Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday in Review

Oh Boxing Day.  In our house this is the day to stay in PJ's.  Graze freely from the fridge and to process the turkey carcass.  This year isn't all that different except we have the plague in our house.  My eldest son was sick the Monday before Christmas, silly me, I assumed that the virus had passed and we'd be germ free for Christmas.  Nope.  Proved very wrong.  We were on our way to having a very pleasant, albeit, subdued holiday when in our Christmas best at Christmas Eve mass, our eldest son was once again stricken with the "hum bug".

The church was standing room only.  We arrived shortly after 4:15 for the 5 pm mass and found the church already at 80% capacity.  We did score sweet seats a few rows from the front so that the kids could see the goings-on.  The church filled in immediately after we sat down and Father Charles started the mass early because there was no sense in waiting since not a single soul more could fit under this church's rafters.

Just as the first reading was finished E looked up to my husband and said "oh no..." and gagged.  Snatched out of the pew and climbing over my MIL my husband flew to the back of the church and cut through the crowd at the back of the church just in time to get him secured in the bathroom.  Ten minutes later, we were all leaving church early to get E home and to the safety of the couch.

The only thing we could do was to proceed with our evening.  Though at this point we were somewhat less buoyed   This is a sad Christmas for our family.  My husband and his mother are in a lot of pain.  The loss of my father-in-law is being keenly felt this year.  Even the excitement of the one remaining child at the table wasn't enough to keep the mood light.  Still when you consider it, subdued is still far better than bleak and and still better than none. We did have the occasion to share some stories about past Christmases with my father-in-law that brought us all a smile and some laughter.

The Christmas rites still adhered to, as was right.  We went to bed only to be up a lot during the night with our sick little dude.  Christmas morning found us tired but still very happy that Santa had come.  Good thing he brought some video games.  E had no more energy than to lay on his side, on the couch, for the lion share of the day.  My youngest came out of his room wearing his fireman hat and jacket all set to open gifts and that was exactly what he did.  I had to share the picture with my friends.  I was so sure he was in costume and set to put out the next pair of oven mitts that I managed to set on fire.  The last pair were ignited when my gloved hand touched the top element of the oven when pulling out my duchess potatoes on Thanksgiving, giving a rather dramatic air to our holiday meal.

A mostly lazy day found the healthy of us having breakfast and occupied in play.  I got to wrestle my turkey from the 32 quart water canner which I used as my brining vessel.  I love that it's usually so cold in Ontario that it can be placed on the deck for ease of access,  instead of taking up room in the fridge or having to navigate the garage.  The bird once roasted was glorious and way too big for our needs since only two of us were eating and even still when the two had now seriously impaired appetites due to the spread of the kid cooties.

Today is a day of more industry.  The process of making turkey stock and soup has started.  Later, if there is time I will drag out my pressure canner and put up some litres of stock and some pints of turkey soup.  Knitting is my biggest time filler.  I am determined to get this project finished.  I'll have to search the house but I'm sure that I only have three more skeins of this wool and that will mark the completion.

This week is dedicated largely to a few small projects that I never really had time for.  The rest will be spent horsing around with my dudes.  I hope that the plague lifts quickly.  Still no snow.  This is a big disappointment for me.  I was really looking forward to spending some time on the toboggan and on the trails in my snowshoes.

The holiday winding down here.  It wasn't an A+ holiday but it is unrealistic to think every year will be a Norman Rockwell scene.  I reminded my husband that in time we'd sit back over another holiday meal and see this year's holiday with some humour.  We'd laugh about the "hum bug".  We'd chuckle at the picture of L in his fireman costume. The big brown marks the dogs Christmas chewy bones made.   We'd remember where we'd come from, what we went through, and that we'd gotten through it as a team.  That is what the comfort of family brings.  Shared history.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

I hate being asked what I want for Christmas.  I always draw a complete blank.  I like to interpret that blank as meaning that I don't need anything more than what I've already got.

This morning I got up and got my usual cup of coffee and was poking through the facebook statuses when I came across one that said "how would you feel if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"  I paused with that thought.  Yes, it's a good thought.  What did I thank God for yesterday?  Well I can tell you what I didn't thank God for...I didn't thank him for jewellery, botox or cars.  Expensive purses or smart phones.  A house that's too big to clean, in the time span of one morning.

I've got just what I need.  I have the love a great man.  Two wonderful kids.  Enough food to eat and a warm disorganized house.  Friends whom I love and respect.  The skills to survive and make beautiful things from scraps that someone else might discard.  The God's good sense to enjoy what is put before me without tearing it apart to make something that could never be, as good as, the real thing.

Other than that....all I've asked for is snow.  I'd really like to have a White Christmas to marvel.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Remains

We are only 11 days away now.  The excitment in my house is tangible.  I know I've already said how much I'm enjoying this year.  The credit belongs to my children.  Their smiles are infectious.  Over the last month I've been more preoccupied.  Every now and then I get a flash of a memory that was long tucked away for safe keeping. Since having my children I've been trying hard to remember what it was like to be a child.  Though for me, a lot of my childhood memories aren't Sugar Plum Fairy type of memories but if I work a little harder I can unearth a time when I had that innocent wonder-filled joy.

The Christmases I like to recall were the ones when I was very young.  While I still believed in Santa.  When my family was still in one piece and happy, well as happy as I could remember them ever being.  When I thought the most wonderful sight I'd ever seen was the warm light of our Christmas Tree or the lights on my neighbour's houses.  I can still remember the songs that would fill the house.  My mother had a few Christmas 8-Track cassettes and they played in that endless loop.  She would sing away with them and I'd try to follow a long as I could.  I remember colouring feverishly in a Christmas colouring book with a new huge pack of crayons on the living room floor while my mother whirled around in a fit of housework and festive preparation.

There were the Christmas Cookie bake-a-thons.  Then being bundled up in coats, hats and mittens and being driven up the street to where my Great Grandfather lived with is common-law wife.  He hated us (and most people in general) and was as surly as a man could be.  How Anne came to love him, I'll never know.  She was one of the kindest people.  We'd make sure his car wasn't there and then we'd go in for a very short visit and give her a tin of what we had just created.  She'd give us a tiny Christmas treat in return.

I also remember once helping to clear the kitchen after dinners leading up to the special day and hear snowballs hit the kitchen window.  My mother would say that was Santa's elf letting us know that he had been watching us being good and helpful.  That we should make sure that we were good so that Santa would visit.  Now I realize that my father must have snuck out the front door and circled around the house to throw that snowball at the window. My father's work Christmas Parties were fabulous.  They were balls and each employee's child would get these very large presents.  I do recall one year getting the most beautiful baby doll and coming home half asleep and having my parents discover that the cat had dragged down the Christmas Tree and broken her favourite nativity bulb.

I remember my mother's skilled hands preparing the big Turkeys.  She would cook up a storm and it would be marvelous.  The Christmas dinners were events onto themselves.  The relatives that would flow in and out of the house over the three days surrounding Christmas.  Especially, my Uncle Paul who would show up in Santa suit each year and give us a pair of handmade mittens as presents.  I always loved when my Grandma and Grandpa Westlake would arrive.  There is nothing better in the entire world than the hugs my Grandma would insist on.  The whisker rub my Grandpa gave us.  I don't really remember any of the presents they gave me but their just being there was what I treasured most because it is what I remember best.  I do miss them horribly.

It has not been lost on me that my eldest son is at the same age I was when my family imploded.  That at that very tender age nothing had that child-like innocence anymore.  I marvel at how young my son is.  I always remember me being older at that age (I know that's odd).  I wonder what he will remember when he's old like me and has kids of his own.  I have been making a very big point of making each Christmas something special to remember.  Every season packed with so many things and events.  I can't improve upon what I remember but I can guarantee that my boys have it better.  I'm lucky, I get to build much better memories thanks to them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where the Heart is...

There are parts of the Christmas Season that even this newly reborn Christmas lover still strongly dislikes.  Grocery shopping #1 and its horrid companion, the parking lot!!!  Today was the day, though not the actual Christmas grocery shopping trip but more of a preliminary.  We headed out as a family to get the job done because there are just some decisions that need to be made as a family and I find that the meals I make get eaten better by the kids if they help to gather the ingredients.

Husband usually takes the kids off on the "odd" job to get soap or toilet paper then comes back with them in tow to put the item in the cart and then get the next assignment.  This keeps them active and well behaved and gives me the chance to get the other things on the list and to prowl the aisles to see what I've forgotten to put on the list.

Today he treated the kids to a few minutes in the toy aisle, as a reward for the hard work helping to get all the assigned items.  Now, a few of you know that my husband lost his beloved father last December before Christmas.  He's been very sad this whole year but as we come closer to the anniversary of the sad occasion he has been a little less patient and a lot more solemn.  Trust that we understand and have been allowing him to set his pace and mood for the season.  In truth, his muted mood has been well disguised by my insane Christmasy mood this year.

It was there, in that toy aisle that my husband found his Christmas Spirit.  He said that he was just standing there watching the kids point out to each other one cool toy after another.  They were going nuts he said.  Then our youngest held up a Star Wars mask by the box and held it over his face while he played with a light saber that made the noise as he waved it about madly.  I wasn't there but I could well imagine his expression as he watched his child "make due" with the unpurchased toys.  I'm so happy we all went together.  We managed to find something that wasn't on my list.

He's actually gone back to that store to purchase those things because he wants to remember that moment.  The moment when his heart put aside the pain to find a moment that would have made his own father laugh heartily.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

*Arghhh* Harshing my Christmas Mellow!

I've got Christmas fever of that there is no denying it.  I hum Christmas tunes all the time and when I think I'm alone I bust out at full capacity some of my very favourites.  Sorry neighbours and fellow drivers!  Cheerful while I shop.  Opening doors for people who cut in front of me in their haste.  Yep, they can't get to me.  Even the school parking lot isn't putting a dent or scratch in my smile, though it still causes grey hair.

Yesterday it was snowing and I was on a mission to try and start the kids "list".  I spent about 5 minutes just sitting in the car watching the snowflakes hit the windows and melt away.  Marveled at how fast the world got a pristine coating of white.  Suddenly, the world was full of cheerful promise.  I just kept imagining how great it would be if we got enough snow for the kids and I to play in.  I took a little trip down memory lane to all the times that I played for hours in the cold.  Not returning back indoors until every inch of fabric on my body was soaked with melted snow.  The smell of wet mittens on the furnace vents.  Remembering the milk bags I used to use as boot liners because boots were never really water resistant.  Have they improved that yet?

I was tidying up some of the boxes left from the Christmas tree decorations and poking about in the basement when I found another box of decorations.  I brought them upstairs all excited until I took out my Christmas Frog and realized that I don't have a single place to put him.   See, my house is cluttered.  I have to confess that I'm not very good at organizing my stuff.  So where ever I tried to put Christmas Froggy I had to shift a stack of books and papers.  To put Father Christmas out I had to move my husband's netbook and the remotes.  I'm still not sure where I'll put the rest of that stuff.

The clutter in my house harshes my mellow on the best of occasions.  Christmas only highlights how much of a problem it is.  In 24 days there will be more stuff coming in and fewer and fewer places to tuck it.  So for the next 23 days I'm going to pitch out a box of stuff each day.  Who knows it may be the best gift I give myself this year.  Good thing is that I can still sing my Christmas tunes while I do that work.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Rumblings of Christmas Spirit

I'm not a Scrooge or anything.  I'm not the most Christmasy person either.  Truth be told its not my favourite holiday.  I love decorating and cooking and the general merriment. Though, in my opinion, and likely from too much exposure to the media, it feels like its top heavy on consumerism.  The gap growing each year between what that elusive true meaning of the season and what is now the new meaning of this Holiday.

This year to fight against my own cynicism, I'm doing things my way.  The focus this year for Christmas is not what I'll be shopping for but rather what we'll be doing together as a family.  Far away from the shopping malls.  Oh sure, normally, I will not even listen to holiday songs until December 1st.  I did however, find myself channel surfing in the car again this week and have left it on a Christmas carol or two.  OK, so I'm a sucker for a song that takes me back to a time when Christmas was really special to me.  A time when it was pure magic.  Untainted by what I know now.   I find the religious songs to be my favourite now.

To make this season special and to help distill a more spirited Christmas in my family's memories we've done the Santa Parade with the homemade gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate thing.  I've never seen a batch of cookies disappear so fast!  Tonight we'll head into town and be present for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.  We'll sing Christmas carols and stop into Tim's for a hot chocolate.  We'll tour the neighbourhoods to take in the holiday lights.

We've already taken a slew of Christmas books from the library and have been enjoying reading all the little tales of snowmen and mice.  We've found some nice books about the first Christmas.  We're working hard on our Christmas lists and Santa pictures.  Thinking hard about those who aren't as fortunate as we are.  Working on ways that we can help provide those people with a little something to make their holiday better.  Always remembering that this holiday doesn't have a "sale" sign on it.  That whether there are gifts under the tree, this holiday will find us.  That we need to be able to keep this holiday in our hearts first before it can go all wrapped up in pretty papers and bows.

The Christmas Spirit is rumbling it's way to the surface.  Warming my heart.  Bringing back the memories of what used to be good.  I'm lucky, I can revisit some of that magic through my children.  Teaching them what is most important about this special time of year.  Giving them the best gift of all, that isn't found under a decked out tree.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today it Snowed

Fall has been dragging out as long as she can.  She has blessed us with far more above seasonal days than we normally get.  We actually saw an Indian Summer which melted into weeks of steely grey skies with wistful breezes to blow the leaves about.  We've been fortunate.

Still it doesn't stop the kid in me from watching the sky.  Wondering when those first snowflakes will appear.  All day my friends just North of where I live have been reporting snow sightings.  Each time I got the update through Facebook (while I was diligently working) I'd dart to the window and look out to see the spectacle just to find that Whitby was being blessed with more sunshine.

The big black clouds have loomed in the distance all day.  Now with the kids home the speed of the household has kept me too busy to think about much more than just trying to stay ahead of the night time tide.  Cooking, cleaning and entertaining excited children.  Finally, a break.  The kids upstairs playing.  I snag some quiet.  A hot cup of tea in hand and a pen poised to create a shopping list, I hear an ecstatic cry.  "SNOW!  Mommy it's snowing!"  The rumble of little feet scrambling from upstairs to the main floor.  More shrieking.

Assembled in front of the window with our finger tips pressed against the cold glass.  A true snowfall.  It was coming down heavy and being driven by a stiff wind.  Snow.  Finally.

I am lit up inside.  Here's to new beginnings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The TV only needs to be on for five minutes in my house and the next thing I know I'm being followed all over my house by two boys chatting me up about the latest greatest toy they've seen on whatever TV show they conjured to market this rotten little piece of future landfill fodder.

Of course these toys are made of some of the worst offending materials ever manufactured by man and chemistry.  Some have been nothing short of scandalous for being painted up with lead then aimed at children who haven't made it out of the mouthing phase.

Some of these toys last for about two weeks before being broken.  Anything with small parts lasts just long enough to be sucked up into the vacuum.  I'm still wondering why Lego doesn't include crazy glue with their larger more elaborate sets.  The Death Star doesn't really look like the imposing weapon it's supposed to be after two days with my guys.  It just gets torn down to a heaping pile of shapes.  There is no talking Dad into rebuilding it even if we've kept the "Sears Wish Book" of directions it comes with.

Today I had to dash into Walmart to buy a toy for a child I don't even know.  I called home while wondering the aisles to ask my son what he thought his friend might like.  He rattled off every toy he's ever seen this boy play with and after naming every piece of sport equipment at leisure, I was still at a loss.  Now with my boys we've discovered that the box the toy comes in can often be more fun than the actual toy but that wasn't going to cut it for this classmates birthday party.  I needed a plan.  I needed a clue.

I started polling the unsuspecting but overwhelmed mothers that were likely wandering those aisles for the very same reason.  What do you buy the boy who is very athletically inclined but likely has all that stuff?  Of course they looked at me like I was crazy.  My hair sticking all out of my braid and my dirty wet run gear.  I'm not even going to tell you how badly I must have smelled.  If I said I reeked of desperation one might think it were true.

After another couple of minutes has passed and I've picked up and put down a few more things.  After a while some of these crazy toys all start to look the same.  Board games have gotten complicated too.   What I wouldn't have done for a light up in the dark yo-yo at this point.  Do they even make those any more?  Close my eyes and grab.  That's it.  Done.  A non-decision is still a decision.  Perhaps I can blame the poor choice on the child.

Purchased.  Wrapped.  Gift sitting in the car.  My son looks up at me and says "Mom did you get James the new Bakugan Sky Raiders?"

Are you kidding me?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm a Lucky Girl

I was watching a movie last night when really I should have been sound asleep.  You'd think I'd be more eager to rest given how crazy my life has become but yet, I still fight that urge.  Odd.  Anyway, I was watching this movie where this woman's life is completely upended by her husband.  She winds up being divorced.  Then she goes on an adventure only to realize that it isn't just a trip to help her get over her hurts but it's a sign that her life belongs somewhere else.  That her life has a different purpose.

I do believe in signs.  I'm odd that way.  Well anyway, in this movie she buys this old house and has to renovate it.  Then as she's in the process of gutting and rebuilding this house she reaches new lows and wonders just exactly how dumb could she be to believe that fate had something better in store.  She muses that when she had purchased this house, she dreamed of having a wedding in it.  Filling it with family and friends.  That's when a friend points out to her that she has all these things.  She has what she wished for.  It just took someone to frame it in a different light for her to see it.

When I shut off the TV and shuffled off to bed, I was thinking all that over.  How its really funny that some prayers don't get answered and that some get answered so quietly that they are hard to see, especially, if one is having trouble seeing through some bit of trouble or confusion.

6:30 am I'm snapped back into consciousness by the cute little sound of L. singing a song and laughing at a knock-knock joke he told himself.  Of course I thought he was adorable but I got up and whispered to him that he should be a little quieter and shut his door and went back to bed.  Surrendering back into that warm dullness.

7:45 am I'm awaken by K, placing a cup off coffee on my bedside table and rubbing my back to get me to open my eyes.  The countdown to our usual Sunday schedule was on.  I had probably ten minutes to wake up and come down and join them in getting ready to get out the door.  Not a shabby way to wake up, really.  Isn't my husband fantastic?  I think so!

Showered, dressed and presentable off we go.  While we were in church my older son looked up at me and blew me a kiss.  My heart skipped.  How did I get such wonderful children?  These perfect little beings.

After church, I had the chance to have breakfast and to throw on my gear and get out for a trail run with a girlfriend.  The trails were so beautiful.  The air chilly but once we got moving we were actually too warm.  Soon, we'll just fantasize about that sensation.  Everyone in the park was in excellent moods.  We got to pet dogs and even managed to get off the beaten path.  It turns out I know that park so much better than I would have given myself credit for.  We had a great time.  I love her company.

Now the Halloween preparations will be in full swing.  Some pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed roasting and some decorations.  A gorgeous dinner with a lovely bottle of red that I've been saving over the glow of some cheerful pumpkins.  I'm in such a good mood I think I'll make my men an apple pie!

I'm a lucky girl.  I know full well there are others in this world who do not have food, money or health.  They may not even have family to hold on to for comfort.  I am reminded today that I have all that I have wished for.  I am reminded today that there is more outside of myself.

Beautiful things happen on sunny days.  I'm looking forward to a nice new opportunities.  Who knows what's on the wind?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Much I Know is True.

Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. - Muhammad Ali

There are some really spectacular people out there.  There really are.  I am so blessed to know a good deal of them.  My friends inspire me.  They may not know it but they make me a better person. I've learned so much from them.  I've become so much because they've pushed me forward.  Out of my comfort zone a good deal of the time.  They've broadened my perspective, they've shown me support and allowed me to do the same.  Through them I've had the chance to become a more rounded person.  A more feeling person.  I am uplifted.

I have a girlfriend who it seems no matter what lands on her plate she is completely unflappable.  She seems quite content to allow the forces of nature gently nudge her along.  She is smart and determined and a natural leader.  I love her passion for life, her love of her family and her savy.  She's a natural.  There is no artifice with her.  What you see is genuinely what you get.  From her I am learning to be patient and have faith.

I have another girlfriend who is a whirlwind.  When we first met, I'm not sure we liked each other much.  Then as time passed and I got to know her better, I was able to understand her better.  I fell into easy company with her.  Turns out we had an awful lot in common.  She's a strong woman.  I mean true grit kinda strong.  She's also just raw energy all the time.  She dedicates herself to her family in a way where I am just left in awe.  I often times feel like I've had too much coffee after being in her company but I like it.  She is honest with her opinions.  She has a way of just cutting through it and telling like it is.  She keeps me honest even when I don't want to be.  She pushes me to keep up with her.  She ups the ante.  She's a smart cookie, opinionated and brutally honest.  She doesn't seem to have any time for gentle ego stroking or white lies.  I like this, a lot more than I would have thought.  You  never need to guess where you stand with her.  She's teaching me to stand stronger and have more conviction.

I have another friend whom I just feel easy with.  I joked once that I wish she'd adopt me.  Though I don't want her to be my mom, I just want to be in her family.  She's been such a good friend.  There's this thing about her that is just so completely kick ass....She may start on a challenge that perhaps would not have been her first choice but once she is committed there is absolutely no holding this woman back from achieving her goals.  This woman has fought through injuries, self-doubt and frustration to get the job done.  I have never seen that kind of tenacity in a person before.  If it were me, I would have found a way to justify just stopping...this woman doesn't know the meaning of quit.  I hope I do not rub off on her that way.  She is teaching me to persevere without giving up what makes me who I am.

I should stop trying to describe all the fabulous women in my life.  This blog would get really, really long.  I'd also be afraid of leaving someone out.  Even the ones that have hurt me beyond anything I could have imagined, have made me a better person. Perhaps some might not like knowing that but while they were in my life, I loved them so much.  I still do.  I have tried to deal with the pain by wanting to think ill of them.  To banish them from my thoughts or memory.  I just can't bring myself to do it because that would mean I'd have to deny all the wonderful things that their friendship meant to me.  I just can't bring myself to cut free parts of my life that way.  

We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence. - Joseph Roux

I also know that as I've been hurt by a friend or two, that I'm not innocent of doing the same to others.  I can fully admit that I haven't always been the best person I could be.  I'm not even close to being perfect.  I have reacted out of sadness and anger. I have placed faith in those who took that trust and twisted it into something ugly.  Resulting in hurting others.  There have been times when I should have known better but allowed myself to do things that I knew I couldn't be proud of.  I'm not sure how I will ever wipe clean the slate for that.  

I do not believe that friendships are disposable.  I also know that sometimes they just aren't forever.  That of course, people will pass through my life.  They will leave indelible impressions on me.  All of this shapes who I have become.   How I deal with the loss reflects upon how much that person was loved and how much they will be missed.  Even in my pain, despite missing them horribly I can't deny that they have brought out the best in me.  I honour them. 

Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them. - Francesco Guicciardini

When the time comes when my boys have their bonds and bumps.  I want to be able to model how to be a friend.  To teach them what that means.  The joys and comfort and speak honestly, as well, of the pain.  To show them that others often teach us more about ourselves then we could have imagined.  That it's ok to put yourself out there.  Never let the fear of being hurt keep you from experiencing it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What I Did on My 8th Anniversary

Eight years ago I managed somehow to wrangle a man into meeting me at the altar.  He claims that he is pleasantly happy with the way things have turned out. As am I.  We'd both say that though this is what we planned we never really imagined it would be quite like this!

This morning I was roused awake by a hurried hug and kiss and a "Happy Anniversary" and before I could even try to pull my eyelids open, he was gone.  Making a dash with what I imagine was his umbrella, backpack and coffee cup, to work.

Struggling out of bed and into my robe, downstairs to make breakfast and herd my kids into the daily routine.  That cup of coffee (made just for me) was like mother's milk.  Into the groove, bags were packed.  Kid's shoehorned into their jackets and off to school.  All the way one or both made ridiculous knock-knock jokes.  Not one of them had an actual punch line but that didn't stop the squeals of delight at their wit.

I did manage to get a little bit of work done this morning on top of consuming half a pot of coffee before tidying myself up and scarfing down lunch to head off to field trip hell.  I volunteered to accompany my youngest to the Apple Orchard today.  For some reason it's suspected that he would be unable to control himself on a school trip.  Unnecessary foreboding.  He was a total angel, needing a lot less redirection than the sum of his class.  Odd.  By noon, I was packed into an uncomfortable school bus seat with an obnoxious woman who stood up the entire ride taking pictures of her daughter...though cute, she seemed as annoyed by her shutter-bug mother, as the rest of us, were.  I spent twenty minutes requiring jittery children to plant their butts on their seats.  To stop pulling each other's hair.  It was loud and oddly damp.

The orchard experience paid for itself in sleepy snuggles with L and apples which I furtively stuffed in my pockets.  I also got a couple more laughs at the shutter-bug who loudly in a foreign language chatted on her cell phone for the entire time we were on the tour.  The tour guide seemed to enjoy her loud squawking during  her demonstration on how cider was made, on how to pick apples from the trees.  This cell phone squawking, shutter bug even managed to bleat louder than the sheep before the class tossed the apple cores into their pen.  Perhaps there should have been a chaperone for that mother rather than for my son?  At least L didn't freely pick his nose and consume it.

The rest of the day was spent making a supper no one would really eat.  In my family's haste to get to their evening activities their plates were barely touched.  The Red Ninja and Red Angry Bird marched out into the night with a harassed looking Pirate.  I'm pretty sure it was my husband.  At least he look familiar.

The rest of the evening will be spent tidying the kitchen, doing a load of laundry and packing lunches.  Putting wired and sugared up children to bed sans costumes.  I will stare at the TV for a minute or two then call it a night.  Hubby already sound asleep.

Eight years ago was the longest fastest day of my life.  The eight years that followed flew by just as fast.  It's true I never imagined life would be quite like this...I'd say it's even better!  It's a good thing we had the forethought to celebrate yesterday with the notion that this day would be too full of living.  It paid off.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting All Scrappy!

This story starts with my arriving at my eldest son's school yesterday at the end of the school day.  Per my normal, I'm juggling one child tugging away on one arm and my blackberry in the other trying to work and scanning the herd of kids pouring from the school's exit.  I secure E, and we start to head to the parking lot when we are approached by one of E's friends and he starts to ask how E's doing and if he's OK or scared.  Immediately, my mind freezes.  I hear the words "will he really kill you?".  WHAT???

Everything comes to a screeching halt.  All I can get out of the story is that there was a much older boy threatening to kill my son at the lunch hour recess.  That my son's friends were rallying around him to keep this kid away.  I quickly gather up the whole gang and herd them to the office.  Clearly, this is a matter that cannot wait.  My son is being bullied!  Something needs to be done right now!

We pour into the VP's office and give what little details we knew.  We don't even know the name of the older kid.  We don't know what grade or home room either.  But what we have is a death threat and the fact that the perpetrator has "crazy" hair as the only working description.  The VP promises to take the oldest of this group to each room in the morning to find the bully.  The situation is a priority and she will update me immediately upon arriving at a conclusion.

I thank E's friends, stagger off to my car with my kids and head home feeling as if I've been kicked hard.  It hadn't occurred to me that there could be a true threat of serious violence until just before I drifted off to sleep, the thought that older kids can sometimes bring weapons to schools.  There have been scatterings of stories in the news over the last couple of years.  Could that kind of thing happen in my own back yard?  The panic set in...I was wide awake!

This morning we arrived at the school.  I had a quick conference with my son's teacher.  The school was on alert and we were assured that before the first recess the boy would be in the office.  My husband K. and I sat in the office entertaining our youngest while E attended his regular class with the watchful eye of his teacher.  We sat there.   K and I were the united front.  We said we'd wait even if it took all day.  Three hours later we were escorted into the VP's office.  Armed for confrontation we bristle.

The VP recounted this story:  E had been playing over on the other side of the yard per his usual.  The more rambunctious kids from E's class were tearing around the yard and ran by some older boys sitting on the school's steps talking about a video game.  The suspect turned to his buddy and said something about killing the boss in his game when the kids ran by and heard "I'm going to kill...."  next thing you know they are asking the boy "why are you going to kill E.?"  "You can't do that!"   The older boy blows them off and goes back to his teenage angst.

With their wild imaginations they tear back to where E is playing blissfully unaware of anything else and they recount this boy's threat.  They pull E over to where the girls are gathered.  They hide him under a coat with a stuffed animal for protection and the girls stand guard while the boys gather together a somewhat large grade two army to wage war on this older boy.  After chasing the suspect around the school yard for a bit they tackle him and commence pummelling him until the guard comes over to break it up and apparently bemused by the tale she tells them to go to opposite ends of the yard and quit it.

Each time I recount the story in my mind I hear the Benny Hill theme.  I chuckle though it's funny, it's not funny.  This whole situation revisited a huge fear of ours.  Today was an amusing story.  Next time, we may not be so lucky to walk away unscathed.  I also feel bad for the boy who was pounced upon in front of his friends by a bunch of 6 year-olds.  That might be hard to live down.

All of the kids involved learned lessons today.  Unfortunately, I have the feeling that I'll be chatting with this particular VP quite a bit for the next 9 years.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Half of It....

Prepped and Ready to Go!
I ran the Scotiabank Half Marathon.  I know, I broke my rule about training in the summer but I actually didn't start training until the end of August.  I was given time off of pacing the BRC to jump in with the half marathon group.  I did hills and the long slow distances, as my knee, would allow.  It kept me out of the speed work but I had already done a fair bit of both hill repeats and speed work during July and August.  I was, as prepared as, I could be for such a spontaneous race entry.

Me with the Brooklin Run Club
Did I regret my impetuousness?  Hell no! It was the best race I ever entered.  It was so crowded.  I don't do well in crowds but I had my club with me so I just followed them through the masses of people flowing one way, then the next.  Once in the corral I settled in.  I'm not nervous about races.  I get nervous over getting to the race.  It's the same anxiety I get when travelling.  Once I'm at the starting line it's just a matter of falling into step.  Which to me is just as effortless as walking off a ledge.  I just let momentum take me.  There are no longer any more decisions to be made. My race plan never really changes.  I drink at nearly each walk break.  I take a gel at my scheduled distances.  I just keep on keeping.

What made this race so wonderful....the energy!  The crowd was excellent.  So many people out there supporting loved ones and their fellow runners.  Cow bells, clappers, bull horns, car stereos, bands, dancers and balloons and flags.  I clapped and danced my way through those cheer stations.  I thanked supporters along the way.  I took in the sights. I enjoyed myself, shamelessly.  

The best part of all!  I got to speak to my hero.  Ed Whitlock.  I spotted him in the return elite group.  I was lucky enough to be running aside of the divide and I yelled to him when we were 10 yards apart.  He called back to me.  I just hope that was ok to do?  Nonetheless, it was so cool.  I loved seeing the elites run past.  Relished their form.  It's inspiring to see someone practice the sport they were born too.  A graceful display of skill and experience.  The raw competitiveness.

My friend Charmaine put it so well today after I recounted my experience on the course, as we were spinning. She very frankly said "What other sport can you participate where you share the course with World Record Holders and Olympians?"  It's so true.  I've never been a star struck girl.  I don't think I'd ever cross the street to gush over a celebrity.  I don't really identify with them.  However, if given the chance I might have been all tongue tied and nervous getting out more than just a few crazy fan girl comments, should I ever find myself in a conversation with Ed or Paula Radcliffe.  

I finished stronger and smarter and quicker with a few more stars in my eyes, this time around.

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Years Ago

Seven years ago my life changed.  It started with a girlfriend betting me that it wouldn't be long after being married that I'd be a Mommy.  It was that same girlfriend who told me I was pregnant before I even knew it myself.  Thanks Corina!

I took on being pregnant like a lot of the things I do in life.  It was project status!  I loved being pregnant.  There was never a happier time in my life.  I glowed.  I smiled a lot.  I also ate like a football player.  I read like crazy.  At first it was baby name books, then it was pregnancy books.  What to expect and when, where, what books.  I researched doctors.  No regular GP was going to do.  I managed to get one of Toronto's best OB's as my own.  Then I planned the nursery.  I even made a project (read: nesting crisis) out of finding the matching stool to my nursery rocker.  I had everything purchased and waiting for baby to come home.  I had my bag packed.  My birth plan mapped out.  10 months of painstaking planning cooked up the perfect pregnancy.

On the day, we were up before the crack of dawn.  At the hospital I was left on my own before the nurses came in to get me prepped.  I had a chance...just a small window to chat with my belly.  The belly would answer back in hasty nudges.  I had that one last moment to express my gratitude to this little being for choosing me as his mother.

Seven years ago, this little being changed my life.  I often wonder if a simple c-section included installing a much larger heart.  It seems my capacity to feel pain and joy, worry and elation increased 10 fold.  He came into this world with a head full of hair and crying like an opera singer.  Loud and robust.  To this day he hasn't changed a bit.  He still has that unimpressed look and is really loud.  I love everything that makes him who he is.  I love who he made me be.

Happy Birthday E!  Your crazy mother thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Many Lives

What kind of old lady will I be?  Today while I was being cracked like a chicken carcass by the doctor who has been endlessly been putting me back together since I took up running.  We were chatting about the stupid things I did when I was 20'something and it evolved into a conversation about some of my former jobs but as we were chatting he referred to my adventures as former lives.

It got me thinking.  It's true.  I've had so many different "recreations"  I could be the non-famous Madonna.  It seemed I changed my life from the ground up,  more times then Madonna changed her image.  How odd?  Do all people go through the process of shedding lives as they evolve?

I'm now a stay at home mom with many hobbies and interests.  I suppose you could say I'm the unpublished version of Erma Bombeck, for 2011. Though not nearly as talented.  What will I be 10 years from now?  I can't wait to find out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Love Thanksgiving!

I love thanksgiving so much that I'm always tempted to celebrate it twice.  There was a time when I worked exclusively with American customers and had the two days off in November.  Though sadly it meant working the Canadian holiday.  I was finished work early enough to enjoy the food, so really not such a bad trade.

This year I'm going "granola".  We'll still have the turkey but that's where the familiarity of the dinner ends.  I was inspired to try on something new.  Not often do I shrug off the traditions of my kitchen which I've created long ago.  We aren't expecting any guests this year and since the boys scarcely eat.  I thought it the right time to experiment.  Though now I feel at a loss.  This menu is so stream line that it should only take me 2 hours from start to finish.  That time is mostly consumed with the brining of the half turkey breast.  Beyond that...  what on Earth will I do with my time?

I think the reason why I love Thanksgiving so much is likely the reason that I have no outstanding memories of it as a kid.  It wasn't necessarily a holiday that meant more to us than a standard PD day.  We could play instead of going to school.  The stuff we did at school to prepare was always a lot of fun but as far as family togetherness goes.  It was a non holiday.  What I'm trying to say is that it's a blank slate.

All the traditions I have for this day are solely created within the confines of my little quartet.   From our Thanksgiving Tree which we will add to this year.  (branches with construction paper leaves on which we've written what we are thankful for each year, we write as many as we like and glue them to the tree.  Each year we just add more leaves).  The meal.  The pastimes.  Everything has been engineered by us, centred around us.  We are feathering our nest with the true happiness that comes from being a family.

Friday, October 7, 2011 much fun

I should be dashing about trying to clean up.  I really need too.  With the kids and I being sick pretty much all week the house looks horrible.  Toys and books everywhere.  Even some folded clothes camped out on one of the living room chairs.  No where can I find an empty laundry basket to move that pile of clothes upstairs and frankly I'm not about to take three trips to convey it upstairs.

I ought to be doing the dishes and load up the dryer to get the laundry moving along.  I ought to be putting the recycling out.  Instead, I sit here.  Writing.  I have no intentions on getting up until this blog is done.  Why?  Well let's see.

I am actually still sick.  I woke up late only to discover that I had not premade the boys school lunches as I usually do.  The time I would have had my usual morning coffee was spent scurrying around getting sandwiches, snacks and fruit into the proper lunch bags and into the appropriate back packs.  I have no idea if their home work was sorted properly.  I don't actually care right now.  Then when I carved out 5 mins to have that coffee I realized that the pot was empty.  NO COFFEE!!!  Never has there been a day in my whole married life when there hasn't been a pot of fresh coffee.  Quickly, I scrambled through the recipe cards in my head trying to account for any slight or neglect I may have shown my husband.  Why?  Oh why was there no coffee in the pot?  So stressful...So horrible.

With no time for me to make a pot of coffee I decide to just keep it moving.  I pushed the kids through the rest of the morning routine and got them to the first school.  It was fun watching L play with his friends.  Running around, enjoying the splendid morning.  The bell rings and the kids line up.  Out comes the teacher with a note.  How do I know that piece of paper is for me?  Hmmmm?  She apologizes for it not giving it to me sooner.  I know what that note says before I even look at it.  Sorry, the adage of no news being good news isn't going to pan out for you!

The note pretty much describes all the naughty behaviour L did on the last school day.  I promised myself I wouldn't read the note until after 4 pm.  When I had the chance to enjoy my kids without knowing the seedy-side of what they do when I'm not around.  I wasn't going to look at that note....but I did.  It was out of my control.  Bahhhh.  Perhaps it would be more entertaining if someone would just pee in my Cheerios?

My plan for getting the groceries early while the rest of the world was busy at work was a great idea.  So much so, everyone else decided to do it too.  The store was very busy.  I once again picked a cart with a malfunction that didn't become apparent until after the second aisle.  Still I promised myself that I'd stop for a vat of coffee after I got everything sorted out.    Feeling a little scrambled after not eating breakfast and not having a coffee I had just one last thing to do.  Pull up to get the wine.  I have a new best friend.  I swore my allegiance to the woman who was giving out the free samples.

So the day only being half over I'm declaring a work slow down.  Once I get my kidlets and take a mitt of Tylenol. I plan to just chuck it over and enjoy my afternoon with them.  The house is already a total wreck.  What could a couple of Lego towers hurt?

I wonder if they'd afford me a nap?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On The Bright Side...I'm Not Actually Dead

Though I just wish I were today.  It was just after 8 pm last night when I turned to my husband and said "Can I go to bed, now?"   I had been hoping to hold out on dying just long enough to help put the kids to bed but I just couldn't hold out any longer.  When my eyeballs started drying out consistently because of my zombie stare I knew I was just pushing my luck.

I don't think I heard much beyond my son tramping through my blackened room to use my bathroom to go pee before bed because his brother was using their bathroom. Not one to be deterred by a closed door.  He just marched in with his usual chirping and banter.  Flicked on the very bright light and commenced  using the toilet with the door wide open.  My last conscious image was that of my five year-old's back side.  I think that's when I passed out.

Upon waking today I find that both my kids are still coughing but when faced with the decision to stay home with "sick mom" or go frolic with friends.  Hard to believe they didn't want to stay home and rub my freezing cold feet, or make me toast.  How ungrateful can you get?

I do have to admit the quiet is delicious.  I am wrapped in a blanket and trudging through the house trying to make tea and figure out what I should do first.  Should I do my work while I still have a few brain cells to rub together for warmth?  Should I just take a hot bath and pass out again until it's time to pick the boys up?  Or should I continue to just sit and stare at the TV and let my eyeballs dry out again?   Decisions.  Decisions.  Now I understand how my poor neglected house plants feel.  Sitting in a draft, collecting dust and drying out.

PS:  This blog is now available on Top Mommy Blogs.  Vote for my blog by clicking the banner at the top right.  I have no idea of what benefit that would be...but what the hell.  You've suffered through my inane dribble for years now.  It likely wouldn't kill you *snort*

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sick Week

It's that time of year again.  Cootie Week.  The week where it's guaranteed everyone in our house will be good and sick.  Doctors will be visited.  Rx's will be filled.  Vows to take vitamins daily and eat broccoli will be made.  Noses will be wiped raw and in my case, my voice will once again be lost.

Already I'm on the couch.  Hot drink, Kleenex box and Halls on stand-bye.  Got the netti pot ready for service with it's trusty Vicks Vaporub side kick.

The kids having been sick before me are starting to rally with an abundance of trapped energy and I'll resort to desperate measures.  Yep, play dough, craft center and a stock pile of kid friendly movies.  Already the living room looks like a tornado hit it and it's only 8:30 am.  Lego, stuffies, blankets, books, toys, and a full deck of playing cards have been scattered with reckless abandon.  "Yay! Mom's sick....she's defenceless....STRIKE NOW!!"

It's so not fair!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Where I've been...

Surely it's been more than a month since I last blogged.  Where have I been, you might ask?  What have I been doing?  Well let's see...where have I been?  I've been here.  Busy of course.  Working feverishly, and tending house and family.  Training for yet another half marathon, though I admit my heart is barely in this one but then I've been there, done that.  I have a fickled runner's heart that way.  I've been hanging with friends and navigating the stresses of a new school year.

What has inspired me?  Certainly the season change has inspired me.  Welcoming the chilly weather runs.  Layering in thin shirts for running in the early hours.  The leaves trying on their fall colours and scattering in the wind.  The pantry has opened itself up to the seasonal comfort foods (as I speak I'm baking wild rice with seeds and berries in acorn squash as a wonderful side dish).  Everything Thanksgiving has me planning and creating and looking forward to that special day in our home.

My eldest son, E, turns 7 this year.  It's amazing.  Each day I stare at him and think, "wow, he's really turning into a big kid".  He really invests himself into everything he puts his hands too.  I'm in awe of him.  In every way he is all that I have ever wanted to be!  L, is amazing.  He writes me love letters and follows me around like my shadow on days when he's not in school wanting to help me.  He comes up with wonderful ideas for baking projects and I find that I can't say no.  He is always so free with cuddles and tries so hard to be good.  What can I say?  I think my kids are the best things I ever made from scratch.

What has been daunting me?  I have a little niggling injury which is making me take a very conservative approach to my half training this time around.  Though I will admit it doesn't scare me in as much as I appreciate that I can more than happily do the distance but that once again an injury will keep me from setting my sights on a time goal.  Doesn't much matter...I don't do the distances for time.  I do them because I love the achievement.

What has been buoying me?  My husband.  I love him so much.  I'm so happy to see him each and every day and wish that we had more time together to really enjoy each other's company.  Most of our time together is monopolized by the kids and we focus so intensely on them during the week.  Once the weekend arrives we always swear that we'll spend more time together but of course, extra-curricular and social obligations have us headed on different paths for much of the those two days.  Still, he knows just what to say to balance out my unsorted mind.  My heart still skips a beat when I look at him.

My wonderful friends inspire me.  They listen to my concerns.  They laugh at my ridiculous jokes.  They agree with my insane opinions when I know they think I'm nuts.  Still, their positive energy keeps me coming out to workouts and runs when I'd like revert back to my old hermit ways.  I'm healthier all the way around because of them.  They keep me so busy I don't have a chance to have that emotional, mental meltdown.

What do I look forward to doing?  I look forward to returning to all my cold weather hobbies.  I also look forward to cold weather running too.  Picking up my knitting that has sat dormant for two seasons.  I really suck at finishing projects.  Like a typical Gemini, I burn hot then get distracted by shiny things.

What irritates me?  That damn school parking lot and the mad dash to be in two places at once.  Why on Earth are the two bells so close together?  They have half the school coming from outside their boundaries but yet the bell times stay the same.  I hate election rhetoric.  Really, why don't they save a bunch of money and when we go to vote just have the electoral administrator hand us the ballot and tell us to grab our ankles?  It's about what winds up happening anyway.  Why sugar coat it or sling mud at it?  It is the only fundamental truth to be had in the whole process.  The only parallel can be found in death and taxes.

What do I wish I could change?  Well in the immediate sense, I suppose I wish that I could focus a little more on organized thoughts.  If I could then I'd be able to blog more often *giggle*.   I also wish that I didn't spin my wheels so much with worrying.  It's really hard sometimes to remember that there isn't a whole lot in this world that I can control and it's fruitless to try to keep a cap on it.  Having faith, is not my strong suit.  I'd like to think that's a work in progress...ok that an my damn knititng projects!

Hopefully, it doesn't take me a whole month to come up with my next blog entry.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Problem With To-Do Lists

It seems this time of year is just crazy busy.  I don't know why it always winds up being a rush to complete a never ending list of tasks each day leading up to the Labour Day Weekend.  The semi-annual sorting of the kids clothes, packing up and freecycling off what they cannot keep and purchasing what's needed.  Making sure they've got what they need for school.  Tearing out the exhausted summer garden and planting for the cooler months.  Canning everything insight.  Sweet corn, carrots, beans, pickles, jams, pie fillings, soups and stews.  Freezing anything that's leftover.  Of course there are the house hold tasks that got put off for cooler weather.  It's time for those now too.

I'm writing this blog today while being forced to slow down for one hour.  I've dragged my laptop to an appointment and hijacked some poor unsuspecting person's wifi network.  If I'm going to sit idle for an hour I'd better have something to keep my hands busy, my mind focused on task so that it doesn't wander too much, start worrying about something.  Come the cooler weather I'll take these hour long, forced breaks to knit.  

So that brings me to the thought.  I now feel guilty for spending any time not consumed with some sort of work.  A very Quaker-like work ethic has sunk in over the last year or two.  If' I'm not burning 1000 calories in exercise, or putting away a year's worth of food it doesn't feel like a day well spent.  Now you'd think that with all this expended energy I'd be as thin as a pencil.  Ha! If that was all it took then I'd have installed the hamster wheel years ago!

Perhaps it's time for me to slow down a little.  A girlfriend wrote on her facebook wall yesterday that she had an empty house and two hours to herself and questioned what she'd do with them.  What floated through my mind was "what not to do with them".  My stupid to-do list.  I should stop writing them.  Once written the demand to be finished.  Some awful self-fulfilling prophecy.

When I die, I'd rather not be remembered by what consumed me but rather what I treasured.  


Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Finally Snapped

This summer has been chugging a long at a rather rapid pace.  Each day I'm out doing something.  Never having a day to let grass grow under my feet.  Grass that is only now coming back to that plush green state after that dreadfully hot, dry period.  We've been on "staycation" since the end of the school year.  Enjoying the pool has been priority #1.  So much so that field trips have been down to a minimum.  No complaints from the kids.  They are too busy getting prune toes.

That said, I heard the snap today.  Up at dawn, fuelling for a 14k run then stepping out to the van to meet the girls I walked into the hottest, most humid morning I've ever experienced.  Were we crazy?  Here I thought yesterday's 10K in the humid heat was bad but today was so much worse.  With each step I prayed for rain though I was already saturated with sweat.  My shirt was so heavy and wet when I finally stripped off.  So gross.

Then as I was recovering from that crazy run, I felt it.  The snap.  That's it!  I'm so done with summer.  Oh sure I'll have no choice but to go through the motions for the next month or so but, really, enough is enough!  The heat can move off now.  I'm sick of wrangling wiggly children who don't want to wear sunblock.  Tired of the bugs feasting on me while I workout or run in the trails.

Normally, by this time of year the back-to-school shopping is nearly complete.  I've been cruising the fabric stores for quilt supplies and have selected my wool collection for the cold weather projects to come.  I blame the pool for the delay.  I was too busy bobbing around like a cork in the water to get that familiar feeling.

Now I'm daydreaming of cold weather comfort foods, the crispness that comes on a fall day.  The feel of the fabric being fed into the sewing machine as I work on Halloween costumes for the boys.  Now all I want to do is harvest the garden and hunt the farmer's market for the September bounty to be put up in shiny jars or tucked away in the freezer for a day when the yards are covered in a blanket of snow.

I've even fingered the children's back-to-school labels.  I need my routine back.  I need to be able to wear clothes without having to change a few times a day due to that constant feeling of being damp.  I'd also like my body to be only one colour rather then resembling a multi-tonal paint sample.  This has been the worst summer for multiple tan lines and I don't normally tan!  I don't really want to look like George Hamilton.

*sigh*  I now realize that by the simple act of just writing this blog, that I have cursed myself to an especially hot September.  More long distance training in crazy temperatures.  I've broken my rule about training in the summer and now my karma is coming for me.  I'll spend the next six weeks wilting while dreaming of my favourite season.  Fall.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blue Skies, Heat Alerts and Staycations

I have to admit I didn't count on it ever getting very hot let alone into heat alerts.  Not even sure when the last time I actually felt it rain.  Sort'a wish it would though.  My herb garden has fallen prey to both the arid temps and my seasonal laziness.  I haven't felt like dragging out the sprinkler each day to put down the required water.  The grass is dry and crunchy underfoot.   I'm not too worried though, the grass will recover and the herb garden can be replanted when I feel a little less lazy.

Of course I say this after I spent a few hours floating around on my pink flowered blow-up lounger.  The kids graciously heeded the pool to me while they warmed up and ate their lunch on the deck.  I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy the pool sans splashing and giant whales.  I'm now a little too pink but can still say it's a great way to waste a morning.

What a great way to while away the summer days.  Beach trips, camping and amusement parks.  Some lazy days just doing the staycation thing.  Never venturing much further than Tim's for morning coffees and the store for more ice or beer and returning promptly to the deck chairs or pool.

My friends and I have taken most of our runs off road and we are taking the tours of Durham Forest each weekend.  It's a brilliant way to keep up the mileage when the thought of another road run is comparable to getting teeth drilled at the dentist.  My only regret was that I had not purchased a can of Deep Woods Off, earlier.  I can safely say that I've been some happy bug's lunch.

The kids are affording me my usual workout routines.  What can I say?  They are champs.  They are pretty portable and happy just about anywhere.  I'm enjoying them more and more as they get older.  I write this as I watch them ride these huge blow-up whales.  L believes that he's Luke Skywalker with an empty bubble stick for a light saber in one hand fighting for justice and for good.  E believes his whale is real and wants to feed him.  I love their imaginations.  It reminds me of how great childhood can be, especially when the biggest drama they experience is the fight over what flick to watch on movie nights.

I love summer, though I don't like the intense heat I've certainly found ways around jacking up the a/c or sitting on an ice block to enjoying my holidays.  The only thing left to do is level the pool properly and get the chemical mix just right so that I can stop fretting over the chemistry.  I can certainly say I've learned things this summer.  Pool chemistry is one.  How to be deliciously lazy is another, as I write this blog pool-side.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Motherhood, The Truth.

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.  ~Linda Wooten

You know I make a lot of jokes about motherhood being like a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.  I get frustrated and a little flustered from time-to-time but here is the straight story about how I really feel about my job.

I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with moms nearly every day.  Some have newborns, some have kids just entering puberty and some that are all grown up and have flown the nest.  I even have some friends that have kids in all those stages of life.  There is one thing that can be equally said of us.  We all balance our days with taking care of them, our spouses, the house, the pets, and lastly ourselves.  We do these things in this order.  Why?  Because by the call of nature, this is the order of our lives.  When we see that the stick turns a different colour we instinctively put down our own needs in the service of a greater good.  The time honoured role of simply being "mom".

When I felt my first son, a tiny flutter, or rather it felt more like a tiny air bubble tickling the inside of my womb.  I just knew that I'd lay down my life to protect that little being in an instant and without conscious thought if the event ever manifested itself.  That is a fact I have never questioned.  I also realized that being a mom has been the only thing I've ever really wanted for my life.  Not riches or career status.  There isn't anything that money could buy that could persuade me to give up this post.  Nothing.

My kids are my everything.  Now I love my husband and he knows it's depth but the love I have for my kids is visceral.  I'd defend them with a force that couldn't be contained.  I stand watch over them in sickness and health.  I gently guide them through their day and evening.  I shield them through the night in the face of bad dreams.  Welcome their smiling faces at obscenely early hours of the morning when the chance to sleep in was  possible.  I have even had a fight with their dad,  in a sleep-deprived haze, over who would get to comfort E one night when he had a bad dream and woke crying.  They know that I'd move heaven and earth for them and if there was any doubt about that, certainly I've reminded them every day of their lives and will continue to do so.

I don't need a day to give reverence to what I do.  I don't expect a thank you or a reward.  I do what I do freely and with everything that is in my body and soul.  Sometimes I may crave some peace and quiet.  Sometimes I may make jokes that they are driving me crazy and it's a short trip.  Sometimes I may even be excited that it's date night and the babysitter has just rung the door bell.  But here's the thing...I never ever stop being a mom.  They are never out of my mind.  I am always thinking of them, concerned for them, loving them.  Always.  That's just how I feel.  What my husband, their father feels is a mirrored force.  My kids don't want for love or nurturing, that's for sure.

I wish that every child, ever born is as loved as mine.  Sadly, we know this isn't the case.   I shake my head.  I wonder how that could possibly be.  The thought tears this mother's heart.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Waging War!

My knee has been a little achy since yesterday afternoon so instead of going out for a group 8K I'm at home waging war.  Now normally the first line of defence in my organic garden is the curse.  Yep, each morning I inspect my garden and when I see that either my wiener dog has been sitting in my strawberry patch, yet again or some critter has been munching my lettuce I stand there and shake my fist uttering threats of bodily harm.  This ought to be enough to intimidate at least one of the guilty offenders.

Second line of defence.  Beer.  A dish of my husband's favourite Mill Street (which my husband in the freezer to chill but was forgotten and frozen...perish the thought that the slugs get the viable stuff) gets offered to the Garden Gods.  Libations for all that needs satiating.  Sometimes it's the very same offending wiener dog and he gets a little too sleepy to finish off what is left of my strawberries *grrrrrr*  Mostly this helps keep the slug population down and away from my mixed lettuces, as this year my boarder of red lettuce doesn't seem to be doing it's job.

When the beer has been exhausted then comes more cursing and hand picking which is just as gross as it sounds.  The neighbours must love this.  Dressed like a doll and swearing like a sailor and visibly not pleased with the task.  Once I've exhausted that then comes the heavy artillery. Nematodes! 

This is an ugly death for any offending non-wiener dog garden offender.  Bio-warfare.  Take that you slimy little bastards!  Then comes the inevitable pleasure I take in saying the word Nematodes in various silly voices while I prep the back yard to be nuked down. Nematodes.  Nematodes...Nematoooooodesssss

This chick plays dirty.  That's what happens to the little creeps that get between me and a summer salad especially on days when I'd rather be running with the girls.  What a way to take out my frustrations!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Year....Wiser?

It's funny that after the age of 21, having a birthday roll around each year starts to become a little painful.  Another year ticked off, a few more wrinkles and only my stylist knows how much is blonde as opposed to "Norwegian Blonde" (our code for grey).  My birthday this year came creeping up on me.  I've actually spent the last few weeks lost as to what day it is and what is on the agenda for each day.  It's little wonder that a few days before I realized that I would be checking off another year.  Mentally tallying up everything that passed in the previous and creating a wish list for the next.

Then there is the inevitable thoughts that float through the transom of my mind.  What will it be like when there are twenty more years that have been ticked off?  What will I have checked off for my bucket list?  Then of course the thoughts turn toward mortality and what that really means.  It is becoming less vague with each year.  With the thoughts of what will it be like to not be alive then turns back to what shall I do with what's left?  Each year that particular thought becomes a little more uncomfortable.  No one likes to mark what time is left especially when there is no guarantee that there is any time left.

I will say that I'm pleased with this last year.  I have accomplished a lot, a heck of a lot more than I did when I was 20, young, thin, energetic and unattached.  My accomplishments in this last year in particular mean so much more too.  Now when I look back at twenty, it's not so much with wistful dreamy thoughts.  It's more defined now.  If I had only known then what I know now, I'd have wasted a lot less time.  I'd have been getting on with the business of being alive and really living, instead of merely marking time.  Wishing days away, wishing years away.  Now I'm so busy living that I can hardly recall what day it is.  When I'm told what day it is, I could nearly care less, except for being a little too aware that there may not be decades before me.  Really, what shall I do when I grow up? 

What I do know is that waking up on a birthday morning to my wonderful husband and two incredibly smiley kids with nothing in particular to have to accomplish, is the most wonderful gift.  The gift of this life with them is more than I could have dreamed of when I was twenty.