Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A day for flowers...

No, the title has nothing to do with the fact that today is our 11th wedding anniversary - although that would be an OK reason for flowers too....

The title is reference to the fact that my boys are wearing their hearts on their sleeves today - along with the flowers they insisted on taking in their back packs. Calla Lilies to be specific, silk ones.

Apparently there are two little girls at the elementary school scheduled to receive their first flowers from a boy today.... I just hope that doesn't mean a son of mine is schedule to have his heart broken for the first time.

When I picked up the boys from daycare yesterday, my youngest, only seven, with a dreamy look on his face pronounced: "Ahhhh, I Love Isabella"

I couldn't help but smile. He's so dang cute.

"She's beautiful, I'm not going to break her up." (which is his mixed up way of saying break up with her - haha)

My older son jumped in to tell me that Isabella had actually kissed little brother on the cheek at recess (YIKES!), and take a moment to inform me that HE was in love with Amanda.

"Can I buy her a rose Mom? Just one like they do in the movies?"

Oh my.

"Oh Oh, Can I give one to Isabella too?!" (not to be outdone in the romance category by his older brother, I presume)

I had to bite my tongue. Stop myself from shouting NO WAY! You're way to young to have crushes on girls. You can give flowers to girls at your age.... what if they laugh at you? What if they break your heart? What if it scares you from being brave enough to share how you feel with other girls, or anyone for that matter, in the future? What the HELL do you mean you're kissing girls already??? GAAH.... I'm not ready for this!!

But I didn't crush the budding romantics in my little men. As much as I fear them growing up, as much as I don't want to see any girl hurt their precious egos or break those fragile hearts, what actually came out of my mouth was:

"Well, I suppose if you really want to you could get a flower to give a girl. But how about a Lily instead? I have some really pretty Calla Lilies at home left over from wrapping your Uncle and Aunt's wedding present.... and they're silk, so they'll last forever"

"Oh, so Lilies are for really special things?"

"They can be - they're really pretty flowers, girls like them"

"Perfect! And they'll last forever - that's cool."


I hoped they would forget about the conversation. Change their minds or chicken out.... but no. The last thing my older son asked before going to bed last night was whether I'd gotten the flowers ready yet. And the first thing he asked this morning was where the flowers were.

So that's how we walked out the door this morning... a mother with her three children - each armed with a Lily. The boys setting out to declare their love to the little girls in their life, and my daughter (not to be left out) with a flower of her own to show her friends.

Those girls better be nice to my boys.

I'm nervous for them. This is going to be a long day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Laying down

My baby girl has always been an independent sleeper. Almost from the day we brought her home. She was never one to sleep forever in your arms... she always rested better on her own.

And while I sometimes regretted putting her down and not being able to hold onto that wonderful bundle of love that my last baby was for just a little longer, it wasn't long before I recognized how lucky I was to have such a "good" baby. You can get so much more done when you can put your baby down - and bedtimes are so much smoother without the 1/2 hour (or longer!) of rocking, or even more elaborate tactics, some babies need.

(I payed my dues with my firstborn, by the way - in spades.... I figured this one must be a reward for all that suffering ;)

So I'm just having trouble understanding where we're at with her right now. Over the past few months, she's picked up the need for us to lay with her at bedtime. "Yay down Mommy, yay down!" It's really hard to get to her to go to bed these days without at least a few minutes of one of us (usually me) laying down with her.

Gone are the days of "nigh nigh" - when she would ASK us to go to bed... jammies, teeth, tuck her in with a kiss, then walk away. This laying down every night thing is for the birds! It's cramping my style.

By that time of day I'm tired, I'm looking forward to the few hours to relax after the kids are in bed.... or, more likely, I've got a list of things I still need to accomplish that I feel I can only tackle once they're down and out. I'm impatient to be done.... I've read the stories, we've done the routine and I just don't want to lay down - it's not MY bedtime!

But I do it. Pretty much every time.

I know it's an awful habit to get into but it's too late - that's routine for her now.... and it's really hard to break her of it.

I thought I was in a big rush to get her back to where she was too - to break her of this annoying new habit. But over the past few nights, my mind has be wavering. Now I'm not so sure. Is it really that big a deal? Do I really have anything so pressing that can't wait another 10 minutes?

She snuggles into me now.

She knows that I leave as soon as she falls asleep so she moves closer in the bed, rests a hand on my arm, or even better; rests her forehead next to mine. And that's when I see my baby in this little girl next to me... looking down at her eye-lashes resting on the soft curve of her cheek and catching the last lingering trace of baby scent that she still has.

My heart melts. She never needed me like this back then. I missed out on it. But she wants me now - and those extra 10 minutes mean so much more to her than they possibly can to me. She can have them.... and I can have a few stolen moments of babyhood before my last walks away from it forever.

I can't lose sight of the fact that there will come a day when she won't want me for anything any more - and I'll long for these days when I heard those sweet words "yay down mommy, yay down"

3rd time the charm?

So I'm onto my third very expensive retractable leash. I'm actually shocked at how much these things cost and I'm going through them nothing.... I've owned my dog for less than 4 months. She loves walking on the retractable and having that room to roam when I can let her - but really, $74 for a leash??

Leash #1 was a $14 Superstore special... they only had a medium (max dog weight 60lbs) and it was one of the ones with the narrow chord, rather than the wide ribbon. I knew nothing about leashes at the time. I did know that she would be bigger than "medium" at some point, but she was a 30lb puppy at the time so it did the job.

I bought leash #2 off the clearance table at our local pet store in July. It was regularly $59 but marked down to $34 and I got it for 50% of that.... so heluva bargain! I loved that leash - it was a large (up to 110lbs) and the ribbon type... save the chord burn on the legs or hands! But less than 2 months after purchase it stopped retracting. WTF? My, now 60lb, dog is no where near the maximum weight so her pulling on the end shouldn't have sprung it? I was so disappointed. But also too cheap to replace it when leash #1 was still around and serviceable.....

So leash #1 it's been for a while.

Until I figured out that one really does need to pay attention to pesky little details.... like "maximum weight" limits on things like retractable leashes. Maybe my dog actually weighs 62lbs now?

There I was, peacefully walking down the sidewalk, near dusk, with my happy-go-lucky chocolate puppy on the line... happily sniffing back and forth, exploring as far as the limits of the leash would allow...

And then came the squirrel.

Or maybe it was a cat.... or maybe just a wind-blown leaf - I really have no clue because I saw nothing before the STREAK of my dog bolting side-ways towards someone's back yard....

And felt nothing but the stinging pain of the lash as the chord snapped, whipped back and cut me across my ribcage.

I have new sympathy for all those people who've endured 40 lashes as punishment. Or 20. Or one. Hell, it's a really good thing we did away with the lash....

I squealed. Really loud. Or maybe it was more of a shriek. The pain took my breath away and almost made me cry.... and had it not been for the presence of my oldest boy pushing his sister in the stroller, I'm sure a few choice words would have passed my lips. (please forgive if some did, I have no recollection, I was in too much pain).


I will NEVER buy a chord retractable again.

The dog did not get to go for a walk for a couple of days after that.

And I couldn't put my arm down against my side for a day.

So, back to the leashes..... I took leash #2 back to the local pet store. They credited me towards a new RIBBON retractable. Made in Germany. Industrial strength. Maximum weight 130lbs. (who the hell would be brave enough to own a 130lb dog?? Yikes.) It was regularly $74 (and who the hell would pay $74 for a LEASH??), but it was on sale and with my credit for the defective leash #2, I got this bad-boy for $31. Sweet.

Here's hoping the third time's the charm.

(I almost typed "let's see the bitch break this one" but thought that would be tempting fate just a wee bit too much ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Holy Goats!

My cousin had her daughter's birthday at the local corn maze - the nice one... with the really nice petty zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, bale pyramid and nice group pic nic areas in addition to the phenomenal maze. It was the most fun we had all weekend. The place was perfect for the little ones... especially the petting zoo :)

The Star of the Show

This baby calf was, hands down, the cutest animal at the petting zoo.... what a doll! I was totally understanding the Pioneer Woman's fascination :)

Gobble Gobble

Big ugly, hissing, nasty bird - but fascinating none the less.


Shootin the Breeze

Shades of what they'll look like in 10 years 'hangin' with their friends ;)

The Bale Pyramid

He scaled it in less time that it took his sister & I to walk over to it :)

Big Brother

My little guy doesn't have as many opportunities to play the "nice big brother" with his sister as my oldest does - mostly because she's so busy pushing his buttons and antagonizing him right now. But she really does look up to him and he was such a good big brother at the party .... racing back down to help her scale the pyramid for the first time too :)

(makes a Mom proud ;)

Llama yama

Lovin the Bunnies

My girl was just fascinated with the little bunnies... trying to gather them and get them interested in their food dish (which she kept moving closer to them and scaring them with ;) Must be something about how little and soft and harmless they are....
(and a much more flattering shot of my very pregnant cousin - to make up for the "distorted" water one.... there you go - you look like you've lost 60lbs in the past 2 mths! ;)

Cornered One!

5 Billy Goats Gruff?

Apparently I never knew what a manger was really for....

Climbing up

Flying solo this time - no holding this girl back!


Jumping down

The look on her face is pride. 'I SO did that!'

Monkey See...

Monkey Do...


How old are you sugar bean?? "Two!"


Shhhhhh.... don't tell my cousin.... but my girl was slipping her daughter more cheezies & chips while she was supposed to be eating her tuna sandwich (and she was all over it, by the way!). I thought about intervening, but hell - they were soooo cute .... and it was her birthday ;)


(you think she was worried about her cousin? Or just excited?)

Baby Bug!! (part two)

Ever fascinated with bugs, my girl.... I finally chased her away from the garbage (where the wasps were congregating) and her ears led her to a little cricket, chirping away.... "baby bug, mommy! Baby bug!"

Hammin' it up

Girls Night Out

Saturday was the last evening of racing for the season and my brother-in-law had a horse in the first race. We decided it was worth the trip out to cheer him on, but none of the boys (that collection of 2 sons & 2 nephews who regularly terrorize my house, and each other, on weekends around here) cared to venture out, so it was just us and the girls.... which would be my daughter and my four year old niece (the big cousin she adores).... out for the evening.

I didn't mind a bit. They're so cute together - and much more pleasant to take out and about than the band of hooligans anyway! No one cried or whined or bled and no one hounded me to buy anything all night ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Of hairbrushing and good fortune...

My daughter has recently begun to HATE having her hair brushed. She squeals like I'm trying to kill her....cries and flails and makes such a commotion that I think the neighbors just might call CFS to check up on me. (you know it's bad when you have to shut the window, just in case).

I try to be careful and gentle, I swear! Hold the hair so it doesn't pull from the scalp, slowly pic the tangles out instead of brushing.... but she's having none of it! And I suppose it only makes sense.... the hair gets longer, the tangles get nastier and really, it's just a good 'ol dose of karma coming back to bite me in the butt.

I used to hate getting my hair brushed.

Like my daughter does now, I used to squeal and moan and wail when my mother would try to tame the rat's nest that was my hair. I would duck and dodge and basically make my mother's life miserable in the mornings in her efforts to keep me presentable (much as my daughter is now doing to me).

But as it turns out, my desire to escape the brush led to good fortune for my mother and I...

Really she should thank me for being so difficult. Practically owes me as a matter of fact ;)

You see, it is because I hated having my hair brushed so much that she is married to my Step-Dad. And he's a really great man - so I guess she owes me big time.

I was 5 when we were living in our town house complex, just her and I. There was a pool in the centre of the grounds. I loved swimming and couldn't wait to get to the pool. It was on a weekend, it was morning and I already had my bathing suit on - ready to go, when she decided I had to have my hair brushed.

Noooooooo .... anything but the hairbrush!!

I ducked and she tried to corner me; I dodged and she tried to block my path.... but one more manoeuvre and I was past her! Out the door and making a full tilt, bee line towards the pool. She was hot on my heels, hairbrush still in hand, but I had enough of a head start....

I made it to the pool and jumped in! Then promptly swam to the other side to get away from her. It was there that I saw him. I recognized him from the complex and thought he was the nice man who'd given me a dime on the Halloween prior because he was just moving in and didn't have any candy. (they've told me many times since that I was mistaken - he wasn't even there on Halloween. But I didn't know any different at the time).

He was reading a book and completely oblivious to our drama. But he did put down his book when I plopped my wet self down beside him and said 'Hi!' ....and it was then that my mother finally caught up to me - and had to offer an apology to the nice man with the book that I found by the pool. (yeah, that's right - I found him!)

In fact, she must've offered a little small talk too because a few days later he moved in with us.

(Ok, Ok.... I'm sure it didn't happen quite that fast... but you know those 5 year old memories - they tend to have *some* holes... like just little snippets of here and there persist ;)

They got married when I was six and are beautiful together to this day. I admire their marriage.

Come to think of it, my half-brothers owe me pretty big time too ;)

But back to the point (if there is ever a point) to my long evening ramble: My antics, though trying to my mother at the time, were well worth the effort in the end.

So what I want to know, as I try to battle my daughter's tangles through her limp noodle impression or her next best attempt at how a two year old can impersonate a tornado, is: What will my reward be?

I'm not looking for a new man, right now at least...... (just kidding, hun), but there has to be some light at the end of this tunnel. 'Cuz this is just way too much work for nothing but a few pigtails (cute as I think they are).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Feeding Pal...

Another favorite pastime about to be interrupted by the coming of winter... and this time I'm not sure who's going to be more disappointed - my daughter, or Pal.... who is now in the habit of nickering whenever he sees her approaching the barn door.

I tell her "Look! He's saying 'Hi' to you!" and she loves it.... we know what he's really saying is "Look! Here comes free hay!" but whatever - the joy is mutual ;) I only hope when our friend returns with his horses next year that he brings Pal the pony horse back with him.... and they get the stable next to the daycare again!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I can almost smell it!

Oh wait, never mind... I can totally smell it. Yes, you guessed it, we're breaking out the hockey equipment again!

Both boys hit the ice for the first time this coming Saturday - my seven year old in the Initial Program (10 sessions of basics and fun before the house league season starts) and my nine year old in try outs for the first time.

I'm nervous for him. He's clueless.... and innocent.... and has never had to try out for anything in his life.

My boy has no shortage of self confidence - and his belief in his abilities often surpasses his actual skill level... which is fine, and even charming... but I'm worried that try outs might burst his bubble. And I don't want to see his bubble burst. I love his confidence level just where it's at.

Then again, they're only nine... and it's not like we're trying out for AA hockey or anything, lol. I'm sure it's a painless process of just "sorting" the kids into relatively even strength teams. I know that I'm projecting the remnant feelings from my own childhood days (and failing to make the "A" team).

He'll do great. It'll be awesome.

And regardless, we'll be back in the arena and they'll be back out on the ice. We spent this evening at the sports store picking up the last few necessary pieces of equipment to finishing outfitting the boys for the year... and every one's excited now ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My future Fred Astaire

My boy had his very first dance class this morning! He had an absolute blast. Apparently there are 4 kids in the class but only 2 of them were there this morning.... there's some talk of switching to Wednesdays in the hopes of picking up a few more from the Jazz kids on the same day - but I think it was ideal for his first time to have so much attention from the teacher! He did really good... I was surprised at how fast he picked up some of the more complex combinations she got them into and it was fun watching him staying in rhythm with the music. He was smiling the whole time - well, except for when he stopped to send an exaggerated wink or thumbs up my way through the glass. I'm so glad I finally signed him up - great fit for him!

Tired of it all

I'm just beat right now. Not just lack-of-sleep beat but sick-of-it-all beat. I'm just so tired and I don't know what's wrong...By most people's standards, I guess I have it easy. But that doesn't mean that life always feels easy. Most days, when I feel the need to vent, I'm confronted by other people - be they friends, family or strangers, who seemingly have it so much harder than me.... and the guilt makes me bite my tongue.

But every once in a while the day comes that I just can't hold it in anymore. It's exhausting and I'm tired. I'm tired when I'm at work and just want to go home, I'm tired when I'm at home and just want to go I don't know where...

Maybe I'm just having a bad day. Maybe it's hormonal. Maybe it's because I feel like I have absolutely no control in my life and that is so absolutely defeating.

Maybe it's because I'm so angry at my husband right now that my head hurts and I want to cry from the sheer frustration of everything that I'm feeling and just CAN NOT EXPRESS.

Maybe that I was so weary of my daughter's incessant demands earlier that I was seriously questioning weather I should even be a mother. (Please relax - there's no need to call CFS - I've been there before so I'm sure that feeling will once again pass).

I just want to be alone. I don't know if that's just alone with my family and no house guests, or completely, totally alone for a while. All I know is that neither is going to happen any time soon and I need to cry. Or maybe scream.... but probably just cry because screaming takes too much energy.

I want my house back. I hate how messy my house is on any given day ... but at the same time feel overwhelmed and really don't have the motivation I need to change... it's depressing.

I want my husband to support me. Especially on the days that I feel like I'm being buried under the unrelenting stresses of my work or our home. I just wish he would understand and maybe just give me a hug when he can see I'm on the verge of losing it.... instead of getting his own back up and dumping another shovel full of shit on the pile. I just want to feel loved.

I know I'm not being fair to all he does around here if I complain that I feel like I have to be responsible for it all... but it's what I FEEL. And I wouldn't even feel half as burdened if I just felt a little more appreciated. If everything that matters to me or gives me pleasure isn't the first thing dumped or degraded. Why to we always save our worst behaviour for the ones we're supposed to love the most?

I want to sleep for a week right now. Bury my head and pretend none of this is happening... and when I wake up all of my company will be gone, my house will be clean, my children will be playing happily with each other and perhaps my husband will even be there with a bouquet because he remembers that a girl still likes to get flowers for no reason every once in a while.

You know, wake up with a smile that I also feel instead of just wear. Now where the hell did I put that genie any way?

That's it, I'm done. I've vented.......... I'm temped to delete this post - a dark, heavy scar on my blog.... my happy place. But if this is going to be a true memoir of me, then you'll have to take the ugly with the good... because life isn't all roses and everyone has their pile of crap to slog through too.

(I'll try to get back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kitchen Help....

I have yet to learn.... I can not turn my back for a minute on this two year old of mine. I suppose this was her idea of "helping"? Or maybe she just couldn't resist... I mean dough is so squishy...

I suppose this is what I get for letting her help me roll them.... it was OK to touch a minute ago ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008


I’d rather stand on the edge of a cliff
And hang my toes over a bit,
And then jump when they dare me,
Even if it scares me and I get hurt.

I’d rather build my wings on the way down,
Do my best not to fall to the ground
and than laugh at my mistakes
‘cause there only lessons I’ll learn

I’d rather burn with desire deep in my soul,
And love like a fire that’s out of control,
and laugh and dance and fall and chance and kiss

I’d rather live my whole life with a sense of abandon,
Squeeze every drop out, no matter what happens.
And not wonder what I've missed
I’d rather risk.

Well I guess I could just play it safe
and forget about love, hope and faith,
with my eye on the shore line,
keeping my boat tied and staying home,

ohhh but I’ll never discover new land
by keeping my feet on the sand
No I’d rather set sail
and get carried away by the storm.

I’d rather burn with desire deep in my soul,
And love like a fire that’s out of control,
and laugh and dance and fall and chance and kiss

I’d rather live my whole life with a sense of abandon,
Squeeze every drop out, no matter what happens.
And not wonder what I've missed
I’d rather risk.

Every once in a while a song just speaks to me and I just feel the need to share....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Only two weeks left

The horses will be leaving soon. There are only two weekends of racing left. It will be just a matter of days after that and they'll be gone again for another year.

The closing of another season, like a chapter in a book.

This time of year used to be a much bigger deal for Oz & I... we'd be preparing to pack up the barn and put all of the equipment in storage, making winter boarding arrangements for any horses of ours and getting ready to ship home all the clients' stock. Then trying to decide what we were going to do for a living for the next four months.... We had lots of "winter" jobs - jobs that we always abandoned, come spring, to once again fall into the track life. A couple of years we followed the horses - lived and worked with them (for other people) in Florida. I groomed horses down there that were worth more, back then, than my house is right now. I owe alot of who I am today to the years I spent living the track life. It's very character building, to say the least.

It was like another lifetime. And yet it seems like just yesterday. I think once you are a tracker, you're always a tracker. It doesn't matter that I haven't had a horse in 8 years now.... I still belong here. And I miss it some days. But having my girl attending the daycare here lets me linger around the fringes of my old life... smell the horses, watch them work... say 'Hi' to old friends in passing.

It seems strange to me that our children don't know any more about horses that the average city child. They've been riding a few times at their uncle's place, sure, but it seems odd that any child of ours hasn't grown up around them, as comfortable with them as most would be with the family dog.

I think I'm a sucker for the day one of them comes up to me begging to buy a pony.... and it will probably be my girl - she loves them. It must be in her blood..... or, maybe it's just a girl thing?

It's been our habit, all summer, on mornings that I'm not racing insanely, hard-pressed for time (so maybe once a week if we're lucky, lol), that she and I would pause our morning rush just long enough to stand at the rail and watch a few horses go by on the main track. "Horsies mommy?" She was always very good, as excited though she was, and never over stepped her bounds or startled one of them (a good thing too - because if we'd ever spooked a horse and unseated a rider it would have been our last day standing at the rail!).

Some of the riders would even say 'Hi' to us and wave in passing... she'd always be ready with a wave back and a huge smile.

I know she'll be asking me soon where the horsies are... just like her brothers did for years before her. I know I'll be repeating my same old answer about them having "gone home for the winter honey".... And I know she'll be dissappointed all winter as we drive through the ghost town to daycare... as will I.