changing colors and head up north to Traverse City, Michigan to relax and enjoy some amazing local wineries.

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We always book a beautiful hotel resort looking over the Traverse City Bay. This year we were able to crack our balcony door open and hear the waves crashing up in the morning. It was just what the doctor ordered. There has been so much craziness and chaos, I was really looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

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This year we headed up the Leelanau Peninsula to about ten different wineries. A few of my favorites were:

Black Star Farms, which has a great selection of dessert wines! I love their Raspberry one! A small glass of that with dark chocolate is to die for.

Blu Stone Vineyards, which had my favorite new wine. Pinot Noir Rose. I really wish I would of bought more than just one bottle, but they ship their wines! So I will be ordering more in the future 🙂

Three Fires Wine is a french style winery. This was a new winery for us to stop at this year. The process of making their wine is much different than the Italian style. I loved their buttery chardonnay wine, Intrigue. I think this would make a great wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner this year!

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We had a fabulous time, and no worries, we had our trusty driver Doug who picked us up and dropped us back off at the resort. We book with Doug every year. He knows us all by name and the kinds of wines we like, he’s awesome. If anyone is looking to do a wine tour, I highly recommend Doug!

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We had delicious brunches and exotic dinners all over the city. We checked out some of the haunted buildings in downtown TC since Halloween was the following Monday. We also went to a speak easy! I’ve been to one in New York City (nothing can compare to that one), but this one was pretty close. They had smoked bourbon, where actual smoke was coming out of a bourbon bottle that was served to you at the table. I’m the only one who drinks bourbons and whisky’s at the table, so I convinced the girls it was much better to look at from a distance.

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As the weekend wrapped up we got to watch The University of Michigan vs Michigan State Football game. All Michiganders know how big of a game this is every year. And this year it was finally The University of Michigan’s year to win big! GO BLUE! I’m so glad they did, one of my girlfriends is huge sports fan, and her ego was so big about U of M winning that she said she would jump in the bay, naked, if they lost. She can thank her lucky stars they won!

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That pretty much sums up my trip. I’m going to leave out the part where my son got into so much trouble at school that Friday and I had almost drove home to ring his neck out myself 🙂 but I knew that wouldn’t help any so I let him sit and stew until he had to face me Sunday afternoon. I have a lot of catch up to write about this week. Believe it or not I was sick again and had to make another trip to urgent care this weekend, so I am still playing catch up with reading posts too!