Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

My little ones are all snuggled in their beds. Neither of them are feeling very well but we did make it through the early Christmas Eve service without a gong show happening! Sweet One was an angel and she had a wonderful time doing so ... and I loved watching it. Little Man sat with me wearing a donkey's hood. Quite cute. My little ass misbehaving in the pew! Big Love is back at church for the second service and I spent the last hour getting all the presents under our little tree and knocking over a candle as I tried to get Little Man's stocking full. I also had a few last minute gifts from my sister that I needed to wrap. Now it's just me, Love Actually and a lovely bottle of Merlot that our friends down the street gave us.

It's been a hard December. My Dad's birthday was on December 15. Instead of spending that Saturday stuck in the house with the kids, as I usually do, a friend and I took our four kids to a wonderful little place to look at Christmas Lane. Not sure what I do without my new friend in my life!

This is the first year since Sweet One was born that I attended church throughout the Advent season and Christmas Eve. It has been nice because I feel like it has been more meaningful ... the last two years I've felt disappointed. Being at church has definitely filled whatever I felt was missing.

I miss my Dad. I'm sad for my sister and her kids who had him as such a big part of their Christmas. There is so much more but I have no energy and I don't know if I've managed to process it into words, yet.

I've been trying to focus on all the wonder that Sweet One and Little Man have been finding in the season. They loved putting up our outdoor Christmas lights, our advent treats and story book have been something that has become a part of our days, decorating the tree - Little Man still walks up to it and is completely dazzled by the shiny bulbs and all the other ornaments. Well, these are what have been keeping me going. I'm looking forward to the morning and all excitement the kids will bring to the day.

Happy Christmas. I hope your time is spent enjoying time with those you love and finding some peaceful moments.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In Coming!

"Watch out for Little Man!" I call to Sweet One as he runs at her wielding part of her magnetic doll. It is raised above his head and he is about to throw it at hers when she hears my warning, turns to find the safest route of escape and runs.

Last night Little Man chuckled when he realized I had just emptied the plastic garbage bin in our upstairs bathroom. He picked it up and said, "Hit! Hit!" as he launched it towards the wall. We received a package in the mail this morning and he smiled as I gave it to him. "Hit! Hit!" I was barely in time to stop him from whacking it against the table.

Sweet One sits in front of the tv enjoying one of her shows when the next thing she knows, her brother is wrapping his arms around her head and trying to flatten her.

Now there are other moments when Sweet One is screaming, "No Little Man!" because she is afraid he's coming in for one of his attacks when in fact he is only coming in for a snuggle. But this little boy is 'all. boy.' and it's exhausting! I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to find a straight jacket for him so I can stop him from hitting everyone and everything that he sees.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Don't shoot!

The picture at the top of my blog, that's where I go for my runs. On the other side of the bridge is the .25 mile mark and today I was greeted by a hunter. Yup. This trail is one of the most used recreational trails in the area and this morning I saw four hunters as well as three other runners, at least four walkers, a cyclist and three dogs. Less than 100 yards from this trail is also a Home Depot and an interstate. Seriously! What. The. Fukk. I saw a young girl, about 3 years old, on that trail Monday morning! My pace was quick partly because I was so pissed off that it is ok for them to be there. I need to get something bright orange on my head, I think, or a big sign on my back that says, "Don't shoot! I'm not a deer!"

I warned a few of the other people I saw who were just beginning their walk/run and they seemed just as surprised that there were hunters on the trail. After my run was done, and at the encouragement of a couple other runners I had mentioned it to, I phoned the police to see if this was legal. I ended up speaking with the chief of that particular police service and he sounded somewhat sad to inform me that no, the hunters are not breaking any laws. I mentioned that I saw one relieving himself against his truck. The police chief seemed to perk up at that and said that if I were to get his hunting license number (which should be on his back) in that instance he would be the first person down there to write him up for that. If I were to ask the hunter to use the facilities provided at the beginning of the trail and he starts up swearing at me, the chief said he'd be down there again.

It did come up in our conversation that I don't have a cell phone. The police chief strongly encouraged me to go to a large store that starts with a W and buy a disposable cell phone. If something happens to me on that trail and no one is around, who knows how long it would take to find me. Also, I have taken my kids out there quite a bit (hence the picture at the top of the blog!). I talked to Big Love about it and we're going to. For use in emergencies only. We have no need for a cell phone full time but this will help us both feel more comfortable in those moments where we have often said to each other, "I wish I had a cell phone just in case." Winter is coming and roads get icy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

To be uncomplicated


"For the first time in a long time, then, it felt uncomplicated. It was just love, after all, that I felt for my father, and that wasn't so hard." p 166, The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud.

There is something inside of me that wants so desperately to let go and find some peace. But I can't. I don't know how to yet. It all feels so complicated. But one day, I hope, I will get there. It will be a beautiful place. And then I can continue on the path that is just around the bend.
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lessons on a 5k

I managed to finish the Couch to 5k and it feels great. I've now had four runs since I officially finished it and all I keep wondering to myself is how much I might be able to accomplish if I keep taking care of myself. My stupid ankle bothered me for awhile, then it didn't, then I rolled it during a run and now it is letting me know it's there on a regular basis. But I hope to overcome this. I strengthen and stretch it regularly. I want to keep going because I need to keep going.

I don't feel like I've solved anything on my runs but there are moments when the thoughts and struggles I have have rolled around while I listen to Wicked and In The Heights (because at this point I run to musicals and need a few more in my collection). Tears have been shed during and after but they have all been therapeutic.

At other times I am running with a smile on my face. Proud of myself for doing something I didn't think I'd be able to do. Happy that at that exact moment nothing is hurting and I'm able to push myself a little harder to eventually get to the next stage of all this. I'm not sure what that stage is but maybe in the spring I can work my way up to a 10k and in a few years do a half marathon. I have no idea.

Sometimes the weather concerns me. Considering that I live in an area known for frequency of rain, over the past 12 weeks (one I had to skip due to illness) I've only ran in the rain once. Yesterday I thought would be day two in the rain. It took me awhile to get out there because I was worried about what weatherdotcom was saying about wind and rain. We're at the end of Sandy's path but I haven't heard destruction reports for our little town. (The only thing that woke me up last night was Little Man and a fever.) The rain held off except for a few sprinkles here and there until I was completely done my run. What was I so afraid of? Anxiety is one thing I need to learn to let go of.

I have a lot of work to do until I get to the place I want to be: to love myself. Maybe this running is a first step. I'm learning to be proud of this accomplishment, trying very hard to turn off the voices in my head and listen to the only one that matters, and trying to accept that where I am is good enough. I'm also letting go of negative thoughts here and there. When I worry about my ankle or my knees I listen to my body, try to change my stride so they don't hurt and then keep going. I toss the worry aside and find a way of moving on.

I look forward to each new run. Just me and the asphalt trail each morning. Sometimes I get to watch part of the sunrise which is always an added bonus. Little Man doesn't cry every time I leave and Sweet One always understands that Mum-mum needs her jog to feel better. After I'm done using her yoga mat for my pre-run stretches she asks if she can do her exercises (a kid's yoga video) and so we're both taking some time to care for ourselves. It's an important thing I need to teach her. And it is important for me to not feel guilty about taking this time for myself. I'm getting better at it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Heads

My Dad used to make awesome Jack-O-Lanterns. They have noses and ears that stuck out, eyebrows and so many other details. And this was pre-google search "angry mean jack-o-lantern". We always loved watching to see what they would turn out to be.

One year when I was in grade 6 we had huge pumpkins.

We went to the same school that my mom taught at.

My mom's birthday is on Halloween.

So I'm sitting in class and start hearing about something going on in the school. There was a man with a pumpkin on his head. "Who is that?" I was curious but when I saw our pumpkin in the school I wasn't really surprised. (Once upon a time school's weren't locked and someone could come and do a bit of a halloween prank without being handcuffed!) Yup. It was my Dad! He had put on his work coveralls and a ski mask, then placed the giant pumpkin on top of his head. Later in the day my Dad asked what I thought of the whole thing and I said I was embarrassed. Then he said, "I had a mask on my face. If you wouldn't have told them, no one would have known it was me!" He got me there!

I thought of this all afternoon was I was making the Jack-O-Lantern's with the kids. Sweet One really wanted a mean/scary one and I figured that Little Man's should balance things out with a big goofy smile. They're not quite as nice as my Dad used to make but the kids love them.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Learning Curve

Recently I had Big Love add the kids to our Optional Dental Plan. Or rather, it should be named Giant Waste of Money!

I can not describe just how much the health insurance system scared me when we moved to this country. I didn't even go and see a doctor until we had been here for almost three years simply because it intimidated me and, fortunately, I never had a need. But when Big Love was handed a pile of papers to fill out and sign when he first started his job here, there was one that was for a Dental Plan. Without looking into how much it was going to cost us we signed up. We figured it'd be great to have that coverage.

The open enrollment period for the Optional Dental Plan and other things available to Big Love through his pension plan came around and I asked him to get the kids added. Sweet One needs a cleaning and who knows what might come up with Little Man. A few days later he told me that it was an additional $50 per month. I almost passed out. How could it be that much when it would only cost me $65 to get Sweet One's teeth cleaned? It didn't make sense.

So I looked into it further and over the past six years we have probably paid nearly $4500 in dental premiums. I can honestly tell you that had we paid cash we would not have paid anything close to it. Cleanings are under $100, I've had one cavity that needed to be fixed up and still had to pay $100 for deductibles, etc. We decided we were being ripped off. Especially when the annual cost would be $1400 now that we added the kids.

Needless to say, the kids are being removed and come January 1st, we are going to be removed as well. I'll take the extra $60 per month that had previously been paid into the plan, put it in another bank account and use it for dental fees. I'm absolutely convinced that at the end of the year I will have a nice little collection of pennies for my savings.

I can only chuckle at how much money got thrown down the drain for this. We didn't even use it for the first year or two! Insane. Well, the insurance agency made some nice cash off of us and we learned a lesson we won't forget.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Songs for my soul


When this post was first published it showed up in my reader and I read it. (Wow. Fancy. Exciting. Completely spontaneous, I know!) Shortly after reading and listening to samples I ordered Ben Rector and The Civil Wars. Both CDs I thoroughly enjoy for absolutely different reasons.

And then there was the Sara Groves. Nothing was telling me that run out and grab it immediately and so it sat on my wish list for awhile. Then my Dad died. (Everything seems to revolve around the before and after of my Dad dying these days. I wonder when I won't use that as my reference point.) After being home for a few weeks I started feeling like I needed something. I went back to my wish list, listened again to the snippets of tracks and knew instantly that I had to get the CD.

When it arrived I got it onto my iPod and started listening. Being busy with supper preparations I didn't hear many of the words but was instantly calmed and soothed by the music itself. It was definitely what my scrambled soul needed to hear. I've always been a person who listens to new music over and over (ask my sister how many times I made her listen to specific Celine Dion songs in high school and she may start to puke) and this CD was no different.

The day I went for my first appointment with my counselor was the first time I had a chance to listen carefully to the lyrics. On the 40 mile drive home I felt a strong connection to Mystery. I had just spent an hour letting my broken heart pour open hoping desperately that I might start to heal. I was exhausted. My sister had found her way of communicating with my Dad since his passing and I wanted my own moment. ("I'm trying to bring you here.") But I knew I had to let go, take a breath and believe that if there will be a moment like that, it will come not when I'm clawing at the door trying to get through, but when I least expect it.

A few days later I was becoming more familiar with other songs and it wasn't until I was listening to Open My Hands* as I drove home from dropping off clothes at a consignment sale that I stopped and said to myself, "this might be Jesus music!" As soon as I got in the house I did a google search and sure enough, Sara Groves is a Christian Contemporary.

I don't listen to Christian Contemporary. I have many issues with the theology that many of the artists support and preach. There are many things I feel uncomfortable about when listening to them that I am not even completely sure of.

I went back to the original post I read on Pioneer Woman to see how I may have missed that Sara Groves was in fact a Christian artist while at the same time being completely intrigued by her.
Nobody captures the holiness of the ordinary more beautifully than she does,...Each song is like a great poem that needs to be unwrapped, pondered, analyzed, then put back together again. If you’ve been looking for calm, soothing music that will feed your soul, look no further.
And that was what I was looking for. This particular album is more theistic than Christian. The faith she sings of can be applied to so much that is out there. Belief in something out there that is bigger than ourselves, that encourages us to love one another, that helps us work through our hurt, to be open to beautiful things and to believe that we are enough. Maybe that's what I'm more comfortable with it. No get out of jail free card is being promised (Jesus is the answer!) nor is she self righteous. Lately I am often lost and uninspired in my own faith but I know that it is there. I'm searching for my own answers these days and sometimes I'm scared I won't find them. That I won't have any signs to tell me I'm on the right track. I will try to live my life to the best of my ability and grow each day, somehow. And this is what I hear in these songs. And it helps me.

*This link is to a live performance and the fact that it sounds just like the CD makes me respect her even more as an artist.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Never Ending Breakfast

My son loves breakfast. There must be something that happens while he is sleeping at night. Perhaps he's dreaming that all the food he wants to eat is running away from him. If I had a dream that coffee (even though it's decaf) was running away from me, I'd want to drink as much as I can in the morning! Whatever it is that gets his appetite going, there's nothing to stop it once he wakes up.

Take this morning. It is 9:08 and he is on his second breakfast. He started out around 7:30 with a healthy serving of steel cut oats (we make them in the crockpot and then eat leftoers). Shortly after his sister left for preschool he was screaming bloody murder, only settling down once he was in my arms and could see the evidence that more food was on the way. He is now just finishing up a scrambled egg and two mini gluten free muffins. (Minus the nuts. My kids don't like the nuts. And minus the gluten. I subbed out the regular flour.) His plate is now on his head to show me that there is absolutely nothing left on it. Frozen blueberries it is!

There are other mornings when we don't make eggs and he'll eat up to four helpings of the oatmeal. At first I couldn't believe he was always so hungry but then once I got used to throwing food at him every 45 minutes or so, he got a little less cranky in the mornings. On Big Love's day off, I still have to remind him that no matter what time it is in the morning, even if he ate half an hour prior, if Little Man is fussy it is most likely that he is indeed starving and will die if he doesn't have something else in his mouth immediately. When in doubt, add food. Especially if it is before noon.

He'll still eat a decent lunch for the most part and then he seems to taper off his eating until supper.

Well, he's on his second helping of the blueberries, has a decent blueberry beard and a few blue streaks in his hair. The commentary as he puts them in his mouth is quite nice, as is the head bob. It really must be a party going on inside his mouth!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scrambled

My Dad wasn't part of my daily life for the past four years. I made that choice to stop hurting so much and it helped. But it doesn't help the fact that he isn't on this earth anymore. Each night I pray that he will watch my children grow and help them when I can't. But it doesn't seem possible. It doesn't make sense to me that he isn't still alive.

The two month anniversary was hard. It is actually a three day thing for me because there is the day that he fell and two days later he was taken off of life support. Something starts to stir a few days before it all begins and once it hit this time, well there were moments that were not pretty. I yelled at Big Love for not understanding that it is still so hard, for bringing something up in an indirect way, for buying the wrong dilly bars .... I couldn't make sense of what was going on but I needed more understanding and patience from him. (I had never actually yelled at him before.) We ended up laughing a bit together at the end of that 'conversation' so I know things will be ok.

I will be ok. I am not right now. But I will be. Everything seems scrambled inside of me. There is just so much I can't make sense of. I'm making it through the day but it is all so exhausting. Even if I'm not actively thinking about it, it is still there. I'm so tired. We've had sickness in this house for 2.5 weeks and it is not helping anything..

I have hope that it won't always hurt and that I won't always be sad. Another appointment on Friday but I'm starting to think that 2.5 weeks is a little too long between them.

Being so far away is hard. Technology promises us that it will be easier to get a hold of people and right now it is not fulfilling its promise. I know they have so much going on in their own worlds but not hearing from some people leaves me feeling a little bit worried and empty.

Maybe I'll get a good night's sleep tonight and things will seem brighter. We're going away to a cabin for two nights starting Monday and it will be nice to be in the quiet stillness.

But I'm just too tired to think or to make any progress anywhere and so I will watch some tv. Because it is nice to just shut off if I can't get anywhere.

***
Sometimes I annoy myself. Like when I wake up the next morning and realize that PMS snuck (is that a word? blogger says it is not.) up on me and could be why last night felt so stoopid!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Customer

I don't spend a whole lot of money. We have what we need and a little more but we do live on one salary with two kids and so sometimes I worry about money. I worry if the purchase I'm making is going to be my best value, if it is going to last (I hate buying cheap crap that I have to replace) and if we really need it. I also hope that when I do spend some money that companies will stand by their product. On a few occasions I have emailed companies to say that while I have loved their product, things haven't worked quite as well as I'd like.

My Lug bag. I got it from my mom for Christmas. It is big enough to hold all my stuff, a few basic things for the kids but not nearly as big as a diaper bag. I love all the little pockets. But one of the pockets blew it's bottom out. I really didn't stuff too many things in there.

In my letter to their customer service representative, I also mentioned that I envied the Lug bags my sister had before me and was so excited to finally have a few of my own! It had a one year warranty and so I took care of all of the things I needed to do on my end and within a week I had a new one at my door.



About this time last year I started thinking that we needed another humidifier so each of the kids could have one in the room they slept in. We had a Crane Cow  which was working great and so incredibly quiet. A great deal on the Penguin came through during the summer but I didn't grab it then and I was kicking myself that I hadn't. So I stalked it, hoping it would come down in price. We even went away on a little trip and I had my friend stalk it for me. Instead, she just bought us one because she claimed they killed our cheaper and noisier one that I had given them. I thought she was being ridiculous but I was very appreciative of her gift. Unfortunately, it had a strange rattle that happened at different times. I didn't do anything about it because I could prop it up in some way to stop the rattling. The biggest problem was that if that didn't hold and it started rattling in the middle of the night, Sweet One would wake up scared from the noise.

Last Monday night Sweet One was struggling with breathing due to a cold and so we pulled out the penguin. It started rattling like crazy immediately. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get it to shut up. The next day I emailed and within 15 minutes of sending that email I was working with the representative on whether or not I could get a replacement without a receipt. Today my new Penguin arrived. I am beyond impressed with this service!

So if you'd like a Lug bag that is good shape except for a little blow out, I'll send you my old one!

***Update***
Set up the humidifier. Sweet One was so excited to have a new penguin and she cried once I realized it made a huge noise as well along with a huge crack in the front. I guess we'll see. On another note, the cow seems to be not working well. Damn hard water, so hard on appliances.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Perfect

The other day Sweet One and I were about to read Robert Munsch's, Kiss Me, I'm Perfect! We both love Munsch's books and I've been slowly been getting each and every one of them from the library and we're enjoying it immensely.

"What book do you want to read?"
"Kiss Me, I'm Perfect!"
"Yes you are," and I planted a kiss on her cheek.
"I don't want to be perfect.
"Do you just want to be Sweet One?"
"Yes. But I'd still love to have a kiss!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sad Sack

There's been a chunk of things running through my brain lately that have to do with Little Man going to sleep, my first appointment back with my counselor, preparing clothes for a consignment sale and a new CD I have that I love which has also surprised me .... but in the end I've been kicked onto my ass by a nasty sinus cold. Big Love can not remember the last time I was this sick. I'm not joking when I say the Sweet One watched tv nearly all day yesterday. Every time I cough I feel like I'm losing part of my esophagus. And so tonight I will again retire to the couch and lie there like a sad sack of something. I will drink two packages of my "Wal-Flu Severe Cough and Cold" (where is the Neo-Citran in this country?!) while watching Parenthood plus a few more shoes and then hopefully go to sleep slightly drugged as I did last night. (Holy shit the typos I've had in this post! Time to stop!)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Permanent Failure

Despite the fact that I stopped calling and talking to my Dad on a regular basis, I did include him on every email I sent out that had pictures and youtube links of the kids. It was the only way I included him in my daily life. I haven't sent any pictures out since before his accident because of the fact that I knew I'd get his back and I couldn't take his name off of the group I created for these mailings. Sweet One was singing one of her improv songs that was called "Missing Uncle [name]" and Little Man was goofing around with her. So I videoed it. It was one of those things that are simple basic stuff kids do but those who love them find them priceless. So I sent the link and got the email returned from my Dad's address.

A few moments ago I went to take his name off of the list but I can't do it. I've been so close to crying throughout the past few days and I've come up dry. Perhaps I'm 'all cried out'. As I stared at the screen and could not make myself hit the spot that would delete his address it all came back. It's kind of nice to have the release but it still hurts.

For now, I'll try to send out pictures a little more and just let the emails come back to me screaming, Permanent Failure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Zzzzzzzz

For most of the time since little man was born 17.5 months ago I never slept through the night. I'd be lucky if I could get 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Most of the time I'd have a few awakenings that last only long enough to see the clock and go back to sleep along with one more full awakening where I got up to use the bathroom. I was exhausted but found some way to manage. Isn't parenthood based on the premise that you will never again get a good night's sleep?

In the week or so that Little Man has been in his own room I am sleeping better. Strange! Perhaps some of my awakenings was from him making noise as he moved around in his sleep or farted in the night. I have no idea. I just love the fact that I am sleeping a little bit better and last I night I think I may have gotten 7.5 hours of sleep. No wake ups!

(You know your life is a little boring when this feels like big news.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Remembrance

I sang this years ago in my college choir. Today the first phrase had been going through my mind and I asked a friend if he remembered where it was from and then he sent me this link.



Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle morning rain.
And when you wwake in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Searching

One of the nights when I was back home my brother took Big Love and I up to my Dad's house. I hadn't ever been in it, didn't even know where it was because he had moved there some time after my last visit.

It was located just a mile or two from town and the view was beautiful. He showed me the land that had finally become his six months previous after renting it for a year or two and the shop where 'it all happened'. Seeing the shop made me happy. Because I could tell he was happy in it building the beautiful things that he did. There was so much space for my Dad to build his things and lots of light coming in. My brother had bought him some cushioned squares to put in the places where he spent most of his time standing and from what he said, my Dad couldn't get over how much more comfortable it was to stand on them rather than the hard concrete floor.

When I walked into the house I was surprised. The cabinets looked similar to what mine did when I moved into this house 6 months ago. I can honestly say that I was a little sad at the state of things considering he had built beautiful cabinets for everyone else but couldn't afford to build them for himself. (He did build gorgeous cherry wood cabinets for the house we grew up in.) The rest of the house needs a lot of work, too. But it will get that work done just before my sister and her family move into it. I can totally understand why they want to move in.

On a cabinet just when you walk into the house there was a small tape recorder. Those old ones with the itty bitty tapes. I took it and started fast forwarding and playing, forwarding and playing, forwarding and playing. In my head I started getting frantic. "What the fuck do I think I'm going to find?" I said out loud. His voice. I know I wanted to hear his voice one more time. And if I'm really honest I wanted to hear him talking to me, telling me he was sorry that he wasn't able to be more of the father and build a bridge for us to meet on. Dad, why was it so hard for you to listen to me and talk to me? I only wanted to be heard and loved.

My sister found Wally Lamb's book The Hour I First Believed in my Dad's house even before I got there. I loved his other books and since my sister kept my Dad's copy I ordered my own shortly after getting back from our trip. (She would have sent it to me but I wanted to get reading it as soon as possible.) For the most part I spent the kid's nap/quiet time in the afternoon reading it a chapter or so at a time with coffee that my sister had sent with me in a cup she had given me clasped in my hand. I read every page carefully and here again I found myself looking for something. My Dad hadn't gotten very far in the book, maybe only a chapter or two, but there was part of me that hoped I would find something on the pages that would speak to me, that would help all of this hurt go away and leave only peace in its wake. And miraculously give me some answers as to why our relationship had to be so damn hard. I know part of it was my fault, but I got so sick and tired of being hurt, Dad, that I just had to stop. And I'm sorry for that, but it was all I knew how to do. Now I hurt in such a different way and it won't stop either.

Everywhere I turn these days I'm hoping something will help all of this make sense. If it could come all at once and make everything crystal clear... well, it won't and if I'm lucky I'll get little pieces here and there that will eventually show me a bigger picture. For now nothing makes any sense. And I'm trying to be ok with that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A rose by any other name

Hot stuff, beautiful, gorgeous, sexy, love ... just some of the names by which Big Love calls me. Of my little list there, the last one is the only one I really believe. (When we first started dating he called me 'baby' but I put an end to that quickly.) So sometimes I bug him and make comments that he doesn't know my name or can't pronounce it. Then he says it. And it sounds so strange and awkward coming from his mouth. He's even tripped over it a few times. I don't know why this has been bothering me so much lately, but it has. Sometimes I don't feel like I know who I am; I don't feel like myself and I'm a little lost. Maybe my brain is weaving that into the whole name thing and making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to. For some reason it has been bothering me more and more lately. I want scream something but I'm not sure what. I guess it's a good thing that I'll start seeing my counselor in a week from tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

17 months with a baby in the room


So Little Man has been sleeping in our room until Labor Day. Yup, for 17 months our boy has been sharing a room with his Mum and Dad. I keep making a little list in my head as to why in case people asked. So here it is. There's probably a bunch of other reasons that are completely unbeknownst to me.
  1. When my babies were wee, it was much easier than having to go to a different room and get them for their middle of the night feedings.
  2. Our room is ridiculously oversized in comparison to the other rooms. There was still room to spare with a full size crib, two large dressers and my hopeless chest (my Dad made it for me and that's what he called it).
  3. I needed a space to do yoga and my exercise videos.
  4. For some reason, it's a bit drafty in the room. It's located right above our little mudroom and the front door so that probably has a lot to do with it. It's also one of the hottest rooms in the summer. Wanted to keep him in with us in case we needed to get our one air conditioner going during the summer heat waves.
  5. My sister was supposed to come and visit so I was going to use that third room for them.
  6. I was really hoping that I'd be able to move Little Man in with Sweet One so they could share a room but it just hasn't gotten to the point where I think it is going to work. Perhaps when he's ready for a big kid bed I will get them some bunk beds and they can share when he's a little older.
  7. I absolutely loved hearing him laugh in his sleep when I was wide awake in the middle of the night.
  8. Listening to him breathe helped me to relax.
  9. I liked having him close and since he's my last baby (as far as I can control) I probably had a harder time letting him go.
  10. Having him sleeping five feet from me on the other side of a wall is just too damn far! (Yes, I'm very good at being a drama queen from time to time.)
  11. Birth Control! (see number 8) Big Love can't get too amorous when there's a sleeping baby a few feet away! (I called it Cribena instead of Mirena because I'm just so funny.)
Ok. So once I actually had him sleeping in his own room it really wasn't such a big deal. There was a lot of cleaning involved in the move and I spent the little spare time I had on Labor Day sweating upstairs while I moved things around. (It's been incredibly humid here lately. The western girl in me expects things to feel much cooler once September 1st hits!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

A friend's prayer

This morning a friend I met at the mom's group I attended messaged me to tell me that she woke up and felt like God had 'put me on her heart' and that she needed to pray for me. I was a little surprised because we don't communicate on a regular basis. All she had seen was a Facebook status that said how proud I was of my sister and the eulogy she delivered for my Dad. I often don't know how to respond to these types of moments especially when they come from an evangelical fundamentalist practice, but I do trust her. All that I have seen her do seems very heartfelt and genuine.

A few hours later I ran into her at Sweet One's preschool. It was an introduction morning for the students and holy shit! was Sweet One so excited to be there. She hugged both of her teachers (she's never met either of them before) and told them she'd come back "by myself". She and I are so ready for this.

But I digress. This friend left shortly after we had arrived but returned later on her own because she was worried about me. I talked to her and tried to limit my crying so as to not let the other mothers see me cry (they were busy with their own friends, anyway). I was very surprised that she had come back to check on me but there was something inside that felt so comforted by it.

Later on in the day (after canning 22 quarts of peaches and still having enough left over for another 10) I messaged her and thanked her. I also asked what made her feel like she had to pray for me and if she'd mind sharing. Her response struck me so deeply.

I haven't been feeling any spiritual comfort in all of this. I only feel empty. I'm a little scared because I want to feel something to help me move on and feel ok.
When my alarm went off this morning at 5, you were in a dream I was having. I can't remember the dream, but I woke and just felt an urgent need to pray for you. So I did. I prayed for strength, encouragement, courage for whatever struggle you might be facing. I prayed for protection and that God would continue to embrace you, comfort you, and consume you with his love. I will continue to pray for you. I could see your heartache in your eyes today. Praying for peace, comfort, and healing for you dear friend. Hang in there.
Her prayer was perfect. She gave me words for what I need when I haven't been able to find them myself. If that isn't God working, I don't know what is.

Now I'm going to watch Rookie Blue as soon as Big Love is done with Futurama. I'm tired and need to turn my brain off and have a good night's sleep. But I will fall asleep feeling a little more comfort in my heart than I did last night.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two phone calls

Leading up to getting pregnant with Sweet One, I was regularly seeing a counselor who helped me through a lot of anger. I didn't realize I had been carrying it for as long as I had and while it completely shook my foundation I ended up in a much better place. There were moments when I literally felt like the pieces inside of me were fitting back together in a way I had never felt them before. The yoga classes I was also taking helped with a lot of this as well.

While being a mom is amazing, as are my two little ones, I haven't felt my pieces fitting for quite some time. The challenges of being a mom and dealing with a strong-willed 3 1/2 year old, as well as not having any outlet for myself as an individual, has worn on me. And now with my Dad dying, (which I absolutely hate typing every time I have to) I feel absolutely lost. The pieces are all jammed up inside of me and I don't know how to put them together or to make sense of how I move on from here. I'm quick to anger and, unfortunately, it usually happens when Sweet One is pushing me off the edge. It's not fair to anyone in this house.

I made two phone calls the other day. The first was to my yoga instructor. We had been playing phone tag for awhile but finally connected and there's a class I can go to on Mondays from 530-700. I was hoping there'd be an early morning one I could go to so the kids wouldn't feel like I was leaving them, but as my sister is trying to drill into my head,
"Just remember it's actually for their own good. They see you being your own person and having your own life and they're still secure. Then they know they can do the same."
The second phone call was to the counselor I had been seeing. She phoned back the next day and I have an appointment booked for September 17th, with her phoning if she has any cancellations that will help me get in a little earlier. I'll have to drive to another city so the whole thing will take probably a minimum of 2 hours and 15 minutes but I didn't want to find a new counselor here in town where I'd have to go through the whole history. And this woman really helped me. I don't like having to be gone that long but I'm also fantasizing about maybe being able to get to Target all by myself either before or after the appointment!

I've put aside my own needs over the past few years and only looked at them when things felt really bad. Right now I spend the days feeling like I'm walking wounded. No one can really see the giant gash inside of my chest but I can feel it pouring out, asking to be healed. I can't continue as I have for the past few years and so it's time to take care of myself a bit more. My kids will be ok when I'm away from them. Big Love is a great Dad and if I can't leave them with him for that long, well that is just plain stupid. It's hard to admit but I am afraid of putting myself into a vulnerable position where I'm going to have to be very honest with myself. I'm not sure what I'll find out. I only know that regardless of what I have to work through, I'll be a better person when I'm done.


Friday, August 24, 2012

One more cup

My little espresso machine made one more cup of americano for me today. I had given up on it, save for a wasted bit of hope that the DeLonghi customer service might be able to help me get it up and running. I found a suggestion on an amazon review and with the help of my contractor (because he had the tools) I was able to get one more cup this morning. We'll see if I get many more but for now I'll enjoy what I have!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Counting days

When my babies were born I counted their life in days, then weeks, months and now half years. Changes happen so often with little ones that it is necessary to use smaller measurements of time because one week is incomparable to one month; twelve months is nothing near what sixteen months is like.

Three and a half weeks ago they proclaimed my Dad dead. When will I stop counting the weeks, months and move into years? Perhaps when it doesn't hurt every moment. Right now the hurt doesn't seem to let up. I'm dragging myself through every day. I wake up with a strange idea that I can do it but within a few hours I'm mentally exhausted and not so sure anymore.

Dad, I hope time is flying by for you.  I know things are wonderful for you where you are and that brings me a momentary sense of peace. But then just as quickly I remember that we won't be able to have that moment of reconciliation where we start new because I've finally been able to find a way to let go of the things I want to forget. I don't like holding onto them but for some reason they stick like glue to every inch of me even though I desperately want them to leave my mind so that I can only remember the times we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. I miss you. Please watch over my kids and enjoy watching them laugh and play. I know that is what you would want me to focus on right now and I'm trying. It's just so damn hard sometimes. Love, ste.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pizza Night

Pizza for supper tonight. We don't order in because this town does not have gluten free crusts and I feel so much better if that's what I eat. (I was shocked how many Canadian pizza places had it!) So buy frozen crusts for me and other crusts for the rest of the family. Grate all the cheese, cut up the pieces of what we're putting them on so we can each have just what we like and then I remember.

We never bought our pizza growing up. My Dad would make the crust and the sauce. It was quite an ordeal.  Exciting. We even got to drink pop with that meal (or soda for those of you who use that weird word) which was a very rare occurrence. We used canned mushrooms and my Dad would let us eat some of them as we were assembling our pizzas. It is almost ridiculous how much detail I remember of these nights. The crust wasn't thin but nor was it thick. It was just my Dad's crust. So much fun for all of us.

One night I got home from wherever I was early. I'm not sure if it was work or babysitting but I got downstairs and said I was hungry. My Dad's suggestion was to order a pizza if I'd go and pick it up. So I did. I brought it down to the basement where I scarfed probably half of it. We never spoke much. I heard later from my sister how surprised my Dad was at how much I ate. If I had taken a moment to look up I probably would have seen a look of complete relief. That was in the middle of my almost-anorexic stage. The teenage years were hard for me and how much I ate was the one thing I felt I could control. I liked how skinny I felt. 97 pounds isn't very much. My Dad was incredibly worried but didn't know how to talk to me. I think that is about the time things started declining for us.

So my family and I will eat pizza tonight. And it will mean so much more to me than I ever imagined.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kitchen Improvements

This is what our kitchen looked like when we first moved in. I hated it and thought that we could redo it. Then the realities of living on one income and owning a house hit me like a 2x4 in the head and I realized that we would not be redoing it. 

When Sweet One was about 3 months old I got sick and tired of these awful colors. We got a new stove with our Christmas money (full size but we had to get rid of some counter space to the right of the stove to make room for it), painted the walls yellow and the cabinets white. It was better. It still wasn't great. The countertop always looked dirty and I couldn't get the floors clean for the life of me. I tried everything and I hated it. 

In June while we were at a cabin with my in-laws, we had a groutable stick on tile put on the floor and also new cabinets put along the empty wall. I was sick and tired of running downstairs every time I need a can of beans or some tomatoes. We got the cabinets on sale and so they were only about $600.

When I got home from our trip west for my Dad's memorial service I got a strong whiff of epoxy. It stunk but I was happy because that meant my contractor had finished putting the new counter top in. It is definitely the finishing touch. I can't believe how much better this little kitchen looks. It still isn't perfect, the workable counter space isn't ideal and the flow of cabinets isn't great, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than the day we moved in.
Complete with two children tuckered out from a dance session. This floor is quite nice for dancing! (It also looks much more gray than my camera was able to pick up.)

 Complete with a plate of cooling corn on the cob. I never got this kitchen all lovely and clean yet but here it is doing what it does.
***
There are moments in the day when I feel absolutely fine and then there are those when I can barely move. My sister saw a psychic/clairvoyant and what she was told was amazing. It all makes sense. I wish I could have a moment like that. I want to know my Dad knows I love him and that I'm sorry things happened the way they happened. That I miss him. I want him to know everything even if I don't know it all myself.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where I'm from

I had forgotten how much light there is where I grew up. Some nights the sky doesn't get completely back. And then in the winter the northern lights are beautiful. When I looked up at the skyline it seemed absolutely empty to me. When I look up where I live I see houses and trees. For the first time in a long time, I stopped hating the town I grew up in.

As our trip progressed I started to find calm and peace in looking at the sky. I was actually able to slow my brain down when I looked at it. It was huge and endless. As I was driving back to my Mom's, I kept looking at the fields of canola. They're so beautiful. The landscape in this part of the country used to bore me but this time I couldn't get enough. I wanted to absorb every inch of it and remember where I came from rather than trying to forget.



Sweet One had been saying, "I wish I had a kite," ever since she saw Curious George fly his and so we got her one. A special tly to remind her of the trip. The days were fairly windy and she had an amazing time running with hers. (This field was a 5 minute walk from my sister's house. It's actually part of a school.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I miss my Dad. Terribly. But I don't feel like I have a right to tell anyone that after what has happened over the past 4 years.

I've had a very hard couple of days being back home and trying to get my bearings. Sweet one is pushing every single button she possibly can and my reaction is anything but good. I need Big Love to step up more.

I feel lost. Every so often over the past few days a picture pops into my mind. A buoy bobbing in such darkness that it saturates everything around it save for the moon that shines down and softly glimmers. I want to be that buoy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Can you hear me, Dad?

Dear Dad,

I went to bed with Sweet One beside me and Little Man in his pack n play while Big Love sleeps next door because the kids are having such a hard time with being away from home for so long and I just couldn't sleep. My mind slowed down and I just started to cry.  My heart hurts so much because I really thought that after some emotional distance we'd be able to sort of start our relationship over, at least the one when I was an adult. But we can't and it breaks my heart every time I think of it.

For years we struggled to be able to talk to one another. We seemed to only be able to hurt one another. I don't really know how I made you feel, and I'm only starting to get a picture of what your personal struggles might have been. And i couldn't let that happen to me. I tried to talk to you in so many ways but you never seemed to listen. In those attempts I was never trying to criticize, I was only trying to scream "please listen to me".

And then one day it felt like to much and I had to stop my hurt the only way I knew how. So I stopped letting you into my emotional space. After I was able to work through some of it with a counselor, and none of it was easy, I became less angry. I would not have been able to be a mom if I had not let go of this anger. I can only guess how it made you incredibly sad when you didn't get to be actively a part of my kids' lives. I'm sorry for that. I truly was not trying to punish you but to protect myself from what I was afraid might only be more struggles in our relationship. I shared pictures with you so that you could see them grow because I didn't want to keep you completely out. I wanted to bring the kids back to the hometown so that you could see them but we just never had the money for it. I can't tell you how many times I looked at the ticket prices hoping that something might miraculously enable me to afford it. I know you offered your Airmiles on a few occasions but I couldn't take something like that from you after not speaking with you for a few years. It didn't seem fair.

I guess I just don't know what was or is really fair in all of this. Perhaps none of it is. All I know now is that my heart hurts so excruciatingly much and I miss my Dad. I miss the hope I had for being able to fix our relationship and letting you see my kids. I heard so much of an amazing man who gave so much to others but I feel like something prevented me from knowing that man.

I'm running short of words but I'm sure there will be more letters to you. I hope you hear them. Someone told me that when we speak of those who are no longer with us that they can hear every word. I so desperately hope you hear these and know what is in my heart now.

A few days after Grandpa died I felt his presence as I watched his children talking with one another. Could you come and visit me? Could you please help me put my heart at ease so I know you are ok and that you know I miss you and I love you? Please watch over my kids for me. Be their guardian angel and help them when I can't.

Love,
ste

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stepping Back

During a recent conversation with my friend she mentioned that it is ok to step back and let others do the planning. My sister and brother are doing a great job of taking care of things. It's not that I don't want to help but there doesn't seem to be much room for me to do so.

Grief seems to come in waves. I'm hearing so many stories of my Dad's generosity, patience and love for his family. I wasn't always sure if his motives were altruistic but now I'm learning that they were. I'm struggling because he never seemed to have any patience for me but I am trying to hear the stories and learn about a side of him I didn't really know. I do know that he always loved his family as much as he possibly could. What I need to learn in all of this may not become clear for many years.

I will be ok. Eventually it may all make sense.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I don't really have words right now, just a giant lump in my chest that sometimes makes me cry. I'm just sad. My father and I had a difficult relationship. For years I hoped he'd hear what I was saying but he never did and after more than ten years of feeling that way, I had to cut myself off to protect myself and my children from his anger. But that does not at all mean I wasn't hopeful that there would one day be a reconciliation. That day will not come.

After being pronounced brain dead at 11:55 AM yesterday, he was finally taken off life support some time today. We were hoping some organs could be donated. The only one that might have been was his heart. I hate the idea that he took his last breath without a family member by his side. I hate the idea that I just don't know if his spirit was still with his body at that point or if it had already moved on. I hate that I haven't had a very strong conviction in my own Christian faith over the past while and so I am not finding huge comfort in what I believe 'should' be happening right now.

I hope the parts of my Dad that were good shine and watch over my children as a guardian angel. I hope the parts of him that I struggled with have been shed and that God has taken then all away. I hope my Dad knows what is in my heart - that despite what my actions may have been telling him, I still loved him.

My heart aches. I don't know how to process this. We booked our flight for Monday and then it felt too far away so we switched it to Sunday (thank you for WestJet who has a good bereavement policy to enable switches like this to happen up to 2 hours before a flight leaves with no charge, and also only charges a regular fare rather than the inflated last minute prices).

So I guess I have some words. But I need some that will comfort me and I can't find any right now. "Mom, don't cry about your Dad." Those don't really help, but they are my little girl not wanting me to be sad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Dad is either dying or has died. He fell today and his brain injuries are not the kind a person can ever survive from. Our relationship has always been hard but I had hoped so much, in my deepest of hopes, that one day we would be ok and that he could see my kids.

And I can't sleep. And I so desperately wish I could so that we can start planning our trip west.

This just feel too surreal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One foot in front of the other

I started something new today. Well, it's not exactly new as there have been times in my life where I've attempted it before but a cramp here or a change in my schedule there would often have me bailing. I'm really hoping that isn't the case this time.

I used to be able to do a little workout in our small office upstairs (because Little Man is still in our room - not what I thought would happen but more on that later) but the kids won't leave me alone. And if they do, I'm stressing about all the sounds going on downstairs so I'm not getting the break I need while exercising to work off some stress.

After talking about it for a few months I went for my first jog this morning. In all honesty I did more walking than jogging but I'm following this Couch to 5k I found and more than anything right now, I want to become someone who runs. I hesitate at thinking of being a runner because I'm scared my body will scream at me and that I won't do more than half an hour or so. But being outside and getting rid of tension and not having children screaming in my ear or climbing on me, well that sounds like bliss even if it only lasts for half an hour.

I thought I'd wait a few more weeks before starting. My sister and her family will arrive a week from today and with some insurance premiums due this month I really didn't feel like we have the money to put out $115 on a new pair of running shoes. But the last few weeks have been hard and as Big Love said, "you just haven't been yourself" just before he put his foot down and said, "we are going to buy you shoes. I don't care how much they cost!" (It's rather comical when he puts his foot down because he doesn't have a big bellowing voice and he's kinda laughing while he's doing it because being 'forceful' is SO not his thing.)

So I got shoes yesterday and got outside this morning. It felt nice. Even after waking up at 5:45 this morning (damn you Little Man!) I felt more functional for a good part of the day.

I really hope I can find a way to do this and not have my body scream at me. My ankle has already been giving me trouble for the past few weeks so I guess we'll see. I'm a little determined, though, and am hoping that my friend's experience holds true for me - after a few months your body might start hurting but if you can get over that hump you're good to go.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

40 Minutes of Hell

Almost a month ago now my best friend came to visit. I decided to treat myself to a few hours of child-free time when she needed to be taken to the airport. We left the house at 7am so that we could stop at the local coffee shop and grab a coffee and then be on our way with enough time for her to catch her flight on time. The big city airport is an hour and a half in absolutely no traffic, which I couldn't expect to happen.

I had a great time driving and hanging out in the airport lineups with her. I sent her off into security and headed off to the Swedish furniture store. I was quite excited. We were in the market for some new bookshelves and a few other small things. I used to live a 20 minute drive from one of these big blue buildings and I've missed it.

I arrived a few minutes before it opened and decided to grab myself a 99 cent breakfast. It wasn't great but the sun was shining in the enormous windows and I could take as long as I wanted. Well, not really because I was hoping I'd only take 30 minutes in the store. That didn't happen. An hour later I was on my way, stopping at St. Arbuck's for a decaf Americano and then I was on my way home.

It was a nice drive. I wasn't too worried. I bathed in the quiet time for myself because it hadn't happened in .... well, I had no idea.

When I got home, Little Man was sleeping and Sweet One was on her way to sleep. I crawled in and gave her a snuggle. Little Man woke up and refused to go to sleep without me holding him.

This would continue every day, in varying degrees, until today. I just couldn't take it anymore and so, just like when he was 5 months old, I decided it was time for him to get himself to sleep.

I hate coming to this decision every time but I know that it will only be a few shitty days and a good result. After all, I've had little issues with Little Man's sleeping in over six months. I read to him and snuggled him for almost 15 minutes and put a very calm baby into his crib. I went into Sweet One's room to read her books, hoping that by the time I was done the books Little Man would be sleeping. Twenty minutes later this was not the case. I said prayers and snuggled with Sweet One for 8 or so more minutes and he was still not sleeping. While I hate the idea of making him 'cry it out', I hate thinking of him being by himself even more and so I stay close to him. Maybe it's self-flagellation, penance or loving support, I'm not sure. I went into the bathroom and scrubbed the tub. (I really hate scrubbing the tub. Why do I need to clean it? The shower cleans me!*) Twelve minutes later he gave two hardcore screams which I translated as, "You bitch! Why the fukk are you doing this to me?" and he's been quiet now for about 40 minutes.

I went downstairs, washed my kitchen and laundry room floors and now I'm finishing a very strong gin and tonic.

****
We are making small strides with Sweet One and the biting recurrence. And I've managed to get some sleep in the past two nights so I feel a little better.

*Do you like New Girl? I love it. And this is borrowed, with a slight change, on a very funny moment that had me rolling on the floor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guilt

Today was going alright. I was actually happy about how I was feeling after a few days of being unable to shake off some anxiety and depression. We spent a chunk of the morning in health care facilities - Little Man needed a blood test to check on his iron levels (no more anemia!) and then we had his 15 month appointment where he was diagnosed with the start of an ear infection (which explains a lot of his behavior change over the preceding 24 hour). Both kids are also dealing with allergies. Yay.

The afternoon came and Sweet One bit her brother. Again. We seem to be in a regression after a very long time of her not doing it. When the hell will I ever learn to stop getting my hopes up?! I'm not handling it well. I yelled. A lot. "YOU CAN NOT BITE YOUR BROTHER! YOU HAVE TO STOP BITING YOUR BROTHER!"  Desperately trying to scare her a bit so she'd realize how bad it is to bite her brother. He has marks on his face and his arm. I really don't know what the fukk to do at this point. I've felt like I was at my wits end before about things like this and then relief came. But relief has been hard to come by since I yelled. It's almost 8 hours later and I still feel gross. I have no forgiveness for myself. I know damn well that yelling at her doesn't really help but in the midst of it I'm desperately hoping I can find a way to motivate her to stop, perhaps "scare some sense" into her. But really I'm sickened that I remind myself of my father and then I remember what used to happen to me when I'd make him that angry. I didn't take my belt off and lash her bare bottom multiple times leaving welts and a humiliated, screaming child in my wake. Because my anger is my responsibility and no matter what she does, nothing will ever give me the excuse to do that to her. I have to be better. I don't feel like I am. Having as much anger inside of me as I did today scares me. It feels awful. Dark and thick. I still feel sick.

I want to go to sleep, actually sleep through the night for once, and wake up to a new day "with no mistakes in it yet." Please, God. Could you just answer this one and help me stop her from biting her brother? Could you please show me how to deal with this without screaming at her? She doesn't deserve that. She deserves a better mother.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coffee, coffee, no coffee

This is one of those moments I wish I were a high profile blogger. I could wail "woe is me" because my itty bitty espresso machine is no longer making me espresso and then I'd have handfuls of offers to have new ones shipped me and then arrive on my doorstep, completely free of charge.

For the past year and a half I have made myself an espresso and enjoyed it a few times in latte form but mostly as an americano. In these hot days where I am melting all over, I've poured the espresso over ice and it is lovely. Sweet One sometimes asks for a coffee and since I drink decaf I pour a wee bit of espresso over some milk for her and the two of us enjoy our coffee together.

When the kids nap, I come downstairs and make a coffee and then either watch tv or try to do some sewing in the hour I have. Not for the last two days. For the past two days I've spent nearly all that time trying to get my machine working and it is to no avail. I'm hoping the Delonghi company will email me back with some helpful ideas on how to get my machine back up and running. We have hard water here but I have faithfully descaled it and also cleaned out both of the filters when they've needed it.

I'm a little pathetic, but I am sad. The lovely crema I used to see resting at the top of my cup was absolute poetry to me in the few moments I ever get to myself.

Now I'll go and see if I can actually get some sewing done before the kids wake and hopefully bring myself out of this sad little funk. Where did I put my bodum? It never failed me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Isn't there something about good fences?

My daughter has a friend who is our next door neighbor. They moved in this past winter and live right behind us. At first it was nice. Sweet One didn't have much for little girls to play with so I was happy for her to have the opportunity and her parents seemed very tickled that their daughter had someone to play with, too.

My backyard. You can't see NK's house but it is right behind that large tree.

The girls didn't really play together until spring came along and it was easy for NK (neighbor kid) to come over and play. We found it a little strange over the first week or two when the parents didn't come over and introduce themselves but we continued to let Sweet and NK play, feeding them oranges whenever NK asked for them. Eventually we met the parents. They stopped over and checked to make sure everything was ok and then disappeared into their house again. A hello there, a short chat here but in the end, they seemed to have no problem allowing their daughter to come and play with people they barely knew. I decided to get through the summer and then things would change once NK starts kindergarten in the fall. For the most part they play quite well together. Sweet One adores NK.

Over passed few weeks things have become more and more frustrating for me. NK is spoiled. It's obvious. She manipulates Sweet One by being rude, pouting and standing just inside her property line while she pretends to go home. This leaves Sweet One screaming and completely heartbroken for a few minutes until NK decides to return as if she is the most important person in the world. A few days ago I looked over and the girls were pretending to beat Little Man with our toy fishing rods because he was being 'mean'. I almost lost my shit. There is no doubt in my mind where that idea came from because Sweet One has never accused him of anything like that before.

NK is also starting to get rude to me. Maybe it's not exactly rude but it is definitely disrespectful. She likes to pretend that what an adult says to her isn't important and that she doesn't have to listen to it by looking away, not listening and covering her ears. The world please escapes her vocabulary every time she asks for help or something to eat or drink. (When I do bring her water to drink, since that is what my children are drinking, she goes home and returns with a bottle/can of root beer or another crap-ass sugary drink that isn't going provide any nutrition at all.)

Yesterday I was enjoying some time in the backyard, tending the garden with the help of Sweet One and Little Man when NK came out and our whole agenda had to change. She wanted Sweet One to play in the kiddie pool. Fine. I won't fight that. It took her less than 5 minutes to get Sweet One crying and ten minutes later she was crying again because she got nailed in the head with her toy fishing rod. A few drops started falling from the sky which I used as an opportunity to say that it was time to go inside. Sweet One didn't even fight it that much. NK told me that she's allowed to go in the pool whenever she wants, with a huge side of attitude.

I hate it that I now feel like I have to plan to leave my house and my yard to avoid 'volunteering' my babysitting services. The 'play dates' have become more frequent lately, sometimes twice a day, and I wish I could put up a fence so that we could have a little privacy. I don't want to feel constantly invaded by a little girl whose parents are "doing the dishes" or "cleaning the litter boxes ... all four of them" and then disappear into a house not to be seen again. I would like my backyard to feel like my own private space but without a fence, that isn't going to happen. This is going to be a long few summer months.

I've vented to a few friends, both of whom have mentioned that there should be absolutely no problem with me setting boundaries and rules when I am the only parent outside - especially if the play is happening in my backyard. I would expect this of my friends just as they would of me if I were watching their kids. If NK doesn't like it, she will not be allowed to play. I may have to talk to her mom about this but I will not continue to allow her to teach Sweet One the behavior that I've been watching over the past few weeks. How is it possible to teach a kid how to behave around people, if the parents are never there to watch it? 

This afternoon we are going to NK's birthday party. The only one excited about it is Sweet One so Big Love and I've found an excuse for us to be late but we really hope it doesn't go too long. Maybe there will be beer. It might take the edge off!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kindred Spirits

I had an amazing time when my friend came to visit. I felt bad that we didn't have anything specific planned, except for a trip to the zoo on a hot day right after we picked her up, but it seemed to be just what she needed simply because it is the exact opposite to what she has with her day's back home. We visited parks, went for a few walks, I got a few stupid projects done, watched a few movies, drank coffee and chatted on the couch. Nothing fancy but when I look back at the last eleven years it seems that those are the types of moments where we built our friendship and we pick right back up where we left off whenever we get together even if there are children being added to the mix each time!

My hour on my own while the kids are napping went too quickly while she was here. We'd start talking and before I knew it it was time wake up Sweet One. How is it that I make more sense to myself just by having her around? Maybe it is just her ability to put things in perspective for me. She's wise, compassionate and fun. A true kindred spirit.

She loves my  kids, too. It is amazing to see just how much as I watch them play together. She was always ready to read books or draw chalk on the sidewalk with Sweet One. Just this morning Big Love and Sweet One were about to draw another hopscotch grid when I heard, "Auntie like drawing chalk with me!" They have a special connection and I love the imprint it leaves on Sweet One's mind and heart.

She will be having a baby in November. I couldn't be happier for her but I also couldn't be sadder because I want to be there to help her like she did with me and my babies. I don't see how I could make that work unless I win the lottery! It is too far for a winter trip and then I am afraid because I don't know when we will be able to see each other again. I hope it is sooner than I fear it might be.

I'm sitting here on my couch trying to remember all the things we talked about. I miss her. And she knows it because I probably send way too many emails with little tidbits that I wish I could share with her over coffee at the regular time and place we meet to catch up on each other's week. I'll pretend for now and remember...

"True friends are always together in spirit."
                                          -Anne Shirley

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet One's Mortimer moment

I was happy when we were able to go on short trips and leave the portable DVD behind. In its place we listen to Robert Munsch telling his stories. Sweet One gets very involved and shouts along with the kids who are also in the recording enjoying the catchy lines that Munsch writes into each and every one of his stories. I remember listening to these on a couple road trips with a good friend and her young daughter and the nostalgia of listening to these stories again - well, it's definitely one of my favorite moments.

Three nights ago Sweet One went to sleep as she has for I don't know how long. Stories, lights out and to sleep. After stages where it was a challenge, it was great to have her going to sleep so well again. Then something switched. She wanted a nightlight on in her room and for two nights I obliged. Being a person who is light sensitive at night myself I was worried that it might affect her sleep but it didn't seem to. She slept quite soundly, despite being sick, for two nights.

Last night this kid absolutely did not live up to her name. She was rude, lippy and quite honestly, a little bitch! We took away a few items that are her favorite to play with for today and finally got her quiet. I left her room around 8:15 and was relieved when we didn't hear much more protest.

9:15. "Clang, clang, rattle bing bang, gonna make my  noise all day..." at the top of her freakin' lungs! It was ridiculous both in the hilarity that she was now quoting "Mortimer" and the fact that it seemed to have come out of nowhere. The twenty minutes that followed with screaming and the protests of having the nightlight moved into the closet so the light wasn't directly on her face was a fukking gong show that I really hope is not repeated any time soon. We survived, a little worse for wear and not nearly as relaxed as we often are when we go to sleep.

This morning seems to be off to an earlier start than usual for Little Man and a not-so-Sweet One who is pissed off that we have confiscated her new scissors. It's 7:15 and I have already put her back into her room because I will not listen to her being a rude little bitch all day. Not so sure I'm going to survive her being three and a half. But I know someday we are going to laugh our asses off at our little Mortimer going off an hour after we thought she was sleeping!s

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rookie

I'm moments away from starting last night's episode of Rookie Blue. I started watching it from the first day it aired simply because I was curious about what it was going to do and it has grown on me. It's my dose of Canada since it is filmed in Toronto with a predominantly Canadian cast. So many moments scream 'Canadian TV' - sometimes cheesy acting, Epstein being a complete goof, an almost naive quality that makes me adore each character. I used to hate that Canadian shows always had such a strong signature on them, now I adore it. As soon as one episode is over, I can't wait for the next. Swarek and McNally? Even better than Grey and McDreamy.

This season, every time I think of watching an episode I think of my Little Man. We had some nights last summer where he just wouldn't go to sleep until 1030 or 1100. For a month or two it happened about once a week and since we figured it would eventually pass, there were nights that we just gave up and brought him back downstairs and let him cuddle. In my memory I see him lying on the floor beside me watching the TV. Our heads propped on a rolled blanket. His eyes were truly locked on the tv just as mine were, except he was much more tired! So cute. My little boy who is now running around and saying words. Mum-mum, Dada, ba(ll), papa (popsicle), coo-coo (cookie) and many more.

I can't believe it was a whole year ago that he was just a rookie in this world. Now he's finding his footing and running as quickly as he can, full speed ahead!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

$2.50 I'll never get back!

I hear so many stories of people finding great bargains at garage sales or amazing items to then refurbish and add to their homes that end up being amazing. I have two young children to clothe and while many of their items are hand-me-downs (some of these are Sweet One's favorites) it could probably help if I didn't buy other things I need new. There are items for our home I'd love to find in a pre-owned condition.

The problem? I'm a little lazy. Or I don't know where to go. Or I don't have the patience for rifling through people's crap to find that one little hidden gem that makes it all worth it. I also have a bit of an issue with not knowing exactly where things came from. Perhaps if I lived somewhere that was a little more affluent? I don't know. Another problem is that garage sales are usually on weekends - which don't exist for me. Big Love only gets one day off a week and that is Friday. I'm not about to cart a 14 month old boy and a 3.5 year old girl to multiple garage sales on my own because that would be like asking for a gong show to blow up in my face.

I also have a really crappy system of garage sale-ing. Take for instance yesterday. The kids and I were on our way home from our usual cinnamon bun trip Saturday morning (Big Love had left in the other direction to go to work) and I stopped at a garage sale at the end of our block. I looked around, found a German-English dictionary in the "Help Yourself" bin, grabbed a Pittsburgh Penguins and a New York Rangers cap for the kids and then looked through some CDs. It said "Box of CDs $2". I figured that two bucks for a CD wasn't a bad idea so I looked through. I saw a lot of CDs from my high school years and came upon a Barenaked Ladies CD. I grabbed it. Once I was done my hunt I gave the woman $2.50. She told me that the CDs were actually $2 for the whole box because they just wanted to get rid of them. They were her son's and the garage sale was to downsize as she and her sister were moving to Chicago to be closer to him. I felt uncomfortable at the idea of asking her just how much she'd like then so to keep my $2.50. She said thank you.

I have no great gift for haggling because I'd rather pay way more than they're actually asking! Kinda dumb. But it got better as the day went on. Sweet One wore her Penguins cap right from the start. She hardly wanted to take it off. (The day before the boys across the street had all gotten caps from the same garage sale so she was just happy to have her own.) A little while later she wanted Little Man to wear his cap so I put it on and as I was trying to adjust it, all the little poky things that help to size it pulled out. Lovely! Oh well. It was only 25 cents so I thought we could walk down the street and get him a new one except they were all done with their sale. An hour or so later I was about to start supper and thought I'd listen to my new CD but the case was empty. Another stellar bargain!

I figure that if I were to start seriously going to garage sales and continue in this pattern, I'll end up broke with nothing to show for it!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An afternoon excursion

I grabbed my purse and my iPod, blew my family a kiss and started walking down the street. It's been awhile since I've had some down time and I was really looking forward to it. Jason Mraz was singing in my ear (love his new album) and fortunately the sun wasn't blazing and so I was really enjoying myself. I stopped to grab a coffee and decided to treat myself to a turnover. Unfortunately, it did not have the cherries in it I had hoped for but it was still nice. There was a bit of a bounce in my step as I kept walking until I reached my destination. I sat down and pulled out my book. After reading a few pages I was called and so I went into another room, disrobed and had a pap smear.

Seriously. If you would have told me 4 years ago that I would look forward to getting a pap smear simply because of the time I got to spend on my own I would have looked at you as if you were nuts. It really was a lovely time, except for those few moments when .... well, you know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

13 months and 29 days

Little Man stopped breastfeeding tonight. I had slowly been making my way down to a single feeding right before bedtime and then I'd let him stop on his own. That is what he did. Just like his sister did. And I am proud of the fact that I was able to feed my babies for as long as I did. I'm looking forward to getting back into a 'regular' bra and not feeling like the girls are headed south. (Then again, who am I kidding! I've read many saggy breasts stories on mommy blogs!) I'm glad that I'm not going to have to end things myself in the attempt to keep my nipples safe from being bitten off.

But I'm still sad. I shed a few tears and will probably be a little sad for the rest of the evening. Breastfeeding exclusively (no pumping) defined a big part of how I mothered my babies. But I will let him go just this little bit. Because doing it bit by bit is easier than all at once.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's not me, it's you

Sweet One is going to be in a dance recital tomorrow and she was so damn cute at the dress rehearsal that I almost died. Perhaps Big Love will need a quick course in CPR before tomorrow! She's in a Creative Movement class and a tumbling class. In the run through for the tumbling they were doing leap frog and she practically jumped on her friend's head at which me and her mother started laughing so hard WE bumped heads together. So fun. Definitely a great mom moment.

But what is pissing me off right now is the bad taste I have in mouth after trying to be polite and strike up a conversation with one of the other moms. Really, I shouldn't be surprised because this woman has made no attempt to converse with any of us other moms in the four and a half months we've been attending the classes. She mentioned being a member at one of the local country clubs and while my friend and I were trying to be friendly and chat a bit, she wouldn't even look at us. Seriously. Quite a bitchy thing to do. But I take these moments personally and waste too much time stewing and feeling shitty about myself after they happen. When really, I wasn't the one being a bitch.

So I'll smile, be happy that I was able to be there with a friend while Sweet One got to enjoy the whole experience with her friend. And be happy with that. Because it is good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Worth a thousand bucks

Sweet One likes to hang out with me when I'm working out. She'll sit on the piano bench at the desk where the portable DVD player sits (I don't actually watch the DVDs, just listen) and tell me if I'm doing it right. Once in awhile she tells me how to fix it, "You need to do this, Mom!" as she does something with her body. Other times she might try to imitate what I'm doing. It's really cute.

This morning she spent nearly the whole half hour with me as I desperately tried to do my pilates. After awhile she got bored, went downstairs and returned with her little case of markers. She sat on the floor beside me and quietly drew a picture. It was the first time it resembled something. Up until now she's usually just scribbled here and there. I was so proud of her. And then she told me what it was:


"It's you exercising, Mom!"

She then tried to stick it on the closet door but it didn't work because it needed something sticky. Now residing on our fridge, I'm so excited that she's crossed this developmental milestone and will start creating wonderful things!

(And yes, it is quite likely that it resembles what I look like, trying to work away my pooch!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bits

Looks like I need a new header! That snow was rarely around this winter and spring has taken over with a few record highs and so much sunshine (with just enough overcast to remind me how hard my brain is on overcast).

Little Man has moved to one nap a day. I was so looking forward to that and now I sort of miss the quieter days! I would sometimes post while he was napping and Sweet One was watching TV but those times are gone. And while I remind myself that I haven't put anything down in this place for awhile, I'm so tired by the time things are quiet that I haven't one inch of energy to put words together.

I didn't think we'd put Sweet One in preschool but over the past week we have decided to do so. Big Love got a new gig that will add to our income enough to afford it. She seems so ready to learn more, constantly asking questions and the other side of it is, I feel like we're butting heads a little more than I'd like and I think having her at preschool will give us a bit of a break from each other. In a very good way. I'll use some of that time to go grocery shopping with Little Man and do other things perhaps.

My friend was over with her kids today. And it felt so much easier to be around her. We didn't get into politics, but some of the things we talked about made me realize I really don't have to worry about voicing my opinion. It makes me happy.

Because of when Sweet One will be in preschool I don't think going to the mom's group I've been attending will work out. The thing is, we went about 6 weeks without a meeting and I didn't miss it. Then I missed the last meeting but I didn't really miss it. Maybe I'm just more sad that there isn't a different mom's group in this tiny town where I'd feel like I fit in better. I don't know. Just something I'm pondering.

Did I mention I'm tired? Still not sleeping more than 4 hours (and I'm lucky to get that!) in a row at night. Sometimes it's the kids but other times it's just me.

See. Not that much has been happening. Nothing too exciting. Oh, except for the discovery under my dining room carpet and hopefully I'll get around to throwing some pictures up in the next few days!

(And I have one more week before the in-laws arrive.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bad timing under a dreary sky

I decided to set up my son's new 'lil Kawasaki this afternoon. It's been in its box since the beginning of April. I was a little dumb. Well, a lot dumb. The battery needs 18 hours to charge, stickers have to be put on and Sweet One needs to learn how to share.

It ended up with Sweet One throwing a piece of cardboard in her brother's face because she didn't want him to take a turn sitting on it. Time out! Screaming and pitching a fit because a) she didn't want a time out and b) her brother missed her and kept trying to get to her. A three minute time out took a very long time. Both of them were crying. I was trying to get the damn stickers on and Little Man kept trying to crawl up the stairs and get to his sister which led to me bringing him back down and him getting pissed and so he kept crying more. I really thought it would be a nice way to kill some dreary sky time.

Now, many minutes later the dust has settle, the stupid toy is in the basement for no one to play with until a better time and all I can hear is the crackle of rice cakes as they sit at the table and eat a snack. Bliss.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Doesn't fit as I'd like

I finally got the courage to do some sewing. I've had material sitting around for awhile and so I decided to just go for it. Unfortunately, I ended up cutting a pattern a wee bit too small for this postpartum body and chose the too short version. Luckily, I have enough material left over that I can start it again.

I've been struggling with my body these days and I'm not sure if I ever won't. I want to learn to accept it. It gave me two babies who are awesome and I should be happy with that. Right? I've been working out with a few different DVDs at home. I'm getting stronger but I'm not actually losing any weight. I think I need to add more cardio so perhaps on top of doing a workout 5 times a week I can get out for at least 3 real walks with the kids. That might help. Who knows. In the very least, if I can't accept it I need to let Sweet One think that I do so that perhaps she will be happy with hers.

I do know that I'm not absolutely miserable (at least for now) about the fact that 3 hours of sewing has nothing to show for it. And I'm just shaking my head at this pooch of mine. Another time I might have been crying and swearing. So I'm good for now.

I think that's progress.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Somewhere between common sense and hysteria

There are times when I think that I have been plunked down here in this town as a giant sociological experiment. I try to sit and watch and understand people's motivations because there are times when I simply can not understand what is going on.

Take for instance the last two days in our little town. There has been a manhunt. A guy was being served a warrant for something involving theft and drugs as well as possibly shooting at cops. Not great. But to a certain extent, a run-of-the-mill douchebag who has gotten himself into trouble and won't just man up and face the consequences. Instead he runs with a gun. He runs away from the cops in this small town. Through some residential areas. Helicopters, police dogs, law enforcement are all out trying to track him down. And like any smart dumbass he goes into wooded areas where he will be hard to track. So they give up.

Ok. This is something that could happen anywhere. But from my facebook page you'd think that a serial killer had been let loose and was pounding on everyone's doors trying to get in! People have been terrified. "Pray for the safety of our children!" (I do that everyday anyway.) "There's a crazy man in your neighborhood and he has a gun! Lock your doors!" (Ok. I did lock my doors. Common sense. We lock ours most of the time.) "Search is called off and now this crazy man is making my children stay inside on such a beautiful day!" (I let mine play outside. As usual.)

Seriously? I just don't get it. If I were living in a city I wouldn't have thought twice about it. There is a fine line between being safe and being paranoid. A friend of mine actually packed up her kids and high tailed it out of town to stay at her mother's because she said she wouldn't be able to sleep with her husband out of town. 

At no point did they consider that there was a risk of him going on a shooting rampage so really. A school was locked down for awhile because it was common sense to keep the kids in when the suspect was in the area. I just don't know how it got to the point that people were so afraid he'd be right on their doorstep ready to pounce. I'm a person of moderation (or at least I try to be) and I strongly feel that this situation was made worse because of the small town hysteria that surrounded it.

(We mentioned it to my inlaws. They checked out newspaper article online and actually found it funny how everyone was going crazy!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I know what my problem is

I've been struggling with some bouts of depression and frustration over the past few months. While I know I need to find some time, kid free, for myself and to do something creative, I've recently figured out what the everyday problem is. I'm BORED! I do nearly the same thing day in and day out - juggling naps, make food, spend time on the computer, go for walks, watch tv. It's all the same and I'm fukking bored of it! I need to figure out some way to find purpose in these days. I hate being bored.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kitchen of your nightmares!

I watch House Hunters and Property Virgins every once in awhile. Most of the time I'm watching them to see what houses are costing in different places and sometimes it scares me. I'm afraid we won't ever be able to afford a house in a bigger center. I'm afraid that with my crappy kitchen, no one is going to want to buy my house (especially in an area where houses take awhile to sell).

Then there are moments that I almost laugh out loud at the "ew, that kitchen isn't big enough" or "I want more of an open concept". Open concepts are awesome. When I'm in the kitchen, there's a huge wall between me and the kids. Often I'm running between the two as I'm trying to get food ready because short of me grabbing a sledge hammer and creating an impromptu window, there is no way to see what is going on in the living room.

So here's three views of my kitchen:
1) This is really how it looks at any given time. Counter space is limited, time to completely clear everything off is even more limited with the kids to chase. The lack of cupboard space also makes it hard to find places for things.
 2) That wall that looks rather empty is about 99 inches long. We are going to get some plain white swedish cabinets (once we can find a vehicle to bring them back in) to help make the kitchen a little more functional. I'm SICK of running downstairs to grab canned goods when I need them. Hopefully, this will also give us a little more working counter space and take some of the crap factor out of the kitchen.
 3) We're also going to replace the floors and get new counter tops. The only reason we have a full size stove is because we got rid of 6" of counter space so it could fit in there. Six inches doesn't sound like a lot. But it was. And I miss it daily.
Is your kitchen looking better to you now? (I'm so funny.) One day maybe I'll have a nicer kitchen that was designed by someone not getting into the hooch. Perhaps it will even have a dishwasher! But for now, I'll just have to live with mine.