Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Olympic Flame Comes to Town!

So the Olympic Torch came through my city the other night. It was pretty exciting! I just had to take the boys to see it, as it could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Of course being us, we headed out late, intending to go to the main celebration at the City Hall, but didn't make it there. I told DH before about the route the flame would take, ending at City Hall for the night where everyone would gather. And of course being a man, he had not "heard" me, or "forgot" and so we ended up on the road that I knew would be closed at any moment. But as luck would have it, at the very moment we pulled up to an intersection, the cop standing there closed it off, allowing no more traffic through, and we just parked right there in the middle of the road and hopped out of the vehicle. It just so happened that we were right at the point that the Flame hand-off was going to be made, and at the right time too. How cool was that?!

So here are a few pics, and of course as I can NEVER get anything right with blogger, they ended up in the wrong order. Therefore, if you please, go to the last pic and view them in reverse order.



Here the flame is being shared, to a rousing chorus of "Oh, Canada" being badly yet patriotically sung by the crowd.


A shot of the kids (who met up with a friend by chance) with the torch bearer (don't know his name).



The torch bearer.


I also tried to upload a video, but that didn't work, so you can watch it on my Facebook page.











Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas blahs

So here I sit, trying to will myself to want to get up and get dressed, willing myself to try to be eager to visit with my family. And the truth is, I'm not. Christmas just isn't the same anymore around the "Cox" household. It's still taking some getting used to. This is only the second Xmas since my parents split up, so really, two holidays isn't really much time to become a routine. My mom is still depressed, especially now since her dog passed. I don't blame her, of course, but she also doesn't try to help herself much. My sister lives literally around the corner from her, and she only sees her when she needs her or my BIL to do something at her house. My sister invites her to come over, come in for a bit, stay for awhile, but there's always some excuse why she can't.
Anyhow, enough about that. We also decided not to exchange gifts anymore. And while at the time I thought this was a very good idea, as most of us are struggling with money, I am now wondering if that really was the best answer. The gift exchange gives you something to look forward to, and to reflect back on when you use or look at the gifts after. I am thinking that maybe we should have just set a limit, tried a little harder rather than taking the lazy way out.
The reason I am thinking this now is because yesterday was our get together with DH's family. That involved his parents, his sis, her boyfriend, and his grandmother (and also four dogs). We also all decided to forgo the gift exchange, due to my FIL's ever-changing employment status, my SIL's closure of her business, and our current status. Now, it's not like his grandmother is hurting for money, she's practically a millionaire compared to the rest of us. But, as agreed, she didn't buy gifts either. The kids got gifts, of course, but that was it. You know, it makes for a really boring Christmas. And I have to admit, I am REALLY missing that nice fat cheque that DH's grandmother usually gives us. We did play my SIL's new pictionary game for a bit, which was fun for a short while. As usual, my idiotic MIL didn't put the damn turkey on early enough (you'd think she's have learned by now) and we didn't end up eating until almost 8:30!!! My poor boys were starving and exhausted. I mean, that's a half hour past their lights out bedtime, and they hadn't even had dinner yet! Of course I wasn't expecting them to be in bed at a normal time, but I did hope to eat before then! I was getting severely pissed off with the whole situation. I suggested, hopefully, around 5:00 when the turkey still had almost 20 degrees to go, that she turn up the oven. I mean, she had the damn thing at 325F!! I know that is the suggested cooking temp on the package, but if your turkey still has three effing hours to cook, then you need to turn up the damn heat!! So I was quite browned off and annoyed with her. She didn't even put out some crackers or something. I thought poor L was going to pass out. It's a good thing he's six now; had he been a little younger, there would have been some major tantrums going on, I'm sure. So we left straight after dessert. We didn't even stay to help clean up, and I hope that pissed her off. It was still 10:30 by the time we got home and got the boys to bed, and for two little kids who had been up since just after six, that's a looooooonnnnnnggggg day.
So back to today. My sis has informed me that my niece is sick with a fever, and vomiting last night. So that's just great. Really, had it been any other day, and not Christmas, I would have said we're not coming.
My dad is in England. He is at least spending Christmas with his own family. I miss him though, as he was here at our's last year, and that was really nice. Of course I miss us just being all together, but I know that's a thing of the past. Mostly I just miss the happiness of being together, without the melancholy, the whispered slanders and remarks, and the forced smiles. I miss the house I grew up in a lot, but I also miss my parents' house they had for a few years before the separation. That was a great house for family get-togethers.
Yesterday I didn't end up calling my mom until around noon. I feel bad about that, in retrospect, especially after talking with my other sister, S, and hearing that aside from her, no one else had called her. She had spent all of Christmas morning alone. My heart breaks at that thought, but then at the same time, I think, why the hell didn't she got over to N's house, and watch her granddaughter open her gifts?? She really doesn't have to be alone. S thinks she just doesn't want to be nuisance, but she is being a nuisance by trying not to be. She is making us all feel bad for her being alone Xmas morning, and how does she think N feels, when the only time she comes over or calls is when she needs my BIL, D, to do something for her, or for N to open the house to some workmen or something while she is at work?
Ok, I'm getting off topic. Back to Christmas.
So the weather isn't helping my spirit much. It's raining. All the beautiful snow is melting, and everything just looks blah and grey. As usual, my DH came up pretty short in the gift department. One year, he got me a turkey baster for my stocking. REALLY? Are you serious? So that gives you a bit of a history. He hasn't been too bad of late, but I really should start posting a list or something on the fridge, because hinting just isn't working with him. When he took the boys out shopping, I actually told R and pointed out all the things in the flyers that I wanted that they could choose from. The only thing he got me that I wanted was a $50 gift card for iTunes. I was a little shocked at that. I was expecting 10, maybe 20. I don't seriously want to give $50 of our money to Apple inc. for over-priced music. But of course, you can't return gift cards. He also got me a charger for my phone for the car (because, yeah, I spend soooo much time in the car...) and a GPS for the car. What? He said he thought I wanted one. Nooooooo.... that was you dear. He claims even R thought I wanted one. Ummm, not really. I find them distracting. My sis S has one in her car, as well as my dad, and I've found that when I'm in the car with them, I can't stop looking at them. That doesn't bode well for driving. So that was kind of a crappy morning for me, gift wise. The boys opened their presents so fast they barely had time to appreciate what they got. It was all over in less than an hour, stockings and all. Sigh.
To top it all off, I got my period. Yeah, you really wanted to know that I know. But it just adds to my misery and I'll tell you why. This past month I wasn't on the pill. This was because I ran out of my prescription, and I have idiots for doctors, but that's another long story. Anyhoo, I have to wait until mid-Jan so I can get a refill. So, when I haven't been on the pill, everything is soooo much worse. Way more moody, (though I try hard not to be), very painful cramps pulsating down my legs, my stomach hurts in the worst way (all of my stomach, not just the reproductive area either), my back hurts, my head hurts, and there is more of just everything else, which I won't elaborate on if you know what I mean. To sum it up, all I want to do is curl up in bed for three days or so with a heating pad and a whole whack of painkillers, the stronger the better. But I can't do that. Instead, I have to go visiting, and pretend I'm having a joyful time.
Bah, Humbug!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flu Shot

Ok, I've been telling myself I won't blog about this, because everyone else is sick to death of hearing about it, but I just needed to vent it out.

I really don't know what to do about the H1N1 shot. Right now, I have some time to think, because my Dr.'s office hasn't started offering it yet, and the clinics are only focusing on the high risk groups, which we do not (thankfully) fall into. Well, L could technically go, as they are doing children 5 and under, but then he is very close to 6 now and I am not doing it all separately. If we're going, we're all going together.

I have to say, I'm scared. Scared of the needle, scared of the pain (this coming from a woman who gave birth twice without the aid of drugs) and scared of the repercussions. "They" say it is safe. "They" say it is necessary. But that's what "they" said about thalidomide (the anti-nausea drug they gave women in the 60's? 70's? and caused MAJOR birth defects) and countless other drugs. Who knows what will happen 6 months down the road, or a year or five?

I wasn't too pro-vaccinations to begin with. I put off getting my own boys vaccinated until I felt their little bodies were strong enough to handle all that nasty foreign matter being injected into them. And the whole Autism link freaked me out too. I know, I know, there isn't any kind of conclusive evidence, but that doesn't wash with me. The scariest part was the stories of SIDS after babies had their shots. No one can conclusively link the two, but....

So I don't like the idea of injecting all that stuff into our bodies. How do we know that all these shots won't cause cancer down the road? It's too far away to link it, but how come almost every single person I know is touched by cancer in some way?

We are living in a chemical world. Everything we touch is man-made practically. It's all plastic, or some form of polypropylene or the like. We eat off it, drink from it, bathe in it, sit on it, wear it, ride it, and unless you are lucky enough to afford all organic food, we eat it.

So if I can prevent at least a small amount of extra chemicals from leeching into my kids' bodies, I want to. I just can't decide which risk is greater.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday whine

This week I have had a lighter load. It just works out that way sometimes, with all the different shiftwork that the parents have. On Monday, I only had one child scheduled, and her Grandma ended up coming to visit, insisting to her mother that she be the one to care for her, so I ended up with a day off! Wonder of wonders!! So that's happened to me twice in all of seven years now. It felt great too. I went to the mall, returned an item, and proceeded to buy myself some new underwear and bras. I got properly fitted and everything. I find that the only time I can do something like that, and be relaxed about it, is when I am ALONE. I can just imagine how it would feel to be a "kept housewife". Luxurious. And....boring too, I'll bet. Although I'd REALLY like the chance to find out how boring. I bet I could find enough to do for a while. I'd really like to be able to volunteer at the kids' school. I'm sure that would occupy enough of my time.

So Tuesday was ok, I was missing one regular child due to a visit from Grandpa, plus the same one as Monday, but I had one extra that I don't normally have on a Tues. which made up for the slack. Today, I am still missing the same little girl, but she'll be back tomorrow, according to her mom. I only have two boys here, one almost five, the other three, they are brothers. While they are being good, the older one is telling me how boring all the toys are. Geez. They have too much, and no imagination. I pointed out how boring it would really be if there were NO toys, and that shut him up. I can hear him whimpering in the other room, probably moaning about having nothing to do, but I don't really care. I'm sorry if that sounds cold, but I believe that kids shouldn't have to be entertained when provided with ample stimulation. And definitely not at five years old. I have plenty of things for them to do, and MORE than enough toys. So I don't feel guilty or obliged in any way.

The thing that sucks the most about this week though is that tomorrow, being Thursday and always my busiest day, is the day of L's little concert they are having. R had one when he was in grade one; it has to do with the native studies they have been doing, and they dress up and sing a bunch of songs. It was cute when R did it, and it was only about 15 minutes long. The bad part is that I have 5 kids to drag along with me (down from six as one parent unexpectedly got the day off), with two of them under the age of two. It starts at 9:20, so I either walk home, turn around and directly walk back again, or hang around outside in the cold doing god knows what. I guess I could take them to the park, and hope that it is warm enough and not rainy, but I just KNOW that one or both of the babies will poop, and then we'll have to sit through the concert with that smell. Then there is the fact that how do I control five kids under five, especially the babies? Ok, I know the three and four year olds will be ok, but it's the two smaller ones I'm concerned about. That, PLUS trying to video the concert. Arggh!

So, I don't think I will be able to go. And I feel soooooo bad about that. I am really hoping DH can go, but he said it depends on if he is working or not. He has worked so little these past few weeks that he can't take time off if he is called in. Last week was his "reading week" at school; why couldn't they have had the concert then? Or Monday? Or Tues? Or today?? Or even at night? Only at our school do they have presentations and special things in the middle of the day and expect parents to be able to make it. I guess it's because of the neighbourhood I live in; there are sooooo many stay-at-home moms! It astonishes me! I do know that some of them have part time jobs in the evening or weekends, but there is a large percentage that are just home, not working. I don't know how they do it in this day and age, but there you go. Much more careful planning then we've ever done, I guess. Maybe we need some lessons, lol.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cottage Woes

Well here I am bitching about the cottage again. So...if you don't want to hear it, don't read this post. Maybe some of you can sympathize, or empathize, I don't know.

You already know how I feel about the cottage and going there (see July ). Every year DH has to go up there and pull out the water line, drain the pump, pull up the dock as well as the useless boat ramp (for which we have no boat), among other chores. But those are the main things. The things that HE knows how to do, and really seems to be the only person that can do them. Really, all the other closing chores can and SHOULD be done by someone else. There ARE other family members!!

Which leads to my rant...Why the F*** is it ALWAYS up to him to do EVERYTHING??!! Last weekend, he went up on Sunday, leaving me, as usual to be a single mom. I'm used to that part. Not that I like it. He took his Dad with him, which I'm grateful for, because even if his dad is getting pretty useless as far as much physical labour is concerned, I'm glad he was there in case something were to happen. It's pretty isolated up there.

So he rented a wetsuit, which had to be back to the store by 3, and proceeded to pull the water line out, and do whatever else he did. When they arrived back home, I asked how things went, only to be told that he needs to go up again because he didn't finish everything!! WHAT!! Apparently, they didn't get the dock or boat ramp up, among other chores that weren't finished by Others-who-shall-remain-nameless. It made me so mad. I asked why he wasn't able to complete his main tasks, and he informed me it was because he was busy completely other things that should have already been done, but weren't. Which made me even angrier, of course. Now instead of being angry with Them, I was angry with him as well. I mean, why couldn't he have the common sense to finish his own tasks, and then leave whatever else he didn't have time for, for the Others?!!

My sister, N, has a theory about this. She thinks, and I tend to agree, that he thrives off it. That it doesn't annoy him, as it should, that They are taking away from his very limited family time by pushing all these demands onto him. That he isn't ready to let that go, for some reason. Maybe he just likes being up there, the quiet solitude, being on his own, despite having to do chores to do it. And, when I look at it that way, I can understand.

However, that also serves to make me angrier, because HOW DARE HE?? Do I get to spend a whole beautiful day away from my family? NO. Ever? NO. I don't even have a job that I get to escape the house and kids from. He does. Plus he has school now, which takes up even more of his time as he has assignments and studying to complete. And of course, I have to pick up the slack there.

I feel stretched. Not much more, and I'll snap, like an elastic band. I know this school thing is going to end at some point, and the ends justify the means, so to speak. It will be worth it in the end when he can get a better job and be happier doing it as well. So I will bide my time there.

But come on people, pray with me here, or whatever it is we non-religious folk do. Pray that that damn effing cottage BURNS TO THE GROUND this winter!! Please!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

De-personalization

WTF is our world coming to? We are becoming more and more depersonalized, don't you think? Ok, I know, I'm right in there with the rest of the people, using my computer for communicating instead of picking up the phone. But seriously...
Doesn't it bug you when you need to call someone about something, and no human is on the other end of the phone, just a machine?
I received another stupid telemarketing call today (I can tell because they are always long distance numbers I don't recognize, often starting with 1-800 or the like). They are irritating enough in and of themselves, and even worse when you answer and it's a bloody automated machine!! But to top it all off, today I answered and after that annoying delay where you say "Hello?" about five times before someone comes on, I get a machine telling me that, "Your call is important to us, please hold the line..." AS IF!!
"Screw that!" I yelled, and slammed the phone down. Like I'm going to hold for a telemarketer! What a nerve! First they don't have the courtesy to give you a real person, then they have the audacity to ask you to hold, when it was they that called you!! Unbelieveable!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inside Boredom

The winter blahs are setting in already. After a couple of weeks of cold, rainy weather, I've gotten into the stay indoors mode. Our outdoor time is now limited to walking to and from the school twice a day. It sucks, really. I guess I could suck it up and take the kids outside anyway, but most of the idiots parents don't bring their child with outdoor appropriate clothing, which makes my job waaaaayyy harder, because then they'll get wet, and then I'll have to change them. Sigh. Try keeping a toddler off the wet grass and out of the puddles on our driveway. Not gonna happen.

So now I'm on the computer while I'm supervising the kids, inbetween diaper changes, snack feedings and fight-breakups. This is not good.

It's not good for a number of reasons.
#1. I'm sitting on my ass, which seems to make it wider somehow (weird how that happens).
#2. My brain is turning to mush from all the mindless drivel (and I don't mean your blogs, other stuff!)
#3. I'm waaaaaayyy too tempted by online shopping. I've already spend over $200 (US) on winter clothing so far. Yikes. Don't tell DH.

At least the kids are happy. For now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us

Today is our anniversary. I've been officially married now for 9 years, but sometimes if feels more like 19, or 29. That could be partly because we lived together for 5 years before we actually tied the knot, so really our commitment to each other has been for 14 years.

9 years ago today, right now, I was probably at the salon, getting my hair done. It was snowing on and off that day, and we had to scrape the heavy frost off the cars before going anywhere. Here are the things that stick out in my mind the most about that day:

  • It was snowing, and we were disappointed, because we had wanted an outdoor wedding but had to move it inside due to too many old doddery people. I wish we had just done it anyway, and too bad for the ones who couldn't watch. It wasn't like it was a long ceremony.
  • We almost had a car accident on the way to the wedding. My dad's friend was driving me and my dad in his Jag, and for some reason he decided he had the right of way at a light turning left when he clearly didn't! Thank goodness some people pay attention.
  • Despite all our planning and direction to the caterers (they were the ones who insisted on specifics) they still managed to screw a great many things up.
  • I remember being pleased with myself at not crying during the ceremony, particulairly the vows, more than I remember the actual ceremony. That's kind of sad. I should have just cried and concentrated on the words that were being said.
  • I didn't cry at my dad's speach either, but I did at my sister's.
  • The power kept going out. We had used most of our budget to secure a high-tech DJ, complete with fog machine, strobes, you name it, so that we could have the best party atmosphere. Then the stupid hall couldn't manage the electrical overload, and we had to cut back to basically just music after the power went out a few times. I was so mad about that, after all, we still had to pay for the stuff even though we couldn't use it. Not the DJ's fault though.
  • By 11p.m. I was exhausted. I went and took off my dress early, only to realize that we hadn't cut the cake yet!! So I went and had to put my dress back on (sans crinolin) just to pose for some pictures. Then I took it off again.
  • We left early. I couldn't take anymore. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted and feeling nauseous because of it.

So all in all, not really the best memories. I don't really look back on my wedding day with much fondness. More like, when you're looking back on a day you had when all this bad stuff kept happening, only to laugh at it now because it was so long ago. If I could do it all over again here's what I would do...ELOPE!! Yes, yes, yes!!! I seriously think that everyone who mattered could have afforded to come along, after all they spent a lot of money on dresses, gifts, and all the rest. My parents put in money towards the wedding, and definitely that money could have been put towards supplementing those that couldn't afford the trip on their own. I really wish we had done that. My friend Lisa did, and has beautiful memories and pictures to go along with it.

I've always said, and always will that the VERY BEST PART of our wedding was the honeymoon!! We went to Sandals Ocho Rios in Jamaica. We promised ourselves we'd go back at our 10 year mark, but sadly, that doesn't seem like it will happen. I don't see us any closer to that goal financially than we are right now.

I'll always have those memories though. And we both cling to them every time we hear Bob Marley crooning "Buffalo Soldier".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pounding

My head is pounding. It has been pounding on and off for days now. I can't figure out if it's something to do with this lousy weather we've been having, of if it's to do with my period. I have been noticing a pattern lately. Headaches, centered around when I'm having my period. Weird. I never used to suffer from that. I guess we'll see tomorrow. It's supposed to be sunny.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brithday Blues

On Friday it was my birthday. My, hmmm hmmm, 36th birthday. I don't know why, but for some reason, that number sounds so big to me. Turning 35 didn't affect me this much, or any other number. Just, 36 sounds so old. So much closer to, gulp, 40! *shudder* How depressing.

So the day started off as per normal. It was a working day, so, same old same old. Only I slept pretty badly the night before, and the day before I had been dizzy as anything upon waking, which did get somewhat better throughout the day. So I wasn't feeling 100% Friday, but what can you do? As a mom, you carry on.

My sister came over which was THE VERY BEST part of my day. Of my week for that matter. So I got to spend the day with my adorable niece and nephew and of course, my sis. However, as the day wore on, I was feeling less and less "well", but I tried to ignore it and also tried to be careful with not spreading any germs to anyone, most of all the baby. I also had the unexpected pleasure on Friday of having only two kids to look after, and they happened to be two of the easier ones. No babies!! YAHOO!

Then, partway through the day, we decided that we'd pull the boys out of school early, so that they could spend some time with their Auntie and cousins as well. I called the school and set it up, and at the second nutrition break, my sis went to the school to pick up the boys as a surprise. Of course, I still had to go back to the school later at the regular dismissal time to pick up one of the other kids I look after, but it was what it was. Well it sucked actually, because it was raining, and cold, and I was pretty sure I was starting a fever by then. But I sucked it up.

By the time everyone finally went home, and it was just me and the boys, my body was aching and I was running a temp close to 101. I dragged my shivering ass fully clothed into bed and stayed there for the night. So much for a birthday celebration. No dinner out, no cake, nothing. DH came home around 5:30, saw me in bed and resigned himself to the fact that he was in charge for the night.

Ok, being sick sucks so much when you are a mom. Nobody cares about you. Nobody checks on you, or soothes you, or asks you if you need anything. Not only that, you just fall asleep, and someone comes into the bedroom asking for something. Can't you ask Daddy?? I'M SLEEPING HERE!! You have to remind your stupid husband to actually feed the children, and absolutely nothing gets done all weekend! So the whole weekend's mess is left until you are better. I will say, however, that at least he went and got some groceries, and he did finally do some dishes, but only after I had to ask him to! What, you thought they would magically clean themselves??

But I am going to focus on the positive side, which was...I got to spend one day lounging around doing nothing but sleeping and watching tv in my pj's, and without any GUILT, so that was nice. Too bad I had to feel crappy to do that, but that's the part that nullifies the guilt, so there you go. Of course I do feel guilty that I may have infected my sister and her family, but that wasn't really my fault, I didn't realize that I was sick until later in the day, and by then it was too late. I just hope that they stay healthy.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had to go out to do some coat shopping. So I joked that my big birthday meal out was at the mall food court. Yippee.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trying To Be Positive, And Failing

I've been severely neglecting my blog. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I haven't been able to think of anything positive to write about, and I don't think I should always be writing about negative things. Two, I have been using my free time for reading online. It's my new obsession. I guess really what's the difference, reading online or in a book, it's just a waaaayy heavier book, LOL. It's just so much easier to find new material than trucking off to the library, standing in the stacks for ages trying to discern if you want this book or that, or if you'd like it, not to mention our library's severe lack of anything good to read due to the fact that it can't keep up with its population, AND on top of all that, having to keep an eye on and keep calm two silly boys. Whew. So that's what I've been up to.

The boys have settled into school, and we're all back into the routine quite nicely. I feel so ho hum about it all. The whole routine is rather dreary, but it does make the day go on faster. Get up at six, shower, dress, make lunches and breakfasts while greeting the other children randomly coming in, eat my own breakfast, get the kids ready for school, get the other kids ready to walk to school, start walking to school, several houses down the sidewalk stop and wait for the mom that can't seem to EVER get her act together to be at my house on time (sigh!) as she frantically pulls to the curb to dump her child into the stroller, drop the kids at school, blah, blah, blah. I won't make you go through the WHOLE day! Were you worried? LOL.

I wish I had more exciting things to write about. Like how my handsome well-muscled (and well-endowed, hee hee) sensitive caring husband found some fantastic well-paid job that only required him to work 9-5 (who?? oh yeah, this is my fantasy). Or maybe how I ran into an old friend who had a fantastic new exciting well-paying job opportunity just perfectly suited to me and my hours (detecting a theme yet?). But alas, no such news. Just the same old shit.

So what can I write about? I really can't find anything positve. I think of something, and it turns negative. Case in point. We went out for dinner Sat night for my MIL's 60th. My SIL chose the restaurant, a japanese place with teppan (the kind of place where they cook at your table). It was waaaaayy out in Mississauga, which for us is over an hour's drive. But still, we were happy to go as we both love that cuisine, and also it was a momentous occassion. The food was very yummy, and only one of us (R) didn't enjoy it, but that's no surprise, he hates everything. That's the positive.

Here's the negative. DH asked the server to put ours on a separate bill, but apparently, his dear sis had already told her to put it all on one bill. Why?? Why would you specifically ask the server to do that if you had no intentions of paying for the whole meal yourself? Of course, I would NEVER expect her to pay for our meal, but if you were going to make a point of telling the server to put it all on one bill instead of waiting until the end when the bill just showed up, it must mean you had something in mind? Am I crazy here, or what? Do you get what I'm saying? Even DH looked at me in a meaningful way when the server told us that. You know, the look that said, "I can't believe my sister is going to pay for the whole family!" So I quickly told him that I had some cash and I would hand it over later. So then comes the bill. I quickly did a mental calculation and tried to round up to the nearest ten each item, thinking that should take care of our portion of the tip. I forked over $120!! Thinking again (after I'd already handed it down the table) I realized that was pretty generous. I asked her if that was enough, and she nodded her head vigourously saying, "Oh, yes, more than enough!". But did she give me any of it back? NO! Did she make mention of her paying for it, or the reason for her placing it all on one bill? NO! WTH? There went my grocery money for the week. I can't believe we just spent that much money on one dinner! And we didn't even buy the kids a meal! We just ordered two appetizers and split our meals and apps with them!

My bday is on Friday, and we were planning to go out for dinner, but now I'm thinking we shouldn't be spending any more money, cause we can't really afford it!

So there you have it. I think it's quite impossible for me to write positive things. Sorry. I guess it's because I need to vent, and have no other way to do that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

School Rants

Today is Labour Day. The last day off of the summer. Officially, summer isn't over, but technically it is. School starts tomorrow, and can I say, I am NOT looking forward to that! Back to making lunches, emptying lunchboxes and cleaning the contents every damn day. Back to walking back and forth to the school, trying to keep track of everyone and braving any weather thrown our way. Ok, I actually like the walking part, just not the part where I have to drag everyone with me. And back to facing the tears.

Oh, the tears. Just last week at the mere mention of the one week left till school, L was in tears. Full on bawling. And I feel for him. He is still my baby, and sometimes I look at him and think, "he's too young to be in school all day, away from his mommy." We had many tears during the two years of Kindergarten (JK and SK here). He never really resigned himself to the fact that he had to go. And this year, he truly does. It's the law, and if I don't send him, then I have to teach him myself, and that ain't gonna happen!

So here's my rant. I hate his teacher he had last year. Let's call her Cow. Cow had never taught kindergarten before last year. She looked to me to be about 20 years old. Not married. No kids. Obviously didn't have much education around teaching young children. And no. They don't have nearly enough of that in Teacher's College. And yes. Teaching K is A LOT DIFFERENT than teaching grade schoolers. The children are still very young, and their abilities are very diversified, plus the way they view the world and think is different. You have to be FLEXIBLE, and ADAPT. Something Cow didn't know how to do. You can't lump them all into the same group and expect them all to mold to your expectations. She thought she knew how to teach K, based on her 5 minutes of training.

So she thought that she "knew" my child somehow. Or rather she thought she "knew" how he "should" be. God. She thought that he should be split up from his very best friend, a boy who is so much like him in personality, a boy who had as much of a hard time adjusting to school as he did, and the boy who, if it weren't for him, he wouldn't have adjusted to school at all. She thought that L was "lost" without him. Truthfully, he wasn't. Once he made friends with J, he branched out, and gathered a group of friends that he played with (including after school and playdates). But still, the schools usually try to keep best buds together going into grade one. It's such a huge change for them, shouldn't they try to make the transition as painless as possible by offering a little comfort?

So why oh why, did this COW decide to not recommend they be placed in the same class? WHY I ask you??

Now I come to the second part. During the end of the last school year, I requested to L's teacher that when they make up the classes for next year that he NOT be placed in a certain teacher's class. There are four Grade one classes. Surely it's not too much to ask that he not be placed in just one of them, that leaves three other options. But no. I found out Friday that he has been placed in that class. Not only that, but it is a SPLIT CLASS!! Split with SK!!!

I am insensed! I am OUTRAGED!! The reason I asked for him not to be placed in that class, was because for the past two years, I have heard from other parents how she is not a very good teacher. Now, I can't exactly go into the office saying that, it's all hearsay. But I can express my concerns over the fact that it's a split class. I think he's going to be very distracted if half the class are playing with toys. How will he ever get any work done? He's not very good at concentrating as it is, and considering that many kids going into grade one are reading, and he isn't quite there, I think he needs as much concentration as possible.

This is what I hate. I HATE confrontation. I HATE having to talk to people about things I'm not pleased about. I'm a rug, just walk all over me. But I have to do this. It's for my child. The thing is though, is that I know that I'm such a wimp, that even if I do get a chance to speak with whoever I speak with, I'll present my case and then back off when he (or she) rebuts with reasonable answers. Rrrrrrrgh. Perhaps I can convince DH to do it for me. He is sooooo much better at it than I am.

So the last thing I want to say is this. I'm going to miss my boys. I always do when school starts back up. And it's just a reminder to me of how time is passing us by, how they are growing so fast.

That being said, I will go and spend this last day off with them. Happy Labour Day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Been Awhile

So, yeah, it has.... I guess in part due to my week off (the 24th to the 28th), as I actually did NOT spend all my time off on the computer!! Wow. But I digress, (I've always wanted to say that, and it's probably not even the right way to use it, but it sounds cool, doesn't it?) I use the computer to keep me sane during working hours mostly (but not always), and blogging helps that too. Sooooooo, since I wasn't working, I didn't feel the need.

As for this week (as it's now Friday), I have just been too effing busy to concentrate much on blogging. Not that today is much better, only slightly.

And it's FRIDAY peoples!!! The start of a long weekend, and the LAST day before school starts again! Can I say.....WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (don't tell my kids that)

Now, to business. I have had a crazy week, partly due to my insane scheduling hassles (and certain children that come part and parcel with that, need I say more?), and partly due to things beyond my permission to tell you.

I've had one of those weeks though. You know, the ones when you question your whole life? Well, maybe not everyone does that, but I'm sure some of you do. I think things like, How did this get to be my life? This isn't what I signed up for. This isn't even close to what I imagined it to be. When does my real life start?

Then the "What Ifs" come. What if I just picked up and left? What if I had gone to school when I was supposed to? What if I had never said yes? What if I had, I don't know, gone to Europe by myself for a summer? What if I decided to start all over, and is that even possible?

Ok, don't worry, I'm not planning on upping and abandoning my family, but sometimes you wonder...

And sometimes I think to myself things like, You only get one life, and it's passing you by, so shouldn't you make it what you want? And then the thought of trying to actually do that is just too scary to consider.

I'm a believer of everything happens for a reason. I think that, if people are meant to be together, they will be, and if not, then that's that. I think that if something is meant to happen, it will, and if bad things happen, then they must happen for some reason or another, to allow room for better things to happen. Of course, that theory is constantly being tested, especially the latter.

So here I am, awash in thoughts. I am trying to dwell on the positives, as I usually do. Everyone I know is healthy, Thank God. My children are smart and beautiful and healthy. I have a home to live in, in a beautiful city, in the best country in the world. I have food to eat, clean water to drink. I have my family that loves me. Really I shouldn't want for more.

And as a completely different aside, Happy Birthday to my baby, R. I can't believe that 8 years ago to this minute I was struggling to expel you from my womb. You're everything I could have hoped and dreamed for. I love you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Moon

Yes, I know, I'm a dork. I should also grow up, or as DH says, "How old are you?" But I can't help it. A woman needs her fantasies, and these characters from the Twilight Series are a large part of my fantasies. Of course, it helps to see them portrayed on the big screen. Mmmmmmmm.....
So I had to post this. I really really wanted to embed the video, but discovered that I can't, so I will have to make-do with linking you to the website for the New Moon movie . It is fuel for my fire, my wildest desires and dreams. Go there. You'll either see why, or you will think me as infantile as my husband. Whatever.
Can I say, I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS MOVIE TO COME OUT!!!!!
Who wants to come with me????

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Secret Obsession

Ok, so you know how lots of women have obsessions over shoes, or makeup, or purses? They love shopping for them, and have tons of them, closets full even...That's not me. I can't stand shoe shopping, I do like buying purses but I limit myself to things on sale and about one new one per year, which is reasonable, I think. And I don't really wear makeup - maybe twice a year if lucky.
What I love, love, love to shop for and buy is ............
WINTER OUTERWEAR.
Ok, I know, that sounds totally crazy and stupid. Ridiculous really. But I just do, I don't know why. Now, I don't go overboard. It's not like everyone in my house has four or five coats each or anything, really, only one or two (in the adults case, 'cause, we don't grow out of our coats!) But I do spend a lot more time than necessary online window shopping for all the latest and coolest outfits. I love dressing my boys up in coordinating outerwear (I don't mean with each other, although that would be cute, I mean with themselves.) I just need them to be matching, which is stupid, because they don't care if they're matching, at least not yet, anyway. But I love having the hat and gloves match the coat, and even better, the boots (although this is much harder to accomplish.)
So here are the brands I have bought in the past and that I would recommend to any newbie parents. For boots, I buy Sorels. I've never had any problems with them, they are warm, waterproof (with some extra help from a waterproofing spray I use, although they do claim to be waterproof on their own) and they last at least two winter seasons (which, around these parts is the equivalent to about 12 months or so, depending on how early the snow falls). I also like that the liner is removable which a) helps with sizing as you can pull it out, have your child try the liner on and you can actually feel where their toes are, and b) you can pull it out to dry out the boots faster, which inevitably get wet from snow falling inside them.
For coats/snowsuits I have had success with Please Mum, a Canadian company and one of my favourite stores to shop for the boys in, Woodland, which is a brand sold in Bonnie Togs, Osh Kosh (but their sizes don't go past six here in Canada for some weird reason) and I always buy Columbia for myself. I haven't yet bought the boys a Columbia jacket, as it's just a little too pricey, but for me, I know my jacket is going to get several years' use.
As for accessories, I like Kombi, Columbia, Please Mum, and I've also bought online from http://www.llbean.com which is also where I do my online browsing/dreaming, as well as http://www.landsend.com .
So that's my weird obsession. Last night, we were out doing some back-to-school shopping, and some stores actually had winter coats coming out on the racks. Yikes! I know! I don't even want to think about winter, but a very small part of me was starting to feel those first tingles of excitement about the upcoming shopping expeditions I would get to have...
Well, I guess every woman's gotta have a vice...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sigh Of Relief Part 2

Ok, I had to just quickly post an update to my recent posting.

I confessed to DH tonight that I had been worried, and that my period was a couple of days late. I'm not sure how the conversation came up, but it did quite naturally for some reason during dinner. 'Course, we're trying to talk in code 'cause the kids are sitting right there, which is awkward, but the message was put across, something like this:

Me: "Well, I was actually a little concerned for a couple of days there; It was a bit late."

DH: staring blankly ahead with a funny sort of smile on his face.

Me: "What?"

DH: "Well, it wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen."

Me: WTF??

DH: "Course that would make that little trip to Peterborough a little bit more necessary, wouldn't it?" (To a clinic that does laser vasectomies, apparantly)

Me: still dumbfounded "Yeah, I guess so."

So, hmmmmmm.....

A Sigh Of Relief?

The past few days have been like a living, well, not hell really, but... well in turmoil. That I've bore alone. You see, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I might have been *deep breath*, PREGNANT!
Firstly, I should explain something. I'm on the Pill. My pills are a pack of 21. I've never felt it necessary to take the 7 sugar pills that make up a 28 pack, but perhaps after this weekend, I should reconsider. So with my pack of pills, they are all the same. Each pill has the same ingredient, so it doesn't matter where you start. You can start at the beginning, middle or end, wherever. They usually include a set of stickers you can paste on the top with the days of the week, to help you remember, but I often don't use that either. I rely on my oh-so-wonderful memory.
Now, often, for some reason, my period will start on the second-to-last or last day of my pill pack. I think it's because the dosage of hormones or whatever isn't quite strong enough for me, although the dr. has assured me it's still safe. I've become accustomed to just stopping taking the pill at that point. I figure, I'm already bleeding, what's the point in taking a pill to prevent pregnancy? It saves me pills in the end, and after a while, one or two or three pills can add up nicely to another pack! At that point, I just take seven days off and then start again the next "month".
With me so far? Ok.
So at the beginning of this past cycle we were on vacation in Ottawa. I did bring a new pack of pills to start taking, but..... I kind of forgot. Oops. So I ended up starting my new pack a couple of days late.
Fast forward to this past weekend. As far as I could remember, I could have SWORN, that the last cycle I had started on a Saturday, the Sat before we went away (because I remember my period ending while we were at the hotel). So I stopped my pill on Friday (just past). Now, usually, my body is already giving me signs of my period coming, you know, that lovely gross spotting you get to begin with. I usually start my period before my pills are even done, remember? So when I didn't get my period on Sat., I was starting to wonder.... However, for any normal person, you really wouldn't start bleeding that day, because the pill is still in your system. You have to give it at least 24 hrs or so.
So, I "prepared" myself Sat night, and woke up Sunday morning to....
NOTHING.
Gads.
At this point, I'm starting to imagine pregnancy symptoms. My mind is going, going, going and I'm thinking about it CONSTANTLY!! I was going to the bathroom I swear, at least every half hour to check (inspect with excrutiating attention to the TP). Still nothing. The worst part was, is that I had this terrible headache, probably due to the weather, and I didn't know if I should be taking anything. So I took acetaminophen, which took the edge off a bit.
All I could think about was what if??? Most of me rejected the idea. There are so many reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea.
#1. Really bad timing - DH is going back to college fulltime in the fall and he is probably not going to be working.
#2. Really bad timing - (I know, I said that already) I am taking on a new baby in the fall, as well as getting a toddler back fulltime, as well as a CRAZY INSANE schedule, so I really don't know how I would have handled being sick and tired as well as all that.
#3. I already gave away all our baby stuff, so we would have to somehow reaquire it.
#4. How was I going to tell DH? That was the part I was most scared of. I was so afraid that he would be mad, and think I did it on purpose, not to mention all the stress he's already under in regards to work, etc...
But a small part of me was rejoicing. I was already imagining names, how we would have to move the boys around (bedrooms I mean), and how wonderous and exciting it would be to see them as big brothers.
So last night, I bought a test, secretly, and hid it in my purse. My plan was that in the morning, when DH got up to shower, I would sneak downstairs and use the bathroom down there if nothing happened in the night. But something did happen in the night. Along with all the fun cramps as well. Ick.
So while I silently breathed a sigh of relief to myself in the bathroom this morning, a very small part of me was crying.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Survived

So I survived the weekend. I guess it wasn't too bad.

The wedding was ok, actually. It wasn't as bad as some stuffy weddings I've been to. The ceremony was held outside, on the beach, facing the water which was really nice and a first for me. It's kind of how I would've liked our wedding to be, but that's a story for another time. The weather held up for the major parts of the wedding, and by the time it rained, it was indoor/dancing time anyway so it was good timing for the couple. The boys got to swim and play on the beach between the ceremony and dinner (which was about 3.5 hours) and the ceremony itself was mercifully short and non-religious. The couple also bought "goody bags" for the kids, which included two cans of play-doh, a set of smelly markers, a pad of paper, a can of silly string and a crazy straw. So nice considering they barely know them! Then they had a bonfire later, and all the fixings for smores. C'mon, tell me you haven't had smores at a wedding before! I haven't, and I think EVERY wedding should have a bonfire and smores!!

The rest of the weekend wasn't as bad. See, here's my philosophy: Expect the worst, and then you won't be disappointed, you may even be a little bit surprised. Sunday was sunny, thank GOD. So we didn't all have to stay in the cottage getting on each others' nerves. And it wasn't too hot either. The beach that was there last month (if you could call it a beach) was gone totally, and now the stairs go down to the water, not the sand. So the boys had nothing to play with, but thankfully they still played in the water a bit, and for the afternoon, L actually napped while R and I played ball for awhile until it went into the water, and then he swam again since he had to go get it 'cause I sure as heck wasn't going in that frigid water! holy run-on sentence...


The Overlord Grandma behaved herself for the most part. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were only in her presence for a day and a half. She had her moments though:
G - "You should stab those potatoes before you put them in the microwave, they'll cook faster."
Thank you very much. Now I have overcooked potatoes (as if microwaved potatoes aren't bad enough) due to the orders I was given wonderful advice and the supersonic microwave she owns. Holy Crow, that thing could cook a whole turkey in an hour, I swear. I'll probably get a tumour from being in the same room with it or something.


Monday (today) we hung around for a bit in the morning while DH watched a movie with Her, and I conveniently slipped off to the bedroom for some quality time with my book. At some point during the morning, She says, "I don't suppose the boys would want to stay with me for a bit?" Yeah, that's going to happen.... I'm going to leave my most treasured possessions in the whole wide world in the care of an 83 (or is it 4?) year old woman who can't remember if she bought milk yesterday, and can't hear worth a damn! Not to mention her ancient ideas about child-rearing. The boys would probably be calling for help, in the lake, drowning, she'd forget they were there and lock all the doors to go into town for a while....Yikes! (shudder)

I'm sorry. I do feel a bit sorry for her. I mean, she's old, she can't help that. I know she would LOVE to spend more time with her great-grandchildren, I mean, who wouldn't? But she's going to have to do it with either DH or me around. That's it, that's all. DH made up a bunch of stories about how they have daycamp, and soccer and stuff that wasn't entirely true, just to spare her feelings. It's ok to lie when you're sparing someone's feelings, right?

So that was the weekend. Now I'm off to bed, night night.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Beautiful

Today is the last day of the boys' summer daycamp. Despite the fact that I said I enjoy having them home with me, I also have enjoyed having them in camp. Due to some work schedules on behalf of the parents of the kids I care for, I actually had a real and true, honest-to-goodness day to myself on Tuesday. Let me tell you, that NEVER happens!! NEVER NEVER NEVER!

I have been doing home daycare for 7 years now, and I've never had that sort of thing happen, where the planets align and the stars are in the right position. I have had days when no other kids were scheduled (mostly in the summer), but mine have always been here. It was like a tease though.

I spent the morning vacuuming and washing floors, and cleaning the main floor bathroom. Yeah, I know, what a waste, but I just never seem to have time on the weekends in the summer, there aren't many opportunities during the day with looking after other kids, and I have a strict policy against housework past 5:00 p.m. So it left me no choice. Besides, I don't mind housework as much if I can do it alone (meaning no interruptions) and with my music blasting.

Anyhow, then I took the dog to the groomer, and met DH for lunch. That was nice, it was like a date, only with a time limit. Speed dating anyone?? LOL No time for anything other than eating... Oh well :)

So what was my point in all this??? Oh yeah, the boys have been in camp. And my week has been much lighter and less stressful.

So the two brothers I care for weren't scheduled to arrive until 9:30, which left me a half hour to myself. Not much, but I'll take what I can get. Since we had ridden our bikes to the school where camp is, I decided to go for a solo bike ride. I rode down the street towards the lake, which you can see from the school (and the top floors of my house, actually). At the end of the road is a small, quiet beach only known to locals. We never go there, mainly due to the fact that the bike ride has always been a bit much for two young boys (especially back which is ALL uphill), and you can't exactly drive to it, only really walk or ride. But for me, it was fine.

And the view was beautiful. The water was calm, the sun was shining, and no one was around. It was perfect solitude, and I wished I could have spent the day there just like that, sitting on the beach with a book. Everyone needs alone time, and this week has made me realize just how much I really need it and should try to get more of it.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera, but I will try to get a shot of this beach one day and post it, it's so nice. As I approached the beach, there was a family of ducks following me, regarding me with much anticipation. Not long after, a man came along with a bag of bread, at which point all the ducks flocked to him, quacking and peeping. He shared some with me, and told me he went there mostly everyday, which was obvious from the ducks' reactions. It was such a simple thing, standing there, feeding ducks with a stranger, but it was so peaceful and pleasant that I will be using it for my "happy" place when I need to for awhile.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I DON'T WANNA GO AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!

Sound familiar? Yeah, if you're a mom, it probably does.

But wait - here's the kicker..... it wasn't one of my kids saying this, it's ME!!

Yep, me. 30- ahemmm, mumblemumble- something years old and I am acting like a five year old. But I can't help it, I just don't wanna go!

Go where, you say?

To the cottage.

WHAAAAA???!!!

Now why wouldn't anyone want to go to the cottage? Am I crazy, you say? No.

Here's the thing. First of all, the cottage is not our cottage, it's DH's Grandmother's cottage. 80-something (3, I think)-year-old-almost-practically-deaf-and-extremely-stubborn Grandmother. And during the summer months, she lives there. Is that enough for you yet? Ahh, but the plot thickens.

Now imagine further. Taking two boys with plenty of energy to a cottage where they may or may not be stuck inside (likely will be due to the completely CRAPPY weather we've had this summer!) and not allowed to touch much of anything, do much of anything and VERY LIMITED SPACE to play! Yikes.

But wait, there's more! Despite the fact that there are four bedrooms in this cottage, they are all very tiny as cottage rooms tend to be, very stuffy, and there is only one small main room and one bathroom for all to share. And that means not just the four of us + Grandma, it also includes DH's mother and ever-fragrant father (and I mean that in the most loving of ways, NOT!) Not to mention our dog (a 12 yr old mini-schnauzer) and my SIL's waaaaaaayyyyy too hyper and obnoxious dog as well (same breed). Gah.

So what's a person to do? Well, you can go outside and hunt for berries in the thick, mosquito-ey bush. Hmmmm, nah. You can go for a walk on the dusty road, where mosquitos are also abundant (for some reason they LOVE me, and L too, we must have sweet blood or something) and you have to watch out for traffic moving up and down the road. OR, you could go swimming in the frigid water. The lake we're on doesn't ever get higher than 75 at the most, and that's in the hottest of summers, I can't imagine what it's like this year but I'm a suck when it comes to cold water. Or you could play on the beach, wait, what beach, it disappeared this year when the water level moved up several feet. Two square feet of beach is enough for two boys to play on isn't it??? No, didn't think so. OR you could sit inside the cottage, trying to relax and read your book, but you'll either be #1) asked to complete some mundane chore, #2)be soothed {right} by blasting Musak (ok I don't know what else to call it, but it's the crap you here when you've been put on hold on the phone, or coming out of the speakers in Wal-mart or some such place) being played at full volume for the benefit of the hearing impaired (or soon to be...) or #3) die a slow death of heat exhaustion due to the temperature inside the uninsulated cottage. Or, you could try to watch tv on the three fuzzy channels that come in, or maybe a movie IF you're lucky.

Ok, enough whining, you say. But no, I want to whine more.

If I wanted to spend my very precious long weekend (first one of the summer, by the way) doing menial household chores by hand (I'm talkin' dishes here, peeps) then I would be happy to go. But silly me, I don't want to, guess I'm just weird that way. Why in hell would I want to go live like that, on MY TIME OFF when I can just stay home and have this wonderful invention called an AUTOMATIC DISHWASHER do it for me? Grrrr. Apparantly, in DH's family's world, we are still living in the 1920's, 'cause it's "women's work". WTF? Not what I'm trying to teach my boys.

Oh, well, maybe I'll just go for a nice long ride in the boat.

Oh, right, we don't have a boat. Unless you consider one powered by human legs one. Ya know, a paddle boat? Gee, fun. And oh so exhilerating on the ever-choppy waters that surround us.

Ok, one more whine (or two).

On top of all this really fun stuff, we also have to attend a wedding this weekend. Whoopty-freakin'-doo. I'm not a lover of weddings, as such. The boring ceremony, the even more boring and cheesy speaches, the questionable food, the uncomfortable clothing, the trying-to-make-small-talk-with-strangers, and yes, I'm effing cheap. I'm sorry, but if I wanted to spend a hundred or something dollars on someone, it's going to be someone I love, not someone I barely know. Good friends getting married, I'm happy. Close family, I'm happier. But estranged cousins, workmates/aquaintances, and cottage neighbours?? Nope. Can't be bothered.

But, we got guilted into going (as usual, DH has NO, ZERO, BALLS when it comes to standing up to his family, sigh), so now we have to go witness the third marriage of the next-door-cottage-neighbour at someone else's cottage that's almost an hour away from our own! Crap. Plus, we aren't supposed to drive there. We're supposed to take some shuttle bus they've arranged for due to the limited parking. So we can't leave when we want, we're stuck there for the day, or at least until the first shuttle leaves at 9:30 at night. And this is with the kids in tow.

So that's the Saturday of my coming long weekend. Sunday, I'm sure will involve me desperately trying to escape from the other family members as much as possible while looking after my own children and my husband succumbs to the will of The Overlord Grandma to do her bidding, all this time, begging my DH to let us leave that night and not put us (and my back) through one more night of torture. But it won't happen, guarantee we'll be there till Monday. Tuesday I'll return to work and mounds of laundry refreshed and relaxed {yeah, right} . I am very seriously considering asking my darling SIL to drop me off at home when she leaves on Sunday (who, by the way, very WISELY decided to stay in the local hotel with her new BF instead of subjecting him to the hell that is this family and scaring him off early. Good for her).

Ok, so do you blame me whining a bit? Or do you think I'm a total wench, should suck it up and think myself lucky? And let's not forget all the other things that go along with going away for the weekend that always falls to the Mom to do: the packing of clothes, food, toys, supplies, and the subsequent unpacking of it all.

Ok, whining is over.

For now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ottawa Trip





The Canadian Parliament Buildings



The locks on the Rideau Canal









So we are back from our trip to Ottawa. It was fantastic, lots of fun! If you are looking for a nice, small trip to take, I highly recommend it. Oddly enough, I'd never been to the capital of my country! I'm ashamed of myself, but now we are planning to go back in the winter when the canal freezes over for lots of skating fun!








We took the train (VIA Rail) there, which was a five hour trip. We didn't have a car when we got there, but found that we didn't really need one for the most part. Everything is within walking distance (some walks much longer than others) and there isn't much parking around anyway. Where there is, you are going to pay through the nose!








My one complaint about the trip would be the expense, as food was very pricey. But that's to be expected, as it's a touristy area, and trendy too. But the people were all very friendly, all completely bilingual (switching easily back and forth from french to english) and the city is so clean! Even though they say that Toronto is a pretty clean city (I disagree, especially with the current garbage strike ~P.U.!~ but perhaps I need to travel more and experience other, dirtier cities) it's got NOTHING on Ottawa. There were quite a lot of homeless people, but for the most part, they were also very polite, inobtrusive, and not as scary as some I've experienced in T.O.








Everywhere you go, people are biking in Ottawa! I think it's wonderful, and you can see for yourself that the obesity rate doesn't seem to be as high there. I would love to take our bikes there next time, and do some of the trails, but seeing as how we plan to go in the winter, mmmmmm, not gonna happen!








We stayed at the Residense Marriott, and while the hotel itself seemed a little older, I had no complaints. The rooms were clean, even the kitchenette which housed it's own dishwasher, and the service was great. There was a complimentary breakfast every morning, with everything you could want; eggs, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, cereal, fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, oatmeal, the list goes on...The pool was also nice; the water was warm and there was a hottub too. There was also a great gym, but I didn't use it, walking all day was enough.








We visited many museums, including a wonderful children's museum that had lots for kids to pretend. It was sectioned into different "dramatic" areas, with some parts as dwellings from different countries. It was really great, but boring for parents. We were wishing that we could just leave the kids there while we saw the rest of the museum (it was inside the Canadian Museum of Civilization) and exhibits. We also visited the Royal Canadian Mint, which only makes collector coins, not the coins we use (they are made in Winnipeg) and also the Parliament buildings (see top, I still can't get pictures to go where I want, RRRRGGGHHH).

Ok, that's about it for now, gotta post photos on Facebook now.























































Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guilt, guilt and more guilt

What a horrible morning I've had.
What a not-so-great summer I've had, so far.
I guess it begins with the kids I'm looking after. The dynamics of the group are such that there is an awful lot of fighting and arguing.
And it's wearing on me, day by day.
I don't know how much more I can take; something's gotta give, and soon.
I have five boys I look after, including my own. Who knew boys were such handfuls? There are two 7 year olds, one five, one four, and one just turned three. Aside from R (my angel, LOL) the other four are CONSTANTLY trying to "one-up" the others. I just don't get it. I guess it's a male thing, the whole "leader of the pack", "male dominance" BS. But it causes sooooooo much fighting. I can't take it anymore.
And as it turns out, neither can my own kids. At one point during the morning, R left the group to come into the kitchen with me (the others were outside) and said he didn't want to hear it anymore. I hear ya.
That was when I happened to witness another fight in the making. L was screaming at the four year old because he got to the swing first. Then he hauled off and punched him in the stomach!
I just couldn't believe my eyes. My kids are taught never to hit, or otherwise, and for most part they don't. L has his moments, with a swat here or there, but a full on sock to the gut?!
Being the red-head that I am, I immediately lost it - my temper that is.
That indiscretion just compounded on top of everything else that was getting on my nerves, and I completely lost my mind. I ran out the screen door, screaming at L to get inside, at which point I smacked him on the stomach (open handed though) to prove to him that it hurts. I also screamed at him at the top of my lungs; I'm sure the whole neighbourhood heard, the windows are open. I sent him up to his room and stayed in the kitchen, pacing, and literally shaking with anger.
And then it hit me.
I had done exactly what he had. I was no better than a five year old. I let all the day's (or week's) stress get to me, and I laid into him as I am not allowed to lay into the children that aren't mine. The ones that I truly want to lay into. Get it?
I feel horrible. I should be a better person that this. I just couldn't believe I had done that.
I dissolved into tears, trying not to get any in the KD I was mixing up. Then I went upstairs and apologized and cuddled with L for a while. And the look he gave me. It will haunt me forever. That trustful, sad look. The trust, that I didn't deserve.
Now I'm crying again. But I just feel so awful for doing that. Why do I let my temper get to me like that?
So now, I am trying something to hopefully help the situation from escalating again. I gave all the kids a stern talking-to at lunch. A whole big speach on being nice, not arguing, and following the rules. I also told them that I am implementing a new points system, where they will be losing points for arguing, and gaining ones for acts of kindness. The points will allow them to play video games, or not, if they don't have enough. I'm not quite sure how it's going to work out. These things always seem like a good idea at the time, but then end up being more work for me somehow. We'll see.
If this doesn't help though, I'm really afraid of my next step. I am going to have to "fire" someone. And I know who that someone is. I will have to admit failure, and just swallow my pride and tell his mother she has to find new care for him. I just can't continue to allow him to keep provoking me into this stressed out state. It's not fair, to me, or to my kids, or to the other kids either. And there doesn't seem to be a whole lot more I can do with him. I've looked after him for five long years now, and his behaviour has always been an issue. But timeouts are too juvenile for kids his age, and I am running out of ideas for punishments. I'm very limited with what I can do. So I'm praying, PRAYING, that the loss of video games will work with him.
Please let it work.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Twilight

So, I know I've been a little absent from the blogs for a few days, and this is due to my newfound addiction that I had to share with all of you. If you haven't read the Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer, then you probably won't understand my obsession. If you have read them, and found them as enthralling as I did, then have I got a website for you!

At first, I wasn't too sure about fan fiction. I thought, "how could any of the stories written by common, everyday people be anywhere near as good as Stephenie's stories??" I thought, "it would just diminish the quality of the originals."

But wait! I got lead somehow by one of those annoying Facebook ads on the right side of the page to a Twilight fansite. It was there that I saw all these posts raving about this story called "The List" by Laura Cullen. SO I just HAD to find this story, and I Googled it.

Oh, you should know, that this story is many chapters long, and gets smuttier and sexier and steamier as they go along. Fantastic! It was sooooooo well writtten to be fair, and if you, like me, felt that the YA rating on the whole series left sooo much to be desired, then this just picked up all those pieces, if you get my drift.

Am I making sense?

After I finally finished reading the story (that has yet to be completed being written), I went on to look for more. There are soooo many stories on this website. Some are tamer than others, some are just as steamy, and some are rather imaginitive. There's no way that I could read them all, and some I just really don't want to. I'm not a "team Jacob" person, so I am not interested in any of the stories that are written in the terms of, what if Jacob had won Bella's heart?

Now that I've got that off my chest, I will return to my reading....

Check it out. http://www.twilighted.net (You have to "sign up" for the site, and they give you a password just so you know, but it's free!!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sick, again.

The curse continues. I am sick, again! What is with this???

People are supposed to be healthier in the summer, not sicker!

L is FINALLY fever free, after 7 looooooonnnngggg days and two visits to the clinic. Who knows what it was, all I care is that it's gone now. But I somehow think that maybe he was fighting two viruses at once. The one that caused flu-like symptoms, that I caught last week, and then this cold. Fortunately for him, other than the fever, the cold hasn't been too bad for him, unlike me.
I feel like death warmed over today. I am just thankful that it is not a beautiful sunny day; it is miserable and rainy today. So I don't feel guilty about not taking the kids outside to play.

On a completely different note, I got to see my nephew yesterday. He is, of course, gorgeous!! I was sad that this cold kept me from getting too close to him, or my sister, but you must do what you must do. I would feel terrible if he got sick and was only a few days old.

My niece, M (she'll be 3 in Aug) was already starting to feel the effects of jealousy. She is very used to being the cute one, the centre of attention from all, the Princess. This is going to be very hard on her, and hard on my sister as well. You see, she is the youngest cousin (well, was) and so was doted on by all her aunties as well as Grandmas and Grandpas. Plus, my sister, who is a teacher, would take her to school with her in the mornings (where she would get picked up by her babysitter) and was loved and adored by all manner of staff and student.

Wow.

What a kick in the teeth for her. Within a half hour of my sister arriving home from the hospital, she had already had a tantrum about not getting enough cookies. My poor sister, N, is in for a rough ride. Lucky my mom lives around the corner from her to relieve her.

I was lucky that way. We didn't have too many issues like that, as R was already more than used to sharing his mother's affections with many other children. I think that must have helped a lot.

On a sadder note, my poor dad is probably NEVER going to get to meet this baby. N has some kind of irrational hate for him, stemming from when my parents split up last October. At first, she was angry with him for "doing this to Mom and our family", which I could understand, but didn't really share. Then it went on from there. I just don't understand why she hates him so much, and what is it that he's supposedly done to make her deny him access to her house, her life and her family.

I don't talk with her about it, as I'm afraid that it would cause an argument between the two of us, and if you knew me, you would know that I am such a WIMP when if comes to confrontation.

But I feel so bad for my dad. He really hasn't done anything to deserve this kind of ostricization (is that a word?) and it's just sooooo unfair that he doesn't get to meet and hold his newest grandchild.

The weird thing is, is that my mom and dad are quite civil with each other. Yes, my mom hates what he did, but she is accepting it now, and probably doesn't see the point in being a hateful nasty person towards him for the rest of their lives.

Oh, I could go on and on, as one subject leads to another, but I think this post is probably long enough, and rambling enough too!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day!!



Happy Canada Day everyone!! Especially my Canadian friends!
Ok, I know I'm a day early, but I don't think I'll have time to post tomorrow, so just pretend this is tomorrow, k?
You see, my sister had her baby boy last night, so tomorrow I'll be travelling to her neck of the woods to see the family and meet my new nephew!! I'm so excited to be an aunt for the second time! I remember when my niece, M, was born I was completely taken by surprise at how much I instantly loved her. I know, it shouldn't be surprising to love a child, but I didn't think someone else's child could come close to the love I feel for my own children, even someone as close to me as my sister.
But I loved (and still do, of course) M instantly, and profoundly, and that made it even harder to be over an hour's drive from my sister.
So I am looking forward to meeting this little guy, and experiencing that love once again. Isn't it amazing how love grows and grows?






Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let The Summer Begin!

Well, summer is not off to a great start. Our first day off school (yesterday, Friday, was a PA Day) was spent mostly inside. Which really sucks, because it was such a nice day. But poor L has had a fever now since Tuesday (just a virus, the doctor claims) and I was sick with his flu (or whatever) on Thursday, so yesterday I wasn't feeling terribly energetic either.
Hopefully this is not a sign of the summer to come!
We actually did pretty well this winter. Minimal colds, no flu (thank God!) and only a couple of ear/throat infections all around.
So I hope we are not going to be making up for our good fortune here during the summer!
The summer flies by so quickly! We have to pack in a whole year's worth of fun into only 10 weekends (maybe 11). That has to include cottage trips, amusement park trips, camping trips, beach trips, some sort of vacation (meaning for me, no cooking or cleaning, so ---hotel somewhere) and of course, visiting friends and family trips. YIKES! How do we do it, you say? We don't. We never really get to do all we want to do in one summer, and as much as we want to. These trips are on top of regular home maintenance and also home improvements to boot. It's really overwhelming to think of it all.
So you see, we just can't, can't, CAN'T get sick!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bittersweet

So today, L graduated from Kindergarten. On to Grade one next year.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this.
I am firstly, sad. Sad because he is my youngest, my baby. He is no longer a "preschooler", but now he will be a fulltime school-ager. I don't get to spend as much time with him now, as he was going to school every other day, and I cherished those days when he was home. I liked to spend time with him, just him and I in the afternoons while all the other kids I look after were asleep.
Of course, I am proud of him, and happy that he is growing and healthy and smart.
But I can't help being tearful about the whole thing. I cried the other night, for about an hour, going through all his schoolwork and the "memory album" he brought home from school. They change so much in a year. And I know that time picks up speed now. The years start to just fly by once they get to grade school. I can scarcely believe that R will be in Grade three next year! That seems so old to me, and yet, he is still my little boy.
And then I am happy again, because unlike some parents, I love the time when they aren't in school. I love having them home with me, getting to spend every day with them. And of course, I'm happy I don't have to make lunches for a whole summer!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wildflowers


For weeks I have been walking the kids to school and thinking about how I need to bring my camera along with me. There is this "naturalized" area that we pass through, that has a hill full of wildflowers. They are so pretty, or they were a week ago when the hill was covered with them. Now that I FINALLY remembered to bring my camera along with me, there aren't as many, so this picture doesn't do it justice. I think the flowers are called Bachelor's Button, or at least that's what one mom called them once. I will have to Google it.

Ok, I am still getting used to using this blog program, it doesn't seem very user friendly to me, but whatever. I tried to put another picture between the paragraphs, but instead it went on top of the picture of the blue flowers, and I don't know how to get it off, or move it, so there it is. It is my picture of the Sweet William that is growing in this same area. I love this flower. It is soooo pretty. I am very tempted to go and dig it up and plant it in my own garden, but would that be like stealing? I don't know... I wouldn't want someone to see me doing it anyhow.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Calling Cards

I am frustrated beyond all belief.

Being the anal-retentive mom that I am, I decided to make my boys "calling cards". I've realized over the past few summers, that it is very difficult to make playdates on those boring days, when you don't have the child's phone number, or last name, or know where they live! Last year, around this time of year, I got R to have his friends at school write down their phone numbers. But it is sometimes difficult to decipher a 6 year old's handwriting.

So, I decided to make calling cards for my two, and hopefully they won't get lost by the other kids' moms and my kids might actually be popular this summer.

I used Microsoft Publisher for the first time today. It isn't too hard to figure out, only getting it to print correctly was a bit tricky. I actually had some business card sheets lying around, but no matter what I did, I could not for the LIFE OF ME, get this DAMN thing to print correctly!! I'd print out a tester sheet first, using plain paper. But when it would turn out alright, I'd put in the thicker business card sheet, and BAM, it would come out wrong. The card would not line up with the perforated edges no matter what. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

So, I gave up, and I printed them on plain paper, and I think we will cut them out, and then glue them onto the business cards. Sigh......

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Somebody's gonna getta hurt..."

Saw Russell Peters last night. Sooooo good. Sooooo funny. 'Nough said.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sunscreen Confusion

I am soooo confused. It seems that at every turn, I am getting more conflicting information.

Remember the days when we didn't wear sunscreen? Only if we were going to the beach for the day? Then, along came the information that we should wear sunscreen regularly on SUNNY days. That was back when in our house, we had an SPF 4, an SPF 8, and woah, hold on, you won't believe it, an SPF 15!! Wow, can you imagine that? LOL.

We all thought SPF 15 was REALLY strong.

Then along came SPF 30 (Oh, my goodness!) and more info that you should wear sunscreen even on cloudy days (which I still don't; yah, I know, bad me.)

Nowadays, you can find SPF 50 up to 80 (I think that's the highest I've seen so far).

Personally, being a fair redhead, I've always stuck with the 45 to 55 range.

Recently though, my hubby heard that there really is no difference between the 30 and higher. You are no better protected wearing SPF 60 than you are SPF 30. Waaahh??? Apparantly, if you are forking out for the thick, creamy, 70, you are wasting your money.

Ohhhhhhhhhkaaaaaaaayyyyy.......

We are just supposed to put on the sunscreen every two hours.

I remember a time I was informed that you are supposed to use a higher SPF every time you reapplied in a day.

SOOOOOO CONFUSING!!!

Now I just heard that sunscreen contains many toxic ingredients, which is why we shouldn't put it on babies (I always thought it was for allergy reasons), and that really, the only safe sunscreen would be that zinc stuff that doesn't absorb into the skin, it just sits on top. Ick.

I'd rather be fully clothed, thank you.

So I don't know what we are supposed to think. I can't stay inside all summer, and wouldn't anyway. I also can't be fully clothed all summer either, I'd die of heat! So I guess it's down to this - wear sunscreen (30, 'cause, less chemicals that way), reapply often (ugh) and at least die a little slower of the toxins than I would of skin cancer!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HOORAY!!! It's that time of year again...

Click on the picture to make it bigger... The first strawberries of the season from my garden!!! Yaaayy! I LOVE fresh, Ontario strawberries; they are the BEST strawberries in the world.

Ok, I know, I sound a little over-enthusiastic, but when you live in a country where your produce is home-grown and fresh for only a few months a year, you do tend to get a little excited about the season. And other than peach season, strawberry season is my favourite! I have yet to taste strawberries from anywhere else that are better than fresh, Ontario strawberries. YUM!

And these babies were no exception...

They were a little earlier than normal, which is kind of weird considering the crazy cold weather we've been having, but in a few weeks we'll be able to go strawberry picking and I soooo look forward to coming home with baskets upon baskets of them.

When I was a kid, we'd eat so many strawberries at this time, that we'd actually get tired of them!

So here's to strawberry season... Hip Hip Hooray!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Visitor


Ok, I'm going to try this again. Yesterday, I wrote a whole blog entry only to have it NOT save, and then of course was gone. Frustrating.

So here is our little visitor. Our little friend named Stumpy, due to his lack of tail. We don't know what happened to him, perhaps he was even born that way. At any rate, it doesn't seem to affect his balance at all; he is just as nimble as any other squirrel I've seen.

Last year, Stumpy got bolder and bolder as we fed him peanuts, and eventually came up to the back sliding door to receive his treats, even taking them from my hand. I won't let the kids feed him by hand, as once he accidentally bit my finger (didn't make a mark or even hurt) and then I was thinking about rabies. I know, paranoid, but he might have another even more exotic disease he's ready to pass on.

So over the long cold winter we had, I wondered frequently about how he was doing. When spring came, I looked for him, and feared that he didn't make it through. But then suddenly, one day he came back, although it seemed that he didn't remember our "friendship". He would bolt when I'd open the back door.

Yesterday, however, he didn't run. I threw him a peanut, and then he came up on the deck to get another. After about four peanuts, he grew brave enough to come and get one from my hand again. Now he stands at the back door, peering into our kitchen as if to say, "Well, what have you got for me today?"

What have I started? LOL

Welcome back Stumpy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Little Rider

Ok, you know how I said that I wasn't really in any hurry to take of L's training wheels yet? Well, they're off.
I had been noticing on his rides to and from school that he was barely using the training wheels at all. Most of the time, they weren't touching the ground, and he was balancing easily in between.
So yesterday I asked him if he'd like to try riding his brother's old bike (which is close to his bike's size, and already has the trainers off which left less work for me if he decided that wasn't his cup of tea just yet), and he said yes.
So, off I went, getting my workout running up and down the sidewalk. But I didn't really have to hold on, he mostly balanced all by himself! I reminded him to put his feet down if he felt unsteady, and for the most part I only had to help him stop and start.
Today, he was even better. He started to be able to turn. So I took his training wheels off on his bike, as it is a little smaller and easier for him to control, and I just couldn't believe how amazing he was doing! He even executed a tight u-turn, and has almost got the hang of starting! I'm just so proud of him, and a little sad too. It's bittersweet how your babies grow up and don't need help anymore isn't it? *sniff*