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MORE VENTING/RAMBLING/BITCHING- and I have to say, after 6 yrs of witnessing R’s family, I appreciate my family (aunts, cousins, parents) MORE.

I don’t know if it’s the pain meds or family issues or what- but I have been extra angry lately…and weepy and emotional, you name it.

My tail bone procedure that was done a few days ago seems to be kicking in, kinda… as long as I take the pain meds with it. I am not happy with it yet, so I will discuss it with my doc on Monday if it doesn’t change. I really don’t want to be taking medications for pain for the rest of my life.

My lower back procedure is happening on Monday. I am very excited about it. I can’t wait to be able to work out again and do yoga and move and lift baby without screaming in pain or landing in the hospital.

They put me on a muscle relaxer and a narcotic pain reliever- which I detest. I am not a big user of prescription (or any) meds. I am one of those ‘hippie-dippie supplement/vitamin’ people. I don’t even smoke marijuana (and it’s legal where I live)- I am actually one of the 5% of humans that is ALLERGIC to it. I turn into Linda Blair from the Exorcist, projectile vomiting and all (TMI).
However, I have been taking the meds as prescribed because of the discomfort post-procedure. I really don’t like how emotional it is making me- or how sleepy.

I noticed, also, that the Baclofen (sp?) that they gave me for muscle spasms has been giving me EXTRA VIVID dreams. I actually dreamt that I was in Alaska the other day and it was so realistic! One of my sisters was there, too, and in my dream I ended up beating up this skanky woman who was harassing her. Earlier in the dream, I’d been to a shabby, but very clean and nicely decorated house (decorated in white) of a Native American woman who played an old wooden piano. She was wearing a beautiful beaded white deerskin dress. They weren’t nightmares- just so REAL.

Earlier in the week, I was felled by a lupus flare, due to stress. The tail bone procedure followed that. We also dealt with R’s family (parents, only sibling’s family) deciding to skip out on Maisie’s birthday (even though we HAD to attend HER KID’S 1st bday 2 months prior).

Another thing upset me this week: I helped out someone in need financially- I am not a lender, I just give. However, I was very upset (whether out of genuine hurt or just the fucking meds clouding my brain cells) because they didn’t even give so much as a ‘thank you’ after. Only a few days later, when someone mentioned to them that I was a bit miffed, did they send a long letter to me. I didn’t give it for the thanks- let’s get that straight now- but I guess I was raised differently. If I had been in the same position, I would have at least shot off a quickie ‘thank you’ text. Nothing more, nothing less. I guess it just made me feel a little used or like I’d been had, I don’t know.

People sometimes confuse me… although none as much as R’s family.

We woke up this morning to his mom and sister sending texts while en route to Vegas “Happy Birthday, MAYA”- keep in mind, Maisie is her nickname and I’ve asked that they call her that- this is another pet peeve and they know it. Hell, they call THEIR OWN SON AND THEIR UNFORTUNATELY NAMED GRANDSON BY *THEIR* NICKNAMES.

Just irks me, the entire thing- they refuse to treat their own son and grandchild like human beings and they continue to passive-aggressively (because they’d never come out and say shit to our faces, the cowards) throw these asshole barbs.

Poor R didn’t hear from anyone else in his own family- except for his WONDERFUL Italian Grandmother in Philadelphia. This woman is the ONLY human being in his immediate family that seems ‘normal’ and also seems to actually CARE about him and this child. Of course, his mother treats her almost as badly as she treats us (it’s HER mom). His Grandmom sent a lovely letter (she’s 82 and does so weekly, health allowing) and we called her. I send her photos of Maisie and videos and long letters all the time. I just love hearing from her. She commiserates with us as well, she doesn’t understand why R’s family acts like this, either. I feel so badly for her. No woman at her age should be so alone and isolated from her family. It’s not freaking natural. I understand her- she was raised by immigrants, as I was by my mom. I simply DO NOT COMPREHEND the level of cold and disconnected and passive-aggressive we witness in his folks.

My mom, who is Filipino, always got on well with Italians, too. I think they share a similarity in mindset to a great degree. Both cultures are super family oriented and clannish and opinionated. I can dig that.

Cold, quiet, reptilian communication styles don’t work with me. Hiding everything under a facade of utter BULLSHIT isn’t my thing, either.

So, yeah, this morning I felt like going postal until the party rolled around. The letter and the lovely phone call with Grandmom was also a salve to the soul.

I spent a good 3 or 4 hours talking to R and Jeff on the back porch. Jeff will be here an additional week because I need help with the baby after the procedures- then he’s back to Texas. We discussed the different ‘family styles’ we each grew up in.

In Jeff’s family- and they’re there are a ton of them- are close knit and from North Dakota. They drink together, hunt together, spend all their time together and get along well… all of them are big talkers. If someone in the family pisses off another, they will all chime in and ‘call bullshit’ to the one that’s at fault. No one really holds grudges or stays mad- they just discuss, argue, laugh, cry, and move on.

In R’s family, they never yell. They don’t discuss. His parents and sister’s family all live far away from the rest of their families back East. Things are whispered, told to be kept secret. When I met R, when he would talk to either of his parents, they would PRETEND HE WASN’T TALKING or in the room and just tune him out like he was invisible and talk to each other. It could be ANYTHING he was saying- like if he mentioned he’d done something that day or anything pedestrian like that. It was bizarre and I called them on it once in the car:

Me: “Um, hey, he was actually saying something to you and you guys did that weird thing again like he isn’t here”

Them: UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE

If he- or anyone- tries to discuss things with them, they simply hide/stop talking/ignore… or his dad will say “I did that first” to him or something equally strange.

That is, unless they’re drinking, then they’re much more social.

R has no memory of his childhood prior to age 12 when he moved to Michigan. When I had him see a therapist about it, his family became uncomfortable with this and he stopped going.

They are somewhat affluent, can afford nice vacations every month or so. They buy him cars and control his insurance, make sure all his mail and bills come to their house, and his mother does his taxes. They call him when they need him to work on something (like their houses) or fix things or dog sit. These people live 3 blocks away and are completely different with their oldest daughter and her family. They bought two houses next door to each other (and across the alley from their ‘original’ house) when she fell pregnant and fenced both yards in. They spend every day with her and do everything with her and for her and her kid.

R doesn’t say anything to them mostly, as Jeff puts it “they have him by the balls”. His mom is passive-aggressive enough that if he rocked the boat his mail would be lost, his insurance bill would rise, etc. I personally feel like he is too old to let Mommy control his finances, especially since he lives in MY HOUSE and is a grown man.

After Maisie was born, they asked for a copy of her birth certificate. I refused. They told him that they needed it to make a college fund. I called bullshit. Needless to say, they did not get a copy of my child’s birth certificate.

His mother has mentioned that she wanted to abort R when she became pregnant (and said this in the same pleasant, flat tone she always uses), but kept him because ‘her husband likes babies’… they have NO PROBLEMS saying this in front of him, either.

R says he doesn’t make a fuss because he knows it would do no good and he accepts their gifts because he knows that is all he will get from them, as far as love and attention. I cannot imagine how hurtful it is to grow up and live like a non-entity, a second class citizen in your own family- especially one so freaking small.

The mother and daughter don’t like making the other baby (who is 2 months older than Maisie) jealous. If the grandfather holds Maisie, he is told to put her down because the other baby is getting upset. That is no way to raise a child- but the perfect way to mindfuck one. The rest of the gory details can be found here.

When we went to visit his family 5 yrs ago in Philadelphia, we found that his mother’s mom was delightful and ‘normal’ and loving. His father’s family is much more “Yankee”. The aunt that the parents and sister are closest to is very regimented. The uncles and aunt they are not as close to seem much more ‘normal’, but he was told to stop communicating with them basically when we came home, as they didn’t like it. Incidentally, those siblings of his father are the ones they have the most problems with. The weird thing is that his parents don’t always COME OUT AND SAY things directly, they have this weird almost non-verbal way of making him do things and making him understand that shit should not be done for whatever reason… it is so subtle, so Vulcan mind-meld crap-pish.

We have never met his mother’s brothers, by the way- just the grandmother on her side.

My family is the POLAR OPPOSITE (yet, just as dysfunctional- well, maybe not so much, IDK) of R’s.
We’re social, gregarious, we love everyone. We fight within our clan. My mom can be a violent, scary, crazy bitch- but she’s not truly considered part of the whole clan, which has always been a problem for her. We all love her and have feared and loathed her at the same time. Her bipolar has really done a number on us… but her good side is amazingly good. Her dementia now is somewhat of a blessing, as she is less violent nowadays, thank god.

I am not going to lie. When we were growing up she physically abused us above and beyond anything normal and legal. In this day and age, she would be put in jail and the kids would have been taken away- but it didn’t happen. Of course, in this day and age there are meds for her condition that might have made a huge difference- but it’s too late to speculate and all water under the bridge now. Back in the day, her condition and behavior were things to hush up and hide. Nowadays, people have meds for this. Sometimes I think we were born too early. She would have been a perfect candidate for those new medications- she didn’t self-medicate with drugs nor alcohol and always trusted the pills the doctors gave her.

My father’s family is made up of brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, and strong willed artistic women… and kind of depressive, more laid back males, who also are very charming, good looking, and self-effacing. There’s a lot of enabling going on in my family, but we love and hate to be together. We party together well, but if ONE PERSON (always a female) loses her shit on another family member- that member is ostracized. It used to be my mom- or one of my aunts- and nowadays, me, coz I can’t/don’t know how to shut the eff up. We all love each other and are super self-centered (at least us females). We keep the peace (well, not me. I’m the one who just says- fuck all of you, and goes and cries in the corner- and I’m a wussie because my ‘fuck all of you’ is usually only done by typing blogs) by AVOIDANCE. Avoidance and pretending shit away… unless it’s not a ‘family’ matter, then we can psycho-analyze the fuck out of OTHER PEOPLE (as I am doing now ha!)

I have another faction of my family- my maternal grandmother’s family. They’ve taken me in where my own immediate aunts and uncles have rather shunned me (which I don’t mind anymore about my aunts, I love them- but all of us together, when someone is pissed- are a high strung lot- or, I am high strung and also exhausted at the same time). It’s kinda like the Amish shunning, except with more glitz, no religion, and it’s Rumspringa all the time.

My grandmother’s family is wonderful. Unashamedly hillbilly, outspoken, down to earth/salt of the earth people. If you piss them off, someone will call you on your shit ASAP. They are more accepting, more stubborn than any of the above families at the same freaking time. I am comfortable with them. I get their humor. I love their generosity, I love how they fight, I love their bitchery, too. It’s like they’re a mix of my mother’s crazy but with a gentler and more forthright kindness that reminds me of Jeff’s clan. R loves them, too- even though he’s been pissing them off lately (and he’s pissed me off, too, so I get it). He just has no idea how to show it at all. I think HONEST is the word that comes to mind mostly when I think of them- honest- warts and all.

I love that.

Now, here’s the thing: I APPRECIATE and LOVE my family (all of them- mother/dad’s side/grandmother’s side more now that I’ve experienced R’s family dynamic.

Holy SHIT, we ALL bitch and moan about our fights and ‘who did what to whom’ and I can admit to violent behavior both done TO me and BY me/others- but damn, none of it seems as heart wrenching as R’s upbringing.

The one core thing my family(families) have is a deep and demonstrative kiss you on yer mouth type LOVE.

I don’t care how much lying we do to ourselves. I don’t care how much ostracizing and bitching that happens- we’ve NEVER HAD THIS COLD, EMOTIONLESS wasteland that he’s endured.

Not so in his family- which irks me, scares me for my own child, and makes me weep for R.

For this reason, I think I’ve been kind of obsessed about the little hurts I witness coming from his side.

For this reason, I am more ADAMANT about sticking to my guns and protecting my child and him from more of this shit.

I wish I would have been a better mother to my sons. I wish I would have been a better daughter/niece/aunt/cousin/wife to the rest of my family. I wasn’t.

But ONE thing I know: NEVER in my life have I ever done the things to my kids or others that have been done to R.

I also want a better life, a better family, a better chance at decent mental health for Maisie.

I do not believe I can do that by exposing her to his side of the family. I don’t care if they have thousands of dollars (they say) put into a college fund. I don’t care if they buy her a zillion gifts. NONE OF THIS MEANS ANYTHING without love and compassion and normalcy and stability. None of this means anything without consistency.

I will gladly welcome his Grandmom into our lives- she reciprocates and genuinely cares- and is 82 and has not many years left, unfortunately.

I won’t FORCE my child on them, I won’t run after them- nor will I let R use Maisie as a way of somehow gaining their love. It won’t work and my kid is not a pawn.

I also appreciate the friends and strangers on my Facebook (and blog/twitter/instagram) who are kind and showed so much love to my daughter on her birthday… and any day.

You people- most of you haven’t even MET HER- have been kinder to my child than her own flesh and blood.

That is not something I will soon forget.

Thank you for listening, for reading, for replying, for being an ear… xxoo

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Maisie (and ME) Photo Updates

I have been SO Busy this week, but am posting some highlights from my Instagram here…

We had a funeral today. A friend of my parents’ passed away suddenly.

These were from the bathroom at the funeral home. It was a sad reason to dress up…

Maisie & Mommy

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At Ken's funeral

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Maisie and Mommy

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#mirror #reflection

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She was such a good girl at the visitation! She actually took SOME OF HER FIRST STEPS at the funeral home!
By the time we got back home, she (and I) was SO tired.

I found a tee shirt from when we were in Orkney, Scotland over 15 years ago- this was her brother’s shirt when he was a toddler. I have been transitioning her from her bottle to a cup these last two days and it seems to be doing really well. I bought a fantastic training cup with a soft spout from NUK that she LOVES. She hasn’t had a bottle all day today and hasn’t missed them at all.

Wearing her brother's 15 yr old tee from #Orkney #scotland #cutebaby #handmedowns

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My mother dropped off a bunch of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians stuffed doggies a couple of days ago. They used to belong to her oldest brother, Sam, when he was a baby. Sam is now 26, if that gives you any idea how old these are. She’s not let them go since they arrived and grabbed TWO of the puppies to sleep with last night! They get more hugs and kisses than I do. I am a little jealous 🙂

Nice #photobomb, daddy #cute #cutestkidz #cutekidsclub #sweet

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I had my hair done yesterday and we wore these cute little Mexican traditional shirt/dresses.

#love

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#baby #fridakahlo #love #cute #cutebaby #sweetbaby

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My niece who lives in Wisconsin came for a visit last night. She has 4 kids under 5! It was a great visit- here is Maisie with my 2 grandnieces, Lainie and Karmia- Maisie wasn’t too happy here:

#Cousins #love Maisie and my grandnieces

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Her hair is curling up:

Happy #dimples #cute #cutebaby #love #sweetbaby #sweet

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Last, but not least, the dumpster went bye-bye. I will attempt to update the Dumpster Diaries this week- been working my tail off in that back room!

There goes my dumpster… #dumpsterdiaries

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Part 13 of the Dumpster Diaries: Getting the Walk in Closet Organized With A Fast Moving Toddler And Falling Short of Goals…

Today’s set of tasks seemed simple:

“Move clothes and makeup upstairs, put everything away, and clean up the mess in in there and my bedroom… plus get my bed linens washed.”

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everything from the closet has spilled into my bedroom

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the bed sheets need to be washed ASAP

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what awaited me on the counter

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piles of CLEAN laundry dumped by my sons (UGH) and needing to be sorted/put away by ME

Except I forgot one crucial thing: I have a crawling, curious cyclone of an 11 month old baby.

And OH, she learned to do this today, too:

Cutie pie

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I got the closet reasonably organized while she napped. By the time she woke up and I was in the swing of things, all bets were off. If I put stuff away in drawers, she wanted to remove them from drawers. The dresser scarf FASCINATED HER and she tried to pull that (and the box on the dresser) off about 10-20 times. If I turned around, she was pulling shoes off the racks. C accidentally left my bedroom door open and I found her trying to climb into the bathtub.

“What could THIS be?”

“Let’s pull it and everything else out and check”

I swear, training puppies is easier than human babies. Thank goodness she’s cute.

pulling the dresser scarf and box off for the 10th time. I think puppies are easier to train than people.

pulling the dresser scarf and box off for the 10th time.
I think puppies are easier to train than people.

When I sat to fold laundry and sorted her pile onto the floor, she tried to help, which was ADORABLE:

Maisie helps with her laundry #cute #adorable #sweet #cutebaby #baby #momlife

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With the help of C, I was finally able to corral her long enough to get things put away. All the tools were brought back downstairs.

makeshift sink vanity

makeshift sink vanity

I hauled some of my makeup upstairs and constructed a sort of vanity over the sink- effectively KINDA disguising the old faucet. We can’t remove the damned thing yet because there’s no shut off valve under the sink 😦 It was put in too long ago…

No, you can't see the faucet... shhhh... don' tell me!

No, you can’t see the faucet… shhhh… don’t tell me!

All the clothes that were in tubs were put up. I haven’t gone through anything in the dressers yet, because I’m not in the mood. This was so overwhelming as it is.

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I have a ton of vintage linens, which comes in handy for times like these

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my antique-ish piggybank collection

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my ‘helper’

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after throwing out so many clothes, I am kind of freaked out by how empty my closet is. I KNOW I have way more than this! WHERE IS IT?!

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my Louis Vuitton collection, up and away from people who might mistake it for trash. I really need to clean the leather on a couple of em.

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under the hamper: cleaning products that I need to have a strong male bring downstairs to be put away safely

In the end, I got about 75 percent of what I set out to do done, which I am ok with. The bedroom and bedding will be cleaned tomorrow or bust. I will also be sorting through all of my makeup downstairs and continuing to bring it to the closet.

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AFTER!

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MORE AFTER

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I couldn’t bear looking at the plaster damage by the light any longer- and we can’t spackle it til next week- my quick fix

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Joovy Nook High Chair- SHA-winnnnggg! Gorgeous, compact, functional, and MOD- the SPORTS CAR of high chairs!

I am in love with this high chair

that’s one of my closet systems in a package next to keyboard- and a big ball of shedded Newf dog hair on the carpet- classy!

The package man dropped off a Joovy Nook high chair box today and I wasn’t disappointed!

I was actually HAPPIER with the real thing than I ever imagined I would be! This just solidifies my love and undying loyalty towards this company. My previous review about Joovy products is here.

Packages! Oh, how I love packages!

First of all, after Connor opened the box, I was SHOCKED to see how small it was folded up.

at first I was a bit worried, because I have BEACH CHAIRS that were bigger than this foldedIt is size of a regular folding lawn chair or smaller. SO compact. It will make storing this away so easy.

It is size of a regular folding lawn chair or smaller. SO compact. It will make storing this away so easy.

this thing folds up to an astonishingly small size!

Opened up, it was as tall as the old Fisher Price high chair (which was thrown into the dumpster immediately).

no worries re the height- this thing is great!

The tray is smaller, which seems much more practical to me- and the entire thing just a better size than our old one.

the smaller tray makes way more sense than the huge one on the fisher price high chair.

the smaller tray makes way more sense than the huge one on the fisher price high chair.


 The black ‘leatherette’ is very sleek and matte- it truly LOOKS like real leather.

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the pleather looks sleek and mod- and matches my mid-century modern dining chairsThe thing reminds me of sports car upholstery. It’s soft and comfy to the touch, unlike the scratchy plastic-feeling stuff on our old high chair.

The thing reminds me of sports car upholstery. It’s soft and comfy to the touch, unlike the scratchy plastic-feeling stuff on our old high chair.

Stuffed the kid in through the seat hole.

Stuffed the kid in through the seat hole.

There’s a button underneath the right side of the tray that allows the tray to open up like a gate. I only figured that out after R woke up and showed me. When I took the pictures I still had no clue, so I stuffed Maisie in through the hole instead.

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“hey, where’s my old high chair?”

It is perfectly sized for my taller-than-normal toddler. Her feet don’t QUITE reach the foot rest, but it didn’t in the old chair, either.

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checking out the chair

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the tray is the perfect size

I would recommend this chair to everyone, especially if you’re cramped for space and looking for a high chair that folds away and is very portable.

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We now own the Joovy umbrella stroller, the Joovy Groove walker, and now this. ALL of them are extremely well built and high quality.

UPDATE:
After trying this high chair out 3 times today, I am even more in love! It was SO simple to get her in/out of and clean up was MUCH easier than with the old chair. The tray is actually small enough that it fits nicely in the dishwasher- but it’s such a nice quality and just as easily cleaned up in the sink. I really am so happy that we made the decision to purchase this.

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What’s Maisie Wearing? A Little Blue Sundress from India!

Today she’s in a little cotton sundress from India with her thai silver baby anklets, Art of Cure raw Baltic Amber teething necklace, and a cute white hair bow.

getting a drink of water from my mother

cutie

little chipmunk cheeks