Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Back to Reality and 30+ Heat!

Well, my dearest Brad is back, I am back at my desk and apparently summer has arrived here in the Great White North with a rather large bang!  It is actually suppose to get up over 40C with the humidity . . . that is way the hell too hot for me. 

Ah, there is something to be said about the return of normalcy and routine.  Yesterday I had to make my way into the Big Smoke for a workshop on copyright.  Oh yes, it was a truly exciting day.  What is normally just over an hour drive took me 2.5 hours because traffic was shit!!  Horrible, backed-up, drive you bonkers and make you late shit.  So I was that person, trying to sneak into the workshop unnoticed but totally making a scene and having to sit at the front. 

I am not a fan of attending these workshops and conferences.  I am not particularly an outgoing person in those circumstances.  I often end up spending breaks on my own, eating lunch on my own and just being pretty much on my own all day.  Yesterday I decided to take the advice that I had given Brad once and to NOT be myself.  I decided to be a more outgoing version of me and actually talk with people.

So, I did just that I an ended up having lunch with a couple of nice archivists, unlike totally on my own as per usual.  It was nice to not be on my own.  I have to head back into the Big Smoke on Friday for more of the conference so perhaps I will once again take that advice.

I did take away some information that I can make use of here at work and here on my blog.  In Canada, copyright is implied the moment I create something.  So, I don't have to put that little symbol on my work for it to be protected.  Okay, I realize that what is written about on this site is not likely to be pilfered but it is nice to know that I do in fact own it.  It is MINE ALL MINE! 

That being said, it felt good to be back to normal this morning.  Ever since elementary school, I have found that I don't cope well with changes to my schedule.  It often results in me not getting much sleep the night before a change and being a wee bit uptight!  Okay, I think Brad would say that I am more than just uptight, I am a bit cranky and have even less patience than normal.  What can I say, apparently I have been a bit anxious all of my life.

So I am back at work for the next couple of days before once again fighting with traffic on Friday . .  yuck!  But I will return home to our traditional Friday night dinner with the neighbours and life will be good again.

How do you react to changes in your schedule?  Do you like routine or are you up for adventures?
Jenn

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Three in the Bed and the Little One Said . . . When Does Daddy Get Home?!

Ah my pride and joys!
Actually, truth be told it was more like the biggest one asking when Daddy would be home. Well we made it through our weekend and Daddy is home. . . . thank god for that.  Seriously, all you parents that do it solo all of the time . . . my hats off to you.  Am I the only one that read the first part of the sentence and totally went dirty with it?!  Tee hee, do it solo all the time . . . snicker, snicker.

The weekend was pretty good.  I do admit, I was pretty burnt out by this afternoon.  Two nights of eventually bunking all three of us in one bed was just about too much for me.  I actually ended up in the middle of them last night because Buddy needed help and Little Miss was just not able to do it for her.  But they both got some sleep and that is all that I was aiming for.

We definitely kept busy.  Lots of visiting and playing with friends.  We also got some cleaning done.  My son likes to vacuum and Little Miss was keen to dust so who am I to crush those dreams?!   We even ventured out for our weekly grocery shop.  All in all, we kept rather busy and we have fun.

Aside from being a good weekend for Brad, it was also a good weekend for me.  The kids and I had fun.  We played, we picnicked in the living room, we wrestled and we cuddled in bed together.  Beyond that, for me there is a sense of relief . . . a sense that I am slowly getting back to being me.  I had a couple anxious moments but on the whole, I felt better this weekend than I have alone with the kids  . . . well since I have had the kids.  I was confident that we could have a good weekend and we did.

There were a couple bumps in the road . . . some tears shed . . . the occasional "I miss  Daddy" but I didn't really yell and I was more or less able to handle the absolute breakdowns of Buddy with love and understand, not with total frustration.  That is huge . . . not becoming easily frustrated is huge and it signals to me that things are evening out.  Finally, yes finally, I think I just might be coming to the end of my battle with PPD.  It is not over yet but I won this battle and I have every intention of winning the war.

A year ago I didn't think I was going to win a battle, much less the war, so you see how this weekend was huge for me.  I would be lying if I didn't say I was pleased to hear Brad arriving home but I felt even more relief that we made it through and that on the whole, I was the parent that I want to be.

Light at the end of a very dark tunnel . . . that is what this weekend has given me and what a gift that is.
Jenn

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hanging at AcDonald's aka McDonald's

Okay, so hauling my kids to McDonald's won't win me mother of the year but I got me an hour and a half further in this weekend of solo parenting so it was totally worth it.

This morning started early, at 5 am, with Buddy deciding that it was bright out so it must be time to get up.  Yeah, except that was only bright because of his sister's nightlight.  Oh yes, all three of us ended up in bed together and let me tell you it was quite the experience.  Even though I am by far the biggest in the bed, it seems that I am only allotted the tiniest spot in the bed.  Also, I enjoy being under the covers . . . the kidlets . . . not so much.  Needless to say, I did not get a great deal of sleep. 

Also during the night my in-laws snuck into the house to use our guest room bed before heading out on their way again this morning.  I heard them come in but I was way too tired to get up and say hi.  That being said,  I was so happy to see them this morning because it meant that I was able to sneak away for an hour of kickboxing.  A weekend of solo parenting pretty much makes kickboxing a necessity in order to keep my sanity and let me tell you, it helped. 

After the in-laws headed on their way, I suggested to the kids that we head out some place for lunch.  Yes, I was totally looking to get us out of the house, entertain the kids for a bit and then head home and put Buddy down for a nap.  Little Miss phoned the neighbours to see if they wanted to join us and a date was made.  Not 15 minutes before we were suppose to go, Buddy passes out, in my arms and was out cold.  So, I let him have a quick power nap before waking him to head out.

Oh yes, you read that correctly, I woke my 1.5 year old from a nap so that we could go to McDonald's.  Why in the world would I do that?  Well, we had made a date and it was a bit early for him to go down.  Anyways, I was hopeful that I would be able to get him back down when we returned and even more hopeful that he has a really, really good nap because he needs it.

So this is where we are at.  We enjoyed our ever so nutritious lunch date.  Buddy is now up napping in his bed.  Little Miss and I baked a cake for our dinner date.  Now, I am currently at the laptop and Little Miss is playing with the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. What can I say, she enjoys playing in dirty water and I enjoy the break that I am getting.

The weekend is passing us by and we are having some fun.  So far, I haven't even felt all that cranky.  Wait, check that, I was not the happiest camper this morning at 5 but I dealt with it. 

I am looking forward to Brad returning but things are going not too badly.  Dare I say it, knock on wood, but I think this weekend is actually going rather well!  Hopefully I have not totally screwed myself by writing that.

What is the worst thing that you have done in order to pass time with the kidlets?  I do admit to using the playland at McDonald's (which Little Miss inexplicably calls AcDonald's) a fair bit.  Ah, luckily I was never aiming to win Mother of the Year!

Jenn

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thinking of Angels

The tiny nephew of one of the girls at the gym passed away last week.  He was only two. 

I cannot imagine the pain that his family, particularly his parents, are in right now.  The little guy was the only boy in a set of triplets and he had been sick pretty much his whole life.  Cancer.  The dreaded "c" word.

My heart is sick for them and for all those who have experienced a loss like this.  It is not right.  Parents are not suppose to outlive their children.  But it happens and it happens all to often.

I was pregnant before I had Little Miss.  Brad and I had been trying for a three or four months and finally it had taken.  Aunt Arwen had just told us that she was expecting and then suddenly we too had those two beautiful lines or was it a plus sign.  We were going to be parents, have a baby, start a family.  Just as suddenly it was all bloody well gone. . . . bloody was a conscience choice of words because it was, both literally and figuratively.

I was devastated.  The few people that knew that I was even pregnant tried to be helpful but probably made things worse.  "Obviously there was something wrong so it was for the best."  "I know several other women that have had miscarriages and they went on to have babies." "At least it was early on."  All said with love and with the best of intentions but all made me feel worse.

However, the fact was that it was very early on and we got pregnant again right away.  Literally right away and Little Miss arrived safe and sound nine months later. 

The loss of a pregnancy and the loss of a child are devastating.  From my perspective, and this is only my perspective, it would be so much harder the farther along in the pregnancy . . . even harder to deliver a baby stillborn . . . and harder still to watch your little one pass away before your eyes. 

I don't know how you move beyond that.  My heart is aching for this little boy's parents.  To be perfectly honest, I don't even want to imagine the agony they must be in right now. 

Mentally I tick off little milestones in my head.  We made it through the early stages of pregnancy.  Check.  We made it through the delivery.  Check.  We made it through those first few months and are now in the clear for SIDS.  Check. 

What I can't check off is that we are safe from illness . . . safe from accidents . . . and I wish I could.  I don't agonize over this, that would be a total rocking chair worry, but every once in a while those little thoughts tug at me, reminding me to be grateful for each moment I have with my kidlets. 

Life is unpredictable and I have no idea what the future holds.  Today I will hug my children, I will smother them with kisses, I will tell them that I love them and I will cuddle with them in bed so that they know just how grateful I am for them. 

To anyone who has lost a child, my heart goes out to you. 

Jenn

Thursday, 26 May 2011

One Fish, Two Fish: Daddy's Weekend Away Starts Now

So, Brad is heading out this morning on his now annual fishing trip with my dad.  My husband doesn't fish.  The first time he did was last year when he asked my dad if he could join them on the fishing trip and he hasn't fished since that trip. 

Today he has once again packed up his stuff and is heading out for a weekend of fishing.  More importantly it is a  weekend of hanging with the guys and getting to be just be one of the guys and not daddy.  I think this trip is a good thing for him.

That being said I must admit that I don't look forward to a weekend of solo parenting.  I just don't trust that I am at the point where I can be the type of parent I want to be all weekend on my own.  I don't want to be cranky and yell when I am struggling to cope but I know there is a good possibility that that is how it is going to end up.  What can I say, my kids are sweet but totally exhausting.  It is nice to have that partner to tag in when I am about ready to crack.

So, I have made a game plan with lots of activity to keep us from driving each other crazy.  So over the course of the weekend we will be: 1) attending a school fun fair, 2) having the neighbours over for dinner and play, 3) going over to a friend's place for dinner and play, 4) attending a birthday party.  As you can see, I have totally packed our schedule and tried to avoid any prolonged time at home alone just the three of us.

Those of you who have been here a while may remember that my kids are crappy sleepers and always end up sleeping with a parent.  Brad and I have not slept the entire night, alone, together in our bed  since . . . hum . . . I suspect it might have been before Buddy arrived.  Wow, that is a long time.  So, you may be wondering how it is going to go with only one parent and two kids?!  I have been wondering that myself.

I suspect that we will all start out in our own beds and by the morning all three of us will be sleeping together in Little Miss's bed.  At least tonight my mom will be here so I should end up with only one kidlet tonight. 

I am trying hard not to stress about this weekend and I just keep telling myself that I can handle it and I will make it fun for the kids.  The anxiety is lightly tugging on my shirt sleeve but for now I have been able to ignore it . . . I am hoping that it gets ignored this entire weekend.  Wish me luck?

Have you ever had a long stretch of solo parenting?  Are you a solo parent?  My hats off to all those moms and dads that are doing this on their own . . . it is one hell of a tough gig.

Jenn

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Orienting Myself with the Future

Little Miss's Toddler Room
School Photo
Age 22 months.
Wow, so last night we had Little Miss's Kindergarten Orientation night.  My god, my baby girl will be going to school in September.

The principal asked the kids if they were ready for kindergarten and most responded that they were.  He then asked the parents and the response this time was a bit mixed.  Perhaps it is because Little Miss has been in daycare since she was one, even when I was off on mat leave with Buddy she went part time, but I am not sad about her going to kindergarten.  I am excited for her because she is so excited.  She is ready for the challenge and I cannot wait to see her continue to grow into the girl she is becoming. 

That being said, it will be a total logistical nightmare for me.  I am already in the planning stages trying to figure out before and after school care, lunches and how much time I will lose here at work during the initial introduction to kindergarten stage.

I LOVE the daycare that she goes to now.  The staff is awesome, the program is interesting and stimulating and both she and Buddy go there so it makes my mornings just that much easier.  The daycare is about a 15 minute walk to her school but currently there is no way to get her to kindergarten and back to the daycare so that she can stay there.  Kindergarten is only 3 days a week and so she will need care the other days.  Also, I work from 8 until 4 but school is from 9:15 until 3:35 (I have no idea how they come up with these times but they are rather silly) and so she will need to be somewhere both before and after.

So, I have decided become that squeaky wheel parent.  I have come up with a plan that will allow her to stay at her daycare and get her to and from school.  I think this is something that can easily be accomplished and it is something that I want accomplished.  As of yesterday I began a campaign to get Little Miss onto a bus that will take her to and from school from her daycare.  I am well aware that this may all be in vain but I am going to continue to suggest it and push it until the file the restraining order . . . okay, perhaps not that far but you understand how much I want this to work.

I want the transition to kindergarten to be as easily as possible for both Little Miss and myself . . . perhaps I am not quite as ready as I thought for this huge milestone . . . ah, I guess I will find out in September.

How did you feel when your little ones headed off to school?  Did you shed a tear or many tears?

Jenn

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Arrival of Summer

Brad and Buddy enjoying our
little piece of heaven.
Well, unless Hell looks eerily like my workplace, I am assuming that the date for the Rapture may have been a bit off.

This is good news because this weekend marked the unofficial start of summer here in the Great White North.  We are back to reality after our first long weekend of the summer and for once, the weather was pretty good. 

After our now traditional Friday night get together for pizza and play with the neighbours, we packed up the family Saturday morning and headed to my parent's cottage.

I love our cottage.  My kids LOVE the cottage.  It is less than an hour away but it is a little piece of heaven.  It is true cottage, where is doesn't matter if the little ones come in with wet dirty feet, where everyone works to look after the kids and where I can actually sit down and not have a kid attached to me the entire time. 

Little Miss took off, trying to keep up with her older cousins.  Buddy played with his trucks forever. 

There is a sense of freedom there.  Unlike at home where I must watch for cars etc.  I can let Buddy and Little Miss wonder around on their own and not worry.  There is entire village of people watching them, making certain that they are safe from the water but allowing them to explore at their leisure.

I have so many amazingly happy memories of the cottage from when I was a kid and it makes me so happy to watch the kids form their own happy memories there.  We are so lucky to have this place.  It is a place where we hang with extended family.  It is a place where we let go of the fears that living in a larger city can produce.  It is a place where the kids can just be kids. 

Do you have a place like this?  A little piece of heaven that you can truly relax and enjoy parenting, while watching your kids explore?

Jenn

Friday, 20 May 2011

Mind Blowing Facebook Encounter

Wow, so yesterday I had one of those Facebook moments . .  you know the ones where you come across someone from you past life and your mind is slightly blown.  Oh, you haven't experienced that  . . . well let me share mine.

So, I have mentioned once or twice that I was married before Brad.  It was a short marriage . . . just over 3 years.  Which I guess is not that short when you consider that Britney Spears was married for 55 hours.  The ex and I got together in the first month of my first year of university and were together for over 10 years until I left a couple of months after our third anniversary.

When the ex and I got together, he was already the uncle to one sweetie pie of a niece.  Shortly thereafter, a second adorable niece arrived.  I loved those girls.  The eldest had the cutest way of saying my name . .  Jenn - i - fir.  I so loved having those little ones in my life.  I had hoped to be able to maintain a relationship with them after the ex and I broke up but sadly, that was not to be.

Cut to yesterdays mind blowing Facebook event.  Well, I happen to notice that my former sister-in-law commented on a post by a mutual friend.  So, of course I had to Facebook stalk her.  Luckily, her privacy setting are not all that private and I got a shock of my lifetime.

My former little nieces were not longer little . . . my god they are 16 and 13 and look so grown-up.  Mind blown!  So, I stalked further and both girls have their own pages.  Being teens that they are, they have no privacy settings at all.

They have grown up.  They went and grew up and I missed it and it hit me that I miss them.  Rationally I understood that they were older than the last time that I had seen them but my god, they were young ladies.  You know what that means . . . I am older.  Wow, sometimes I forget that I am as old as I actually am.  I am 35, totally an adult and the little girls that I once called my nieces are now teens.  What the hell?! 

I loved being their aunt and it broke my heart to lose them.  Shortly after the break-up I had gotten each of them a little necklace but was informed by my ex that the gift would not be appreciated.  So I saved them and gave one to my daughter and one to Aunt Arwen's little girl. 

For a brief moment I considered asking my former sister-in-law to be Facebook friends but then I thought perhaps it was best to keep the past right there, in the past.  Of course, I shall continue to Facebook stalk from time to time to see how the girls are doing because . . . well I can.
Jenn

Thursday, 19 May 2011

What Would You Do?

So, remember when I said that I am trying hard to no longer judge people . . . I said that here .  Well today I am doing a bit of judging.  Please don't judge me for it!

I am going to assume that you have all heard about the affair and resulting love child scandal that Maria Shriver finds herself dealing with right now . . . right?!  If not . . .where the hell have you been because it is all over the Internet . . . moving on now. 

My god  I feel sorry for this woman.  Nothing like finding out just before your 25th wedding anniversary that you husband has been keeping a rather HUGE secret from you for at least 10 years.  How devastating would that be?  For me it would feel like out whole life together had been a lie.

So, she is dealing with all of that and it is in the public eye for all of us to talk about, blog about and I am certain it is fodder for the late night hosts.  There can be no doubt that she is humiliated but her pain must be so much more. 

Her whole world view has been shattered and by the person that she is suppose to count on to be there for her.  Shattered . . . lied to for over 10 years . . . no longer just the father to your children.

What can I say, I judge her piece of shit husband.  I cannot believe that he could lie to her, about something so huge as another child, and to do it for so long.  I judge him because he has children with Maria . . .  children he must not have thought about while he was busy getting it on with the help. 

Listen, I know things happen.  I understand that mistakes are made and that not all marriages are going to last.  I understand that feelings can change and sometimes people get carried away.

What I don't understand is how a person can lie about something as HUGE as another child and to do it for over 10 years.  I don't understand how you can get busy playing hide the sausage with someone who is paid to help care for the home you share with YOUR WIFE and your FOUR KIDS!  What the hell?!

So, today I stand before you blog world and I admit that I am guilty of judging another parent. . . . and I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it.
Jenn

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

An Oral Fixation

I admit, this is all new to me and the enjoyment is a bit shocking and somewhat puzzling.  I am not certain how long it is going to last but he is definitely seeming to get a great deal of enjoyment out of it at the moment.

My little Buddy is going through a bit of an oral phase.  What did you think I was talking about?  Hey now, get your minds out the gutter folks!  He 1.5 and will literally put anything he can into his mouth. 

Yes, I know that this is perfectly normal at his age and stage, but it is rather new to me because Little Miss was not all that interested in exploring the world through her mouth, she was too busy trying to climb it. 

Sunday morning I watched as he put playdough in his mouth, sucked on it, made a silly face and then spit it out.  He did that not once, not twice but over and over again.  This was not homemade edible playdough, it was the store bought, cannot possibly taste good at all, playdough.  Yet there he was, sucking away on it and then spitting it out.

He eats crayons. I remember when Aunt Arwen's little girl (who is the same age as Little Miss) would come over and eat our crayons.  We would actually put them away before a playdate so that the ends didn't all get bit off.  Crayons are coloured wax!  I didn't get it then and I don't get it now.

Buddy with a blue mouth from
sucking on a marker.
He seems pleased with himself!

He sucks on markers, chews stickers, licks paint brushes and has been known to eat dirt. I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if I found out he has eaten a bug or worm. None of this can possibly taste good and yet he does it over and over again.  The kid won't eat any veggies but will enjoy eating a bath crayon.  What the hell?! 

As long as it is not going to poison  or choke him, I try and go with the flow.  Obviously he is getting something out of it, even if I cannot for the life of me figure out what that might be. 

I know that this is suppose to be normal but I had a ball point pen explode in my mouth once.  I can safely say that I learned from that rather disgusting experience not to suck on pens.  I am just wondering how many times it will take Buddy to realize that markers do not taste good and crayons are meant to be coloured with, not eaten.

So, did your kids go through an oral phases?  What is the strangest thing that they ate?  Any idea when this little phase might be over because I am getting tired of cleaning up soggy playdo?!

Jenn

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Of Blogging and Comments - Updated

When I started this site I had no plans for it.  It just seemed like a good place for me to write down the thoughts that dominated my brain.

And so I wrote.  Then one day, shortly after I started, I had a follower.  Not just any follower but Wanderlust.  I was star struck.  I saved her comment because I could not believe that she had read anything that I had written.

Then another person, the very sweet and lovely Donna from Nappy Daze, decided to follow me and I may or may not have done a little happy dance in my kitchen. I thought to myself wow, perhaps people might actually enjoy what I am writing here.  Okay I admit it, I saved Donna's comment too.

I suppose I should be totally honest with you now . . . I have actually saved all of the comments people have made here.  Turned out to be a good thing because Blogger went and lost some of them. 

I LOVE when people take the time to comment.  I LOVE when people make the choice to follow me because it is just that, a choice.  I admit it, it makes me feel good.  That was not what I expected when I started this but it has become important to me.  What can I say, I may crave it just a little bit.

But, is it too important to me?  Do I need it now?  Is this space no longer about spilling out my thoughts for my own sake?

I am still new to this whole blogging thing but it seems to me that commenting on posts and have others comment on your posts is an important part of the whole thing.  Bloggers seem to relish the opportunity to chat with one another and to share moments, opinions and thoughts back and forth.  This is what makes blogging so different than just keeping a journal or a diary.  It is what makes bloggers different from traditional journalists.  It is what makes blogging.

I admit it, I have enjoyed watching my followers climb to the grandiose number of 15!  Woo hoo!  I am totally taking the blogging world by storm . . . any day now Wanderlust is going to ask me to guest post and Blogger will ask my opinion on the blogging world . . . or not. 

I am not aiming for fame and fortune.  I am aiming for continued conversations and to discover more wonderful writers out there.  I admit, I would LOVE to see this space grow and have more and more comments left but only time will tell if that dream comes to fruition. 

How about you?  Are you addicted to comments?  Do you look at the number of people who follow your blog and secretly hope that it continues to grow?  I know that I do.

Jenn

Update : Woo hoo, make that 16 followers!  I am totally taking the blogging world by storm.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Squeaking By Parenting

Buddy enjoying chocolate
So this weekend sucked.  It was cold and rainy and miserable, as was my mood.  Add to that the fact that I am totally PMSing and it was grounds for a weekend of lazy gluttony for both myself and the kidlets. While I didn't totally fail in my parenting responsibilities (both kids are alive and well as I write this), I can safely say that I did not excel in my parenting responsibilities.

Friday night we had the neighbours and their two little cuties over for pizza, a playdate and a chance for the adults to chat.  Taken on it's own, this is not a bad thing.  In fact, I think it is a total win in the parenting business because Little Miss loves to entertain.  What a great way to pass the evening. . . I highly recommend it.  Besides I never feel like cooking on Friday night . . . and I was PMSing so that is reason enough for pizza and popcorn for dinner.  So, take note, it was pizza, popcorn and perhaps a beer (for me, not the kids) for dinner.  I say take note because this was just the beginning, the tip of my just barely Squeaking By as a Parent  (SBP) parenting weekend.

So, moving ahead with my shitty parenting story, Saturday morning was met with the kidlets enjoying Frosted Flakes (which their dad bought for himself because I don't often buy that junk), without milk, while watching some cartoon on Disney Junior.  So, note again, sugary cereal eaten while watching TV.  Oh yeah, I am totally rocking the SBP mantra by now!

Well, there was a bright spot on this morning, as the kids went for a hike with Brad while I hit the gym for 60 minutes of kickboxing.

Little Miss enjoying chocolate.
Hum, I can't even remember if there was an actual lunch for either kid but they continued to snack all day on an assortment of crap with a bit of milk and fruit tossed in for good measure.  So, I may or may not have skipped their lunch and allowed them to gorge on junk.

Then my in-laws arrived with not one but two boxes from Timmies (Tim Horton's for you non-Canucks).  In said boxes were timbits (or donut holes) and cookies.  Great, more gorging on crap for the kids and myself.  Damn that PMS and a MIL who knows my weakness for ginger cookies . . . so soft, soooooo good.  So keeping tabs, now they have eaten donuts and cookies which could very well have been their lunch. 

Dinner time rolls around and what do we do?  Well, as you can see there is a definite theme here and that theme is CRAP.  So, we get Wendy's because there is nothing like fast food to top off a day of terrible eating. 

Sunday morning arrives and the in-laws suggest, with the help of Little Miss, going out for breakfast.  Well, that includes pancakes for Little Miss, most of my ham (the healthiest of the breakfast meats available) eaten by Buddy and eggs etc. by myself.  So, syrup for Little Miss, salty ham for Buddy and eggs and homefries for meTasty but by this time I am expecting one, if not all, of our tummy's to start revolting against us.

So if you take a moment to scan over the parts in red . . . go ahead, I will wait . . . yes, now go ahead and judge away because I judge myself.  Wow, what a weekend of Craptastic eating for the entire family. 

By Sunday night I was totally overwhelmed with the mom guilt as I made a mental list of all of the crap consumed by my kids this weekend.  It was not a pretty picture.  Thus ended by SBP weekend because the guilt was starting to mount.

So, I enlisted the help of Little Miss and we made homemade pad thai because it is yummy, contains veggies and protein and was way more healthy for us than anything else we had eaten all weekend. 

This morning breakfast was eaten at the table and consisted of fruit and yogurt (oatmeal for myself).  I know that they are offered a very healthy meal for lunch at daycare so now all I have to do is come up with something none Craptastic for dinner!

So, I spent the weekend being an absolute glutton and allowing my kidlets to be ones as well.  Yes, I feel guilty but what can I do . . . it was the crappy weather, the PMS and the MIL all conspiring together to drag us down!  Okay, or I may have just been lazing but it is easier to place the blame elsewhere. 

Have you ever felt like you were just squeaking by as a parent?  Have you ever experienced a weekend or even a day like our weekend past?
Jenn

The Power of Kidlets

I admit it, my kids have hurt my feelings.  Through their words or actions, they have been able to make me sad, to make me feel bad and to make me question if I am doing a good job as their mommy.

You see, my kids play favourites.  They don't play Brad or I against each other, they just pick a favourite and that is the only one who will do.  The favourite is the only one that can hold said kidlet.  The favourite is the only one wanted for cuddles, for bedtime, for comfort in the middle of the night.  The favourite is needed to provide whatever said kidlet needs at that time.  The other parent is absolutely, positively persona non grata. 

Since March, I have been the favourite and I think it really got to Brad last night.  I had Buddy in with me because Brad had been up with him the past couple of mornings and I thought it would be nice to let him sleep in longer with Little Miss.  Well, at around 3 am or so, I heard her crying and calling for me.  Things settled down for about 10 minutes and then they started again.

Then Brad frustratedly came in and told me to go to "my daughter because she wanted nothing to do with her father".  I recognized in him the same hurt and frustration that I have felt when he is the favourite.  She hurt his feelings.

I got into bed with her and told her that she had really hurt Daddy's feelings.  She told me that she didn't mean to but that she just wanted me.  This morning she went to him, gave him a huge hug and said she was sorry and that she loved him very much. 

It just got me thinking how much power these little being hold over us.  As a parent, or at least a good parent, you try your damnedest to do the best for you kids.  There are sacrifices made, whether it be giving up a favourite activity so that that money can be spent on the kids, or giving up sleep to play with the little ones or just giving privacy as they join you in the bathroom.  Parents sacrifice and whether we admit it or not, I think we see their signs of affection as validation for those sacrifices.

When that affection seems to be withheld or given some place else, a tiny seed of doubt and resentment can start to form.  At least, it did for me. 

Right around when Buddy turned one, he switched from wanting only me, to wanting only his dad.  I was crushed when in the middle of the night he flipped out because I came to him . . . he wanted only Brad.  I remember feeling like he didn't recognize all that I had done for him, like perhaps he didn't love me.

Rationally, I know that he loves me and that he does not have to recognize the sacrifices I have made for him.  My job as his mommy is to provide for him, to love him, to make him feel safe and secure.  But at the same time, it really hurt that he rejected my cuddles and wanted only Brad.  It made me feel like perhaps some how I was a bad mom to him, even though I had completely changed my parenting style to suit his apparent needs.  My god, I gave up sleep to fulfill  his desire to co-sleep because it just seemed like something he desperately needed. 

So for now, I remain the chosen parent.  For how long, who knows.  I can safely say that I am about ready to give up this title, at least for a little while . . . it would be nice to actually go to the bathroom on my own.  Ah dreams.

Do your kidlets play favourites?  Have they been able to hurt your feelings?  Or I am just a tiny bit of a suck?!   No need to answer that last question.

Jenn

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Just Because

The similarities are remarkable! :)
Jenn

Slightly Crunchy Mommy

Fast asleep with Little Miss
There are several things I said that I would never do as a mom . . .  you know . . .  before I actually had kids.  Of course, that means that those opinions where absolutely worthless because I was totally talking out of my ass.

The number one thing I said I would never do is let my kids sleep with me.  This rule was based on watching a marriage of people close to me break-up after two or three years of sharing their bed with their son.  It wasn't so much sharing as it was mom and son got the bed and dad got forced to the pull-out couch in the basement.  Not good. 

So I was bound and determined, absolutely against it, no way no how was that going to happen when I was a mom.

Cut to last night, and pretty much every night since Buddy arrived . . . . yeah there he was cuddled in bed with me.  Where was Brad you ask?  He was cuddled in bed with Little Miss. 

The thought of having Little Miss sleep with us never really crossed my mind unless she was sick or it was to get some extra sleep in the mornings.  Looking back now, it might have made all of those nights where I was up sitting in her room for hours on end, well end.  Ah hindsight.

Around his third month of life Buddy would only sleep on someone's, preferably my, chest.  So, we spent well over a month with him sleeping on my chest every night.  From that point on, he prefered to sleep with someone. 

I have gotten some flack for it.  The term "momma's boy" has been bounced about.  Hell, there are nights I don't think it is such a great idea because I don't sleep as well with them.  I have read books, articles, watched sleep experts talking about how to deal with sleep issues such as this.

What plan of attack did I come up with after all of this research? None of the research was helpful and co-sleeping seems to be the right thing for our family at this time. 

Wow, that is a really granola-type statement for me.  I am not one of those make my own babyfood, use cloth diapers, breast feed until they are heading off to school type of mothers.  Note - that is not a judgement on those moms.  I honestly say "To each their own".  However, that is not my personality. 

I have let go of my silly preconceptions of what sort of mom I should be.  Now I am focusing on being mom to Little Miss and Buddy.  At this time in their little lives, they seem to need their parents to sleep with them and cuddle them and provide them comfort and security at night.  So be it. 

Hell for a time there, I was a breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, baby-lead weaning kind of a mom!  I was just coth diapers and organic everything away from truly being a granola mom. 

Now, I am a mom who sleeps with which ever kid is my turn. 

This was not soley my decision because it impacts both myself and Brad.  Brad is onboard because it means that we both get more sleep than if the kids were left on their own.

I look forward to the day when the man in my bed is over 3 feet tall.  Brad looks forward to the day when he gets to wake up with my morning breath stinking up the joint and not Little's Miss's.  Okay, it might be a bit of an overstatement to say that he is looking forward to morning breath but I think you get the point.  Until that time, we talk and make certain that we are both still on board with the sleeping arrangements.

I must admit, there are some definite bonuses to sleeping with a little one.  Their little snores are so much cuter than their dad's.  I love how they can be comforted by just reaching a little hand out and touching me.  I don't think that anyone can deny that there is something so angelic, so peaceful about the face of a sleeping child.  Of course, there are the cuddles and kisses that make it seem worth it. 

So for now we are a crunchy co-sleeping family who enjoy night time cuddles with each other.  Although I do admit, I hope that the kids will be sleeping on their own by the time they are, say 16! Fingers crossed.

Jenn

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Not My Finest Moment

So last night I had one of those moments . . . those ones that you wish you could take back . . . those ones where you know that you made a mistake . . . those ones where you know that you let frustration act out.

I shall back it up and explain.  Lately both kids have been trying my patience (which I admit, I don't have a great deal of at the best of times).  Little Miss has decided that listening is just not something she is interested in.  Buddy has decided to jump right into the terrible twos a bit early and seems to live for the tantrum moments. 

I must admit that it is the not listening that is getting to me more than the tantrums.  I see the tantrums as a symptom of the fact that Buddy does not have the vocabulary that his sister did at this age.  I can see him getting frustrated and not having any other way to deal with it.  However, I seem to expect that  because Little Miss is almost 4, she should have grasped the concept of listening and how it tends to peeve Mommy off when she doesn't.  Apparently, that is not the case.

I try my best to ask her to do things in a nice voice, so that I am not demanding things of her.  Well, after asking nicely more times that I would like to admit, I tend to snap and forcefully demand that she listen to me. 

So back to last night.  The evening was rather typical . . . a whole lot of no listening from Little Miss with the odd tantrum thrown in by Buddy . . . what a great way to end a work day.  Buddy was in bed and Little Miss was on the couch with me watching a little TV (oh the horror, I know, I allow them to watch TV) and I was on the laptop.  Little Miss kept flailing her feet around and kicked the computer.  I told her to please be careful with her feet because I didn't want her to kick the computer again.

Remember when I wrote that listening was not her thing at this time . .  I think you can see where this is going.  She once again kicked the computer and I had reached my breaking point.  I smacked her on her bottom and angrily got up and put the computer away.  Not my finest moment.

Little Miss was upset and to be honest, so was I.  I am not 100% certain where I stand on the whole spanking debate but I do know that what I did there was not right.  I was frustrated and she was spanked because of that.  It was not right.

So, I sat down and held her to my chest while she cried and told me that it hurt.  I said I was sorry and that I was frustrated but  I did not handle my frustration in the right way.  We talked about how I should have handled it. 

I am also left wondering if my expectations of her are too high.  Yes, she needs to learn to listen but perhaps it is just that, something she is still learning.  So, I am back to working on my patience and trying to take a step back when I am frustrated.

So, last night was not my finest parenting moment.  I suspect that there will be many more not so shining examples of parenting to come. 

Jenn

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Grab the Tops of Your Socks and Pull 'Um Up Tight

Today started out great!  The kids both slept until 6 am, which in our house is a miracle.  The next miracle I am waiting for is them sleeping until 6 am on their own but one miracle at a time . . . I shall not get greedy.  We got out of the house relatively unscathed and the drop-off at daycare was fantastic.  After several hugs, kisses and I love yous, I was able to head out the door without any tears

This morning, I was even early.  So early that I was able to stop at Starbucks and get a rather large but oh so yummy cappuccino and still get to work on time.  Yeah me! 

From there, I took note that the office smelled a little bit less like death than it did yesterday.  In my book, that is a great way to start the day. ( Note - somewhere below the floor boards of my office something has met its demise and until it is a skeleton, my office and I are suffering the consequences of said death.) I sat at my desk, checked the Twitter and my blog, then turning to read some posts on blogs I follow. 

After the fun stuff I got to work on the stuff I actually get paid to do.  So, I was just beginning a report when Bosslady appeared at my desk.  Now, it seems that she never has anything positive to say to me anymore so . . . I admit I was a bit anxious.  Sure enough it was not good news.

There had been a complaint . . . about me . . . well about a presentation that I had given and a story I told. 

This past Thursday, I was suppose to spend the day touring kids through a pioneer cemetery but plans had to change when we found out that there was a funeral there.  So, it was suggested that I present our program on Victorian funeral practices.  Well, as a part of this presentation there is discussion about post-mortem photographs and we show examples of them.  The kids asked good questions and we moved beyond that to talking about headstones. 

At the end of the first presentation a question was asked (which for the life of me I cannot remember) that lead me to speaking about a photograph that had been in our collection.  This photograph showed a black man that had been lynched and burned in Texas in 1914.  Disturbing . . . oh yes.  Something that should be discussed . . . HELL YES. 

One teacher, however, felt that the photographs and the discussion about the OTHER photograph were too much for her Grade 4 & 5 students.  You know what, maybe she is right.  Perhaps I didn't approach it with enough thought to the audience but I was rushed and did not have time to review the presentation and just presented it as is.

This guest post at Woogsworld got me wondering if it was actually the kids that were disturbed or the teacher.  No doubt about it, it was a heavy topic but the kids seemed genuinely interested and they were learning.  It was a teachable moment and I jumped on it.

Was it the right time to discuss topics such as death and racism?  Perhaps not.  It was a history festival celebrating projects developed by these students.  Perhaps they were too young.  I am not certain.

What I do know is that topics like death, racism, hatred of any sort, hell even sex, are tough to talk to kids about.  Tough doesn't mean that we should shy away from them.  We have to talk about these things, even if they make us adults uncomfortable.

So, while this put a damper on a good day, I have dealt with it and now I am pulling up my socks and moving forward.   

So, back to reports, minutes and an article all due shortly! 

Jenn

Monday, 9 May 2011

Type A Insanity

Or Can One Helicopter Parent Themselves ?

Hum, a tweet has really got me thinking.  After reading my last post, Lynn MacDonald over at All Fooked Up tweeted that perhaps I should cut myself some slack.

She got me thinking, am I wallowing in Type-A perfection craziness?!  You know those people that are driven to aim for perfection, no matter what the cost to themselves and others.  

I will admit, that I have once or twice in the past, been known to kick myself so hard that it knocks the wind right out of me. All in an effort to be some sort of perfect version of me.   Oh hell, for the sake of complete transparency, I basically had a nervous breakdown in 3 year university because I thought my grades sucked and I was in a relationship I didn't know how to get out of.  Turns out a) I made the Dean's Honours lists so my grades were awesome and b) I did get out of that relationship (okay . . . however . . . I married the guy . . . stayed married for three years before eventually figuring out how to get out of it . . . so that probably took a little bit longer than it should have).

Should I cut myself some slack?  No doubt about it.  There are things that stress me out that, and let's be perfectly honest here, are really are not worth stressing about.  I worry about things that are most certainly not in my control.  Brad calls these worries "rocking chair worries" because no matter how hard you rock, you don't get anywhere.

Am I going to screw my kids up?  More than likely.  Hopefully they become wonderfully eccentric and not potentially neurotic like say . . . me. 

The wonderful Ms. MacDonald (who I just found today but admit to being more than just a little enamoured with) tweeted that the only way to get through parenting is to just chill.  The funny thing is, I could not agree with her more.  I just totally suck at chilling out.  Well, unless I am outside in -20 weather but I am 99.9% certain that is not the type of chilling out she meant!

I try hard not to helicopter parent and let them experience some of the consequences of their actions (although they are only 3.5 and 1.5 so I need to be a bit of a protector).  That being said, I think I helicopter parent myself.  I find myself constantly hovering over my decisions, wondering if they were the right ones. But really, whose "right" am I worrying about?  Hovering!

That being said, I wonder if I come across as more serious in this space than I am in real life.  I admit, there are still days that I am worn down and feeling low.  There are other days when I am rather cheerful and, dare I say it, funny! 

So, I shall happily take the advice tweeted to me and try my damnedest to chill, even just a little, and realize that I am doing the best that I can.  In fact, on most days, I am a fanfreakingtastic mom! 

Jenn

Mother's Day Hangover


Little Miss just hanging around,
just over three years ago.

So yesterday was Mother's Day.  Honestly, for me it is a day just like Valentine's Day or Father's Day  . . .  a day that often raises expectations to levels that cannot be met and then feelings can get hurt.  So, I don't put a lot of emphasis on it . . . it is just a day.

Yesterday happened to be a tiring day and a frustrating one, for reasons that I am having trouble pinpointing.  The kids and I travelled the hour or so drive to my parents house to visit for the weekend.  This trip coincided with my sister and her baby girl visiting as well, so it was a chance for the kids to see their baby cousin and play with Grandpa and Grandma. 

My hometown used to be a place where I could relax.  A place where the weight of the world seemed lighter.  My parents would take over a lot of the parenting responsibilities and I would be able to sit.  I would be able to go to the bathroom without a little one following me in.  I could read a magazine from cover to cover.  Little things that brought me joy.

It didn't feel that way this weekend.  I felt my shoulders up at my ears. I felt the heaviness on my neck and back.  It wasn't all of the time but it was more than usual. 

I think I was embarrassed or perhaps a bit humiliated.  Why you ask?  My parents are awesome with the kids but it is so obvious, at times, that I desperately need help.  My sister, on the other hand, does not appear to need help.  She seems to have this whole motherhood thing down and yet she is still so new to it. 

Why do I find it so hard sometimes?  Why does the joyful exuberance (code for happy yelling and screaming) of my kidlets almost drive me to tears at times?  Why can't I be more like my baby sister who seems to take it all in stride?

Rationally I understand that she and I are two different people and we have always handled things differently.  I also understand that her little one seems to have a very different temperament than my two.  Also, I understand that I was the lucky one that developed PPD. 

Emotions are so often not rational though.  I question myself and my stresses when I watch my little sister mother so smoothly.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Why can't I just enjoy my kids?  Why does the negative weigh me down so much more than the positive lift me up? 

So, with all of that weighing me down, I packed two very tired kids into the car to head home.  We pulled out of the driveway when Little Miss broke down, hysterically crying that she missed her Grandpa and Grandma.  I have seen this before and I knew it was not going to end soon.  I pulled back into the driveway to let her hug them one more time before attempting to head home again.

She cried hysterically for over 40 minutes.  At times, Buddy felt the need to cry with her in sympathy.  It was one of the worst car rides we have ever had.  But I didn't yell.  I spoke calmly and told Little Miss that I understood that she missed her grandparents but she had to relax, she had to calm down.  I spoke calmly for 40 minutes until finally she gave into the exhaustion and slept.

My reaction is a huge deal for me.  It signals progress.  It signals that perhaps I am getting closer to the old me.  It shows that the anger is no longer as in control of me as it once was.

Even though I was still low, I felt proud of myself.  I saw a glimpse of how the future me could be and I am holding onto that.  I can be a mother than handles things in stride.  I can be a calm and soothing person.  I am not there yet, at least not all of the time, but I think that I am moving towards that.

My goal is to be the best mom, the best wife, the best friend, the best person that I can be.  Not the best in the world (whatever that means) but the best that I can be. 

Jenn 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

Or How Two Kids from the Same Parents Can be So Different!

Ah, when they get along
life is grand.
Lately I have really been wondering how my kids can be so insanely different.  Basically, this is due to the fact that with Buddy we are having to deal with tantrums and hissy fits that were not something Little Miss was all that inclined to do.

I should have known how different they were going to be from the very beginning.  Little Miss arrived a couple days early and the delivery, while not easy, was at least quick and I never questioned whether or not I could do it.  Buddy, well he arrived 4 days late and decided to wedge himself inside of me resulting in a whole lot of extra work pushing him out.  I have to admit, there were many times I questioned my sanity at having another home birth when I was fighting with all of my might to extricate him from my body.  Hum, perhaps that was a sign, because for more that the first year of his life Buddy has pretty much wanted to be attached to me. 

So, she would sleep in her crib . . . put down awake . . . through the night . . . from nine months on (okay that all went to hell when we moved her into her big girl bed but at least we had a few months of blissful sleep).  Buddy, well I can count on one hand the number of times he has slept through the night in both his crib and his big boy bed.  The grand total is 3.  Three whole nights.  Yes, it sucks to be us!

We have now established that the kidlets differ in how they sleep.  They also have very different temperaments . . . interestingly enough, both seem to be versions of me.  Little Miss is very emotional and easily hurt.  She sulks when she gets angry and has been known to stalk off to her bedroom to loudly cry about whatever injustice has occurred.  Did I mention that she is only 3.5 . . . yeah, the teenage years are going to be swell!  Buddy on the other hand angers and frustrates quickly and easily.  When he gets that way he has been known to swat at hands trying to help him, cries loud angry tears and even makes himself vomit.  Ah yes, that is a fantastic addition to a tantrum . . . vomit.  The vomiting is one of the reasons we never did sleep training with him. 

That being said, they are both quick with the love and concern.  They both seem to have great empathy for anyone around them that may be hurt or upset.  They are both quick with a hug (and they both hug very hard).  They both love to be tickled and are very ticklish and they simultaneously drive me crazy and fill my heart with joy.

So we spend each day trying to figure out how to best parent out kidlets.  Some days I think we pass with flying colours and other days I think we fail miserably.  Hopefully they will all average out and the kids therapy bills won't be astronomical.  Fingers crossed!

Jenn

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Chillin' in the Cemetery

I am lucky enough to be spending this beautiful sunny day in a cemetery.  A pioneer cemetery to be exact.

I believe that I have mentioned before that I am an archivist and I work for a museum.  A part of my job that I truly enjoy is presenting different programs to school groups.  Today I am holding several workshops on one of our pioneer cemeteries. 

Without fail, there is always at least one kid who asks me if I am scared of spending so much time alone in a cemetery.  My answer "Not in the least". 

I find cemeteries to be peaceful and beautiful places.  Obviously, they tend to be rather quiet but they are also filled with beautiful images and sentiments. 

I am always impressed by the magnificent motifs that can be found on headstones.  Just think of the skill that was required to carve these images by hand.  The cemetery that I am at today has a spectacular carving of an urn under a weeping willow.  It is beautiful and so peaceful looking.

Along with these beautiful images, there are often touching sentiments.  There is hope in the little sayings etched into the stone.  Engravings such as "Gone Home" or "At Peace" or even "Till We Meet Again" speak of a deep seeded belief that they will in fact meet again and that death was just a momentary barrier.

I myself am no longer certain what I believe.  I know what I once believed but now, I just don't know.  But these headstone are examples of a faith that no matter what, they would have the opportunity to be with their loved one again.  That faith must provide so much comfort for those left behind. 

Anyways, back to the cemetery.  I truly enjoy interacting with students.  At one point, a long time ago, I though I wanted to be a teacher but then I realized that I most certainly did NOT have the patience needed to be a teacher.  That being said, I do have the patience to work with students for short periods of time and that I really enjoy seeing them learn.

Update : Well, weren't we surprised when I gentleman stopped in at lunch to look around one of the houses of the museum.  No, that is not the surprising part, the surprising part was that he mentioned that he was a relative of that family and that he was there for a dedication . . . at the cemetery . . . that I was conducting workshops in.  Needless to say, we had to quickly rearrange things because there is no way I was going to be disturbing a family with a bunch of students.  So, the kids in my afternoon workshops got the honour of learning about Victorian funeral practices.  What a nice light topic for a beautiful sunny day!

Jenn

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Sunshine and Cappuccino


Our first visit to the zoo with the
original mommy's club.
Today feels like a day full of hope.  A bright day.  A green day.  A day that started with a rather yummy coco cappuccino (I was actually early this morning, so I stopped by Starbucks on my way in.  So yummy). Perhaps, dare I say it, a good day.


The first thing I did when I got into work, besides savouring my cappuccino, was quickly research a request that I had gotten a couple of days ago.  It was quick and it was easy and I had been avoiding it.  So, perhaps I have some motivation today.  Perhaps today will be a day when I move forward in feeling more like a new version of my old self.

Looking outside, today is one of those days when I would love to be a stay at home mom.  To be honest, there are not many days that I feel like I could be a stay at home mom.  I think the moms who do it and do it brilliantly are spectacular.  I am not one of those moms.  Today I think I could be.  Today is the perfect visiting the zoo and slowing trekking about with the kidlets.  Today is the perfect go for a hike and to just experience a perfect spring day with the kids.

While I am stressed about Brad's impending job loss, I am also a bit jealous.  He will have the opportunity to spend days like this with the kids (at least until he gets a new job) and do all the fun things that spring days just call out for.  Our zoo membership is already paid for so he and the kids can go as often as they want.  When I was off the year, we used to go to the zoo almost every Tuesday.  We went with a couple of other moms and their kids who were off and it was the perfect way to spend a day.

I am not going to lie, there were days when that trek just seemed too overwhelming for me but I did it and more often than not, it was a great day (if I figured out how to relax I would think all of the days would have been great but sadly, I suck at relaxing).  Right now I am day dreaming about some of those visits and smiling.

When Buddy arrived we purchased a sit and stand stroller.  You know the ones where the littlest one could sit in the stroller part at the front and the older one could sit or stand on the back.  This purchase came in handy when we began our weekly pilgrimages to the zoo.  The day would start off with Buddy in the front and Little Miss in the back.  She could jump off and look at the animals and ride when she got tired.

I learned after our first, admittedly rather stressful, trek to the zoo to bring my wrap with me as Buddy just would not nap in the stroller.  So every time after that I would strap Buddy onto my chest after lunch and he would happily pass out cuddled into me.  To this day, he still loves to be cuddled to sleep.



Buddy loving the zoo and his grapes.
 
Our zoo days would inevitably end with Little Miss in the front of the stroller, Buddy strapped to my chest and our friend M1 (a little boy 10 days younger than Little Miss) riding on the back of the stroller.  Man, thinking back, that was one hell of a workout! 

Those days I truly appreciated the opportunity to be at home with my kids.  Those days I felt it was a blessing that I could experience the zoo through the eyes of my kidlets.  I know that Brad was jealous when we got home and told him about our day.  Soon enough, it will be my turn to be jealous as they tell me about their day. 

Anyways, this is a totally rambling post about nothing in particular.  But writing it made me smile and looking outside and seeing the bright sunshine made that smile just a bit bigger. 

I feel light today.  I feel more or less content.  I feel hopeful for the future.  What a great feeling.  Fingers crossed that there will be more of these days in the future.


Jenn

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Open Letter to Mr. Harper

Well, I suppose I should start by congratulating you on your majority.  Interestingly, it is not the majority of the public vote but it is of seats, so congrats.  I guess that is how our system works.

Now that you have the majority you desperately sought, please hear this little plea of mine.  Please don't destroy the country that I love.  Canada has so much about it that is positive and I fear that your personal beliefs may not mesh with all of these features.

First, I ask that you leave our health care system alone and do not work towards privatizing it.  Scrap that.  I ask that you not only support our health care system but that you work to make it stronger and more all encompassing.  This system is what makes Canada such an amazing place to live.  Be an advocate for it.  Fight to make the system even better.  Be a hero for the Canadian people.

Secondly, I ask that you turn your eye towards our education system.  Our schools are struggling right now.  University is getting out of reach for many.  Quality childcare is becoming hard to find and almost impossible to pay for.  Education is truly where the future of this country will come from.  Support it.  Be a hero for the Canadian people.

Thirdly, I ask that you not be an advocate of division but of harmony.  Do not bring up old controversies that have long since been settled.  Do not try and overturn steps towards inclusiveness because those steps may not be in accordance with your personal beliefs.  This country welcomes all different races, creeds, beliefs and preferences.  Please do not change that.  Be a hero for the Canadian people.

I did not vote for your party, I think that much is pretty clear.  However, if you just keep in mind these little items I have mentioned here, I might be persuaded to support you . . . at least until the next election.

Sincerely,

Jenn

Monday, 2 May 2011

Voting and Vengeance

Today is shaping up to be quite the day.  Osama Bin Laden in gone . . . killed, or some might say murdered, by the Americans.  Here in Canada we are also facing yet another federal election.  This one is shaping up to an election that will truly change Canada . . . for better or for worse depends on your political leanings. 

In typical sitting on the fence Canadian style, I am truly torn about the death of Bin Laden.  Obviously I believe that he needed to be held accountable for his role the deaths of so many but I am not certain that I support assassination / murder as a means to this end.  I am not a supporter of the death penalty.  I guess I just cannot wrap my head around the idea that it is apparently acceptable to kill someone as punishment for killing someone.  I understand the need to see someone who has created immense harm suffer.  I believe to some extent that that is ingrained in human nature.  That being said, it does not make it right.  We are supposed to be a civilized society and yet many are celebrating the fact that a man, with a family, was shot in the head.  It just feels a little too much like vengance and not justice to me.

Today is also yet another federal election here in Canada.  The results of this one could dramatically change the country that I live in.  There is a possibility that the Conservative government could win a majority . . . NOT good thing in my eyes.  The Conservative mandate jeopardizes many things that I hold dear and consider an important aspect of being a Canadian.  There is also a possibility that they will only win a minority government and the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party will work to form a coalition government.  My political views lean towards the more socialist beliefs of the NDP but I am not certain how I feel about a coalition government.  Is that actually democracy or is it a bastardization of our political system?  I am not certain.  I know, I am such a great fence sitter.

What I do know, is that the first two days of May 2011 will be game changers here in Canada and worldwide.  I wonder how large of a ripple effect these changes will make.

Jenn

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Cuddle Time - the X-Rated Version

Barfing my way through England
11 weeks pregnant and
totally unwed.
So, let's be honest with one another and agree that, for the majority of couples, x-rated cuddle time drops dramatically once that first kid arrives.  Okay, I understand that that is a sweeping generalization but from the reading I have done and the conversations I have had, it does appear to be an accurate one.

I can speak from experience that it did for us.  I had an extremely rough first pregnancy, what with the numerous daily vomiting experiences.  I was a pregnancy induced bulimic and I most certainly did not feel like cuddling with Brad.  All I felt like doing was crawling in a hole and waiting for this whole thing to be over.  Oh, that last sentence did not refer to the feelings I had while cuddling with Brad but how I felt throughout my first pregnancy.  I was not one of those pregnant women who glowed, I was one of those haggard looking ladies that could not wait for the experience to be over.

Needless to say, the poor mad did not get much x-rated cuddle time our first year of marriage because I was 5 months pregnant when we got hitched.  Poor guy, I feel bad he didn't get to enjoy the honeymoon stage of marriage.

I also understand that x-rated cuddle time is necessary for most couples to survive the stresses of parenthood.  It is our opportunity to connect in a way that is just between us (one would hope, if not, there are some issues that need to be addressed but that is a whole other subject).  I recently read this hilarious book called Babyproofing Your Marriage and they have an entire chapter devoted to how one's sex life can be affected by kids.  They recommend what they call the Five Minute Fix. I will give you three guesses as to what that might be but I don't know any women that only needs five minutes . . . so it has a great deal to do with letting the man know you love him by  . . . ahem . . . taking "care" of him in a manner not possible for him to do by himself.

I am not certain that I agree with this advice.  Certainly, the guy is not going to complain but it removes the value of that intimacy by reducing it to simply physical needs.  What needs to be re-established after kids is the intimacy, the closeness, the love that created those little beings.  The five minute fix deals with the physical and, perhaps for a short time is a good thing, but I fear that I would become rather disconnected if we used this too often.  Besides which, I enjoy being taken "care" of as well . . . wink, wink, nod, nod!
Yes, it has changed since we had the kids.  Admittedly it is not nearly as often as Brad would like and it is not nearly as spontaneous as I would like (I admit it, we have been known to schedule it so that we actually make time for it) but we are cuddling and I believe that it will help us grow closer as a couple.  It gives us time to be silly with each other, to giggle with each other, to share a fantastic closeness . . . and oh hell, an orgasm or two is certainly nothing to sneeze at.  Honestly, that closeness is the best gift that we could give our kids . . . a strong, intimate relationship between their parents.

Jenn