Thursday, October 29, 2009

No Nap Need Mommy

Xander is 4 now and he insists he doesn't need a nap. On the odd occasion, when he is sick or has had a really late night, we get lucky and he has a nap. Other attempts are met with resistance or cunning. I especially like the 4 year old brand of nap cunning: he goes up as though he will nap, stays in bed 15 minutes, then comes down, make that insisting that he has had a nap. Yeah, right.

We had one of those days today.

Do you know where your 4 year old is?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And that would be three

We've had a rough month for deaths here. And this morning one of my best friends called. Kim and I have known each other since we were 12 years old; our friendship has lasted through 5 moves on my end and 23 years now. When she turned 30, her husband called and asked if I could come to visit, because having me visit was the only thing he could think of to get for her birthday! A couple years ago, when I was pregnant with Liam, we went to visit my parents and she came to visit (my folks live about 2 hours away) with her family. Between us, we have 5 kids now: 1 girl and 4 boys!

We have spent many, many days in each others houses growing up. We used to forge notes from our mothers so we could ride the other girl's bus and go home after school together.

But today I have to stand beside her and cry. Because Kim's mother died about an hour ago.

She had a massive stroke and continued to have smaller strokes after that. The doctors said it wouldn't be long. Thankfully Kim and her family were all there to say goodbye and hold her hand as she died.

Shirley, Kim's mom, was always a darling to me. She was a bright and warm woman, with a zippy sense of humour. And she treated me just like her own kids. Kim and I even devised a way to have a week together when we were 16: Kim was going to come to my house over Spring Break. Except about 3 weeks before Spring Break, we discovered something crazy: our break weeks were a week apart! Kim had hers on week 1 and I had mine on week 2! We were crushed to think that we couldn't do it. Except then we came up with the idea of an exchange week: so Kim came to my house and went to school with me on her break week, and I went to her house and school on my break week. I tell you this, so that you will know that Kim's mom welcomed me with open arms. Her parents are sweet people.

So as I sit here, writing and processing, I am also saying goodbye to Shirley. Like Kim, her parents are a part of my extended family and I grieve for this loss.

And right now it is an awful thing to be far apart. To know that my friend is in this much pain, but I am unable to hold her hand.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Digging...and some Spam

I actually got targeted spam for yesterday's post. Seriously! Makes me shake my head.

I've spent today with the boys and still digging out our filing cabinet. It's really sad and pathetic to see the PILE of papers still to be shredded. If I piled it up (it'd kind of floating all over the floor), I bet it would be 9 or 10 inches tall!

I managed to find a pile on the floor that was 98% papers to be filed in the cabinet. Interestingly enough, I found it because I was looking at the tax return section of our drawer and noticed that 2007 and 2008 were MIA. I know we did them, because we did them in the spring (yeah, yeah...late. yadda, yadda, yadda...our accountant says he has seen MUCH worse: he had a client who brought him 15 years worth of stuff and it took her something like 4 years to get it all to him). So I hunted around on the floor a bit and found a pile with a few files in it. Turns out that about 1/4 of the files that should have been in the drawer were there and a nice pile of papers to go with it too.

So I make progress.

And this is the end of my 30 day self-imposed break from FB and MO too. Amazing! At least it will be the end when I dig out of my pile of shredded papers. LOL!

Monday, October 26, 2009

He's Rubbing Off On Me!

Ray has long been the packrat in our relationship. He keeps movie stubs, receipts, and old term papers, along with his mile high stack of D&D paraphernalia...and don't get me started about the 11 boxes of comic books. Yes, ELEVEN. Why a person needs to keep all of this is beyond me.

And I harass him about it. Not as much as I did in the past, granted, but I do. I've reached a point of mostly quiet acceptance of it. I just close the office door.

The bone of contention about this office is that it is our third bedroom. Which was fine when we had one child, but is not so fine these days.

Ray has promised to clean his office. Promised. On multiple occasions. Regularly. And he does have a stab at it here and there. Sometimes he reclaims some floor space and actually manages to clear the spare chair off, so I can sit in there and watch television with him (downloaded, of course...his new monitor is the only reasonably sized HD capable screen in our house).

Today I decided to try to take a stab at the filing cabinet in there. I went from the bottom up. Drawer nearest to the bottom is mostly filled with computer gear. And neatly so. This was one of his last cracks at the office. Looks good. Second from the bottom has about 3 sheets of paper and when I look at them, I am reminded that this drawer is supposed to be for Ray's papers (which are indeed in piles throughout the room...let's move on). Third drawer is mine.

Okay, I have not done more than stuff a few things in there since sometime after Xander was born in 2005. My two excuses: it's hard to get time to get to it and a lot of times it is physically hard to even get into it. So tonight I went through it. Why oh why do I need 3 years worth of timesheets from my job from 1999-2002? And a multitude of things from my last official job? Why? I went through it and cleaned it all out. Shredded so much paper that I thought I was going to break the shredder (I did get it jammed; note to self: only shred one year of timesheets at a time).

Apparently Ray is rubbing off on me.

Just Monday...

It's only Monday and I already have a to-do list as long as my arm. Ray is away until Wednesday night for work. Xander and Liam are in school and daycare, so I have an opportunity to work and clean in peace. Ha! That's a rare animal in and of itself. I feel a bit like I should be eating chocolate and running naked through the house.

We have friends coming to visit on Thursday night and staying through Halloween and until sometime early on Monday. There's the last of the Halloween prep work to do.

And tomorrow is the end of my 30 day self-imposed exile.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Putting on my Cape

One of the best parts about being a mom is that I get to be a superhero. My kisses heal the worst scrapes and cuts out there (with some help of neosporin and a character band aid). I can coax giggles at the right times. And I can soothe a little boy into dreamland with stories...most of the time!

Tonight Xander woke up screaming with a nightmare. We get a few of these a month. I understand, because I had a lot of them as a kid too and still have incredibly vivid dreams. I have discovered that this too is a chance to be a superhero: I cuddle my little man close and rock him a bit, while whispering gently in his ear. Soon, the nightmare is gone and he is drifting happily back to sleep.

It rocks being a superhero!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day Twenty-Six: Awwwwwww

I wish I had a little blinkie of a beating heart on hand, because I would definitely put it at the top of my blog today.

I've been away from my primary mommy board and Facebook for 26 days now. It's been a really nice break overall. I have done a lot in that time. And I find I miss my online friends. LOTS! Both ends of that are good. I'm starting to think about going back, and have been tempted the last couple of days. Very, very tempted.

Let me clarify: I am tempted to go back to the mommy board. I miss the conversations and the camaraderie. Facebook I could take or leave. I'll go back, because there are a few people who are really easy to get a hold of that way, but I doubt I will ever be as addicted to it as I was before.

Today my husband was commenting on a Facebook post of a mommy friend of mine and another of our mutual friends sent him a message saying that I need to come back. Which just made me smile from ear to ear.

So, for the record: I miss you too Michele! xoxoxo And I will be back. Soon. I promise.

But for now I still have 7 articles to write and friends who arrive in less than a week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Xander is working at understanding humour. Ray and I were joking around about something between the two of us today, and Xander asked us what it meant. There was too much to it to explain, so I just said, "It's an inside joke."

Xander replied, "You can make jokes outside too."

We laughed hard enough that he felt it necessary to tell us that THAT was NOT a joke.

Kids and Illness

The kids and I have the same flu. It's inevitable, since no matter if I am sick or not, they climb all over me, snuggle with me, and kiss me. They are going to get it if I have it, and vice versa. Right now, we are hoping that Ray won't get it too.

I took Liam and I off to see the doctor on Monday afternoon. He's hacking like a 2-pack-a-day smoker and my ears are aching like crazy. We were both pronounced with the flu and nothing to be done about it. Wait it out. Still.

The thing that gets me is that I was told to take Advil or Tylenol Cold and Sinus. To relieve the pressure of the congestion in my ears and face. It makes sense.

Would it not make sense to do that for the kids too? Especially Liam, who has been coughing at an increasing rate and more "barking" sounding every day? Liam who is up 6-20 times a night. I figured out that it is the snot running down his throat that is triggering it. It's worse when he lays down. Does he not need and deserve sleep? Especially to recover?

Except...over the past 4 years the government has slowly determined that cold medications "don't help anyway" and that some people overdose their kids by not paying attention. So first they removed all of the infant cold remedies and now, they have removed everything until a child is 6 years old.


And here is where I get angry. Why oh why are my kids, who are not six years old yet, less worthy of symptomatic relief that a six year old or an adult? Do I as a parent not deserve sleep and relief from it all too? Have they also not thought out that by depriving a child of these medications they are also increasing the spread of these germs? How do you think viruses spread? It's not an invitational affair! Kids cough and sneeze on each other and get each other sick. If we slow down the coughing and sneezing does it not slow down the spreading of germs?

I am by far not stupid enough to think that giving my kid something to stem the snot means that he is over it. It's relieving the symptoms, not eliminating the flu. But relief is of value too.

And speaking to the "accidental overdosing" argument...well, I could accidentally overdose my kids on advil or tylenol too. Or vitamins, for crying out loud. This kind of legislation is what my husband calls catering to the lowest common denominator. And there is a lot of that in this world. Why not educate parents and caregivers about the risks of overdose and proper management tools? Heaven forbid we read the ingredients on the labels of our medicines and write down what we give to which kid and when! Nope, making us all suffer needlessly when our children are sick is a better option.


Thankfully, while I still have bottles that have the dosages for smaller people in my hands, I am comparing the ingredients and dosages with the current standards for the 6-12 year olds, and determining the proper dosages for my own children. So they don't have to snort, hack and cough all over the place. It's not a virtue to suffer, so I will not make them do it. But if I am doing this, and I am pretty much a rules fanatic, then you can guarantee that the stupid people who would have been overdosing with the right medication will do it too. Only I bet their math is not as good as mine. Scary thought, huh.

From the frying pan into the fire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What things CAN'T you do?

Ray and I went to a parenting course last night. We've had more yelling in this house than either of us are comfortable with and Xander's listening skills somehow seem to be deteriorating, though there seems to be no sign of a physical or mental decline. I want to say "he's four" and leave it at that, but I suspect that we could learn some parenting skills. Not that we suck, but we aim to be better. And I aim to have less yelling in our house. If for no other reason than it is exhausting.

My Dad was a big yeller. His whole family yells. Mom mentioned that she thinks that was my grandmother's prime parenting technique. And the falling out Mom and I had with my aunt (her sister) was primarily over yelling. Hers, that is. So it is no surprise there is a lot of yelling going on. We're working on it.

But I digress.

One of the things that this parenting expert (read: psychologist) talked about was the messages you imprint on your kids. She suggested that instead of waiting until they are grown to describe their attributes, think about the ones you want them to have when they are grown, write them down, and start telling them now that they do have those traits. Start small. If you want your kid to be organized or helpful, when he puts his plate in the sink, notice it aloud and tell him he is "helpful".

So I started thinking about the messages that we are giving Xander. And one of them is that we talk about and complain about him not listening a LOT. To be fair, it happens a lot. But what if that is a downward spiral. I'm going to try telling him he is a good listener and see if it gets rid of that. I believe it will, since the last few weeks we had the listening chart and just by being rewarded for it, he listened more and took more pride in it. He is four though, so I know that we have years and years of listening impaired behaviour to look forward to.

But if I am programming him to think he isn't a good listener, then what else am I telling him?

Which turned into: what have people told me that I am or am not. What things do I think I can't do, just because of something someone said?

  • I can't dance, because my parents told me that I was clumsy. I'm very self-conscious about it.
  • I can't cut. Paper or fabric or anything like that. When I was in grade 8 my teacher told me that I "must have failed cutting in Kindergarten". I joke about it a lot, but I truly believe that I cannot cut properly.
  • I can't draw and am not artistic. My 5th or 6th grade teacher told me that I was too old to be drawing faces on my suns. And I just stopped doing art. As an adult, I see that I was leaning towards cartooning, but instead of taking a positive spin, which may have led to something else eventually, she cut me down.
These are just a few examples, but I am sure that if you sit and think about it, you can find a few things that you think you cannot do. Think about it further and try and see if there is a message there that someone implanted along the way.

Then think about what messages you are sending to your kids.

As for me, I am off to work for now, then I am going to dance with my kids, cut out flowers and trucks from magazines, and draw a background for the kids to paste them on! Can't indeed!

Moose and Einstein

Our friends Deb and John left their fish, Moose, with us for the week while they went on a cruise. He's a blue beta fish. And he's been swimming happily in his bowl, on our kitchen counter, since Saturday.

Today, our oldest cat, Einstein, discovered he was there.

I know you may be thinking that this cannot end well. Fish and cat do not make for good playmates. Except that Einstein is not the brightest of cats. He's not after the fish, but the water. He's been caught twice this morning, drinking from the top of Moose's bowl. Just drinking. He will do this to a cup of water if you leave it laying around too, so I am not really surprised.

I wonder if he even knows that Moose is in there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween and Thinking Christmas

If you remember back a few weeks, Xander threw a fit in the store and did not get his Spiderman sheets. I decided that if he wanted them, then he was going to have to earn them through listening (since not listening was how he lost them to begin with: sweet justice, no?) and we did a sticker chart. He got his 40 stickers last night! So we went to the store and bought his brand new Spiderman sheets! I am extremely proud of him and made a point of telling him that.

We've also enjoyed the little boy who listens and the severe drop in time outs, so I am trying to think of another reward that will motivate him to earn more stickers.

Since we were out, we decided to get Halloween costumes. With all of the fuss over Spiderman sheets, I thought Xander might be leaning towards being Spiderman. Fooled again!

We thought about putting Liam in the costume Xander wore at his age, but then I mentioned to Ray that Liam gets a lot of hand-me-downs from Xander and he deserved to have his very own costume. So we browsed the wall of infant and toddler costumes and this it the one that we liked best.

Even I can't believe how cute he looks in it. When we try them on again, I will take pictures.

I know that some of you are shaking your heads over the price tags. I DO NOT sew. I would like to be able to say I do. Really. But sewing is fiddly and makes me a little crazy when I do it. I *can* sew if pressed to. I made the skirt for the crib, and it is cute. But it took me about 3 days to do it. And I was CRAZY the whole darn time. For me, the $60 was worth every cent. I'm at peace with this.

And since we are already almost at Halloween, Ray and I have been talking about Christmas and planning for the boys' presents. We've decided to go with a tool theme. My fantastic friend Lisa, who does sew, has agreed to make them tool belts/aprons for them. And we are thinking about either buying several tools or getting them this:

or this:

If any of you have either of these sets and have recommendations, reviews, or alternate ideas for me, feel free!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I've had the Sony e-book reader about 36 hours now. I was looking forward to taking it upstairs and reading before bed. Except it slipped out of the little cover (which is CRAPPY) and fell to the floor on my way upstairs.

Now the screen doesn't work.


I was totally loving it until that moment. Dammit!

Edited on Monday night:

I took my reader in to the Sony Store today. The salesman was incredibly nice about it and provided me with an exchange without even blinking. Hooray! The harder part was getting my programs on my computer (which load the books onto the reader) to recognize the new hardware. Ray go that done tonight though. (Thank you Ray!!!)

So I am back up and running in e-reader land. I bought the cover for it, which is nice, but we've decided to take a look for some kind of after market protective case. Something like a mini laptop bag. Very mini. Since it does need to be handled carefully. Apparently.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coming into this Century

I've recently acquired a couple of electonics that bring me into this century. Recently, Ray won an iPod. It's the second one for him. The first was 2 years ago and it was an iPod Nano, which fe's been enjoying a great deal. I've had a little MP3 player for a few years now, mostly for running. Over the summer, I decided that I wanted an iPod Shuffle for running. It's smaller and I liked some of the features. Ray and I were discussing this in the car on our vacation in July, then came home and discovered paperwork that had come in the mail saying Ray had won a Shuffle! It took a little while, but I now have a new Shuffle.

We've also discussed e-books for a long time. For a while, it was purely theoretical. The readers available were pitiful and extremely expensive! There was a time when I was against the idea of reading on a "computer". The experience couldn't be the same. There is something about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. But time went on...we have a tiny house and lots of books! Our living room alone holds seven 6 foot bookshelves, which are almost entirely double stacked. A few years ago, Ray and I started talking about e-books as an alternative to paperbacks. We re-read our books (some of them many, many times), so we hate to get rid of any, but the idea of storing the bulk of them electronically is a step that could radically change our living space. But still, the readers were incredibly expensive. A few years ago I looked at them and they were still over a thousand dollars each for a nice one.

We've recently started looking at them again. I've decided against the Kindle for two reasons: I don't like that Amazon can reach into my collection and erase a book (which they have done, and fairly recently) and the service is not available in Canada. I can buy one and get the e-books online from the US site, but then I also have to pay duties. It just sits in my craw!

After a little digging and some consideration, I've decided to get the Sony PRS-600, which is the newest Sony e-book reader. This morning we went out and bought it. I have yet to use it, but the ability to write notes, look up words, and access books in such a great little format pleases me. I'll let you know how it goes.

So, I have entered the electronics market of this century. Only almost 10 years later!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sick & Other Stories

I hate being sick. And yet, here we are...again. It's the flu, of course, and I am treated to aches and chills and feeling like I have been run over. Again.

On other fronts:

Liam had his speech evaluation yesterday. He is behind, as we thought. At this age he should have well over 50 words and should be able to start putting 2 word combinations together. Liam has less than 10 words, and most of those have appeared in the last 2 weeks. He's fine everywhere else, but has almost no expressive language. So he's the easiest to treat! The therapist showed me how to do basic therapy with him at hoe. And we are signed up for a course that will help us all go a little further. The course starts in November and is a combination of information for Ray and I to take into the home and a couple sessions with a speech therapist. He'll be re-evaluated in April to see if he needs group therapy or the next step.

I've had the quote back on my website and it is really, really reasonable! Hooray!!! So we ought to be able to get that going ASAP. Hooray for farming things out!

Xander is at a field trip with school this morning. There are several interactive farms in our area and the kids are going to see one of those. I can't wait to hear the reaction from that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day Eighteen

I've done a disservice to Xander, and if in later years, he reads this blog, I want to apologize. I am guilty of assuming that because he has trouble writing, that he is not as far ahead with reading as I thought. I knew that he knew his capital letters inside and out, but there are a few lower case letters he is unsure of, like b, d, p and q. And I knew he knew a number of the sounds that the letters make. Today I accidentally stumbled upon something: when asking him the lower case letters, if I made the sound, he knew the name of the lower case letter. Interesting. So I went through all of the letters and got him to make the sounds for me.

He knew Every.Single.One!

No wonder he is giving me a hard time about working on letter names and sounds. He knows this stuff. And given the fact that he was goofing off and opening one eye at a time and peering at the letters at the end, then shutting his eyes tight and sing-songing the sound, I would say he knows them very, very well.

I have feelings of stupidity. How did I not know? The signs were there. We've been pointing out letters and sounding them out together in his books at bed time.

And elation that we can move on to what is next. Plus, he will likely be reading himself very, very soon. Amazing!

But a little bit of fear. What is he doing in Kindergarten? Two years of it, no less? And at what point will the school system actually challenge this child? I'm afraid he will be bored and get into mischief. Are we doing him a disservice by sending him to public school? And yet, we cannot afford private school.

Who knew that parenting could be hard when it was something good?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For Giggles

Work is boring. Make that BORING! I always wanted to be a writer, and I am one, but I didn't imagine it as something I squeezed in the cracks of my life. That makes it pretty hard to get anywhere significant with it. Plus, my sole client at this time sends me articles to write that would make a stick figure yawn. Then I get to write them over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I am glad for the work and sometimes there is a bit of a game in writing this stuff in 10 different ways each month,'s not exactly mentally stimulating.

I've been working on my website forever. Well, not forever, I guess, just 2.5 years! Something tells me that this is not a job I am going to finish. But in order to get work, I ought to have a website telling people about me. (Write 5 pages about yourself and your work...GO! Sounds thrilling, no?) I've decided to farm it out. If you know someone who does websites and is willing to take on the job, I am in a paying frame of mind.

Then, last night, inspiration hit me. I need to do some writing that is totally different and just for giggles. Something to amuse myself. I've been trying to do crafty things (like knitting and crocheting) to amuse myself and it is just not working (okay, I like knitting little things). I forgot that the thing that amuses me is words and writing. And the more you write....yadda, yadda, yadda! In this process, I poked around and decided that I am going to write a Harlequin.

I know, I are giggling at me a little. I am giggling too. But I love the idea. I love the idea of books you can sink into and enjoy, but not have to analyze too much. (I love the ones you analyze even more, but what I am saying is that there is a place in the world for the ones you just read too. It's like having television in a book format.) So, what if I could do that with writing? Write a book that amuses me and inspires me to keep writing. The stuff I am writing now is decent stuff, but my inspiration hangs on the bottom branch of my life tree and is quickly sagging off it. So I am going to try.

The winds of change are a blowin'.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Having a Bad Day

One of the things I like about the school schedule for Xander is that he goes Mondays and Wednesdays and the odd Friday. So when the weekend is over, I get to have a day of shipping him off to school and sending Liam off to daycare, so I can work. Today is supposed to be that day for me. My brain and body both think so. Unfortunately, when a long weekend comes, like Thanksgiving, we all miss out on the usual Monday activities.

We are all a little out of sorts today. Liam is tired and cranky. Xander is at the end of his rope. And I am dangling by a thread. I NEED to work. And yet all that is available to me is laundry, dishes, more laundry, still more laundry...and miserable kids.

I am having the kind of day where I sit and figure out how much daycare would cost and if I ought to just go back to work full time.

And to top it off, although we were out late last night visiting friends and Xander has swimming tonight, so he should have had a nap, he did NOT. I put the kids down for their naps, had my shower, and checked on them. Liam was out and Xander was chillin', but not out. 15 minutes later he was downstairs claiming he'd had a sleep. Yeah, right.

We've fought over food, sleep and toys today. Hopefully tomorrow will bring nicer things.

Absolutely Hysterical

I just got a phone call from my Aunt down in Pennsylvania. My Uncle is "worried" because I have been quiet on Facebook. Seriously! She called to see if I was okay.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Losing People Along the Way

I was reading my comments this morning and it occurred to me that I have lost a few people along the way in blog land. A while back, my friend Heidi moved her blog to another location. I knew about it, and I remember thinking that I had made the change to my list of blogs that I follow. Ummm, yeah, not so much as it turns out. No wonder she was not coming up as having new blog posts.

I love Heidi's blog. It's thoughtful and funny, but also honest and raw too. She makes me think, which seems to be a rare commodity these days. So I am happy to have her back on my blog roll. Heidi, if you thought I was ignoring your blog and not commenting on it because I had nothing to say, please know it was a total accident.

Now I wonder who else I am missing. A project for tomorrow!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving and Missing My Girls

Happy Thanksgiving! Officially Canadian Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but like most Canadians, we had our big feast tonight. Did you know that Ray can morph into Martha Stewart?!? (BTW, Ray thinks this comparison is mean, but if the pink stiletto fits...) Ray and I sat and discussed the menu options on Thursday, then I took Liam grocery shopping on Friday. All was ready and waiting to get going on Sunday morning. I thought I was cooking. Turns out, Ray had other ideas. Who am I to say "no dear, I'd rather be the one to slave over a hot stove..." Yeah, right!

Ray made an absolutely perfect turkey. Roasted to a golden perfection. We did a stuffing recipe that was a cross from a Jamie Oliver book (remember the food porn?) and a Healthy Cooking recipe. It had apples, raisins, and sausage in it. YUM! Plus roasted squash, fancy mashed potatoes, biscuits, peas, gravy, and fresh veggies and dip. Top all of that with wine and then some pumpkin pie and ice cream for dessert. It was divine. And Ray deserves a load of credit.

I ran 5k this morning (in the cold!), but I am pretty sure that meal was not evened out by that run. LOL!

It was a fantastic meal and we had a great time with our family. Plus a nice afternoon, including a walk (still cold!) and chasing the kids around.

Now, it is all said and done for another year, minus the leftovers, and I am left here sitting and thinking about what I am grateful for and cruising the blogs I follow. I am incredibly grateful for my wonderful family and fantastic (cooking!) husband. Beat that Martha! Plus, we have a nice little house and jobs. Good to have these days especially. We're all healthy. Hooray! It's a lot to be thankful for. Plus, I have a really wide circle of friends...and that brought me to my online friends. I was checking out a few blogs for my online friends and had a moment of deep yearning for the boards. I miss the group. I miss the girls and the laughter and the discussions. I do need this time away and I need to get things done around here, but I miss my girls.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Enjoying Liam and Missing Baby Xander

Bedtime is probably my favourite time of day. Not because the kids will be sleeping and quiet soon (though that too has its perks!), but because I love to read and I love even more to read to my kids. We read during the day too sometimes, but it has become a tradition to read before bed each night. Each child gets 10-15 minutes (sometimes more) to be read to at night by one parent or both. Sometimes we all snuggle up and read to Liam. Often both of us read to Xander once Liam is in bed. But the day always ends with books. The best part about this is that no matter how many struggles the day has brought, we always end on a high note for everyone. And there is no greater threat in our house than: "If you don't hurry up, there won't be time for stories." Guaranteed to make your four year old hussle up! (Or mine, anyway.)

I've included a few of our favourites here. We love to read Sandra Boynton to our tiny ones. Xander has pretty much outgrown it now, but we are reading the covers off our copies of these books (and many more of her titles) one night at a time. I am especially enjoying how Liam chooses a book, climbs into my lap, and snuggles in to be read to.

But I realize that while I am enjoying Liam and reading to Liam, I have momentary pauses where I am waiting for Xander's reactions. After all, we started exploring these books with Xander and his reactions. In "Doggies" there is a page that reads "six quiet dogs", and after all of the funny noises that each dog makes on the five preceeding pages, the toddler Xander cracked up at this line Every.Single.Time. So I always pause for a moment on this page. Waiting to see if Liam will laugh.

Liam is his own person. Always has been. While putting a wet washcloth on his head and having water stream down his face is occasion for raucous laughter (Xander would have had a fit!), "six quiet dogs" only deserves quiet pondering. Why are these dogs quiet? How did the get to be quiet? And what will happen next? Not a giggle in earshot.

So I am enjoying Liam's different reactions, while missing the baby Xander who has come and gone. It happened so quickly, and this time I know it will be gone in a heartbeat, so I snuggle my young son and enjoy these moments...before they are gone and Sandra Boyton is packed away for another child to love with his mommy and daddy.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Porn and Other Random Happenings

Last night Ray and I sat and enjoyed porn. Yup, you read that right: porn. Actually, it's FOOD porn. Seriously...have you looked at the photos in some of those food magazines and cook books? FOOD PORN. I'm telling you. We were especially taken by Jamie Oliver's newest book. Those pictures ought to be illegal. I feel myself gaining weight just from looking at the photos. tee hee

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. A time for excess food and friends.

I have two sadnesses right now: Jennifer and Eric and their family were supposed to come to visit us, but because their passports didn't come on time, they were unable to come. I know we will see them in a few weeks (when the US passport office decides to get off their collective coffee break and process passports for a change!), but I wish they were here this weekend. And tonight we are going to say goodbye to Lisa. There is a visitation, though the funeral will be private. So we are all going to Ray's hometown tonight. I will stay with the kids and hang out with some of our friends, while Ray joins a few of our other friends and says goodbye for us. We will all miss her. It's a different kind of "missing" than with our other friends, but a missing nonetheless.

And there are big blessings too.

Today I was grocery shopping with Liam. It's a school day for Xander and it was mighty peaceful to shop with one little boy. I was in the car between grocery stores (yeah, yeah I shop in two places...go ahead and call me neurotic) and I peaked back at Liam in the mirror. He was sitting happily in his car seat, grinning and watching out the window. And I had a moment where I almost cried. Not from sadness, but gratitude. I remember how bad things were last year. He was this baby who was always crying and we were having a heck of a time with food for him and me. He couldn't tollerate milk or soy. And it felt like a huge thing. I was in the depths of post-pardum depression too. Though medicated, so I was managing (the not managing part was over the summer, so by fall I was feeling better). But a year ago I didn't believe that Liam could be happy and giggling. I didn't think we would ever get to this place. And yet, the year has flown by and Liam has grown into a little fellow who laughs and ponders the world hard. He climbs on things and runs. He's starting to stomp and jump a bit. And he is WONDERFUL. I never thought that moment would come. So I cry a little...but just with gratitude.

On our way out of the grocery store an older lady offered to take my grocery cart to the corale for me. She told me that she could see I "had my hands full" and I laughed a little and said, "Not as much today. My older one is in school." And she smiled and said that she remembered how it was with little ones. I thanked her, and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving! But the best part was that I was right: they are not so full today. Not because of Xander being in school, but because time has worked a bit of magic: I have two healthy boys. And a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Shock

Most of us have heard of Group B Strep, but never did I imagine that it could touch me like this. Ray comes from a little town in Ontario. There's a wonderful bookstore on the main street of that town that is run by a man named Paul and his niece, Lisa. I've been privileged to spend many an hour browsing through the stacks there. Ray spent a good deal of his teen years reading, buying and chatting with the owners of this store. It's part of the landscape of his youth.

Yesterday, he told me that Lisa was in the hospital. She was having heart and respiratory issues. I was shocked, but thought that they would pump her full of medicine and the next time we went to the bookstore (likely Boxing Day, as we always seem to go on Boxing Day), we would chat her up.

I just found out a moment ago that Lisa was sick with Group B Strep. And that she lost that battle sometime last night.

She was 35 years old. I didn't even realize that she and I were the same age.

My tears and love go out to Paul and the rest of Lisa's family. And to all of those who have counted Lisa as a part of their lives. Our family included.

Hug your loved ones tight. Value the moments you have with them. And please spare a thought or prayer for Lisa.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Contractor Dilemma

We've all had this happen: you have a home project that needs to be done, but you need a reputable contractor to do it. Only you don't know anyone who has had this particular thing done and can recommend someone to you.

That's where Ray and I are right now. Our chimney needs to be repointed. We get a bit of water in that side of our basement when it rains. Not much, mind you, but this needs to be dealt with. We have the money. We know what we want done. But we have no idea who to hire.

I went through the yellow pages about 10 days ago and started this process. I called about 5 places. One only does industrial jobs, so that brought it down to 4. Until they recommended someone not in the yellow pages. Back to 5. We had 3 replies in 48 hours. First guy was the best. He gave us oodles of information, plus he asks 10% down and the rest once the job is finished. Second guy was kind of short on info, but the same basic quote. Third person didn't show up. Fourth came in a few days later, took pictures of our chimney and claimed they would email us the quote; we've never heard back. And the fifth called us yesterday, came and gave a quote that was $300 less than the first two, and is currently working on our neighbour's chimney across the road (we started calling and he started grilling the people who came to us and asking for quotes too).

The part of me that loves to save a bit of cash wants to go for the last guy. He only talked to our neighbour yesterday and is working today. Which is good. But what insurance does he have? He's not putting up any protective gear for the roof and the ground below (a concern for us because our roof is in good shape and the ground below is our interlocking driveway). And I worry that sometimes you get what you pay for.

So we are waiting to see what the neighbour's review will be. I still like the first guy best though.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Liam Tells All

Me: The sheep says....
Liam: Baa!!!
Me: The cow says...
Liam: Mooo!
Me: The chicken says...
Liam: Buck, buck, buck!

We were riding in the car yesterday, playing this game. There was a bit of a break and suddenly, from the back seat, he yells "BAAA!!!!" We were in farm country, so I still don't know if her actually saw a sheep or if he just likes this game a whole lot. I do know he likes the game, because we cheer and clap in a manner fit for a rock star each time he gives a right answer and he laughs like crazy.

He also says "cat" fairly frequently and once said "Bye Grandpa" pretty darn clearly.

The words are coming. Just in time for his speech evaluation on October 16th.

Friday, October 02, 2009

What day is it?

Oh yeah, day five. Good thing I have been writing it down, because I did have to go back and check. Plus, I keep thinking that today is Saturday. No idea why.

The first wave has left us. My parents were visiting for 17 days. Yup, 17. That's a looooooooong visit. Granted, we were away for a few days, then they were gone over last weekend for six days. Still, it ends up feeling like a very long time. And we have a very small house. I'll miss them (in a day or two) and will look forward to them visiting again. Hopefully not for a little while though.

Xander and Liam learned that they could live without us for a couple of nights. We learned that we miss them after one night, but the first night without them was GLORIOUS! Parenting is hard. Breaks are needed.

Speaking of which, with the stress of work and visitors and all of that, my cycle was a tad late this month. To the tune of 3 days. I even thought it had come a day late, but it started to, then stopped. The only time that ever happened was when I was pregnant for Liam, so I FREAKED OUT! I could have done with the mommy boards to freak on at that point, but I stayed strong, with the help of a couple friends. Thankfully, it was just a strange delay and all is on track. It made clear to me that I do NOT want another child at this point. I am not sure if I will ever want another one. Since I have that tiny doubt, we are waiting to make the decision permanent. Ray had a moment of thrill out of it though, so now he knows if we did go there, it would be okay. He wasn't sure of that before. We're both sleeping better at night now though. We're busy. Liam and Xander are fantastic, but they keep us on our toes. I wonder if true insanity would happen if we decided to go for a third child.


The next wave hits tomorrow. Ray's Mom has a pen pal in England who is visiting. They came 3 years ago and I got incredibly sick, so we missed meeting them. Tomorrow we will meet them. We're having dinner here. I am trying to clean up for it. Heaven help me. Ray is upstairs cooking right now.

Then next week Jennifer and Eric are coming for a Canadian Thanksgiving. Xander is already talking about "my friend Mason". We saw them at their place in May; for a brief look check this out. The kids had a blast and I felt like I knew Jennifer from way back, so I am looking forward to seeing them.

At the end of the month our good friends Karen, Bill and Braeden are coming to visit. Bill is running the Army 10 miler on Sunday, so send out some good thoughts his way! He's also going to run a 1/2 marathon while he is here. We were supposed to run it together, but my foot has been terrible and I have decided that 2 half marathons in on year are quite enough. I can't wait to see them too! Plus, we get to do Halloween together. Funny, we've had a few summer visits, a Canadian Thanksgiving, and an American we are doing Halloween. Hey Karen, shall we do Easter or Christmas together in 2010? ;)

I've completed the work I had for September: 28 articles and one web page (500 words each). Lots of words! And I have a list of 20-30 articles to write for this month too. I'm waiting until Monday to start and enjoying my weekend!

And tomorrow I get to do the real Saturday.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I was THAT Mom at the store today.

I know, I know...two posts in one day. I am feeding the blogging beast, making it fat and happy.

I really was that Mom in the store today. We all know the one. She's hassled and looking frantic. Like if you spoke to her in the wrong tone, she might snap. But if you offered her a glass of wine from one hand, while still holding the bottle in the other, she'd snap the bottle up.

Truly, today I wonder why more parents of young kids do not drink heavily. Maybe they do and I missed that memo.

Xander was a horror. The only thing I can think of to explain it is that the child somehow lost his ears at about 10:30 this morning. It was pretty bad in Ikea, though manageable. But tonight, while Ray and my Dad were supposed to be putting together his brand new Ikea bed (which had a couple problems, so Ray had to run back when we got home to get a few pieces exchanged), Mom and I took the kids shopping. I had to get Xander sheets for his bed. We browsed a few things along the way too. Finally, we picked out two sets of sheets -- spiderman and plain blue -- and headed to the check out.

And that is when all hell broke loose.

Who is this child? I ask you? I know that I did not raise THIS kid, because THIS kid was raised by wolves. I am certain of it.

So, my Mom was making her couple of purchases and doesn't Xander spy the little display with the suckers. It's a tree shape and the suckers are all stuck in by their stems. I see him, seeing them and tell him, "No Xander. Don't touch those suckers." Nicely, but firm. Nothing. Then I say, "Alexander FRANK, do NOT touch those suckers." He stops. Brings his hands down. So now I know he heard me and knows what to do.

I have a split second where I think he is going to behave. But not so fast we go in for the kill. And he reaches up again and gets one this time.

Quick as lightening (and pissed off too), I am over there. I reach out, grab the offending sucker, stick it back in the stand and tell him, "Since you cannot listen, now you get to come over here and hold on to the cart."

A shame worse than death in the eyes of my 4 year old. Normally met with tears and begging and promises of "being good" if only I will let him not hold the cart.

Not this time. I am sure that the word "sucker" (as in the fool variety, not the lollipop variety) came into his head as I said those words, because the next thing I knew he was having a full out tantrum. Seriously. My 4 year old had a tantrum! He said "NO!" and screamed and yelled and pulled out the tears. He even screamed to "stop pinching me". Where the heck he ever got that idea, I will never know. I have NEVER pinched anyone, much less my kids. And I was holding him up (he'd gone limp and was trying to throw himself on the floor) by his jacket. No pinch possible there. He also screamed at the cashier across the aisle to "Stop looking at me!" (I give her credit for not laughing, because there was a thread of hillarity in it all.)

I promptly told him there was no pinching happening.

And at that moment it became my turn at the cash. Talk about timing.

So I put the two sets of sheets on the counter and my socks too. The nice lady rang it all in and just as I was going to pay, Xander started spouting forth more tantrum. So I turned to her and said, "Please take the Spiderman sheets out of the bag and return them to the shelf for me."

There was a moment where she didn't believe me (I wonder how many parents have threatened and not followed through at the cash), so I had to ask twice. She removed them, there was a second where you could have heard a pin drop, and Xander said in a small voice, "No Spiderman sheets?"

"No. Not with behaviour like this," I said, without even blinking.

I am almost certain that they heard the screams of protest at the other end of the mall.

Spiderman sheets will come to our house eventually, but not without a whole other level of listening happening in our house.

For the record, he stopped screaming and crying abruptly about 2 minutes after we got to the car. When something else caught his attention. He's now soundly asleep and we will try again for a "listening kind of day" tomorrow.

Now I am going in search of that bottle of wine.

October! Day Four

It's already the fourth day. And October! How did it get to be October already?

I've really been to busy the last couple of days to even think about going to my old haunts. Likely, I would have skipped it anyway. Between working my chiropractor gig, writing the articles I had to finish, the kids, my cold, and my parents being's a zoo, really.

I've been thinking about limits lately. While I was writing furiously for my writing job (in the dictionary under "redundant" see...), I was also writing email messages to some friends. It's neat, because I get a chance to find out different things about them and they find out some new bits about me. Cryssy had no idea I like Heroes. And I do! Well, Cryssy and I were chatting about boundaries. I was saying that I don't say no enough, which is how I end up at the end of the month, writing like a madwoman and doing 500 other things too. Those of you who know Cryssy know she is smart and sassy. So she said something about coming up here to teach me how to say no. And then that if I take her up on that, she is going to stage an intervention. I was howling.

But it got me thinking.

What has the last month been about, if not about saying no. Or at least forging boundaries. There was enough work for me to do with my own business and the job at the chiro's office was good, but taking up time and come winter will be a hectic commute in the snow. It was time to give myself a bit more time and space, so I essentially said no. I quit at the chiro's office. I felt like I spent a lot of time on my online haunts defending myself or arguing with people. And I was feeling like the online places were taking up huge amounts of time (and they were), so I said no to them too. Yesterday, when I had the worst of my cold, I had 2 more articles left and I could have tortured myself into writing them, but I said no. All of these "no" moments were phrased other ways, but they still boil down to setting boundaries. And it feels good.

I guess the question is: what am I going to say yes to now? What new projects, goals, and moments will shine through?

I'm waiting to see too.