Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Alex, I'll take 'Frigidaire Sucks' for the win."

We're going on Day 6 of not having a refrigerator.

Yes, you read it right.  DAY 6.

I've been keeping it together pretty good I think considering I'm home with my kids 24/7 feeding them 3 meals a day plus snacks WITH NO FRIDGE.  Oh, and did I mention my husband was working all week from 7 am til about midnight?  Therein lies one of the reasons why we've been so long without a refrigerator.  That and John was waiting on a call back from Frigidaire (which was returned in a speedy TWO days) to try and find out what could be wrong with it, (probably the compressor or condenser or con-WHATEVER) what the cost was going to be to have someone come out and look at it ($85), how much it would cost to repair with parts and labour (pretty much the same amount if we were to buy a brand new fridge).

Needless to say my husband was pissed off.  And rightly so.  But he wanted REVENGE people!  You see, my husband has many, many wonderful qualities but his stubbornness sometimes gets the best of him.  (Sorry babe, but I've let the world know about my weird eccentricities and neurosis, sometimes the truth must come out)

Today, I didn't keep it together all that well.  I'd had enough of living without a fridge.

In fact I had a full out texting argument with my husband while I was at the grocery store.

Yes, you read that right too.

I was grocery shopping.

Even though...I have NO FRIDGE.  I was just picking up the essentials of-course.  Bread, cheese, milk. Oh wait.  Scratch the cheese and milk. Bread, bananas and .... canned beans.

We have literally eaten all the perishables such as fruit, vegetables, bread and cheese.  Apparently my kids are going through a growth spurt.  How convenient.  On top of that I had to cook up every last piece of meat the other night with a meal in mind.  You just can't cook up a pork tenderloin and ground turkey with no spice or marinade.  Well, I suppose you could but .... would you eat it?

So now we only have 1 meal left.  I might be able to stretch it to two if I get really creative.

This morning our pantry (and by pantry I actually mean cupboard) was looking as paltry as I've every seen it.  My husband actually said while looking at the 1 jar of tomato sauce, 2 cans of mushroom soup, box of Kraft dinner, bag of rice and half a jar of almond butter "Wow, you can actually see the back of the cupboard.  It's good to purge once in a while!"

I'm sorry.  Pardon?

While he's been having steak dinners in restaurants and going out for Pho at lunch, I've been scouring the cupboards feeding my children leftover bits of crackers, raisins and a dwindling box of cheerios.

Okay, okay.  I might be exagerrating a little bit.  We do have a cooler sitting outside our back door that I have to dust snow off of every time I needed something from it.  It has a couple of yogurt drinks, 3 cheese strings, milk, half a carton of juice and a green pepper.

It could be a lot worse.  There are children starving in Africa and sadly right here in the very city I reside in.  I'm being completely serious when I say that.  It's that thought has kept me from really losing it.

Back to my (short) grocery excursion.  My husband lets me know (by text of-course) as I'm queuing up in line that a repair guy is coming to look at our fridge.  I'm a little confused by this because I'm pretty sure there's nothing for them to repair being that the fridge is clearly dead.  However.  I let it go.

I get home and unload the 3 very sad looking bags of groceries while chatting to my neighbours.  I see a blue truck pull up in front of our house as I walk into my home, greeted by my adorable nappy headed boys, and assume correctly that it's the repair guy.

This is when the day takes an odd turn.

Does seeing me walk into my house (even though they were still in their truck) make it okay for them to mosey on into our house without so much as a knock?

Okay, so I let that go as they did take their shoes off.

They (father and son - independent company) proceed to tell us that our fridge stinks (literally and figuratively) which offends me terribly as I take pride in having a pretty clean, tidy and organized home.  Then the son (the most "forward") of the two starts to open our dishwasher (which is full of clean dishes, not "stinky" dirty ones, thankfully) and basically tells my husband that he better do some damage control as he leans in to pick up a metal piece from the bottom of it (just a glued on logo from an apparently cheaply made cutting board) because "you know, sometimes it's not just the appliances problem" implying that WE were partly at fault for a 2 year old appliance to simply stop doing it's job.  Well, that's what I got from that sweet remark.

It doesn't stop there folks.

He starts to jiggle our stove elements and peer into our oven while ever so slightly (actually quite violently) pulling on the stove handle to show us how cheaply it's made.  Well, when you start grabbing and shaking anything with a bit of aggression it's going to move around a little bit .... right?

I'm thinking to myself....aren't these REFRIGERATOR repair guys???  Am I missing something here?

Okay, so I guess they were helpful in the end...if you call telling us what we already know helpful.   On the bright side it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

Now, I think I know why.

Strange, strange experience.

But tonight, I think we may have found ourselves a fridge.  After my husband has researched for about 8.5 hours and has gone through countless websites and search engines...I believe we found "the one."

Please keep your fingers crossed for me that by next week I will be a proud owner of a brand new refrigerator.

And life, as I once knew it, can get back to normal.

***By the way, does ANYONE else find it annoying that the full word refrigerator is spelled without a "D" but the short form IS???  Am I just crazy?***

Actually...don't answer that last question.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Taking the Good with the Bad

I was watching The Mom Show once (this was a while ago because frankly the women on the show, particularly Catherine irritate me to no end).  It was a question and answer with the all knowing Nanny Robina.  Sure.

This Mother gets up and asks what she can do with her 4 year old when she has housework to do.  The answer from the brilliant Nanny Robina?  Have her little one pitch in and help!  Well, of course!  Sounds easy...and don't we all have children so that they can someday become our own personal slaves?

Which brings about my topic at hand today.  I had some vacuuming to do.  Something that must be done more often than I would like because we have an ever shedding Golden Retriever.  Love her....not her fur.

I get out the vacuum cleaner and immediately Finley reaches for the smaller tube attachment on the back of the vacuum...which Adrian promptly plucks from his chubby little hands.  As Fin's mouth starts to open in protest I grab the other hose attachment and give it to him at which point the boys start to play battle swords.  Boys.  Anything and everything becomes a weapon starting at a very young age.

I unwind the vacuum cord, plug it in and start to vacuum the area rug on the main floor.  Not such an easy feat when you're trying to avoid little toes and dog paws running in circles around you.  After I was done, I brought the vacuum up to the front hall to start on the front door mat as well as to attempt to suck up all the sand and salt that comes along with boots and winter.

Adrian has "helped" me do this before and so when he asked to help I said sure.  After I vacuumed the front door mat I attached the tube to the hose and off he went.  I supervised for a minute and then had to chase after Finley who had snuck into the closet and was now dragging my mammoth filthy winter boots through the house, slamming and banging them on the floor as bits of sand and salt flew everywhere.  Sometimes I really wonder why I bother to clean at all.

I grab my boots and return back to the front hall to find Adrian standing in front of the mirrored closets (in his Buzz underwear and bright red socks just to give you the complete picture) holding the vacuum tube to his head...the suction pulling at his beautiful head of curls.  Is this normal behaviour for a 3 year old?  Or better question....are any 3 year olds "normal?".  That's a whole other blog entry.

I turn off the vacuum and warned him he was going to go bald if he kept doing that and turned him back to the task of sucking up the bits of sand.  I watch to make sure he doesn't attempt the strange activity of suctioning out his hair by the roots and then check on Finley who's playing calmly and quietly on the carpet with some toys.

I return back to the front find Adrian standing in front of the mirror holding the suction tube to the other side of his head.

Alright.  That's the end of Adrian the Helper.

I turn off the vacuum.  He yells "NO!" and turns it back on.  I walk to the outlet, unplug it and quickly walk back to the front hall at which point Adrian runs passes me and attempts to PLUG IT BACK IN.

OH NO you don't mister!  I take the plug from him and he runs back to the hose, rips out the attachment and whips it across the hall.  It crashes against the bathroom door.

I'm sure the all knowing Nanny Robina never had this scenario in mind when she doled out her wise little piece of advice.

I pry his fingers off one by one which are still gripping the hose fiercely, pick up his not so small body and try to lift the gate latch to take him upstairs for a time out.  By this point Finley is standing at the bottom of the stairs crying and trying to climb the stairs on his own.  Adrian grabs the neck of my shirt only to grab my skin too which basically results in my chest looking like it's been attacked by a very vicious animal.  And let me tell hurts like a b!%@#.  But I stayed as calm as I could as I had to make sure Finley was climbing up the stairs ahead of me and not going to tumble down while trying to keep Adrian's flailing limbs to his body.  When did my 3 year old become as strong as me?

Adrian goes to his room protesting like a crazy person and I head into Fin's room to play, read and generally enjoy his sweet my other son shrieks like a banshee and attempts to break out of his room with a force so strong I'm convinced that the door is going to have holes in it.

It doesn't.  But it looks like the contents of a children's clothing store has thrown up every piece of clothing in it.

Perfect.  Another battle I simply do not have the energy to handle.  But I will...after I show him what he's done to Mommy's chest.

He's a little embarrassed and I could tell he felt bad.  I receive the usual "I'm sorry Mummy" with a hug as my chest screams in stinging agony.  I know it wasn't completely intentional so it's difficult to stay mad.  Besides, I also know Daddy is going to come home tonight and a little chat will be had again.

I lay beside him a half hour later for nap time.  He's playing with the front of my hair while I "tickle" his back as always requested at every nap time and night time.  Then he leans over, kisses my nose, puts his little arm around my neck and looks at me with his blue eyes and says "You're my best buddy Mummy.  I'm sorry I hurt your chest."  He puts his head back on his pillow, his eyes still on mine  "I love you Mumma."

I simply smiled and told him I loved him too.


You have to take the good with the bad.

And thank God the good feels so sweet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baking with the Babes

Once in a while when it's gloomy, snowy and cold outside, the toys have been exhausted and too many crayons, pieces of play dough and blobs of paint have been consumed (I try my hardest to keep these things out of my kids mouths but for some reason they're unexplainably tasty to them) I decide it would be a fun idea to bake....with my 3 year old.

Before I had my children, I'd look at the magazines advertising these beautifully clean children, with their adorable little aprons on, dutifully being their parents little sous chef and I would think "How sweet is that?  I cannot wait to teach my kids how to cook and bake Christmas cookies with them!  It's going to be sooo much FUN!"

Not so much friends. Not. So. Much.

I wish I was the type of parent that didn't care so much about mess.  I really, really, really do.

My husband went to pick up Adrian at our friends house the other day and came home laughing about how all the kids were eating peanuts and there were shells EVERYWHERE.  Like on the floor and furniture.  All over the place.  When John showed up to get Adrian, they said "Yep.  The kids are eating peanuts!"  I truly admire that very laid back attitude.  I mean, it's just mess right?  It all gets cleaned up at the end of the day.  But I'll be perfectly honest and tell you all right now,  mess makes me bonkers.  BUT only in my house.  I could care less what other people's houses look like.  In fact, the messier the house, the more laid back I feel.

So when I decided the other day to make a lemon loaf, Adrian was so excited to help.  It was not my intention for him to be my little helper.  I just had some lemons that needed to be used.  My husband was home to hang out with him while I would cook dinner and make a lemon loaf.   By myself.

But how do I say no to his sweet little face when he says "Mumma, I want to help you!"

I can't.

So up he goes on the counter helping to dole out the flour, baking powder, salt.  I let him mix it up while I get the rest of the ingredients, trying to breath evenly and deeply as I see flour flying EVERYWHERE.   "Try and keep it in the bowl sweetie"  I say as patiently as possible....then out of the corner of my eye within 2 seconds, I see Finley walk up to the counter, step up on the "helper" stool and grab the bowl of flour from Adrian.


Whew!  Good thing I have great reflexes.  They come in super handy with young children.

I get out another bowl and measure out the sugar and butter.  I put the sugar in the bowl and turn to the microwave to defrost the butter so that it's easier to mix.  As I turn back around, I catch Adrian with his hand almost entirely in his mouth.  Sugar is everywhere.  On his face, on the counter.  I can feel it crunching under my slippered feet as I step toward him to take him off the counter.

I admit it.  When flour and sugar is flying all over the place and bits of butter are being flung hither tither my anxiety level rockets.  Others may not notice the distress it causes me but my inside emotions are flinging around, a little bit out of control.

Adrian starts freaking out, Finley starts to cry because Adrian is upset.  I yell at John who is downstairs doing laundry to PLEASE get upstairs and look after the kids.  I mean, really, could he have picked a more inappropriate time to be doing household chores!!??  Why does he have to be all domestic right now?  My kitchen is a total disaster and I haven't even started to mix the butter and sugar.

Good Lord, help me Jesus.

I take a deep breath and start over again while John keeps Finley occupied and Adrian and I complete the task at hand with only minor altercations here and there.  We survived.

And the lemon loaf is delish.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh Bother!

Like everyone else, there are a few things that bother me in this world.  I'll share with you some examples:

1)  When I see parents or anyone smoking in their cars with kids, I don't care if they're 3 or 13. So many kinds of wrong there, you don't even want to get me started.

2)  Parents or anyone driving recklessly and/or speeding, again, with kids in the car...or not.  Especially when I'm sharing the road with them.  With my kids in the car.  Precious cargo you know?

3)  Littering drives me absolutely mental.  I honestly feel like I could go Michael Douglas "Falling Down" crazy if I see someone litter.  You must be completely and utterly ignorant to litter in this day and age.

Okay, so those are the big three, my top most hated things that (shockingly) still happen in this crazy world.

One that is not as disturbing but still quite bothersome to me is food wastage.  Wasting food distresses me so much that when I am peeling an onion I will do all I can to get that pestery onion skin off without wasting the outer layer of onion.  I see Rachael Ray and other chefs just rip into it without a second thought and it honest to God upsets me.

I know.  I might need therapy.

Wasting food drives me so nuts that I sit here typing beside my son's very cold broccoli and perogies from dinner.  Four small pieces of broccoli and half a perogy with a dollop of sour cream still sit sadly here, on my dining room table. I was hoping upon hope that he would finish it.

I don't know where this complex came from.  It's not like my Mum was ever weird about wasting food that I can remember.  I mean, we had enough growing up.  There was always good food on the table, we certainly never went without that.  Okay, so I never had the latest trendy clothes.  I'm still waiting for Tretorns to come back into style so that I can finally get to wear them.  Although, I did get a Coconut Joe sweater for Christmas one year.  It was purple with red writing. Alright so maybe it was a year out of style but whatever.  I still loved it and wore it.  ALL. THE. TIME.

I know food wastage drives my husband crazy too.....he sees it as money being thrown away.  It's one and the same as far as I'm concerned.

So, this morning when I opened the freezer door and grabbed some waffles for Adrian's breakfast only to find them as limp as a wet noodle....I absolutely panicked.  I started grabbing everything in the freezer in a complete and utter frenzy to see if they too were thawed out.


EVERYTHING was pretty much thawed out.

The temperature of the freezer and fridge themselves didn't seem too bad.  It was cold....just not cold enough.

I yelled up to my husband "HONEY!  THE FRIDGE IS BROKEN!" and he came running down in a state of alarm, saying something about the condenser.  It's less than 3 years old for crying out loud!  Of-course looking into it, the warranty is up too.

Great, we said to each other.  What a way to start the morning.

First we couldn't find Adrian's Iron Man costume anywhere for hours (it us and I'm sure to him) which resulted in a fixation that couldn't be dissuaded along with a couple of meltdowns until John finally found it (thank you, thank you!) and now this.

I packed up all dairy and meat and put it in the garage.  Although I'm pretty sure it's futile at this point because we can't get anyone to look at our fridge until tomorrow at who knows what time.  And I'm convinced that some kind of creepy, starving rodent will find it's way into the garage and eat it all before morning comes even though my husband tried to convince me that any rodent would freeze to death out there.

Well!  I saw rabbits the other day!

Okay, maybe not a rodent but close enough.

Oh man.

At least I have my luke warm white wine to console me.

It's cold.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Full Moon = Good Scapegoat

It's a been a few days since my last post and I'll chalk it up to the full moon.

Friday again.

I was feeling itchy from the inside out.  It wasn't a bad day at all but nearing the late afternoon the little things were starting to drive me a little crazy.  Adrian knows how to do little things that annoy me.  Like raspberries (not the food) on my just cleaned mirrored front hall closet...then smearing his little hand through it.  Lovely.  Throwing toys...but doing it behind my back so I couldn't be totally sure it was him, making Riley so hyper that they're crashing into all the furniture, fur's flying and she's grabbing and shaking toys, blankets and stuffed animals which results in destruction or me having to add yet another item to my ever growing pile of laundry or dishes.

On top of that someone was supposed be home early from work but didn't end up getting in the door until 6.  I get it.  He has to work for a living.  I just hate the expectation of thinking that he's going to be home any minute and then 2 hours later...I'm still waiting.

No biggie.  I'm over it.

Of-course the kids were starving (as was I) so I ended up feeding them random food.  Like cheese, broccoli and cranberry, pumpkin seed crackers.  Leftover mushroom rice, grapes and ham.  You know, the usual 4 square meal.

What?  There was meat, dairy, grains, fruits and veggies.

I end up snacking on a crackers and cheese so that when John got home I wasn't really hungry and totally NOT in the mood to cook.  And a tad bit irritable.  I admit it.

We had fun playing with the boys after dinner.  Then it was story time and bed time for the boys.

Ahhhhh.  Friday night can begin.

Except I still was feeling a bit annoyed.  Nobody's fault really.  I'll blame it on the full moon again.

It's 8:30 pm and we've vegged out on the couch but I'm starving.  I suppose I could have made something  to eat but the walls were starting to close in on me.  Keep in mind I literally have not have any time to myself (outside of my house - except some grocery shopping  but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count right?) since....well the beginning of December.....when I was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico...for my best friend's gorgeous myself....for 4 days....

Just wait....I'm going to my happy place now.


Okay, back to reality.  I grabbed the keys and off I went.

I crank the music and start driving.  I am so hungry my stomach is starting to feel like it's eating itself.   I then realize I'm wearing pajama pants which really limits where I can get something relatively healthy to eat.  McDonald's...Wendy's....and Dairy Queen are the only options I have.  I suppose I could've gone into an Extreme Pita or Subway in my pj's but the odd looks I quite possibly would've gotten might've pushed me over the edge.  Then I would've been thought of as really crazy....or maybe the employees would have just rolled their eyes and said to each other as I walked out "Well, it IS a full moon".

I wasn't taking any chances.

I sighed.

McDonald's it was.  Now, I admit it, I thoroughly enjoy a McDonald's cheeseburger every so often.  I craved them with both my pregnancies but something came over me when I got to the drive thru.  I ordered a salad....from McDonald's!   It must be all the guilt of not renewing my gym membership 2 months ago.  I'm not feeling particularly great about myself.  I know I look fine however I'm just not used to very little exercise and it's starting to effect my mind. But no, hold on a sec.... don't be too proud of me for my healthy choice.  I ordered a Hot Fudge Sundae....with extra sauce and peanuts.  Just in case the salad didn't have quite the ol' stick to the ribs feeling I was hoping for.

I wasn't ready to head home yet.  I think my husband was a little relieved that I'd left the house and he didn't have to deal with my mood but I'm sure he thought I had gone to look for a better husband.  Don't worry honey.  There's no one better than you.

I pulled into a parking lot overlooking a park and Lake Huron.  I tolerated my salad and relished my sundae while listening to the radio and hoped a curious police officer didn't think I looked too suspicious.  Imagine, an officer coming to the window of my truck only to find a slightly disheveled 30 something year old woman in her pj's, scarfing down a chocolate sundae while blasting the week's Top 40.  What a site to behold right?  

I looked up at the full moon as a song came on that reminded me of the good old Joe Kool's days.  A very popular bar in London that my husband and I would frequent with friends every Friday night BK (our term for Before Kids)

I had to laugh to myself as I started up the truck and pulled out of the parking lot, cranking up the radio to Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love Again" hands tapping at the steering wheel as I made my way home.

Oh, how my Friday nights have changed in a short 5 years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya!

I love music.

I really, really love music.

I suppose it all started when I was a little girl and my dad would let me pick out records such as Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Boy George and the like.

Confession:  I had a crush on Boy George.  Is that weird or what?!  What does that say about me?!  Especially now that I look back at pictures of him.  Yikes.  Maybe I mistook my crush for being envious of his make up application skills.  I have no idea.

Now that that's off my chest....yes, my Dad always bought me records...whatever I wished.  And I would put those records on and stand in front of the full length mirror to lip sync and/or sing my little heart out to La Isla Bonita while doing my best Madonna impression.

I just realized I'm talking about RECORDS here people.  When did I get so old!?  Yes, I grew up in the era of records, 8 tracks and tapes.  I really am aging myself here aren't I?

Throughout my tweens I would pop my Paula Abdul tape into my awesome ghetto blaster and bust a move to "Straight Up" in my basement.

On my more somber days as a moody 14 year old I would put on Metallica and rage out to "Enter Sandman".

Upon getting my license I would crank the tunes so loud while driving I actually blasted out the speakers in my Dad's Tempo.  Oops.

On many a road trips my best friend and I would sing along to Madonna's Immaculate Collection so loudly and for so long that we would literally have no voices upon reaching our destination.  God, how I wish we lived closer.

My husband loves music as much as I do and we too, sing boisterously together.  Usually to the Tragically Hip.  How very Canadian of us.

On my wedding day my Dad and I danced to "My Girl" by the Temptations.  This wasn't just any father/daughter dance.  We were twirling and spinning and at one point as requested by my sweet father, I flung off my sandals and danced with my feet on his....just like I did as a little girl.  There I was, a 28 year old married woman dancing on the toes of her Daddy's.  My Dad rocks.

I'm one of those people that sings by myself, at the top of my lungs, entirely unabashedly to Pink's "Raise Your Glass" playing in my truck.  I don't care if I'm at a red light, the Tim Horton's drive through or in the parking lot of my son's school.  No, I don't.

I love music that much.

I, however, will not be one of those people that dances down the street singing at the top of my lungs to the music on my Ipod.  I draw the line there.  I mean, I don't want people to think I'm completely crazy.  However tempting it may be....especially when the song "Walking on Sunshine" comes blasting through my ear phones and makes it way into the very centre of my soul.  I resist.  I do.

Now that I have little ones and I stay home with them I have music playing almost all day in my house.  Not, it's not Raffi or The Wiggles.  No way.  Not in my house.  My kids will listen to the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Usher and they will love it!!!  When they were babies I'd put them in their sling and dance around the room with them.  Sometimes it was the only way to get Adrian to stop fussing.

My Fin is just like me.  He will find the music wherever he goes and shake his little tail feather.  When we were visiting my Mum the other day he wandered around until he found the stereo, pointed at it, did a little babble and a little butt shake.  This meant he wanted me to turn it on so that he could get down.  I granted his request and get down he did!  His little bum was bouncing, arms were waving around, while his head bopped up and down, side to side.  It made me so happy.  I wish I could remember what song it was.

Aidy likes music and although he's not as into it as Finley we have "our songs".  They would be "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz of which he actually knows the words.  "I Gotta Feelin'" by the BEP's and "Hands Up" by Ottawan.  The last one may seem a little out of place but to get him dressed and undressed as a toddler I would have to sing that song.  Now there's a commercial on the radio that plays "Hands Up" and upon hearing it he always yells out "Mummy! It's our song!".  I know.  Too sweet.  I do believe we turned a corner this morning though.  I turned down the radio to have a little chat with him on our drive to school.  After we were done our conversation, he asked me to turn the music up.  That's my boy!

Music is powerful.  It can make a sour mood turn super,  the lyrics can speak to your soul, it can help your heart heal.  Music can have an enormous impact on your day.

So when the going gets tough and the tough gets going I say turn up the tunes, sing like no one's listening and dance like no one's watching.

Actually who cares if anyone is listening or watching?!

Sing at the top of your lungs and dance like a maniac.

I'll totally join you!

"Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips."  
~Terri Guillemets

*Please enjoy the sound track of my life and feel free to shake what your Mama gave ya!!!

Karma Chameleon
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
La Isla Bonita
Straight Up
Enter Sandman
Ahead By A Century
My Girl
Raise Your Glass
Walking on Sunshine
Only Girl in the World
I Gotta Feelin'
Hands Up

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not all Sunshine and Lollipops

John's home and all is right in the world!

Um.  No.  

Something happens when my husband comes home from a work trip outside of the country.  He usually arrives in the evenings and I let Adrian stay up a little later to see his Dad come through the door.  That's pretty priceless.  And very touching.  I love seeing John with his boys.  I fall in love with him more every time I see them together.

I was showered with gifts.  No, I'm not kidding.  It was not nor ever expected but very nice nonetheless.  Beautiful turquoise bracelets and some delicious smelling lotions from the Dead Sea.  Yummy teas from India and wine from Israel.  Yes, I made out pretty good.  His gifts made our home made cards and mini homemade cupcakes look a little piddly but it is the thought that counts.  The best part of all was the black and white spotted dog that he brought back for Adrian.  Oh my!  The look of happiness on my sweet boys face was the best.  And he named him Froggy Doggy 2.  How adorable.

After putting Adrian to bed with Froggy Doggy 2 tucked in close to him, 10 p.m. came quickly and we both rather hard.  I don't sleep well when he is not home.  Other than obviously missing him, I'm always anticipating the next waking of one of the boys...either that or I have one or both of Adrian's feet kicking me in the face or back.  But last night I slept deeper than I have in a long time.

I awoke to my husband's face an inch away from mine.  "Honey...I have fresh waffles and coffee made.  Do you want to eat or keep sleeping?"

No people, I was not dreaming.

Hm.  I wonder do I choose food or more sleep?

Whoever picked food is completely out of their minds.

I slept passed 8!!!

I come downstairs feeling quite groggy as my husband hands me a giant cup of coffee and makes me FRESH waffles.  He made sure there was left over batter for me so I wouldn't have to eat re-warmed waffles.  God forbid.

I know.  So happy I married him.

Then reality hits.

My husband is doubled over with some kind of stomach crampiness.  Later we find out it's likely mild food poisoning.  But tell me how I'm supposed to feel any kind of sympathy when he's moaning and groaning and comparing it to giving birth.

The morning passes by in a blur of tantrums and snot, Adrian running around in his underwear like a maniac, driving us both a bit mad  and my 1 year old being unreasonably cranky due to the fact that he now has an ear infection, is exhausted and refuses to nap.

During Adrian having his afternoon nap,  Finley was supposed to be sleeping (again) as well but was screaming his bloody head off.  We alternatively went up to soothe him, give him medicine and pop his soother back in while my patience started to wane quite rapidly.  I was edgy.  I figured out today why I feel a little out of sync and irritable when John returns home after being out of the country.  The entire time he's away I walk a fine line of keeping frustrations at bay and also to maintain utmost patience with my boys (very difficult with young ones that are apt to have more mood changes than a 13 year old girl with PMS - I can say that because I once was one) that when John returns home I finally feel free to let a bit of that go....and unfortunately it lands on him.  So not fair especially because he's usually jet lagged to hell.  It's a circumstantial flaw I have to work on.  I do realize this.

In the middle of all my agitation and with Finley screaming I basically got outta dodge.  I threw on all my winter gear, hooked up Riley to her leash and off we went for a walk.

The afternoon was disguised in beautiful sunlight therefore looked a lot warmer than it was.  Pretty soon I had to put up my parka hood.  Which is nice and warm, however, so big that when I need to cross the street instead of simply turning my head left and right I have to literally turn my entire body to to left and then shuffle it back to the right.  The walk was lovely until I stepped on what was a sneakily camouflaged sheet of ice that I thought was a shallow puddle and I almost threw my back out when my foot flew out from under me and Riley's poop bag (yes, full of crap) went flying over my head. One of the school crossing guards was walking toward me to say hello and give a pat to Riley started to chuckle to herself.  Minor embarrassment.  Other than that it was, best of all, free of children.  Yes, I said it.  After working overtime for 8 days and 24 hours straight without any compensation I desperately needed some peace and quiet.  Love my kids more than anything but I love my me time too.

I return home feeling all sunshine and lollipops.  It lasts until 5 minutes after I walk into the house.  And it all begins again.

Sometimes it's just one of those days.

Thank God for kids that go to bed at 7 and (very) large glasses of wine.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Make Me Mirthful

Valentine's Day....who celebrate's it?  Hands up please!  Where I can see them!



Has it become that passe?  Or have all my friends just been married long enough that their husbands have convinced them it's just another major marketing ploy for all the card company's, flower shops and restaurants to make huge amounts of money on all the suckers (mostly male) that will shell out way too much dough on flowers and dinners on their (likely) new girlfriends.  Blah, blah blibbity blah.  And all the other things we've heard a thousand and one times before.

It's true.  The question I've been asking, "So what plans do you have for Valentine's?" is met with a rolling of the eyes, a sigh or a very straightforward "I hate Valentine's Day".  And these people are all MARRIED!  I'm not going to speculate about the why's today.  People have their reasons for not wanting to celebrate or not liking Valentine's Day.

I'm neither here nor there about the day myself.

My husband's going to be returning from 8 days in India and Israel this evening so I imagine he'll have as much energy to celebrate as a snail on sedatives.  Which is totally fine with me.  Last year we weren't even in the same continent so I can't complain too much.  Besides, I'm not partial to the typical "Valentine's Day" gifts.  I don't like getting flowers.  I used to...before I had my boys.  Now I feel it's just another living entity that I have to make sure is properly nourished and taken care of.  I think having to worry about 2 kids and a dog is enough don't you?  And chocolate?  Well, I looovvve chocolate.  But I can have chocolate any old day.  A romantic dinner out?  Don't make me laugh!  The last time my husband and I went out for dinner was....let me think.....our 4 year anniversary.

That was in June.

Of-course, it's nice to be recognized on a special day, especially one that's about celebrating your love for one another. But we ought to be grateful for our loved ones everyday right?  Yeah, yeah.  We hear it all the time right?

But today I do want you to think about about some of the little things that you can do for you for the light of your life, maybe not everyday (let's be realistic here) but MOST of the time. It doesn't have to be about going out for a fancy dinner, buying jewelry or presents and pampering them at the spa...(okay, the last one you should TOTALLY do for your girlfriend/wife/mother of your children) but truly it is the little things that make us happy...well me anyway.

I've made a short list of things that make me feel mirthful. Keep in mind these are just for me but maybe, just maybe someone out there might be reading this and take a pointer or two...these are all very simple and mostly....FREE!

1)  Hugs first thing in the morning - from everyone in your family.  What's not to love about a hug?  And I'm not talking about a little lean in, with a piddly pat, pat, pat.  I'm a big believer in a good, firm, bear hug.  Mmmmm.  Love them.

2)  Coffee made for me in the morning (my handsome husband does do this for me everyday...when he's not in another country)

3)  A little sleep in now and then is lovely.  Again, what's not to love about sleep?  Especially when you're a parent.

4)  Telling me you love me.  Like you really mean it. Everyday.  I have 2 out of 3 males in my life that do this and the one that doesn't is still working on his verbal skills so....I guess that's fine.

5)  Spontaneity is always good fun although not always easy with children.  I'm not talking about "Hey honey, pack your bags....we're going to Hawaii!" (well that would be freakin' AH-MAY-ZING but again....let's be realistic)  More along the lines of "Hey honey, let's go to Niagara Falls for the day" (or nearby city that is fun but rarely visited)  or even "How about we check out that new restaurant for lunch?"  Spontaneity is essential and unfortunately largely overlooked for stay at home Mum's...mostly because we feel tied to the house 99% of our days.
*On a side note here:  Spontaneous kisses are also very delicious!

6)  Admiration.  All right, this could possibly go along with saying "I love you" but this is more along the lines of "You look so beautiful!"  "You smell delicious!"  "I think you are the smartest, funniest, most fabulous woman and mother I know."  Okay, so the last one is going a bit overboard (and really, what (straight) man says the word fabulous?) but I will tell you this...ALL women want to believe that Bruno Mars wrote the song "Just the way you are" for us personally.  (Just The Way You Are video)

All one has to do are these 6 simple things (almost) everyday and I'd be the luckiest lady on the planet.


Wait a second.

I already have 3 gorgeous Valentines year round and my main Valentine already does 99% of what is on my "list".  (I'll let him figure out the missing 1%)  ;)

How much luckier can a woman get?!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fickle is as Fickle does?

Today, we mourn the loss of a very special doggy.  He never barked, never begged, never whined and always obeyed.  He was best buddy, co-conspirator, sleepy time pal and just an all around great dog to his owner Adrian Thomas since September 2009.

Good- bye Froggy Doggy.  You will be missed.

Yes, that's right friends.  I had to deal with my son's first loss today.  Mind you it was only a stuffed animal, not the real thing.  But this was a very special stuffed animal and if you haven't read my previous posts, he was one of my son's beloved "comfy" items.

As I came down the stairs from putting my youngest down for his morning snooze I saw a very somber sight.  My 3 year old boy, standing at the bottom of the stairs, big blue eyes bright with tears, holding up Froggy Doggy.

Well, what was left of Froggy Doggy.

My heart sank into my knees and I felt a little bit sick to my stomach.  I'm sure it was nothing compared to the heart break my son felt when he found him....with no face.

I immediately knelt down to give my son the biggest hug ever as he wept, big fat tears rolling down his sweet face, crying into my neck, "Riley ate Froggy Doggy!  Bad Riley, bad Riii--lll--ey!!!"

What's a Mom supposed to do?  Of-course I comforted him, held him close and murmured words of consolation.  I brought him his yellow cozy and Lamby (his other comfy items) as requested.  I didn't want to immediately go into saying "It's okay, we can get you another Froggy Doggy".  I always feel the need to validate his feelings when he's this upset.  I know I would hate it if someone kept telling me "It's okay, it's okay" when, clearly,  it's NOT okay.

A few minutes go by and he's calmed down.  He looks at me, his sad, blue eyes still wet with tears and says "You need to buy me another doggy Mummy.  With black and white spots.  Okay?"  I nod sympathetically, of course.

Well, that was easy.  Off he goes flying around like Iron Man, jumping on and off furniture as the remains of Froggy Doggy's face lie there in the middle of the carpet.  Pathetic eyeballs peering creepily at the ceiling.

I take a deep breath, put Riley outside for a few minutes as her "punishment", and clean up the remaining bits of Froggy Doggy's face and fluff.

The day goes by and I kept waiting for Adrian to say he missed Froggy Doggy or something...but alas, the name was never mentioned.  It niggled at the back of my mind a little bit.  Surely, he must be more upset than he's showing.

Night time rolls around and I thought,  'Okay, brace yourself January, it might be a tough one tonight.'  So after his teeth were brushed, pj's were on and books were read, he climbs into bed....I wait for the dreaded question, maybe he's forgotten...


As I'm tucking him in, I deliberately take Lamby and snuggle it in close to him and say "Here sweetie, here's Lamby".  I wait for the watershed of tears.


Then I thought, why is this bothering me so much that he seemed to get over the loss of a very dear, very special comfy item so easily???  I should be relieved right?

Wrong.  I figured out why it's been niggling at me.

He's fickle.  That's it!  That's why it's bothering me.  My 3 year old son is as fickle as the weather in March.

All of these thoughts whoosh into my mind... does this mean he's going to be fickle of the heart then too?   Is that better or worse than John and me having to deal with his broken heart???  Or is this foreshadowing the trail of girls broken hearts that will be left at our front door on a regular basis???  I hope my husband and I can raise him better than know, have respect for women, treat them nicely, be a gentleman.  I want to teach my sons that chivalry is not dead!

Of-course I know I'm going off on a tangent and being completely melodramatic about the whole thing.  I know I'm reading way too much into the situation as Mothers do best.


That's fine if he's fickle I suppose.  I can deal with that as long as there's one woman his heart is never fickle about.

His Mumma.

Oh please Lord.  Let that be true.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shame, shame Lululemon!

I took my weekly trip to the grocery store today with my little guy.  Much easier than with 2...much, much, much easier.  So, off we go, environmentally friendly bags in hand.

We get back home and I put all the groceries away while Finley toddled around, playing and bringing me random toys.  Being his sweet, innocent little self.

One of my recyclable grocery bags is from Lululemon.  I took a moment to notice the quotes on the front of the bag.

"Friends are more important than money"  Okay, I believe that.

"Do one thing a day that scares you"  Um.  This one I'm not so sure of.  Maybe once a week or more realistically, once a month.  If you wake up EVERYDAY thinking you have to do something that scares you....that's not exactly a motivator to get up on the morning.  Just my opinion.

"Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counter or floors.  Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter" I completely agree and follow that rule.

"Children are the orgasm of life.  Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you  know how great children are until you have them."

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait a second here.  Really?!  Did Lululemon need to go there?!  Hasn't the media within our world become sexualized enough?  Did they have to  put "children" and "orgasm" in the same sentence together?!  I'm certainly not saying orgasms are "bad" to talk about, not that I am even going to go there either as I have family that reads this's just weird to me that someone ever thought to put that sentence together.

Does anyone else see the wrongness in this quote or am I just being a supersensitive parent here?  Did they think it was amusing, funny or witty when they sat around the boardroom in all their spandex & messy ponytail glory (while just possibly doing the downward dog) and came up with this doozy?  I find it a wee bit offensive.  Just a wee bit.

Also, do they not realize that kids can READ?  What if Adrian or Finley were 6 or 7 years old and just happened to be reading my Lululemon bag...only to look up and ask me "Mumma, what's an orgasm?"  I would die.  How do you explain that one?  I'm having heart palpitations just thinking of it.

They could have thrown plenty of other nouns in there that would have made just as much sense and been a lot more "appropriate".  So I decided to put my own twist on that quote and I think Lululemon should do the same:

"Children are the Chocolate of life.  Just like you didn't know how delicious chocolate was before you had it, nature does not allow you to know how scrumptious children are before you have them."

Take that LULULEMON!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's Up Doc?

The other night after sleeping in fits and starts because my big boy wasn't feeling well, I made a decision as he coughed away in his sleep.  I couldn't endure another night of this and therefore to the walk-in clinic we had to go.

I braced myself for the battle and chaos that I knew would come about in the morning.  I don't make a habit of  taking both boys to the walk in clinic or doctor's by myself, however, I had noticed that Finley started coughing as well so I figured I would avoid the situation that happened the last time John was away (which was visiting the walk in twice in a week) and bring them both to get checked out.

The walk in clinic opens at 8:30 am.  I had to make sure the boys were dressed and the diaper bag was filled with diapers, wipes, snacks, health cards and my wallet, by at least 8.

We're upstairs in Fin's bedroom and I dress Finley....sounds easy but for any parent that has a squirmy toddler we all know that there's nothing easy about it.  Adrian's turn.  Oh boy.  After I chased him through 3 bedrooms,  wrestled him to the ground, legs kicking, arms flailing as he yelled "No Mumma!  I want to  be naked!!" I won....then...he declared had to go pee.

So, in we all go to the bathroom.  I sit Finley on the counter to brush his teeth and Adrian goes pee.

Uh oh.

I hear a splash and immediate "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh".  I turn around and Adrian has somehow fallen into the toilet...his right arm was IN THE TOILET, up to his elbow.  Awesome.

I quickly get Finley back on the ground just outside of the bathroom and grab Adrian to scrub him down as fast and as thoroughly as I can.  Then we go through Wrestle Mania 500 while I got him dressed...again.  The clock was ticking and I had to get to the doctor's office before 8:30.

8:14 we leave the house.  Of-course it's not the balmy temperature of 1 degree (you know you're Canadian when)  that it was the day before.  No, no.  It's -12 degrees with a windchill factor of -25.

By leaving the house, this does NOT mean we actually "left the house" this really means we're 5 feet outside the house and I'm putting Finley in his car seat while simultaneously trying to cajole Adrian to get to the other side where his car seat is.  I look over my shoulder and see Adrian stomping through the 2 feet of snow in our front yard away from the truck and toward the snowman we built the day before.  He fell in LOVE with this snowman.  I'm not kidding.

Adrian arrives in front of the snowman and says "I love you Snowman" and starts hugging and kissing it.  I really am not sure what the appeal of this particular snow man is.  I will take a moment and describe him to you  but I want you to keep in mind I had to be very inventive as I was not able to come and go into the house with 2 very young children to get the accessories a typical snowman requires.

"Snowman" is about the same height as Adrian (might be some of the appeal I suppose) with eyes made of brown snow (don't worry, just dirt), a nose made from a Blue Light beer cap that my youngest happened to find in the garage and a random bright orange pilon as a hat that probably came from one of our neighbours garages because it sure isn't ours.  No scarf, no buttons.  So.  There you are.  A pretty picture don't you think?

I finally get Adrian to climb into the truck and now have them both buckled in.  It's now 8:22.  I have 8 minutes before the clinic opens and it's only a few minutes down the road.

We're in good time.

I pulled up to the clinic at 8:26 and get a quick peak in the doors as we drive past looking for parking.  There was a line up of so many people I was sure a case of Beiber Fever was happening!  (okay, okay, really, really bad joke but I couldn't resist. And there really was a long line up of people)

We get into the nice warm entrance and wait until the receptionist opens up the doors.  I thought then, wouldn't it be nice if one of these people let us go ahead of them as they can clearly see I have 2 children and there is just one of them?

It was a nice daydream.

Fin and I take a seat in the waiting room as Adrian goes directly to the "toy area" which consists of those bead mazes and a few books with missing covers and ripped pages.  The Cat in the Hat is on the tv with NO volume.  Why do they torture children like that?  Adrian was not impressed.

Their names are finally called and in we go to another room to wait another 15 mins for the doctor.  In the meanwhile, after Adrian has opened and closed every cupboard, asked a thousand questions about all the interesting doctor's "tools" hanging on the wall and spun around a few times on the "spinny stool" he states he has to go pee.

Off we go to the washroom with 2 (very small) stalls.  One of which is occupied.  Always a concern as I am afraid that Adrian might be tempted to take a peak under the occupied stall.  It hasn't happened....yet.  Once he actually gets on the toilet he realizes "Mumma?  I don't have to go pee"  Of-course not.  Now, I'm trying to pull up his pants while holding I don't want to put him down lest he gets the crazy idea of crawling underneath the still occupied stall.  Quick, quick, quick!  I don't want to miss the doctor and then have to wait another hour for him/her to come back to us at their earliest convenience.

Whew.  We get back to the room and only have to wait a couple more minutes.  The very nice doctor takes a look at Finley and he's fine, thank God.  I have to tell you the cutest part of the whole trip which made it all worthwhile.  As the doctor was checking Fin's ears, throat, chest and back, Adrian comforted him, hugging one of his little legs that was dangling from the patient bed and says "I love my brother Finley".

I know.  He can be so sweet when he wants to be.

Adrian on the other hand had ANOTHER ear infection.  The second one in a month.  Ugh.  Poor guy.  So she writes up a prescription....which means a trip to the pharmacy. Where there are far too many colourful boxes, bottles, and tempting candy within both of my boys short reach.


Maybe I'll leave that adventure for the next blog entry.......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's for Dinner?

This week-end my husband took out a frozen pizza to put in the oven for lunch.  I looked at him and said "You realize you're eating one of my meals next week".  I said it in a joking manner but I sorta wasn't...joking that is.

John recently left for India and Israel for 8 days.  SO.  What does that mean for me?  Well, that means it's all Mommy all the time for 8. Entire. Days.  Morning, afternoon, middle of the nights.  Naps, baths, the drama that "good night's" bring.  Playing, entertaining, dealing with tantrums, time outs.  Trying to fill the days so that the week doesn't drag on.  Dishes, vacuuming, cleaning up toys, laundry....breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Meal times.  The very bane of every mother with young ones existence.

When John is home I always cook a nice, healthy dinner.  I love cooking and I like to think I'm pretty good at it.  I'm not a Mom that makes separate meals for the adults and the kids.  That's too much work and in my opinion asking for trouble.  So I cook a delicious dinner and I expect everyone to eat that dinner.   If they don't....well, I'm sorry to say they might go to bed hungry (this doesn't actually happen but there's always the "threat").  Of-course there's only one member in my lovely family that gives us the gears when it comes to eating.  I'm sure you can guess who that curly headed boy is.

So when John is away, do I cook a nice, healthy dinner for everyone????  Uh.  NO.  I am no masochist.

 I struggled with that for a while because I really cannot stand most "convenience" foods.  Adrian didn't even have Kraft Dinner until this summer for the first time.  Of-course he loved it.  And every time we have chicken fingers and french fries Adrian always tells me "I make the best dinners ever".  *eye roll*

What do we eat while John is away you ask?

It's a very diverse selection of chicken fingers and fries (with vegetables of-course! ...  Do olives count as vegetables?  just kidding....maybe), pasta with tomato or cheese "sauce" (we've figured out that using the word "sauce" with my eldest equals "will eat"), frozen pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches with soup and if I'm feeling extra ambitious I will cook up some perogies.  I know perogies sound easy but you have to boil AND fry them plus if you want really delicious perogies you must have bacon with them.  And I have a weird fear of frying bacon.  It might have something to do with the 1000 degree grease that flies at you without warning.  And for the record, those bacon/grease anti spatter things don't work.  You still have to remove it to flip the bacon at which point the grease makes an alarming popping sound and spits at you menacingly thus potentially burning your eyeball.  I don't know why I have this strange anxiety do you?

 Moving forward now.... I never thought I would say this but I am actually sick of carbs, therefore tonight it was roasted chicken (I buy one every week at the grocery store and debone it for sandwiches and wraps), tortillas spread with hummus and folded in half, cheese, avocado, carrots with ranch dip and I also threw in some pickled asparagus.  I suppose I could call it "Antipasto Soden style".  We topped it off with some honey dew melon and strawberries for dessert.  I thought it was a perfectly acceptable dinner. Much healthier than the chicken nuggets we had last night, right?  Of-course my favourite thing about it was minimal clean up and no stove, pots or pans involved!  Plus Adrian pretty much gobbled the whole thing up.  Bonus!

Afterward as I was cleaning up and the boys were playing, Adrian runs into the kitchen and asks....

"Mumma, what are you cooking for dinner?"

"Cooking" clearly being the key word in that sentence.

I gotta admit, there's not much that gets by that son of mine.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Motherhood. A Serious Matter?

Today my baby, Finley, is 15 months.  I know.  Not too interesting of a fact but I thought today would be a good day to check up and see how his "milestones and developments" are coming along.

 It's so funny how different you are with your second child.  With Adrian, I was constantly looking up what milestone he "should" be at.

Like weekly.

I know.  Obsessive much?  But I know I'm not alone in this instance.  First time Mother's are pretty obsessive when it comes to their babies.  And all the parenting books and online sites don't help this matter.  There are millions upon trillions of books and sites on how to make sure your child is the next Einstein, Picasso and or Bach.  Parents (well mostly Mom's) are barraged by these topics of conversations from magazines, to the Mom Show.

Ask your Mother who and what she referred to when we were wee ones.

Actually you don't have to.  I will tell you.  It was the family doctor or Dr Sears.

Do you think our Mom's drew squiggly lines with black magic marker on a white sheet of paper and waved it in front of our poor 3 week old still blurry eyes because they read somewhere it helped stimulate our brain activity?  (I actually did this.  I know. I'm so embarrassed)  Did they follow every word the Baby Whisperer wrote about napping, eating and playing schedules because by God, if they didn't their child would surely become a socially inept insomniac with serious food issues?  No way!  Did they fret and have major guilt issues over not being able to or not choosing to breastfeed?  No, and generally speaking Mom's of that generation did not breast feed.  I'm pretty sure our generation turned out okay.  Right?....Right?  I think so.

There are many great sites out there for "referring" to and that's what they should be used as.  I remember  reading online about a mother concerned that her 2 week old wasn't sleeping through the night.  Even I, in all my crazy, new, hormonal Motherhood knew that was taking it too far.

So I say, take what you believe works for you and your babe and forget the rest.  Or don't read a thing and go by your gut instinct.  I read far, far, far too many books and took parenting so seriously with Adrian.  I'd like to think I enjoyed his babyhood more but I fear I put far too much pressure on myself.  I've learned my lesson and I am completely 100% enjoying Finley in all his scrumptious baby and toddlerhood.

Okay.  That was a bit of a ramble.  Excuse me.

Back to sweet Finley and his 15 month old milestone development:

According to an article I recently came across, at 15 months your baby should at least be doing the following:

Play with ball:  What exactly does that mean?  Specifics would help here.  If that means he can dribble it up a basketball court and score 3 pointers, well, he might need to work on that particular skill.  Finley likes to simply pick up the ball and let it drop...bounce...bounce....bounce...rolllll....away it goes and off he toddles after it to do it all over again.  Or gnaw on it.  I say he passes the test don't you?

Second on the list:  Learns 5 words other than initial vocabulary....uh oh.  My son can sure babble up a storm and he is completely convinced that it makes all the sense in the world.  I think it's pretty much the most adorable sound ever.  But seriously?  He doesn't even have 5 words in his "initial vocabulary" let alone 5 additional ones.  I'm pretty sure when he points at something and says "utsat" he's saying "What's that?" and I think that when he waves his hands around frantically (and starts throwing the food on the floor) after a meal and says "alda" he's telling me he's "All done".  Oh and my husband is pretty proud of the fact that he taught him the word "dirty" which Fin surprisingly says with great articulation.


He, does, however love singing the Buzz Lightyear theme da, do da, do didda do.  In fact I'll go as far to say as he's mastered it.  Now that is way cooler than being able to say "cat" or "dog"...don't you think?

The third and final "milestone" on the list of things that your baby should at least doing at 15 months is.....walk backward.

Walk backward???  Really?  Didn't they just learn how to walk forward?

Okay, okay, this one he can do.  He actually makes a game out of walking backward into our sweet dog Riley, who puts up with far more shananigans from my sons than any animal should ever have to deal with.  For some reason when Finley walks backward into her it unsettles her terribly and she simply doesn't know what to do with herself.  And he thinks its hilarious.  Poor Riley.  *sigh*

My point to this blog entry is for any new Mom that might happen to be reading this right now, please, do yourselves a favour.  Relax.  Stop reading so much.  Don't compare your babe to any others (it's natural human behaviour to do such a thing but try not to).  Revel in your baby's smell, coos, smiles, giggles and squish their delicious, dimply baby bums because that is what being a Mother is about in the early stages.

Delight in all your baby's individuality and uniqueness.

But most of all...don't take yourself too seriously.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sweetness of Brotherhood

I had a moment the other day.  I froze that moment in my mind to pull out on the days when my sons are older and perhaps might not be getting along so well.  I hope that never happens but let's be realistic here.

I had picked Adrian up from school and with nearly frozen fingers, I buckled both of them in their car seats, and dished out a snack for them to munch on for the ride home.  The snack of the day was Teddy Grahams.  I know, not the healthiest snack BUT those little packets are devilishly convenient.  And, to make it clear, they weren't the chocolate kind....they were the healthier choice of honey.

I buckled myself in the drivers seat and off we went.

Not too long after we started down the road did Finley finish his snack and start grunting for more.  I had only given him a couple of cookies as he already had had a snack on the way to pick Adrian up.  The child eats more than I do most days.  The mild complaints quickly escalated to a full on freak out.  Oh man.  There's nothing worse than driving during rush hour, in the middle of winter, with a very, very unhappy child.  (well, actually there's plenty worse but it's all relative right?)

So, first things first.  Distraction.  I pull down the DVD screen in the truck with the awesome movie Toy Story on it and turn up the volume.  He LOVES Toy Story.  That should definitely do it.

The screaming does not subside.  Not even a little.

I tried talking him out of it.  Yes.  That's right.  I tried talking my 15 month old out of a full on freak out session due to the clear fact that I'm starving him to death.

Nope.  Do you actually think he could hear me over the cacophony that was his own voice?  Not so much.

It never occurred to me to ask his brother, Adrian, to offer him one of his own Teddy Grahams.  For several different reasons.  The clear one being that anything and everything is Adrian's whether or not that's really true.  Sharing and 3 year olds....2 things that are very incompatible together.

I hear Adrian's voice over the shrieking monster that has become my usually calm son.

"Here Finley, you can have one of mine".

We were stopped at a red light, I looked in my rearview mirror in total awe to see my big boy's hand reach over to his baby brother with a sticky little Teddy Graham cookie in it.  Then I see my baby's pudgy hand reach out to his big brother's much larger hand and ever so gently take the cookie from him.

It becomes quiet.  The light turns green and my foot moves to the gas peddle as they continue to contentedly munch away on their snacks, their eyes glued to Buzz and Woody, like the explosion of emotions never even happened.

And I take in the moment to savour every last feeling of sweetness it holds.

"Convenient"...not a word to ever describe parenthood

A wise man once said "Nothing about parenting is convenient".  Well, actually it was just my neighbour Dave.

It was a beautiful warm summer night and all the neighbours on my street, otherwise know as "Cocktail Crescent" (yes, we enjoy our adult time, responsibly) were sitting outside our houses (baby monitors and all) enjoying a beverage.  I can't remember what the fascinating topic of conversation was that night but I do remember those particular words because, to me, truer words have not been spoken.

I'd like to discuss that sentence a little bit more.  Maybe throw in an instance that has happened recently.  While my husband is away.  In another country.  For the second time in a month.

So, on top of parenting already not being convenient....let's throw in a parent that travels more than the average working person.  A lot more.  Talk about inconvenience.  Not that I begrudge my husband because he works harder than anyone I know and he does it for us, and so that I get to have the amazing job of being a full time Mummy.  Well, okay.  I am all about honesty on this blog and will admit, it really sucks sometimes.  But I try not to take it out on him.  Emphasis on the word try.  I like to have a positive mind frame about life....and so I figure, it just makes for more interesting blog material.  And really, who has the rougher end of the deal here?  A Mummy that gets to stay home and spend time with her babies or a Daddy who yes, might get to sleep in a bit later, and go out for some nice, swanky dinners, but works his little tushy off and misses his family like crazy???  You decide.

What about parenting is inconvenient you ask? (well, only the people with no kids would ever ask such a question)  Hmmm.  Well let's start with the fact that when they are born, you basically become a slave to a crying, pooping, spitting up, hungry human that is about 1/20th of your size.  It cares nothing about the fact that it's 2 am and you were just up 2 hours ago.  Dammit!  They want to eat!  Again!  Back to sleep you go, tiptoeing back to bed and gingerly pulling up your bed sheets, as quietly as possible so as not to disturb them....praying to God that this might be the last time they wake until sunrise.  Uh uh!! WRONG AGAIN!  A sound that couldn't possibly come from such a sweet, delicate creature erupts, stunning you out of the declivity of  sweet, sweet sleep.  Oh crap.  Literally.  Here we go again.  I know....parenthood....sounds so romantic doesn't it??  Now, before I totally freak you out (those that don't have children - yet) there are many, many, many great moments in between the nitty, gritty.  I promise you.  Like their first smile, laugh, coos...first steps, the first time they say Mumma, Dadda and I love you.  It makes up for the utter exhaustion you feel deep in your bones for the first 6 months or so.  No, really, it does.

Back to the topic at hand.

What does, by definition, the word inconvenience mean?  According to it defines inconvenience as "something that causes discomfort, trouble, etc."  

Okay, so more on the "etc" part of the definition:  Inconvenience is car seats and all those damn buckles...tightening, loosening, tightening again, making sure you can fit only. 2. fingers. under. the. straps.  It's the total mess that happens after every breakfast, lunch, dinner and let's not forget snack times.  The 100 lb diaper bag full of diapers, extra clothes, bottles, sippy cups, wipes, bum cream and let's not forget snacks, that you must NEVER forget when leaving the house, EVER.  It's the crying when they're supposed to be sleeping and darn it you need some "me" time, the demand for apple juice when all you have is orange, the whining for raisin bread when all you have are raisins... and.... bread, the times when you're stuck in traffic and they have to go pee RIGHT NOW, the crying for their Spiderman pj's when they're in the wash because they spilt milk on them this morning...remember???  NO!  Okay.  No more crying over spilt milk!

You get the picture.

Last night Adrian climbs into my bed and says in his sweet, sleepy voice..."Mumma?...Mumma?"  Even if his Daddy wasn't away, it would still be me he asks. Of-course.  Mothers know all...right?  I awake from a deep, deep slumber.  "Yes baby?"  "I can't find my froggy doggy or my lamby."

Froggy doggy and Lamby are his "comfy" items.  Froggy Doggy is a well loved, black and white spotted dog not a frog (I somehow felt the need to make that clear), and Lamby is, you guessed correct!  A well loved stuffed lamb, his very first stuffed animal that he received as a gift when he was born.

Most children have an item or 2 that they are attached to.  A "lovey" or "boo".  Mine has 4.  Included with Froggy Doggy (can you tell he named him?) and Lamby (my creative juices were really flowing when I came up with that one)  are his "yellow cozy" and "blue cozy". "Cozy" is his term for "comfy item" or otherwise known as very, soft blankies.  I know.  Pretty adorable.

So, off I go....on a search for the elusive froggy doggy and lamby.  Conveniently requested at 2:30 AM.

I, of-course, find them after 5 very long minutes of patting down the entire bed, lifting covers and moving pillows in the utter darkness and bring them back to my bed where Adrian has "conveniently" fallen back asleep....

I lay them down on either side of him, give him a kiss on the cheek and snuggle in beside him, burying myself deep into the cocoon of comfort that is my bed....praying that my other little one sleeps soundly until at least 6.

Now that would be convenient.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Memories of a Mother....When Baby turns into Boy

3 years ago today after many...many....many hours of labour my son, Adrian Thomas, came into this crazy world at 11:11 pm on a Sunday.  I won't bore you or freak you out with all the messy details but let's just say, I'm surprised I have another.

It seems like yesterday and at the same time so, so long ago that his red, wrinkly, squirming body was placed onto mine.  I remember it so well, surprising actually, given the fact that I hadn't slept in about 40 hours.  I looked down at his face after they handed him to me (quite carelessly actually and I almost dropped him) and was like WHOA!  Who is this child and what the hell just happened?!

Oh, I know...I'm "supposed" to say he was beautiful and it was transcendent and I completely fell head over heels for this little guy.  But I'd be lying.

I think back on the first year with great memories of-course but also the thought of "Whew, thank God I don't have to do that again!"  You see, he was, shall we say,  a "spirited" baby.  Never for moment did Adrian EVER. Stop. Moving.  From the time he was literally in utero and was doing karate chops and roundhouses, creating quite the show from the inside out, did he ever stop!  He still doesn't.  And I love that about him.  Most days.

I remember the little things and with this entry I'm going to take the time to reminisce about the memories that come forefront to my mind and it starts with the amazing feeling of him sleeping on my chest when he was just a wee babe.  Well not that he was ever really "wee".  A 9.6 lb baby is not "wee".  How many times can I use the word "wee" in a paragraph?  To taking him to the park and putting him in his first baby swing "Weeeeee"!  He loved it!

He attempted to start crawling when he was only 5 months old, which should've clued me in on what the future held for me.  Mind you I'd call it more of a "drunken baby crawl".  Occasionally his hand wouldn't quite make it out to where he wanted it to be and he'd land on his face...but as they say "practice makes perfect" and he became fast!  He'd get going, with his head down just like a little bull.

His first step, Lord help me, was at 9 months.  Which to give a little bit of perspective to people without kids, that's when my second son started to crawl.  Oh man, I was in trouble.  Of-course at the time, I was so excited and so proud.  I got out the video camera and called John to tell him the great news.  There was no stopping little Bubba now!

At 11 months he was full on walking...actually more like running.  And at 14 months he was jumping....on trampolines. Yes, that's right.  It all started when we would wake up every.... single... morning... to the sound of Adrian jumping up and down in his crib, crying for his "Bottle, Bottle, Bottle".  This was NOT bouncing, let me make that clear.  My Mum would be the first to tell you that, as she was witness to the time when he jumped so hard and so high that he literally flew feet over head out of his crib...and landed with an alarming PLONK.  Yes, I was there but had turned away for a moment when I heard a weird and strangled cry come from somewhere deep inside my Mother's throat.  As I sllllooowwly turned I saw my baby's feet and legs in the air, pointed to the ceiling, curly head, quickly heading toward the (thankfully) carpeted floor.  Thank God, he landed on his back and was totally fine.  But was my Mum?  I thought she was pretty close to hysteria as I looked at her in astonishment from what happened.  The poor lady.  She had tears in her eyes, her whole body was shaking. From shock?  Worry?  Terror?  Nope.  She was killing herself laughing.  Of-course it was after she knew he was fine...right Mum?

His first crush?  Dora.  And the way he said it was actually with a roll of the tongue.  Although, I'm not sure if it was a Spanish accent or an Egyptian one.  You see, his caretaker when I returned back to work was a lovely lady named Nadia from Egypt.  John and I were convinced she was teaching him to speak Egyptian during the day because the babble that was coming out of his little mouth sure didn't sound ANYTHING like English.  He's over Dora now.  He currently has a "girlfriend" (his word, not mine!) named Emma.  That he's met twice.  It's a long distance relationship.  She's a beautiful little Italian spitfire.  Hmmm.  I see a trend happening here.  Spanish and Italian women.  I might be a liiittle bit in trouble.  Or he is.

His second year of life was a great one.  We had moved to a new neighbourhood when he was 10 months old, with lots of kids ranging from toddlers to age 6.  It was clear he was quite the social butterfly already.  The older kids would actually call on him to come out and play when he was only 18 months old.  One of the neighbours nicknamed him the "King of the Crescent".  He was always greeting everyone, and knew everyone's names.  It was never just a simple "Hi!"  It was always "Hello - (insert name here)" with a wave of his little hand.  My little politician.

Every morning he would wake up and look out his window that faced the street and point out everyone's car.  "Bull's car!" (that would be BILL)  "Elmo's car!" (that would be EMIL)  "Yoyd's car!" (that would be LLOYD).

At 20 months, I'll never forget this.  We were playing in his room and he grabs his backpack and suitcase out of the closet.  He proceeds to throw the backpack over his shoulder and grab the suitcase by the handle.  He looks at me as he was about to leave his room and says "Bye Mumma!"  But then he comes over, gives me a kiss on the lips, leans back and says "Keys?"  Wow, is that ever a foreshadow of the years to come or what?!!!!  I almost cried thinking the thought.  What a kid.

When his little brother, Finley, came along I was a little worried.  Of jealousy and the sort.  And that happened and still does.  But for the most part, he welcomed him. On his own terms.  As long as he stayed away from his toys...and "his Mumma".

This past spring we bought him a cool, orange Strider bike.  It's a bike with no training wheels and no pedals.  It teaches them balance, therefore no training wheels are ever needed.  He quickly mastered the the Strider and was onto a regular 2 wheeler bicycle.  Yes, that's right.  My 2 and half year old got right on a 2 wheeler bike and started riding it like he'd done it a million times I've said, he amazes me everyday.  The 2 wheeler quickly turned to a scooter and this winter he tried ice skating for the first time.  He definitely has his Dad's athleticism!

As the days and months progress he is becomes more and more of a character everyday. From being Iron Man to Spidey to his sweet random "I love you Mumma" moments.  He makes me happy, he makes me crazy, he makes me mad and he makes me laugh...a lot.  Sometimes all in the span of a half hour.  But most of all he makes me very, very proud.

Last night, I lay with him long past he's fallen asleep.  I stared at his angelic little face.  I tried to burn into my memory the last night before his third birthday.  His beautiful long eyelashes curved against his sweet pink cheeks, his little button nose and his full, kissable lips.  I leaned down and press my nose into his yummy smelling curls to give him my 1000th kiss that day.  Today I was told "No more kisses Mumma"...and my heart broke a little. I suppose that's what happens as they get older.  There will come a day when he won't want me to hold his hand either.  But for now, I will cherish the moments his soft little hand is in mine and the moments he "allows" me to smother him with kisses.  The cuddles at night as I read him bedtime stories and his really great strangling hugs when I pick him up from pre-school and he runs at me with abandon yelling "Mummaaa!!"  jumps into my arms and says  "I missed you today".  Melts my heart every time.

I know in the beginning I admit that I didn't fall in love with him the second I laid eyes on him...something more amazing has happened.

I fall more in love with him everyday.

I love him more now than I ever, ever thought was imaginable.

Happy Birthday sweet son of mine!

I love you to the moon and back, forever and ever and always....don't you ever forget that.

 Beautiful boy

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

4 things never to take for granted (before you have children)

I recently watched a video by the founders of about the 4 taboos of parenting.  The things you "can't" say when you become a parent.

There was one in particular that definitely struck a chord with me and that was taboo number 4:

'You can't say your "average happiness" has declined since having children'

There is actually chart that has four studies on it which indicates this is indeed "true".

Now, I've never been one to beat around the bush about much.  I have always been brutally honest when it comes to giving birth,  raising children and how it affects marriage to all of my friends.  It's true.  Just ask them.  I'm pretty sure I've convinced my best friend Erin that she should never have children although it has never been my intent.  Not because she would be a terrible Mother, in fact I believe quite the opposite.  But because when you have children it is truly a test of the relationship in every sense of the word.  It tests your patience, with each other and the child.  It tests your love for one another....some days you love them....some days you....well, don't.  And it tests your emotional stability.   Which is linked to how much or more likely, how little sleep you both got the night before. I say that with tongue in cheek but it's true. Of-course I could go on and on about the 'tests' you go through as parents but you get the point.

I thought to myself after watching the very fascinating clip that it might possibly be true that your average happiness declines after children arrive but at the same time I think that as parents when you actually get to DO things WITHOUT the babes you can appreciate the experience far more than you did before you had the little monsters.  Which could evidently up the average....maybe?  Well, I think so.

So, I compiled my own list (with explanations for all my lovely friends that are sans children and of-course to up the entertainment factor) of 4 things that make me ridiculously happy for which I completely took for granted before my boys arrived.  Here they are:

1)  Holding hands with my husband while walking down the street.  

EXPLANATION: Going for a walk as a family is lovely (sometimes...well, as long as you have plenty of snacks for the kiddos, no one is overtired or hates being strapped in for what seems like an interminable amount of time...for them) but usually one parent is pushing the stroller while another is trying to avoid the other child (or children) from getting hit by a car. Therefore, it is so nice and brings back the lovely early dating memories when I simply get to hold my honey's hand while having a stroll in the park...

2)  Being able to eat a full, hot meal

EXPLANATION:  Eating a meal, any meal with children is like being at a zoo.  Literally.  You're running around trying to feed them as quickly as possible as they squeal like seals, scream like banshees, waiting impatiently for the next bite with their little mouths open like birds, there's bits of food flying every which way as they demand MORE milk, MORE ketchup....MORE, MORE, MORE! You're inhaling your food in between all the madness as they grab at your plate (because whatever is on your plate is surely better than what they have on theirs...even though it's the EXACT SAME THING)  Whew, just thinking of the whole ordeal has got me stressed out.
That's why, when my husband and I get to have a nice, quiet meal, that's still hot, it is such a luxury.  It doesn't even have to be at a restaurant.  Not to brag, but I am a pretty fabulous cook.

3)  Sleeping in past 6:00 am

EXPLANATION: "Sleeping in" you say!??  Sleeping past 6 am is considered "sleeping in"??!!!  Well, for most parents.  There are the lucky few that have kids that might sleep until 8 am (sooo jealous) but for most parents, between 6 and 7 am is the normal waking hour.  Which makes for rough mornings on the week-ends if you decide to "indulge" in a glass of wine or 3.  Yep, having a hangover with kids is NO fun.  Imagine a room full of monkeys, jumping, screeching and demanding your utmost attention all at the same time while your head feels like it's full of cotton and rocks.  See?  NO fun.  (not that I am comparing my children to monkeys - although it is a term of endearment I use on them quite frequently - emphasis placed on term of endearment)  So when I peer at the clock on those rare mornings and see 7 am (rare, this is very, very, very rare) and my children are still sound asleep I luxuriate in my big, big comfy warm bed and hope that it lasts a little while longer...but I'm okay if it doesn't because...I've already slept in.

4)  Simple Silence

EXPLANATION:  Ahhh...the Sound of Silence....just like the famous song by Simon and Garfunkel...without the rest of the creepy lyrics.  So simple yet so taken for granted. The usual sounds of the Soden household are noisy toys, babies crying, dogs barking, Spiderman/Superman/Iron Man "swooshing", and then me yelling....for Spiderman/Superman/Iron Man or whoever the heck he thinks he is at the moment, to stop making his little brother cry by taking away his noisy toy as Riley barks at the back door because she has to pee.  Arrrrgh!!!  Even when it is quiet, I hear the humming of the baby moniter, the breathing of my babes, and the occasionally the barking of my dog wanting to come in from the cold.  But simple silence?  Sigh.  Such a rarity these days.  So nice...mmmm...I'll even take the sound of the baby moniter's annoying buzz.


Well, looks like my time is up folks.

Gotta go tend to my little monkey!