How can you SAY that?

What a day it’s been. First off, I have to tell you all that I failed at my latest attempt to quit smoking. Yeah, yeah, bad me, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about my complete and total frustration with the situation I am in with my mother in law.

She is very demanding, she keeps track of when she sees the kids and will hold it against me during each and every phone call, which is why I sometimes (accidentally) don’t get to the phone in time to answer before voice mail picks up. Ooops!
We are busy, with three boys, sleepovers, school projects, dentists, orthodontists, nursing school, etc. it leaves very little spare time. Yet she doesn’t understand why I can’t spend a day driving the kids out to her house on the weekends! I have offered to have her come over for dinner, explaining that her coming to our house is much easier to arrange then an outing to a museum two hours away. Her reasoning for not wanting to come to our house is because we live on a mountain and the “curves are quite scary” and she’s too nervous to make the drive up here more than once in a while. This is why she makes me meet her in the grocery store parking lot (at the bottom of the hill) anytime she wants to “give” me something such as a newspaper clipping or a box of sugar cookies for the kids.  She complains to my husband every chance she has and tells him that she hopes “he can straighten things out” when he gets home, meaning bring the boys to see her.

The boys don’t want to go to her house any more than I want to drive out there because she has difficulty dealing with all of them at once. She only had one child and has no idea how to handle three brothers who can a bit rowdy sometimes.
OK, so here’s what happened. Last night I had to go to class. C babysits his brothers; he is very good about it and he thinks he is completely in charge. What he doesn’t know is that my brother (who lives 2 minutes down the road) is pretty much “on call” and will do drive by’s or drop in’s periodically just to make sure things are going smoothly.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the mother in law taking advantage of my school schedule to call and harass the kids.

When I got home last night I got an earful from Z and B. They told me how she repeatedly asked them who they liked better her or their other grandmother.

Which of their brothers were their favorites.

Which uncle bought them the most gifts.

And last but not least; who they loved more, me or DH!

Yeah! I couldn’t believe it either. Who DOES that?

The boys refused to answer and apparently my 9 y/o told her that they were “inappropriate questions” and he “doesn’t have a favorite because we are all family”. So mature, I’m so proud of him.

After this conversation I went looking for C and found him asleep in his room. Strange! This kid NEVER goes to bed early. I figured maybe he didn’t feel well and let him sleep.

Today I find out that he was really upset by the conversation that he had with his grandmother and was so worried about the idea that he was disappointing his father and that when he came home he was going to force him to spend weekends with her; that he went to bed early. That’s really saying something.

I talked to my brother about it and he said he wouldn’t be able to keep his mouth shut. He said he’s tempted to call her himself and give her an earful because you can’t do that to kids. You can’t call them after consuming enough alcohol to intoxicate a football team and ask ridiculous questions and threaten them with “you just wait until your father comes home”. Their FATHER would NEVER force them to put up with this and if he had any idea what she did/said to them he’d probably handle it himself.

I’m just so over this situation with her. I have tried to be mature, I’ve tried to compromise with her but she wants it her way or no way. The thing is she probably won’t even remember the conversation with the kids so talking to her about it does no good. The sad part is that the kids WILL remember and she thinks it’s ME brainwashing them. HA! I don’t have to say a word, she does all the damage herself.

I just don’t want her making the kids feel bad about hurting their father or letting him down because that is not even close to being the case. He, of all people, knows how she is and would NEVER put her before his children’s feelings. He’s too good of a father.

OK, enough of my ranting for tonight.

>Good intentions falling short

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The boys and I went to my Mom’s for a sleepover last night. We had fun; the boys played video games (like they always do) and my Mom and I cooked. She made this chicken pasta thing for dinner (mmmmm, food always tastes better when I don’t have to make it) while I baked cookies with her new Kitchen Aid mixer. That 6 quart series is SO awesome I was able to mix 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies at once. By the time we left this morning there were four cookies left on the plate. I guess that’s what happens when you let three boys and my step father loose in a kitchen. Of course, it wasn’t me, I would never eat that much garbage (you do know I am lying right?)
I left this afternoon because my leg was acting up and that always puts me in a foul mood, plus C’s asthma was making a comeback because he is allergic to her cats yet refuses to stop petting them. So, anyway, we walk into our house and you can imagine our surprise to realize it is colder in my house than it is outside! The furnace is down AGAIN! Hopefully it starts working soon because nobody likes to take a shower when the temperature is 51 degrees.
I made a stupid mistake today, Bro #2 and my Mom are only just now starting to talk again after a long argument. Things are very tense and I am trying to ease the tension by going back and forth with them explaining things. I hate when my family isn’t getting along. Especially at this time of year because the holidays are about family and it’s awfully hard to have a Christmas Dinner if nobody shows up. So, I’ve been trying really hard to get them talking again.
Here’s the situation: A few months ago my mother sent an Edible Arrangements basket to my brother for his birthday. They were already arguing, but she tried to make it up to him by sending a very expensive basket. When it arrived my brother realized that he was allergic to most of the fruit and all of the nuts in it. He couldn’t eat any of it. He told me that he thought she was being mean by sending him stuff he couldn’t eat. He told me this last week. I said that that is absolutely ridiculous; who spends that kind of money just to be mean? Who thinks like that? I told him that more than likely the order had gotten mixed up and they had delivered the wrong basket or something like that. I told him that I really didn’t think she would send something to him just to be mean. I honestly believed that; so I decided to tell my Mom what had happened and I figured she would appreciate me telling her because now she could clear it up with the Bro.
Quite the opposite happened. I wound up looking like a jerk.
My Mom got sad and said that she spent over $100 and she had assumed that there would have been something he could eat. She then explained that she didn’t realize he was allergic to strawberries she thought it was just apples. Bottom line: he received the correct basket and she was still upset that he hadn’t thanked her for it.
My stepfather then made some comment about “grinding the axe in deeper”. At that point I realized that my good intentions had resulted in hurting my mother’s feelings and making me look like a jerk. So I just sat there and said nothing more. What could I have said that wouldn’t have dug my hole deeper. Ugh, all I want is for my family to get along but I guess I should stop meddling. It doesn’t always work out the way I want and sometimes (like this time) I make it worse.
So my mother in law just called me. She has decided that she wants to spend “one on one time” with my husband during R+R. That is perfectly fine, I understand that. I told her she would absolutely have time with him. She then told me that she wants Christmas Eve. She wants him to go to church with her and spend the evening with her; alone, no kids, no me. I want to tell her that’s fine, it is her son after all but Christmas Eve??? We have to go pick up Santa’s presents at Bro #1’s house and then bring it all back to arrange under the tree! How does she think there will be time for him to just hang out with her all night? I asked her if it would be possible to do it another night and she said no. Then she told me “well why can’t you just do the presents, you’ve done it before”. Yeah, I’ve done it alone when I HAD to but it’s something special that he and I do for the kids. It’s meaningful, it always results in us talking about past years and future years. It’s a really special time for us and she wants to take that night. Of the 14 days he has; she wants the most important one. Of course, I don’t want to upset her so I told her it was fine. She is his mother, I don’t fully understand what it’s like to have to share one of my sons with another woman. I can’t dismiss her feelings because I don’t honestly know what she’s feelings. Anyway, hopefully he will be able to get her to compromise somehow.
All right, now I’m off to study for my final exam on Tuesday.

>Weekend Recap

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It’s been a crazy few days. I am trying to make cookies and side dishes ahead of time for Thanksgiving. I tried to make a schedule but I’m not following it real well. I have managed to get a few things done but not nearly everything I wanted.
Here’s a rundown of things that have happened or problems I’ve encountered:
Z found all the Christmas presents I had gotten so far and then blackmailed me by threatening to tell his brothers what they were getting if I didn’t give him one of the gifts. What sucks is that it wasn’t even a gift for him; it was B’s present. Ugh, so now I have to return them and buy new things.
My washer/dryer was supposed to come yesterday and I desperately needed them. I have been slacking on the laundry because I was so excited to get the front loaders. I have baskets and baskets of dirty laundry, so much of it that Z has no more clean pants and socks are becoming scarce. Well, Best Buy called and said that the washer was in stock but the dryer wasn’t going to be in until the day before Thanksgiving. They agreed to come out as scheduled with the washer though, and I figured that the washer will spin the clothes so much better that my crappy dryer SHOULD be able to dry them without too much issue. I was right (thank goodness).
This thing is awesome. I am so happy. It sings a little song when I turn it on. It has a timer so I know exactly how long each cycle takes and it’s a big display so I can read it from the front door without going all the way down there. The clothes get so much cleaner too. And the spin cycle is ridiculous, the clothes are practically dry when they come out. There is a funny smell inside it though and the clothes smell a bit like plastic right out of the washer, but after the dryer the smell is gone so I can’t complain. The only thing is that I wonder if the dryer will have a funny smell too, in that case the first few loads should probably be towels and socks; at least until the new smell goes away. Regardless, I am super friggin happy. I love my new washer. And I know I will love the dryer too, I can’t wait for it to get here.
I called Best Buy about the power cord for my computer, they had said it would take 2-3 business days for delivery, but it’s been 3 weeks. Anyway, they are going to send me (free of charge) a power cord and a new extended life battery. WOOHOO, can’t wait for that!
My mom came down Thursday night and stayed here overnight to help me get the kids on the bus Friday so I could go to Clinical. She wound up staying until today which was nice. She kept me company while I baked cookies and started freezing the side dishes for Thanksgiving.
Speaking of clinical, I can’t believe the semester is almost over. It feels like it just began. Our teacher said that our careplans are so good that this will be the last one we have to turn in. That is awesome. They take up so much time; I understand the importance of them but 19 pages is a lot. We actually only have two clinical days left, because we have the Friday after Thanksgiving off. It’s crazy to think that this time next year I could be working as an RN.
So, I wound up making a Maple Cookie recipe that I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. They turned out super yummy. I was surprised. My mom loved them so much that she got up in the middle of the night last night and chowed down. She apologized, but honestly it was more of a compliment than anything else. I sent her home with a bag of them to share with her husband and my brother. I think I will send the rest in a care package, I know he will like them. I will just make another batch for Thanksgiving. The recipe is here, I strongly recommend trying it.
My mother in law called the other day; she told me she was sending me a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant; she wants me to use it on R+R. I told her that the boys and fancy restaurants don’t mix well. She told me that I should leave the kids home and just go with my husband. I tried to explain that we don’t go out alone. We have never gone out without the kids. Sitters were too expensive and we didn’t live near family; so after 12 years of marriage we have never been on a date. She told me that “it’s called romance” and that I should “add some to the marriage or it will never last”. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! I told her our marriage was fine despite the lack of dates and tried to explain that we actually enjoy going out with the kids. We may not go to fancy restaurants but we have fun… as a FAMILY! There was no getting through to her. She insisted that it is necessary to do this type of thing once a week (while he’s home, I’m assuming). It’s hard to take advice from a 67 y/o divorcee who has not been able to keep a boyfriend for more than a couple months the entire time I’ve known her. Of course I did not say any of this though. She was not letting up, and she began insisting that I drop the boys at her house when we go. So, I told her that R+R is such a short period of time that I don’t think it’s fair to steal a whole night from the kids. They are just as excited to see him as I am, spending one of the precious nights of R+R with their grandmother is not going to be fun for them. If we were to do something like that it would be after he’s home for good; not during R+R. We hung up soon after that because she began to get upset with me and I didn’t want to get yelled at. I’m curious to know what other people think, is going on dates routinely a necessary part of marriage or is family time a good substitute?
The timer is going off on the oven; back to baking for me. This wound up being a much longer post than I had anticipated. Hope I didn’t bore you all with my rambling. Talk with ya soon.