Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

The end of 2012 has arrived and I am thinking about how it went for my family.  This past year has been fun but low key – which after how crazy 2011 was for us (moving and having a new baby) that was just what we wanted.  There were a few big events – Leah turned one, Grace starting school and swallowing a star (not on the same day) but it was pretty boring.  I have been thinking about what my resolution for 2013 will be. I normally make resolutions every year – I think it’s a good way to improve yourself or your life, unless you don’t need improving.  I can’t remember what my resolution was for last year but over the years I have resolve to get fit (mostly when I was younger, it has now changed to stay healthy and love my body – I realize I will never have 6 pack abs unless I work them out for hours every day), to stress less, to enjoy each day, to stop controlling things that I can’t control and to avoid toxic / overly dramatic people.  I have stuck with some of the resolutions – most of the time.  Now that I am older, my outlook on life has changed, I try not to be too serious about it, I try to enjoy each day, to laugh each day, I try to be healthy – to move and eat right.  I think because of losing my mom at a young age, I want to enjoy my life – as much as I can because I know how quickly things can change, life can change.
So this year I resolve to continue some of my past resolutions such as to move at some point during the day and not just from the couch to the kitchen, to laugh and have fun with my children at least six times week and to be patient with them and to try and speak kindly to them first instead of using my grumpy voice with them.  This year I should try to stop eating my daughter’s leftovers.  I should try to watch something of substance when I exercise instead of just The Real Housewives series or re-runs of Newlyweds- Nick and Jessica, at least once a week, ok more like once a month.  I should try to read something of substance, a classic literary novel at least once this year.  I should go on dates with my husband more and by that actually leave the house.  I want to try to run (I should note that I have said this pretty much every year and I have never got into running, I love the idea of it but have no inner motivation).  I resolve to write more and to try to get published again somewhere.  I should put more effort into my writing and expand it.  I resolve to use something other than ‘Facebook’ all the time to get in touch with friends or family – anything like emails, snail mail or eeek even the telephone!  I resolve to cook a full meal using my cookbooks at least once a week.  I resolve to finish my scrapbooks that are seriously piling up in my closet.  I resolve to re-read my resolutions at some point throughout the year to remind myself of what I said I would change this year instead of trying to remember.  I resolve to not be hard on myself if any of my resolutions fail and will try it again next year, or the year after that, or the year after that.  I resolve next year to pick a simple resolution like my husband has instead of creating a shopping list.
Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Post Christmas Reflection

So I am sitting here with Grace watching the movie 'Brave' for the millionth time, alright we haven't had that many viewings of it but we have watched the movie pretty much every day since Christmas.  It is fast becoming my oldest daughter's favourite movie.  I assume any day now Grace would insist on being called Merida (the lead female in the movie).  I'm getting off track.  Alright, so I am sitting here watching a movie with Grace and am thinking about this past Christmas - it was probably one of my favourite ones - so far.  I think mostly because Grace is old enough- she was really into the holiday and all that comes with it this year.  She enjoyed watching the classic holiday movies, learning the songs, baking cookies and making crafts.  Grace was really into Santa as well (is it wrong that I got a kick out of going along with Santa?  Even though we all know lying is wrong?)  On a side note, my husband wonders how long until Santa isn't front and centre for Grace at Christmas?  I think we have at least four more years - hopefully more than that though.
Leah still has a few years before reaching full Christmas fun age, but she was a lot more fun than she was last year, when she was only a few weeks old and pretty much slept the whole day.  But with all the fun and memories of my own childhood coming back to me - mostly from when we watch the Christmas shows, I think my favourite memory from this year is from Christmas morning and when we were opening gifts.  Grace was excited to have everyone open up the gifts from her that she wanted to hand them out first thing.  She was so proud with what she helped  pick out for myself, her father and her sister.  I felt proud that she was excited to give something instead of being excited to just receive.  I hope in the future it continues and having fun together as a family becomes the best part of Christmas, not just getting stuff.  I wonder if my hope will be a reality though, already this year Grace began the 'I want's' such as 'I want that, no I want that....'  I thought I had a few more years until the 'I want's' started.  They really came out in full force when she watched a certain TV channel aimed at kids ( cough - cough YTV) or when Grace got hold of the Sears Wish Book (which now has pretty much all the toys circled - expect any boys toys hmmmm).  I see the millions of dollars into advertising aimed at kids does work, it did on me when I was a kid and wanted all the toys that looked cool on TV.  They never seemed as cool if I got to play with them though.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

After months of list making, planning, researching and spending, the day has finally arrived!  There is a lull in our house and I have a few minutes to blog about how the holiday has been for us. Christmas in our house actually started over the weekend when we paid a visit to family where we got to open up our gifts - the girls were pleased with what they received- ok Leah was happy with the wrapping paper while Grace loved all of her and Leah's gifts.  I have given up trying to keep the girl's toys separate. 
Christmas Eve day was spent trying to get Grace to burn as much of her energy as possible and trying to keep her calm as well - there were a few mini tantrums, something that has been happening more often than I would like but I can't really be upset with her - especially since she has been in Christmas mode since the second week of December.  Yesterday there was sledding (both with parents and attempts on Grace's own), there was ornament making, continuous updates on the NORAD website on where Santa was, there was a viewing of now one of Grace's favourite movies 'A Christmas Story' and then finally dinner.  The tradition in our house is new PJ's, which we don't change out of until Boxing Day.  After a reading of 'The night before Christmas', it was finally bed time ( at least for the kids).  My husband and I waited until Grace was surely sleeping, something I'm sure happened as soon as we closed her door, before eating (aka putting back) Santa's cookies, drinking his milk, forging a note to the girls from him, eating (aka putting back) the carrot and apple left for the reindeer, putting out the gifts and filling the stockings.  Then it was finally bed for my husband and I.  But I couldn't sleep.  I was excited for the day to come.  I was anxious on when Grace would wake up (hopefully after the tree was lit and music was playing) and I wondered if everyone would like their gifts.  So I napped off and on throughout the night.  Then the day finally arrived and my husband woke me up.  He got up, before Grace and Leah, lit the tree and turned on some festive music and ran back to bed.  And we waited for Grace to bound into our room.  Nothing.  We opened her door a bit more and then waited.  Nothing.  My husband coughed loudly and we waited for our oldest to daughter to bounce into our room.  Nothing.  Come on Grace, it's Christmas!!  Geesh for someone excited for Christmas, you would think she would be up before the sun was, but no.  My husband nudged her bed (I think he was more excited than she was) and we waited.  Finally she bounded into our room, to my side of the bed and loudly said in my face (morning breath and all) "Wake up!  It's Christmas!!!"  And that was worth the wait.  Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Holidays

Christmas break has started and as soon as Grace came home, I started to wonder when she would be headed back to school - so cranky!  Too many treats and too much fun I guess.  This is my first Christmas with a school age child and so I don't really know the whole gift etiquette yet and felt completely off the ball today.  I only gave my daughter's teachers cards but I didn't feel that was enough for all that they do and put up with every day - so I think I will do something unexpected come the end of the school year.  Well it depends on how well she does come the end of the school year.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa on the Shelf

So I had this brillant idea and yes, I honestly stole the idea from Elf on the Shelf.  I had heard many moms talk about this whole Elf on a shelf and how he watches the kids but only if they are behaving themselves and then reports it back to Santa.  At first I didn't like the idea too much, I guess the whole actually having someone watching you all the time would be kind of creepy but then one day I thought- eh this might be fun.  So, instead of buying the Elf on a Shelf, I thought I would just use one of the Santa decorations that are around the house - like I said Brilliant idea!!
One night, I moved this Santa into Grace's bathroom and the next morning Grace just casually asked 'why is Santa in the bathroom?"  Ahh, here is my chance to start having some fun, start building traditions, get into this whole Elf/Shelf craze!  "Maybe he is watching you," I told her.  She just kind of gave me this look and then said "Do you move him?"  I told a white lie - 'nope, I think he moved on his own."  "Did Daddy move him?" (My husband had no idea that I was starting this game by the way).  After both my husband and I claimed that we in fact did not move Santa, Grace seemed satisfied and went on with her day.  That evening I forgot to move him to another place and Grace woke up with Santa in her bathroom again.  The following night, I moved him to her bedroom.  Grace didn't notice him until I asked where he was.  I was starting to feel that this game wasn't going to be much fun, maybe Grace isn't old enough yet for it.  When Grace finally found Santa in her room, she again asked if I had moved him (as if I had time pfft!)  That night I forgot to move the big guy again and he stayed in Grace's room until the next afternoon when I casually moved him (in the day) into Leah's room.  Grace didn't seem to notice that her roommate was missing until she was in her sister's room that evening.  "Did you move Santa into Leah's room?" she asked.  I don't think she is buying the whole Santa decoration is moving thing.  I should mention here that pretty much every time Grace has found Santa she has re-located him to the kitchen table.  I moved him again last night, trying to be a bit more fun and had Santa just hanging out in Leah's playset.  Grace found him this morning, asked if I had put him there and then put him back on the kitchen table.  I am wondering if I should continue this game or is my daughter just to smart for this type of thing?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Should she stay or should she go?

On Friday, my daughter's school called me to come get Grace who had been complaining that her ear was bothering her.  It wasn't a surprise to me, Grace had complaining that her ear had been bothering her the day before but after some Tylenol everything was much better.  I had wondered that morning if Grace should even go to school but she insisted that she was fine and so here I was a few hours later coming to pick her up because she was now sick.  Or was she.  When I walked into the office to get her, she jumped off the chair and started to quickly tell me about her day and asked if she could eat her cookie that she had made in class (not really how she acts when she is sick.)  She did have a fever and spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch.  Grace was her old self on Saturday but then was back on the couch Sunday so when Monday rolled around I really questioned on if she should go to school.  Sure she's stuffed up but has no fever.  I asked how she was and Grace told me she felt better than yesterday.  I asked if she wanted to stay home and was quickly told "NO! I want to go to school!".  (I should be offended that she can't wait to get away from me, but I won't).  So what do I do- one part of me thinks she should stay home, even if she feels a bit better, so that she can completely get better but then the other part of me thinks she should go - especially since she wants to.  As an adult, if I'm not feeling well, I stay home until I am 100% better- one to get better that much quicker and two so that I don't get others sick (you're welcome).  But what do you do when it's your child who claims to be ok.  This is one part of being a parent that I don't like - when I don't know what to do and there is no answer.  I know she won't infect her whole class since most are home sick anyways and the others well I'm sure it was only a matter of time before they got sick too.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers

My husband called me this afternoon and asked if I had heard about the school shooting.  My first thought of course went to Grace's school but then I logged on to the computer and was a bit relieved when I read that this horrible, senseless, cowardly act had taken place in Connecticut.  My feeling of relief for my own child's safety was replaced by sadness - for all those parents who took their children to school this morning, thinking that they are safe, that they are learning, that at the end of the day they would be able to have a fun weekend, maybe preparing for Christmas, who knows and now many of them will never have that.  The dreams are over, their presents will always remain wrapped under the tree.  Their lives are forever changed because of one stupid, selfish man.  I thought of the children who will never grow up, who will never be adults, who will never have a full life, who will never be parents themselves.  I thought of the other children who survived this massacre - the ones who lost a friend, who witnessed this violence in a place where they are taught to be kind to each other, where they are suppose to be safe.
When I went to pick up my daughter from her school, I hugged her extra hard and I know she and her sister will be getting extra, triple, zillions of kisses - for all those children who are no longer with us.
I never intended this blog to have serious entries but this, hopefully, is an exception.  One that I hope I won't have to make again.  Violence against any child - regardless of age is never, ever ok.  My thoughts are with all those mommy's and daddy's who are beyond sad today.  I am so so sorry for your loss.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This Christmas I really should.....

Every year when I think about Christmas I have these great ideas: I should knit or sew some new stockings, I should make a new advent calendar, I should have my husband build gingerbread houses out of wood and then the girls and I can paint them and keep them forever, I should bake all these cookies that I see in the magazines.  And then December comes and we celebrate Leah, who is the youngest' birthday and then before you know it it's 2 weeks before Christmas and I wonder what drugs was I on when I thought I would have all this time to do all these wonderful crafty things.
I do bake cookies every year - although this year I still have to bake gingerbread and few other types and hand them out before I fall into a diabetic coma.  I do knit the girls, my husband and myself some new socks every year - although I haven't gotten around to knitting my husband his socks, maybe after Christmas.
I have finished my shopping but I still have to wrap and I thought this year I would make the gift tags - I'm sure I will just write who they are to and from on the actual wrapping paper.
The house is decorated but my husband isn't interested in building gingerbread houses out of wood - doesn't matter I think that craft would have ended with an argument between my oldest daughter Grace and myself when I try to sway her not to paint the whole thing pink (yes I can be a control freak).
I see all these cool interesting craft ideas on magazine websites and 'Pinterest' and think, like many other moms out there I am sure, 'what a cool idea, I can totally do that, I should do that, that doesn't look very hard'  And maybe one day I will get around to knitting those Christmas stockings, or finishing up my scrapbooks that I am 3, no 4 years behind on, or making all the latest cookies from my ladies magazines.  And maybe one year I will be able to do all these things with my daughters and we will sing Christmas carols while drinking eggnog while the snow falls outside.  And maybe that will never happen and I think I am ok with that.  I should write that down somewhere- 'I am ok with not being that mom who does everything'.  Maybe I should put it in a fancy frame and hang it on my wall where I can remind myself.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You Better Watch Out

I love this time of year.  Not because of the amazing cheesy movies that the W network plays all month, which for some reason makes a little part of me want to be a better person.  And it's not because this time of year you are allowed to eat chocolate non stop, and bake, and eat - it's encouraged.  And it's not because this is the time of year when I completely feel like a kid again - how can you not what with all the crafts, baking and traditional Christmas cartoons on.  Nope, I don't like this time of year for any of those reasons - I use to but then I had kids.  No, I love this time of year because I can pawn off being the bad cop to the jolly old fat man.  Yes, I use the whole 'you better behave or Santa won't stop here' ploy as much as I can - especially now that Christmas is what about 2 weeks away.  I don't do the whole Elf on a shelf thing, maybe when my girls are older, I use the big man himself.  My girls are not terrible, well Leah is only a year so she kind of doesn't count, and Grace my oldest isn't bad either - she just acts like your typical 4 year old.  She is very jumpy (not in the scared easily way she is physically jumping pretty much all of the time) and gets excited really easily and talks a lot but I wouldn't consider her bad - she just needs guiding and some days a lot of reminding which is why I love to bring in St. Nick.  Grace understands about Santa, she gets the whole concept and I am finding it working....sometimes a bit too easily.

Me: Grace have you gotten dressed yet (this is me asking for the third time)
Grace: Not yet.
Me: Santa's watching
Grace quickly gets dressed.

Me: Grace can you please stop talking and eat
Grace: I just have to say one more thing
Me: You said the last thing was your one more thing and by the way Santa is watching.
Grace has just finished her dinner in about 2 mouthfuls.

I know it sounds creepy, as if this old man is constantly watching my daughter and I didn't think I would be that type of parent who would use Santa in this sort of negative way but it works and it gives me a break.  And I have come to realize that when you are dealing with kids and you find something that works, no matter how odd it may seem, you stick with it.  Is it strange to use the Easter Bunny in the same way??

Thursday, December 6, 2012

eeeek Needles!

I hate needles, all types - well actually except sewing needles or knitting needles but those are different.  Those are good needles.  The ones I loathe are the ones that are painful, even for just a moment.  It took me until I had my first daughter to finally find a way to deal with getting pricked - to just exhale, look the other way, and to squeeze something.  This method of course doesn't work for children, especially those who just turned one. Can you figure out where I am going with all this needle talk??  Leah got her one year shots the other day and while I am all for vaccines I do hate those pesky needles.  I knew what was going to happen, I came prepared- packed the tempra, some extra goldfish crackers and even her new Grover remote (a birthday gift from Grace) but I still felt horrible for my little baby.  Everything was going great, she was enjoying her doctor's visit, playing with the paper covering the exam table or with her remote and smiling at the nurse.  But then I had to help hold her down while needle number one went into her leg.  Leah got upset but quickly calmed down.  Then came needle number two into her other leg.  That one was a bit more painful - mostly because I think she knew what was going one and really isn't any needle after the first one more painful?  I picked up my crying daughter and tried to soothe her before the last needle.  With my daughter in my arms, I sat down and tried to hold her while the nurse gave her the last needle in her arm.  And that was the one that hurt me, I know it's for her own good but it's still a horrible thing to watch your daughter in pain.  Thankfully, the nurse we had thought ahead a gave Leah her first cookie which made any pain she just went through a distant memory.  Now, I wonder how Grace is going to deal with getting her booster next year- she's actually looking forward it.  I wonder if I should be worried about that?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Letter to Leah

Today is Leah's first birthday and while the birthday girl is having her nap I thought that I would post a letter from me to her....

Dear Leah,
Around this time last year you joined our family and we became a family of four.  After arriving a bit early and a lot faster than your older sister, I got to hold you.  After months of wondering what you looked like, I got to see you and kiss your big cheeks that you unfortunately got from me (don’t worry, they sort of go away when you get older).  I got to touch those feet that had kicked me so many times during the night.  I was so happy that day, the day I became a mom of two beautiful girls and you make me happy every day.  And now you are a year old.  You are no longer that little tiny human who slept most of the day, who sometimes would look at me, who only cried a little when you were hungry.  You are no longer that baby who I would take wrapped in many blankets into the living room during all hours of the day to feed – just you and me.  Now, you are a big girl, well you are on your way to becoming a big girl like your sister and I am full of mixed feelings. I am sad at how fast your first year has gone but I am excited to get to know more about who you are.  I sometimes wish we could go back to those very early mornings sitting on the couch just you and me when we could snuggle.
This past year you have learned so much and have made me smile and laugh at how silly you are.  I am amazed at what you have learned on your own like how you figured out how to crawl first by pulling your body across the floor when you tried to get a book from your sister and me.  Then you taught yourself how to crawl on your hands and knees and while sometimes I ask you stay still, inside I love watching you crawl all over the house (I could do without you trying to get into the toilet though).
I love watching you flip through the many books in our house and I hope that you will become an avid reader; actually you kind of don’t have a choice in that.
I love that you love playing peek a boo, especially when you want to play when you are supposed to be going to bed or when you call me into your room at the middle of the night to play.  I love how right now you learned to cover your whole face with your hands especially when I can sometimes still see one of your eyes.
I love how you laugh at anything, mostly at your sister but its hard not to laugh at her isn’t it?  I love watching you and her play with each other and how much you love her and how much she loves you.
I love how curious you are about the world and how you love looking outside your window. You don’t even wait for daddy or I to lift the blinds for you either.
I hope that the years to come don’t fly by as fast as your first year did, but if they do, I want you to know how much Daddy and I love you, how important you are to the family, and how we will always be there for you- no matter what.  As I tell you every night, I love you to the moon and back. With everything that you have learned this year, from saying “momma” to cruising around the same coffee table that I and your sister both learned to walk with, I am excited to see what you will learn next.  Happy Birthday Leah!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Final Formula Countdown

The last can of formula for Leah was opened today.  I don't know how many cans over the last year we have gone through, but I'm sure it's been a lot.  Leah has been on formula pretty much since she was born and yes I know breast is best.  Just like with Grace, I wanted to, I hoped to breast feed my daughters but it didn't happen that way and since I love them and wanted to keep them around I figure I better feed them something.
Anyway, today the last can was opened and in a weird way I am sad about it.  It's just another reminder that Leah is getting older.  And to sound like every other mommy out there, I remember when Leah was first born and I was stressed over feeding - first trying with the breast then going to bottle.  I remember writing everything down- how much she had, when she had her bottles and what she left in her diapers.  I remember the days of constantly washing and sterilizing bottles, boiling water, measuring and trying to remember the ratio of scoops to water and then trying to remember how many scoops were put into the bottles.  I remember waiting until the time when Leah would only need about three bottles a day and then finally none.  Like everything else that happens in life, I look back and wonder what I was so stressed about, so worried about - washing, sterilizing, measuring seem like no big deal (of course I am now sleeping compared to almost 12 months ago).  Sometimes I do wish though that I could go back in time and live through it again.
Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that is a little excited for Leah to fully be on regular food and to no longer have to deal with bottles (well at least not having to deal with more than one a day) but I think a part of me will still miss the closeness of feeding my children, even though I did it with a bottle.  I will miss Leah getting excited when she sees her bottle and cuddling on my lap at the end of the day.  Actually, I will still get to do that for another year or so, just minus the formula.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Folding Memories

(here is the last column for The Weekender)

I was putting some laundry away the other day and had to put some of Leah’s shirts away.  Away, like in a box for storage because they don’t fit her anymore.  This wasn’t the first time I had to pack up Leah’s shirts but for some reason it made me a little emotional.  There was this one shirt, which was worn by Grace before and has “what’s not to love” written on the front.  I love this shirt, not my ultimate favourite of either of my daughter’s wardrobes but in the top 10 for sure.  I remember Grace wearing it and it just sort of fit her personality and in some ways it fit Leah’s personality as well. But now it doesn’t fit her and it is another reminder of how fast she is growing.  My youngest is no longer little, no longer that tiny delicate human always bundled up in blankets and sleeping but is now heading in the opposite direction- getting bigger, stronger and becoming her own person. 
Storing clothes never seemed to bother me when both Grace and Leah were newborns, and I guess it’s because I knew they wouldn’t be wearing the newborn or the zero to three month old clothes for long so I didn’t get too attached to them.  It didn’t bother me too much when I had to pack up the three to six month old outfits or the nine to12 month ones either.  For some reason the clothes for the older child really get to me.  Maybe it’s because by the time they fit into those size clothes you know your child more and you remember them wearing that particular outfit, such as the time I got really sad when it came time to pack up Grace’s ‘Cinderella’ shirt.  I bought her that shirt specifically because that was when she was in her ‘Cinderella’ phase and also at that time our family was going on a trip and she wore it on her first ever plane ride.  She loved that shirt and I tried to keep it clean so she could wear it as many times as possible.  Now it’s packed up in the size three box waiting for Leah to possibly love it in a couple of years.
Another time was when I packed up Grace’s ‘Jessie’ PJ’s, you know the ‘yodeling cow girl’ from ‘Toy Story’ (yes my family loves Disney).  They were her Christmas PJ’s and I searched everywhere for them because at that time Grace loved Jessie. 
I think a part of me is also a little sad when I pack up the clothes that Leah is wearing now or just growing out of because I am not sure if she might be the last one to wear them, at least in my family.  I am still on the fence over if Leah might be my last baby.  My husband Jim of course is all for having a boy, as is Grace but then again I am the one who has to carry and deliver that said boy or girl so I figure I kind of have final say.  Then again my husband and Grace and Leah for that matter will have to put up with me if I chose to have another child and I know I am not a good pregnant lady.  Heck I get emotional folding clothes.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mommy Zombie

Leah had a bad night last night.  She usually gets a full 12 hours of sleep, unless she is cold or like what I think happened last night is teething.  I think Leah is a silent teether- there are no other symptoms like a runny nose (what Grace had) or fever or some of the other gross things that many parents believe happen when their kid is getting in some new chompers.  My youngster's cheeks might get a bit more red but it's hard to tell when it's cold out.  So anyway, I think my baby is getting in some new teeth and it's hard to soothe her - she doesn't like Tempra, her front teeth are huge so she can't really fit anything where her molars so that she can chew the pain away or even numb it.  And it's hard on me too.  Not to whine, I have gotten use to my usual eight hours of sleep and last night I didn't really get that so now I'm zombie mommy.  It's hard to watch your child in pain, even harder when you can't really do anything, and harder than all that dealing with it when you are really tired.  I admit it, I was tempted to just let her cry, especially after waking up all cozy in my bed, but then for a second I wondered how I would like it and became a good mommy again and got up to try and soothe Leah.  This meant, trying to stay calm while she screamed and tried to climb up onto my shoulders.  The good thing about all this- well there are a couple- she will hopefully have a long nap today and possible a regular sleep tonight and the teeth that have been bugging her might appear soon.  Then all will be normal during the night and Leah will have a few new teeth to try out.  Anyone have any suggestions as to how to help my daughter when this happens again???

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blinded by the High Beam Light

One down fall to living where I live....lack of street lights which means more drivers use high beams!  On the way home from Grace's dance class, at what seemed like midnight but was really 5:30, I passed many cars with their high beams on.  No wait, maybe it was only a few with their actual high beams on but after a while it seemed like all the cars and trucks had their blinding spot lights on.  Is it just me or are vehicle lights getting that much brighter.  Do I have to start wearing my sunglasses at night?


Hello everyone!
I thought that I would give a quick update as to what has been happening in our house since the last time I wrote ( and not since yesterday).  My oldest Grace is now in school and loves it.  I was very worried as to how she would take to being away from me the whole day but she had not problem, in fact her first day I had to ask her for a kiss goodbye before she wanted to run off.  Some days I still have to ask her for one but I guess kissing your mom (or dad) isn't what the cool kindergarteners do these days.  I was also worried how she would fair against those kids who have been in daycare and Grace's teachers tell me she is doing very well (yea!!).  For the first few months I had concerns, (if you don't know me or figure it out by previous posts I am a worry wart) on if she was making friends or fitting in and I did have a mini melt down over the amount of sand in her hair but I have since calmed down about all that (the sand issue is completely gone especially since it's hard to get sand in your hair in the winter).
My youngest daughter- Leah is almost a year!  She is the complete opposite of Grace meaning she gets into everything!  EVERYTHING!!  Mostly I think because she admires Grace so much that she might think she can do what Grace can do or because she just enjoys trying to play in the toilet, I'm not completely sure yet.  Leah is almost, thisclose to walking on her own but I am hoping that she waits until after Christmas so that she can't pull down the tree.
My family has survived a year living where we do, we love it and are very happy here.  Even though it's been a year, we are still surprised with the friendliness of our community and of course the beauty.  Although we should pick up some sort of winter sport to keep us occupied during the next six months or so of snow and cold.

Until next time....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Back...

So as you can see I have returned to writing on my blog, the summer and fall was a lot crazier than I anticipated but I’m back.  Another reason for my return is because ‘The Weekender’, the paper that I was writing for has decided to change its focus and so I am out.  It was nice while it lasted and maybe another paper will decide to pick up the ‘Motherhood’ column, maybe not, either way in the meantime I thought I would focus again on this blog. Maybe this is where ‘Motherhood’ belongs anyway.
Today is this 14th Anniversary of my mother Karen’s death.  She died from kidney cancer.  I don’t like saying it like that but saying, 14 years ago my mother died sounds just as weird.  I miss her.  I miss her a lot more these days because of my daughters.  Questions for her keep piling up, questions only my mother would be able to answer.  I am estranged from my father and sister and my paternal side of the family in case you were wondering why don’t I just ask them.  My relationship with my mother’s side of the family is getting better but I just would like to be able to ask my mother questions.  I am jealous of daughters who have a mom and who have been able to start on the motherhood journey with their guidance.  I know there are plenty of women like me who are motherless, or are lacking a mother figure in their life and are awesome moms, it just sucks sometimes.  Most days I try to forget about it, I try not to wonder so much about what my mother would have done, what my relationship with her would be like now if she was still alive.  Most days I try to focus on creating my own solid relationship with my daughters but most days it’s still hard.  My oldest daughter is four and is a lot like me and I forget to just treat her as I would have like to be treated.  My youngest is almost a year and is into everything – was I like that or does she take after her father?
My grief councilor told me once that grief is like waves, it comes and goes.  My grief and all its stages is here now and hopefully it goes quickly.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wow, where has the time gone??
The weather has changed and now life has gotten a lot more busier, especially with 2 kids!  Here are the last two columns from The Weekender....hope you like them!  More to come!!  Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

The “But’ clause

My husband Jim and I aren’t sure who to point the finger at over this one, but our oldest daughter Grace has been talking a lot more like an adult these days and at times that can be very frustrating. Grace has started using the word ‘but’ with pretty much every sentence that comes out of her mouth.  Doesn’t matter what she is talking about, she uses ‘but’ as much as she can.  Most of the time it’s pretty funny to hear how she joins two thoughts together:

Grace: Mommy, it’s hot outside today, but baby cats are called kittens.
Grace: Daddy, I love you but I like you.
Grace: Leah is four months old, but I am four years old.
Grace: Mommy, I fell down and hurt my toe and knee, because I was walking too fast.
Me: Are you ok?  Maybe you shouldn’t walk so fast.
Grace: Yes but I am wearing my striped tights today.
Jim: Do you want to go to the cottage with me one weekend?
Grace: yes but I am wearing my pink skirt tomorrow.

The most irritating ‘but’ time comes when Grace is being punished because it seems as if no matter what offense she is guilty of, she always has a reason for it:

Me: Why did you pull Taboo’s (our cat) tail?
Grace: I didn’t mean to, but he was in my way.
Me: Why are you out of your room, it’s bedtime.
Grace: Oh but I forgot to give you a hug (I know, how you could get upset when this is the answer?)
Me: Grace are you ready for your bath yet?
Grace: oh but I forgot to get something.

Actually now that I think of it, Grace starts many of her sentences with ‘oh but’ – “oh but I just have to say one thing”, “oh but mommy tomorrow I am wearing my black skirt”, “oh but mommy, after dinner we are going to ride my bike”.  It’s almost as if she thinks the two of us were having a conversation and she had to add one more thing, but most of the time no conversation had taken place.
With all this ‘butting’ going on it makes me wonder sometimes if this is how Grace is going to be when she grows up:
Me (in 10 years): Why did you fail this test Grace?
Grace: I studied but the teacher made the test too hard.

Jim: Why did you take Leah’s Ipod (or whatever listening device is being used)?
Grace: I didn’t mean to, but I just wanted to listen to one song.

I sense that Grace sort of understands the reason behind the word ‘but’, I know I use it a lot absent mindedly as does Jim, it’s just part of our vocabulary and not in an excuse kind of way, at least I don’t think I use the word for that reason only.  Just another example of how kids listen (even if it doesn’t seem like they are) to everything you say.  At least we don’t swear around Grace or Leah – that would be embarrassing.

Leah Time

I knew having another child would require me to become an expert at balancing and I think for the most part I have done pretty well, however there are times when I feel a little guilty about much time I spend with Leah, my youngest daughter.
When I had Grace, it was just her and I at home and we would pass the day (in between feedings, diaper changes and sleeping) singing songs, looking at books, tummy times and of course playing and getting to know each other.
But there are some days I don’t spend the amount of alone time that I want to with Leah without having Grace in the background and I am finding that when I try focus on just Leah – Grace is demanding attention as well.  Such as the first time Leah tried out her jolly jumper.  My husband and I explained to Grace it was the same one that she herself had used a few years earlier and that she somewhat enjoyed it.  Leah didn’t know what to make of the jolly jumper and she sort of just hung around, but while my husband and I focused on her sort of standing on her own (with the help of a large spring attached from her door frame) Grace was behind us yelling “look at ME jump!”  Both my husband and I tried to praise Grace for her jumping skills as we also tried to give attention to Leah.
Then there was the time before Leah could really hold her head up and when tummy time was most important. I would be lying on the ground beside Leah cheering her on and praising her every time she did a mini push up while Grace would be cheering in the background for at least the first minute and then she would want to do something else, anything that would take the focus back onto her.  I tried explaining to Grace that Leah needed a bit more attention and for a while it seemed to work, it seemed that Grace understood and laid down beside me and cheered her sister on as Leah did her exercises.  But then as Leah got stronger, Grace’s need for attention also got stronger.  So I planned things to do with Grace with Leah in tow and I think it is working to calm Grace’s need for attention but now I am feeling guilty giving more attention to Grace than to Leah.  I don’t think Leah minds much, she seems perfectly happy just watching Grace be herself just as long as someone is holding her.
Leah and I do spend time together, we go to Mother Goose classes, we have the odd days alone when my husband takes Grace to the cottage but some times I feel as if these times aren’t enough.  I keep telling Leah and myself that my youngest will get plenty of mommy and Leah time once Grace starts school in September but I wonder if it’s ok to wait a few months before my youngest and I can really spend time together just like the way Grace and I got to spend time together.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hello all you mommies out is the latest column from The Weekender....

Happy Birthday Grace

My oldest daughter Grace (or Rapunzel Grace as she likes to be called) turned four recently.  Four!  I don’t even want to think about how fast the time has flown by or how faster it is going to pass me.  But I did take some time to think about how much my life has changed these last four years.  While it wasn’t all peachy keen, I would go back and do it again and again and again in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t change too much either.  I have learned a lot so far- about myself and the lack of patience I have, about how hard being a parent is, about how fun being a parent is, about regrets, about being blessed, about health and about how much I don’t know.
Grace is an awesome kid, I must admit.  I have told you how creative she is (which can also be a little much sometimes).  I have written about how inquisitive she is and if you have met her you would know how outgoing and far from shy she is.  I sometimes wonder why she is the way she is – mostly when it comes to the outgoing part because if you have met me you might get the feeling that I am a little shy and quiet.  I sometimes just sit back and have to watch Grace do her thing whether it’s making up a show for my husband, Leah and I, or watching her print letters or even just enjoying a television show and I am just amazed.  One of the biggest lessons I think Grace has taught me, which I am still trying to learn, is to just live in the moment.  To just be spontaneous and enjoy the world you have around you, whatever it may be.  To just have fun and sing and dance like no one is looking or to put more dazzle into it if someone is watching.  I think a lot of us wish to be kids again, to see the world and life in their eyes.  Watching my daughter, I often think about my own childhood and wish that I had enjoyed it more, that I didn’t wish to grow up so fast.  Having both Grace and Leah makes me want me to improve my life for both myself and as an example for them – the be healthier, to be more optimistic and calm, to be patient and kinder with myself and others and generally to live in the moment.
I often wonder what Grace is going to be like when she is eight, or 12 or 16 and older.  Will she still be creative and asking lots of questions?  Will she march to her own drum or fall in line behind another drummer?  Will she be a girly girl who doesn’t want to get her hair wet or will be the type of girl who does the biggest cannon ball off the dock into the water?  Some nights when I go in to check on Grace, a habit I have done since she started sleeping in her own bed, I tuck her back under the covers, kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear “I love you- don’t ever change.”  I hope for all the times she doesn’t listen to me, that is the one time she does.  Enjoy being Four Grace.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Tuesday!!!

Hello Mommies!
I was able to get to the computer for a little while today - thank you quiet time!  So I have posted some past columns for you to read and hopefully enjoy! 
Hope you all have a great day!!

A Hairy Situation

The time has come for a decision to be made, a serious decision, one that will not only affect me but my family as well.  The time has come for me to make a decision about what I should do about my hair.  I have fairly long hair which has taken about three years to grow to this length, but I am now starting to run into a few problems.
The first being quite painful, Leah has started to grab.  She doesn’t do it on purpose, but if my hair is down some of it always seem to make it into her tiny but strong hands, sometimes I find it wrapped around her fingers.  So, because of that I always have to put my hair up.  And since my hair is usually up out of my face, and I don’t want to admit this but I don’t always brush it, which if you have long hair you know I might have a few bird’s nests or large knots hiding in my messy bun.  Also because my hair is always pulled back, I am starting to notice some brittle broken pieces around my face as well, attractive I know.
So, I don’t know what to do.  Should I leave my hair long and just put up with the pain of having it pulled?  Or should I cut it all off?  Should be an easy decision however I made the mistake when I first had Grace and when she was around two or three months I made the bold choice to go and cut off my hair.  I figured short hair would be easy to take care of, I would just be able to wash and go and wouldn’t have to worry about Grace grabbing at my hair.  I had really short hair in high school and the start of college and I thought I could pull that look off again- wrong!  I had forgotten how much more time I spent doing my hair in the mornings when it was short.  True I could just wash my hair and go if I wanted to and if I wanted to go around with a giant fuzz ball on the top of my head but that wasn’t the look I wanted as a new mom.  I had some days were I felt haggard; I didn’t want to attract more attention to my lack of effort on those days.  After I cut all my hair off, I realized I had made a bad decision and spent the next few years going through the growing out phase where I needed to spend even more time dealing with my hair than I wanted to.  I couldn’t just put it into a pony tail and go, I needed to pin pretty much every piece back otherwise it would hang in my face or get into Grace’s hands.
I don’t know how some mom’s do it.  They can either really wear the short hair which looks great all the time or they have no problem with long hair.  How do you do it??
Another element that has added to my hair problem is Grace or “Rapunzel Grace” as she is now being know around the community, wants to grow her hair long just like Rapunzel’s or at least to her waist.  Grace, er I mean “Rapunzel Grace” has also instructed both “Rapunzel Mommy” (that’s me) and “Rapunzel Leah” to grow our hair long as well.  I guess the decision has been made, at least until Grace becomes another princess.

Artistic Dilemma

My oldest daughter Grace enjoys making crafts or art work like all kids do.  Because she enjoys being creative and drawing, colouring or painting so much, my house is full of arts and crafts.
When Grace was first able to hold a crayon and make a mark I was excited because I figured she would soon be able to draw me a picture or paint a landscape or create anything in her mind.  I knew at first they wouldn’t be gallery worthy but they would be art to me.  I started to save all the pieces of paper with ‘art’ on them.  I was impressed with how some of them did actually look like people, or animals or actual objects.  But now, it seems a little too much.  I have a large plastic container full of ‘art’ as well as piles around the house that I am starting to wonder if I have saved too much, especially now that Grace is almost four and the ‘art’ she produces now are, well lets be honest, a lot better than the scribbles she first started making.  I want to save as much from both Grace and Leah’s childhoods as possible but I don’t want to have to rent a storage shed to do it either.  So I am at odds over what to do.  I know I have to get rid of some items or pictures, I do already toss the ones that I know Grace didn’t spend any time on, the random pieces of paper that have scribbles on them.  But how do you judge your child’s art or crafts?  If I ask Grace to help me sort though her ‘art work’ she would want every piece saved, she already gets upset when I take pieces off the fridge in order to actually open and use the fridge.  I’ve heard of some ideas such as taking a picture of each piece of ‘art’ but then I would have thousands of photos of ‘art work’ and my house would be full of scrapbooks full of pictures of ‘art work’ and I still have to scrapbook the pictures from 2009 that I have been trying to do for weeks now.  Plus I like being able to save the actual craft or piece of ‘art’, to be able to hold it and look at it up close.  I’ve heard of the idea to just save the best ones and keep them in a large portfolio or plastic container, I like that idea but I just can’t decide what the best ones are.  How do decide between one scribble or craft and another when Grace was a year old.  How do you chose between one painting that looks like a person and another that Grace made when she was two?  Do you pick the first piece she made?  Do you pick your favourite? Do you pick the child’s favourite?  I don’t have any piece of art or any crafts from my childhood, something I wish I had.  I’m not sure if my in laws have saved any from my husband either.  I want my children to be able to look back at their own history and smile or laugh or groan with embarrassment (or at least when I show potential dates when they come over).  I just hope sometimes that Grace or Leah for that matter don’t get into big really large works of art or crafts, I just don’t have to storage space.

Sizing Things Up

One morning when I was getting Leah dressed, which is something I have started getting into the habit of because the first few months of my daughter’s life I didn’t see a need to change her out of her PJ’s if we weren’t going anywhere, or if the weather was cold because all she did all day was sleep so why change her clothes to sleep in?  Any way, back to the morning when I was actually changing my youngest out of her PJ’s and into some real clothes, I noticed she wasn’t fitting into the three month clothes anymore, and I had to pull out the six month pile which she actually fit into much better.  I should mention that Leah is not even four months old yet.  A lot of her clothes are hand me downs from Grace and even some of them are hand me downs from other people.  I was a bit excited when I first found out that Leah was a girl, not only because of her gender but because I thought that I wouldn’t have to buy many clothes - I was wrong.  Grace and Leah are opposite seasons with Leah being born in the winter and Grace being born in the spring so I had to buy a few new things at first but now I am thinking that with Leah being as big as she is, I might not have lucked out after all. 
When Grace was born, she was eight pounds even and she slowly gained weight.  At three months I switched from pumping breast milk to strictly formula feeding and then she started to gain more weight.  I look at pictures of when Grace was how old Leah is now and she looks so tiny, it could be the pictures are deceiving me a bit but I remember that Grace could still fit into three month old clothes until she was about five months.  Leah on the other hand was just over seven pounds when she was born and was on formula from the start.  It didn’t take her long to out grow her newborn sleepers and fit comfortable into her zero to three month sleepers.  She is a lot bigger than what her older sister was at this age, there are a lot more rolls on her legs, which I know will disappear when she gets older but sometimes I wonder if I am getting a glimpse into Leahs’ future- if she will have a weight problem when she gets older.  It’s ridiculous I know to start the size number obsession or even think about future weight problems with her being so young and I wonder if I had had boys if these weight thoughts would even enter my mind.  I am not over feeding her.  She doesn’t get ‘soothed’ with a bottle every single time she cries but for some reason she is just bigger than Grace was.  I am not losing sleep over it or fretting about it.  I am not searching out Guinness Book of Records for biggest baby, nor am I looking to be on some weird TLC show about chubby babies.  I just wonder.  I think Leah is a bit longer than Grace was as well, which is another reason I have pulled out the six month old clothes, well at least the pants.  The good thing is many of the clothes that Grace didn’t get a chance to wear when she was six months, Leah will hopefully put to good use.  And I get to do some more shopping which isn’t always a bad thing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Question Is.....

Hello Mommies!
Just to let you know I write a weekly column for a newspaper called The Weekender, have been doing it since my family moved out here.  I will upload the past columns one day but starting today, here is the latest one....hope you enjoy it!

When Grace was younger, I had heard from other parents to be on the lookout for when the “why” stage starts.  You know the stage, when your child continually asks questions that all start with “Why?”  Well, I waited and braced myself for that stage to hit and now I think I am in the middle of it.  I am not opposed to questions, I was that kind of kid – always asking questions, actually I still am, but I feel like I am constantly being interviewed with not just “why” questions but all different kinds and usually one right after another.  This of course doesn’t mean that my daughter has never asked questions before, actually one of Grace’s first words when she was just over a year old was “ah tha” which I took to mean “what’s that?” since when Grace said it she was usually pointing to something. 
When this whole question and answer period started I don’t think I actually clued in to what she was doing.  My oldest would just ask a simple question such as “where is Daddy going?”  And I would answer her, “he’s going to work”.  But I am starting to notice that my daughter sometimes just likes to ask questions- even when she knows the answer.  It took me a while to catch on to what she was doing but now it seems like I am the one asking all the questions and it sometimes quiets Grace a bit.
It happened one day out of frustration.  I think Grace had been asking questions non stop:
“why is my wand stick blue?”,
“why does Rapunzel leave the tower?”,
“who is that lady?”,
“what is her name?”,
“what is that song about?”,
“why is it snowing?”,
“what is another word for frog?” (I think you get the picture). 
For some of them I couldn’t just give ‘to the point’ answers – “because it is blue”, “it’s cold out that’s why it’s snowing”, “the song is about a boy and girl”.  For others I couldn’t say “I don’t know” because this of course would lead to more in-depth questioning.  For other questions I assumed that she already knew the answer – “Rapunzel leaves the tower to see the floating lanterns”, these type of questions were very frustrating because if felt like she was just asking me questions for the sake of asking questions. 
After being asked yet another question that I knew she already knew the answer to I snapped back at Grace” why do you think Rapunzel left the tower?” and Grace answered me.  And I figured out a loop hole – I would just ask Grace whenever she asked me a question “why do you think?” and it seemed to work, Grace would answer her own question and I was off the hook.  Some of the answers to her own questions are actually pretty funny – Q: How do you make the colour black?  A: You take white and brown and purple and mix them all together and then you get black. 
This gives a little insight into how Grace sees the world.  Of course this has also lead to another issue like when I ask Grace a question such as: “can you clean up your room?”  Grace turns around and answers with a question “Why?”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Hello to those of you who are reading this....this is my first post on a mommy timeout blog!  This blog is a diary of a stay at home mom to two girls - a 4 year old and a 4 month old.  My family has just moved to a new town and well life at the moment is pretty crazy and on a daily basis I am in need of a time out!