Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day Three: Breaking Patterns and A Cold From Hell

As I am starting the third day of my withdrawal from Facebook and online message boards, I am finding that the pattern is being broken. I actually have little interest in going there. I am curious about what people are up to, of course, and miss it some, but the driving urge of the last couple of days is over. Before anyone starts clapping for me, I do wonder how much of this is related to the cold from HELL. I am medicated right now, but still I can hardly hear and am stuffed up to the point where my sinuses hurt. I would love to just crawl into bed and not get out until Sunday.

However, I have 4 more articles to write (I have less than 100 words left on the one I am on, so make that 3 articles). And I have to work at the chiropractor's office this afternoon. My whole being is screaming "you've got to be joking!" I can hardly breathe, but I need to think, write, and then interact with people.

I'm going off to my corner now, to snivel to myself and try to think of another hook to write the third last article.

P.S. Writing articles reminded me: Lisa, if you want me to send you a couple of articles to read, send me your email addy in a PM through MO. I'll get it and send some to you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day Two: Closets

I've got a terrible cold. I'd like to know who to thank, but I have no clue who it was. Oh well. Hopefully Advil Cold and Sinus helps me get through the day. Ray is gone to "Tech Days" in Toronto for the first professional development he has been allowed to have (through his company) in the 4 years he has been there. There have been many attempts, all of which have been yanked out from under him, but this is the first success. So I am happy for him. We did splurge a bit though: he had to take the Go Train in at 6:55 am in order to make it on time, which would have meant getting up and driving him in at 6:30. Normally he'd just park our second car at the station, but my folks have it out for the week. Getting up and taking him would be fine if it were just me, but I am not getting the kids up at 6:30 am and dealing with their cranky selves for the rest of the day. Thanks, but I will pass. So I got him to take a cab. Phew!

So far today (and it is not quite 8:30 am), I have managed to clean out my side of the cupboards in the bathroom, clean out my dresser and closet to take out the summer stuff and store some of the stuff that doesn't fit me, I also found a few things that need to be sewn. I'm not great at sewing, but I can manage buttons, small holes, and tacking up a hem by hand. I've got a load of laundry folded, one in the dryer, and one in the washer. I think there will be two more. And I intend to go through the boys' closet today too.

I'd do some work, but Liam will be awake any moment now and Xander is up and about already. Not that conducive. Maybe once Ray gets home. I have a pile left to do.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day One

It's quiet and I cheated.

Only a little bit of cheating. I just could not get my crops to mature before today on Farmville. Sad, but true. I cheated to go into Facebook and collect my crops. My fields are now empty, so my excuse is over. Do you think less of me? Actually, I think it is a bit funny to tell the truth.

I'm finding that the lack of conversation from the mommy boards has made for a quiet day. I've reached out to a few friends via email, had a few reach out to me, and had some conversations that way, but it is nothing compared to the babble of the whole of the boards. Interesting. Makes me wonder what I was filling with all of that noise? It may be that because I work from home, I need some kind of conversation and I was filling that need with the boards. It works too!

Oh, and we are sick, Ray and I. Just slight colds that kicked in over the end of the weekend, but let me tell you that is a joy. I'd like to be upstairs, sleeping it off, but I have to work. I've done one article, am about 1/3 of the way through another one, and have a load yet to do. Xander will be home around 3, so I have to move it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

B is for Break

My pondering has led to a decision to take a break from a few things. For 30 days I am challenging myself to take a break from Facebook and from the mommy online boards (I attend 2 of them and have a grand total of 4 buddy groups). When you add up the time I spend there, it comes to a significant chunk.

What could I do with that kind of time on my hands?

Well, I am about to find out. I have to confess that I've spent enough time on the boards and Facebook these days that I am missing sleep over it. Sounds like a serious addiction to me! I will get on in the evening to "check things out for a few minutes" and then discover that my whole evening has disappeared and I am crawling into bed late. I have several small and a few big projects that I have been wanting to do, but never get to. Sounds like some of the time I've been using online could go to those. And often, Ray and I spend evenings with each of us on a computer, in separate rooms.

It's not working.

Someone asked me why not just make it a week. A week is a nice starting point, but I think it is not enough time to form new habbits or accomplish anything. I want to see what truly leaving it behind will do for me.

My intention is not to leave either Facebook or the online communities forever. I have met some wonderful people there and I love the community. I have FRIENDS there. And I adore it. But I intend to break my own habbits and reform some new ones. Step back, examine why, and then move forward in a way that is much healthier for me and my family.

I am not planning to ditch the blog for that time. In fact, I think I am going to chronicle it here. See what each day brings and talk about it.

So, if you are one of my online friends, please know that this break is about me and my own mental health, but has nothing to do with how much I like you or our community.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Been Off Pondering

I've not felt much like posting lately. I tried to upload some of our photos from the beginning of September here last week, but Ray is also in the process of doing a massive backup of our computer systems, so I was getting choked out. He says that it will take a while, but that once the initial backup is complete, then it will be nothing to keep it current. Let's hope he's right!

We've had a busy month here. Xander is in school. Liam is in daycare. And I am working. Turns out that I have enough work to keep me very, very busy, so I also gave my notice at the part-time job I have done at the chiro's office. It's a great little job, but I needed to either do another day of daycare or quit there. So I quit there. I do hope that my work will get busy enough that I will need another daycare day in 6 months or a year, but now is not the time. How much work is a lot of work? This month it is thirty 500 word articles and a webpage.

I am feeling like I am at a cross-roads with my online life. Lately I have neglected my blog. And I went through a big clean out on Facebook. Actually, I have the urge to do another big clean out. Why oh why do I have a load of people who are my "friends", but yet I have never met them? Many of them are mommies I've met online on chat groups for mothers. It's generally a good time there and I have made some nice connections.

However, I am starting to feel like I should back away from that too. Not that I don't value the community on a whole, but I find myself greatly irritated more than not when I go there. Ray and I have talked about this at length, and he said something that made me think: "What drew you all together was the act of trying to have babies, then being pregnant together, and now mothering. But there are so many more things that are differences." Couple that with what he calls 'Eric's Grandma's Rule" -- it's frome a gaming forum he visits and it boils down to the rule of conduct being "don't say anything you wouldn't say in front of Eric's Grandma" -- being violated hand over fist and you may begin to see why I am feeling ruffled these days.

So I sit at a cross-roads, and I am off on the side...pondering.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Day of School...1,2,3...Testing!

Xander had his first day of Junior Kindergarten on Wednesday. For those of you who are out of province, in Ontario we do 2 years of Kindergarten, a Junior year at 4 years old and a Senior year at 5 years old. This is Xander's JK year.

The first encounter is actually a 30 minutes meeting with the teacher for a bit of testing. It's designed to let her know the baseline that the kids are at and to get to meet them one-on-one.

I took a few pictures of Xander that morning, because he dressed himself.

A little frustration:
Got it!

And here is what Liam thought of the whole deal:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How Much Does 20 Pounds Cost?

Seriously, how much do you think that extra 20 pounds you are carrying around costs? We found out today. Ray and I started the process of getting life insurance about 2 months ago, and the answer to this question came to us out of the blue today.

It is no secret that we battle weight. Both of us come from a long line of families who battle weight issues. Ray has it worse than I do. He really does. Part of it is that he doesn't exercise, but he was not graced with anything resembling a metabolism either. And we eat fairly well. Reaching the 5+ servings of fruits and veggies is no issue here.

We've been approved for our life insurance, but Ray's has a caveat. He's too heavy, according to their little calculations. It makes him a risk. When I asked about this, it turns out that the "too heavy" is a whopping 20 pounds. If he takes it off and keeps it off for this time next year, our premium will drop back to the quoted rate.

And the amount it costs is $400.

Yup. $400!

So the next time you think, "Yeah, well, it is only 20 lbs..." consider that it could cost you. Literally.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Kind of Fond of Him

I'm a tad fond of Ray. I was just thinking about how our wedding anniversary is coming up. It's on the 18th and we are at big ol' number 10 this year.

How we got to 1o years, I will never know. Time just kind of slipped away. You know, while we were doing things! (No, no...things. Not *things*!!!) And suddenly I find myself on the cusp of our 10th wedding anniversary, with a little house and two growing boys. My own business. A partner who is well employed. And I am amazed.

It didn't start like this. When we got married we were both "under employed". Meaning we had jobs, but made almost nothing for money. We did not own a car. We couldn't afford one! And kids were on the table, but in a far-off kind of way. Hell, if we couldn't afford a car...

Then, two weeks after we were married, Ray lost his job. It was one of those catastrophic job losses. We had no idea what we were going to do. And, out of no where, I got my first job in my field. And a car. And a looooooooooong commute. We moved to the GTA a few months later. In the spring, Ray went back to school. I made more money. Ray spent more. We were both nervous about it. And we lived in a crappy apartment.

Then he graduated. Right after the tech bubble burst. And there were no jobs in his field. He searched. Then worked a retail job for 6 months (while volunteering in his field one of his two days off a week). I worked like crazy and made good money. We were afloat. Six months into this mass insanity, he got a job in his field. The money jingled, but did not fold from that job, but he loved it and it was in his field.

And then I lost MY job. It was the end of my contract. It was supposed to be 6-8 weeks and had turned into 2.5 years. I laughed. I couldn't help it. I knew things would work out. I spent the summer at home and Ray worked. Fall came and I got another job. That job SUCKED. I worked there for 4 years. Stupid, but true.

We saved money and bought a house. Started talking about kids. We had Xander. Ray got a REALLY good job just as I went on maternity leave. He's still there. The money folds!

I went back to the sucky job for 6 months, while my hair was falling out from the stress. I quit and started my own business. We decided to have another baby. Then Liam arrived. Chaos ensued.

We've had some vacations. Gone away with friends. Fought some. Stomped around some. Agreed lots. Cried here and there. And laughed LOTS!

Xander is going to school on Wednesday for the first time. Real school. It's amazing. Liam is a toddler and off on his toddler errands. I am working more and more.

And Ray, well Ray is kind of the same. He putters a lot. He's not very organized. He cooks well. He's good with the kids. He infuriates me one moment and makes me howl the next. He's still the person I want to tell all my little moments of the day to and the person who listens to me complain loudly when someone is being stupid. He holds my hand when we are driving long distances. He held me when I gave birth to Xander. He held Xander as they stitched me back up too! And he drove me all over town while I was in labour with Liam. He also was right beside me when Liam was born.

We've shared all of it, but it has gone in the blink of an eye.

And I am still kind of fond of him after all of this. I think I will keep him.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The One Thing I Would Change

Liam has come a long way from the baby who screamed all the time and blew out of his diaper each time he pooped (which was shockingly frequent). But there is one thing that drives me bonkers.

Each and every time this child wakes up from sleeping he screams. We aren't talking about a little fussing here. Or crying a bit. No, we are talking about full-on wailing. Someone-is-stabbing-me-and-I-am-dying crying.

YOU wake up to that every day for 18 months+ and see how you feel.

I've tried waiting it out.
I've tried rushing in to him.
I've tried waiting a few minutes and letting him sort it out himself.
And several times I have tried saying, "You know Liam, it is not necessary to scream blue murder each time you wake up."

Alas, it is all for naught. Still he screams.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to get him to stop this little habit, I am all ears.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bronte Park

Last week I had the good fortune to spend park of the day with my good friend Jeanaha and her three gorgeous kids. We had Devlin (5), Xander (4), Ceilidh (3), Liam (18 months), and Aisling (15 months).

The kids had a blast and the mommies did okay too.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sometimes I wish we didn't work from home

It's true there are big benefits to working from home. And most of the time I wouldn't trade it for anything. But there are days when I wish one or both of us did not work from home. When we bought this little tiny house, we had the idea that it would hold us and our stuff, plus the stuff for 2 to 3 children. No where in that plan did we have "both of us will work from home" in there. In fact, had we even had an inkling this would happen, we would have bought a much, Much, MUCH bigger house. MUCH!

If we didn't work from home, we would have one or two computers on a desk or two, in corners. Likely in the back of the family room somewhere. We would have three bedrooms to use. And we would have both a living room and a family room. The boys could each have their own room.

Ahh...but I am dreaming here.

We do work from home. We have no fewer than 6 working computers in this house. And YES, I do think that is extraneous. We can talk about that another time. My husband has our third bedroom as his office and I am working out of the corner of our family room. Which means that it is really not that useful as a family room. Too bad, since it is the largest room this house has to offer.

On the flip side, we get to shower and get dressed when we want to. Today Liam was napping and Xander and I went out for a little wander together to drop off a few things, while Liam napped at home with Ray working downstairs. We can trade off being at home with the kids, if someone needs to go to an appointment, we can do that without much fuss.

But the house is always messy, I find. And Ray's office feels like it is in the middle of the fray most days. It's hard to work with little people underfoot.

There are trade offs, for sure. I guess I just wish we had a few hundred extra square feet to work with around here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Balancing Working at Home and In Praise of Daycare Providers

Let me just take a moment to praise daycare providers. Yes, I know that there are daycare providers who are not wonderful. Someone is bound to post a reply telling me about their terrible experience. And I know that many, many mothers do a wonderful job as stay at home moms. Let me just say that I am not that mother. I need a break. I need time away. And I need to least a bit.

I'm a bit in awe of both stay at home mothers and daycare providers. The mere idea of spending my days only with my wonderful wee people gives me the shakes. I love my kids, truly. But I reach a limit. And I have thankfully found that there is a balance for people like me too. (Believe me, there was some guilt in trying to figure out the balance.)

I've been working as a freelance editor and writer for a few years now. I decided when Xander was 18 months old that working full time wasn't the right choice for me (although, some of that had to do with the people I was working with and how terrible the work environment was at the time), so I struck out as a freelancer. This has been far from easy, is made SO MUCH easier by our phenomenal daycare provider.

She adores our kids. In fact, our children think that they are so much a part of her family that my older son was talking about her children the other day as if they were his cousins. There is no greater compliment from a small child than that!

Our DCP (daycare provider) has helped us through separation anxiety, illnesses, allergies, potty training, birthdays, and even the arrival of our littlest one. When Liam arrived, Xander spent the evening with K and her family, who provided an atmosphere of excitement. Basically, they had a big party over there waiting for the new baby (and Gramma and Grandpa to arrive from out of town to take Xander for the weekend). Xander was a celebrity for an evening! And I credit K and her family with making the transition from only child to big brother a smooth one for Xander. In fact, other than Mommy and Daddy and the medical staff, K and her family were the first ones to meet Liam.

Xander stopped going to daycare on a regular basis last fall, when he started preschool. However, now Liam is going. We started with 2 half days a week and he is now going 2 full days a week, in preparation for big brother going to school. And he LOVES it! He gets to play with different kids and go to different parks and just socialize. It is a different experience and he is thrilled. The older kids see him and they descend upon him and he laps it up! The expression of joy on his face is priceless. And the way he sleeps soundly at night after a full day of running around is amazing!

So, knowing that my baby is having a good time and is well cared for allows me to come home to write and edit. Working my own business effectively. It also allows me to work during the day (rather than scrounging desperately for time at night) and have time during the days the kids are home to concentrate on them: so that I am a better mommy.

It's a balance for me. And I couldn't do it without my phenomenal daycare provider!