Commenting on parenting, soul-searching, and everything in between... on YOUR blog!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Six Word Friday: I'm not waiting

Get off the computer! Just wait.
Go take your shower! Almost done!
Turn it off now! One minute!
This is the last warning! Okay!

Time to get up! Not yet!
You have to brush your teeth!
Can you wait a minute, please?
No, it’s time to go! Okay!

Mornings are rushed in our house
There is no time to waste.
But sometimes children can’t be rushed
And they just want us to wait.

But after I’ve given three warnings
No more patience, I’m not waiting.
They know their time is up
They get ready, no more hesitating.

Head over to Making Things Up for more Six Word Friday fun!

Shopping, Peeing and Ice Cream

You know that high you get after a day of shopping?  To be honest, I rarely have a feeling of elation after shopping. More like deflation. I’m usually in a rush, traipsing from one store to another, bickering at the kids to hurry up, saying no to most of their requests for treats and toys, getting really over-heated, stopping for pee breaks at the most inconvenient times, getting stressed about overspending and then finally arriving home and being absolutely exhausted. It’s normally not a great feeling.

But last night? Last night was different. I finally felt that high. One that I certainly didn’t expect to have going in. Back to school is almost here and I’ve been stressed for the last few days thinking about all of the things that need to be done for next week. It looked like this weekend was going to be a write-off just getting last-minute things and preparing the kids for school.

Yesterday afternoon I had to bring Miss M to the doctor for something minor. We didn’t have an appointment, but my doctor’s office offers a walk-in clinic for patients in the evenings. I was dreading the visit, thinking we would be waiting there close to two hours. Luckily for us, they opened early and she was the fourth patient called. We were back in the car in under an hour. I was excited. I figured we could get some errands done that I had planned to do on the weekend.

We went to Miss M’s favourite kid’s shoe store and got her two new pairs of shoes. I like this store because the staff is familiar with the AFOs (braces) that she wears and they know how to find good shoes that fit well over them. And the shoes were actually cute! Other times in the past, we’ve had to go with navy or brown shoes because they were the best fit. Miss M really liked her new shoes, which made me happy.

We went across the street to the large shopping mall. I had promised Hubby that I would check for some new pants for him. His were very worn-out and he was well overdue for new ones. There are two department stores in this mall. We parked near the first one and headed for the men’s department. Miss M started to complain right off the bat. She was hungry and she had to pee. I realized that if I wanted this shopping night to go well, I’d have to be patient. We found the bathroom and then I explained that we would just look at a few things for Daddy and then we’d get something to eat before heading to another store. She agreed. She was good while I browsed around. No more complaining. We played peek-a-boo around the clothing racks. She would yell Boo! at me and I would scream and pretend to drop whatever item of clothing I was looking at. It made her laugh. It made me laugh, too.


There were no good sales at the first department store, so we left without purchasing anything and I kept my promise to get some dinner. We headed to the food court and I let Miss M choose any place she wanted. Oh, the choices! She talked it through. Should she get Chinese? A sub? A hotdog? Nope. She finally decided on (yuck) KFC. I agreed and we happily skipped over to order her some popcorn chicken and fries. I got two soft-shelled tacos from Taco Bell. We sat and we ate. We giggled and we shared. I didn’t rush her. She told me when she was full and then I let her take the tray over to the garbage. Something I normally wouldn’t do, fearing she would drop it, but she made it just fine and dumped everything in the trash. Then she had to pee again. Luckily the bathrooms were not far. We went, washed our hands and Purelled. Then she wanted to go get ice cream. It was time for negotiations. If you’re a good girl while we’re at the next store, we’ll come back and get an ice cream. Okay, Mama, she promised.

While we were walking across the mall to Store #2, Miss M declared that she was too tired to walk and requested a stroller. Hmm, nice idea but she is a five-year-old. Not a small five-year-old, either. She’s an inch or two away from four feet tall and she weighs about 50 pounds. I told her she was too big to get a stroller and she’d have to walk like a big girl. But she complained more and I felt bad because I know her feet do tire easily, especially after walking in those braces all day. We stopped at the Customer Service desk. The lady told me she’s too big. I know, I said, but do you mind if we just try? She obliged and let us in the corall of strollers. Miss M grabbed one and tried to hop in. But the bar got in the way. She couldn’t put her legs through. Then she had an idea. She sat in it and put her legs over the bar, so that her legs were dangling. Probably not the safest seating arrangement, but it worked for me!

So off we strolled to Store #2. There were sales galore and the pants that my hubby likes were $25 off! I sent Hubby a text to see how many pairs he wanted and while we were waiting for his reply we headed over to browse the girls’ clothing section. They had a one-day-only sale of 50 percent off all outerwear! We got busy trying on jackets and snowsuits. And even though it was rather hot in the store, Miss M didn’t complain once about putting on winter coats and snow pants. We found her a perfect fall coat and a pretty snowsuit. On our way back to get the pants, we grabbed some boxers for J that were also on sale. I bought four pairs of pants, a coat, a snowsuit and three pairs of boxers all for almost half of what I would have expected to pay!

We went back to return the stroller, browsed the mall a bit and found the last thing that I needed from Miss M's list of school supplies (a nylon bag for storing her shoes).  Then we got her ice cream (she deserved it) and headed to the car. It was after 8:30 and we had been shopping since 4:30. I actually felt great. We got in the car and for the first time in a long time after shopping, I wasn’t hot and cranky or snappy. We continued to talk and laugh and sing together on the way home. And the most surprising part is that I didn’t even buy anything for myself! Well,  I did get a mocha frappucino, but I deserved a treat, too. I kept my patience and in turn Miss M behaved.  I realize now that most times it is actually me who causes the stress while shopping, not my children.  I had a new perspective last night with Miss M.  I tried to make things fun for her, I didn't rush or nag.  We took our time.  It might have taken longer than usual, but it was worth it for both of us.

Do you enjoy shopping or dread it?
How do you handle shopping with your child(ren) (or do you avoid it at all costs)?
Do they expect ice cream, or do you bribe them with ice cream?
Do great sales make you happy?

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Interview With ShannonL (yes, that's me)

My friend Kate from Watercoloring on the Table tagged me for this interview meme. Kate is just lovely.  She writes about raising her two girls, including the the ups and downs and everything in between of being a stay-at-home-mother, and she shares her thoughts on life in general.  She writes frequently and she is always honest, thoughtful and sweet.  She is one of my daily reads and I really enjoy her blog.  Thanks for thinking of me, Kate!

So, here goes nothing!

What experience has most shaped you, and why?

Oh, boy.  I honestly don't think one experience in particular has shaped me to who I am today, but probably a number of things over the years.  My childhood and my wonderful parents were a huge part of it.  My parents were always very loving, open and honest with me.  I think that is why I am such an honest person and value honesty so much.  We also moved a lot when I was young, changing neighborhoods and friends frequently.  This helped me become independent, but also a bit shy.  I never got used to making new friends.  I never had tons of friends at one time.  I made a few good, real friends and stuck with them.  I am still that way, and having a hard time making more friends, although I'd really like to.  I have a loving and supportive husband who has been a huge part of my life for 14 years now, and of course becoming a mother to two beautiful children has shaped me the most.  Motherhood changes you in so many ways that you would never imagine before having children.  I live for my family. I adore them.  They are everything to me.

I don't have one life-changing moment that has "shaped me".  I have had struggles along the way, as most people do, and I've dealt with them in my own way.  I believe I am stronger for overcoming some of those obstacles.  But I don't believe they have shaped or defined me.  I hope they haven't.

If you had a whole day with no commitments, what would you do?

Gee, that would be awesome!  I'd sleep in, get up when I felt like it.  Get a yummy latte at Starbucks, then go for a pedicure and maybe do a little shopping.  I'd meet a good friend for lunch and chat about anything and everything.  I'd go home and play good music really loud and sing and dance.  I'd sit out in the sunshine and read some blogs.  I'd make a big salad for myself for supper and then probably just veg on the couch or in bed watching a good movie.  Kinda boring, I know.  But it sure would be a great day!

What food or drink could you never give up?

Drink:  Diet Pepsi.  Can't live without it.  Coffee is a close second.  I love my coffee in the morning!  Actually, I don't drink much else besides Diet Pepsi and coffee.  Horrible, isn't it?  I know I should drink more water, but I just don't enjoy it.  I don't like milk, either. The only other beverage I drink is iced tea.  I am so unhealthy!

Food:  Hmm, I don't think I could give up pasta.  I love spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni... I can't imagine never eating pasta again. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would that be and why?

I haven't travelled anywhere outside of North America, so I would love to go just about anywhere!  Probably Cuba, Hawaii, Jamaica... anywhere hot.  With beaches.  And an all-inclusive resort! 

Who do you have a crush on?

Hmm, a crush, eh? (how Canadian of me!) My husband, of course!
Well, I did always like (and don't laugh at me!) Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  More when he was a professional wrestler though, and less now that he is just an actor.  He lost a lot of muscle and doesn't look as hot as he was.  But, yeah, I guess that would be my crush.  Oh, and I like Jean Claude Van Damme, too.  Not so much now, but in his early days.  You know, from Blood Sport!  And I don't like either guy for their acting skills.  Not at all, actually.  Just their looks.  But anyway, my number one answer is still Hubby!

If you were leader of your country, what would you do?

Boy oh boy, I am so not into politics.  I would NEVER want to lead my country.  I would fail miserably.  The only answer that pops into my mind is healthcare.  I would do something to ensure that all Canadians had a family doctor.  I know too many people that don't have a family doctor and have to rely on walk-in clinics or hospital emergency rooms (my parents included).  It's not cool.

Give me one easy savoury recipe that doesn’t include cheese.

Man, these questions are not easy for me.  I'm really not a "give out recipes" kind of person.  We're simple meat and potato or spaghetti and meat sauce kind of people.  And I just thought of two recipes, but they do include cheese!  Ok, here's my go-to meal.  Throw some chicken breasts in the oven with mushroom soup, make either minute rice or Lipton noodles and sauce (I like parmasan) with veggies on the side.   Easy-peasy.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

I never really dreamed of a particular career.  Probably why I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  But I looked through my "School Days Memory Book" not too long ago, and when I was in elementary school I wanted to be either a waitress, model, or singer.  Um, I'm definitely not any one of those.  Although I do love singing karaoke!

If you could spend just one day in someone else’s body, who would it be?

Probably a child.  Like my daughter.  There are so many times when she's quiet and I look over at her and wonder what she's thinking about.  I guess if I spent the day in her body, I'd know!  Either that or a pet.  Like a really spoiled cat.  They have the best life.  And I'd like to know what goes through a cat's mind, too.

Which woman writer – living or dead – do you most admire and why?

Honestly, I really don't have an answer for that.  For the last few years, besides newspapers, magazines and blogs, I have only read a few trashy romance novels and a couple of Janet Evanovich books - which I didn't really enjoy.  When I was in junior high school I read a lot of books... mostly Stephen King and John Grisham.  So sorry, still no woman authors to write about.

What character trait inspires you the most?

Honesty.  Just being honest about yourself and to yourself really helps you understand yourself so much more.  And being vulnerable.  I am inspired by people who can be open, honest and vulnerable.  Willing to share so much with others and risking hurt or disapointment while doing it.  I guess it's the reason why I love reading blogs by people who are real.

What is your favorite kind of music?

I love music.  Almost anything.  I guess I would say that Top-40 is my favourite, but I truly love a mix of artists and genres.  I like old-school Metallica, AC/DC, Queen, Bell-Biv-Devoe, Digital Underground, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Mary J. Blige.  And I love Train, The Black Eyed Peas, Carrie Underwood, Hedley, Eminem, Lady Gaga... I could go on and on!  And all of the songs I play?  I sing along and know all of the lyrics by heart. 

Which book or books have inspired or touched you the most?

Oh no, back to the reading questions!  Well, when I was young I read Life With Billy (a non-fiction book about a case of domestic abuse and "Battered Woman Syndrome" by Brian VallĂ©e).  Reading the true stories of the abuse that that woman suffered was heart-breaking.  And sickening.  It was my first time ever reading about such crude, controlling, dangerous behaviour so that story really stuck with me.

What is your favorite family custom?

Hmm, we are a pretty go-with-the-flow family.  Not really big on customs or traditions.  But we do have a few things that we try to make a habit of doing together as a family.  I guess my favourite one is at Christmas time.  Every year we all go out as a family to choose a tree from a lot.  It gets delivered to our house and we bring it in and leave it sit for the night.  The next day we curse and try to set it up in the stand, and play Christmas carols, I drink Bailey`s Irish Cream, Hubby has a beer and the kids have hot chocolate, and we all decorate the tree (and the rest of the house) together! 

Well, that is the ideal anyway.  Last year it didn't go nearly as smoothly.  We chose a tree, although I wasn't happy with it.  But it was the second lot we went to, and we were all getting cold so we bought it.  It turned out to be totally dead and I pretty much decorated the whole thing myself.  Then it ended up falling over and half of the ornaments broke.  We tied it up and I re-decorated it.  It was a sad, limp tree.  And there were needles, a lot of needles everywhere.  Last year I was disapointed that our family tradition was ruined.  I even said that we should buy a fake tree (the horror!).  I didn't mean it.  I can't imagine not having a beautiful, fresh, real tree in my house for Christmas.  I love Christmas trees.  I love the smell and I just love sitting and staring at the lights.  They are so beautiful and mesmerizing.  Oh my God, I can't believe it's the middle of August and I'm actually feeling excited for Christmas right now!  Ok, enough!  Anyway, I think we are going to try out the Christmas tree tradition again this year, and I really hope it goes better than last year.

Thank you so much, Kate, for tagging me in your own interview.  It was fun!  Now I have to send this to a few other bloggers, and add my own question. So my question is:  How/where did you meet your spouse/significant other?

I am passing these questions on to the following bloggers.  I can't wait to read all about you!  Sorry if this is not really your "thing", but how could I leave any of you out?!

Christine, my good friend IRL and in the blogosphere, from Coffees & Commutes.  Her blog is all about being open, honest and vulnerable.  She's learning a lot about herself and inspiring others while she's at it.

Sarah from s a r a h c a s m, the first blog I read after Christine and never stopped.  She's all about perspective and really makes you think or re-think. 

Corinne, another honest blogger who I enjoy reading very much, from Trains, Tutus and Tea Time.  Her heartfelt writing and beautiful photographs always have me coming back for more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not feeling like myself









All of these feelings and more are what I have been experiencing this week.  I don't know if it's just hormones or if I'm letting everything get to me for no reason, or what.  But I don't like feeling this way.  I have no patience with my kids.  Every little thing rubs me the wrong way and I snap.  Then comes the guilt part.  It's a vicious circle.  I've written before about feeling lonely and my fading friendship and I think that's what has been bothering me the most.  Lately I just feel like a big loser.   Like nobody (except for my family, of course) likes me or cares about me.  I think I will have to talk with my "fading friend" to get my feelings out in the open.  That way we can either start trying to be friends again or I can just forget it and move on, rather than sitting here wondering what I did wrong and if she even notices or cares. 

Friends or no friends, I think I need to get out and do things for myself, by myself.  I am planning to register Miss M for some kind of class/activity this fall, but maybe I should also sign up for something myself!  I'm not sure what yet, but I'm thinking it should be something totally new.  Not only will I enjoy some "me" time, but maybe I'll find a new passion or even find a new friend! 

I need to get myself out of this funk, and I think I've already started.  Writing everything down like I just did and thinking of a possible solution is making me feel a whole lot better.  Thanks, (non)Blog!

Friday, August 6, 2010

All she wants to do is dance (and sing, and kick, and flip...)!

I came across this website the other day as I was helping Miss M search YouTube for a Hannah Montana song (I know, I know.  But she loves her!).  The site is hosted by two young girls who teach dance moves, healthy and kid-friendly recipes, games and outdoor activities and also gymnastics.  I thought they were really cute and they do a good job speaking to the camera and explaining things well.  Miss M was just enthralled by them.  She watched the girls do a dance routine to Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown and she wanted to do it, too!  The girls had a step-by-step video of how to do the moves to the chorus and Miss M played it over and over, practicing the choreography in our kitchen.  Now every night this week she has asked me to go to their website so she can learn more.  She has been practicing two different Miley/Hannah dances and has also been following their tips on how to do the splits.  Miss M has always shown a love of music and singing/dancing/performing and I couldn't be happier about it.  I was like that as a child, too.  I had two albums from the Mini Pops along with Michael Jackson's Thriller that I loved to play over and over again.  I sang along to every song and used to do dance routines and "sing" into my hair brush microphone on top of the coffee table.

Her love of dance and gymnastics has me thinking a lot lately about what type of activity to sign Miss M up for this year.  She is five now and old enough to register for most of the children's programs. The fall registration book should be out next week and Miss M has already made dozens of requests.  She wants to try everything.  Her favorites (so far) are: dance (ballet), music (guitar or piano), karate (or taekwondo), girl scouts, swimming, gymnastics and indoor sports (soccer or baseball)... to name a few!  I think this is great, and although we don't exactly have the time or money for her to try all of these activities, I'm really glad that she's keen on learning new things and being active. 

What's been bothering me is that in reality there are some things that she is physically unable to do.  Because of her disability she can't point her toes, which pretty much rules out ballet.  She needs to walk in her braces for ankle support, which pretty much rules out karate.  And what about soccer?  I suppose at this age it would be okay, but will she be frustrated that she can't run as fast as the other kids?  I know there are other things that she is interested in where her condition won't be an issue, but what about the ones that are?  How do I tell my five-year-old daughter that she "can't" do something when I know she believes that she can do anything?  As her mother, isn't it my job to encourage her?  That's the way I've always looked at it, and now I'm torn about what to say if she really wants to take something like ballet or karate.

I think we'll wait for the catalog to arrive, discuss her preferences (maybe even find some new ones) and I'll go from there.  Perhaps she'll choose painting or cooking or bird watching!  Maybe the topic of her disability won't even come up, and then my anxiety will go down.  I hope.  Because my little Supergirl is determined to do anything she sets her mind to, and that's fine by me!

Miss M, Rock Star, enjoying a waffle bowl sundae

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In BeTween

Most of the bloggers that I read have young children.  Many still in the Toddler Years and just getting into the Terrible Twos.   For me, the Terrible Twos are just a sweet, fading memory.  My son, J, is twelve.  Twelve!  And he is an old twelve, a mature twelve, at least in the physical sense.  He is now taller than me (I'm 5'6"!), he has reached his dad's shoe size (11), and he has hair growing.  Everywhere.

So J is much less of a child and more of a teen.  Or tween, as they say.  And he is right smack-dab-in-the-middle of the Terrible Tweens.  Nobody warned me of this.  I didn't realize that my sweet little boy would all of a sudden turn into an awkward, deep-voiced, lanky, lazy, attitude-giving TWEEN overnight!

Oh, the joys.  Overall, J really is a good kid.  And I understand that tweens are growing up and they crave privacy, individuality, freedom.  They want to do things on their own and not tell Mom and Dad about every minute of their day.  I want to back off, to be a bit more trusting and more lenient.  But man, it's hard.  How can we let him make more decisions for himself when he doesn't even take care of his own body?  Seriously, if we didn't nag at tell him to shower/brush his teeth/wash his hands every day I don't think he would ever do it!  And there are so many serious pressures, temptations and other tweens out there just waiting for him to give in or make a bad decision.  I often wonder if we're doing all we can for him.  Have we taught him enough about Right from Wrong?  About respect of others and of himself?  I hope so, I really do.

J will start high school next month.  He is registered in the sports program offered at the school.  They do half-days of classes and the other half is spent training in their chosen discipline (baseball in his case).  Academics is their first priority and they insist on good grades and hard work.  I believe they provide more guidance and attention to the students in this group than the kids in the "general population" and I am very happy about this.  J needs structure and he loves sports, so it's a winning combination.  The kids in the sports program have their own section of the school.   They stay in that section together and they have separate lunch breaks from the rest of the students in the school.  I hope this prevents him from meeting people who could potentially be bad influences.  I don't want him to start smoking/drinking/experimenting with drugs any time soon.  Don't get me wrong, I know that the kids in the sports program aren't all angels either, but I know that if they are caught doing these types of things, it will not be tolorated and they will be dismissed from the program.  They have a lot to lose.  I hope J keeps that in mind.

Yesterday was a civic holiday, which meant a day off from work for me.  J had received money from his grandparents to buy some back-to-school clothes so I decided to take him shopping for the day.  Initially, the purpose of this post was to vent about his defiance yesterday morning and how he hurt my feelings.  But as the day went on, his attitude improved and we had a nice time together.  So I will put my frustations aside and just blame his behavior on hormones!