Monday, March 31, 2008

Lil’ Kate: Kid tested, mother approved

Yes, it’s official, I survived Spring Break week with all 3 of Fiance’s (F’s) kids.

I’ll be honest – it wasn’t exactly “easy.” I don’t have kids of my own, as most of you know. I haven’t been around kids much since babysitting was my major source of income. Having 3 kids around all the time is exhausting, and I wasn’t even around all the time. F took the week off and had the kids 24/7. I got to go to work.

But it was a good week. The kids had a good time. F was over the moon about spending time with them. I got more hugs and kisses than ever. They genuinely like me and like spending time with me. Better yet, they’re actually pretty good kids. Granted, they’re not perfect, but I’ve met some real monsters in my day and these were no monsters. Just your typical 6-9 year-olds.

Frosting on the cake: F’s Ex pumped them for all kinds of info and I passed the test with flying colors. Not that I necessarily need her approval, but you know I like it. Helps ease some tension as far as I can tell… or at least makes me feel better.

Am I glad they’re gone? Yes – back to the old routine, and you know I like routine. Will I be happy to see them again? You bet. Do I find the possibility daunting that they may, one day, should the stars align, live with us permanently? Of course. I’m no parent and I have to learn how to be a step-parent. At least they’re old enough to tell me what they want/need. And F is there to show me the ropes. For the most part my job is just to be a back-up singer, enhancing his parenting. But it still makes me nervous. I’d like to be a good stepmom. I set the bar pretty high for myself sometimes and then obsess about it to no good end. I’m learning not to do that, though.

This weekend my parents come to visit. Should get at least one blog post out of that. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Alright already! Something worth blogging about

It’s been an exciting month since I last posted. I know, I know, I haven’t been good about posting regularly. The new BFs? As you know, they can be rather time consuming.

And though I know my scant readership rather well, I still feared you all putting on your judgy pants, so I will come clean now and admit there has been more going on behind the scenes than I’ve been letting on. I do keep secrets from you, yes I do.

First off – my little Stepbro got married! So, congrats to him and his new Dutch bride. The wedding was awesome even though half the family came down with one bug or another the following week (including me). Knocked me on my ass for 3 days, and I’m just about at 95% now. It’s two weeks later. These are tenacious bugs. Be forewarned. I suggest you regularly douse yourself in ethanol or other antibacterial substances. Avoid the public in general.

Now, on to the good part.

You all know that BF and I have rather thoroughly covered all important topics (potential “deal breakers” if you will) in regards to relationships when we started dating. No reason to beat around the bush – best to get it all out in the open and decide if we can tolerate each other right off the bat. Hiding “the crazy” is not allowed – let it all out and see who bolts first.

No bolting happened.

In December I was struck with the urge to inform BF “You do realize that you are going to marry me someday, right?” To which he unhesitatingly replied, “I know.”

Trust me, I was as shocked as you to hear that come out of my practical and (usually) rational mouth. More shocked that he was already aware of what I was informing him. Little stinker, waiting on me to mention it first.

We successfully survived the holiday season (complete with letting our parents in on our plans – and getting nothing but excited support in return). I get along with his kids. We can divvy up chores like old pros. We tease each other with less-than-serious proposals. We make each other very happy.

Come February, on a lark, if you will, we started to look at rings. Not seeing anything that we particularly loved, we decided to design our own – and our “information gathering” mission to the local jeweler turned into an actual design session. Over the next few weeks we were actually picking out stones and settings, looking at CAD drawing mock-ups, wax mock-ups, and money was exchanging hands.

Are we really doing this? Yes, yes we are.

Again, Practicality spoke up and said, “You’re in no hurry. Why not put off an ‘official’ proposal until summer? You’ll have been together approximately 9 months by then. That’s a respectable amount of time. No one should accuse you of rushing into anything.” I listened to Practicality and agreed, as did BF. It gave him some time to concoct a fun way to propose.

This past Saturday we went to pick up the finished ring. I tried it on and immediately girled out. I’m so embarrassed. I turned into a freakin’ raccoon – distracted by shiny objects, compelled to hoard. Pathetic!

I struggled all day Saturday and Sunday, putting the ring on, taking it back off, wrestling with whether or not I could actually put it away in a safe deposit box for the next 3 months or so. BF was no help. I believe the raccoon came out in him as well.

“Just wear it!” he says.

“I don’t know… It is *awfully* pretty, isn’t it?” I said, staring at it.

“It’s gorgeous!”

I’m still staring. It practically glows in the dark.

“But what if people ask how you proposed? What should I tell them?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Make something up, but make me look good.”

Now he’s staring at it.

“It’s not like we haven’t already committed to each other,” he points out.

“Telling the truth is a more hilarious story. I think I’ll just stick with that.”

We snap some pictures (which most of you have seen) and emailed them out. They’re not the best pics – my socks are more in focus than the ring – but if you shrink them down until they are in focus, you get the idea. Trust me, it’s gorgeous.

So, I guess by default, we are officially engaged. I am wearing the ring in public, and happily accepting the “oooohs” and “aaaaaahs” and general fussing that it is generating. BF (or is it just F for fiancé now?) is trying to decide if we should still have some sort of proposal with a production (you know, like in the movies). I’m not pushing for it. I’m willing to skip ahead (ha, like we haven’t already) to just flat out celebrating. So, we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

Answers to FAQ’s:

Yes, those are rubies. Rubies are my birthstone. For July.

Yes, I know the stones look huge, but it’s an optical illusion. I am freakishly small, so on my petite hand the stones appear rather large.

Yes, I am rather modest.

No, we haven’t set a date. The most I can tell you is it’ll be in 2009. I didn’t think I’d have to give you a date just yet. Remember, I was planning on having to figure that out this summer.

Yes, we do have a general plan. Now, I may have girled out over jewelry, but I do not girl out over weddings. I like to attend weddings. I like to be in other people’s weddings. The whole planning and organizing part? Yeah, that makes my skin crawl. Completely sucks the fun out of it for me. Do. Not. Want.

The plan for now is to get hitched at our local court house, then fly down to Mexico where we will have a small ceremony to appease our attending parents, followed by a small vacay/honeymoon on the beach.

“Do I have to wear shoes??” F asks.

“Of course not. I probably won’t either,” I say.


As for the rest of you: When we get back to MN we’ll throw a big informal reception. And by “informal” I’m talking about something along the lines of reserving a park, having food catered in, and everyone shows up in T-shirts and shorts. That’s about the extent of my desire to plan. Bridezilla I am not.

Yes, we are moving in together. My lease on my townhouse is up at the end of June, and I’ve already started moving stuff over to F’s house, where we will be living. You’ll all be informed of the change of address this summer. Phone number won’t change.

OK, I don’t think I’ve left any pertinent details out. I hope everyone is satisfied, all of your burning questions answered, and you’re just as giddy as I am!