Friday, December 23, 2011

A Look At Myself

I sold myself short yesterday. And it got me thinking. A lot.
I had coffee with my friend Katie yesterday. As far as friends go, she's new-ish. I met her my first year here, she was the first person I ever let cut my hair. Then she moved away. Through Brian and the magic of the internet and social media we have connected. Our coffee was spontaneous and we both had a time frame, one hour - no more. It felt like we were on a speed date... okay, where did you come from, how long are you here, whats your plans, short and long term, and how are you going to make that happen, whats new, whats not new, hows this, hows that, and done. hug. goodbye.
But a small part of the conversation in that one hour has made me second guess what kind of idea I give people about myself.
See, Katie's husband works away - 2 weeks out, 2 weeks home. She has two kids, a(n almost) 3 year old and an almost one year old. She lives in the north. She has no choice but to make it work. She parents, does some free-lance work, takes care of their home, travels, etc etc etc. By herself, again she has no choice, if it needs to be done, she does it.
Her and I do not have the same life. My husband goes away for 30 hours, then he comes home for 30 hours (give or take both sides). I don't know what its like to have to look after everything, and I mean everything, all the time.
Her husband is working over Christmas this year. My husband will more than likely also be working Christmas this year. I laughingly told her that Brian better be home Christmas Eve because Maizey is getting a bike and I can't put it together. We laughed and she said because she's been alone so long, she had to figure out how to do it all, even put a bike together. I told her I had to put Maizeys car seat back in the truck the other day and I was getting SO frustrated because I didn't know how to do it, and I was getting rammy and cursing louder and louder. It was hard and annoying and I just wanted Brian or Ang to come do it for me. The story was meant to be funny and over dramatic, but it came off a little helpless and needy. Two things that I am not. Still laughing Katie said good thing you aren't alone, you would never survive. Good thing you are not alone, you would never survive. Those words are echoing in my head. Because they are simply not true.... But it was my words, my story, the way I portrayed myself, that led her to think that.
I am independent, a do-er, strong and an adapter.  I would survive. When shit needs to be done, I just do it and if he isn't home Christmas Eve, I will figure out how to put the bike together. It might take awhile, I might throw things, I might curse every stupid thing in the way, but dammit, I would get it put together.
It got me thinking how many other times in my life, in an attempt to be funny or lighthearted, have I come across like this. What impression do I give people? It is honest? Is it really me? After meeting me, or even knowing me as an acquaintance, what type of person do I come across as?
I have often prided myself in being very self aware and honest. There are not a lot of things I could hear about myself that would surprise me. I do try to be honest to who I am. But am I? Why would I say I couldn't do it, when I know I can? Why would I want anyone to think I can't do something? I was not trying to impress her with my helplessness, my humor, or story.
Admittedly, some things come easier than others. This is true for everyone. But the idea that I can't do something makes me twitch, which is why I try to do everything (except change light bulbs. What if it breaks? What if it explodes? What if I get electrocuted? I hate it.).
From now on, I will no longer be telling stories where I seem helpless or needy. Except maybe to my Mom.
I am tasked with raising two kids to be strong, independent, caring, hard-working, loving, compassionate, solid, smart, thriving people. How can I possibly do that, if I am selling myself short? My story from now on, will end with me being awesome. Period. Unless it ends in me sucking. Which is okay too. As long as I tried and wasn't helpless or needy. I now hate those words. helpless. Yuck. needy. Blech.

*This is no way is a dig against Katie. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I should be thanking her. If Katie knows anything, it is how cathartic and necessary a solid self - reflection is. It's good to take a real look at yourself once in awhile. So thank you my friend. 
Now I have to hurry up and hit publish, before I chicken out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Favorite Day

My life; she be good.
Happy and fulfilling and exciting and fun. Most of all fun. And happy.
Yesterday was pretty much my most favorite day ever. There was a lot of christmas business - baking and decorating and listening to Raffi. There was very little crying/fighting and a lot of laughing.



Kids just make the holiday season, I dunno, like a million times better. Maizey finds it all so exciting. She wants to meet the people that live in the little light up Christmas house. She decided there are kids and a mommy and daddy sleeping in it, and she needs the keys to get in the door. She can sit intently and listen to Raffi Christmas for a long time. *It might bring a tear to my eye, the songs and the memories of me as a kid singing them, and then Maizey being into it also. sob*



Do you know how easy Shortbread is to make? Fact: if you eat half of the batch, you will have eaten almost a half a cup of butter. I didn't do that. But I thought about it.






I also realized that when baking with a two year, all expectations need to be thrown out and a lot of patience must be present. Oh, and you have to be willing to clean up a wayyyy bigger mess!

Our tree is up and decorated, the stockings are (not) hung. The lights are plugged in every night and Maizey can sing Jingle Bells (sort of).

(she is making a fake snoring sound that I wish you could all hear)

(and here is the fake sleeping)

(it looks like she's hurting him, but she's not. He really loves it!)

It seems the season snuck up on us a little bit this year.


I am feeling unprepared in some (read:most) ways, but then like I have got it all together in others. In true Brian and Amy fashion, we are not big on presents and more about being appreciative and happy and showering our kids with love and gratitude. The "stuff" really doesn't matter. We won't be going home to my family again this year, so for the third year in a row we will (get to) wake up in our house, just us, on Christmas morning. We will continue with our new p.j's on Christmas Eve tradition and enjoy our Eggs Benedict the next morning. It won't be what I pictured, but it will be wonderful.

p.s We built a snowman and it pretty much the most kick ass snowman ever. But the next day it started pouring rain, so now its face has melted off, an arm fell out and it's leaning at a very unnatural angle. Poor guy.




Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Stuff

This morning Jace fell asleep in my arms. He was so warm and perfect that I couldn't put him down. For real, I tried, I just couldn't make myself do it. The to-do list running through my head was screaming get up and get your shit done... recycling doesn't take itself in, nor do clothes put themselves in the dryer and lunch certainly won't be ready on it's own. Christmas tree needs to be bought and someone is going to break a leg if these toys don't get picked up, or at least pushed out of the way. Even with that battle going on in my head, I just couldn't do it. His breath so perfect and rhythmic, his sweet sighs and random little leg kicks. It was a moment of motherhood that should truly be remembered.


Our last five days have bookends that are full of Christmas festivities. Actually, all the in-between is pretty Christmasy as well. I love our little town and all the celebrations and parades and community events. Saturday afternoon found us at the annual Santa Clause Parade, which of course ended with a shout out from the big guy himself. We met up with friends and I think Paola, Stacey and I can all agree, our hearts grew a few sizes when Maizey, standing next to Liam and Eve exclaimed "these are all my friends". So true Missy, so true.


Every year, the understanding and excitement grows and makes it that much more fun. Admittedly, when we were frantically throwing toques and mitts and blankets into the truck and speaking through clenched teeth about where is the freaking baby bjorn????, I was wondering if we should just skip the stupid parade. And when we flew by the bulk plant and skipped getting dog food just so we could make it in time to get a coffee before the parade started, knowing we could just get dog food at the grocery store instead, we knew we were rushing for no good reason.


Maizey watched with fascination and a little bit of fear. She sat with friends and got fistfuls of candy.




Parades are fun, especially when you see nine grown men dressed as reindeer pulling a sleigh. No big deal.


Also when it's followed by dinner out for sushi with some of your besties!!




Our first train ride, and Daddy didn't even get to be there for it. There was one very excited little two year old in our house. The railroad threw a kids Christmas party that started with train rides in the morning for anyone in town that wanted to go, followed by a party with an another appearance from you know who. We didn't know the rides were open to anyone, but when I found out, approximately five minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive, I called Ang and told her if she could be there in five minutes she could come. I had visions of winter clothes and boots flying. She raced the train down Victoria Rd and made it in time. I think she would say it was totally worth it, even the almost hitting a pedestrian part.  Because I am awesome, I forgot my camera. Ang came to my rescue and just emailed me all of them. In the flight through space between her computer and mine, they shrunk too small to be seen by any normal eyes. I am not going to bother her with trying to send them again, so you will all just have to believe that we went and that we had fun, okay. But just know that there was a major meltdown immediately following the train ride that led to us missing the party and someone going to bed with no lunch. Although I refuse to let such a fun morning be ruined by the crying and screaming.


Cookie decorating means a large amount of cookies and icing will be consumed, regardless of how many are decorated. True story. I swear Maizey ate at least six cookies as we decorated and took a bite out of at least six more before I could grab them.

christmas time 2011 044

My friend Franca has planned a big decorating party with all of our friends but had to cancel due to unforeseen reasons. Then Ang told me she had baked some sugar cookies and I had already decided to bake Maizey some gingebread men, even though I don't like them, and don't own a little man cookie cutter. Gingerbread snowmen and trees are just as good. So we decided to decorate them. Maizey has asked every day since if we can decorate more.

christmas time 2011 045

christmas time 2011 043


One of my most favorite days of the entire year is coming...perhaps it will be tomorrow. The day we listen to Christmas music, drink hot chocolate (some with Baileys, some without), decorate the tree and then go for an after dinner drive, with more hot chocolate and kids in p.j's, to see the lights on all the houses.
I have a million memories of Christmas traditions from when I was a kid. I don't know if my parents did it intentionally or not, but I am making a very conscious effort to create traditions and memories for my kids that will last forever.


The CP Rail Holiday Train came through town yesterday afternoon and while it was just a quick stop instead of a whole show this year, we still went and listened to the music and supported it. Again, no camera, this time I did remember, but the battery was dead. Equally as lame. Jace slept through the whole thing and Maizey met and made a new friend in five seconds flat (Hi Soph) and danced away to the Christmas tunes. She even came home singing Jingle Bells.

So there you have it, a week before Christmas and we are totally into it. Love it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lazy Saturday Morning

A lazy Saturday morning in our house...


Long breakfast and lots of coffee


Early naps and lots of cartoons


Thursday, December 8, 2011

I"ll Take 8 Hours Of Sleep for $500

We only have two bedrooms so inevitably the two kids will be sharing.
We have talked endlessly about when the appropriate time to move Jace out of the bassinet in our room and into the crib in his sisters room, would be.

Shes going to try and steal his blankets.

He's going to wake her up with his noises.  

Shes going to try and climb in with him.

My mom told me to just do it. Get it over with. The sooner we do it, the better. Rip the band aid off. Okay, she didn't say that, but it's basically what she meant.

But I was nervous. I didn't want to have to be up half the night with both of them and that's exactly what I pictured happening. One waking the other one and then neither going back to sleep.

We decided last week that he had to go. I was waking up far more than he was, for no reason. Every little noise, I jumped up but he would still be sleeping and it aggravated me. We decided that doing it while we are staying at Brian's parents house would be perfect, since Maizey is sleeping in a crib here and can't get out of bed to touch him and steal his blankets or soother but still get used to his sounds and hopefully sleep through them.

They did amazing. He has slept 8.5 hours every night that he's been in there and she didn't even seem to notice anything other than him being there when she woke up.

She tells me she's so excited that he sleeps in her room. She asked if he could sleep in her bed with her. Who knew sister loved sharing so much?!

Last night though, Jace woke up and decided it was time to be the happiest, loudest two month old awake at 2am , EVER. I tried to nurse him back to sleep. No dice. I tried rocking, ignoring, soothering, and shushing. He politely gave me the middle finger with all the squealing and laughing he was doing. After an hour and a half of all the cute and incredibly annoying behavior, Maizey woke up. We chatted about what was going on and I told her to ignore him and try to go back to sleep, which was what I was going to do. Turns out he didn't think that was cool and started to cry out. I held my breath and waited. 2 minutes... 4 minutes... 6 minutes... I heard Maizey shushing him... 8 minutes... He stopped for a hot second when I heard a little girl voice ask him 'why you just crying all day, Jace?'  The cute just got a whole lot cuter!! I laughed to myself, good thing, otherwise the tears were coming. I went and got him again. This was my last ditch attempt at the boob before I was strapping him into his carseat and taking him for a drive. It was effing cold last night but I didn't care.
Luckily... it worked and after two long hours, everyone was asleep.

Bottom line today was.... coffee. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jace The Giant

My little man is not so little.


At his two month appointment he weighed a whopping 12lbs 8ounces. He's almost FIVE pounds bigger than his birth weight. FIVE. He's in the 50th percentile.


This is so foreign to us that its crazy. It might not seem big to others, but to us, its huge. He weighs as much at two months as Maizey did at six months. We have put away a box of clothes already and are well on our way to a second. I don't have time to get attached to anything.
He is growing and changing every day. He smiles all the time and loves to look around. He coos and talks non-stop.
He sure does love his family. We sure love him too.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Lesson On Being Sick

Sometimes my kids teach me to let go of expectations and ideas and just BE. 
Friday I had planned on going to town and stopping for a coffee with my friend Paola whom I haven't been able to catch up with (like really catch up) for weeks and weeks. I had all the things I needed to get done planned out and we woke up with plenty of time to get out the house reasonably early. But we woke up to a little girl with the flu. It is heartbreaking to see your kids sick, she's never been sick before and I'm sure she was wondering what the deuce was going on. She informed me numerous times that she was birsty and needed some milk. It was sad. 
We were without a daddy all day so there was no chance of a trip to town alone. It meant no groceries, no mail, no coffee or visit, no.... other things that seemed really important at the time. I was annoyed at having to stay home all day. Which made me annoyed at myself for being annoyed. I had plans and expectations and truth be told, just really wanted to go. I leave the house every day. We walk, we do errands, we do menial little crap that fills up time. We do things we have to and things we want to. I go alone. I go with one kid. I go with both kids. It's just what I do. But I had a sick little girl who wanted to curl up on the couch under warm, Nana knit afghans and watch 101 Dalmatians. She wanted to sit on my lap and snuggle. She was happy to be close to me. I finally let go of the idea that she would be better in the afternoon and we could go then. And this amazing thing happened. I relaxed. I put comfy clothes back on and dug a container of chicken broth out of the depths of the freezer for some good old homemade chicken noodle soup. I read stories and played with Dora. We watched 101 Dalmatians twice and she watched countless episodes of Backyardigans. I only went out to fill the furnace and change the chickens water. I was being the mama she needed me to be. It felt right and good.  What could possibly be more important than that?
She woke up the next day much better. 
Sunday she woke up sick again, but that's what Sundays are for right? To stay home.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stinky vs Cute

We survived the Great Poonami of 2011


You're lucky you are cute, Kid. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Warnings And Love

My two year old comes with a warning.
She doesn't play by the rules, she makes her own.


She argues, but don't take it personally because she even argues with herself. Or her fingers when she is trying to hold up two and only two. "No thumb, you don't stay up, I put you down, stop it"
She isn't quiet, she does not have an inside voice, even in the middle of the night.



She can take a perfectly acceptable two year old activity and turn it into a nightmare. Fact: If you give her two felts *non toxic of course* with a picture to color and get her all set up in her high chair so she can't color on anything that will get ruined, she WILL suck all the color out of the markers and then bite the tip off the end.
She never stops talking. Ever. Even in her sleep.
My new word for her is spirited.


I get frustrated at her, I threaten spankings, I put her in her room, I take things away. I am consistent with discipline and I don't entertain the arguing, I stop it.
She fights with her friends and her cousins. While I would like to be that parent that thinks its always the other kids fault, I am no dummy. I know better.
I didn't think I would ever need the "excuse" shes two, but I am guilty of using it. I have no other explanation for her behavior sometimes. She will be fine one minute and a beast the next. And it's not learned behavior, trust me, I keep my beastiness in check!!

But then...
then she is kind and loving and gentle and quirky and funny.



She shares and says please and thank you without being asked. She says grown-up things and laughs at jokes. She asks thoughtful questions. She says sorry and means it.


She sings songs from her favorite movies and quotes characters like Simba and Dori. She learned what a best friend is thanks to the Lion King and often tells me I am her best friend.


She comes with a warning, but I do love her so. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Name That Kid

Child #1


Child #2


Which one is which? Leave a comment with your guess, if you'd like!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween and Stuff

Okay, I admit it... I suck at Halloween. I never think of good costumes, I don't like not recognizing people and truth be told, I have never carved a pumpkin by myself. Although I do love the candy. True story - we ate a whole box of mini chocolate bars long before October 31st. I swear I will get better as Maizey and Jace get older. Swear. For now, Maizey was perfectly happy to look at the un-carved pumpkin on our steps and up until five minutes before we headed out the door at Angs to go trick-or-treating, she refused to put her costume on. In fact, we thought we might have to cancel thanks to the hissy fit that was going on at our house just ten minutes prior. I was gathering warm clothes as Brian was checking on frozen pizzas in the oven while simultaneously shushing and rocking a screaming baby. He handed the baby off as we shoved pizza in our faces and tried to coax a cranky two year old into having just one bite. I  whipped up some coffees as, well I'm not sure what Brian was doing, but I'm sure it was productive and helpful and made the screaming about I'm not putting Elmo on easier to handle. By the time we were ready to walk out the door, we agreed that if she didn't want to put her costume on, it was no big deal, there is always next year. We also agreed that maybe once she saw all her friends dressed up, she would give in. We made it to Angs mostly fed, with hot coffees and a cute little Elmo costume in hand, and sure enough seeing everyone else costume-clad, she put that weird little puppet head on her own.




Jace was going to be the same thing Maizey was for her first Halloween, a baby, but at the last minute I decided to make him a tiny little Frenchman. He was digging it.


We were a comical group of five two year old, three baby's and ten parents.




The excitement was high and the candy was flowing. It was a last minute call out to a few little friends and it turned out great. Chaotic but fun. Next year I will try to be more prepared and more creative. And more festive.
Brian and I sifted through Maizeys bag and ate what we wanted as soon as she went to bed. She hasn't thought about it since. At this age, it really is about what candy WE like!

On an un-related note...

We had a friend for the weekend. Our dear friend Trudy.


She's known me since I was a tiny little new born and now she loves on my kids like I assume she loved on me and my brothers when we that little. She finds the coolest little toys and nick-knacks and gifts and she does amazing crafts. She has stocked our kids library with incredible, age appropriate books.


It was so much fun having her here. Its been three weeks of a good ol' taste of home and Trudy was the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.



We played at the park, ate good food, drank good coffee and got caught up. It was nice to have so much time, rather than the hour long coffee visit we get, when I go home. Thanks for everything and come again anytime Trudy, we loved having you!