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Please tell me you know what that quote is from. Otherwise, leave now.

Just kidding.

Go look it up and come back… We’ll wait.

Got it?

Great! Let’s move on.

I haven’t had the urge to write for awhile. At all.  This should probably always be taken as a good sign, as I’ve said before that I tend to write when I’m down or going through something.  But things have been going well – and busy – and every time I go to write lately, I fizzle out.  Or a squirrel runs by…

Also, honestly, sometimes I go through these phases where I feel cornered in my writing. I have tried very hard to stay true to my own path in what I choose to write about and, as I’ve also said before many times, I mostly write as a one-off purge. I write what I’m thinking or feeling at that moment, get it out there – and move on.  The minute I start to be “expected” to write about certain topics (step-parenting, in particular), I feel trapped and want to do the exact OPPOSITE.  I’ve been thinking a lot about why that is – and, after some serious soul-searching, I think I’ve figured it out:

I am not just a step-mom.

I don’t know why that matters to me so much to say (or type) out loud.  I don’t think anyone is even accusing me of being “just” a stepmom.  But sometimes I feel pushed into a corner, as if it’s some kind of niche I’ve hit upon, and there is so much more to me – and to all of us step-parents!

So, let me just have a general mom moment here.  Because I don’t go to the grocery store with Hannah and Ivy and think, “This is my daughter and step-daughter.”  In fact, I don’t think of it much at all, most days.  They are just “ours” – all of us co-parents’.

And there ain’t one “step” – and certainly no “half” – about it!

***

We’ve had a busy, busy few weeks – and I’m exhausted.  Brian and I just returned from a much-needed and much-appreciated (thank you, Mom and Tante Janet for watching our little red dragon!) getaway to New York.  We have been there many times together and so we’ve been to pretty much all of the “must do” tourist attractions.  So, when we go now, we both like to explore neighborhoods and go off the beaten path – and we had a great time!

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Brian doing what he does!

 

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Day-Date in Central Park

 

*I do want to note that we did tour the 9/11 Memorial, which I honestly cannot recommend enough.  There is no way to put the experience into words, so you will have to see it for yourselves.  It is so incredibly well-done – but know that you will be emotionally drained by the time you are through it.  Brian and I both were in awe, but also said we never wanted to have to go back – though we will, because there is no way we won’t take Ivy and Hannah. It is so incredibly important.

Since we returned from New York, the panic of not getting Ivy to a pumpkin patch before Halloween set in (so ridiculous, I know) and we headed to Eckert’s Millstadt Family Fun Farm.  Ivy had a blast picking her own pumpkin from the patch (she wanted a green one) and petting all of the animals. We also did the corn maze. (I can neither confirm nor deny if we cheated.)

Check Obligatory Pumpkin Patch visit off the list.

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She was very specific about finding a small, green pumpkin.
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Waiting for the pig races.

 

When looking at these pumpkin farm photos and others, I feel as if people often wonder where Hannah is in most of my Instagram or Facebook photos, and I’ve finally given myself a pass on worrying about it.  The simple truth is that Hannah is a teenager and also a very busy kid – and when she’s not at dance, or poms (she recently made Captain – woo hoo!), she has a more active social life than Britney Spears in 2001.  (Not that she’s doing anything Britney Spears may or may not have been doing in 2001!)  So, to wrangle her for candid photos – much less the mini-sessions I have with Ivy – is pretty much impossible.

It’s very rare that I get Hannah to myself these days – it’s very rare that any of us do! We’re all treasuring our time with our social bug when we can get it.  But sometimes I think back to when she was just 5 or 6 and Brian used to work every Sunday, so I’d have her to myself.  Those were such treasured, fun times.  We had little traditions every Sunday: swimming, shopping and having lunch.  I’d hear all about her friends and ideas, etc.  She’d tell me animated stories and I’d think how fast she was growing up – even back then.

We don’t get much one-on-one time these days. When she is with us, Ivy – of course – wants to be with her sister and vice-versa. I’ve actually learned to savor the small moments Hannah and I get.  When Brian is traveling for work, I pick her up from dance – and in those car rides and the nights she stays over while Brian is away, we pack in a lot of conversations and catching up.

Today was a day to savor.  Brian wanted to get yard work done – and I took the girls for a fun day at Chuck E Cheese’s.  I had forgotten how fun this place is!  Of course, Ivy dove right in.  And the sweetest part of the day was watching Hannah show Ivy all of her favorite games and rides from when she was younger.  And – can I just get an Amen! that you no longer have to deal with all those tokens?!  They now have Play Passes that scan at each game/ride.  (But don’t worry, those glorious, coveted tickets still spit out when you win!)

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She quickly caught on to the appeal of the “tickets”.
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I cannot adequately express the amount of danger Ivy poses while playing skee ball.
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Sisters.

 

We ate lunch, played for hours and came home exhausted.  It was a great day alone with the girls that I will savor – the joy of watching them together always makes my heart burst a little more.  There is such a love between them, a deep and true love. This is why I do wince a bit every time I over-hear someone use the term “half-siblings” – because I honestly can’t imagine any two sisters more whole.

xo,

Jen

 

:: Our day at Chuck E. Cheese’s was sponsored. The fun and quality time we had was priceless! ::