Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Grown Up Christmas List

You know, the stuff I'd really like to ask Santa for:

10. $100,000

9.   For all the kids in my class to get just what they asked for

8.   My driveway paved

7.  Tickets to the World Junior Hockey Games (any games played by Canada)

6.  For my sister to have her baby sooner than later so she won't be cranky over the holidays

5.  An evening with Drew Barrymore: drinking wine, in jammies on her couch

4.  Tickets to see Ellen

3.  Housekeeping for a year... (for life would be greedy)

2.  No debt. NONE!

1.  Shemar Moore & Matthew McConnaughy under the tree.... bow and all ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From Nugglemama's Handful

Julie, the kind keeper of Nugglemama's Handful recently featured me as her Canadian Blogger of the Week.
Awwwww, thanks, Julie!

Here's the link:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Never underestimate children and the true meaning of Christmas

Since having children I'm a sap. (Thanks @AnneLouiseC for pointing that out for me on twitter.)
I get emotional over the slightest things, especially at Christmas. (Yes, I'm the one tearing up at the Santa Claus parades... sigh)

Here's how today's moment went (as told to me by a co-worker).

Background info:
The local shopping mall teams up with the police service and school board to offer a day of shopping & dining for about 40 children each year at Christmas time. (The children are generally those who would be in some way "disadvantaged" and could benefit from the positive experience.) The police escort the students to the mall, act as chaperones for the shopping event, and generally just provide a good role model to the students.

I had the honour of nominating my school's candidate for this program this year. I thought about the students in my class and got stuck on one particular little guy. While he doesn't lack material goods, I thought he was someone who could benefit from the "role model" aspect of the experience. And, he's someone who I know would truly appreciate the opportunity and remember it for years to come.

Well, my little man went to the event. A staff member drove him to the mall, and while in the car, she was asking him if he had a list of things he'd like to buy with the $100 gift certificate. He indicated quite clearly, that he would be buying something for his mom, and his dad for Christmas. My co-worker reminded him that he should have something in there for himself, as well. He agreed quietly and away they continued on the ride.

They made it to the mall. He was merrily and proudly on his way through the mall with his escort/buddy/role model for the day. At the end of the event, Mister was no where to be found. My co-worker was waiting and waiting. No sign of him. Then, out of the corner of her eye she saw him coming. They waited for some prizes to be drawn and then, as it was time to leave, she motioned that he was forgetting his jacket.
"Um, just wait. I have to go somewhere with these 2 guys (his policeman escort/buddy and another person)."
A little while later, he came back... beaming, but unassuming as well.

See, Mister took the $100 gift certificate and went on the shopping trip through the mall and bought not one thing for himself. He spent the $100 on gifts for his mom and dad and sister. Not one gift for himself. Nothing. He's 12 years old.

His escort/buddy for the day was so touched by this act of selflessness, that he and another escort both took him to a store and bought him an NHL jersey & hat; so he'd have something of his own... and in a way to express their pride in what he had so selflessly done.

But, wait... it doesn't even stop there! Each child was given a stocking full of gift certificates, gifts, etc. One of the gifts in his stocking was some kind of perfume. He asked my co-worker what it was. She told him, "perfume. Your sister or mom would probably appreciate that, you know." He continued looking through the stocking.
When he was finished, he took the perfume, held out his hand, and offered it to her saying, "You know, I really appreciate you driving me down here, today. Thanks."
With tears in her eyes, she assured him that his sister would love to have it, but "thanks."

That, folks, is one of the reasons I'm a sap at Christmas.
That will probably go down as one of my proudest teaching moments.
That is the true spirit of Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yes, your kid is great, but...

In light of some things I've heard, witnessed or experienced, I've been thinking a lot about being a mom and wanting the best for my children. Think about it. We all want the best for our children. We expect the best for them, and in some cases, we demand the best for them. But, is this the right thing to do when it means someone is getting hurt in the meantime?

Pause for a second and think about how involved you may be in your child's education. As a teacher, I see varying degrees of parental involvement. I'm very lucky that my daughter goes to a very reputable, small school where I have chosen to send her because I know the quality of education she's receiving is second to none. This school offers many unique learning opportunities for all students. And, frankly, some people (parents) have been abusing this fact in a manner that in the normal classroom setting would be called "bullying". (I will graciously and professionally leave that at that.)

The other event that led me to think more about this is a piece that was aired on our local CBC radio station. It is the story of a young mother who has witnessed  the worst in "hockey parent" behaviour in local rinks. She's speaking out to stop it. She wants parents to step back and look at their behaviours when it comes to their kids. She has a reason to speak that you need to hear. Please take the 5 minutes to listen to her story... especially if you have kids in organized sports. Her message is clear, succinct, and heartfelt.

So, although we all want the best for our children, I think it's time that many of us step back as parents and look at out actions, listen to our words with a fresh perspective, look at our children and hug them, look at the children around our kids and realize they are someone else's pride and joy. More importantly, we need to remember the messages we as adults are inadvertently sending our children when we lash out as a hockey mom, when we chastise another child, when step on the high and mighty pedestal and expect the world to bow to our orders.

Please, listen to one woman's story.
Please, take time to reflect.

They are all children.
They are all our children.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Poem to Keep Your Christmas Shopping Budget

Just this this posted on a friend's facebook page.
It's a poem to keep you on budget while shopping for your children this Christmas season:

Something they read,

Something they need,

Something to share ...

Something to wear and

...Something they want!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

on page 124 of your thesaurus...

...You'll find the word "mother" (well, not necessarily on that page, but you get my point).

In my thesaurus here's what it says:

mother -- mom, mommy, mama, butt-wiper, nose-wiper, chin-wiper, mouth-wiper, milk-pourer, milk-provider, driver, chaffeur, librarian, chef, waitress, maid, personal assistant, secretary, spokesperson, teacher, songstress, nurse, washer, jungle gym, psychiatrist, analyst, catalyst, Mrs., dishwasher, concierge, kitchen help, sweeper, winer, whiner, employee, employer, hairdresser, bull horn, confidant, CEO, CAO, DaWife...

get the drift? I think that's enough to cause a sore-ass in the thesaurus!

Special thanks to @BOREDmommy's tweet that inspired this post! Thank you!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 things I am thankful for on Thanksgiving Day 10/10/10

1. My husband
2. My children
3. My job where I can laugh and marvel everyday at something.
4. Living in CapeBreton
5. My tweeps who allow me to feel connected when I sometimes otherwise feel a little alone & out of touch
6. Good CapeBreton fiddle tunes
7. Talents
8. The internet (sad.....
9. My blackberry (.....but true)
10. I'm most thankful today that my son didn't electrocute himself or burn down the church when he took off with my keys and put on a little "show" (aka - Look at me on the altar where I know I shouldn't be & all you guys are laughing at me) at church this morning!

Be gracious!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making my skin crawl

Back to School.
Back to Work (at school).
Back to Reality.
Head Lice.

Those last two words make me crazy! I mean... CRAZY. Being a teacher, head lice have been a regular part of my teaching days; throwing my hair up in a ponytail, washing my hands a million times, getting itchy at the mere mention of a case of head lice in our school. I've coped. I've survived unscathed.

But this year is different. My daughter is a student at the school. She's in the field, at the front line of the little creepy, crawly, stigmatized creatures. That makes my skin crawl more than usual.

It only took 2 weeks for head lice to darken the classroom door; my daughter's class. The head checks started. I had a vague idea of what I was looking for. I read the pamphlet that came home with my daughter. I've googled, and googled and googled some more. (example) I've checked, re-checked, and checked my daughter's head again and again. Nothing yet.

We've got the tea tree oil shampoo on the go. We have tea tree oil itself. We've got the lice comb. I even have the treatment just in case.

Sadly, I've become obsessed. Every itch, scratch, windswept lock of hair is under my scrutiny. When I'm driving, I'm checking the visor mirror to make sure I don't see any little friggers crawling anywhere on my own head. Each trip to the washroom has me stopping at the mirror, doing a "quick check". I feel like my skin is crawling...

It's consuming my life and I can't stop!

I know it's inevitable that my daughter gets them. I know it's a normal part of life. I know it speaks nothing of cleanliness, status, well being. I know when she does get them, it will be annoying and a lot of work, but we'll deal with it and cope just fine -- just like every other family has in the past.

But what I know more than any of that is...
I'm completely grossed out, spooked and scratching once again. I'm in a sad state.

Anyone have any pointers/tips for me?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm like your favourite roll of toilet paper...

... or your trusty dog.
Your favourite sweater?

That's me -- loyal. I'm the queen of loyalty.

How loyal am I? Well, once I had a hairdresser that mistakenly dyed my hair a plum colour (AWFUL!) but convinced me it looked good, and I went back to her. Again and again... until she moved. Then, I started going to another hairdresser and stayed with her until she moved -- something like 4 or 5 years -- and I hated my hair everytime I walked out of there.

That's a piddly example, though.

I'm loyal in so many ways it's sad sometimes.
To my hairstylist, aesthetician, brand of toilet paper, makeup (I'm very loyal to Shoppers Drug Mart!), wine, beer. Ugh.

But my true loyalties come to my friends.

I'm a fiercely loyal friend. If we've become friends, I'll always expect it to be that way. If we've drifted apart, I'll hold fast to the memories we carved. If you cross me, backstab me, I'll feel sorry for you and still hold on to the goodness of the past.

As I write this, though, I'm thinking that maybe it's not loyalty... maybe it's absurdness. Maybe I'm an old soul. What remains, however, is that I've had to do a lot of reflecting the past few months on friendship, loyalty, honesty, etc. and it still plagues my mind. Loyal or not.... I think I am.

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.

Ann Landers

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What do YOU expect from your child's teacher?

For 24 hours a day, I'm a mom.
For about 12 hours a day, I'm a teacher.
Yes, e v e r y  d a y. Weekends. Evenings. Christmas Vacation. Summer Vacation (aka, right now). I'm constantly thinking of my job... well, it's not really that, it's another part of my daily life, another part of who I am. I eat, sleep, breathe, think about teaching or teaching related things at various points each and every day. (In fact, this week I'm participating in a Math Academy for sixth grade teachers, and the true geek in me is loving that I'm learning so much!)

Come September 1, I'll be starting a new teaching assignment. To some it would be considered an easier assignment than my previous Primary through Twelfth grade assortment. Others wonder why I'd want to "just be a classroom teacher". Me, well, I don't quite know what to think, other than I'm very excited to be a teacher of the grade 5/6 combined class in the school I've taught in for 10 years. It's exciting, exhilirating, and a tad bit scary! (lol)

I'm going from the "teacher of many courses/disciplines" to the "classroom teacher of your child".

My questions for you around what you, as parents, want to see from your children's teachers:
  • What makes them good?
  • What's the best way to communicate?
  • What do you want communicated?
  • What's your opinion on homework?
  • What do you really want your children to learn?
Can you help me out? I want to have a multiple-parent-point-of-view to help frame my own mindset as the new school year approaches.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daughter Dichotomy

Apparently I used to be shy and quiet; can't really see it, but that's what they tell me. I guess it was once I started dance lessons at age 8 that I became more outgoing (being thrown onstage in front of 100  people kind of does that to someone, I guess). Since then I've danced in front of thousands of people, provided professional development for hundreds of teachers, presented a research project to hundreds of people and spend my working days in front of people.
I'm far from shy now!

So, it's with this outgoing personality that I find it so hard to grasp my daughter's shyness. Man-oh-man. She won't talk, interact with, or otherwise engage with people she doesn't know extremely well.... see, for those of us she does know very well, she's all drama, attitude, bubblingness. A lot of times, she's over the top. This is the kind of girl I can relate to!

Thus, it kills me to have to speak for her with people trying to engage in conversation with her. It kills me to hear that she barely says a word for the 4 hours she's at day camp, yet when she gets in the truck I get a play-by-play of every detail, everything she learned. It pains me to see her clam up and cling to me like speaking will draw out her last breath.

Sometimes I speak for her. Sometimes I force her into speaking by saying that she'll have to learn to speak up for herself in school in September. Most times I wonder if this will be a passing phase once school does start in September. A lot of the time, I must look like a liar as people who read the blog I keep about her see the polar opposite of what we at home experience on a daily basis. She's incredible. She says things you'd never expect. She keeps us on our toes. She's Ramona Quimby from the movie Ramona & Beezus. But if she doesn't know you, you won't see this. That makes me sad.

She's my daughter dichotomy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sometimes you find something that just explains it all...

A friend posted this on facebook this evening; it speaks to me on so many levels.
I think it's ingenius! Thank you, Carolyn for writing from the heart!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Friendship Sucks...

Think about it. Think about friends, friendship. It sucks.... at least to me it does. It's caused me a lot of heartache and thought lately.

In the past few months I've had some "friendship" moments. I wrote a blog post about a friend who blind-sided me. That really bothered me; still does.

Then, the other night at soccer, my daughter's team was playing the team one of my "best friend's" children are playing on (apparently... I didn't know they were playing this year). Their mom and I were chatting; we haven't talked in person since before Christmas. It was awkward!
 We used to be the best of friends. Through thick and thin. Through pregnancies. Then, life happened. Life with children. Life goes on.


See, since having children, my "friendship life" has dwindled. Life, rightfully so, has been all about breastfeeding & diapers, sleepless nights, visits to Grandma's house, juggling work and home life..... An occasional play date with my mom friends. A birthday party here or there. Everything friend-like became centred around our children.

With the thick-and-thin friend above, over time and five children between us, I wondered who this uber-cool, ultra-perfect, my-children-are-perfect, I-must-plan-a-picnic woman was! Wow! All of a sudden I was seeing a side to this friend I didn't recognize at all. The whole phoney Martha Stewart/ keep up with the Jones' act was wearing thin.
We had grown apart.

So... that makes me down two of my closest friends in a couple of paragraphs.

Then tonight I got a Facebook message from my oldest, dearest friend. (We haven't seen one another in maybe 2 years and we live only an hour away from each other.  We've only chatted on FB infrequently, lately.)  It brought tears to my eyes. I smiled.

See, we lead totally different lives now. There was a time when we would spend every single weekend sleeping over each other's houses; we told each other everything; we made it through some iffy-situations. We were two peas in a pod. And I hold onto every memory of our friendship from way back when, just as I'm sure, she does. I had tears in my eyes because as she spoke of my children (she has chosen not to have any) and the love I must have for them, she wrote about how she takes time to check in on my life through FB, checks out my pictures, watches my children grow. Only she would be able to pinpoint that aspect of my life in a few succinct words. Only she would be the one who would make me blink back the tears, smile a big smile, and be utterly grateful for the life with my children that I have. And all our friendship is now is memories.

That is why friendship sucks. I'm at a time in my life where friends and friendship take a backseat to family life. And friendship sucks because I'm a big softy and I hold on to all the memories with my once closest friends. I don't want our lives to change.... my views of our friendship to change. I don't want my friends to change. I don't want time to get in the way. I don't want time to change.
Friendship sucks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moments of Peace

Ok. I know it's only week 1 of summer vacation, but with this sudden minor heat wave, I've got some cranky, whiney kids on my hands! (If only I had the octopus genes so I could manage getting the 3 of us to the beach... it's nearly impossible!)

So, I've been seeking moments of peace. Little Mommy Time Outs. (I'm having one write right now!):

  • When Caillou or Imagination Movers are on TV
  • When 17 month old is completely engaged in eating, in his high chair & 4 & 1/2 year old is eating anything from her favourite foods list (anything that's pasta)
  • When I sneak up and out of bed before they get up and I check out twitter and have a cup of coffee
  • A little afternoon escapade that results in a double nap in the backseat (I've been known to park somewhere and relish the silence!)
  • Sitting on the deck watching the kids run and play in the yard... nicely.... together... like they get along
  • At about 10pm-12am when I either sit on the deck with the laptop or a book or simply sit in the big arm chair and completely veg.
  • A simple burst of fiddle tunes on the tv/radio/iPod/computer
  • Hearing this song on the Holiday Inn commercial on tv
  • And, I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that I do find it completely peaceful when either of them sneak up on me and give me a great big hug, or simply snuggle in beside me on the couch.
How/where do you find your moments of peace?

Peace.... sigh....
(It also comes in liquid wine, coffee, latte, etc)

Monday, July 5, 2010

School Thoughts: Thanks to @CoffeesCommutes

Wow. Decisions, decisions, eh?

Like Christine (@CoffeesCommutes), my daughter will be starting school in the fall. While we didn't have the Catholic vs. Public debate that Christine and her hubby had where we live, we did have the choice between the small rural school where I teach vs. the larger slightly more (and I stress *slightly* lol) urban school down the road.

Our decision was fueled by many thoughts:
  • I teach at the school so I would be there -- Bonus.
  • Originally I was going to be teaching her for 2 subjects -- Wasn't sure how that would go.
  • She has been going to the school with me for different events her whole life. She knows the school, the staff, the students. -- Bonus.
  • To go to the other school would mean having to arrange afterschool childcare at my home -- not exactly easy.
What secured our decision to send her to the small school where I teach was values & morals and the way other children who go to that school are raised. We want our daughter to be surrounded by wholesome children...  where having the best brandname clothing doesn't necessarily matter and it's ok to be 11 and still believe in Santa Claus, for instance. I can honestly say there's something about the children I teach at this school. They're good kids; they're wholesome!

However, this spring saw some disheartening attitudes and scenarios with regards to the school, some parents, etc. Some people were hurt (emotionally) and discouraged. And, we were left wondering if we wanted these darker moments to possibly influence our daughter when she goes to school. After some longgggggggggggggg thought processes, discussions, rants, etc, we decided that what makes the school special is the teachers, the students, the community... it's way more complex than just a few instances.
As @KidsCrafts told Christine on twitter,
School whether Catholic or public is defined by teachers that hopefully inspire, but there are no guarantees.

Her heart is set on starting school there. MY heart is with that school.
Sometimes you just have to follow your heart.... and there are no guarantees.

Friday, July 2, 2010

a long sigh coming

Hear that?
Yeah, that.
It's me.... letting out a huge sigh.
Welcome, Summer Vacation!
It seems so weird for me to embrace summer vacation with such vigor and need. I'm the one who usually keeps working well into July (I'm a teacher, for those of you who may not be aware.)
I cannot lie. Since returning to work from maternity/parental leave, life has not been a picnic. I've been tired, busy beyond comprehension, cranky, irritable, feeling and looking fat, questioning life, questioning morals, questioning just about everything. I don't think summer vacation could have come at a better time.

So what is my plan for this summer?
Well, I plan to relax at home with my kiddies, in our pajamas or grungy clothes for extended periods of time. We'll swim in my aunt's pool whenever the weather allows. We'll go to the beach as much as possible.

I'm gonna read what I want.... which is copious amounts of magazines, blogs, and 3 novels I want to finish.

I'm taking a weekend away from family with my cousin. Tenting. Beer. Music. Heavenly.

We're taking a family vacation to PEI for a week, followed by my cousin's wedding in New Brunswick -- a 4 day affair for us, as we'll be back to school shopping for my daughter who'll be starting school in September.... and who has an uncanny addiction to H&M... go figure.

If all goes according to plans, I'll also lose 5-10 pounds this summer. (hardy har har... that would mean less beer, I'm thinking)


It sounds so..... due. In due time they say.

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking. ~Earl Wilson

Let's see how this summer plays out. I'm counting on it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Note to a friend...

Note to a former friend

Dear "Friend",

Remember when we used to have chats and could trust one another? Well, I do. I remember you were reading a book then; it was Don't Sweat the Small  Stuff. We would have nice little chats and you would tell me "not to worry." "Life is too short." "It's all small stuff."

Well, honey... I think it's time you dusted it off and paid it a little revisit!

Sometime between having your children and becoming whatever it is you are now, you've lost the focus.
You've become the perpetuator of the small stuff.
You're now the one who makes mountains out of mole hills. In fact, no one even noticed the mole hills; all we see are your mountains!
Some things are not your business and you serve no purpose in sticking your nose in there.

Oh... and you're not always right.
You are not almighty.
Your children eat, shit and sleep just like everyone else's.
Your point of view is not the only one.
I don't have to agree with you. And, if I don't, it doesn't mean that I am against you; that I am wrong; or that I have an agenda.

Oh yes.... and it's not "cool" to be two-faced. Nor is it polite to get caught shooting me those kind of looks.

I don't know who you've become, and frankly, I don't want to know.


Someone who used to be your friend

PS -- I'll still be civil to you. In fact, because I'm a better friend, I may even suggest you take a large step back and revisit your little prophetic books. Maybe I'll even suggest you take a look in the mirror.
Cuz, honey, what you've become ain't pretty.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Parenting Paradox?!

So, apparently, this evening I "undermined" my hubby's parenting. No need to get into the minor details, but there is need to discuss such a thing.

Who does the majority of parenting in your home? Discipline? General upkeep? Is discipline the only form of parenting?

In my home, I'm the one who spends the vast majority of the time with the chillins. This is, as I am told,
"because of my schedule".
Um hmmmmmm.

I get them dressed in the morning, fed, out the door. Drive for the 35 minutes to get them to the sitter. Pick them up after work. Get them home. Entertain them until supper. Feed them supper... you know, the usual. Weekends usually see me spending at least half of Saturday with them, while hubs does stuff around the yard and so on. Sunday he has his usual golf game. So, me and the kiddies again.

Now, don't get me wrong... I don't begrudge any of this; I love my children dearly. But, sometimes being with them 24/7 can get a little hard on the head, you know. And, it may make me a little cranky. So be it.

So, where do the parenting rules come in? Where do they fit in such a scenario? Yes, we both should have a say in what's right and wrong; punishable vs. nonsense. Do we agree on all accounts? Nope. Do I grin and bear it sometimes? Yep. Do I bite my tongue? Yep! (ow)
So, where does this go from here?

Is there a winner? Does one parent have more clout than the other? If one parent spends considerably more time with the chillins, does that person have more clout? If so, where does the other parent fit in?

I know this should be equal; but according to tonight's discussions (or lack thereof) it is not.
Insight, anyone?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Um, it's kinda about covering your ass...

Well, there's one reason for this post.... staffroom conversations.
Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're pure poison. This morning's was good (and it involves moms!).

It had to do with clothes. Mom clothes.
Don't fret...
It wasn't about the dreaded mom jeans... or granny drawers. Instead it was about their antecedents!

Once you become a mom, unless you've got some fine genes (hardy har har, no pun intended) in your make up, we're thinking that the extra "skinnage" we tend to acquire is something that can't be officially avoided nor ignored. (Yes, yes, yes, we try... we try to exercise, eat right, nip, tuck, blast it away, but for most of us, it's still there... and so is the chocolate cake on the kitchen cupboard and the gooey alfredo pasta on the restaurant menu!)

Our collective solution: Reitmans Comfort Fit pants! All 5 of us who were discussing clothes in the staff room this morning had on Comfort Fit pants! (It's casual day; we all had jeans on.) I swear by them. I wore Comfort Fit dress pants through my whole pregnancy. Saved a fortune. Now? They hide the rolls. They nip & tuck without surgery. They are stylin! We love them. We recommend them. We think you need to experience them.

Drathais / Drawers / Skivvies / Underwear / Panties (I HATE that word)
Gone are the days of thongs, lacy little numbers, and all those other adventurous items I wore down there at one time. I've inherited my grandmother's arse. It's not a minor item. And post-pregnancy I'm all about comfort. I searched and searched for the perfect underwear that:
  • were comfortable
  • created no lines in dress pants
  • wouldn't ride up, over or around any undesirable areas
It's been a long and arduous journey, but I've found them!
Womens Denver Hayes PERFECT FIT PANTY 2-Pack Briefs
Get your arse to Mark's Work Wearhouse NOW!
They are amazing. I've turned half the female staff onto these perfectly fitting, covering gems.
3 of the 5 of us in the staffroom today are wearing them.
The only thing that would make these better was if they came in a nude/neutral colour.
I love them. Long time.

So there you go. Our arses are comfortably covered.
We care about your arse, too. Give them a try!

Note: I've received no renumeration from the above mentioned companies, nor do I work for them or am associated with them in anyway (except for regularly shopping there!). However, should representatives wish to offer me free merchandise for singing their praises... my arse would love it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sigh... And suddenly everything is ok... Breathe it in.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Starting another motherly chapter...

Two more sleeps.
Two more sleeps, Mamaidh!

In just two more sleeps, my daughter will be going to school for her grade primary orientation day. Wow! Can we just stop time for a while, please?!?!

I've been giving the whole "first year at school" thing an awful lot of thought lately... but not just because my little girl will be starting school.... more so because I'm a teacher.  And... I'll be teaching my own daughter for a half hour each day come the fall.

My inner debate surrounds which hat will I be wearing in the classroom with my own flesh and blood in front of me? Teacher hat? Parent hat? Do I choose? Do I have to choose?

Not only does this scenario have me reflecting upon my own teaching, but it really has me analyzing, surmising, scrutinizing the teaching other teachers do. And parents, too.

  • Do I want my daughter to be experiencing such-and-such with Ms. So&So?
  • How will she get along in Mr.A&B's class? What if she doesn't?
  • What if a teacher... my co-worker/colleague... treats her unfairly?
These are the questions I have with her preparing to start her school journey, and I know all the stakeholders involved. I know the processes. I know the school, the parents, the students, their backgrounds... every single one of them!

I can only imagine what it must be like for mother's to send their children to larger schools where they don't know those people who are going to shape their children's futures. Wow. I'd be a wreck!
(And as it is, I'm already hyper analyzing all aspects of my teaching, decorum, etc!)

And, so... I guess, another chapter begins... whether I like it or not.
I'm sure you can imagine there will be more posts about this in the fall!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Of all the things I am...

I am...

a daughter
a big sister
a wife
a teacher
a friend
a piano player
a shopper
a make-up addict
a beer lover
a tweeter
a researcher
an organizer
a stepdancer
a professional development geek
a red wine drinker
a hockey fan
an easy going, fun loving girl

but before any of those I am something special...

I am a mother.

Those people I mentioned above are now smaller parts of me; pieces of me that have taken a backseat.
For now, I hold the most important occupation, passion, love:

I am a mother.

There is no greater love.
No greater responsibility.
No greater challenge.

But it's part of me I'd never change; never look back upon with regrets; never complain about; never expect anyone else to understand, because no one can ever be a mom to my two children like I am.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.

I am so proud to be a mom, so humbled, that even writing that brings tears to my eyes and a slight lump in my throat. While tomorrow will undoubtedly bring gifts, I'm afraid I've already received the greatest gifts of all.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Too good not to share...

I'm reading a book for my final Masters level course: Empowering the Child: Nuturing the Hungry Mind by Raymond H. Hartjen, Ph.D

This quote / framework struck a chord with me, not only as a teacher, but as a mother:

I will be compassionate with my fellow beings, be moral in my decisions and relationships, be open to all points of view, and be creative. Be self-reliant and call on my inner strengths to get over hurdles, both large and small.

He then speaks about how these are some of the essential human skills children need to develop to realize their full potentials.

Pretty much, eh?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Sacrificial Limb

My Sacrificial Limb... no typo...

As my old family doctor once put it, my back problems were
"because of your genes... and not the one's you're wearing."
I come from a long line of people with bad backs; my father, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, grand uncles have all had back problems, accupuncture, regular chiropractor visits, MRIs, CTscans, etc. Yay for family trees - pout- I am also the runt of the family (both sides) standing in at a whopping 5 foot fawk all. (Yay for me! The only people shorter than me are children under 10 years old!)

So... throw a couple of pregnancies into this mix...

I was lucky (?) enough to simply gain a baby belly while carrying both my children. From behind, you'd have no idea I was pregnant; from the side was a whole other different story! I had a BELLY -- both times. I don't know how many times I was asked if I was carrying twins, or when my due date was only to have people gasp when it was 2 or 3 months away. (Makes for a hellish cranky pregnant mamma!) My daughter, though, was born a month early and weighed 7lbs, 6oz... she would have been over 9lbs, they speculated. My son, he was a week overdue, and weighed 9.5lbs! ACK! (Just to note: I'm no scientific/yoga genius down there; I had c-sections with both... my "lowers" thank god for that!)

My real persistent back problems started by month 4 when I was pregnant with my son. Sciatic pain was dehabilitating; I'd be walking in a mall and almost fall on the floor in pain. It led to numbness in my left leg. It wasn't pleasant and because I was pregnant they couldn't do x-rays, so my doctor suggested I see a chiropractor:
Dr. Kate. I heart her!
I was in rough shape. She actually asked if I had been in any car accidents I was in such rough shape! (I wasn't!) She said my SI joint was, well, fucked.  Kate worked on my back twice a week until I was 8 months pregnant. SThen we switched to once a week simply because it was winter and she was scared I'd go off the icy roads driving the half hour it took to get to her place. I was also going for bi-weekly massages! I was a mess.

After giving birth, we all thought things would get better. By the time my son was 4 months, though, things were only getting worse with my back/hip/leg. My family doctor gave me exercises to do and sent me for x-rays. The x rays confirmed Kate's suspicions -- my SI joint was f'ed -- but it was because my pelvis struggled under the weight of those 2 children; it was titled and putting strain on the joint. It was causing my body to be aligned as if I had one leg shorter than the other.

Soooooooooooooooooooo.... in order to correct this, I needed orthotic soles for my shoes. More appointments! To make this already long story shorter, the orthotics have been a godsend! They, coupled with still regular appointments with Kate, keep me aligned! Yay!
But there's a problem...
What am I going to do in the summer? I was the one who wore sandals from mid-April until the first of November! I doubt I'll find sandals that will accomodate my not-so-sexy orthotic insoles?!?!? And I won't be rocking sneakers with capris! (Hello?! Sign me up for the tacky tourist contest near you! I'll even buy a fanny pack! -- eyes roll --) Ugh. Insight? Anyone? Do I foresake style for my back/leg/butt? Or do I foresake comfort for fashion? Suggestions are MORE than welcome!

(PS: this post was inspired by @nuckingfutsmama's parking lot back-heroics as she tweeted the other day. Misery loves company ;))

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

De do bharail?

I've been back at work now for over a month. The transition has been rather smooth, taing do dhia!

I'm a teacher. I teach at a small, rural school of 125 students; I teach grades primary (aka Kindergarten) through to grade 12. (I know... the poor little things come in the door in grade primary and they don't get rid of me as a teach until they walk across that stage and get their graduation diploma!) Among other subjects, the largest part of my caseload is Gaelic language and Gaelic culture.

How does this fit in with being a mom? Well...

Gaelic is my second language. I learned it in university; in fact, it was my minor. Although I come from a family tree steeped in Gaelic tradition on both sides of my family + my husband's, it is not a language I speak on a regular basis.

When DD was a baby I spoke a lot of Gaelic to her. Actually, I spoke a lot of Gaelic to her up until she was about 3 years old and she "mastered" the English language. Suddenly, Gaelic took the back burner because whenever I would speak to her in Gaelic, she would answer in English. And so, the use of Gaelic in our house declined. When DS came along, we still exposed him to Gaelic music and some Gaelic phrases here and there, but he didn't/doesn't have nearly the same amount of Gaelic spoken to him.

Now that I'm back to work, I teach the Gaelic language on average about 3 hours a day. Mind you, once I pop by the babysitter's to pick up the kids, my mind is thinking in Gaelic, thus, I'm speaking more Gaelic to them. This has been met with mixed reactions. Sometimes DD will say,
"Teach me more Gaelic, Mommy" (I always usually write Mommy the Gaelic way "Mamaidh"; it still sounds the same, FYI!)
while other times she'll say,
"I don't wanna be talking Gaelic!"
This is an inner battle for me. I want to be speaking more Gaelic to them both, but it seems the increasingly English world has truly taken them over.

I'm curious as to whether other bilingual moms/dads/families have similar inner battles.
As the title of this post says, "What's your opinion?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

We're on a road trip & we're trying to keep 4 year old busy for the 5 hour trip by counting deer we see along the side of the road. The pic is her tally so far! ;)

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My entry in the MabelsLabels Blogher Contest...

My entry in the MabelsLabels Blogher Contest...

Write a post on your blog in response to the following hypothetical situation: Electrical storms are going to wipe out the Internet (perhaps forever). You have one day left to write about your passions: what do you want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less?

Dearly Beloved,
We have gathered here today to bid farewell to our friend, our confidant, a significant part of our lives. For many years Siber Spayce brought us all together, united as one. No matter what our beliefs, where we hail from, our skin colours, our social status, our age, we can thank Siber for allowing us to share together.
When I think of Siber a small smile can't help but grace my face. Over my morning coffee, Siber & I shared news and sports headlines, simple "Good mornings" from my tweeps, a glance at electronic notes from my friends and family, or even my boss. (I think Siber would secretly chuckle along with me as I deleted some of those work emails without even a passing glance!) When life would give me lemons, I could turn to Siber to try and make myself that glass of lemonade. Siber helped me re-ignite my inner voice, gave me confidence to reach out, provided me with answers to seemingly trivial questions, allowed me to research and further my education and sometimes just provided the background music to my-so-called-life.
Now, this isn't to say that Siber wasn't without faults; nothing could be that great, right? Sometimes Siber would be slow, and cranky, and some curse words would be had, but, we all know this was before smartphones; so, Siber, you're saved on this one!
Alas, before we say our final farewells, I think we would be remiss if we didn't pause and think about the impact, be it a small ripple or an overwhelming wave, that Siber has had on each of our lives. So, let us raise our coffee mugs, squint our eyes, place our fingers on the home keys, or hit that enter button in the sky... in your own private, or not-so-private way, think of Siber...
Siber Spayce, I thank you. It's been a blast. I'll miss you and the impact you've had on my life each day. And I thank you for all that you've done, all you've inspired in me and in others. Someone once said:
A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click. ~Author Unknown
Siber, I hope your last click takes you on the journey you've deserved.
We will all truly miss you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The birds & the bees, please...

While driving home from the city one day not too long ago, DD decides:

Mommy, I think you should have another baby so I can have a little sister. Yeah, you should grow another baby in your belly & I'll name my new little baby sister, Rosie, like on Caillou.

(oh God)

Um, DD, you wouldn't know for sure if it was a baby brother or baby sister, though.

Well... anyway... I think you should have another baby... What do you have to do anyway? Like, eat lots of food so that your belly gets bigger and bigger?

Well... no, DD, that's not quite the way it goes.

(sings to the radio... loudly)

How does it work then, Mommy?


Um, Daddy puts a seed in Mommy's belly.

(Note: I had already thought of how to address this when the time would come... and I got the idea from an article in a magazine... Today's Parent or something)

Her eyes grow BIG:

You mean, like when he's shopping for seeds for the garden he just gets a baby one... and what if he put a flower seed instead?!?! Could you grow a flower in your.....

(I switched the stereo to fiddle tunes & told her to whistle/jig along!!!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm no Nostradamus...

... but I think the Apocalypse may be coming?!?!?

  1. DS has started sleeping through the night. Five nights in a row. It just happened. BOOM! After 12 months of multiple wakings a night, somehow he's decided that sleep is a good thing. AND, he laid down on the floor today, so I asked him if he wanted to go for a nap. He nodded his head and said "Yeah". That was an hour ago... he's still sleeping! I LOVE THIS!
  2. Yesterday Dear Hubs (DH) came home from work with a piece of paper for me to read to DD. It was hotel reservations for 4 nights at one of our favourite spots. He took 3 days vacation next week while I'm on my Spring Break and he planned a mini-vacation trip for us!!!! He didn't even consult; just took it upon himself and did it. DD and I LOVE THIS!
  3. Today he had an appointment at his employer's medical office. Instead of driving right back to work, he stopped at Tim Hortons and brought DD a chocolate milk and me a coffee... at home... which is 25 minutes out of the way. WTF?!?!? DD and I LOVE THIS!
I don't know what to think of all this random goodness! I'm puzzled... but I sure as hell hope it lasts!!!!

Hope your week is as gratifying!
Happy Hump-Day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Soundtrack of My Life

Every year I do this little project with my 6th grade classroom music students; I ask them to think about their lives thus far -- the milestones, important moments to them, etc. Then we take some time looking at movie soundtracks & how they really help to tell the story. The whole unit culminates with them creating the soundtrack of their lives (which is only 12 years, but it's as cute as hell!)

So, why not? Here's the soundtrack of my life thus far: (a few more than 12 years worth)

  1. Theme song to Mr. DressUp: my earliest memories as a child are watching Mr. DressUp everyday and wanting to be able to draw as well as him
  2. Tell My Ma -- The Rankin Family: Growing up in Cape Breton made the Rankin Family a staple cassette in the car. That, and our upbringing with copious amounts of fiddle music, step- and squaredancing!
  3. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun -- Cyndi Lauper:  a simple summation of my elementary & junior highschool years; Great Friends, many sleepovers, good, clean, giddy fun!
  4. To Be With You -- Mr. Big and/or Unloved -- Jann Arden: ugh. Unrequited teenage love, broken & mended-the-next-day hearts, too many tears, too much wasted time.
  5. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town -- Pearl Jam:  first boyfriend in university, good parties, "man these guys can sing", just love this song and the memories of being on my own it holds!
  6. Fast as I Can -- Great Big Sea: When hubs and I started dating, I was 18 & he just turned 25. It was a whirlwind of emotions, grown-up emotions, and learning how to find myself in the chaos of my life at that point. Thinking about it all makes me smile.
  7. I Love You Period -- Dan Baird: Aside from being an English major in university, I really thank, and do believe that if it wasn't for me dating hubs at that time, Lord knows what path I would have taken in my life! Plus, my soul-searching led me to get an education degree as well!
  8. Feels Like Home -- Chantal Kreviazuk: Our first dance at our wedding
  9. 45 Years -- Stan Rogers: The other song we wanted to dance to at our wedding, but the DJ didn't have it... so... we play it every year on our anniversary. I once even had it played for him on CBC Radio on our anniversary.
  10. Butterfly Fly Away --Miley Cyrus: Although this is a new song, everytime I hear it I think of my first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage. My little butterfly...
  11. Daughters -- John Mayer:  It took a lonnnng time to finally get pregnant again & meet our daughter. Wow. Life has never been the same. (And I can thank her for introducing me to the Miley song above; serendipity?)
  12. You Are My Sunshine -- For 6 months, this was the one thing that could make DD stop crying. WEIRD!
  13. Taladh Na Beinne Guirme (The Blue Mountains Lullaby) -- Jeff MacDonald: My minor in university was Celtic Studies / Gaelic Language. My friend, Jeff, is one of the people I look up to the most when I think of me learning the language. He wrote this lullaby in Gaelic & hubs and I played it nonstop for DD when she was going to bed each night. It's truly beautiful, even if you can't understand what he's singing:
  14. Bog a'Lochain / Athole Cummers set -- Ashley MacIsaac:  Again, my love of traditional fiddle music and my Cape Breton upbringin shines through here. When DD wasn't listening to the above lullaby, she was listening to fiddle music. This particular tune Bog a'Lochain has become her favourite; she calls it her tune. And nothing warms my heart more than when she & hubs sit down with their fiddles playing tunes. While she can't get the notes right yet at only 4 years old, I can tell you that the music is in her (as the old folks would say!)
  15. Come Rain or Come Shine -- David Francey -- While this is a love song, so to speak, when I hear it I think of the tiring nights and days leading up to & following DS's birth. He wasn't a great sleeper & I would be so frustrated, and tired, and at my wit's end, that I would sing this over and over; cuz we all know that even though you're so tired and done, you can't help but look at the little face of the bundle you're holding in your arms and feel such love.
So, these are my moments thus far in my life. This is my soundtrack of my life.
Cause these are the days worth living
These are the years we're given
And these are the moments
These are the times
Let's make the best out of our lives -- The Calling

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food for thought?

Hubby and I were talking last night about our kids' eating habits/preferences. Here's a list of their favourites:
  • macaroni, cooked with tomato juice
  • Kraft Dinner
  • blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • mashed potatoes
  • broccoli
  • green & yellow beans
  • spaghetti & parmesan cheese from East Side Marios
  • french fries with copious amounts of vinegar
  • plums
  • peaches
  • scrambled or boiled eggs
  • grill cheese sandwiches
  • tomato soup
That is basically all the foods they will eat. Hubby and I are left wondering,
Where the hell did they come from?

4 year old daughter rarely touches chocolate and will only eat plain chocolate - we LOVE it; any variety. And every Saturday night when I'm making nachos, nacho dip or bringing out the chips for Hockey NIght in Canada, she asks for a veggie tray! In fact, one day she said to me,
"Remember the good ole days, you know, Mommy, when we used to have veggie trays?"
She simply NEVER looks for junk food. Weird, I tell you. Plain weird.

What will your kids be having for lunch? Supper? or while watching Hockey Night in Canada?

Monday, March 1, 2010

My first tweet

My First Tweet

Oh my god! It's hard to believe, but thanks to another tweeter I just found out that today is my twitter anniversary! I can't believe it's been a year of tweeting!

When I started tweeting a year ago I had a 3 week old baby boy at home and was thoroughly enjoying the sleeplessness (um, that hasn't changed a year later... see previous blog post!) of being a stay at home mom on maternity leave once again. My 4 year old was testing my patience as we tried to get into a groove. As I was bombarded with Treehouse, and later, the Family Channel, on TV & preschool conversation all day long, I turned to twitter for my news & sports updates. Twitter was my line to the outside world! (And it drives hubby nuts -- which is ammo enough to keep it up! wink)

Fast forward a year... wow where did that year go?

Here's a little visual of my most tweeted words:

Looks like I was a big part of my tweets, eh?

But, you know what? I recently tweeted to @partymummy that it's the common gripes and experiences of many yummy mummies on Twitter that keep me coming back for more. In fact, it was Erica Ehm and the Yummy Mummy Club that fostered a purpose in my blogging. I had always had a couple of blogs I was juggling around, but the inspiring moms on here allowed me to really tap into my inner blogger. Thanks to all of you! While I don't even know if anyone reads my posts (no one really comments) I do enjoy writing them.

The sad part is, now that I'm back to work, I really miss my tweeps/tweeters/twitter friends. I desperately search for more time each day to reconnect with the other moms I've encountered on twitter.

Essentially, I've found out I basically tweet about a few things:
  • Life as a mom
  • hockey
  • teacher stuff
And, really, that's my life summarized. Isn't that what Twitter is all about? Summarizing your life in 140 characters or less?!

Catch ya on twitter ;)

PS: A special shout out to @melissamacneil who intro'ed me to twitter in the first place. ;)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I would like to honourably decline, thank you...

That Mother of the Year award? Well... I don't want it. I want sleep instead!

Please, all gods of virtue and goodness, help me from being an old, washed up cranky arse today!

It's been a full 4 weeks since I've been back to work from maternity leave, and while it's been quite smooth, I think it's caught up to me. I'm TIRED! We're not talking need-a-nap-today-to-cure-it tired. We're talking full on coffee-is-not-enough, my-legs-hurt, f-you-headache-that-won't-go-away, if-you-wake-one-more-time-child-I'll... TIRED!

It's presently 6:52am. Because my dear son (DS) decided that 11:27pm was his mini-morning last night, I only got to sleep at around.... oh... 1:20am. So, with the 5:57am wake time, that's... well, if you're well-rested enough, you can do the math! Seriously, the only other time I remember being this tired was when DS was about 6 weeks old and started to pull all nighters. I'm functioning, as I was then, on some warped, out-of-date, really pissed off version of autopilot! :(

With this lack of sleep, or just plain tiredness (because I believe there's a difference), my "dragoness" alter ego rears it's ugly head. (It's truly ugly!) Amid life, I'm still trying to tea party with the daughter, smile, be happy-you-can-count-on-me teacher lady, and (cough) keep my husband from finding other extracurricular partners (cough, cough). Not tonight, honey, I'm even too tired to tell you I have a headache, sorry.

So to my immediate surrounding posse, I say:

  1. I'm sorry I'm snapping at you.
  2. No, DD, I'm not mad at you, that look is just a semi-permanent grimace of sleep angst.
  3. Mother, go pound sand. I don't care how you, or your mother, or anyone else you hold in high esteem coped 'way back then' with 17 kids, minimal ammenities, and farm animals.
  4. DS, please get over this cold and return to your regularly scheduled sleeping program, which wasn't great, but I'd really appreciate a long series of re-runs right about now!
  5. Honey, keep close to the palm sisters for a while longer.
And to the greater entourage of life: 
That mother of the year award, you can stick it!

the tired me

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It should just be a simple good bye

The tears are flowing now, but it should just be a simple good bye.

Today we had to put our golden retriever, Monty Macgill Strathspey, down. She was almost 6 years old & was a part of our family. Perhaps moreso a part of me than anyone would realize.

She was such a good dog.

I got pregnant (surprise!) in 2002. Our first pregnancy; we were so excited. But, unfortunately, that pregnancy ended with a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I was in shock. I didn't really react. Everyone knew I was pregnant; everyone knew I miscarried.

I moved on through day to day tasks. I smiled on the outside. But I didn't know I hurt so much on the inside until we weren't getting pregnant again.... or again... not this month.... nor the next.... or the next... but people, colleagues, friends, relatives, all around me were all pregnant it seemed.
It burned.
Why couldn't I get pregnant again? Why did I have to have a miscarriage? What was wrong? Was that my only chance at being a mother?

To try to get my mind off things, to try to fulfill the nurturing void, I coerced my husband into us getting a dog.
A puppy. A Golden Retriever.

And less than two years after she joined our family I got pregnant.

So, Monty, even though your poor, poor hips made you seem so much older... even though you'd bark everytime the furnace came on.... even though you'd eat the cats' poopsicles... even though you hated to swim... even though we cursed you sometimes... even though you always insisted on sitting on my lap or in a folding deck chair... even though we couldn't take you everywhere because you always got so friggin car sick even with the medicine (can you say puke & diarrhea everywhere!??!)...even though you weighed almost 100 lbs and were almost as tall as me, for God's sake! Even though you slipped on the ice and dislocated your hip again, I hope you know, we took the vet's advice and did what was best. But what I really want you to know, is that
you brought me through a really tough time in my life. You allowed me to feel I could nurture. You allowed me to mother you.

And although I cry right now thinking of you, I have to be assured because Brenley told me:
"It's ok, Mommy. Monty's gone to doggy heaven, which is next door to cat heaven, which is next door to people heaven, so she's gonna be all right..."

Monty MacGill Strathspey
March 31st, 2004 - February 20, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I think I need an intervention :(

Yes, sadly, I think I need an intervention. Or, wait. Perhaps it's my soon-to-be one year old son who needs an intervention? My daughter? Someone in this house needs an intervention!

Case A: When I was on mat. leave
Once I had my dear son, and we had breastfeeding and life with two kids adjusted, we got into a nice routine. Although my son has never been great to sleep through the night, he would wake maybe twice for all of 10 minutes, then fall back to sleep. My 4 year old daughter sleeps like a log; not even a freight train could wake her, so, we'd all emerge from our cozy cocoons sosmewhere between 8 and 10am. There was never really a set time, but it was blissfully somewhere in that two hour span. It was so wonderful that often we couldn't make it to playgroup or preschool skating on time!

aaaaahhhhhh... to quote Archie & Edith Bunker...those were the days...

Case B: Now that I've returned to work
It's been my first week back to work. I'm a teacher. Fine. I do love my job most days. I also have to travel 40 minutes to my very rural school and the babysitter's house. I leave the house each day at 7:30am with two kids in tow.

Because of this new schedule, we had to introduce a new routine to the children ("chillins" as we call them). Daughter is now in bed after the 7pm episode of Hannah Freakin' Montana; but she doesn't usually fall asleep until 8pm. My darling little boy can't really make it past 7:15pm. It's kind of nice to have a couple of hours to ourselves in the evenings. (Um, to tidy up the house, do the dishes, get lunches ready for the next day... w e  a r e  s o  e x c i t i n g)

But, can we fast forward to the waking hour?

I was mentally prepared to be waking (truth be known I just wrote "bed" there instead of "be" -- my mine is sending me subliminal messages!) at 5:45 each morning, just to get myself and everything and everyone ready each morning. (see previous post about the whole new routine) The first Monday, no problems. I got up. Woke my darling son at about 6:15am. My hubby woke the dragon sleeping daughter at 6:30 (which ended up being waaaaaaay too early for her). Everyone was ready and out the door on time. Tuesday saw the same routine, only dear daughter got up at 6:55am, which was much more manageable. Wednesday...
the little arse son woke up at 4:45am --- pinging --- not going back to sleep, ready for the day!

Thursday, little arse woke up at 5AM!!!!!

Friday, 5:05AM!!!
By Friday afternoon I was a slumping, slouching, yawning, cranky, irritable shell of a being. (Thank God, I was at an inservice where I could hide from most people!)

And that brings us to today.... Saturday.
Note to children: IT'S THE WEEKEND! TIME TO SLEEP IN!!!!!!!!

Well, let me tell you. Right now it's 6:58am. I've been up for 2 hours. Dear son and I had breakfast long ago. While we were eating, another offspring emerged from her bedroom. At 6am. FML. I've already endured 3 Hannah Montana performances and 4 outfit changes by my daughter who is insisting that I call her "Hannah Montana" and her brother "Jackson" today. She just freakin' called "Robbie Ray". (If some dude with sideburns and bad highlighted mullet hair shows up on my doorstep today, I'm moving. End of story!)


Intervention needed, jury! Case A vs. Case B
How am I ever going to get my old, sleeping in life back that all my friends were jealous of? Is there any way to train your children to wake later on weekends?

My husband always used to joke that everyday he "got up at the crack of dawn" (My name is Dawn - hardy har har). Well, he's still in bed right now. Asleep.

And this crack is ready to crack!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Tumultuous" - thank you Alanis Morrissette

I'm sitting here on a Thursday evening, half falling asleep, too stubborn to power down & head to bed. (Afterall, it is only 9pm!) This has been a very tumultuous (thank you, Alanis Morrissette for teaching me that word in your lyrics) week in my so-called life.

My stomach tossed & turned with dread, but also excitement & nervousness as I headed to work Monday. With 545am alarms, winter driving for the commute to work, having to wake my sleeping children (well, sort of...more on that coming) one thought keeps creeping into my mind:

Why, oh why, didn't I think of setting up a shared teaching or co-teaching term for these months when I've returned to work? I'd be saving on gas money, reducing the homework/ prep each night (I swear I do more homework than all of my 125 students put together!!!) - le sigh. And, as much as I longed for regular adult conversation, the B.S. associated with my job & colleagues is simply overpowering & even toxic at times; frankly, I could do without!

All that being said, however, when some of my students came into my classroom today & were so genuinely excited to have me back... Giving me cards & drawings, even a cookie!... It kind of affirmed my love of teaching. Yet I'm still struggling this time around with my dual role - mother & working/teacher mom. I find it to be mentally, physically & emotionally exhausting so far in this first week back. (Now that could also be the sleep deprivation as dear son has had me awake before or right at 5am the past 2 mornings!!! -sending sleep vibes his way now)

If the forecasted 30cm of snow doesn't come tomorrow, I'll be at a professional development session, likely not really paying attention... More likely daydreaming or catching a few open-eyed winks. See, I'm so sleepy right now, this isn't even making sense anymore... Lol

'Night all... I'll spare you anymore...
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I wanna be more stylin'er!" -- responsibilty & ability at 4?!?!

Way back in the late summer / early fall, my then 3 year old daughter was introduced to Hannah Montana and quickly fell head-over-heels, I-wanna-be-just-like-her obsessed with all things Hannah. We're talking the same episodes OVER and OVER again on Family Channel (the break from Treehouse was nice, I must admit), watching the movie 3-4 times a day, rewinding the "Hoe Down Throw Down" to ad nauseum(everyone in the house can do that dance now! I swear even the 11 month old knows parts of it!), etc.

Soon after our introduction to Miss Hannah, my already-fashion-conscious diva started a mission of
"wanting to be more stylin'er" than Hannah Montana everyday.
This daily mission involved copious wardrobe changes, tears, tantrums, and one gawd-awful messy bedroom! My hubby and I were near at our wits' end trying to navigate our way through her piles of stylin' vs. rejected clothing! (I wasn't nearly as frustrated as him, well... first of all because my younger sister used to go through 5 and 6 outfits a day when she was a kid...well... she never really outgrew it... and secondly, I didn't mind too much because I'm female!)

Anyway, the outfits progressed to the shoes, and boots, and hair all having to be "more stylin'er".

No biggy, I thought. One day, while at the shopping mall, little diva asked if she could get her ears pierced. Now, I don't know what it was - divine intervention? - but I told her she had to phone her dad to ask him for permission, too. She did. He responded with a very firm "NO!" She was a teary, snotty, devastated mess... in the mall... with me... (why did I make her call him?!?!)

However, my girl is stubborn like her mother aunt, and she didn't give up. She would ask her father almost daily if she could get her ears pierced. By this time, she was, afterall, 4 years old and really felt that she should get them pierced.

So, my hubby thought long and hard about this one evening, and we talked. He thought it would be good for her to learn about responsibility and earning her way towards something. (Huh? He thinks too much!)
The next day when he came home from work, he explained to her that IF she could keep her room clean & tidy, and IF she learned to control her tantrums over clothing, among other things, she could get her ears pierced before mommy returned to work. This was October. My return to work is February 1st!
"How many more sleeps?!?!" (at the time we were counting sleeps to Halloween and Christmas and hockey games and visits to Grammie's house and...well, you get the idea.)
Ugh... "Um... like... 70 more sleeps..." I assured her (?)
She cleaned her room that day.  And again the next week. And she learned how to fold shirts, pants, socks, underwear. She learned how to find a place for everything. She learned how to sort laundry! (And our little 'secret' is, she likes to hide some things in the closet in the hallway, but Daddy hasn't figured that out yet! ) She even started sweeping and dusting her room! at  f o u r  y e a r s  o l d ! Even the tantrums eventually started to peter off.

Like you reading this, I never ever thought this would work; how could a 4 year old handle such responsibility? Would she even know how to follow through with this? (Did she know how to clean?) Nor did I ever think those sleeps would come to an end! I answered every single day since then:
"How many more sleeps til I can get my ears pierced, Mommy?!?!"
And, you know what? She cleaned and swept that room again today. It's spotless. It's neater than my room. In fact, it's the neatest room in the house!

But, even more importantly, there are only 3 more sleeps 'til those little, deserving ears get pierced!
Look out, Hannah Montana... my little, stubborn, determined girl is coming at ya... earrings and all... more stylin'er than you! ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A new look at life in 2010

I received this in an email today. Thought I'd post it here.

A Poem About Our Girlfriends

Someone will always be prettier.

Someone will always be smarter.

Some of their houses will be bigger.

Some will drive a better car.

Their children will do better in school.

And their husband will fix more things around the house.

So let it go, and love you and your circumstances

Think about it!

The prettiest woman in the world can have hell in her heart.

The most highly favored woman on your job may be unable to have children.

The richest woman you know, she's got the car, the house, the clothes~ might be lonely.

So, love who you are.

Look in the mirror in the morning and smile and say,

“I am too Blessed to be Stressed and too Anointed, to be Disappointed!”

“Winners make things happen~~ Losers let things happen.”

Be “Blessed” ladies and pass this on to encourage another woman.

“To the world you might be one person, to me you are special!”
 -- ♥ a special shout out to Tara, Jess, Melissa, Jody, Kelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The nagging reality...

Every night when I go to bed, every day when I wake up, every errant thought when I'm driving all revolve around the bitter reality -- I'm returning to work in two weeks. (pout)

I've been on maternity/parental leave for almost 14 months. I'm a teacher, so if you count the weeks of vacation at Christmas, plus an extra week in there and the month of January all taken as sick days due to a very large belly and an SI joint that would not work properly, I've been off for over a year.

I took the year off in maternity/parental leave with my now four year old daughter. She was born in October, so by the time March came around, I was quite shack-whacky as the winter of 2006 provided us with quite a few snow storms. (Damn snow days when I'm not at work!) While I enjoyed being home and creating and living our own little routine, I knew in my heart I was not meant to be a stay-at-home mom and welcomed the thought of going back to work.

>> fast forward to the end of 2009 & the present, 2010 >>

So, here I am now. A stay-at-home mom of two (which, by the way, is a whole different kettle of fish!), who has been cranky, sleep-deprived, and in demand for the last ten months, basically. As much as I've bitched and complained, it's kind of nice.... kind of...

You see, the thoughts that are plaguing my mind have less to do with the workfront, and a whole lot more to do with the homefront!

Everyday, I'm going to have to get myself and the two kids out the door and on the road by 7:30am at the LATEST!
This might be an ok feat for all of those parents out there whose children are up with the birds, but my children don't wake up til after 7:30! In fact, they're moreso on the later side of 8am in the rise & shine category (Bless their little snoozy hearts!).  The thoughts of getting them and myself  de-watered, watered, fed, dressed and presentable --without incident-- is crippling!

I've been preparing for this!
Seriously. I've done my research. I've almost completed a "Control Journal" a là Fly Lady (it's a combo school + home one. Maybe I should call it my "lifer"?!?), which makes things look managable! (I winder where I put it?! lol - kidding) We've started the chillins (our home speak for 'children') on a evening/night time/earlier to bed routine. I've explained to fashionista 4 year old daughter that she will have to pick out one outfit each night before bed to wear the next day (that  should be interesting!).

I've resolved in my heart that I will have to get up each morning at 5:45am -- shower, dressed, eat. At 6:30 wake my sleeping baby (can't believe I have to do this. It will likely spell the end of our nice, after 8am routine -- pout, pout, sigh) -- get him in highchair to eat, change, dress him. I've given my dear husband the job of waking sleeping beauty at 6:45 before he heads to work. (I should really consider making a copy of the 'Lifer Journal' for him; he doesn't realize all the new tasks he's been assigned on said day!) She gets dressed, and uses the washroom (have to include this. She's part camel, yet I"m not pulling over on the side of the road for her to pee in freezing cold February just because she "forgot"!) and will have the breakfast I've laid out the night before... or, will have the back-up "truck worthy" alternative.

While this is happening, I've piled the "stuff" in the truck, fed the dog, loaded dear son into carseat, and have made my coffee for the road. Throw dear daughter in there, and we're off.

The drive won't be so bad; IF the roads are plowed, which the usually are not. But it's about a 45 minute drive to the babysitter's... I digress...
See, even in writing that I'm feeling overwhelmed because I've realized there's nothing out for supper, the breakfast mess is in the sunroom/dining room and kitchen. I'll be coming home to a mess... likely on top of another mess... it's a vicious cycle, also known as my so-called life.

Please, pray for a smooth transition for us into this new routine! I'll be sure to document my progress on here...

...the power of positive thinking...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Generation Gap or Gasp?

Lately, as I've bemoaned my "mommy-only" existence through statues on FB, I've been bombarded by comments from my extended family members:

"Oh, boo hoo... imagine how your grandmother did it way back when with 12 children and no car!"
"Maybe you should call Grammie and ask how she did it!"

Well, while I didn't call the almost-90-year-old darling, those comments did make me reign in my status horns and rethink what I was saying on there.

For the past 11 months I've been a stay at home mom to a 4 year old and a now 11 month old. My days have consisted of little sleep, lots of wiped rear ends, tonnes of messes, lots of futile cleaning missions, and sadly... a mommy-only existence. Somewhere in there, I took minor pauses to finish two Masters of Education courses (by the seat of my pants, mostly) and make monthly visits to the chiropractor to try to correct my poor misaligned body due to carrying large babies in my belly (oh... thanks to hubby's genetic contribution for that!). Other than the aforementioned "breaks", I was in full-on mommy-mode 24/7. I grocery shopped, Christmas shopped, bunny-hopped (not really, but it rhymes), cooked and cleaned, went to skating, hockey games and must-do family functions with two kids in tow. It wasn't easy, nor always enjoyable. All the while, hubby was seriously M.I.A. due to work and renovations at our house. (Note to self: never schedule renovations when on mat leave again!)

So, basically, I was/am frustrated, cranky, wallowing in self-pity, eating from drive thrus during the day while the kiddies napped in the back seat (ah, peace! chomp chomp).

So, how did my grandmother do it? How did hubby's mother do it with four children (bing! bang! boom!, one right after the other) and no driver's license, a prisoner in her own home in a very rural area?

Hubby and I discussed this the other day. We have no idea how they did it. Somewhere between their generations and our's the idea of "mommy" has changed, we think. Hubby suggested that back then maybe they just "didn't give a shit"? They let the kids make messes, cry, scream, fight and simply did without the playtime with mom or the skating and swimming lessons. I, personally, think, at least in my grandmother's case, that after about 4 children they just somehow start to look after and take care of one another. Maybe?

So, will my children be better off than hubby, or my mother, or me? Am I going about this all wrong? Should I simply keep pumping out children (Hold'er! Can't even believe I thought of that) and hope they fend for themselves or should I not give a shit?

I dunno... my house is still in a permanent state of disorder, I'm in desperate need of a vacation, but I think I'm doing something right... my kiddies are pretty happy... I think.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday -- So what do ya think?

My son is going to be 11 months old tomorrow. Lately I've been fielding questions about what I'm doing for his first birthday party next month. The answer is -- not much of anything.

Even though my husband and I grew up on opposite sides of this island, neither of us had birthday parties as kids. Weird by most people's standards. Yes, we had cake (his was always his mother's homemade carrot cake with vanilla icing); we had presents; we got our choice of supper for the night (always pizza for me!), but we didn't do the cone-hat-wearing, streamer-blowing, snotty-nosed kid parties. (Ok... we, or our siblings may have had snotty noses... but, you know what I mean...)

Now that we have our own children, we've passed this "no birthday party" clause on to our family. And, you know what? The more I hear parents gripe about birthday parties, the more I'm glad we're taking our stance.

For instance, in the past two days, the majority of my mommy friends' statuses on Facebook have gone something like the following:
  1. "Ugh. Only a week after Christmas break and son/daughter has to go to 2 parties today."
  2. "Just spent 3 hours stapling colouring books togther for son's birthday party. Why did we invite 40 kids?"
  3. "Good sales at -- going to stock up on birthday party presents!"
  4. "Wow how time flies! Can't believe son is 2 today! All ready except the hor d'oeuvre tray for the parents! Don't know how I'm going to get that done in time :("
  5. "Can't believe daughter will be 1 next month. Going shopping for something really big to surprise her at her party!"
Now, with each of these that I read, I think in my little mind:
  1. Your son/daughter does not have to go to both parties, nor does s/he have to go to any. S/he's 5 years old! It's only a minor blip in his/her life!!!!!!!
  2. Why did you invite 40 kids??!?! Where, with your newborn and 2 other children, do you even find time to create/print/staple 40 colouring books that'll get thrown in the garbage anyway?!?!
  3. Pretty sure, honey, your present will again, be a minor blip in the birthday child's life. Within a few minutes it'll likely get thrown aside, swept up, or re-gifted to someone else!
  4. Who's the party for, honey? You? Your son? The Jones's (of 'Keep Up With the Joneses' fame) next door? 
  5. Um... your daughter is turning O N E! She's only gonna remember her birthday in pictures!
Recently, I tweeted some reasons why I don't do birthday parties. But in the end, the #1 reason remains:
In a world where people increasingly expect more and more and appreciate less and less, I really think that these birthday parties inadvertently teach kids to be greedy or to expect too much material stuff that they won't use or appreciate at too young an age.

Our dear son will enjoy a mini-birthday cake he can poke, lick, prod any way he wishes... at home with his dad, his older sister, and I. As for a gift... well... let's just say it won't be anything too elaborate!