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So here we are, day two of our 12 days away from home and I’m not even dreaming about packing my bags just yet.

Of course, if you had asked me yesterday, my answer may have been a bit different. From the moment we woke up, the day was a steady stream of crying kids, stressed parents, a trip to Superstore that was far less enjoyable than I had anticipated it to be and overtired, snotty babies by the day’s end.

Let me elaborate on the Superstore fiasco.

I had this grand idea of strolling in relaxed wonderment through the vast aisle of the store I haven’t been to in a couple years. I forgot two major inhibiting factors though: babies and No. 3 Rd.

If you grew up in Richmond or have ever been there, you know what I am talking about. It’s the road where you get honked out into an intersection precisely .5 seconds after the light turns green. It’s the place where you get caught in between intersections because your lane stopped moving and the light has since turned red. The dreaded stop and go infuriates your baby who wails as soon as the car is motionless. You think, “If we can just make it two more blocks we’ll be home free.” Except that is only the beginning of new trials because suddenly, you remember one of the big reasons you avoid this Superstore – the parkade.

Pulling in, I zeroed in on an available Expectant Moms parking stall which we victoriously claimed. Not a bad start but we must have got ahead of ourselves and we were quickly reminded of where we had come as we went to grab a buggy. First, we had a toonie, not a loonie as required. Then, an old man came up and was struggling to get his loonie out of his cart because he had already pushed his little ejector thingy into his own cart. As we helped him, we realized the cart he would have plugged into had the same problem and so we troubleshooted while a line of people formed behind us waiting to claim their buggies.

We finally got our buggy and went on our merry way until I misjudged the width of the buggy going in the doorway and drove it right in, giving Shae a jarring lurch which he vocalized loudly. Maybe we should have taken this as a sign to just turn back but we continued on.

At last we were inside and I began taking in the wealth of capitalism in all its consumer glory. Unsurprisingly, it served to remind Shae that he wanted a snack. And downhill our shopping trip went ending with both babies expressing their displeasure in their surroundings and the toddler flip flopping between wanting his boots off and on. There was no pleasing him at this point. It was either laugh or cry. I laughed, Jesse cried (well actually he just drove the cart as fast as he could out of the store).

Again we faced No. 3 road and general city traffic which we have become most wonderfully unaccustomed to. We ended our evening on a brighter note with having friends over for dinner and finally tucking our weary children into bed.

The photo for this post is brought to you by a typical park job in Richmond.

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Brain chatter

If it could be summed up in a phrase, mothers’ thinking is borderline ADD. As if a woman didn’t already have a flurry of brain activity going on with just looking after herself, throw in a couple kids (three if you won’t to count hubby). The result: a wired individual whose thoughts do not stop darting in an unpredictable but nonetheless, methodical manner.

It’s freaking amazing. I read a Facebook status this morning that went something like: shaved legs while holding soother in crying baby’s mouth, dressed a crying toddler while rocking baby in rocker with foot and continued to console children simultaneously throughout the day.

What that status didn’t include was the hundreds of thoughts racing through that mom’s mind. Having two under two myself, I can use my imagination…

Brain chatter while mothering babies and toddlers

“I got to call Nana and Evie after this, can’t forget.” Toddler is hollering for mom’s attention. “I haven’t eaten anything, better grab a muffin before we head out. What errands must get done today? Oh I still haven’t called the dealership about that part for the car, better write it down on my to do list before I forget again. What’s that vitamin that’s supposed to help with memory? B something? Oh I have to leave in the next half hour or else I’m going to miss that window for Shae’s nap.”

This train of thought interrupted by angry wail from baby who is getting sat on by his older brother. Mom runs to save her offspring.

“Okay, now that they are happy for right now, maybe I should make those calls. Oh there’s my coffee, I better drink it before, oh too late, it’s cold. And mommy needs a time out, escape to the outside world inside the cyber world – Facebook. Oh wait, no time for Facebook, have to leave in 20 minutes and both of my kids are still in their sleepers and need their diaper’s changed! Oh look at that, Mommy is still in her sleeping attire and has major bedhead.”

While she wrestles clothes onto her babies, her mind drifts back to her to do list. “Running out of pants for the little one, better throw in a load of laundry before we leave. Detergent, that’s what I need on my grocery list. Gotta go! Gotta go! Still haven’t eaten, muffin for breakfast it is. Oh, do not leave the house without a snack for the toddler, will regret. Hat, need a hat for the bedhead. Keys, where are the keys??? Oh in my pocket where I put them while looking for a hat. Oh rats, I’ll have to make two trips today because I haven’t planned what I need for Shae’s birthday party yet. Oh well, driving is kind of a break…never did make those phone calls, definitely this afternoon. Wonder how hubby is doing, should give him a call too. Oh what was I supposed to ask him for Evie’s kid? ..

And on and on it goes…

I suppose you could say a mother could save herself a lot of stress and just been zen, calm all the thoughts in her head and just be in the moment. It sounds so ideal. But let’s stop and think for a moment about the whole flurry of brain chatter. While it may seem a disorganized mess, every mother has a “method to her madness” so to speak. They are the ultimate multi-taskers!

Armed with that, I’m going to say I think I can do just about anything I set my mind to and so can you!

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Back in the summer of 2012, I remember feeling that the winds of change were moving swiftly in our direction. My feelings were not mistaken and the swiftness of the change occurred as quickly as it came. I became pregnant with Oliver almost simultaneously with closing down our plumbing business and leaving our Pender Island life for a fresh start on the coast.

We’ve been here just over a year. It has been a whirlwind of adjusting, making new friends, undergoing strenuous times with landlords and renovations, having a new baby, Jesse being laid off for two months just in time for our new arrival, getting his job back only to be laid off and rehired again and finally now with only another six months left until he is once again unemployed.

Yes…change is inevitable. Where will it take us? What does it look like?

These boys of ours keep us on our toes in the mean time.

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We took Shae out for his first time trick-or-treating. Mama put together the costume that day so what else could he be but the cutest little hobo in the neighbourhood!Image

And because I think my boys are just so cute, here are a couple bonus shots. 😛

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Autumn leaves mark the change in seasons. Perhaps they also mark the beginning of the change in our season of life…

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I’ll give you one guess for the time lapse since my last post…

I am praying that I am coming out on the other side of what has been a terribly challenging, exhausting and at times excruciating frustrating rough patch with parenting.

It’s discouraging enough to make a woman wonder if she’s really cut out for this whole motherhood thing. When the crazy starts stirring up notions of how maybe you aren’t the best person to be raising two little boys, it’s all you can do to not scream.

But by then, you’re already expired most of your ability to hold yourself together so what does a mom do? In the better case scenario, she might make sure her kiddies are safe and then flee out the door to the sanctity of her car and have a couple minutes to expel her discouragement in a puddle of blubbering madness. Then, hopefully, she can practice those deep breaths she is reminded of by friends and family and collect of remaining fragments and particles of patience left within her and brave through the front door.

Or…

In a not so good case scenario…

She can yell at the cupboard as she slams it amidst the spirit crushing whining and crying from her two little ones. The words that snap from her mouth do not show her toddler how to deal with his own frustration in a healthy, effective manner, nor do they display the love the mother so deeply feels for her child. This scenario immediately instills the dreaded feeling that is nearly impossible to shake – failure.

God, how am I going to get through the next 18 years??? I’m only two flipping years in right now and I’m already losing my mind.

Something that occurred to me as I experienced these feelings is that I spent 24 years learning how to make myself happy, how to deal with letting myself down. Uh yes, now just to shake things up a little, figure that out whilst being responsible for two little people. In other words, find new ways to make yourself happy because you just don’t have the time to make yourself happy the way you used to and get used to falling short of that amazing parent you vowed to be. Others might tell you that you are but you are the one who has to let go of the times when you were anything but amazing, unless it was amazingly frustrated and tired.

Yes, I am giving myself a pep talk.

It is incredible to me how I can go from being engulfed in a sea of love for my boys one day or even one hour to wanting to jump ship the next.

It’s not rational, it’s just what happens when the brain is starved of the necessities that encourage calm, logical behaviour.

So, take some B12 (thanks Lilli;), sing not shout and do not shut yourself in.

 

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Making it work

A pleasure a day keeps stress away ~ Ethel Roskies

I used to work with a lady who would often in a singsong voice say “do-do-doo…” letting the last syllable trail off into the sounds of dishes clanging or the bristles of a broom sweeping. I always thought it was a little funny that her mantra never continued into a full tune.
My world got a little crazier about four weeks ago with the birth of my second son, Oliver Wesley. While I have had my husband around helping with my rambunctious toddler, he has been sick with a nasty cold this past week and together with sleepless nights and an equally sick and fussy toddler, I have found myself juggling a lot more than I am accustomed to. Let’s just say, crazy mama was in the house the other night. It was then that it dawned on me why my co-worker used to perform her little sing-song. She had found a reliable stress reliever – a means of making it through her day in the attempt of avoiding a mental break down when she got home. And then I thought of moms I have observed at one time or another throughout my life and the “funny” things they would say or do. I used to attribute their peculiar verbal expressions to some mutation that occurs when some women become mothers. As if they stopped being their cool, hip selves and morphed into what they thought a mother should look and sound like.

And here I am now, a mother to two boys and I am desperately looking for a way to de-stress in the middle of two young ones screaming – one running around with poo hanging from his bum and the other demanding to be fed AH-gain and a house that looks like 10 little boys had their way with it. “Do-do-doo” is not going to work here but I aim to find my mantra that will take the edge off of my chaotic little world. In the mean time, a glass of Merlot this evening is looking quite nice.

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If you wonder where your child left his roller skates, try walking around the house in the dark.  ~Leopold Fechtner

At last, my boy is down for his nap. My husband and I woke this morning before our son, for a change, and enjoyed breakfast and coffee together in the uninterrupted quiet of morning. What a way to start the day. Usually, Shae comes into bed with me when he wakes and we snuggle until he decides it’s time to get moving. Then I drag myself, bleary eyed out to the kitchen and start fixing some breakfast for him and coffee for me.

Things were off to a good start this morning and have been pretty steady since except for a ridiculous stream of events at which I just have to laugh.

My husband lost his keys a week ago (actually we were pretty sure Shae made off with them because the last time my husband saw them was in our little guy’s inquisitive hands) and has had to take our other vehicle to work all week. Since then, I’ve been spending a small portion of each day searching for them.  I figured today while I look, I’ll keep my boy amused with some Baby Einstein. But what do you know, the controller I saw Shae playing with this morning is no where to be seen. “Ok, Shae, where is your hiding place?” I lumber around looking for two items now. After some 15 minutes of bending my pregnant belly over this and looking under that, I remembered that I didn’t really give a good look behind that box in the closet so I pull it out. There is nothing there but a glance inside reveals what else but the elusive keys! It only makes sense that they were there too because this box had been previously sitting open in the hallway. Where else would it make sense for my smart little boy to put on of his “toys” but with the the other toys? I laugh and call my husband to tell him the good news. But I’m still missing a controller and am quite irked by this. Eventually, it turns up too – behind the bedroom door. I roll my eyes at the last 15 minutes I had spent lifting this and picking up that, sure that it was cleverly concealed. At last, I can get on with my day. Shae’s looking a little thirsty, I think to myself. Where is that bottle? As I write this, I still haven’t found the bloody bottle.

What is the point of telling you all this? I could get very easily flustered and put off by it. I mean, my plans for baking were pushed to the back burner while I spent almost my entire morning searching for misplaced items. But instead, I am trying to accept the circumstances and even bless them. I read about this in my Simple Abundance book. Basically, life happens, days go awry and you can expect it. So instead of letting those off days get the better of you, why not take them in stride? My ridiculous morning was aggravating at the time, but I don’t feel anxious because I didn’t get my baking done. Maybe disrupted baking plans wouldn’t throw your day off but what if you had your mind set to do something and you really had “all your eggs” in that basket? Chances are, you might be a little irked when your plans are overridden by some dippy search for your hairbrush because there’s no way you’re going to work with that rat’s nest.  If you can’t resist it, fix it – wear a hat or hair scarf. As for me, I’ll bake another time!

And for all you moms out there, I know you have your own collection of harebrained tales with children!

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“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~ Hans Hofmann

Less is more, it’s cliche but it says it all. I’ve been thinking lately about how maybe an element I’m missing in my pursuit of peace might be simplicity. It is variable in its meaning, depending on who’s talking, which is exactly why I am examining my life and taking a good look at what is useful and beneficial and what is clutter – robbing me of time spent improving my quality of life.

A friend of mine was visiting yesterday and we got to talking about different forms of entertainment which we pay heaps of money for but don’t necessarily need or even particularly enjoy. As she left and my son napped, I settled in on my couch for some quiet time with a daily thought from a book my mother-in-law loaned me called “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The chapter I read was called The Prosperity of Living and it’s where today’s quote is taken. I feel that part of me has been trying to find more to fill some void by looking for more inspiration, more motivation, more creativity. While these things in and of themselves are worthy ambitions, the state of mind in which I am seeking them is leaving me empty and discontent.  When has more ever led to satisfaction? It seems quite the opposite actually, people with less are often more happy. Simple concept, how did I lose sight of this in my own life? Maybe I already thought I had less?

What then would less look like for me? One unnecessary thing that my husband and I already removed from our lives was cable TV. We had it for three months on some promotion that our internet provider offered. Besides being vaguely aware of my brain turning to mush while watching it, it was going to become a $40 expense every month after those first three months. And for what? I swear most of the time, I felt like I was watching commercials more than any one show. Evenings are now spent chatting together about our days, reading a book together or doing our own thing (me usually cleaning or writing and him getting some time in on his PlayStation).

What else does less look like? After today’s little revelation, I decided that I am not happy with how I spend my time in the cyber world. While I think that social media such as Facebook is a great tool for connecting and networking, I also feel, as many others do, that it can be a huge time waster and another venue for a good brain “mushifying.” I decided that I spend a fair bit of that time reading statuses that (a) I wish I hadn’t bothered to read because they reveal too much personal drama about the lives of people I hardly know and (b) chew up time that I could be spending on things that actually enrich my life such as knitting or reading a book. In the hopes of curtailing this pattern and going with the whole less is more train of thought, I deleted about a couple hundred of my 500 plus friends list.

I’m looking forward to what I may discover on this journey of being content with less. I feel that it’s more about a state of mind and being, rather than a quest to see how much I can do without. Do you have a story of experiencing more with less?

courtesy of quotes-lover.com

courtesy of quotes-lover.com

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