All in Teenagers


Let’s talk sending your kid or step kid off to College this Fall!

You've probably been inundated with lists out there of what to send with your College bound kid.  Having sent three kids off recently, I found three key things missing from any of the dozens of lists.  Three things, that I consider an absolute MUST for parent sanity when sending our youngins' off to forage on their own.

I hate to admit it, but I've been watching Mrs. Eastwood and Company.  It started out of flat out curiosity (Dirty Harry's wife after all) and, well, my secret love/addiction to reality TV. That initial curiosity quickly turned into a real love of the show in large part because I immediately identified with Dina Eastwood.  

Dina is married to a older man with children from prior marriages/relationships. Although,  Dina is a Step Mom to six kids, with a wide age difference - her blended family and child rearing has included one of Step Daughter - Francesca - a few years older than her own daughter she shares with Clint.  

Dina and Clint have raised the two youngest girls as a family. Both Dina and Francesca are quick to point out that Francesca is close and spends time with her Mom. Right there the show had me - you can raise a close knit family and your kids can still have a healthy - positive relationship with the other parent! 

Mrs. Eastwood and Company on E!

While I identified with Dina the real connection came when she said essentially - Francesca is my Step Daughter, but feels like my daughter in every way and one of my favorite people in this world!  And there it was - I was totally hooked! I would absolutely say the exact thing about Little Hart. 

It's Monday morning.......I woke up late - it's FREEZING - drinking a cup of hot black tea.  It snowed Saturday - we weren't ready for it as is evident by all of the leaves that have yet to fall.  

The snow weighs heavy on the tree branches as they struggle with the season change and I find myself identifying with the trees.  I've been experiencing a lot of changes - a child leaving the nest for college - another one soon to follow - Little Hart my 14 year old spending more time in her other household.

For a month now, my Monday mornings have been filled with leisure. I should be excited and thankful from my reprieve from the typical morning activities of making breakfast and driving Little Hart to school thirty minutes away - instead I find myself feeling down. It's probably the entirety of all the changes, but nevertheless I do feel down.  

This past weekend our Family of Five decided to meet up in Dallas/Fort Worth for the BYU vs. TCU football game at Cowboy Stadium.  Raylan, me, Elle and Little Hart flew in from SLC and Jax flew in from Phoenix. Jax's plane arrived twenty minutes after ours and we met up in the airport.  We had not seen him since we dropped him off at school in August.  It was very cool and strange all at the same time to be meeting our son in an airport terminal.  

The kids immediately fell into their old comfort zone and before we knew it - it was like old times - talking - laughing - teasing!!!!  The highlight of our trip was attending the game at Cowboy Stadium......

Hartman Family at Cowboy StadiumCowboy Stadium is an awesome sight to see!  

When my divorce from Dick was final - it was relief.  Relief that I didn't have see and talk to him everyday.  When he was being unreasonable I could just hang up the phone.  The flip side of the decision was that I would only see my daughter half the time, split every Holiday, special occasion............. Instead of having eighteen years with my child the hard core reality was it would be more like nine.  It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do - with time it became my normal and Elle's normal.

Elle's view from the beach houseSince Elle left Dick's house two and half years ago, we have been together most days.  It's different from when she was a toddler - she's a teenager - been through HELL and back - dealing with a ton of emotions - but she's been under my roof. I've been lucky to be there to hold her - love her - seven days in a row - week after week. 

My youngest, Little Hart is going through the the Terrible Teens.  Not the Terrible Twos - the Terrible Teens - she's 14.  Every question is answered with "What Do You Think?" in the most snarky tone she can muster.  Usually I have to go to my Happy Place to stop myself from snapping and responding with what I really want to say or strangling her.

Wish I could blame this whole thing on the Step Mom - Step Daughter relationship, but my own daughter let me know how stupid I was a number of years ago.

I know it's Thursday, but I'm doing my Tidbit Tuesday post today.  I've been on overload for the past couple of weeks.  Hopefully, I will get my timing back on for the Summer and then, well - it will be Fall! Ugh!

This week, I've been noticing some chatter about - FOOD! Kids and Step-Kids eating that special treat Mom's/Step-Mom's have saved as reward for that long day after work only to find that it was eaten by the munchkins!  It's a kids nature to eat what's in front of them. I've tried changing my eating habits to things I know they hate.  Then they get desperate - starving - breakdown and eat my treat.  They realize WOW - that's fantastic!  

Little Hart: Do we have any more of the Kettle Chips?

Me: Yes, they're in the hiding place.

Little Hart: The usual hiding place?

Me: Yes Dahling!

Yes, I have a hiding place - that all my kids know about. It may seem a little wacky and maybe even a little sad, but it's sanity to me.  I have an entire cabinet dedicated to the kids needs; cereal, chips, granola, treats. I used to put my treats in that same cabinet.  Only to find that when I wanted one or the seven bags of chip in the pantry all were open and stale because each kid decided to open a new bag every time they wanted some or that special treat - just an empty box!


Raylan and I went to the REAL Soccer Game on Wednesday night which meant a couple of kids (the two 17 years olds) were left to fend for themselves for dinner. Since Jax is months away from living on his own and Elle not to far behind him I wasn't all that worried that they would starve without us. However, in recent weeks I've noticed that the closer Jax gets to leaving for College the more he is really enjoying the perks of being taken care of, especially when it comes to meals. He knows how to cook and if all else fails he knows how to throw a frozen dinner in the microwave, but he loves home cooked meals prepared for him even if it means waiting a few hours.