Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Damn You Auto Correct.

If Post Secret is cool and odd and weird and wonderful, this site made me laugh out loud... even after only reading a few entries.

I needed this belly laugh.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On the first day of Christmas, two cute boys.

Since I have had so much to say lately, and I am sure that I have scared off my legion of faithful followers by posting oh so little as of late... here are some pictures of my kids at a recent visit to the North Pole.

Brandon Elf. Pushing close to 4 and a 1/2. Where does the time go?


Connor Elf. All of 17 months already.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love those melons

I will post about my adventures in Maui... really.

Just not yet. I can honestly say I haven't really had the mental energy to weed through my experience in posts... I can say at times it was amazing, and at times it was surreal (and not always in a good way dealing with sick kids). It wasn't the trip I expected, and as always, you don't know what you are going to take away from the experience until after you get home.

On a complete aside, just read an interesting article about melons. No, not those kind, the kind you eat. Makes for a good read.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

run away... run away!!!

FB is many, many things. It is hard to believe that less than 5 years ago, we could all survive without it, and now, we are hooked in to checking our status and peering in to everyone else's lives we have ever touched and are now remotely reconnected with.

I was quite weirded out yesterday. A few people from my junior high days have come back in to contact with me - for better and worse. I guess the nice thing about FB is that it is at a distance and you can see what is up, and then leave it at that. The part that weirded me out is that many of the girls I knew back then are grandmas. Yes, grandmas. Their grandkids are in some cases, older than my kids. We are all 37. O M F G. I just can't imagine.

The irony is that when we moved away from where I went to junior high to where I went to high school is that my old friends thought I was moving to the sticks and made fun of me - making jokes out of going cow tipping and teasing me about how much I would miss city life.

I look back now and I am grateful I got out when I did - I would like to think I was on the path to university and other options, but it was a rough junior high, and I think it was a fight for the kids who stayed there and went on to the local 11-12 high school to get out (if that makes sense). It was a rough area - lots of us started smoking then, fights at the school happened quite regularly, and now on FB, seeing a few of the girls I hung out with back then, they all seem to have a LOT of kids, and some with grandkids, they look like they have had a much different life than me and different sets of choices.

Makes me glad in a different way that I "grew" up in the valley, that my early years made me realize that there was life outside of the valley, and that I was able to take the best away from both worlds. I am glad that I continue to live in the burbs, that my kids will be (fingers crossed) going to a decent elementary school, and that hopefully as a result their peer group will be on a similar life path to them which will continue on to secondary and then on...I know they will rebel and do stupid shit, we all do, but funny how wanting that best life possible does happen at a truly young age.

Ironic too that if I got teased about going cow-tipping from one group of people, cow-tippers teased me about crossing the bridge to the city and not understanding the life outside of their valley existence.. different worlds, and then different worlds again.

The local rag is running a series about early childhood development and I do believe much of our child's future is established early on in life... and then in high school, where we are all subject to peer pressure, how prepared we are to deal with it, and where we are able to go to school all goes back to those early years. I don't begrudge my kids the time we have spent cosleeping or cuddling, or all of the adventures that we have, I am grateful for it since these first few years go by so damn fast as it is, I want to hold on to them as best as I can. Although I can admit, I am looking forward to having our bed back and it being a special occasion when the boys do join us rather than a nightly occurrence..

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making mincemeat

I have always enjoyed baking and making things (I value homemade rather than always going for bought versions) and this weekend was no exception.

Made apple and pumpkin pies, and then headed to my MILs to make mincemeat yesterday. My DH has always hoarded his mincemeat tarts, and although I like butter tarts, I have judiciously avoided his tarts since they are his and his mom always makes them for him and presents him with his own package of them to last for a while. It is really cool how he partitions them out over the year, they are truly his, and it was a big deal learning how to make mincemeat this year. It is a basic recipe that his mom has used forever, and it calls for rum or brandy. Family tradition, coming from a line of rum drinkers, means that rum is the favourite choice... and we chose to use 151 proof rum. It's been a few years since I have bought any (if ever, although I have had it before) and I had to laugh when I read the warnings all over the bottle, how flamable it is... it even has a metal piece on the lid to help it from spontaneously combusting. Damn, you gotta love rum. When I added the rum to the cooked mincemeat, it let off an impressive steam of alcoholic vapours... we are now stocked until at least next summer when green tomatoes are once again in season... I will remember the learning and the making of the mincemeat this year, and it will become a family tradition for us.

Speaking of homemade, I got a few new cookbooks last week from my order of cooking utensils. They are decent cookbooks, but I noticed a lot of the recipes are "cheaters". I know there is a time and a place (especially when just a busy mom trying to do something different or fancy) but I don't always want to grab pillsbury dough or the frozen whipped topping... I do like it old school when I am in control of the ingredients. That said, there are a few things I will cut corners on... and I will go sideways on others. Some interesting ideas - I like that about cookbooks, just having the guts to try something new out rather than the same ol' same old.

Turkey. Can't say it is all that anymore - ever since I discovered how easy beer-can chickens are, and making crockpot stuffing... can't wholeheartedly say that turkey is the way to go for all those big family dinners anymore. Who knew?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

7:45 am

I have come to the conclusion this week that the period between 7:45 am and 8:45 am is a gong show for me.

I have finally mastered the getting up early bit, having my coffee on the couch instead of the car so I don't spill it down the front of me, and of getting the kids dressed and out of the house... but it always feels like a sprint. It is like cat herding, running uphill, or just trying to do dishes after a big meal. I feel like I am running to get out of the house, running to get Brandon to daycare, running to get to my office on time. it just feels like I am running to catch up... that I am smoking busy at work and haven't really caught up yet from being off on my mat leave doesn't really help all that much either.

So bah. That is my whining about the morning rush.

I have also been stalled out on the book that I am reading. I am reading an older Rankin novel, and it is a bit of a darker, or more gloomy one, and although I like it, I am really struggling to read it. I may just have to go sideways and pick up something else and come back to it later on.

Did I mention it looks like my desk at work exploded? *SIGH*

Sunday, October 3, 2010

all in my head... again

Weeks have slipped by and all of my posts have stayed up in my head.

Septembers are brutal months. Semester start ups are never easy (good excuse to drink Strongbow any night of the week) but this one just sucked.

I was gleeful on Friday, not only because it was a Friday but because it was October 1st, and that meant that September was done.

It wasn't terrible, it was just a grind. Just everything. Work has been an adventure - crankiness from not being able to take breaks anywhere close to on time, not being able to get out for walks, and then applying for a different job in my department, to getting interviewed, and then having it reposted and myself having to consider whether or not "staying the course" in the applicant pool was in my best interest. Now that was a great, introspective journey I had not anticipated taking this fall. Really, all I wanted to do was to go back to work and get used to being back at work and not get myself all geared up to apply for another job... yes, I want more responsibility and different challenges... but now that I have had more time to consider it all I have fallen on the side of the fence where the grass is greener where I am right now. Learning my job well, perhaps finishing off some of the certificate programs I started... hell, just figuring out this working full-time with 2 young kids and their activities, and trying to get quality with my hubby... and myself... and at least some of my friends at some point... well, I think that is my true priority.

It doesn't help matters when a few folks around work have asked if I will go for the job, and I tell well, I have looked at it from a personal level and I can't say that it is what I want at this time, and then they rave about how fantastic they feel I would be in the position... firstly, tell that to the higher ups.. if things would have happened on the original schedule I would have just rolled with it rather than take my own introspective journey about it the job posting... and now... well, I've mentally moved beyond in to the next hurdles and prioritizing what I want in the near future.

I could have done without the mental olympics to welcome me back to work.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

life with kids

This morning didn't work out nearly as I thought it would..

Up before 6am, Brandon jumped on Ken's back and inflicted a wee bit of pain, and Connor fell asleep during his waterbabies lesson. Yes, fell asleep. The kid is something else - first time in a motorboat at a lake.. falls asleep.. first lesson of waterbabies 2, falls asleep in my arms. Water does something to this guy! Brandon is now riding a bigger horse (was nice to see how surprised the ladies were at the barn by how much he has grown over the summer, I have discovered that pants that fit in May are floods in September) and the dill cukes weren't done for the year so we bought 20 pounds worth of them and I just finished canning the lot.

This was also the year of the blueberry, and not the year of the blackberry. First time in years I didn't get blackberry crumble!

Semester start up is something else. I have barely had time to think in the last two weeks and Connor cut 4 teeth in just over a week, and 5 in the last three weeks. FUN STUFF!

Needless to say, these are the days where 10pm feels like 2am.. and it is now normal to be up around 6am.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Out of my head

By the time I left the house this morning, I must admit, I felt pretty frustrated. The stall on the bridge didn't help much either... since then, I have been slowly working my way out my funk.

Last few weeks have been overall frustrating. Last week had my first encounter with Vertigo. It stuck around for just about 4-5 days, and at it's worst, I really felt like I was going out of my head. It took me a while to figure out that it was when I moved my eyes that life got bad. I was so relieved when it lifted - the BC healthbook suggested that after 5 days of vertigo symptoms that it was time to see the doc, so it lifted at the point I would have gotten my ass in to my doc. Made for a crap week, long days at work, head aches, and just not being able to concentrate. The weekend was better - my moving world was lifting and I had a good date night with my hubby.

This week is off at a breakneck pace. Busiest week of the year at work... and then swimming has started for Brandon so it was all about meal planning for the week. Crock pot meal last night (hey.. who knew that they work better when you aren't lifting the lid all the time?? not only that, but fresh mushrooms make for a far better dish than canned mushrooms. Go figure, I will put in the extra minute of effort in the future) and I made a dinner for Friday night which I froze on Sunday. First time truly doing that - but I figure with swimming on Wednesday and Friday nights right at 6... when I get home from work and daycare pick ups at 5:30.. had to be as organized as we possibly could be.

On top of all this, Brandon seems to be going through a growth spurt, and Connor.. well I am not too sure about him, maybe more teething, or a growth spurt, or even a developmental spurt.. but he just doesn't want to go to bed anytime soon.

I would love to have even a 1/2 hour at night with Ken... when the kids aren't asleep until 10:30.. and busiest week of the year... and getting over vertigo... there goes my nights. I have my fingers crossed for tonight - I think I will chase Connor around the backyard for a while and see if that helps..

Reading? My reading has completely stalled out for the last week. I have been so tired, I have barely cracked open a book. At least the house isn't a complete disaster right now... and laundry is somewhat okay... It definitely feels like a semester start up. Speaking of which, break time is over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

just a moment

I feel the urge to vent. I will admit, I did buy it in the "as is" section, and it was a decent deal... but I am pretty much done with IKE@ furniture. Under duress I will admit my coffee table and tv stand from there are decent (they are real wood) but I am not feeling the love for the dresser I bought for Brandon back in the day.

I guess the kicker is that I love the look of it - the downside is that I hate that parts of it are pressed board (wouldn't have guessed that when I bought it) and have already chipped, and that two of the drawers aren't staying in their brackets anymore and always look off kilter. Even "as is" it wasn't cheap, but it is acting cheap. Pisses me off.

So I was cruising craig$list to see what was about (amazing what people actually want money for) - not really looking, but not really not looking either more out of frustration with having to deal with the dresser. It reminds me of that song, she ain't pretty... she just looks that way... See, this dresser looks sturdy and well made, but nope... that is just the gloss and it pisses me off because I thought I was making a purchase that would see Brandon through to teenager-hood at least. I would have done better through a different catalog. In the very least, as I mentioned above, I need to work some magic on it to get it to a place that doesn't frustrate me on a daily basis.

On a total aside, I discovered the Lee Child "Reacher" series of books earlier on this year. I suspect that I will have read the entire series before Christmas. I get my teeth in to one of the books and it is done within 3 or 4 days.. which is saying something when you factor in family, work, and sleep!! I am already on book 5 (which may be done tonight... tomorrow at the latest)... at least he has written 15 so far... I still have a chunk to go... I have also been really enjoying Peter Robinson's books too... I feel like I have been striking a good balance between my literary and my suspense/action novels lately.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I was on a roll...

For a few days there, I was doing really well about posting a little bit more frequently.

Then life happened again, and all those posts stayed as clutter between my ears.

I interviewed for a position higher up within my department today, and I think I fared well. I feel like I am in a win-win situation since I do like my job, but if I got this new one, it would be a step up and I could really make a difference there over time. I am also sure that there will be times that more of my hairs turn white too. Overall, it went well. Not much I could or would change.

What I would change is my dear youngest child being up between midnight and 3:30.. at which time my dear husband took him for a drive to see if he would finally fall asleep (he did, but god forbid he actually sleep in past 6am). I think I got about 2 hours of sleep last night. Couldn't get it together quickly enough this morning, my oldest took his time getting ready, and then getting out of the car, and then ran in to an old friend from school whose kids are also in the centre (different area though)... time just was running through my fingers. I didn't fall down any stairs (like my last interview), but the laptop didn't have a DVD drive (I wung it instead), and I forgot all about breakfast. My excel test was decent - it really comes down to perception, and what personality my higher ups want and see themselves dealing with. I hope it is me!

To continue my whinge about lunch today- I was going to go for a greasy hamburger. Closed. Then I decided to go for a sub.. you guessed it, closed. I have settled for healthy fare instead. Somehow no matter how good mental lentil soup is... some days it just isn't what you wanted in the first place. Funny how life is just like that with what it serves up.

It has been a real mixed bag today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Class of 2014

It's official. I am no longer young.

Here is the full list, but this is what the world looks like to the class of 2014.

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

14. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

20. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

27. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

31. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

42. Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict.

43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

63. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

64. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

65. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.

69. The Post Office has always been going broke.

73. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.

Strange Tuesday.

Connor seems to be full on teething this morning and was miserable. It was also my morning to drop him off at daycare, and he was crying and clinging to me. It is amazing how strong he is as I pried his fingers off of my shirt and got ushered out of the house ASAP. I ran out, waving my arms and yelling out "tylenol if he needs it" ... seems to be my son gets teeth in groups. At 8.5 months, he had no teeth. At 10 months, he had 6 teeth. Now, at closing in on 14 months.. he still has 6 teeth, but lots of puffiness. We have a long way to go yet with this teething train.

Finished my book off last night and it was really good. I would recommend Where the Heart Is and I am glad the Nej told me not to give it away - I was just really unsure about it and I am glad I followed her advice. A totally different book about the heart of America, one scene I could have done without since it didn't seem to do anything for the book, but it was a good read, and a fast one!

This weekend felt like true end of my mat leave. No more work for 4 weeks and then get 2 weeks off again. Now it is just holidays to look forward to, and weekends! I had to make a few lists so I could keep track of some of the stuff I really wanted to get done, and I feel satisfied that the big stuff got done. The outstanding stuff all seems to be around pictures and our computer(s) - backing them up, printing some out, and perhaps even doing some digital scrapbooking. I just need to nail down a routine enough that I can learn the ropes of DS, and then build in the time to work on it.

I can't believe how fast it seems things get scattered around our place. It cleans up fast, and I think it is because we have smaller square footage, and four of us living in it, but it does feel overwhelming at times. Especially when I forget and leave the cat kibble on the floor and my youngest starts to fling it around. I look forward to a bigger future, and two bathrooms.

Found out an old family friend passed on this morning, and had yet another strange conversation with my mom this morning. It seems our conversations get weirder and weirder as time goes on - I am not really sure how to talk to her where we both walk away feeling satisfied. I never would have imagined how much better I get along with my dad at this stage, that it is him that I can ask for favours and help, and I figure that the first response I will get from my mom is a no. We are trying to find someone to watch Connor for a few hours on the 28th and it seems to be a bit of an uphill battle. These are hard years (with really young kids) trying to get some solo, quality time with your spouse. Hell, even to create the opportunity to take one kid out to a cool experience and leave one behind is tough. I am sure it will sort itself out but it's amazing how you can have a relatively large family, and still feel so isolated in some ways, especially when everyone is going in their own direction.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food.



Jamie Oliver is preaching a pretty powerful message.

And yes, I actually watched the whole thing.

I am glad I made all my own baby food, for both boys, giving them a good start. I am glad we make most of our meals at home... and that I am starting to teach them about food. This is a good reminder that this is a beginning... especially when I consider my own relationship to food, and my own extra weight that I carry. Some pretty heavy stuff for first thing on my last day of holidays... and a Friday the 13th to boot! Good inspiration for today, and tomorrow.

an odd read indeed

I just finished reading the Lace Reader, and I must admit, my experience resembled that of my dear friend, the KittenWhore.

It was an odd book, an interesting book, and now one that I am done with, and am still scratching my head a little bit about.

Would I recommend it, maybe. If you picked it up and were intrigued or just the right mood. I think I agree with KW that in many ways this book overstretched it's bounds and tried to do too much. When you reach the end, and an explanation of sorts, you then start to question the sequence of the whole book. There are parts that are brilliant, and then parts where you scratch your head and furrow your brow. It wasn't what I expected, and I wanted a little more of the lace reading... there were passages that I had to read a few times because the idea was novel - but overall, a strange book.

I did think it was interesting to note the author suggests that in the past there were no witches in Salem, and that now it is overrun with them. Interesting a town known for intolerance has evolved in to tolerance (of sorts). Some interesting ideas in this book, and I did enjoy reading it, but the end, and how the threads intertwined...yeah... One day I wouldn't mind seeing the east coast - Boston, Washington, Philly.. a few places in between.

I have a pile of books right now - some for both my reading selves. Some mysteries and whodunit adventures for the escapist side, and then some more literary books to satisfy my other, more "intellectual" side (laugh at self inserted here). After the Lace Reader I wasn't up for an escapist read, so I have started reading Where the Heart is by Billie Letts... which I think is going to be a surprising read

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And yet another beach

Looking outside this morning, I gambled that the cloud cover was marine cloud that would burn off pretty quickly. It did! I had a great day at my favourite beach, had some fish and chips, and we all built a sand castle!

Roar! I am a Brandonsaurus!

I am a goofy kid!
Times like this are precious. I have been itching to get out here for months.. so it was great to get out and play!

Monday, August 9, 2010

and that is that

My island tour ended with a bit of excitement...

Wednesday going in to Thursday Ken ended up some nasty food poisoning and extreme dehydration. This evolved in to a midnight trip to the ER and then many bags of saline to rehydrate my man. After a few hours of this, back at home, trying to reacquaint himself with his internal organs, Ken ended up having an allergic reaction to some chunky soup.

Victoria was almost canceled until I could hear it in his voice that he was on the mend, and that ultimately, coming home with two kids cooped up in a car for 4 hours probably wasn't the best thing for someone who desperately needed some rest.

Victoria was lovely, and it was just awesome to spend time with my Coz and her wee man. In many ways, she is like a little sister, and as we are aging, and now both moms, I recognize more family traits then every before. I also appreciate her, her sense of humor more too, and her man. Her hubby cooks like mine - well, and lots! I was able to hand off four bags of kids gear to her, and I was grateful.. and it made me smile to see her use the backpack I had used with Connor as well... something to be said about paying forward gently used kids stuff, watching the chain continue.

I am including this picture from our last night in Victoria, coming home from an amazing dinner at Santiago's... (it was touch and go for a few minutes, got Connor in the high chair and he started to move... I then used the napkins to tie him in to the chair and all was good!) My dudes are completely flaked out and exhausted, and Eli looks like he could go another round. Too funny. I had a great island tour - wonderful wedding, great beaches, and some amazing time with my family.

The wee dudes, exhausted after a week of traveling between Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox, and Victoria... with all stops in between!!

Eli... ready to go at least one more round!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Halfway through and island tour

After putting my DH on a plane for Vancouver, me and the boys headed to my Aunt's to pick up the girls and then head up island.

Mental note- Coombs on a long weekend, sheer stupidity.

Everyone and their dog was in Coombs. No, wait. Almost everyone. Everyone who wasn't in Coombs was in Parksville along the beach and boardwalk where people were parked everywhere!!! Total chaos.

Nothing like going sideways, hitting a fast food joint, and heading to Rathtrevor Beach. Now this was a surprise.. the beach was calm. We got parking - hell, we ended up with free parking because a lady gave me her ticket as she was leaving (we all know how much I love free parking) and there weren't that many people around. Yes, it was busy, but nothing like what we had just experienced.

Rathtrevor beach is beautiful. The vista is breathtaking, and the sandy beaches that stretch out for miles are nothing to sneeze at either. Now that I have young children, I appreciate that sand. Rocky beaches aren't great for toddlers. They just don't get a lot out of them for some strange reason.

Had a great time, and then headed back to my Aunts.. and then over to my cousin's for dinner.. and man, did we eat good. Nothing like good times with your favourite cousins and Aunt... and good food!! We even got some cheesy girl-tv...

Today I went up island to visit my folks, visiting some family friends in Comox. It was great - the drive was uneventful (that inland island highway is a fast highway!!) and the weather is spectacular. Spent the day on the beach, watching life go by.

The coolest thing about this trip is that Brandon has discovered beach combing... the wonder as he picks up crab, and tosses rocks around.. it is cool to see the wonder through his eyes. Connor just trucks along at his pace, pushing forward and toddling along. It is a cool experience heading out there now, with both kids mobile and curious. Took the old island highway back to my Aunts.. and ruminated about tomorrow's plans.. I think I will have coffee with my cousin in the morning and then back to Rathtrevor tomorrow. Time to build a sand castle!!!

Been another nice night of visiting, and then going to the park, night time routine, and then watching a girly movie. I love my husband, and I do miss him lots, and it has also been nice to have a few days of hitting beaches and watching shows I don't normally watch, spending time with the girls, and eating way too much good food. I think I will need to eat salads for a week after all the feasting we have been doing... it is nice to miss him, and hopefully be missed too! I am planning to head home on Friday.. after Rathtrevor and Parksville, and then a few days in Victoria. I feel pretty damn lucky.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Island Tour

After madly cleaning and doing laundry on Friday night, we got up at the crack of dawn to catch an early ferry on Saturday morning. See, my youngest cousin was getting hitched in the afternoon, and it is nice to get there with as little panic as necessary.

I think the ferry is a right of passage here on the coast - waiting in those line ups, that guy who never changes who has been selling the papers there, walking those line ups as long as I can remember, barely making ferries just as easily as missing them by a car. I can think of countless times I have wandered around Horseshoe Bay, just waiting for your ferry to come in, the sound of the horns as they round the corner.. and looking for the elusive beer can tree that clings to the side of the cliffs as you pull in.

Reservations do make life easier. It was nice getting there early and bypassing all the lineups.

The wedding was good - we were able to lend a helping hand with set up (which was cool to pay forward a favour... I have no idea of how many and who truly ended up being our helping hands, but truly, it is amazing how it all gets done, it was nice to do that for someone else) and even check in to our hotel early, so we all were at our finest.

I must say - weddings are a different experience when you are travelling with a 4 and 1 year old(s). The dynamic changes - neither of us caught all of the festivities, but we caught enough. The food was good, we enjoyed a night together... took all the boys back to the hotel and then I went back and ended up talking mostly to my cousin, and then watching my brother hit on one of the guests... by the end of the night, I got my bro home safely and I was just so happy to be home with my own guys...

Sunday we went to Newcastle Island on the little ferry that takes people back and forth from the harbour. For some reason, I find Newcastle just enchanting. This is our second time going, and each time we have had completely different experiences. It is a small island just in Departure Bay - it has a bit of everything, great beaches, old mill stone factory workings, evidence of the past, open fields, great hiking... it is a magic place.

After we went back to the hotel and we had a few quiet hours.. the boys slept and I finished my book and then we headed to my Aunt's for some family time - it was nice. Got to see all the important folks, have a great meal, and the time flew. Definitely a bit of chaos with both the boys and people eating on varying schedules. With two it makes it interesting - it is more of a juggle.

Brandon was so handsome in his suit, and Connor was so adorable in his plaid shirt :D My 95 year old gran looked amazing, and truly, I can't believe I have 2 kids, my cousin Carly has a kid... and Abby is married. Wow. It is really cool.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

more of that random stuff

Well, another week has come and gone and I can't believe how fast the days slip by in the normal grind.. er... routine of the day to day.

It is Thursday again, and my house looks like it exploded.

Dishes are mostly clean, most of the clothes are in the laundry bin, but, it is just a bit of scattered stuff about the house.

Last night I faded about 7pm... all the energy I thought I possessed evacuated me, and once the kids were in bed.. I quickly headed there myself. Oh - I am so exciting! 10 o'clock is the new midnight.. I have been lucky to read about 20-30 pages a night of a book, and I have a knitting project on the go that seems to keep stalling out.

I am enjoying work though - nice to be getting in to the swing of things. I like my new office, it is just awesome not having to share. I like being back on campus, I like that Brandon lurves his preschool and that Connor is settling in. Seems like the boys have been going through their summer growth spurt - at least an inch for both of them. This weekend we are heading to the island - my cousin is getting married and then the boys and I are going to stay on the island for some beach time and time hanging out with my Aunt and my cousins.. I cant' wait.

I figure I am taking the first two weeks of August off to cover my home daycare's vacation.. and the weather has finally improved.. I can't wait to go to the beach - Parksville, Nanaimo, Denman Island, White Rock.... gets lots of sun and time close to the water. Ken is flying back from the island on Monday and I think he is gleeful about the prospect of a mini-vacation from the lot of us. Seems like a win-win. I will spend 4 days on the beach and then come home.. and he gets to play x-box and be the king of the castle for a few days..

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am not super woman.

I am tired.

It seems Fridays just can't come fast enough.

Then Monday comes too soon and I still have laundry on the go, and the floors aren't clean, and well, sometimes the toys are still in the same place they were a week ago. Oh well.

We made 3 and 1/2 dozen cupcakes for tomorrow. B's first birthday in preschool and they do do celebrations. I am bringing in a few extra for work, since it is also a coworker's birthday.

Three weeks in, lots of posts that I have written in my head, and work is going well. Better than I expected after my first few days back. Things are coming back, and I am getting the swing of my new responsibilities, I gave up some of my portfolio, and I am now learning some new stuff. It is nice actually, to be coordinating different aspects of the student finance world rather than immersing myself in the same old, same old.

I came to realize today that in some moments it is just the cumulative effect that gets to you - trying to be a "good worker" and hoping that you are not taking to long to get back up to speed, to arrive at work on time, and not sprinting in from dropping the kids off at daycare where it seems there is always something that could be said, or trying to get there as fast as I can to pick them up again at the end of the day to rush home to make dinner, a little excited my day is done, and to be a "good wife" and a "good mom" and at least a "decent housekeeper" and maybe somewhere in there a "good friend" and then maybe, for a moment be a good daughter and daughter'in'law... just maybe, good to yourself and read a few pages here and there. Work is good, I love my man, my kids are cool (although tiring when they don't go to bed when they should and some downtime with my man would just be so nice) but those moments.. it isn't like it is all overwhelming... it is just that - wow. It's a lot.

It all comes back to balance. I can't say I am struggling with it, but I can't say it is easy either. Some nights I feel like I have lots of gas in the tank and can be funny and cool and some nights, not so much. I feel like I am stumbling between tasks, get dinner happening, then maybe hang out for a little bit, then bath time, then cranky baby time, then maybe some books, or some playtime, and then wind them down for sleep, and hope they fall asleep soon, and then maybe some time on the couch... catch up on a few of our shows. Thank god for our PVR and the ability to speed through shows with so little fuss.

So this post wasn't quite a whinge, but it is a ramble. A little more physical exercise would be nice, although wishful thinking. I am getting out for some walks on my lunch breaks and they are just so awesome. Nothing like walking in nature to put things back in perspective and to realize overall I am pretty damn lucky.

Get up earlier in the morning? You are kidding, right? Actually pretty consistently up about 6:15 and even then it seems the mornings are gone too fast.

Which all comes back full circle to the title. I am not super woman. Trying is everything.. HAHAHAHAHAH (yes, I am laughing at my self here).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Deadliest Catch

I admit it. Some reality tv is entertaining. I ended up getting hooked (ha ha) on Deadliest Catch a few years ago - it is compelling stuff watching those guys fight for those crabs... gives you a different perspective on work, leadership, teamwork, blowing off steam... this is a harder to season to watch as one of my favourite captains leaves behind an empty throne (capt'ns chair). I was just looking over this website, and stumbled on a quote that I can relate to quite well and are tuly words to live by -

When asked once what lesson he most hoped that Jake and Josh [Capt. Phil's sons] learned during the last season, Capt. Phil again showed who he was. “I don’t know if there’s one lesson, but in general, if I died tonight and was gone, I hope they’d have the integrity to do what they say, be honest, and do honest work for an honest wage and not short change themselves or anyone else. To be honest about how they live and work. Don’t sidestep things or try to cut corners. Do an honest hard job, and do it to the best of their ability."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hump Day

Three days in to this new routine and I am doing okay. Aside from a slightly emotional moment on Monday morning when I had to give Connor to Ken to take him to daycare... I have been fine. Okay.. maybe another moment dropping Brandon off at preschool.. but who is counting???

Monday, I felt like a scatter-brain. Shared drive? Jabber? Appendix 3's? What is this strange language you are speaking to me and expect me to understand?

Tuesday, well, after a lengthy catch-up meeting I slowly began to feel the shimmer of work-type intelligence start to sparkle again.

This morning? Well, it is starting to feel like I never left as I am getting familiar with all the old programs. Getting authority back for some programs has been an issue, but so far so good.

Once again, I begin my tenure at work with some records management. I have a great new office space, but of course, the last person left two full drawers in the cabinet... from 1997! It never ceases to amaze me that many folks don't rock the boat. So, considering those two drawers didn't make the afternoon, and I reorientated all the office furniture by lunch time.. what does that say to me? I feel badly for the person who left the office because the way they had things organized there was no room - now it is a spacious great office.... I could easily make myself at home here for a while! I am slowly bringing me here - printed out some pictures, brought in some of Brandon's art work.. looking like my space. People are stopping by and are surprised at the difference in the office since the furniture started to shift...

As far as I am concerned, if I am at work for 7 hours, 12 minutes (36 hour week... gotta love those extra minutes they squeezed out of last round of bargaining) I am going to make my space as palatable as possible.

I also have a beef with Mother Nature. It has been a terrible spring weather wise. No sooner do I get back to work than the heat wave starts. I need an office fan.

It still feels like a novelty being here, and I miss the boys in the morning when I have to leave them and when I get back in to the car... it is a huge shift for me. It really helps that I feel good about where they spend their days - I have always said that is what lets me do what I need to do during the day.

Speaking of which.. there goes my lunch hour! Back to it...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A working stiff again

Minutes are ticking by way too quickly.

Work is upon me tomorrow morning. I am sure it will be a bit of a chaotic morning. My DH and youngest go one way, and then my oldest and I will head up the hill. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together. If I get lucky, both boys will sleep until wakened, but they both seem to have some kind of Jedi sense when I am stirring, and they both seem to wake up soon after I do.

I spent a few minutes going though my work clothes tonight (yes, I have been in denial) and they mostly all fit. I am sure some of it is dated (didn't get a lot of new things in between kids, didn't seem to be a point) and there will be some shopping in the future, but I am pleased with most of it. My body has shifted a bit, and I would like to see a few parts of me shrink, and maybe that will come with a little extra walking now that I am back at work.

I had a few oddly affirming phone calls with family today. I am glad to be going back to work. I do believe that I am a better person/mom for my working self. I think the kids are better at being them by being with kids their own age too - they get things from their interactions I/Ken can't provide. Working part-time one day may be an awesome option, it isn't right now. So, the affirming part about going back to work happened in a back handed way when I was speaking to an Aunt on my mom's side... she asked me what my "goal" was in going back to work. I nearly choked. My first answer was "financial" I almost said "eating". My cousin followed this brilliant question (I was making phone calls for a family birthday celebration for the boys) up with a winner of her own ""so, if you bought say, less clothes for yourself, would you really need to go back to work?" I should note that although I have bought a few things here and there over the last year, I have been using coupons or going to a certain outlet store to do so. More replacing things that just don't fit anymore... okay, so I bought two pairs of shoes in Vegas...

(on a total aside, funny this parenting thing has revealed to me what parts of my family I am like and truly close, and then the opposing parts that I am vastly different from)

Wow. I am glad this gene skipped myself (not sure how my mom's bro has done it all these years but he is a bit of an odd duck himself) for just being completely obtuse. In nearly 20 years of marriage, my cousin worked part time for 2 of them. She is a very nice person, but she is very naive and isolated and a princess kept in her house. I have heard rumors that she had her couch redone in teddy bear print (a little out of touch with reality... or other people's realities). She doesn't like computers, and has no desire to really get out there and do much more than take care of her small family and garden (to each their own). I wasn't sure how to explain that I do like to work, and that I do need to work (we like our toys and to eat), and that it would be okay.

I don't need to hear how tough it is going to be going back to work - yes, it will be in a way, but in some ways, once we get through the transition, we will find a new way. Life is about change (for most people) and frankly, I like what working means we can do (like travel on occasion). So the conversations ended up being strange, and I got off of the phone shaking my head, but glad I was getting out and doing my job again, I like what I do and I can make a difference for folks.

It doesn't mean I can't whinge a bit about it - life is a changing and I will miss being with the boys 24/7 but it is also time that Brandon especially gets to preschool (he needs the challenge) and that Connor has other people to interact with... and me, well, speaking to adults again, doing my hair, and wearing a bra again regularly are all good things. HA!

Wish me luck. I have a lone strongbow left in the fridge to help with Monday night.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Poison Garden


A few years ago, a coworker gave me a plant we thought was a gunnera. I thought it would look really cool and fill in a space between a tree and our shed.

Every year it would send out a few tentative shoots, and then it would be so dry beside this hemlock tree that it would never get beyond a few leaves and then die off for the year. Infallibly, it would always revive itself the following spring and the cycle would continue. I always wondered about this plant, and hoped to see it in all it's prehistoric glory (looks like an ancient plant in my books, especially with that size... something from Jurassic Park...).

This year, with our lovely spring that has been so average that the spring weather we had for our winter Olympics was better, our "gunnera" reached new heights. Instead of spreading out in to a glorious looking plant, our plant reached for the sky and then produced great white flower blooms. I was a mite concerned, for this didn't look like what I figured a gunnera would. It being close to heading back to work time, and just me frittering away time with the kids, and not really being out in the garden, I have been actively avoiding this plant.

It turns out this a good thing.

Damn plant is poison.

Thank you to my caring neighbors who saw the 8 foot plant over the fence and saved an article for me from the local rag. Our "gunnera" is an evil, poisonous plant called a Hogweed.


As you can see, slight difference in between the two types of plants. Maybe not so much in infancy, but once a hogweed takes off, there it goes.

Check this out:

Giant Hogweed is a phototoxic plant. Its sap can cause photodermatitis (severe skin inflammations) when the skin is exposed to sunlight or to UV-rays. Initially the skin colours red and starts itching. Then blisters form as in burns within 48 hours. They form black or purplish scars that can last several years. Hospitalisation may be necessary.[1] Presence of minute amounts of sap in the eyes can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness. These reactions are caused by the presence of linear derivatives of furocoumarin in its leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds. These chemicals can get into the nucleus of the epithelial cells, forming a bond with the DNA, causing the cells to die. The brown colour is caused by the production of melanin by furocoumarins.

This plant is so evil that most cities, states, and provinces all have warnings on how to deal with this invasive plant. Our hogweed will be disposed of tomorrow... time to break out the hazmat suits!! Even Worksafe BC has produced a video on how to deal with this fiend!!

http://www2.worksafebc.com/Publications/Multimedia/Videos.asp?ReportID=34980

Be gone evil plant!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My second baby is one!!!!


Much like with the Don... folks have had opinions about Connor's hair. Even I can admit it had reached the point of no return and his lovely locks needed to be trimmed.

For me, this first haircut was a right of passage. Cutting both boys hair when they turned one was like saying goodbye to the baby stage. This time around it felt somewhat profound... this is it... no more wee babies around our house as our family is complete with two (not so) wee bairns. It is also a time for celebration! We are moving quickly in to the next stage. Connor is definitely a toddler, and Brandon is a boy - ready for school and the next stage himself.


What a wonderful day - we had the grandparents over for dinner, and some dear friends. It was a good dinner, great cake, and Connor had a great smash that first cake experience... Which is another rite of passage as far as I am concerned... every kid should make a complete mess of that first cake, getting in through their hands, and to see the wonder as the first taste of cake and all it's sweet glory happens.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I covet these.


When I return to work in but a week, I have these on my list of things I want to buy in the near future. So much for watching all those episodes of WNTW. I lurve these boots. I cannot believe how fast June went. OMG I can't remember a time that went so fast. I have so much to say, lots of catching up... if you check back in the next few days I am sure that I will work some kind of "date" magic to back fill some of the past and make it easy, leave some kind of footprint of where I have been, the cool stuff we have done, and even some of the books that have kept me amused over the last few weeks where I may have been silent, but I have certainly not been dull. Much like these boots. They are considered to be indigo mcmarten patent plaid. I call them cool.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Holding on to May...

If today was a really long day, it would mean that June would be a bit farther off than tomorrow. June means Connor turns 1 and my official return to work date is rapidly approaching.

Like my recurring theme of cleaning stuff out and letting go of stuff, it feels like I am half dwelling on my RTW. It isn't a bad thing, I am looking forward to regular paycheques, just not the daycare expenses. Speaking of which, after being on the list for over two years, B's daycare still cannot confirm if he has a space for July.

BLOODY HELL.

This month is going by too quickly. I know June will go by even faster. I have done some incredibly cool stuff in the last few weeks - went to Whistler, have caught up with a lot of girl friends, and been out and about as much as possible.

I feel almost paralyzed, not knowing where to start with the things I want to get done before I have time dedicated to work to factor in to the mix . I did clean the carpets - and within hours one of the cats had an accident and Brandon puked. I still need to paint the hallway going upstairs to the laundry room (who knows if it will get done when I want it to)... and just stuff. I am making lists again, which helps... but there are moments I stall out, and just feel tired, and wonder how the first few months back are going to feel since Connor isn't sleeping through the night and the housework still will need to get done.

I am sure I, and we, will adjust. It will be a transition period of chaos, and then the chaos will normalize. Such is how it is. Now I am off to make my first carrot cake.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I will see it through..

Ah yes, today reminds me why I won't do another garage sale. They are just hard on the soul if you aren't a real salesman. I am not a salesman. I may rave (and rant) about some stuff, but I would never cut it on commission.

Didn't end up selling the crib and mattress, I should have washed the cover and the fellow looking at it couldn't get over the cat hair on it, and that the zipper was missing a piece (the pull piece so I am attaching a safety pin to it) to show how the cover comes off. Whatever. My bad. He then wanted to buy the crib without the mattress, and no thank you, I am not making my life harder than it needs to be. Am now washing the cover and will put it back together and hopefully with the next person interested in it, we can make a deal.

Person buying my sling is going to come tomorrow instead of today. Joy.

We also have a cell that I want to sell, but I think I will be heading over to the auction site for that one. Taking in old books is one thing... but I am glad I paid a bunch of my maternity/old clothes forward, and am paying forward our other baby stuff. It is a lot of work, and dealing with people who want a great deal on a good deal. I do it myself, but there is also a way to do it where you aren't stealing from the person either... hence, it is just easier to pay stuff forward where you can. For the crib.. really.. it isn't used. I would like to get something for it... I could just do with out the roller coaster to get it out the door.

it's an odd one..

It looks like I am selling our crib today, and my baby sling.

My official return to work day, is looming closer and closer and I am so glad I have holidays tacked on to that date so I don't go back to work until July.

This morning, getting the big guy ready for swimming, I felt a bit melancholic. No matter how nice it is to declutter, it also means I am moving away from our baby stage and oh boy is it ever a short period of time that your kids are wee. It feels strange to know we won't have more babies (and this is good) and that this time is shifting quietly in to the next stage with our boys.

Brandon is so tall! He talks so well... and 4 is getting closer and closer and soon there will be kindergarten. Wow. My baby will be one... The time has truly flown. I want to hold on to every last day, and cram as many cool and interesting things that I can in to this time that I can... then real life interferes and I still need to do laundry, and clean the kitchen, and chase the dust bunnies away. It is so important to take those moments you can, and just enjoy them, even if it means leaving a kitchen disaster in your wake for another day.

Did I really say melancholic in the past tense?? I think that is the feeling of today. The weather is truly late spring - really heavy downpours, then bursts of sun through the clouds. Then the wind, and then a few rumbles. I think my mood matches the weather today - just all over the place. We also got rid of the bunk beds Brandon briefly used (nice alliteration there) yesterday, and although it still seems we are packed to the rafters in our small space, there is slowly being created a little more breathing room. Oddly enough I am learning more about quality rather than quantity. Either that or I am finally getting better about clutter.

On a completely different note, Brandon seems to have become a slow, drawn out eater. It drives me a bit bonkers at times, and at other times, it is like water off of my back. Today, lunch has taken 45 minutes so far... I have told him no favorite show at 2:30 unless he eats his lunch. I am not sure if he is just testing me... but he still has grilled cheese left to eat. He has eaten grapes and some watermelon, so if he doesn't finish it all, I won't be too concerned. He is not going to waste away any time soon! (just no show when he wants it) HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another year older

37, you are looking pretty good so far.

Birthdays are a funny thing as you get older, you tend to stop paying attention to the increasing numbers ad you start to just embrace the days more since they seem to start going so damn fast.

I had a good weekend - Ken made some amazing meals. Got halibut on my birthday, and then steak yesterday. Ah, it was a fine weekend. Got spoiled by all of my boys and my mom took me to see Buddy yesterday. What a great play - one of the best musicals I have ever seen, awesome music and a good story, true to how things unfolded. Spent time with all of my immediate family, Brandon went riding, went for a drive, had an ice cream cake... pretty damn cool I must say.

But another year older already??? My boys are almost a year old and 4 years old?? Wow.

Almost at the countdown stage... 7 weeks before I am sitting back at work on a Monday morning. I have been trying to catch up with folks I care about and places I love to see and so far I have been pretty successful. Having some great times with my boys.

All in all, a great birthday weekend, I felt pretty special.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food

Well, I am still on the extended 30 day challenge.. the nice thing is that the game automatically shifts your end date for you... I have completed 9/20 workouts so far and I do think my ability to do squats and lunges has definitely improved... LOL I also have extended my 30 day challenge in to a ... err... umm... challenge??!

We are also on a small health kick, concentrating on whole foods for a few weeks. Ken is doing a cleanse, and I am doing a pseudo-cleanse (still b'feeding) to give our systems a kick-start. I am really trying to stay away from most bread products and to eat a lot healthier. Whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, no red meats, no packaged foods or prepared foods. I did this cleanse 7 years ago and it seemed like such a bigger deal in terms of what I could and couldn't do. Amazing what a few years and a few kids will do towards your attitudes towards food, especially having chosen to make all of my own baby food for both kids.

It is easier this go around. Alcohol hasn't been a factor (rarely drink), and I have switched out my lattes for espressos in the morning. It seems we are halfway through and we have eaten a mountain of fruits and veggies.

Eating like this is better, but it also requires a lot of effort in terms of planning and preparation. So far I have "re"learned a few things... spaghetti squash tastes pretty darn good and is easy peasy to make... making your own salad dressings is easy and they taste pretty good too... I think I will try to incorporate more salads in to our routine rather than just taco salad... I like lentils and I don't like quinoa. Coconut tastes great on oatmeal, as does adding a handful of raisins... eating nuts can be addictive... flax doesn't taste so bad and is a nice, healthy way to assist your body in moving stuff along and lowering blood pressure and/or cholesterol. This experience is good to reconnect me more with food, and to think about what we are eating in a different way - a little more aware. I don't think you can eat like you do on a cleanse forever, but I think you can carry some habits over after the fact.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Open.

After a few days of reading and learning more about tennis than I have in my entire life, I have finished Agassi's autobiography, Open.

I found the beginning more refreshing - in a sense, learning about the early self of Agassi, and I found the whole book an interesting read. Although an autobiography, what you do learn a lot about it is AKA's relationship to and with tennis. I found myself cheering for him at times, and cringing at others. I really appreciated his voice, and laying parts of his life bare - his failed relationships and his brief flirtation with drugs. It feels like an honest read, and one in which you can see his character mature and grow up within the sport of tennis. This is a good book to read even if you aren't a tennis fan. It's funny, being about the same age I was aware of AKA, and some of the tennis rivalry's, and that he had been with BS... but it is different reading about it from his perspective, and his voice. In another decade, it would be be similarly interesting to read an autobiography of Crosby, as he has matured and grown up in the limelight of hockey.

Towards the end, a passage really struck a chord with me - AKA is speaking of who he has become, as he leaves tennis and embarks on his life with his family - "What people see now, for better or worse, is my first formation, my first incarnation. I didn't alter my image, I discovered it. I didn't change my mind. I opened it." Agassi, p372.

He doesn't envision himself as someone who has transformed, but formed. I like this idea - I joke about the many selves I seem to have been over the years, but you know, I like this idea of me "forming" over the years rather than transforming from one self in to another self. I like the idea that what has been happening is me opening my mind, and seeing the world with eyes that are gradually being opened and learning new things. What I have been through are experiments of self, figuring out myself, and it's funny to have read such insight in this book.

Books are always full of surprises, like people, when you least expect it you find a rich plum that you will bring in to the future with yourself.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Treetops Adventure

It's funny how you can live your life in a place and never do many of the touristy things. I have only been to Capilano Suspension bridge once.. and that was a decade ago. When a friend suggested the Treetops Adventure with her girls, I thought it sounded like a great way to spend a Friday afternoon. As a resident, you get a year pass for a decent price, and we will be back. They have really improved things, and it is a great way to pass a few hours in the woods in a spectacular setting. It helped that the kids were free :D and I like that it is a year long membership and we can come again on a whim.

A view of the bridge - a thrill as it rocks back and forth over Capilano River.



A portion of the treetops part of the adventure - it was great. Felt safe with the boys, and it wasn't too hard for Brandon. It was pretty magic with the views, and just being up in the forest rather than at ground level. The company helped, and we packed our own lunch. Can't have enough days like this.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

adventures at the pool

Some days it is much easier to take one kid to the pool for lessons at a time.

Flogging both kids to get to the pool to be there early, as in before 9:30, is nothing short of toddler Olympics.

We made it in the pool for 9:20.. moments before B's lesson. I am impressed - he seems to be getting the hang of his floats, so I have everything crossed he will be progressing to Swim Tots 2 for the next go around. Since we didn't have a lot of time, and a play date after, he didn't get to do some marathon dunks with me (getting him used to the water, getting his face wet, and orientating himself around water). It was probably for the best, since it more fun than work today in the pool together. Yes, I work those skills together when we are in the pool with both kids.

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall.... Humpty dumpty had a big fall! (even Connor will edge himself to the side of the wall now to dump himself on the water with "fall").

Played with C-man in the pool for the duration of the lesson, we made it to the whirlpool for but a few moments (you know, my ass still hurts from the lunges yesterday...) before B decided he needed the facilities. I waited for how long for him to start running, and his favourite place to run is the pool deck. Nothing like hearing my voice calling out and telling him to stop, and watching the other parents give me that LOOK. We also got to be those folks in the shower where one kid is singing and chattering at the top of his lungs, and one is crying because he is just done with being in the stroller and is a little hungry. The volume went down immediately as we opened the door to head out.

Ah. Peace at my friend's house and joy watching our kids play together. What a strange oasis of calm in chaos. The mocha helped... it seems one byproduct of this whole parenting gig is that I am gaining a different kind of clarity through life's lessons - what is important, what brings me joy, and what battles I am not willing to become involved in. Little kindnesses now mean so much more too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Without a doubt, I can feel my thighs.

Minutes in to my mat leave last year, we bought a Wii, a Wii Fit, and an Active. We have all had fun playing with the Fit, and my DH tried the Active a few times, and made a few comments about his thighs burned when he was done. From the sidelines, I had to agree, his thighs were red after the workouts...

Of course life moves on and with a small baby, and a toddler, life is chaotic at the best of times. I pretty much lost 20 of the 30 pounds I gained with my last pregnancy, but my weight has hovered around the same range (up and down within the same 5 pounds) since then.

Knowing I am heading back to work, and knowing we are heading to Maui this fall... I want a bit of weight off. To feel better for myself, to feel a little healthier, and for all my boys (the little ones and my big guy) since I have big expectations for them and I should also be doing the same with myself.

I am putting it out there for greater accountability. I am doing the Active - 30 day challenge and I am just going to watch what I eat a bit better and make sure I drink my water. We shall see.

I am two workouts in to the challenge and my legs hurt. Damn squats and lunges.

April showers and poetry

A funny thing about being on mat leave is that I have found myself becoming more in tune with the cycles of nature - I am not sure if this is so much about being off and being able to "watch" the changes, or a part of aging and just being more aware.

April has definitely been about showers bringing flowers... my tulips this year were beautiful, and we had lots of blooms in our gardens. I am not sure what I am going to plant in my plot this year - I am leaning towards corn and peas and some flowers, and I am hoping my strawberries do a little better than they did last year. They were bigger than their northern wild cousins, but not by much.

I have to admit my reading habits over the past year have been quite satisfactory. I am glad that I am ranging through new and different books, and that I am taking some "risks" at what I am willing to pick up and read. I just finished Gilbert's Committed and I must admit, I truly enjoyed the book. I was curious about it, but I was equally skeptical as well, especially since I didn't think Eat, Pray, Love was as much as all that. I found that I could relate to some of her thought processes, and how she made peace with her (second) marriage. I liked some of the research that she drew upon, and I also enjoyed the tribute she makes to Aunties everywhere. It wasn't the book I expected, and I am glad for it.

I also blitzed through Angelou's Letter to my Daughter. Parts of this book were sheer inspiration, and other parts left me a bit wanting. About Angelou, I too have been curious because we have all seen the emails that liberally quote some of her writings and reflect her philosophy. I didn't mind the earlier chapters that were more like vignettes with a bit of a life lesson, but the later chapters which were more poetry, I found I wanted more. I like novels, I am not as good at short stories. All in all, worth a bit of your time to reflect upon some of the experiences that reveal some of life's lessons to see how they resonate with you.

I find it a personal weirdness that I feel moved to write poetry and I have a hard time reading other people's poetry. Yet, that being said, there are some poems that have never left me.. Like John Donne's No Man is an Islande, or Leonard Cohen's You have the Lovers, and then I think of a few Frost's, and Coleridge, and even Rupert Brooke's WWI poetry... some Yeats, some Shakespeare... okay, maybe I am starting to show off my English Lit major stripes here. Perhaps I am on somewhat friendly terms with some poetry after all... but honestly, with much poetry I find that I go in to a skimming mode. Although there are some short stories that I have truly enjoyed, I will normally steer myself towards novels.

Now I have embarked on yet another biography. I think I have read more non-fiction in the last year than I have in the last ten. This is one I would never have expected to pick up, nor would I have expected it to hook me within the first paragraph. I am reading Open, Agassi's autobiography. I was completely skeptical when I first picked it up (a friend loaned it to me, telling me that it was a surprisingly good read that I must try) but it is a helluva story. I am only about 50 pages in, but it has been eye opening and it comes off as very honest. Agassi's voice has been surprising so far, how he relates his younger years, his fearful father, and his hatred of tennis (although I would say it balances a bit on a love/hate slider). Will be interesting to see where this one ends up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

a small victory of sorts..

Today was a today of little milestones with Brandon.

We acquired a motorized Jeep for him, and he paid his first case of beer to a friend of ours to fix it. Welcome to a lifelong habit...

I finally broke and took him for a real haircut. I started cutting it and realized I was a little afraid of making a real mess of it - I don't want it too short, he has a cowlick, and I really don't want the front to look like a bowl cut. So, down the hill we went for a real hair cut. It felt strange pointing out to the barber that Brandon had a shunt and I really didn't want his hair too short around it, but the moment passed painlessly and away we went. Brandon did awesome. No crying or fussing, but I did hold his hand. It was sweet.

To top it off, he did walk his way in, and walked his way out. No stumbling, no falling, and pretty much no hand holding. This is a small victory of sorts - his walking has come so far in my year off. I was proud of him for how he did getting his hair cut (he looks like such an old boy... I love the longer hair do, but when he says it itches and it is in his eyes, it is time for a cut) and for how well he is walking - he didn't want to hold my hand... he really wanted to do it on his own. YAY for Brandon!

I also learned an important lesson about plating food for my almost-four year old. He loves roast beast, and gravy... but he tends to load up on the potatoes and "lava" and then is too full for anything else. So, I arranged the food so the potatoes made a nice volcano, carrots for rocks scattered around, and bits of roast beast in the lava that was in splotches everywhere. Funny enough, he ate everything!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

frozen in time

I have been meaning once again to capture some thoughts, but it seems that when I have been sitting down in front of my white screen, not a lot of comprehension or inspiration has been happening.

So, I regress in to some random thoughts.

I hope that I unconsciously allow for change in my life and that I don't pigeon-hole people in to one role in my life, and who they are going to be as a person in my life, for their lifetime. I got the sense from an old friend recently that they had no clue who I was in the present moment, nor did they really seem all that aware of the fact that their notions of me are about 10 years old, and even that is a bit generous. I guess I want people to see who I am becoming, and not just who I have been.

This goes back to that post I had linked to a while ago - why write someone off today when you don't know what their true potential is?

I am more today than I was yesterday, and by tomorrow, I hope that I am a little more than I was today - whether it be something learned, or a moment that takes your breath away, and just having lived another day with some kind of story to tell for it.

I still hate paying for parking.

I am reading a book called Committed, and I think I enjoy it more than their first book (which has really become a bestseller) but I am not quite sure how much I like it. Parts I am really enjoying, and parts make me reflect, and other parts are too self-deprecating making sure that their reader does not give the author more authority than they can lay claim too - I guess too many qualifications at times for a biographical book that is from their own (limited) point of view, education, and experience... I do get it you aren't an expert, or an anthropologist or a sociologist... and that you are on your own path of self discovery ... check! let's move on already...

We had a pretty cool play date this morning, and this afternoon we made some pretty yellow play dough. Brandon has never played with play dough and I really wanted him to experience it, especially since there is so much you can do with it creatively and with your hands... What a satisfying thing to do! Like so many other things that seem so much harder before you try to do it yourself... it was really easy to make. This is the recipe I followed:

Play Dough Recipe:

1 cup white flour ( I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”. Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes–add food coloring during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag. This makes a good amount of play dough.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

A good idea?

Why did I think that swimming lessons at 9:30 am were a good idea, Tuesdays and Thursdays?

It is a sprint getting the kids fed and out of the house, especially since we are going to the pool that is a little further away. Okay. I will admit it, I dropped the ball a bit and wasn't able to register the big dude in to the next set of lessons until a bit later on in the process and the better times and place were already filled up. So, I am sucking it up and going to the other place at this newer and somewhat obnoxious time.

It isn't that we aren't up already, we are... it is just pulling it all together to get out of the house for about 9 or 9:10 to get there with a few minutes of breathing room. I also forgot that you have to pay to park there, and we all know how much I love to pay for parking. In the master plan it works, hence, why we are doing it. I would love to see B get through this set, and then one more set of lessons before I head back to work.

I must say, there has been a huge difference between how he was in January to how he is now... so much more comfortable and confident out there! Swim Tots 2 here we come (fingers crossed).

I am running around like a crazy person, and I think that rather than all 3 of us going in to the pool today, just B will. Then after we will head to a local park. It is a gorgeous spring day out there! Plus there is another mom there that is pretty cool to talk to.. which makes the time just blitz past.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Being next to THAT person

Well, this is a weekend that has screamed by and I am not quite sure where all the time went.

Friday night I got a night out with the girls. We were celebrating the first anniversary of being 33 for Jen's sistah (so extended family, really) and we went to a pub and then a comedy club after. The pub made me feel like a bit of a fuddy duddy. See, I get out so much now that when I am out, it is a bonus when I can actually hear you when we have a conversation! It was loud, but the food was good and I did manage to get a few words in. The part I laughed about is that their deejay is a guy that used to be around 15 years ago when I used to club down the street... and I remember requesting a song by the Violent Femmes and being told to go back to Luvafair (the alternative club at the time in Vancouver). Give me a loud rocking pub for the Superbowl or a hockey game... not so much for a birthday dinner out with friends when everyone doesn't know each other and it is nice to yak...

Hey! Not only am I a fuddy duddy out on a night's pass, but I have also dated myself! LOL...

Then we went to the comedy club. *SIGH*. If I had to base whether or not I would ever go back to a comedy club on this experience, I would never go back. Luckily I have had many other, better times seeing comedians. I got to sit next to *that person*. You know the one that has never been before, is really drunk, and is feeling really self conscious (drunkenly emotional and insecure) at their stage in life. I am sure that they are quite nice when they are sober... but they were a one person wrecking machine at the club. Between them and someone else in the club they managed to screw with everyone's experiences at the club. The club manager even told them that the "interactive part of the evening was now over". I was embarrassed sitting next to them and struggling to be polite. I felt bad for the birthday girl, and I felt bad for me, and Nej.. since this is one of the few times we have been out without kids in the last decade and this person is kind of screwing with our zen. During the second comic she was such an ass that it was like she threw the comic under the bus. He didn't even get to do his skits and jokes... it totally unraveled. I have never seen the likes of how things went down as the evening went on for the comics. I felt for them... It was so bad I apologized to the MC after.

Then was the after. Drunks falling down the street, not knowing how they were getting home, and me wishing for my own bed and a new day. It was great to get out with Jen and her sistah, and I met some really cool people, it was not cool to have the evening end in so much drama. I am so over it.

Saturday was a blitz - morning was chaos, and then to Brandon's riding lesson. I am so proud of him, he is doing so well horseback riding!! Like he was born for it... and then to a 40th wedding anniversary. GREAT partay. A few really funny moments - in Jen's DH, I saw the same look in his eyes that my hubby gets when presented with far too many people, and I got it. Go have fun doing your own thing, and I will do my thing... and then when Jen's 7 year old came up to me, begging for his brother to play with Brandon because he was tired. I laughed. Made me feel better that my 3 year old could exhaust a 7 year old... I KNOW THE FEELING!!

Sunday - quick trip stateside to see some tulips and do some shopping. Enough said.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Limits

I tripped upon an interesting blog post today about limits. Accepting them, or, IMHO, leaving them on the sidelines.

The post ends with this simple, but profound statement: "isn't it worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they may become."

That stopped me in my tracks for a few moments and I reflected upon my own life. In a sense, this is an indirect reason why I stopped reading parenting books (aside from the innate guilt they appear to serve) and working towards breaking the habit of saying "I can't" (whether it be myself or one of my immediate family that utters those very words). I look at myself at 15, 20, 25, 30, 35... even last week. I am not the same person. Core values and essentially me may still be the same, but experiences and thoughts are changing who I am all the time as I push forward in this thing called life. I am not the girl I once was, and I am not the mom I was when I gave birth to my first son.

I see potential everywhere - and with my rose coloured glasses, I tend to try to see the positive. I call them TSN-turning points (yes, I do love my sports, especially the contact ones) where something can pivot on a dime and go one way or the other. What if you wrote someone off in that moment? Not knowing who they could become?? An open mind may mean some disappointments but also means some really cool surprises too.

Like today. First day of Brandon's next set of swimming lessons. He is repeating the first level of Swim Tots (like most other kids, that first set has a lot of skills to master before you can move on). If I accepted limits, or figured that life was static, I would have assumed he would start off where he finished. He rocked today. I was so proud of how well he did! The instructor even commented how comfortable he is in the water, and then we played for the next hour and he was just awesome, diving live a fish and running around. Damn cool. Why would I limit what he can and cannot do?? Or for myself for that matter? How far can one go if you don't try?

I try to parent (and live) by providing as many opportunities as I can. Whether it be to pick up a paint brush, or a crayon, or to hike in the woods, or ride a horse... does it matter if you do it well as long as you tried and gave it a good go? You don't have to be the best at everything you do, you just have to try and do it to the best of your abilities. I would also add to not settle.

Well, so much for a quick post. I wax philosophical yet again. Must be something in the water.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Finishing off LO

It has been a while since I chronicled what I have been reading.

I do tend to swing between a few poles of what I gravitate towards reading-wise. I have found a new suspense/crime writer, another Brit, Peter Robinson. I blitzed through the first book of his Inspector Banks series, Gallows View, and theN followed it up with A Necessary End. I really enjoyed both reads. Robinson is of the same ilk as Rankin, but perhaps not quite as dark? Both writers are very skilled at their craft and a great way to spend a few hours. I also read the prequel to the Nina Reilly series by Perri O'Shaughnessy, Show No Fear, and it too was a good book. I found the end of it a bit haphazard, but I enjoyed the background information and connections that were revealed between the main characters. I am just about done a Tami Hoag book, Dead Sky (aka Prior Bad Acts) that has redeemed the author a bit in my eyes after the last book I read by her (Alibi Man). DS brings back a few characters that I enjoy, the and the writing is a little tighter. AM was a good book, but it felt a little more "fluffy" than this one does. I am about 2/3s of the way through, and I am enjoying it.

On the other end of the spectrum, I finished off Living Oprah and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I should also mention that I had a (brief) conversation with Okrant through FB and she comes off as a lovely person. It is amazing that with this new technological age you can read a book by a person, be touched by them, and even let them know it in a quick way. It's funny some of the things you can take away from a book. We are getting a new to us couch in a few days, and with the cats, I am not going to allow them to destroy this couch the way they dug in to the (once) nice one Ken brought with him. I could make excuses and say the cats were young, but I didn't train them that well from the beginning to not attack furniture and have been paying for that since. The joys of being young and newly independent when you get your first animals that you are truly responsible for! So, now in my new and improved more responsible self, I am going to go by some advice in the book and put some double-sided tape on the couch the to turn the cats off their scratching. Some glue between the toes should be a good deterrent!

What else can I say about this novel? I appreciate how RO stuck by her guns and returned the Kindle that she received. It's about honour, looking yourself in the mirror. I would have anxietized (a real word in my personal dictionary) about receiving it, and ultimately have done the same thing. I appreciate the honesty and earnestness of this novel - of putting it out there unabashedly and leaving yourself open to life. There is something about honesty that is attractive.

I found myself agreeing about how RO reflects about interacting with other people "I've cultivated a deeper understanding of how I may be more respectful of other people, not only by listening but by being fully present when they reach out and share with me." (p 252 hardcover). I agree wholeheartedly. I feel like I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago when it seemed I transitioned from having a lot of superficial friends to a smaller and closer knit circle of good girlfriends that I don't always get to see in person, but the feeling is always there.

I also appreciated the ruminations of what a "real woman" is, and what she does with her day. The real woman is a bit of a myth as much as it is a misnomer. It is nice to see it in print and be able to acknowledge this. I also like the rejection of the word normal or average. What do they mean, really? I don't think my life has ever been normal or average and I suspect I am not alone in this. Everyone has an unique story and that is what makes life interesting. I like how the book ends with a few thoughts on what her year of LO was like - the highs and the lows, and what she gleaned from the experience. RO states that in seeking the for her, seeking her own"'highest vision possible'" [it] will never be found viewing a television show, flipping through a magazine, or in seeking the approval of others." (p257).

As I said in my earlier post about this book, I didn't expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did. I found that it struck a chord with me, and reaching the end, I felt an affinity for RO. I feel that we can take many (unexpected) lessons from books, television, magazines, classes, (hell maybe even church if you are slanted that way), and other people, but at the end of the day, we are all the captain of our own boat's and need to chart our own course. Many people choose not to, or be influenced in their decisions by others, but truly, it is so important to listen to what resonates as right and true inside - being true to yourself and what you hold dear. Honesty, authenticity, integrity. Values that people respond to in others, but only once the individual has done their own work and found them inside themselves.

Okay, enough waxing philosophical. Time to play with my son!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A different but sweet kind of Easter...

Officially, Easter in our household fell on Good Friday this year. We had a good brunch with my folks, decorated eggs together, and then had our folks (and my bro) over for dinner. It worked out really well! It wasn't too big, everyone got on well, and the food. Well, the food was pretty damn good if I must say so myself. We did what I would call almost an anti-traditional dinner and it worked out amazing.


All hail beer-can chicken! Since turkey is no longer favoured in our house, chicken is the next best thing. The winds were howling outside, so we brought the skewered chickens in and cooked them in the oven. We followed this up with sweet potato pie, broccoli salad, and crock pot stuffing. Didn't miss the turkey or the mashed potatoes... I made a tiramisu for the first time. O M G !!!!! One of the best desserts I have ever had, let alone made. It was amazing, and not that hard to do either. Marscapone cheese isn't cheap but damn does it make one fine dessert. Followed some advice and also added baileys to the whipping cream. What a decadent dessert!! I will definitely make it again when we are feeling the urge to splurge!