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 Shoeboxblog.com

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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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Marco . . . . Polo????

Today I had the pleasure of accompanying my mother to the hospital so she could undergo some surgery (she did great by the way) . . . of course this necessitated parking in the above ground lot near the entrance.  When we arrived it was very early, therefore there were several spots to choose from. I kind of felt like a kid in a candy store - there were so many spots - which to pick, which to pick?  I finally settled on a pull through spot near the cross walk. Mentally high fiving my good luck, I placed my ticket on the dash and headed in to wait with my Mom.

A few hours later, I decided to go home while I waited for her procedure to be completed.  Because I didn't want to leave any of her valuables behind, I brought her purse with me.  I walked across the cross walk and looked in the space where my car should be . . . unless it somehow morphed into a spanky red Explorer, that car wasn't mine. Apparently, my car decided it would be great fun to play a game of hide and seek. I can only picture myself as I wandered aimlessly through the parking lot - a purse on each arm and my hair all unruly from getting up so early this morning. I'd holler out "Marco" every once and a while as I rapidly pushed the panic button on my keys, but my car wasn't giving anything away with respect to its location. I walked in one direction, then the other, and pretty soon I felt like I was going in circles - probably because I was. A guy in a truck stopped and asked if I needed some help - I told him unless he said Polo, there probably wasn't much he could do.

Finally, I walked back across to the main entrance of the hospital and then back to the parking lot in the hopes of finding my vehicle that by now I had assumed had either been stolen or towed.  I reached the end of the crosswalk, looked up, and there was my car. Right.There.In.Front.Of.Me. Sigh.

I returned later that afternoon to a lot FULL of cars. I drove round and around the lot, seeking that ever elusive spot. Finally I located one and pulled in. I climbed out and looked around, carefully noting my location. There was no way we were playing that game again when it was time to go home!

Several hours later I went to go home. That damn car hid on me AGAIN. Even with hardly any cars left, it still took me several minutes to find it. A few shouts of "you're getting warmer", "cold, cold, freezing", "you're getting hot" would have been helpful - but no dice. 

Turns out if I had walked to the lot that I parked in, I probably could have found it faster. I climbed into the car and thanked my brain for giving me a little taste of just how much fun memory loss can be. Sigh.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Put your Hood Up

A few years ago, my oldest daughter was studying up to get her Learner's Permit. She read through the book and completed numerous online tests in an effort to prepare herself for her trip to the Registries Office. 

Unfortunately, her first time taking the test didn't quite work out as planned. Not to be deterred, she came back home and began doing some more practice tests online. I'm not sure why, but I decided it would be fun to try one of these quizzes as well. Let's just say it didn't work out so well.

I'm not sure why I thought I would pass. If I'm honest, I would admit that the only reason I got a driver's license in the first place was because my twin sister went first and passed, and the lady at the Registries office felt guilty about only one of us getting a license. It worked out well for me - although apparently I was still a bit challenged by the rules of the road.

During one of their visits, her Grandma started quizzing her on the various topics in the book. The conversation went kind of like this:

G: What do you do if your car breaks down while you are driving?

E: Pull off to the shoulder and put on your hazard lights.

G: Good answer. Is there anything else you might do?

E: (thinking) Maybe call for help on your cell phone?

G: Yes, you could do that. Anything else?

E: No, I think that's it.

G: You could also put your hood up.

E: (puzzled) what?

G: Put your hood up to signal you might need help.

E: Oh. OK. But what if you aren't wearing a hoodie that day?

Yes, it's nice to know that she got her driving smarts from me :) In the end, she did get her permit - and eventually her license. And, when I cleaned out her car as a surprise one day, I was glad to see she had three hoodies in the back - you know, just in case.

It's always good to be prepared.

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Monday, 1 October 2012

I Did It!

For those of you who are new to my blog and missed out on my previous post regarding this, please click the link below to get up to speed before reading further . . .

Pardon Me, I Think My Brain Just Farted

So, Sunday September 9th was the big day - the moment I had been training (hahahaha) for. Surrounded by my trainer, bootcamp buddies, cousins, and about 900 other people I didn't know, I lined up in the middle of the start chute and wondered what exactly I was thinking when I set out to give this 'gift' to myself. 

The race started - and soon I was being not so gently persuaded to move in different directions in order to let the throngs of actual runners behind me pass. Frankly, I wasn't in a hurry - it's not like that bottle of gin I had waiting for me at the finish line was going to go anywhere.

About 1 km in, I felt like I was getting into a groove. "I can do this", I thought to myself as I ran beside the little old lady that probably had great grandchildren. She was inspiring - imagine, being that old and running in a 10k race? At 1.5 km I had a change of heart when sweet little grandma took off in a burst of speed and was never to be seen again. Seriously, some people are such show offs.

Not willing to give up, I kept plodding away wondering if a water station was ever going to be in sight. In all honesty, I wasn't very thirsty - I just wanted an excuse to stop for a few minutes and not feel guilty about it. 

As I ran, I became aware of someone running behind me - someone with very heavy feet apparently because all I heard was clomp! clomp! clomp! It was super annoying, so I tried to pick up my pace a bit in an effort to maintain what little sanity I had left. Yes! Soon the water station was in sight. I slowed to a walk as I approached, only to hear clomp! clomp! clomp! behind me. Sonofa! I grabbed the water and kept going as fast as I could - so much for taking a break!

At about the time the race left the streets and moved onto the trails, my stomach decided that the food I had eaten the night before wasn't appropriate and tried to launch a full on revolt. Given that I had passed the port-a-potty a kilometer earlier, and my desire to not s*#% in the woods, I gave it a stern talking too and told it to suck it up. Surprisingly, it listened - and soon I was feeling good again.

7 km, 8 km, 9 km - only 1000 meters until the Finish Line! "I'm almost there", I shouted excitedly (inside my head of course), as I ran across the swaying bridge.

Suddenly, my insides twisted. I started to sweat. I prayed that this wasn't happening. I felt like the chick in Bridesmaids, running across the road, trying not to s(&* herself. I slowed to a walk, clenching like I had never clenched before.

I came around a corner, and there was a perky volunteer who I swear had been paid by my trainer yelling "C'mon - you only have a bit left - run! run! run!". I briefly considered leaving a little present in the middle of the road as a reward for her enthusiasm but decided against it. Besides, clomp! clomp! clomp! was coming up from behind fast - and there was no way Ms. Heavy Foot was going to beat me to the finish line.

So I started walking super fast running. Faster and faster, around the corner - and there in front of me, the big FINISH LINE banner, waving in the breeze. I did it! I did it! I did it . . . and I started hyperventilating because I was trying so hard not to cry. Yes, I was quite the sight stumbling across that line - butt cheeks clenched tighter than tight and taking a thousand breaths per minute. Somehow, none of that mattered - because I had finished. Finally.

The next day, I announced my retirement. Running is not my thing. I'm more of a sit on the sidelines and drink a gin & tonic while other people run kind of girl. 

Unless of course, I'm being chased by Zombie's. Through an obstacle course. I'm going to have to briefly come out of retirement for that one. Anyone care to join me?