Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I'm a Fashion Catastrophe

Last week I went Christmas shopping. All day. I made appearances at the mall, the streets of Downtown, and various box stores. I wore my new boots and my black coat. I was put together . . . or maybe not so much. I got home and was startled to find this on my sleeve . . .

To be fair, this isn't my first foray into fashion disaster. Yes, there is the usual walk around all day with the sizing strip still attached to the pants trick that happens I think to all of us. But I have to take it a step further.

A couple years ago, I went from one end of the mall to the other looking at various dresses that might work for my daughters graduation. I distinctly remember telling myself that people weren't staring at me - it was just my imagination.  Well, it turns out I'm wrong occasionally. (I KNOW! I was shocked TOO!) They actually WERE staring at me - and for good reason. When I finally went to try a dress on, I discovered my shorts were on inside out - and had been that way since I had arrived.

Last year when we were on vacation, we spent the better part of an afternoon sightseeing in downtown Honolulu. When we returned to the condo, I discovered I'd been wearing my shirt backwards the entire time. It was nice of my family to mention it. On the upside, I probably made a poor mugging target - because someone who can't even dress herself properly likely isn't carrying much money, right?

But my crowning glory had to have been when I was working at the school and had to dress up for the Graduation banquet.  Every so often during the evening I would glance at my sweater and question why the manufacturer would put a button there. Following the banquet, we went out for drinks at a local pub. When I finally returned home later that evening, I discovered that the button wasn't actually a button. No, sadly, it was a Fruit Snack stuck on my lapel. Yup. A fruit snack. Nothing screams 'fashion catastrophe' than a fruit snack stuck to your sweater. I'm sure the graduating students were hoping and praying not to end up like me - an older woman who wears her snacks on her shirt.

I think I need a stylist.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Good Fortune

Tonight we had Chinese Food for dinner. You know what that means. Yup, fortune cookies.

Here's the thing. I always get a crappy fortune. I don't know why. It would seem that there are tons of good ones out there - they just never end up in the cookie I happen to get. Nonetheless, every time I hold out hope that today will be the day - the day I will finally end up with the best fortune of the bunch. Today was no exception.

My daughter opened hers first. It said something to the effect of "Be persistent in pursuing the goals in your life". For her, this means she will fight tooth and nail to get the iPad away from her brothers. Or have a yogurt tube. Depends on the day.

My husband was next. His read "You will have success in a business that you own." Good to know. He'd best get busy on a business plan.

There were two cookies left. Being the martyr, I encouraged my son to pick whichever one he wanted and I would take the one left over.

He opened his cookie and found the following:

Kind of heavy stuff for an 8 year old.

It was my turn. I stared at the cookie, willing it to hide a wonderful fortune within. Finally, I summoned up all my courage and opened it - hoping for words of wisdom to encourage me or tell me I was coming into a lot of money.

Eight. My freaking lucky number is eight. But only for this week. Really. And the streak continues.

Friday, 14 December 2012


As I listen to my daughter singing enthusiastically in my kitchen, I am thankful for her innocence, for her enthusiasm, for her very existence. And my heart is heavy. Because I know that in a State far from where I live, there is a woman (indeed many women) just like me - a mother, a wife, a good person, who will never hear the angelic voice of their child again. She hugged her goodbye this morning, not knowing that there would be no return home later this day. It is a nightmare. She is broken. The pieces will be put back together eventually, but they will never, ever, fit in the same way again. And I weep for her. I weep for her daughter. I weep for Newtown.

I do not understand why. I cannot imagine why. It is senseless. It is horrific. It claws at my heart and makes it bleed, and releases within me an anger that scares me. I want to rail and scream at this man who chose to do this. I want to rip the very fibre of his being from him and wail at his soul, WHY?

I take a step back. I listen to what my heart is telling me. I wonder.

Who knew?

I know somebody did. I guarantee somebody did. Someone always does. It is documented time and time again. There were warnings. There were signs. There were indications that in retrospect will mean much. There are people close to the situation who will live with the guilt of knowing something was going to happen, but were unable, for various reasons, to stop it. I guarantee this 'person' did not just wake up this morning and decide to go on a shooting spree. He'd been thinking about it. For days. Possibly weeks. It was planned. And somebody knew.

And my questions are these. Why, as a society, are we so ill equipped to deal with the red flags? The warning signs? The threats - veiled or otherwise? Is it because we don't know what to do? Because we are so detached from one another that we fail to recognize when someone is falling into crisis? Why do we stand, idly by, and watch - and make no mistake - judge, as someone descends into a madness that defies description? Why do we look at those living with mental illness with disdain or disbelief instead of compassion and understanding?

I look at these questions, and I feel uncomfortable. I can think of times where I've watched and failed to take action because I didn't know what to do. Because I didn't want to get involved. Because I didn't want to believe what was happening was real. I have been complicit. And I know I am not alone. And my heart aches with this realization.

What needs to happen in order for our Mental Health supports to be strengthened? To be structured in a way that will provide the necessary support and assistance when a person is known to be in crisis? What needs to happen for law enforcement and mental health to work together to prevent similar tragedy's from occurring in the future - and let me be clear - this WILL happen again. And again. Until we get it.

What needs to happen within our communities that will enable us to walk with the troubled rather than judge them? When will we stop requiring people to walk around with figurative masks - covering their wounds, hurts, and struggles, so they may in some way shape or form be accepted by others? What do we need to do, as parents - as mentors, to ensure that youth in our community feel safe enough to come forward and ask for help when they so desperately need it? How do we keep them connected?

Yes, we can say that violent video games are the cause. Or certain types of music that glorify rage and killing. We can say that gun control is the answer. We can bemoan the fact that some people are just f'd up. It's a cop out. And a deflection of responsibility.

Cause guess what? Kids play a lot of violent video games - not all of them go on to kill people. 

There are individuals who obsessively listen to music that promotes violence and rage. They don't all go on to kill people.

There are some f'd up people in this world. There is no denying this. How many of them wouldn't be f'd up if we would take the time to help them? If there were appropriate and accessible supports available to them and their families in times of trouble? Instead of being shuffled to this department, and that department, all the while ostracized by their peers and community - what would happen if they were understood and provided with the assistance they so desperately need? Would it make a difference?

What I know is this. There were too many innocent victims today. Too many families torn apart by this senseless tragedy. Children who should be celebrating the upcoming holidays will be trying to make sense of why their friends are dead. Children in schools all over will struggle to understand how something like this could happen. 

Some will persevere and move forward. Others will not. And we need to be concerned.  For the children and families in Newtown. For the children and families in our own communities. Because it can happen here, too.

There have been enough casualties already - as a community, let us gather our children close. Let us listen. Let us be open. Let us be able and willing to help when they ask. Let us look deep into their eyes and be open to what we see. If we see pain, let us talk about it. If we see fear, let us stand protect them. If we see a child's  constant failure to fit in, to be accepted - let us step up to the plate and be a mentor. A friend. Someone who cares. Someone who will keep them safe. And if we can't, let us take the time to find someone who can. 

It starts with us. 

On behalf of my family, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the community of Newtown, and the hundreds of families affected by today's violence. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer

I am trying to clean my house today. With two weapons of mass destruction going off like loose cannons, it makes it hard. Add to that a nasty cold that's giving me a good a$$ kicking, the task becomes nearly impossible.

In desperation, I decide to bribe take the kids to the Dollar Store to pick out a new coloring book that will hopefully occupy them long enough for me to get at least one smallish section of the house complete.

We were greeted with the delightful sounds of Christmas Carols wafting through the street when we got out of the car. The kids were happy and excited, smiling and dancing as we walked into the store. My daughter marvelled at just how wonderful everything smelled. I could only smell exhaust fumes, but to each their own.

We immediately proceeded to the colouring aisle. My daughter found something very quickly. My son - well, he had a harder time making up his mind than I do when I'm PMSing. He wandered the aisle up and down - and then I made my fatal mistake. I allowed him to go look in the toy aisle. Yes, you're right - I should know better. I'm blaming the cold meds, even though I haven't taken any.

From there we proceeded to have a rather heated debate about why I would not buy him handcuffs. I finally dragged him back to the Art aisle and told him he had one minute to pick something otherwise he would be going home with nothing. He continued to whine, so I took our purchases to the front and began to pay.

And then, a most wonderful thing happened.

He started singing a very loud Christmas Carol. Granted, he took some creative license with the words ("I want handcuffs", "I'll be good", "I won't lock you up", "I don't want to colour", "I can't stay in the lines"), and to be honest, the tune was a little on the screachy side - but hey, we can't all the next great vocal talent, can we?

It was the stage show that really knocked your socks off though. He started jumping up and down in time with the beat of his song, then laid on the floor and performed the flail like nobody's business. For a little extra drama, he tried to pants me twice, but both times was denied the prize. Not satisfied with just the Dollar Store audience, he continued to twist and flail out the door and onto the sidewalks of Blackfalds - rolling and groaning all over the square, in the frosty air.

Something tells me I should be investing in coal stock right about now . . .

Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving . . . follow me on Twitter    

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Kids Are Employable!!!

I happened across this gem last night and can hardly contain my excitement.

First - We are moving to China!

Second - Mike and I will never need to work again. It just so happens that we have three 'experts' in the house - and by experts I mean they can sniff one out before it even happens!  It's an easy $150K per year. If we bring our oldest along, we can enhance our lifestyle even more!  Who knew having kids with sensitive sniffers would pay off so royally?

I'm off to write resumes. Have a great day peeps!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Best Decorated Tree EVER

Last year we didn't put up any Christmas decorations as we were on a family holiday in Hawaii. This year, when I opened up the attic to get out the trees et al, I discovered there must have been quite the party going on over the past couple of years because our trees had multiplied. Or I'd simply forgotten that we have an abundance of trees. No matter.

I hauled the big tree down to the main floor, along with the new tree to go in the basement. The three smaller trees were left behind for the moment while we focused on decorating the big ones. It took a few hours, and the kids undecorated and redecorated a couple times, but eventually, the trees were Christmas ready.

By the end of the day we were all tired, and we decided to leave the smaller trees until the next day.

The next morning, Mike and I were surprised to discover that the kids hadn't woken us up at their usual 6 a.m. By now it was 8:30 - and they were still quiet. We crept upstairs, fearful of what might be going on. This is what we discovered:

Three beautifully decorated and personalized trees. My Santa Sleigh silk flower arrangement had been decimated in the process; however at least it had been put to good use instead of strewn all over the yard.

Flash forward a couple of weeks. Today, I went upstairs to make the beds and discovered that the boys had redecorated their tree. I'm not sure it is going to win any awards, but it certainly is one of the most bizarre creative trees I have ever seen.

Yup, dirty socks. It's either a decorating statement or a not so subtle reminder that it's time to do laundry. I think their Dad put them up to it ;)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I HATE Peas!!!!

Tonight was a gong show pretty much from the minute the kids walked in the door at 3:59.  They were tired. They were hungry. They were mad because I never let them get to do anything fun. Standard school day stuff really.

A friend of my daughter's came over - the kids played for a while, then the two girls put on a bit of a piano performance for me. I decided it would be nice to sip on a glass of my favorite wine while I was listening. It was wonderful . . .  for about 5 minutes.

About the time I was able to relax, my youngest son decided that he was starving and required a Nutella Samwich as soon as possible. He began to complain loudly when I reminded him dinner would be in just a few minutes. As his volume increased, so did the piano's - resulting in my other son cranking the volume on the TV. So much for relaxing.

After the friend went home, it was time to serve dinner. I served peas . . . sweet little morsels of green smothered in butter and dusted with salt and pepper. Yes, I love me some peas. Unfortunately, my oldest son did not agree.

And so began a 25 minute long tirade about how much he hates peas.  After the first five minutes, I decided to make it into a drinking game. Every time he mentioned how much he hated peas, I'd take a swig of my wine.  I should have known better. This is a kid who fought for 70 minutes about eating 4 kernels of corn!

Five minutes into the game I gave up on pouring the wine into a glass and started drinking straight out of the bottle. Fifteen minutes and 3/4 of a bottle later I was totally practically wasted. Even I couldn't understand the slurring words coming out of my mouth as I tried to cajole him into eating the one teaspoon full of peas on his plate. I did what any responsible parent would do at that point - I slammed the bottle onto the table, put my hands in the air, and shouted "I'm Out!"

Kid: 1  Mom: 0

Oh well, maybe next time.

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Monday, 19 November 2012

I'm Blaming PMS

I hate PMS . . . if I could skip through this monthly phenomenon, I am sure my life would be much happier - if not a bit less entertaining.

I am always amazed at how quickly my moods can change . . . one minute I'm over the moon in love with my children, the next wishing I could lock them outside as they sing the "Winnie the Pooh" song over and over and over. I gather them up in my arms to give them a great big hug, then cringe because I don't want to be touched. Yes, PMS is a tricky b*^@#!

But the most disturbing part? I'm a 'cryer' at the best of times. Normally those around me are embarrassed by this. Today even I was embarrassed by myself as the tears started to flow freely this morning. Why was I sobbing so? I was watching the video of Psy performing "Gangnam Style" last night at the AMA's. The song didn't make me cry. His horrid pants didn't make me cry (although I am incredibly disturbed by the resurgence of 'Harem Pants'). No, I held it together for all that. But throw M.C. Hammer into the mix and I'm bawling like a freaking baby. Too legit, too legit to quit. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. What.The.Heck?

Sniff sniff . . .  Momma needs some chocolate . . .

Friday, 16 November 2012


If you are new to my blog, make sure to check out these two posts before reading the rest of this entry:

Pardon Me, I Think My Brain Just Farted

I Did It!

It's interesting what people will do for fun. Some people like to run with the bulls. Some people like to run marathons. Me? I don't particularly like running - but when there are Zombie's chasing you, there really isn't a choice . . . right?

A couple of months ago, a friend and I signed up for the Best Body Fitness "Zombie Run" at Top of the Hill Golf Course in Sylvan Lake. A year ago, neither of us would have been in any shape to do this. Heck, I wasn't even sure I was in enough shape to do it now considering I've kind of been negligent on getting my regular butt kickings at bootcamp. But, desperate for some time away on my own, I signed up anyways.

The run took place on the last Saturday of October. It had snowed. It was cold. It was windy. I told myself repeatedly how excited I was to be doing this. I reminded myself that it was going to be a lot of fun. But deep inside (well, not really that deep) I was nervous and more than a little scared.

My friend and I arrived at the course 45 minutes before our heat time. We saw one of the obstacles on our way in. If the road hadn't been winding and narrow, I might have backed right down the hill. Too late to turn back now. We suited up in our winter gear and headed in to register.

We walked into the clubhouse and were immediately welcomed by the excitement and energy of the participants and volunteers. We got our twine and flags that were representative of our brains that the Zombie's would try to eat. We watched the first heat leave and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face.
Karie & I, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Our turn finally arrived. We headed out into the snow and cold. Go!

There were seven of us in our group. We met Christine - who was there running on her own. We made it to the first obstacle without even seeing a Zombie. I think they did that on purpose. Because they were everywhere after that.

For the next couple of kilometres we encountered some crazy obstacles and Zombies that would sometimes seem to appear out of nowhere. And they were Hungry! I made it to the first check point with 3 of my flags still intact - quite a feat as I was fully expecting to lose all of them early on in the event. Apparently I got a little foolhardy, because they were gone in a matter of minutes after a sneak attack by a pack of exceptionally enthusiastic Zombie's. 

It didn't take long to figure out that in order to survive this Apocalypse, we were going to have to collaborate. In order to preserve the brains left in some members of our group, we worked together to duck, dodge, and fake out Zombie's left, right, and centre. They were persistent buggars, I'll give them that. 

By the time we reached the second checkpoint, well, our brains had been pretty much sucked dry. Part of our task was to run across the field and collect the second part of an antidote so we wouldn't turn into stark raving mad brain suckers too. We rounded the corner and a Zombie was waiting for us. I tried to dodge him, but ended up taking him out instead. I actually felt kind of bad . . . for a minute, anyways. It could have been worse - at least I didn't flatten him with the bag of rocks I was carrying.

We had to pass through the same pack of Zombie's on our way back, and since we were all out of brains, we decided to try and trick them. We asked for a photo op - turns out, they LOVE the camera! 
Our new Apocalypse Buddy Christine :)

I didn't even have to toss this dude a Twinkie!
A few more hundred meters through the bush and over three fences (one as tall as Karie!), and we reached the finish line. We did our obligatory burpees in order to regain our brains, and had Finisher Medals hung around our necks. It was awesome.
Brains Regained!
I can honestly say this was one of the most incredible events I have ever participated in. I'm sure we spent the entire 3 km laughing and screaming hysterically - and it was fantastic to be a part of the group and meet some new and amazing people too! I don't hesitate to admit that I was sad to reach the finish line - I didn't want the fun to end. The Zombie's were amazing (many were volunteers from various youth clubs throughout Central Alberta who received a portion of the event proceeds for their efforts) - and really made the entire event a lot of fun. The volunteers were phenomenal, and the organizing crew - well, let's just say they worked their butts off and it showed.

So the point of this story (aside from bragging about my achievement)? Registration is already taking place for next year's event!!! Click on the link below to reserve your spot - you won't be disappointed. 

Hope to see you there - but be forewarned - the inoculation didn't work. I will be a Zombie and require you to toss a Twinkie my way otherwise I'll have to nibble at your brains a bit.  Game On Peeps!

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Big Bear Hug

The other day I heard from a friend that she was meeting an old college pal of mine later that day. She messaged me later to say she had gotten The Big Bear Hug from him and I just had to smile.

When I was in college, I was pretty much a screw up with a capital S. My GPA was lower than my blood alcohol content throughout most of the semester, and needless to say, I wasn't invited back. I made some really bad choices during that time, and when I look back, I do so with a lot some embarrassment and a great deal of regret.

The only good thing out of it all? I made some really, really fantastic friendships that have stood the test of time. I remain great friends with my old roommate, and there is a group of us that get together annually to 'relive' the old days (albeit with a lot less fanfare and drunkenness than the days of old).

My friend Mitch is a Big Bear Hug giver. He is a really tall guy, and he will wrap his arms around you and lift your feet off the ground when he gives you the hug. It doesn't matter if he just saw you yesterday, or if it has been years - you will still get the hug. It is seriously one of my most favorite things in the world - and this is why.

When I was making bad choices and feeling rotten about myself, Mitch would arrive and give me that great big bear hug, lifting me off the ground all the while laughing in my ear. Then he would put me down, and look at me with a great big smile and his twinkling eyes, and somehow . . . things just seemed better. He didn't care that I made mistakes (that he let on anyways), he accepted me for what he believed me to be . . . a good person. He stood by me when times were tough, and celebrated with me when things were great. There were days when the last thing I wanted was to be touched by anyone - but along would come Mitch, and up I would go whether I liked it or not. His enthusiasm was contagious - and soon I would be smiling and laughing too. He may not realize it, but his hugs got me through some really nasty stuff - and to this day when I'm feeling sad or alone, I simply conjure up the memory of his hug, and I can't help but smile.

We have remained friends since those days long ago, and every year I look forward to the evening we get together because I know I will once again be lifted off my feet, see those sparkling eyes, and hear that glorious laughter. It is a gift, and I treasure it.

Someday, I hope my children will have a 'Mitch' in their life. Someone who will lift them up when their spirits are down, and share their joy when things are wonderful. I hope they are as lucky as I have been.

Love you Mitch!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Must ALWAYS Remember

My heart is heavy, yet full of gratefulness today. As I watch coverage of Remembrance Day Ceremonies throughout our beautiful country, I am overcome by such a profound sense of appreciation that there really are no words which could adequately describe it.

My Grandfather was a Veteran. There were many others in my family who were also Veterans. I grew up knowing this, but never really having an appreciation of it. Perhaps because in my presence it was not spoken of often - or perhaps in my youth, I failed to sense the enormity of what was actually being discussed. I'm not sure which. 

This is not to say that I was unable to recognize the importance of our Veteran's contributions to creating the world in which we live in today. That I lacked respect for the sacrifices made by fine young men and women who were willing to give of themselves so their families could live a  life without fear and oppression. Intellectually I understood this - but in retrospect, did I actually feel this to the fullest extent? Looking back, I am ashamed to admit that I did not.

It's only been in the last few years that the reality of War has really begun to establish itself in my mind. I'm not sure how I could have looked at such events so simplistically, but somehow I managed to. Not so anymore. 

When I think of War, of course, what still comes to mind are the seemingly endless battles and bloodbaths that occurred on fields throughout Europe, Korea, and Vietnam. I think of the Soldiers serving in Afghanistan - on a mission to create safety and freedom in a country full of many who wish to retain the status quo. It doesn't matter whether I agree with the troops being there or not, they are there on my Country's behalf - on my behalf. These are the things I have always thought of when I think of War.

And now?

When I look into the eyes of a Veteran, I see the fresh faced and naive young man who, on leaving to serve his country, turns to look at his family and friends one last time before walking out the door. Not knowing whether he will return home . . . not knowing the horrors that await him. Not knowing that even if he is fortunate enough to return home, things will never, ever be the same. He will be a different person.

I see the young woman, raising her children while her husband is on tour, waking every morning and wondering if this will be the day the phone will ring with dreaded news. The young woman who remains strong and positive for the sake of her children, her family and friends - all the while wondering  if life will always be this way.

I see a family, terrified and hiding, starving not only for food, but for hope as well. They were born of the wrong religion. They survived in a time of evil. They are surrounded by the sounds and smells of hatred and disgust. It isn't their fault. They are persecuted anyways. They are tortured. They are murdered. Every effort is made to crush their souls and spirits. Many, despite all odds, survive and persevere. Millions do not. The survivors mourn for their people. The world mourns for their people. How can such evil exist?

I see the Soldier, about to enter his first battle. Three steps in and caught in an ambush. His Comrades who had no choice but to walk on by, knowing the young man never had a chance to say goodbye to those he loved and who loved him. Wondering if they will be spared - and if they are, why? Why do they live while others die?

I see the Soldier in combat - shooting at and being shot at by other men and women who physically are the same, but ideologically are different. Young men and women who also have families that love them. Who also love their country and are willing to fight for it.

I see the Soldier who watches his best friend perish in combat. The Soldier whose troop mate is killed in an incident of friendly fire. I see the soul of these Soldiers as they try to reconcile their cause with their grief. 

I see the Soldier who returns home and is forever changed. She has seen things that one should never have to see. She reads stories by people who condemn war and the Soldiers who give of themselves for their country. She may be cast aside by some in society simply for making the choice to serve our country and fight for the freedoms of others.

I see the Nurse who looks into the eyes of a young man, and offers comfort and hope in his time of injury. Who celebrates recovery in one room and mourns the death of a young soul in another. Who tries hard not to wonder where God is when men are on the battlefield.

I see the Soldier who helps to build a better community for a group of people that deserve more than their country has to offer them. 

I see a Soldier, in the midst of chaos and inhumanity, carrying a young child to safety so they may go on to live another day and perhaps influence change in the future.

I see a man, looking through a War History book, who comes across a picture of some Prisoners of War. He sees the face of his Father.  A photo which he had never seen before, of a Father he barely knew. The image burned into his mind forever as he wonders what horrors this man who meant so much to him had to endure. As he wonders what life would have been like if his Father had survived.

I see the Veteran, reading the paper and learning that attendance at Remembrance Day Assemblies in Schools is now optional. I imagine him closing his eyes and thinking of his Comrades who fell for freedom, how his own life was forever changed by what he was forced to witness in his fight for his country. And I imagine his disgust. 

My heart is heavy as I think of these sacrifices - and I am so incredibly grateful for the men and women who have and continue to make these sacrifices on our behalf. These are the things we must never forget. These are the things we must teach our children. This is why we must always remember. I pledge my commitment to always remember . . . do you?

In loving memory of my Grandfather, Lloyd Wesley Hart. Thank you Grandpa - for everything. I love you and miss you every day. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

And the Sock Ran Away With . . .

I don't know about your house, but in mine, my socks have commitment issues. Sure, they stick together for a while - but eventually one seems to run off in the night. Or day. Heck, I have no idea when they leave. Perhaps they get in tight with the washing machine. Or the dryer makes them so hot they just melt from desire. Maybe their mate gets a little thread bare or the toe gets a little hole and they just can't take it anymore. Where is the 'til death do us part? In sickness and health? If I can pack on a few pounds, get gray hair, and still be loved by my mate, why can't they? It seems to me that my socks are a bit fickle when it comes to love.

And when the mate disappears, heck - they start to pair off with any old other sock that might just happen to be lying around! They're open minded like that. It doesn't matter if they are the same colour - or even texture for that matter - they form a temporary bond that is baffling to all those who happen to see it. This was particularly true when our older daughter was still living with us. Although in her case, it would seem that most of her socks were terrified of being worn. As a result, they hunkered down in that  black hole known as 'under the bed', protected from the roving bands of leftover food and hot sweaty feet by the dust bunny army.

But if you think that the socks are the worst for running off on their mates, you'd best think again. Mitten season is upon us, and I've already had three take off in search of the land of the free. At first, I thought it was only the cheap mitts from the Dollar Store that had no morals. Think again. Those high priced floozies from WalMart are just as bad. You can tie those buggars up with a string and they still disappear. They're freaking David Copperfield. In the spring I'm sure I'll find one that made it halfway down the hill before giving up and becoming the 'forever home' for a mouse or some such thing. Well, forever until the cat gets it or the mitten gets run over by the lawn mower. It's the circle of life my friends.

The thing with mittens though is this. There is a conspiracy. Have you ever noticed that it's always only one side that bolts? If I were to look through all my single mittens, I would be hard pressed to find one that would fit on the left hand. Where the eff do they go?!? At least with Magic Gloves it doesn't matter. Too bad my kids can't figure out how to get their fingers inside ...

The only sanity saver in all of this? I know it doesn't just happen at MY house. It happens at yours too ... right?

Join me for a Gin & Tonic!   

Monday, 5 November 2012

I Didn't Need to See That

OK - here's the thing. I don't mind Graffiti if it is tasteful, colorful, and nice to look at. I realize that it is on public property and it's illegal - but I don't get too worked up about it.

But when I drive by a bridge and see the picture of a giant penis . . . well, look. I live in a house with two boys and a husband. I see my fair share of penises every day whether I like it or not. The last thing I want to look at when I drive under the overpass is the picture of a giant penis with balls not to scale.

Seriously people, stick to 'Grad insert year here' for goodness sake.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sigh . . . Time to Turn the Clocks Back

Once a year we get the infamous 'do over'. A chance to turn back the clock one hour and start over. I used to live for this day. 

When I was a teenager, this day represented an opportunity to get a much needed extra hour of sleep - meaning my Mom had to wait an extra hour before nagging me to get up and get busy. I cherished this day, and looked forward to it all year long.

As a younger adult, this day represented an extra hour before closing time at the bar. I'd get to listen to 'Closing Time' not once, but twice. What a great night!

As a parent with a young daughter, daylight savings time always afforded me the chance to arrive somewhere either an hour early, or more likely, have children arrive at my house an hour early because their parents forgot to turn the clocks back. Either that, or they just wanted to get rid of their kids early and feigned ignorance about the time change. 

Now, as a parent with three young children who have a knack for waking up at 6 a.m. no matter what time they go to bed, I dread the 'do over' day. Because they will be up at 5. Instead of an extra hour of sleep, I get an extra hour of whining, crying, fighting, and misery fun because we kept them up late the night before in the hopes that they would sleep in. One would think that we would know better by now - I mean they are 8 and 5 years old - it's not like we haven't walked this road before. Yet foolishly, we hold out hope every year.

This got me to thinking . . . if we are going to get to 'do over' hour, why couldn't it have been at 5:30 yesterday when we went to that awful Chinese Food restaurant and I gorged on ginger beef and spring rolls? I could have saved myself some misery. Or at 9:00 two Thursdays ago when I arrived at the Kindergarten class AFTER everyone had left on the field trip.

Sigh . . . oh well. Maybe I can get the kids to go to sleep at 6:30 tonight. At least it will be dark out.

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Day After

Last night was the best night of my kids' life - or so they told me. While they were eating candy for breakfast. I forced them to eat something healthy along with all that sugar.

"You don't take care of us very well" they said. 

"Oh, and if I did, what would that look like?" I asked.

"You would let us eat candy ALL the time and drink pop for breakfast" I was informed. 

"I can't afford the dentist bill so I guess you'll have to suffer" I replied. They didn't appreciate my logic.

I sent them off to school. I contemplated sending an apology note to their teachers, but I was distracted by the piles of sugar in my kitchen.

For the rest of the morning I did everything I could to ignore the bowl of chocolate bars and skittles sitting on my counter. I ate raspberries. I defrosted the freezer. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. The more I ignored them, the louder those darn chocolate bars screamed. Then they started whining. Gah . . . I can't handle whining!!!

I relented. I gave in. I had one. It was sooooo good. I told myself "no more". I went back to work trying to distract myself.

As soon as the kids walked in the door, they immediately went to their candy bags. They are trying to take it easy on me by not letting me see what's inside. But I know what's in there - and it is calling me. 

One of them brought me a half eaten Aero bar. I said no, I can't eat that. No one else wanted it so my son walked over to throw it in the garbage can!

"Nooooooooooo" I yelled as I dove across the counter to rescue that delicious chocolate. I shoved it in my mouth as fast as I could, and then looked around the kitchen with wild eyes, searching for more. There were half eaten chocolate bars everywhere! Something inside me snapped.

I'm not exactly clear on what happened next, but I'm hoping my kids don't have nightmares after seeing me headfirst in their candy bags and hissing at them whenever they came within 5 feet of me. I'm assuming they went to bed while I was binging. Either that or they ran away.  

When my husband finally gets home tonight he may be surprised to find me sitting in the living room half dressed and stroking a ring pop repeating "My Precious".  All I know is he better not come near me unless he has chocolate . . . .

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Escape to Mom Island

This week is Mental Health Awareness week. In an effort to create ongoing discussion and awareness of Mental Health throughout the month of May, my sister over at Champions for Community Wellness has created a blog challenge called #Blog4MH, and I have decided to participate. I wrote this post three years ago; however it continues to be relevant to me (and I believe other parents) today. How does it relate to Mental Health? I believe parenting is one of the most challenging adventures we can embark upon - and I believe supporting one another through the struggles, successes, and difficult days is critical to our own mental health. A girly drink doesn't hurt either ;) 

Escape to Mom Island

I love my children . . . they are kind, considerate, well mannered, and thoughtful little beings that genuinely love and care for others. Then they come home. And turn into demons. I'm not sure why, but sometimes I feel having me as a mother might have something to do with it.

These past few weeks have resulted in a full on desire to take a Mommy Vacation. Please don't misunderstand - it isn't that I don't want to be around my kids. I just want a short break from the responsibility of the day to day joy of raising them. Time to reflect on who I am as a person, who I want to be as a wife and mother, and for goodness sake, just get some sleep already!

The other day I got a text from my friend asking if I was at home. My response was something like this:

Sadly, I am. I would prefer to be relaxing poolside being served some yummy girly drinks by cute dudes in towels; however I am here instead.

Image from

And I was. Making Kraft Dinner and hot dogs for the third time that week. Listening to the kids fight about who used the markers last and let them all dry out, whining about why they were given a particular kind of juice box in their lunch, and complaining that their Dad wasn't home - you know, because I'm so mean.

Yes, on Mom Island (thanks for this term @FoodieandFamily), things will be different. Someone will be cooking for me - and Kraft Dinner, hot dogs, and fish sticks will NOT be on the menu. Someone will be serving me a beverage of my choice. I can lay by the pool in my bikini (ha! you're welcome for THAT visual!), read a book or drift off for a nap. When I return to my room, it will be clean and there will be little chocolates (wrapped of course) on my pillow to snack on while I indulge in some reality tv that is too inappropriate for my children to see.

The best part of all? It's Mom Island. There's a ton of other Mom's there to talk to, share experiences with, laugh, and embrace the joys of being a mother. We will celebrate our children, and the gifts they give us. We will express our thanks to our husbands/parents/friends for taking on the responsibility of caring for our children and making it possible for our little escape.

We will talk about our hopes, our dreams, our interests, our experiences. We will celebrate being women, our resilience, and our tenacity. We will renew friendships, and cultivate relationships with others who we have never met before. We will laugh, we will cry, and yes, we will miss our children a great deal. They are, after all, a huge part of our world.

And then, I will return home. Refreshed, refuelled, and ready to take on the next round of "Who Used That Marker Anyways?". Confident in my ability as a woman, wife, and mother. Secure in the knowledge that I am not alone on this journey - even though at times I may feel like it. And hopefully, the kids will have missed me - even if it is only just a little bit. Because I know I will have missed them to the moon and back.

Having the opportunity to be a Mom to my kids is the greatest gift I have ever been given. I am so very thankful each and every day that I was chosen to be their mother. It is my responsibility to be as healthy as I can be - both physically and emotionally - so I can be worthy of the honour of being their mother. Because a tired, stressed out, crabby mother is not the kind of woman I want to be - nor is it a woman they deserve.

I'm going to start planning a trip to Mommy Island soon. It probably won't turn out exactly like I have envisioned, but I'm ok with that - as long as hot dogs aren't on the menu. Anyone care to join me? I promise, I won't wear my bikini ;)

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Super Stealth Mode

We've all been there - driving home after spending an afternoon somewhere, anxious to get the kids bathed and to bed. There's really no time for stopping - the sooner we get there, the sooner the evening routine can get started. Of course, this is more for our benefit than the kids most times but it's not like I'm keeping score.

Tonight was one of those nights. We were leaving Grandma & Grandpa's - I reminded the kids to please use the washroom before we left. They were all adamant they did not have to go. We piled into the truck and started on our 15 minute long journey.  Five minutes into our trek and the wails of "I have to go to the bathroom" began.  Of course he couldn't hold it. That bladder was like a water balloon on the edge - one wrong bump and well, someone was gonna get soaked.

And so began 'Operation Stealth Mode'. You know, when you stop in at a place of business just to do 'your' business, not wanting to take advantage of anything they might have to offer - like coffee, or donuts. I always feel guilty doing this. 

Of course, by the time we got to 'the place', another of our children was going to die if she didn't go pee RIGHT NOW. I looked at them with my 'dumb look' and asked why on earth they didn't go before we left Grandma & Grandpa's? I was hit with "Well, I didn't know I had to go", "I thought I could make it home", and spoken quite sanctimoniously, "well, I don't need to go - I'm good" (This last comment changed when he saw his brother and sister getting out of the truck. Apparently kids getting out of a truck will stimulate bladder activity in the one left behind).

I reminded them to just go in, use the washroom, and come out - keeping quiet so as not to draw attention to themselves. Then I sent my husband with them. I get to do things like this all the time - I figured he might as well get to have some fun for a change. You know, because I'm thoughtful like that.

The boys were quick and back out to the truck within a minute. I'm pretty sure they didn't wash their hands, but as they pointed out, I never told them they had to. I saw my husband waiting by the washroom door for my daughter. Several minutes went by and they finally got back in the truck.

Once we were on our way home, my husband relayed that the entire time our daughter was in the bathroom, she entertained the restaurant patrons with a stunning acoustic version of "Little Bunny Foo Foo" at the top of her lungs. She then ran out of the bathroom and to the window where our truck was parked and began banging on it and screaming "Hey Mommy! Mom!" Every patron of the restaurant was staring at them as they walked outside. 

Apparently, she will not do well with covert operations unless she has further training. I think I'll let her father take care of that.

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Favorite Quotes - Weekend Wrap Up

It's been a bit crazy around my house of late - well, let's be honest - a lot crazier than usual. I haven't checked outside, but I'm sure there must be a full moon either happening right now or just around the corner. If there isn`t, I might just be screwed.

And whenever it gets crazier, you can be sure there are some gems thrown out that need to be remembered forever.

Some of my favorites this week were:

"Mom, what did you do to your mouth? It smells so good today!" I smiled until the rest of the sentence came out - "usually it smells like fart". Nice.

"Mom, why don't you EVER make us something good to eat?" In all fairness to me, I was serving roast beef, mashed potatos, and corn - not of the popping type. Someday, when my kids are a bit older, I am going to take them to a food bank and/or shelter so they can better empathize with people who really do not have a choice about what to eat. In the meantime, it's tempting to just serve popcorn every night and see how long it takes them to get sick of it.

When admonishing one of my children for picking something, and subsequently eating it (ewwwwww!), I was informed that "Hey, at least I can have a snack wherever I go!" Sigh. He does kind of have a point I guess.

Two of my children got into a fight, resulting in one biting the other. When I was talking with Captain Cruncher, he informed me that he hadn't actually bit his sister, he had simply "scraped her with my teeth." Not gonna lie - it was kind of hard to keep a straight face on that one.

Tucking my son into bed the other night, he said to me "Mommy, you are beautiful . . . just not really in a pretty sort of way". Hmmmmm . . . this kind of talk does not bode well for future relationships.

There were of course several more - but several a few rounds of Gin & Tonic have unfortunately erased them from my memory. Oh well, I`m sure there will be more to come in the future - after all, my kids are brilliant when it comes to this stuff.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A Long Night

Last night I had a very realistic dream that I was brushing my youngest daughters hair and found the dreaded 'L' word. 

When I woke up, I grabbed the flashlight and headed upstairs to check her. No sign of anything. Breathing a sigh of relief, I crawled back into bed and thanked the big guy upstairs for not giving me more than I could handle.

Then my head started to itch. And itch. And ITCH. I jumped up, ran to the bathroom and began obsessively checking every inch of my head that I could see. A few times I would see something suspicious, and my heart stopped dead in it's tracks - but thankfully those things were only little flakes of dandruff. I've never been so grateful for dandruff.

I repeated this process several times throughout the night as no matter what I did, my head continued to itch. And my husband wonders why I'm tired all the time.

Let's just say, I can hardly wait for the letter informing me 'that someone in the class has lice' to come home from the school. 

Bet your head is kinda itchy now too, hey? You're welcome for that.

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Your Opinion Please?

Today was an interesting day. 

Today I learned about a website/blog that basically calls people out for "oversharing". It's an interesting, and obviously very popular, concept. Regular people like you and me can send in Facebook Statuses/Twitter/social media submissions written by other people who have 'overshared' with respect to their parenting. They are then, often times unbeknownst to the original author, posted on the website along with a commentary about why this stuff shouldn't be shared. The purpose is to make parents aware that the general population does not need to know everything about what is happening in your family/day and therefore prevent future breaches of self restraint.  Every effort is made to remove any identifying information in order to maintain some anonymity.

This is big - the creator of the blog had remained anonymous for a number of years; however revealed herself as she's recently gotten a book deal. The site gets a crazy number of views per day, and from what I understand, people are constantly sending in new material.  And, let's be real - there is a great deal of 'oversharing' going on - not just with parenting, but with other situations that are best left private too. I've looked at the blog. I've read a number of posts. There are some really funny things that people post (and totally gross things too, ewwww). People like to read this stuff - otherwise the blog wouldn't be as popular as it is.

Why is it that we feel we can share our (or our children's) most intimate moments with everyone? I'm guilty of this - I can look back on my blog and identify a few posts that probably should not have been published. I think sometimes, I might see the situation as quite funny  - whereas other people may not really appreciate the humor. I would hope that if they found it to be too much, they would talk to me directly vs. send a link or email to a website where my silliness can be shared with 1.5 million people.

I think that in the age of social media it is sometimes too easy to forget that I shouldn't post anything that I wouldn't actually say (or show) to my friends. Those who know me are aware that I often make light of the strange situations I encounter with my children on a regular basis - it's my way of trying to stay somewhat sane as a parent. Yes, in our house, we do sometimes get excited about things that come out of our bodies - and I do sometimes tell people about it. If you have the misfortune of being in our house at one of these times (sorry Mom!), I do actually feel bad for you. That being said, for any parent who has a child who has struggled and struggled and struggled to have clean underwear, you will know how important these celebrations are. Not to us - but to our children. I'm hoping I didn't post anything on Facebook - but I might have - and if I did, I apologize. 

In addition, I think a lot of times I post things on Facebook, Twitter, or write on my blog in a simple effort to try and engage with my friends/family. Yes, I talk to my friends. Yes, I see my family. Yes, I get out of my house and do things with other people. But on a crazy day, when I can't even see which way is up, and the kids have turned into weapons of mass destruction that are defeating me faster than a stealth bomber, and all my friends and family are at work and/or busy, my social media accounts are all I have. Is this right? Probably not. It certainly isn't engaging in a meaningful interaction with someone - like an adult ;) But it does allow me to temporarily disengage from what is happening in my house and feel like someone else cares (even though they probably don't). It allows me to step back, try to find the humor in the situation, and then go on with my day, children intact. If this bothers you, please tell me - don't copy and paste my stuff into an e-mail and send it to a website for all to see.

There are two things that bother me about the premise of this website:

I don't believe that it is respectful to post someone else's stuff (even if it is disturbing, gross, or just plain weird) without their knowledge. The posts that end up on the website in question are sent in by fans - sometimes those who are 'friends' with the perpetrator of oversharing on Facebook or Twitter. I suppose some random stuff can be found on the internet too - I haven't taken the time to google it specifically, but judging from other things I've seen, it does exist. This bothers me greatly. Why oh why, if you are someone's friend, would you violate their privacy for the sake of a laugh? Is it that important to have them called out on their inappropriateness? Do you really think that by pointing out their post to millions of people is really going to help them share less - especially when they aren't aware of it? Or help the readers of the blog share less? Realistically, probably not. Wouldn't there be greater success by actually communicating with your friend about what is bothering you?  I have tried my best to make it my personal policy to not post any material that is going to be demeaning for my children later on. I've probably not been entirely successful with this - but the intention is there nonetheless.  If I'm choosing to write about my older daughter, or plan to include something from someone else, I first ask permission. I wouldn't want someone to open my blog and find out that I have written about something funny they have done or said - it's kind of like a virtual 'stab in the back', and I don't want to be a part of it. Perhaps if they contacted the author prior to posting it might be different. Yeah, a lot of people would probably say no way - but dollars to donuts, many more would say yes. At least then the owner of the content would be aware of and have consented to public ridicule.  Yes, it's fine to say that if the owner requests that content be removed then it will be removed - but what if the owner doesn't even know it's there?

Which leads me to the next thing that leaves a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. There is A LOT of funny stuff on this website. I look at the stuff that people share, and I think to myself, why? Why would you say/do/share that? I don't know the person - I likely never will, so I can't take it in the context of their personality. I don't know whether they had to wait for years and years and years to have a child, and are so struck as parents that they wish to share everything! I don't know if the person writing is a teenager - because if they are, well, we all know what comes out of a teenagers brain. I don't know how many 'friends' they have on Facebook - or what their privacy settings are. I don't know these people. What I do know is this . . . the more I read the blog - particularly the Woe is Mom section, the more I felt like I was back in Junior High, snickering at the 'new kid' while they tried to get their books opened. Or whispering to my friends in the bathroom, mocking how so and so couldn't even do a cartwheel right. Or gossiping about how person A slept with person B while they were dating person C and so on and so forth. Or being the one in the bathroom stall and hearing what everyone else was saying about me. And I couldn't read anymore. It just isn't a fit for me. And it doesn't have to be. That's the beauty of being able to choose.

So even though this isn't a website for me, I will give it props for offering up some pretty clear examples of what I should and should not be writing about. And please - if something I write bothers you, I would prefer you let me know rather than stop reading my stuff, hiding my status updates, unfriending me, or offering it up to the internet gods. If you feel it is that necessary to show people how crazy I am, send them to my blog. They'll get the point. And I'll get the page views - it's a win-win.

What are your thoughts? Sound off below to tell me what you think. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

Lately I've been experiencing some pretty weird dreams - from being romanced by Dexter Morgan to discovering I could clean the entire house in a day (yeah - that was a GREAT one!), to chasing down bad guys and shooting them with a pellet gun. It's pretty safe to say I'm not dreaming in any one specific genre.

But last night was just plain weird. I was in a parkade with Harvey from TMZ and we were talking about the latest in the Lindsay Lohan saga. Stimulating conversation really. Until I happened to look down to the level below us.  

There were my boys, screaming and running from the biggest Python I ever saw. My youngest daughter was not that far behind the snake - chasing it with a big pair of scissors. She was running with scissors!

I started to chase after them all, but you know how in dreams you just run and run and run but never go anywhere? Yeah. That happened. Long story short, the boys were swallowed whole and my daughter used the scissors to make bangs in the back of her hair.

I looked at Harvey, he looked at me - and we both started laughing hysterically.

No wonder the kids try to choke me to death every night at bedtime (click on the link below if you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about).

Bedtime Ritual

Sigh. Maybe tonight I'd better skip the tequila shot at bedtime.

On the upside, my children can be thankful that they don't have the mother in my dreams. 

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Friday, 5 October 2012

Would You Do This??

First off, a huge thanks to @LeoPare for bringing this hot new trend to my attention. I have been considering getting a new tattoo for a while; however am kind of tired of following the crowd with respect to body art. I think I might break free of those societal chains that bind me and go for it! I mean really, who wouldn't want a bagel head?

Not sure what I'm talking about? Then you HAVE to read this:

Bagel Head

Ok, ok . . . I know what you're thinking. I thought it too. That thing looks more like a donut than a bagel to me. Like one of those honey glazed ones at Tim Hortons . . . yum. In fact, when I look at that girls forehead, I just get plain hungry.

I decided that I probably wanted to kind of get an idea of what this might look like on me before taking the plunge. I dug through all my old photo albums, desperately trying to find the picture of me when I had Mount Vesuvius waiting to erupt on my forehead; however no luck. I can't believe I threw that picture away! Oh well, hindsight is 20-20.

I then tried to find a photo editing program I could use to enlarge my forehead. So far, I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. If you have any suggestions, I would sure appreciate it.

Today, I opened the mailbox and was thrilled to discover that my new driver's license had arrived. Turns out, the picture shows what I would look like if I were to have the bagel/donut under my chin . . . hmmmm . . . not as flattering as I thought it might be. Definitely better stick to the forehead . . .

On second thought, after having looked at the pictures again, I've decided to keep putting those donuts exactly where they belong . . . on my a$$. That's where they seem to automatically go when I eat one, so why break a trend? Plus, at $0.89, it's a heck of a lot cheaper!

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving peeps!

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