"The Tightrope Walker"

"The Tightrope Walker" by Jean-Louis Forain

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Favourite Posts Revisited.

I recently realized that I've been at this blogging thing for over a year now and decided to look back at some of my old posts.  In re-reading them I thought I might share some of my favourites.  Hope you enjoy these as much I do!

1)  Thirty, here I come!  This was the very first post I ever wrote.  Even though it is over a year-old not much has changed and it still resonates with me.  We have added a second car, I've lost 10 lbs (plus some inches) and my floundering career is improving; but, on the whole everything is just about the same.  Amazing how much can change and how much can stay the same in twelve months!

2)  Sometimes the small things...  All about how much I love my husband....and how much he drives me crazy too!  Marriage is such a LOVE-hate thing!  Me teasing about the ups and downs of marriage was balanced by this more sombre look at love, The Most Truthful Moments.

3)  The Encyclopedia of Sleep of Positions, this one just makes me smile.

4)  Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things.  I like all the "darnedest" posts, but this one is still a family favourite.

5)  A tie!  What can I say I just couldn't decide between A Real Potty-pooper! and Cinderella Sunday.  Maybe you can decide...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five.

The ants go marching.  Yech!

They are in my whole house and I feel like I'm going crazy.  It is like a modern version of Hitchcock's "The Birds", but with ants instead of birds.  Yech, yech, triple yech!

(Okay, I cheated with more then five syllables, words, etc but I had to get this one.  They are making my nuts!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Zoo-per Day!

Due to earthquakes, tsunamis and missing auto parts JD is off work this week (without pay).  Of course it is nice to have him home and a holiday is always great, but being out money really sucks!
New to the zoo and so much fun!
In an attempt to make this week cheery and take advantage of the time off we took a somewhat spontaneous trip to the zoo yesterday.  We have made an trip to the zoo annually since Sophie was about eight months, a tradition of sorts, and last July we decided to buy a membership.  So, with membership in hand we travelled the hour plus to the zoo for our third trip in about ten months. 

Full fan-fare.  Amazing!
We've learned that each time you go you never know what you are going to get.  The drive can take an hour or sometimes more than two.  We've gone when the weather was too hot, the zoo too busy, the kids too cranky, or the animals too lazy.  We've experienced it all and we also head out hoping for the best, but secretly expecting something to go wrong.  As it turned out yesterday was our BEST trip ever.  Not only we our children in fine from, but the weather was just right and the animals were very alert.  I even managed to get some of our best zoo pictures ever.

In the end a super zoo-per day that left us all tired, but happy!  The best part is that even though it was a full-fledged 100% family day I went to bed last night feeling rejuvenated and like I had done something for myself.  The best kind of day!

My favourite, eats like a vacuum cleaner.
Snacking and lazing "pool-side".

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surname Surrender.

When I got married I chose to keep my maiden name rather than take JD's surname.  I made this decision for a variety of reasons.  At the time we carefully discussed the consequences and impact on our future children.  Since then I haven't regretted or felt negatively about my decision.  I have even thought that maybe I was setting a good example for my girls - the power of choice.

Then yesterday Sophie innocently told me that I wasn't part of her family.  Ouch!  We have had a number of discussions about why my last name is different then her's, her sister's and her dad's.  We've talked about how important my family is to me, how I liked my name the way it was and how when we get married we are allowed to choose our name.  I understood during all of these chats that she didn't totally understand, but I was happy that she was curious.

Lately, Sophie has been very curious about our extended family and how everyone is related.  We have discussed at great length who is related to who and how are names come from other people in our family - both through the passing down of surnames and middle names.  Through all of this I guess she recognized that my name isn't really related to anyone and so she came to the conclusion that I'm not connected the way she, JD and Molly are.  I completely understand her five-year-old train of thought and I know that she will understand it all when she is older, but for that moment I had a horrible heartache.  For those few quiet moments I felt detached, a little raw and remorsefully.  Should I have changed my name?  Maybe.

Then again, maybe not.  Sophie knows I'm her mom and that I love her.  One day she will understand why my name is different, but that JD and I are still the glue that holds us together.  Her five-year-old curiosity wasn't meant to hurt or sting.  As she puzzles her way through life I'm sure there will be many more occasions that cause she and/or I to feel heartache, but all that matters is that we come out the other side with a better understanding of each other.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reflections Forward

The more I work on my new gratitude project the more excited I feel.  I'm also feeling a little overwhelmed by the choice of photos, memories and moments.   There are so many things I want to say, record and savour that I see the potential for this new project to take over The Tightrope Walk.  So, I've decided to start (at least temporarily) a second blog just for Reflections Forward.  I hope you check it out and enjoy all of my reflecting over family photos.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Five.

Rain gone, sun out.  YEAH!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reflecting Forward: A New Project.

Since writing about our decision to not have any more children I've been trying to think of a way to celebrate Sophie and Molly.  I don't want to scrapbook or journal.  I already record our lives here and with family photos.  The more I thought it through the more apparent it became that I don't want to record their little lives, but reflect on where they have come from.  I want to celebrate all of our memories and moments that have brought us to this day.

With this concept in mind I'm taking my inspiration for the format of this new project from other bloggers I enjoy.  Many of my favourite blogging-moms have gratitude projects or photo journals that record something memorable about each day in their life.  Instead of working forward from today I'm going to reflect on old photos that have a strong memory, represent a special moment or foreshadow important things to come.  I'm going to look back in order to appreciate, find gratitude and look forward.

I'm really looking forward to this new project and I hope you enjoy it as much as I know I am going to!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Parenting Books - A Disservice to Us All?

There are no words to describe how disgusting kid vomit is, or how much MORE disgusting it is when it is inside rain boots, stuck to curly kid hair, crammed in every crack and crevice of a car seat, or spread across the upholstery and carpet of your car.  Yuck, gross, gag-me disgusting isn't even enough!

JD and Sophie left here yesterday at 6:30 pm for a 7 pm swimming lesson.  They walked back in the door at 6:50 because Sophie had been sick in the car, and not just once but four times.  Poor Sophie was covered in puke and beside herself.  Cleaning her and getting her tucked into bed was quick and easy because she was too miserable to argue.  Cleaning her clothes, car seat and the car was a whole other story.  Thankfully for me JD did most of the disgusting clean-up, but unfortunately our car still has a very unpleasant smell. (Even after being detailed.)

This is one of those things that parenting books don't tell you.  They don't tell you that your children will randomly puke for no apparent reason.  They don't tell you that rain boots will also act as a throw-up catchers.  They don't tell you how to clean vehicle upholstery.  They don't tell you that your peaceful Sunday evenings will become chaotic in a split second.  Damn parenting books. (They are all in the trash now.)

Parenting books really aren't helpful.  They gloss, glaze, skim, and leave out all the important stuff.  I understand why prenatal books leave stuff out; because if they gave us the blow by blow who would ever rationally, make the decision to get pregnant.  But come on, once our beautiful, bouncing babies are here why don't they just lay it all out there?  What's the point in hiding the pukey, poopy truth?  We all find out eventually, and when we do we need all the help we can get!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Did You Do This Week?

As we age we measure and describe how we spent our week differently.

The teenager, "Huh?  Uh.  School."  That's it, just a few words sums up the week.

The university student, "I had a two killer exams, but I went to the bar Thursday night.  It was wild.  I felt so bad the next day, but we went out for breakfast and ate greasy eggs.  Then we went out the next night, but didn't drink as much because I was saving myself for Saturday night."  The success of the week is measured in bottles, shots, and severity of hangovers.

The working twenty-something, "I travelled for work a few days.  Friday night I went out for dinner with friends and Saturday I shopped.  I got a new pair of shoes and really great jeans."  The week is all about me, my social life and self-indulgence.

The mom, "Nobody was sick this week.  We had four poops in the potty and only two in diapers.  We had swimming lessons, soccer and a school recital.  We spent hours Wednesday night doing homework.  Oh, and Friday we were so tired that everyone was asleep by 8:30 including me."  The week is measured in poop, tears, car pooling, homework, who-hit-who and everything else kid.

Who has time for self-indulgence?  Not me, but I think I'm going to try and get some.  Does anyone know where they sell it?

Edit Note:  I wrote this a few days ago, but I'm posting today after having been out to a Stag and Doe until 2 am last night.  Self-indulgence isn't all its cracked up to be...at least when it resembles that of the activities of a young twenty-something.  Need more sleep, but most now retrieve my children.  Sure to be a long day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things.

While discussing growing-up, finishing kindergarten and moving into first grade next year I told Sophie that I wished she and Molly could stay my babies forever.  Sophie then declared, "If I don't grow-up it won't be the end of the world Mom!"  (This must be said with a little bit of know-it-all attitude.)  I'm so glad that she would rather stay little too.  Growing up is so damn hard!

Friday Five.

Teach instrumental music?  NOT ME!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Encyclopedia of Sleep Positions - Revisited.

I don't post pictures on my blog for a variety of reasons, but I couldn't resist posting this one.  Every night before going to bed I check the girls one last time.  One evening a few weeks ago I discovered Sophie is this position and I couldn't resist taking a picture of her sleeping soundly.  It reminded me of a long ago post, The Encyclopedia of Sleep Positions, and I thought that this would be a great cover shot for the encyclopedia.

Sophie sound asleep, but sporting some serious sleep attitude.
Can't imagine this is even comfortable.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Motherhood Must-Read!

I haven't had the pleasure of reading Tina Fey's Bossypants, but after reading an excerpt entitled "The Mother's Prayer for Her Daughter"  I've added it to my must-read list.  Check out the link to read her prayer.  A quality laugh with lots of pure honesty!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Operation Mother's Day Renamed.

I intentionally didn't post a Mother's Day message prior to the special day because I was waiting with cautious optimism to see what the day might bring.  Of course Sunday brought status quo with a side of bloodied, toddler face from a face plant at the playground.  All in all, a lovely day!  (If you could hear me say these words aloud you likely would notice my tone is dripping with sarcasm.)

For the record I am not bah-hum-bugging Mother's Day, nope not at all.  I just think it is time that we ask the "Council of Random and Special Non-Day-Off, Holiday Creators"  (aka greeting card companies) to make some permanent and official changes the tradition of Mother's Day.  I propose the following changes be officially considered by the powers that be:

1)  A day of APPRECIATION.  Mother's Day seems to be a celebration of motherhood.  Moms everywhere dedicate an entire Sunday to receiving lovely homemade gifts, eating wonderful meals and spending unending hours with their children.  Ironically this sounds remarkably like every day in a Mother's life:  hand-drawn, crayon coloured drawings, three meals a day and hours playing, feeding and caring for our children.  Based on these standards I (and many other Mothers) celebrate my motherhood every day, without fail.  So, rather than raise our pom-poms to celebrate each other and our status as Mothers I propose that Mother's Day be one of appreciation only.  Let's appreciate our Mothers by letting them have a day of rest, a day of simple pleasure and (gasp) a day with a few child-free hours.  (At least, until they reach teenage-hood and don't want to spend time with us.  Once our children have reached this age they should be required to spend a few hours with us and participate in any activity of OUR choosing, while pleasantly smiling the entire time.)

2)  Weekdays are better.  That's right, I propose that Mother's Day should fall on a weekday.  (Who ever decided that Mother's Day should fall on a Sunday when every one's children are home from school should be fired!) Not only should it fall on a weekday, but it should be a national holiday for Mothers only.  Children, spouses and all others should be required to attend school and work as per usual.  However Mothers should be granted a day off work, including stay-at-home-Moms who should be offered a day of free childcare from a family member or local daycare provider.

3)  Mom's choice.  Sleeping late, showering for hours, getting dressed or staying in p.j.'s, meals out, spas,  girlfriend lunch - all of it is Mom's choice.  Whatever she says goes with NO compromise, argument or whining from children OR spouse.

4)  A new name.  Mother's Day should be renamed in order to increase clarity of its purpose.  Some of my favourites include:  Mother's Day Off, Mother's Day for Relaxation and Reclaiming of Mental Health, Mother's Sick Day or my personal favourite Mother's Day: That is Right 's is a Possessive, This Day Belongs to Mothers.  I realize that these names are rather long and some people may be concerned about how they will fit in the box on the calendar.  However, I have three solutions.  First, make the font smaller.  Second, (and more appropriate) make the damn boxes bigger because on a daily basis Mother's write and record more than this on one day of their calendar.  Third, don't worry if the little box is filled because technically no one other than Mom is permitted to make plans that day and if the day is hers to plan she won't likely book appointments, play chauffeur or attend any school functions.

If you support any of these proposed changes please sign below and your name will be included on the official submission to the  "Council of Random and Special Non-Day-Off, Holiday Creators" and your local "Husbands Union" for consideration.

Note:  I hope you've enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek take on Mother's Day.  I'm grateful the weather was lovely and my husband did his best to make the day special.  I hope your day was full of hugs, kisses and quiet moments just for you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Five.

Crazy schedules suck really bad!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What ARE You Listening to?

Is it a sign that you are getting old(er) when you start to not only appreciate, but actually enjoy country music more than anything else on the music charts?

How about when you feel like the radio is too loud?  The bass thumping from the car behind you is annoying?  Or you have no idea who Rebecca Black is, but all the kids are talking about her?

What about when you not only can't understand the screaming lyrics, but you are extremely irritated that you can't sing along?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions then I am definitely getting old(er)!  Trying to decide if I care.  I don't think I do care because damn it I like love to sing along, especially in the car!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And Baby Makes Five?'

The third baby debate has waxed and waned at our house for ages now, or at least since shortly after Molly was born.  JD and I regularly weigh the pros and cons, pit our wants against realities and in the end always conclude with no, but maybe?  Please, maybe?  (Not really a decision I realize.)

It never occurred to me that the decision NOT to have any more children would be more difficult than the decision to have them.  When Sophie was conceived it was what I like to call a planned surprise.  We weren't trying not to have a baby, but I also didn't think I would be pregnant within 6 weeks of stopping oral contraception.  My pregnancy with Sophie wasn't dramatic or difficult, but miserable enough that after she was delivered via induction I was content for a long time with the thought of not having another baby.  It wasn't until she was two that the memories of my unpleasant pregnancy had faded enough for me to seriously begin to talk about a second child.  It still took almost a year after that for us to decide we were truly ready to take the plunge for a second time and of course in the first three weeks after stopping the pill I was again pregnant.  (Fertility is clearly not a problem.)  Both times we decided to conceive the decision was almost impulsive and the result so quick that we really had little time to second guess, debate or consider the consequences.  We just agreed  that we felt ready and instantly we were committed to trying.

After having Molly, as in the second she was born,  JD was pretty certain that two was the number for us.  We only have two hands he kept saying.  I was the polar opposite.  Every second that ticked by all I could think was this is the last time.  The last time I will hold a minutes old baby.  The last time I will hold a baby this close and carefully inspect each bit  of its of tiny face and hands.  The last time I will feel the special bond of nursing.   The last time for a first smile,  first giggle, first roll-over, first step, first word, first birthday and very shortly the last time for a second birthday.  So while JD was listing all the things that would change in our lives if we had a third child (and he thought of it all, everything from needing a mini-van to requiring a second or larger toothbrush holder);  I was mourning what felt like the end of something special and chasing every fleeting moment of Molly growing-up.

I felt so strongly that I wasn't ready for our baby-days to be over that if he had agreed I would have considered trying again before Molly was even a year-old.  Over the last year or so JD's resolute 'no' has mellowed to a maybe, but I know even though he does the never-say-never song and dance with me that he really is content with our family now.  In response to JD's strong feelings, I say that a third would be crazy.  How would I handle three kids on my own when JD works night?  How could we possibly afford a third (especially now)?  There are so many other things I want to do now other than just be a Mom, and besides they are finally getting old enough that we can be more adventurous and do more things.  I've said it all, but deep down, way down in my heart-of-hearts I still feel a little tug.  A little pull to have another child.  I still constantly consider baby names when I hear a new name and frequently have images of family vacations with three little ones playing on the beach.  Then the reality of screaming kids, unmade meals, dirty laundry and crazy schedules hits me like a tonne of brinks and I know the truth.

The truth is we are done.  No more babies at our house, and so its time to let it go.  I spent the weekend bagging up baby and toddler clothes all to be donated.  Four huge garbage bags of tiny, baby-scented sleepers gone.  Bassinet to the curb.  Bottles in the garbage.  All of it out the door.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  I felt miserable doing it and JD acknowledging that he was sad to see it go was enough to make me cry.  In the end I did save one bin of favourites clothes, including the outfits the girls came home in and a few others with special memories.  I packed them up and stashed the bin way up high in Molly's closet, put away for remembering.  It feels oddly strange to know that this is it.  This is my family and now we just watch them grow.  I partly feel like something is missing, but then I wonder too if I'm just mourning the babies I already have.  The babies who are big kids now, and just keep growing faster than I can keep up.  Faster than I want them to!

Sadie, JD, Sophie and Molly.  That's us.  A family of four.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just another day?

Note:  I don't usually touch on topics like these, but it is hard not to today.

Just another day?  I don't think so!

A new government - yech!  Not looking forward to how life will evolve under this new government.  Feeling sad for families, youth, seniors and low-income workers.  The TV says its a majority, but since when is earning 40% of the vote a majority.  Last time I checked 4 out of 6 is a MINORITY.

A death.  If you read in the newspaper about someone being shot and dumped in the river you would call it murder.  If you read in the newspaper about a criminal being shot and dumped in the river you might shake your head and think eye for an eye, but still murder.  If you read in the newspaper about a terrorist, his son, wife and others being shot some say justice.  Really, justice?  Wrong is wrong, but more wrong doesn't make right.

To think a few days ago the media world celebrated a joyous wedding, but today the media world rejoices in a government elected by less than 40% of the voting population and the death of a terrorist.  What kind of a bizarre world do we live in?  Who has more power: us the viewer or them the media?

Just another day?  I guess so.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Best Question in the World!

My day was made on Wednesday when an acquaintance asked if I had lost some weight.  I've been working really hard for about 8 months now, and although the results have been rather mediocre at best I'm really noticing a change in my body shape.  Of course just because I've noticed the changes it doesn't mean that other people have.  The changes have been so slow and over such a long time that those who see me every day just don't see it - frustrating for me of course.

However, a casual acquaintance asking such a little question truly made my day.  I hadn't realized how badly I needed someone else to recognize my accomplishment in order to feel like my hard work is paying off.  I instantly felt recommitted, energized and motivated.  Funny how the littlest things from the most unexpected people means the most!

Officially I've lost 12 lbs, a total of 6 inches between my chest, waist and hips, I've lost 8% body fat, and most importantly I feel great!  Slow progress with far to go, but I'm getting there day by day.  Truly enjoying doing something for myself.