Friday, 20 December 2013

A letter to my children

You're 8 years old, nearly 9. Let me explain a few random things to you.

The toilet: there's this remarkable little thing on the back of the toilet, it wiggles and looks like a handle and by gosh it is a handle! If you push it all that smelly stuff that you've left sitting there goes down and gets replaced by nice fresh water. Please, please, I beg of you, start using it on a regular basis.

The dog: she thinks her spot is next to me, cuddled in as close as she can get, if you come and lay ontop of her she will growl. If you somehow get in there first, she will climb ontop of you and squeeze her way in between us. Just get used to it, it appears there is nothing we can do about this, apart from throwing steak on the other side of the room.

The laundry basket: yes you have one! It is not the floor of your bedroom! Clothes do not magically pick themselves up and move into the basket (although I'm sure some of yours are capable of crawling) Start picking your clothes up and putting them in the basket, the ones you've worn, not the ones you tried on that morning and decided to change, those are clean, put them back in the draw.

Socks: similar to the laundry basket dilemma, dirty socks also belong in the laundry basket or I don't even mind if you put them directly in the washing machine. They do not belong on the dining room table, on the computer desk, stuffed down the side of the couch, hanging on the wine rack or in any other spot where you conveniently decide to take them off and leave them! This would also solve the "Mom, I have no clean socks" issue that we seem to have occurring even after laundry day.

Underwear: it's supposed to be worn, especially when we leave the house! No more needs to be said.

Snow boots: take these off while you are still on the tiled floor in the entrance hall, you know, where I have towels and mats down to absorb the slush. Do not walk across the hardwood floor leaving a trail of wet slushy footprints. I don't care if you needed the washroom or to get something out your backpack.

Dessert: does not happen every night, get over it. I will not use it as a tool to bribe you to eat your dinner (well not all the time anyway). If you don't eat, feel free to go hungry. Likewise telling me once you have finished your dinner that you are still hungry and need dessert is not going to work. Dessert is not meant to full you up, an apple does that much better.

Santa: I love and hate the fact that you still believe in Santa. He makes a wonderful bargaining chip, the threat of being able to email him when you're naughty works every time. However you need to learn that Santa does not have endless amounts of cash or elves making these toys and electronics you are requesting. If you want something and request it, make sure it's what you really want. You are not getting everything on your list. *On an aside note, Diggle said yesterday, "but parents help Santa, right?" So I guess this year may be our last with the magical belief.

Today is your first day of the Christmas school holidays, you are playing wii together downstairs, laughing, shrieking and having fun. Keep it up, don't fight, let's have a fun, good, peaceful Christmas and you can carry on ignoring all of the above points, we'll cover them again next year I'm sure.  

Last but not least, this is Mommy's egg nog, yes it is an acceptable breakfast food, its like liquid scrambled egg and no you can't have any!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

20 years

I've been married 20 years, or at least on Wednesday this week I'll have been married 20 years. DH this is your reminder that it's our anniversary this week...let's see if you actually read my blog or not. I'm amazed, somedays it seems just the other day I was lying in the bathtub hungover and feeling like crap wondering how I was going to put that wedding dress on and get through the ceremony, at roughly the same time DH was waking up covered in doughnut crumbs (it's best not to ask).

DH and I have actually been together for 26 years, and that's a long time. We've both changed and neither of us are the same kids who met across a crowded room at some house party all those years ago. We're both older (duh), more jaded, not quite as lean (I'm trying to be polite here), grumpier (him not me), and I don't think either of us has the same outlook on life that we had back then. How have we survived? I have no idea, I think we've been best friends and partners for so long neither of us knows how to survive without the other, we're each other's safety nets and our strengths and weaknesses play off each other to give some sort of dis functional symbiotic relationship. 

I may joke and kid about things, but marriage isn't easy, anyone who's been married more than a few years knows that. Half the time you want to put that plan regarding the wood-chipper that you and your friends concocted over drinks one night into action, the other half you can't remember if you paid the life insurance premium so you're praying they'll survive that drive down the snowy highway. 

I will say this about DH, he's the one person in my life I trust implicitly, some may think that's blind, but his integrity and honesty is something I admire. I could do without the moodiness and back problems though ;) but overall he is the most kind-hearted, generous and trust worthy person I know.

There, he got a couple of lines of me being nice to him, I'm covered for this year. I feel the need to shower, public tributes of love are not my thing.  I never started writing this intending it to turn out like this, I was going to write about how surprising it is that we've made it this far, but when I look back it hardly feels like it was 20 years ago, and yet at the same time it was a whole lifetime ago.  

So, 20 years, it's momentous right? We celebrated our 10 year anniversary in Cuba, what are we doing for this one? The actual anniversary will be spent at home, I'm not even sure if we'll go out to dinner or have a nice steak dinner at the house with the kids. However in two weeks we are going to England for 10 days to celebrate another wedding, that of our niece. We get to see some very special family members who we haven't seen in far too long and take the kids on an adventure they will remember for a long time, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Summer's over

Well at least the school holiday part of summer is over starting next week.  I will admit in June I was dreading these holidays. I am not one of these "wonder moms" who likes to take my kids places and explore. I like to do those things as a family and DH uses all his vacation days for camping. So aside from the camping we tend to do the small things, a few play dates, hit the splash pad a few times, lots of trips to the library, maybe a movie or two and lots of DVD's and home rest days in between.

I am pleasantly surprised to report back that this summer was not bad as I feared.  In fact it has gone past really quickly and I can't believe it's over already. We had some great camping trips, we had Granny's company while at home to help out and we have had relatively few days of kids complaining that they are bored.  Even so, I am ready, I am more than ready for next week.  It's like a switch has been flipped for the kids this week, they are restless, they are starting to annoy each other and starting to annoy me, we are all ready! In fact their backpacks are already packed and waiting for them in the bench by the front door, all that's left to go in them is their lunch on Tuesday morning, yes I am that eager! I am lucky as my two are both looking forward to school, unlike me they enjoy it (so far) they love being able to see their friends, they love learning and so far they have loved every teacher they have had - lets hope that all continues.

We have one camping trip left to do for a short weekend family trip with all the cousins and granny then we can pack all the summer stuff away and parts of my house can be reclaimed.
 Bring on the new school year, bring on fall!  I love the thicker clothes in darker colours, the return of the jackets and boots, being able to throw on a scarf and layer things.  Its my favorite time of year, the crisp cool nights, the changing colours of the leaves, the quiet days of kids in school and the time to get my sanity back and resume some sort of routine.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Women friends

So it's a proven fact that women who are close friends who spend a lot of time together tend to sync up their monthly cycles (we'll call it that for the sake of the few men who I know read my blog).

Now while this is great on one hand; you have a close friend who is also going through hell at the same time as you. A friend who probably has a spare tampon in her bag for you if you are out and need it, and who you can complain and bitch about the world and how unfair it is to.

There is one large problem with this...and something that constantly amazes me that our friendships survive.
There are times when we are raving homicidal bitches at the same time. How do we not kill each other?

Everything annoys me, including my friends (Husband and kids go without saying). So how do we survive. Maybe it's the same way our families survive, we know we have to get through it...the age old saying of love is blind but friendship closes it's eyes, may come into play. I know there have been many a time where I've closed my eyes and counted to ten...and then maybe poured myself a large glass of wine and decided to leave it a week before broaching the subject of my annoyance. A week later said annoyance doesn't seem so goes on and thankfully so does our friendship...well for another month anyway.

PS. To all my friends, - I really do love you :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Camping in bear country

Ah camping, the joy of being able to get away from it all, leave technology behind and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.  As I type this I'm sitting here listening to the sounds of a chain saw cutting a tree off a tent, but more on that later.

Our trip started off with DH saying he was not taking alcohol on this trip.  I convinced him to at least pack the beers...thank goodness for that, as the first beers were cracked while we were still setting up.

This was a new campground, we were not sure on the sites, but had booked one across from the main beach.  When we got here the site was smaller than we expected, very close to the sites on either side and not much privacy. DH was not overly impressed.  I tried to point out the good things. We were close to the washrooms, which were nice flushing toilets with sinks and soap, not the long drops I was expecting from Algonquin Park. We were close to the beach, our site was nice and level, oh and we had no Internet or cell service...ok now I was not happy, how am I supposed to live without cell service for a week?

It was a great start, a young couple and their large dog moved onto the site next to us and to our immense joy their dog made our monster dog look like an angel. It barked at everything, even throughout the night, it's name was Hudson, we know that as its owners kept saying "oh, Hudson," all day long. Sitting around the camp  fire on the first night DH muttered "shoulda brought alcohol."

Lets move ahead to our first night. Diggle wakes me in the middle of the night, he needs to pee. So I step outside the trailer into our attached tent with him and freeze.  My heart drops, what was that noise I heard? OMG there's a bear outside. I grabbed Diggle and push him behind me, he keeps saying what's wrong mommy? And I'm trying to shush him. I bravely stick my head out the tent with the flashlight in my hand, ready to run back into the trailer at a moments notice, I look around...and realize its the guy on the campsite on the other side of us snoring, no bear, just a middle aged man, snoring...some may rather face down the bear.  

Hudson's parents left after two nights thankfully, and I found I could get my Internet fix when we drove to the camp store for ice creams for the kids...all was good, and yes the kids may have been allowed more ice cream than usual.

We settled into a routine of swimming, canoeing, and doing absolutely nothing. We went to a parks theatre production, it was called Time Machine. They took you back through the ages in the park, it was geared for the kids, and made me question the early loggers sexuality but enough on that.

Mid week we decided to take a trip into town, we needed a few more supplies. We got 3G cell signal on the way there yay! I checked the weather, severe thunderstorm warnings for our area, this should be fun.

As we got back to our trailer our new friendly neighbour came over to tell us that the park rangers had just been around to warn of an impending storm cell that was looking particularly nasty, people were evacuating to ride it out at the Visitors Centre 10km away. DH and I decided we liked our stuff too much, we had a trailer, not just a flimsy tent, we would stay and keep an eye on things. The storm itself was only about 30 minutes, it was intense and at one point had DH and I both ducking when we heard what we thought was a crack of lightening striking a little too close for comfort. We were securing the shelter tarp, DH sent me inside to check on the kids. The kids and monster dog were in the trailer taking shelter, monster dog thankfully can care less about storms, the kids were sobbing, Matthew was praying for just one more day of life (not sure what that means for tomorrow), and Alyssa was trying to be brave but had tears in her eyes and was scared. Thankfully the storm was over a lot quicker than it began, and when we went outside the sun was shining, there were puddles everywhere and the site across the road from us had a huge tree lying across it squashing their dining tent. That crack of lightening we ducked for was actually the tree snapping. Thankfully the family had been sheltering in their other tent at the time. Hence the sound of chainsaws as I started typing this.

It's later in the afternoon now the sound of chainsaws has been replaced by music, they are celebrating being alive, there's a possibility tomorrow they may wish they weren't.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

My kids are perfect (not)

This blog post is dedicated to all those of you who have brats for kids. You see, I feel sorry for you, because my kids are perfect! They never whine, they never make a fuss or talk back, they never fight, they excel at everything they do, and they are most certainly never ever annoying!

Ha! If only! Let's face it, there is not a kid in this world who is perfect. There are however, plenty of Moms out there who seem to like to give this impression on Facebook. You know the ones, they always post about how wonderful their kids are, what a joy living with them is, what little angels they are. Things like, little Johnny was such a cutie this morning while eating his high fiber cereal, he made a joke and kissed his sister when she spilled her juice, I couldn't love him more. When in reality, you know he probably was the one who poured his sisters juice over her head. What I don't think these people realize is that the only ones who may be remotely fooled by this are the friends who have never met Johnny. You see those of us who have met him know that he is the devil spawn.

Now I'm not saying every kid out there is a holy terror, (they just seem that way most of the time), but let's face it, kids are hard to like, even our own some of the time. The good thing is our own are easy to love, and this is what preserves the species.

It just irks me when people always post these statuses about how great their kids are. It's not fair on those poor unsuspecting young folk who have not had kids yet. They believe you and then when they have their own and realize they are not perfect, they blame themselves for not being good parents as everyone else has such perfect kids.

The same really goes for anyone who posts a status like, today is my 25th wedding anniversary, I love my husband Billy (I guess he's Johnny's dad). The past 25 years have been the best and easiest and I can't wait to spend the next 25 having such fun.

I call bullshit! The reality is marriage and raising kids is hard, it takes work, and a lot of patience. Do we love our kids and husbands? Well yes, do we like them? Not all the time no. So stop making out like your kids and husbands are perfect. We've met them we know the truth. And to be honest I'm happy with my non perfect kids and DH, I know they are still so much better than yours ;p

Of course I will give you this...all wives are naturally perfect and always right.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

When realities hit home

I know a lot of you are expecting most of my blog posts to be filled with complaints about living with my Mom, and while I will admit I have done my fair share of grumbling and adjusting, this is not going to be one of them.
Well okay, I may throw in a few grumbles for good measure, but in general this is a post to do with thankfulness.

Yesterday, I was watching my kids interact with their Granny and was hit by the reality of how lucky I am that they can have this time to get to know her. The last time they got to see her, they were 4 years old.  Now at 8 they have so much more to offer, and her to offer them.  There is so much love to be shared, so much patience from either side that they are all willing to give, just to spend time together.

We as immigrants give up so much when we move to the other side of the planet.  So far away from our childhood friends, our siblings, our parents.  Our kids don't know the sort of environment we grew up in, they don't know their grandparents, their aunts and uncles and often their cousins. We don't understand the sports that our kids are now exposed to, they are not what we grew up with and if they are lucky we will try to learn them so that we can bond over this as they grow up with it.

This year has been a trying year for my family which I guess makes realization so vivid.  My Dad passed away in February and my Mother-in-law passed on earlier this month.  That's two grandparents that my kids wont get to know, and that hurts us all.  So, as I look at the way that my children love their Granny so very much, the love in their eyes when they wrap their arms around her, the cuddles they are getting, the time that she spends talking and taking an interest in them, and the time they spend telling her the things I brush off a million times, I can only be thankful that they all have this time. I smile when they run to hug and kiss her goodbye before they leave for school in the morning and yet yell a simple "bye Mom, have a good day" as they grab their backpacks and rush for the door. I don't mind, I don't begrudge it, I am the first one they run to hug and wrap their arms around at pickup time anyway.

As much as I may complain about the little things, and they are little things, these are memories they will cherish, that I will cherish, even if I do think that being watched while I make soup out of a can is claustrophobic. (But that's a whole different blog post.)

Monday, 6 May 2013

When its time to grow up - or maybe not

I may be in my 40's, but I am sure, like many of you, I don't feel like I have ever grown up.  This is currently exacerbated by the fact that my Mom is coming to stay with us.  Somehow with her in the house I always feel like I am a teenager again.  Like I have to justify what I am doing and sneak around a little.
Don't get me wrong, my Mom is great, she is easy to live with and doesn't pass judgement (much), but I know it's still going to be an adjustment for me and for her having her living here.

At the moment, I have three days until she arrives, I am cleaning my house.  She told me not to be silly when I said I had to clean before she arrives, but trust me she has not seen my house!  She used to tell me my bedroom looked like a pig sty and in reality, what kid has not heard that line?  However now I'm an adult (I think) and add in two eight year olds, and my entire house looks like a pig sty.  Clean as I may, I cannot seem to get the kids to pick up after themselves, not leave their garbage where ever it falls and stop leaving socks lying in arbitrary places throughout the house.

A few days later....

Yes I got sidetracked, we had a lot of things happen that derailed my blog post, so now my Mom has been here for nearly 3 days and we are adjusting.  The kids are loving having her here. They have been on their best behavior and she in turn adores them.

I have only felt like a kid a few times, most notably when I told one of the kids to do something and she added afterwards a very pointed...."please??"  I countered with telling her it was a command, not a request.
In her favor, she has praised my child handling skills,...saying she loves the way I talk to the kids, and the tone I use with them.  From my side I think, great I'm glad she's praising not criticizing, but she hasn't been around long enough to see me lose my cool with them yet, so that will come.

The thing is there comes a point in your life when you are not sure if you are the adult or the child in the relationship. I still feel like the child, but find myself taking the adult role, guidance, checking up on things, doing all the organizing and also doing things like double checking her room and picking up pill packets that she's dropped on the floor so that the monster dog does not eat her blood pressure tablets   I guess it's a complicated stage of life for all.

  I was choosing a picture for the blog this week relating to being grown up, and there were just too many, so I found I could not just go with one...I thought perhaps even an explanation with some may be a good idea.

DH will attest to this one, the dishwasher has to be stacked my way.  It makes the most sense, you can fit everything in it, best use of space and most economical - there, doesn't that sound grown up? If someone else stacks it there are always dishes left over in the sink and who has to wash them...yes that would be me, the grown up in the house.

Yes, I'm guilty as charged of telling my kids lies like this to get them to stop asking questions and just accept what I have told them as the truth.

Well this describes me perfectly.  I don't think I'll ever feel totally grown up and then I look what I do all day and think, wow, they really should have a grown up doing this.  I am sure they would do a much better job....

Well yes, I wont go into details with all the cringe worthy things I do, but some days (okay, most days) I seriously question my grown up judgement.  I suspect that perhaps my inner teenage girl is lurking a little too close to the surface. But then, is that a bad thing?  I can hope that maybe when I am in my 60's I will still be thinking that my inner teenager is there and still doing stupid things that make me feel young again ;)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My friends

This post is dedicated to my friends...I guess everyone has different groups of friends, friends you party with, friends you hang and relax with, even online friends. I am no different I have seem to split my friends into many diverse groups. I have always been a bit of a loner, I like my own company, I am happiest at home by myself. Its a chore to go out and be social and I happen to be very shy.  That being said, I wouldn't want to do without any of these groups, they are all special to me and all do their little bit to keep me sane and make life worth living, including making me get out and interact with the world. Most of these groups consist of women...but I do have men friends too.  These are my groups:

Street Ladies - Or I like to think of us as girls.  This is a group of three of us who live on the same street.  Our kids are all a similar age and fight play together regularly.  We met through our kids and quickly became fast friends and BFF's.  We celebrate together and  get all our families together for parties and events.  Now, I know the age old three women conundrum. The one that states that three women can't remain friends for longer than a few months, due to one always feeling left out and jealousy issues etc, however we have proved this wrong by lasting years. We are secure in our friendship, we know all the dirty details about each other and we are each others crutches when things go wrong.  Without these ladies in my life I would be lost, however I'd also be sober a lot more!

Online friends - This group can be divided into two groups. Facebook Friends - people from past and present. Old school friends, old family friends, people you have met on your life's journey and who have made a difference in your life no matter how large or small, and finally people you hardly know but who you are nosy about.
Twitter friends - I find this one to be made up of people who share similar interests and senses of humour.  People you have never met, but have formed a bond with, even though you are unlikely to ever meet most of them in real life.  They are fun to chat with, good to vent to, and can even help you through some rough situations just by being an impartial observer and shoulder to cry on.  Some of these you will end up meeting, some will become long term friends, some will drift off after a while.  A select few can even become rather special to your every day life.

WW ladies - This is a group of ladies I became friends with accidentally.  I started Weight Watchers before my 40th Birthday to lose some weight.  Slowly a group of us who were attending meetings every week became friends and started chatting.  Now we meet once a week for breakfast, coffee and a chat. We help motivate each other to stick with the weight loss and discuss any topic there is.

SA ladies - My home girls.  I met this group after moving to Canada, a group of ladies from South Africa, a group who just gets me, get where I'm from, knows how I grew up, doesn't think I talk funny or laugh when I call a family room a lounge, or pronounce words with my accent. We share a history, we share a common background and a common struggle to adapt and settle in a new country with a culture we were not familiar with.  We do dinner, we text, we chat, we email, we meet up sometimes for lunch.  When I broke my leg and was laid up unable to move, these are the girls who fed my family and came around and helped me hop around the house - although I did notice none of them offered to clean for me ;)

Family - They say you can't choose your family and its true, however I really can't complain.  For the little family that we have over here in Canada, we do very well.  I have sister-in-laws and brothers who are both family and friends.  I have cousins, their spouses/partners and even their grown up kids who have adopted us  into their family.  The thing with family is that although they can drive you crazy, you love them, you do whatever is needed for them and they do the same for you.  You let them live with you if necessary and sometimes it can surprise you how well you can get along ;)  You know you have a group of people who you can call on, even if you know that it may cause them to grumble, they will do what you ask, and move on, you are family, you will drop everything and help.

Men - Yes Men, lets face it Men deserve their own category.  They are a species unto their own.  I obviously have men friends in my online friends that consist of guys I went to school with, guys I used to dive with, guys I used to drink with and through Twitter even guys I have never met, but share similar interests.  The thing here is, I used to have lots of actual men friends. Growing up in a house of three older brothers I was always one of the guys.  I would drink with the guys, I would hang around with them.  My brothers friends never complained about taking me places, (it became less of a chore to take the friends sister out once she got boobs!) and even when I started dating DH, I was friends with his friends, if he was not around I would still hang out and drink with his friends.  Since I have moved to Canada, I don't have a lot of men friends.  Its weird for the 1st time in my life I am lacking the male friendship interaction.  I have friends husbands, I have my brothers and cousins, I have my online friends and mostly and importantly I have my best friend who I have had as a constant since I was 16, yes that's right, mark it in your calendar, I'm going to be nice...I have DH.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Today's post is all about forgiveness....both due to the fact that I feel I need some and I owe some. Most importantly I want to say that I don't want any one person to think this is aimed directly at some small way its aimed at so many people in my life.

You know when you have the feeling you owe friends an apology and you don't know quite what to say? Well that's how I feel at the moment, I have been a little self absorbed lately...(who me??), had a few issues of my own in the past few months with losing my Dad etc, and I have not been paying enough attention to my friends.

There are friends who have had troubles, friends who are having troubles and friends who have needed a shoulder to cry on and I have not been around.  I have friends who are not doing so well health wise, and friends who would simply just like to see me for coffee and a chat.  Wow, I sound like I have a bunch of needy, whiny, pain in the ass friends...why do I bother? ;)  The simple fact is, I love you all, you keep me sane and I do miss you.  I am sorry I have not been the best friend the past few months, and I ask for your forgiveness.  I know I don't need to ask, we're friends, we are stronger than a few small issues that get in our way, but I want you to know that I know, I have not been the best friend, in fact, in some cases I realize now I was just downright wrong, and you, being my friends, know how hard that is for me to admit, since we all know I am never wrong!

I also know that in order to receive forgiveness you need to give, and I have friends and family that I need to put issues aside with and move on.  So, I am wiping the slate clean, I don't care at this point what you did or did not do. There will always be times when we disagree and don't believe that the other is handling a situation right, there will always be times where our outlook on other friends and family members differ and we have to accept that and try hard not to piss each other off.  We have made it to a point in our lives where we are not hormonal teens (maybe we are just hormonal adults), so we can, and must move on, we are all we have, without friends and family it's a lonely life.

Onward and upward, summer is round the corner...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A blog of completely random thoughts and topics

  • I had to get a new phone before my trip to SA a few weeks back, so much to DHs disgust I chose to get an iPhone. I love it! I particularly love Siri. She provides hours of entertainment for the kids and I, however there are some things that we do have problems with. She battles with my accent, I can say the thing a few times over and she won't get it, Princess takes the phone from me, says it once and Siri gets it right? How is this fair?  My phone listens to my 8 year old and not me!
  • On twitter the other night someone I follow posted "overheard...Siri where can I hide a dead body?" I asked him what the answer was, but he was slow to reply, so I went and got my phone and asked her the same question myself.  She answered me with, "what kind of place are you looking for, dumps, reservoirs, metal foundries, swamps, mortuaries, funeral services, mines, cremation services? "   DH walks in looks at me and says, "You know that's going to show up on your Internet searches after you murder me right?" I think its so sweet of him to worry about that!
  • Spring is on it's way, so I've been told, I'll just avoid looking outside for a while so I won't see the snowflakes that are drifting down as I type this! I keep telling myself that I don't mind too much since its supposed to be 8C by Saturday, so it will all be gone. 
  •  On a completely unrelated note to anything else my ass still hurts from my ice skating fall that I had in January...I've said it before me and ice do not mix well unless its in my gin and tonic!
  • Yes it's that time of year once again.  I went out today and bought the kids Easter eggs.  I think I may go into shock over how much I just spent on chocolate! Funny thing was this morning when talking to DH I said, "I'm going to go light on the eggs for the kids this year, they don't need as much as they usually get, in fact we end up eating half."  He looked at me skeptically and said "uh huh."  Sad to say he may know me better than I know myself!  Apparently to me, going light means buying one of every kind of egg and chocolate I can see! 
  • I got them home and I admit, before hiding the rest, I opened the packet of mini cream eggs, my biggest weakness.  I want to do obscene things to cream eggs, bite the top off and lick out the inside, bit by gooey bit.  I am not sure how they managed to pack an orgasm into such a small parcel but someone deserves a medal.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Reasons I shouldn't be a parent and other weird conversations with my kids

Diggle: On the way to school in the car: "We're gonna be late, we are so screwed!"
Me: "You cannot say we're screwed in that context. It's a bad word."
Diggle: "But why mom? You screw in a screw why is it a bad word?"
Me: "Well when it's used in a sentence like this, it doesn't mean the same thing, so don't use it."
Diggle: Looks at me like I'm making this up..."Okay, but what does it mean Mommy?"
Me: Stuck for an answer now..."You know fuck is a bad word and you are not allowed to say it? Well it means the same as that" - note he has no idea what fuck means either!
Diggle: "oh okay then"
Me.....tries to refrain from banging my head on the steering wheel while seriously questioning my parenting abilities

"Are you sure you want to put your favorite food down as mashed cauliflower?"  - me to Princess while completing a school project about herself.
Her answer:  "Oh yes, it's yummy."  I have no words, okay she's a freak, I know its done with cheese and is pretty good.....but what happened to french fries and candy and.....?

Buses are cancelled due to weather, but we live a short drive away from school, Me: "Are you sure you want to go to school today...there's a lot of snow out there?"
Kids:  "Yeah we'll go otherwise our cousin (who has just started this year at the same school) will miss us".- , who's kids are these that when given a choice they choose to go to school?

Diggle sitting in the bath tub examining himself: "Mom why do I have two jewels?"
Me: (clearly I wasn't watching him or I would have caught on quicker) "Jewels?"
Diggle: "Nuts Mom, family jewels..." (picture a 7 year old with an exasperated look on his face like I'm a complete idiot)
Me: (trying to keep a straight face) "Well, um,  you're a boy and all boys are made like that and have two"
Diggle: "Oh okay, thinks for a I guess one is a spare in case one breaks...."
Me:  "Yeah sure, um lets try not to break any okay?"

Me: "Don't eat all those carrot sticks, save room for dinner...." I know! WTF? Who's kids are these anyway? Carrot sticks? I don't think I have ever been hungry enough to sit and eat a bag of raw carrot!
Kids: "Whats for dinner?"
Me: "Chicken nuggets and fries....oh okay never mind, keep eating the carrots!"

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

When home is no longer where you think it is......

As some of you know, on the 10th of February my Dad sadly passed away. He was two months shy of his 89th birthday and was a man who had so much knowledge and had done so many different things in his life that I can happily say he lived a full good life. However his sudden passing left me needing to do an emergency trip back home. Home, the place I grew up and lived for the first 29 years of my life, the place I have missed so much.  Half of me was almost happy to do the trip, (not the reason for the trip, but to see the place of my dreams.) So 27 hours of flying and airports (that's just one way) and a 7 hour time difference and then 10 days later doing it all over again to get back to Canada and I feel like I have been knocked on my butt.

I typed some of this while I was there and the rest I have just finished now.

Flying into Africa was a strange feeling. It's like coming home, but I realized almost immediately it's no longer my home. It's the first time I have felt like this, all my previous visits I breathed a sigh of relief to be back in Africa, to be home where things were familiar and life is vibrant and exciting. Now as I pushed my way through the rowdy masses in JHB airport, clinging to my bags to stop a "helper" from forcibly taking them from me while he showed me the way to my next gate I almost had a sense of foreboding.  I know my visit was not of a pleasant nature which may have had an implication on my mood, but things felt so different this time.  I made my way to the boarding gate for my last of the three flights, a short 50 minute flight to Durban, there was no plane at the gate and people looked confused.  I took a seat and joined them.  A pilot sat down next to me and then as we are about to start boarding they announce that they have changed the gates and we need to get across to the other end of the gates to board now.  The pilot shakes his head and says to me, "Jhb airport couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery"  and tells me not to rush with the rest of the people, the plane is not leaving without him.  Welcome to Africa.

I guess by the time I arrived and cleared customs I looked travel weary, I was jet lagged and my back was in pain from a skating fall I had had a few weeks earlier, the customs guy looked at me and said "long flight? - never mind, you're home now". It Made me smile, but at the same time I knew my home was thousands of miles away in Canada with my kids and DH.

Below are a couple of random observations both good and bad from my trip to share.

Umhlanga Lighthouse - Photo by: Jen
Durban is HOT and HUMID, I nearly melted....I could not survive that long term, I was almost longing for -20c note I said almost!

There is nothing like the smell of the earth when it rains in Africa, especially after a hot day. It brought a tear to my eye when it rained the first day and the overwhelming smell hit me, I sat outside on my Moms patio and breathed it in.

Newspapers in SA are depressing. It's only local news, and most of the reports about the crime in the suburbs do not even warrant reporting on. Except for the sports pages, where local and some international sport (mostly European) is covered, it's all about violence and politics.

The food is exceptional. Even from the moment I climbed on SAA, the food was wonderful, SA'ers truly know how to eat. I am typing this while still here and I have no access to a scale, but I know I have gained weight and loved every minute of it.

I craved biltong (it was amazing) I craved a jam donut (it was a disappointment- I threw half of it away). I ate the best steak ever.

The lack of cable internet drives me crazy, even using my brothers ADSL line for dedicated access was slow and not like I am used to.

I did not feel safe. We walked across to the shops and I had the sudden thought that I should not have my bag with my iPad and wallet and phone over my shoulder.

I got used to driving a stick shift on the wrong side of the road and within 24 hours felt like I had been doing it for years.

Mosquitoes love me, does not matter the country, I am the one in the room that they will bite.

Biltong cream cheese is one of the best things ever made

It was amazing to see old friends, there are some people you can just pick up with where you left. It does not matter if it's been 7 years or 20 years.

I love the fact that they serve Coke Zero in restaurants, I missed bottomless soft drinks though.

Alcohol is cheap.

Having packers when you go through the checkout at grocery stores makes your life so much easier

Monkeys are cute

Loved the exchange rate, it was a pleasure being on the right side of it for once.

Clothing in the stores mostly sucked. What is up with the fashion sense there? It was either hippiesh 70s style or neon late 80s. I dont care if that is coming back...I am never going back to the 80s. And skirts that are short in front and long at the back are stupid.

I made a note to myself to open a bank account in my own name with some money in it. If your spouse dies and you need cash when all the bank accounts are frozen it's a problem. Especially when the funeral home demands payment on the much so that they will follow you to the bank and wait outside for proof of payment.

Having to drive with your handbag tucked under your legs out of sight is a pain, as is having to lock your car doors, take the gear lock off, the steering wheel lock off, de-arm the immobilizer, and have cash on hand to tip the car guards that patrol every parking lot.

Hibiscus Flower - Photo by Jen
Nothing can compare with the lush green and vibrant colourful flowers in a tropical climate, it is beautiful.  Made worse for me by the fact that at this time of year everything in Canada is white and grey and slushy!

The first time I really felt homesick for SA was the day before I left. We spent the day walking along the beachfront and sitting on the sand watching my nephews swim. I miss the ocean, I miss hearing it I miss watching it, I miss diving in it.

On every previous trip I have felt sorrow leaving, I felt like I was leaving a part of my heart and soul behind, I did not feel that this time. I was looking forward to getting home, home to DH, home to my kids, home to the monster dog, and yes even home to the snow. Don't get me wrong, a part of me will always belong to Africa, I will always support the sports teams and I will always love and miss the country, I was born there, I grew up and became me there, it's just that I realize now that home is where your family are, and for right now, home for me is Canada.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Things I have learned being a mom.

You will always think you are a failure....and yes there are things you suck at. I suck at reading with my kids, I know I should sit and do it every night, especially with Princess as she is not a good reader, but it is so frustrating! The thing is, although you are a failure it's important to look at the areas you do well in. I give them a loving home, they eat well, veggies and fruit are in their diet every day and they don't eat a diet of crap, fast food and take out. That's got to make up for the reading right? So I guess they will be healthy illiterates ;)

Taking your kids to extra mural activities is a pain...but there are benefits. We do MMA three times a week. It's a mad rush in the evenings to get dinner down, get dressed and out the house, it means leaving a plate of dinner to be rewarmed for DH when he gets home. The benefits, healthier kids who know how to protect themselves and are learning some good discipline skills. And yes ok, I'll admit it's not such a chore as I thought it would be, there is another benefit, there are young well built men rolling around the floor training the kids....need I say more?

You can't change who you are just because you're a parent. I tried not swearing and being a good role model, it sucked. So yes, I swear and I'll admit I have been known to have the odd drink while they are around, and I most certainly have fun with my friends all with my kids around. The outcome, my kids don't swear, but they do know every swear word (well almost every, there are maybe two that I can think of that don't get said in front of them). The plus side on this, when they hear someone swear outside the home, or on tv, it's not a big deal to them, they are not shocked and horrified. They know adults (and some younger kids who are trying to show off) talk like this and they don't care. They also know that if they say any of the words they will reap the consequences. In the long run we will have to see, but I often wonder if the age old stories of the pastors kids always rebelling and the rebels kids turning out to be good, have something to say, and if nothing else by the time they are adults my kids will be able to cuss like a sailor.

I think the biggest thing is if the kids are happy, healthy and well adjusted, and know whats important in life you are doing an ok job, no matter how you are raising them.  Also remember there are parents who suck at this far more than any of us!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

2012 - a year gone by....

Last year I wrote a blog post about keeping New Years Resolutions and setting the bar lower to enable us to actually keep them.  (You can read it here if you wish)  I even went so far as to blog my two resolutions that I had made to put them out there for the world to see.  I just went back and re-read my post and sadly....I only kept one of them.  I ran the 5K race, in fact I ran two of them, something that I never would have thought possible over a year ago.  The second resolution to lose the 25lbs and reach my goal weight, not so much....but I didn't gain anything!!  So that has to count for something right??

I feel like I had a fairly successful year last year, I had a new positive mental attitude and it worked for me.  I re-learned to ice skate (something I had always been afraid of!) and while I will never be doing pirouettes or jumps out there I can now play tag with the kids and actually catch them.  I found I just needed to stop worrying about falling and tell myself I could do it.  I mean whats the worst that could have happened, I could break a leg or smash my face and sever an artery - been there done that, I survived.

I started volunteering and ended up doing a lot more than I ever anticipated for the organization, made a lot of new friends and even got to attend a film festival party.  I gained a whole new side to the family when my brother and his family moved here and we all survived living under one roof for a few months, 8 of us if you include the kids, without killing each fact I think we can all be relieved that we survived that experience really well.

The year was not without its challenges, we had some major upheavals and I am grateful that we came out on top, stronger and hopefully wiser than before, and perhaps able to deal with whatever life throws at us next with a bit more confidence.

So what lies ahead for 2013, I have no clue, however I intend to run another 5K this year, I have one planned to do in April and by the fall I would like to do a 10K. I am going to get to my goal weight this year!, no excuses!  I saw a post the other day that motivated me, it read, "You can have results or excuses" and I realized its time to stop with the excuses and get the results I want!  
I am also going to make sure that this year I am grateful, I am going to celebrate lifes small  victories, I am going to be happy for all the good things that I do have, family, home, people who love me and yes even the monster dog. (I am in fact very grateful that she seems to finally be house trained and is no longer eating shoes!)

I think 2013 is going to be a good year!


Sunday, 13 January 2013

It's all about perspective

I know I don't do many serious blog posts, it's not in my nature to be serious and solemn for too long. I tend to diffuse awkward situations with humor and sarcasm. In fact, I initially hesitated to post this as it is about a dear friend, and I was not sure if she would want this out there. I solved my dilemma by emailing it to her first and explaining it. In turn she emailed me thanking me, and saying it would make a lovely blog post. Her email made me cry (and those of you who know me, know I don't cry!) it also made me realize that sometimes the best thing we can do is to just let others know that they are loved and that we are thinking of them.


I have a friend who posted these quotes as her Facebook status yesterday.

"In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful but the
gratefulness that makes us happy. -Albert Clarke

Happiness is not something that we simply hug to ourselves. If we do then we smother it! Happiness is increased by giving it away to others! The recognition of how precious being alive is should fuel our gratitude and cause us to create happiness and blessings for others, thereby increasing our own. If we find ourselves unhappy perhaps that is an indication that we are holding onto ourselves a bit too tightly? -Journey2Kona2019"

Inspirational?....Sure, people put up quotes like this from time to time, but what hit home with me was that this particular friend has been dealt a rough hand. She is about 10 years younger than me and yet she is living in pain, taking a cocktail of drugs to get her through the day so that she can still be the loving Momma to her three little ones, all while hoping that the drugs don't ruin her body more and that her disease does not progress further or faster. But here she is looking at the happy side of life, not wallowing in self pity, not crying and yelling at the world. She is one of the kindest most selfless people I know, if anyone deserves a break it's her. I can tell she is tired and worn down, and I know I have failed at being the type of friend she would be to me if our roles were reversed and for that I apologize. I should have been doing more, so so much more.

I am not going to name any names here, a few of you may know who I am talking about. My main aim with this post is to say I know we don't tell you enough how much you are appreciated, how much you are loved and how much we admire you. You made me realize that how we choose to look at our lives, how we choose to live them, and how happy we are is all up to us, it's all about perspective.

 Thank you.