Breaking Nine

Backpacks gather. Shoes find the right feet. Dogs go into their crates and in all the rustle, bustle of preparing to leave Thursday night, I hear her Dad call out, “Can I hug nine-year-old Molly for the last time?”

She sheepishly grins and wraps her arms around him squeezing tight. I turn from my office chair and say just as loud, “Ohhhhh, I want to hug a nine-year-old Molly for the last time, too!” She smiles and opens her arms to me.

I hug her hard and I try to remember every single thing about her, right then, right in this very moment. I close my eyes and concentrate. Did six years really just flash by in a blink?

She is heading home to her Mom’s house for the weekend, and the next time I see her, she will break nine at ten-years old. Ten!

The tiny tot of four who I met all those years ago? She doesn’t miss a step as she leaps into her double digits. She does it and she does it with all the grace and muster of a grown-up, and all the soft, gentle sweetness of a child.

I can’t believe it.

It really doesn’t seem that long ago…

Molly at four years of age.
Molly at four years of age.

It’s bad enough I watched one little girl grow up too fast. Do I really have to watch another? And really, two more? What was I thinking? This is not cool. Not cool at all.

Dear Life….slow down!

::Sigh::

I put together some photos through the years. Mostly because, I like to cry like to see how fast they grow. Maybe it’s my proof that this all really happened, and I watched it happen.

Six years of it. Right before my very eyes.

I can’t imagine the next six.

But I guess I have to try. It’s happening…whether I like it, or not.

Molly - Easter 2014 - almost 10.
Molly – Easter 2014 – almost 10.

Happy Birthday to the biggest, brightest ten-year-old I know. You broke nine. Let’s see what you can do with ten.

The Square Root of Father’s Day

Father’s Day.

I have such a hard time with this one. It’s a mathematical puzzle, I can’t solve or calculate.

On one hand, it’s the day I think of my dad’s more than any other. It’s a day I smile and remember (precious memories)……. and it’s the day I miss them terribly.

It’s the week when I see a picture of a bride dancing with her father at her wedding and it makes me cry inconsolably.

I wish for many moments with them. I wish for them to know my step-daughters. I wish for that last hug, and last good-bye – just one more conversation, one more Christmas, one more birthday, one more Father’s Day.

It’s Father’s Day and mine are in heaven and if yours aren’t, I hope you squeeze them real tight.

And yet………

I have a wonderful husband in my life who is one of the BEST dads in the world. Not only to his two little girls, but to my daughter as well. He married me and got a full-time teenager. What in the world was he thinking?

Out of all the horror stories of marriages with teens, and he didn’t run away. He took on the challenge. For that alone, he should be celebrated as the hero he is. But it’s more than that, he loves her like his own too.

Accepting another person’s child as your own is the hardest thing to do in a blended family. For that I am so grateful…..

It truly makes life a blessing and it makes Father’s Day a whole lot easier for me.

My daughter is very lucky to have you. She is lucky to have her dad in the picture as well. Sydney gets what I had growing up – two WONDERFUL Dads. A gift more precious than gold.

So Jason, I picked some photographs out of the archives. Ones that I think celebrate the loving and caring Dad you are. Ones I hope show how much I love the father you are to these children.

The impact you have on these lives will last a life-time. I hope you know how much you mean to them by just being you and holding tight. I am so proud of you.

As a daughter, I can say, there is nothing more soul-filling than a Father’s love. Thank-you for gifting your love to our daughters.


Dad, step-dad, great husband, and one of the nicest guys I know.


Always a helper and support, you lend a hand to not only your daughters, but to anyone else that needs it.


Your accomplishments are always made sweeter by the joy that is shared by your family.


Despite a bitter divorce, you insisted on having a picture of the girl’s mom in their room at your house.


You are never afraid to be silly.


You uphold your dad duties of caring for your children and have never passed off that responsibility. From dinner, to bath, to bed-time book reading you do it all and cherish every moment.


Not many fathers are as proud as you are of your three beautiful daughters.


Not many step-fathers are such important mentors in their teen daughter’s life.


Not many Dads display such fine artwork on their refrigerator.


You are truly our knight-in-shining armor.


We are so blessed to have you.

Happy Father’s Day with love!

Sleeping Beauty, The Witch, and The Pirate

It sounds like a Narnia tale.

Actually, it was our Halloween night.

But similar to a fairy tale……………….all things considered.

Here’s the spell, if you take a daughter of an ex to an ex-wife’s place, plus add in two daughters from former ex to now step-dad of said daughter to new step-mom of step-daughters, with a dash of Halloween *poof* you have trick or treating at your new husband’s ex’s place (or a brew of crow’s foot in a cauldron, take your pick).

Did you follow all that?

Never mind, it was fun. I loved it. The kids loved it. The neighborhood rocked Halloween and that’s all that really matters. I care about this family – every part – chopped, blended, mixed, and all. I want the best for the little girls and their happiness. Trick or treating with mom, dad, step-mom and new step-sister is a pretty rad deal – for them, me, mom, dad, and especially step-sister (you’ll see why at the end).

What was more surprising? That this kind of thing was possible? Plausible? Successful? Or that Sydney at age sixteen went trick-or-treating and got away with it? Because she is so cute. Because she shielded herself with two little kids sisters.

Above and beyond, I would like to thank Jason’s ex; aka the little girls mom. For letting me stalk shadow her, crash enjoy her Halloween night, and invade bless her home with my lens. All for these adorable pictures of the girls in the costumes she made. She MADE them. Aren’t they the cutest things ever or what?

The Witch.

The Pirate.

The Candy Thief, I mean Sleeping Beauty, of course.

So there you have it. Sleeping Beauty, The Witch, and The Pirate.

Off to save the world To take your candy……

…with a smile that will leave you with a why-did-I-just-give-them-the-whole-dang-bowl.

They might even share, yeah, right.


And Sydney? This is sooo going on Facebook.

P.S. For more Halloween costume parade fun. Be sure and visit the SITS girls. You could win a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR camera.

How do you get a pre-school girl to sit still?

I found a nail salon does the trick.

I realize it’s a risky endeavor and it could have gone a completely different way. I was a brave future step mom to take that chance. This is where I use the tired old excuse; I only had one child to raise and with two in the mix – it’s difficult different.

For one, I was the youngest of four in my family and got excluded a lot. You are too little to go. This is for the big kids. Senior priority!

So, no, it’s not fun to be left behind and that is how it came to be that I took a pre-schooler to the nail salon.

Come to find out, giving your feet a bath is a lot of fun. I became a bit concerned when they did the six-year old’s feet first. In fact, I was almost finished with my feet and hands when a nice lady (finally) came to see Bridget. She sat bathing her little tootsies all that time. Was she completely still? No. But she hadn’t gotten up. She didn’t need to go potty or get a drink. In fact, she only asked once when it would be her turn. A minute later, there was a smiling face, completely charmed by her pudgy little toes and fingers.

Oh the girls were given top-notch pampering. Foot soak. Heel scrub. Lotion massage and lots of smiles.

“Do you want a flower?”

“Yeth.” Bridget nods watching every move she makes (and scarily) not twitching all over the place. I was turned from my chair towards her. She would glance at me and just beam her million-watt smile.

I was amazed and very proud of them both.

Truthfully, my first nail salon mani/pedi was about two years ago at 37 years of age. What an experience. I’ve been hooked ever since.

When all was said and done, the drying was the hardest part. It’s easy to be still watching water change colors in a foot spa, but to be still with hands flat under a blue (black?) light….well, that’s something else. But we did it. And yes, there are a few smudges. It’s not perfect and that is why salons charge waaaaay less for the little people.

We celebrated our salon success with ice cream. I lived to tell the tale. We are not even banned from the place. It killed an hour or so and was a GREAT afternoon.

Princess preparation part one – complete.


Bridget’s toes.


Bridget’s toes and hands.

And maybe just a little advice if you take a six-year old at the same time; a young pro on her second visit who can pick their colors and talk to the nail technician themselves. They might just pick tiger toes. Oh yaaaahh…

Happy Monday! Rawrrr!