We stood waiting for the brides to return from their 2nd jaunt of picture taking.

Me: I remember when I was a flower girl, and I was so hungry waiting to get pictures done and over with. When I got married, I didn’t any one to suffer like that, so the ex and I met with the photographer two days before the wedding to take as many couple wedding pictures we could.

A bridesmaid: Really? You were ok with that?

Me: Sure. The ex was worried about seeing me in the wedding dress before the wedding, but I’m not superstitious. What’s the worst that could- damnit!

Carbs and Calories

All day Tornado E had been saying “carbs and calories” to anything that was bad. Often with a shake of the head.

We sat at dinner at Panda Express eating Americanized- fast food Chinese. The boys eating their favorite offerings but mentioning they wished I would cook more at home. As we were in California for a wedding, it really wasn’t an option that night.

Tornado E: Mommy, why are grown ups afraid of carbs and calories?

For years, my boys have been exposed to their father’s dieting habits and my mother’s comments (to me, to my dad, about herself). Long ago I resolved that I would never “diet” in front of them. I would model healthy eating habits. I would not do fade diets, yo-yo diets, weird dieting concoctions, or deprive myself. I promised to be careful what I said about my body and my weight, to monitor what I said about their bodies and other people’s bodies. I would not fat shame or thin shame within my boys’ hearing. They heard enough negative body comments from others.

I don’t want my boys growing up with body or food issues. I don’t want them to stay away from food for their body images. I don’t want them to look in the mirror and have demons criticize their bodies. I want them to be happy and healthy.

Me: Well, baby, many adults don’t run around and have fun like children, so they have to worry about what they eat instead. Many adults are not happy about their bodies. Sometimes they have to worry because of their health. Sometimes they just don’t like their bodies. And that’s sad.

Tornado E: Yes, that’s sad.


Tornado E: But not you, Mommy. You like your body. You’re not afraid of carbs and calories.

I smiled and bit into a piece of orange chicken. The demons that lurk behind my mirrors were safely locked away from my boys. Maybe one day I won’t meet them in dressing room mirrors or when I take a closer look at my outfits.

Fake it until you make it.

Vacation Recap

The weekend of the wedding began our fall break. I did a mini-vacation with the boys.

  1. Highways make the drive so much smaller. But you get to see interesting things.
  2. The Salton Sea is creepy, isolated, stinky, and creepy. I’ve got to do more research on it. Tornado E said it was something out of his nightmares.
  3. My body reminded me that I’m no longer 21 and can’t eat fast food several days in a row. Next time I’ll save more money for real restaurants.
  4. Tornado S left his toys, books, and DVD choices in Tucson. We discovered this 45 mins out of town. I decided to buy all the boys a toy and Tornado S a DVD at Walmart in California.
  5. It’s so awesome to see, hang out, and catch up with old friends. It was so sad not to have more time to hang out longer.
  6. Everyone reads every day. Those are the rules.
  7. Tornado A was thrilled to share a bed with me.
  8. I think I can do this single parent thing on vacation. I just need more money. Like a lot more. I’m not greedy, just really, really poor.
  9. When we got home, we still had several days together. So we did the zoo, worked on Cub Scout stuff, and worked on school work.
  10. Tornado S likes being dragged across the finish line of school work. He fails to realize how much he’s missing. Like movies and crafts. And ice cream.
  11. Tornado E built a fire and grilled hot dogs and bratwurst for dinner one night. For Cub Scouts. With Papi’s supervision.
  12. Tornado A has a new baby. A baby narwhale. Because it was the closet thing he could find to a unicorn at Walmart. It joins the baby unicorn, the tiny baby unicorn, the mountain lion cub, and the leopard cub. So cute.
  13. We have decided on Halloween costumes.
  14. I filled everyone’s tummy with fruits and vegetables to make up for the 5 days of fast food.
  15. After 9 days with the boys, it was hard to let their dad take them.

A Wedding

Two weekends ago, the boys and I were in the wedding of my very best friend. I’m happy for her. And thrilled for her. And I will destroy her wife if she hurts my friend.

A few things from that weekend.

  1. My boys were A-mazing. They helped when asked. They played and watched movies to stay away. They did great in the wedding.
  2. No bridesmaid loves her dress. No matter how hard the bride works at that end.
  3. Mine is not to question why. Mine is to do or die.
  4. Two brides. Two brides. Do you know what that means? Imagine a girl who has always wanted to be a bride and gets to plan her very own magical wedding. Now times it by two. I’ve never been so glad not to be a lesbian.
  5. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of a magical wedding day. I do not understand it. But I know I’m odd.
  6. Everyone’s emotions run high around weddings. Understand this. Forgive.
  7. Being in a wedding is a selfless act. Understand this. Forgive.
  8. You’re going to get hurt; you might as well see it coming. Understand this. Forgive.
  9. The kids I went to school with are really awesome.
  10. Being in a wedding party with other moms means that they get parenting and will help you out. Like cutting the nails of your screaming 8yr old, who has never been harmed in the pursuit of short nails.
  11. Brides, don’t micromanage; delegate. Be specific as you want, but delegate…. like almost everything.
  12. One of the maid of honors asked to help me with my hair. Holy crap! It was witchcraft!
  13. Is it a thing now that wedding photographers take 99% of pictures of the couple? I was asking for all sorts of pictures of other people with or without me at my wedding day. Of course, I’m odd.
  14. I had to get my shoes pre-approved. I should’ve demanded to pre-approve the bride’s shoes.
  15. I know it’s trendy. But the string of lights through the olive grove was magical. Having antique-looking furniture through the olive grove was magical. Goats? That’s just quirky.
  16. Having the kids plates be just kid-friendly food and brought out before dinner was a great idea. Also the kid goody boxes were an awesome idea.
  17. Tornado E hated his trendy hipster outfit but decided it was ok later on.
  18. Tornado S was meant to carry a cool sign that read, “Here Comes the Brides.” We forgot about it until two minutes before we walked. Damn. (Delegate.)
  19. Tornado A kept asking me to dance with him.
  20. I forgot to get a picture with my boys. Damnit.
  21. I wish my best friend and her wife the most happiest of years. I wish that they weather the storms and enjoy the smooth sailing that comes after the storms. I wish them love.

What’s new?

I start a job and look what happens to my blogging. I knew it. I absolutely knew it.

I’m a long term sub, which means I can’t breathe the word “sub” or the kids will eat me for lunch. Luckily, I’m a tough meal to swallow. I’ve spent the last few days hammering the class back in to shape. With Fall Break next week, I expect my job will take longer. I’ve spent the last several nights thinking of how I can …. manage….my …..class…..

I’m teaching math. Not my strongest subject. But I’m an adult, so I do algebra every day. I can do this. I plan to just follow the book. “Make sure you follow the state standards,” remarked my principal. Dude, you know my background; you know my crappy (oh so very crappy, as in half of what a starting teacher makes) pay. I’ll follow the textbook because that should be effective since the school board picked it.

I’m hoping things will settle down and ease up. I hope I can do right by these kids.

The Fourth Child

No, I’m not pregnant. Though the boys are lobbying hard for a fourth child. A girl, please, Mommy. A baby sister, please, Mommy.

Um, it doesn’t work that way.

Take the other night.

Tornado E: When are you going to have another baby?

Maybe, never. You kind of need a willing male partner for that. Or a sperm bank. But that’s a little complicated to go into with a 5yr old, a 8yr old, and a 10yr old.

Tornado E: I would like a baby sister.

Tornado S and Tornado A: Yeah.

Me: You have two little sisters.

One half and one step but sisters nonetheless.

Tornado S: But we want you to have a girl.

He gave me that adorable smile.

Me: Maybe one day. I’m very happy to have my three boys.

Tornado S: Did you know you were going to have three boys?

Me: It doesn’t work like that. But each one of you was wanted and planned.

Tornado S: So did you know you would have three kids?

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Me: Not at first. I did want four kids though.

Tornado A: That means a little girl!

Um, not yet. Your grandparents would kill me if I had a baby now, living at their house.

Tornado E: So when will you have another baby?

Me: I don’t know. I always seemed to get pregnant when everything is perfect in my life.

Tornado E: What if I’m 15?

God, I hope it doesn’t take until Tornado E‘s 15 to be settled and married and have a perfect little life to ruin with a baby.

Me: Then I guess you would be babysitting.

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Tornado S: I won’t be!

If Tornado E is 15 and two years older, then Tornado S would be 13. Legal babysitting age is 12.

Me: You would be too.


Tornado S: Hmmm. I would be good at babysitting. I helped calmed down Tornado A today.

Me: You’re a good big brother.

I kissed his head.

I fear that once they figure out the mechanics of the whole thing, they’ll put me on or start a GoFundMe page to raise money for sperm. Lord help me.


The house feels empty. No screaming; no yelling. No whining; no fighting. No video games; no cartoons. No toys- scratch that. There are toys scattered through the house. I let them swim to the last possible second, instead of making them pick up toys.

But without my boys running amok, the house feels empty.

In theory, I could go out and see a movie right now. I can go out with friends, grab dinner or drinks and dessert. (You know, if I wasn’t poor and unemployed.) In theory, I could sleep in tomorrow. I can read in bed. I can have ice cream for lunch.

But I would give it all up for more time with my boys.

The hardest part is when I don’t get to talk to them. Every night they are at their dad’s house, I call them at 7pm to ask them about their day and to tell them I love them and to wish them goodnight. Even if I’m out with friends. Even if I’m out of town. 5 minutes to know my boys are fine and to let them know I love them.

More often than not, the ex doesn’t answer his phone. Some times he lets them call me back. Most of the time, he doesn’t. When I had more money, I bought them a cheap little flip phone with monthly prepaid minutes, but they often did not answer.

After two years, it still sucks so very much not to talk to the boys. After two years, the ex still doesn’t think it’s important, even though we agreed upon the phone calls in mediation and it’s in our divorce agreement. At least, I got to be with them after school for a few hours.

It’s harder after having the boys for a long stretch. I had them for nine full days because the ex had a business trip. I’m grateful to have them so long. It reminds me of the first three years of the separation when the boys were always with me.

Tomorrow I’ll bug my friends with texts and calls, asking to go out. I’ll wash the sheets and pick up the toys. I’ll scout the bathroom and go through the piles of weekly school paperwork. I’ll get the last few things for our trip next week. I’ll figure out a bridesmaid hairstyle I can do. I’ll take the Cub Scout volunteer classes and tests. I’ll brush up on 7th grade math and prep some cool activities. I’ll write poetry and edit the novel.

Tonight I feel like eating chocolate and staring at the TV.

Or eat chocolate as I do laundry and clean my room.

Because I just realized I have a lot to do.


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