Monday, December 29, 2008

The calm before the storm...

Things here on the homefront have been blissfully quiet lately. It's because Brandon has been at his dad's house for the last 3 days with his best buddy, Alex. Because of all the "dad-drama" leading up to Christmas, Brandon was a bit of a mess on Christmas Day. He was particularily argumentative, picking at his brother and sisters for attention, constantly in-your-face... it sucked for the rest of us, but unfortunately we are used to this behaviour. (We just can't stand it!) I am not looking forward to him coming home, because after being at his dad's house for 4 days, his behaviour is going to be worse. Great.

Here at home, we've enjoyed the disappearance of all our snow. Today, the sun is shining and the birds are singing and it feels like spring...except, the weather man tells us we're getting more of the white sh*t tonight or tomorrow. But- for today- the kids enjoyed jumping on the trampoline!!

As I write this blog, Sam is playing Mario Kart on the Wii and Kristen is standing beside him screaming things like, "SAM!!!! Don't hit the mushroom!" and "SAM!!! You're BIG!! You can go anywhere you want!" and "THERE!! GO!!".....she's the best cheerleader ever!

Today, Eric is at work. But after today, he's taking the rest of the week off and we are planning to take the kids downtown on the subway to go up the CN Tower. I'm sure that after that trip, I'll have lots more to blog about!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The eating/drinking madness has to end.

Like all good things, my eating and drinking has to come to an end. I've had a great time eating my way through the last 4 months and especially over the past week, but things have to change. I feel horrible, I look awful and I'm going back to work at a job where I'll be standing for 8hrs at a, I've got my Dr. Phil books and my Wii fit and treadmill and a changing attitude!

The only problem is that I need to examine why I am such an emotional eater. Every time I'm sad, happy, bored, anxious, etc.... I stuff something in my mouth. So, what now??? Am I supposed to stop eating altogether or stop feeling anything?!!? I'm not sure how that's going to go, but Dr.Phil helped me before so I'm sure he's going to help me again!!

The good news is that Eric's also onboard. He needs my support to lose weight as much as I need his- we have been talking about it a lot lately, and it's nice to have the support of a partner who you can admit EVERYTHING to. Like, just yesterday, Eric went out to grab a couple of coffees and when he came back I blurted, "I ate 6 cookies while you were gone!" and he said, "Oh Jo....I almost, almost stopped to buy a sausage and egg bagel at McDonald's even though I feel like absolute sh*t from all the eating I've done." You can go to all the Weight Watchers meeting in the region and never find THAT kind of support!

I noticed that all the kids have packed on a bit of weight since I've been staying home. I just love to cook and bake!! I suppose I'll have to find a challenge in making low fat food taste just as good as the high-fat, high calorie, high good tasting stuff. I think my focus will change a bit when I go back to school next month and I won't be cooking/baking/eating to fill my time. That will affect the kids and we'll all lose some pounds.

Onward and Upward!!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Well, I had just finished writing my blog about Christmas and Boxing days when my computer "unexpectedly needed to shut down" instead of writing it all over again, I'm just going to post pictures to tell the story...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

The gingerbread house has been built, the letters to Santa have been written (the kids are REALLY excited!) and now a snowman is about to grace our front yard.

We are a lucky family. A family built on love and trust and damn hard work...

Let the celebrating begin!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The start of Christmas Vacation.

So, today is the first day of every parents' hell called- Christmas Vacation.

Emma took Kristen to the mall to go "Christmas shopping" but as we were walking out the door she was asking me for money...seems that she's not a great saver and her paycheques don't last as long as she'd like. (ANOTHER great teaching opportunity for Eric and I. Great.) Kristen was so excited to go shopping so I gave her $20. I gave Emma a lecture.

It took us half an hour to navigate our way to the mall through traffic and snowy roads and then about 15 minutes to get close to the mall entrance. I kept quizzing Krissy about what to do if she gets lost, where to go... she was getting really irritated with then I started quizzing Emma. She's a teenager so she knows everything and that can really come in handy when I try to have a discussion with her. Therefore, she doesn't get irritated- she just says over and over again, "I KNOW mom."

Any hoo-ha after we dropped the girls off, Brandon, Sam and I went down to the shop to give the guys some cookies and then to do some grocery shopping. Sam is always excited to go out and he really doesn't care where he's going. But Brandon. Brandon really, really didn't want to come. I told him that Christmas is about family and he needed to come and help his out, so he came and irritated me the entire time....that kid can make noise NO MATTER WHAT. Drum beats on the shopping cart? No problem. Flicking the pen that I'm using to scratch stuff off of my list? Yup. Turning up the radio in the car so I can't concentrate on driving? Uh huh. Noise is not a problem for my son!

So by the time all of my shopping was done it was time to make the snail's pace back to the mall. As Emma and Kristen jumped in the van, I noticed Kristen had her face made up in some makeup that made her look like a child transvestite. I guess they made it to Sephora. But her makeup couldn't hide the huge smile on her face, so it was all worth it.

Now we're home and Sam is watching tv in his winter coat, snow pants, touque and rubber boots.


Tomorrow we'll get up and face this insanity all over again. Except we're going to attempt to build a gingerbread house. I must be CRAZY...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Same old, same old.

You know, I don't talk about my ex-husband very much. There's a couple of reasons for this: 1) I have nothing nice to say about him 2) It's a very, very old story in my life that I've moved waaay beyond and that really holds very few fond memories and 3) I despise the way he treats my kids, therefore, thinking/talking about him conjures up feelings that are unpleasant for me.

But tonight I am needing to vent.

All week Brandon has been excited to go to Steve's house this afternoon. He had a plan that included skiing and snowboarding, hanging out with his dad and coming home on Christmas Eve afternoon. Sadly, he has become cautiously optimistic when it comes to making plans with his dad because it is not unusual for Steve to not show up.

And that's what happened today.

As usual, Brandon tried to get in touch with Steve all day today to make sure he was coming and at what time. As usual, that f**ker wouldn't answer his phone. The more the day wore on, the more frantic the phone calls became. Finally, Brandon phoned Steve's office and had someone track him down. Steve is the general manager of a ski resort near Trenton so I guess he works a lot at this time of the year. Actually, according to Steve, he works ALL THE TIME ALL YEAR LONG and that's why it's so tough for him to see the kids. For the last 6 years or so, they have been very lucky to get 3 visits per year with the Sperm Donor. (Bitter much?!!?)

Anyhow, Brandon FINALLY got Steve on the phone around 4:30 and Steve told him it didn't look good for today. He also said, "We'll see if tomorrow works out, otherwise it'll be after Christmas for sure." Then, Brandon got very antsy and uptight (can't sit still, can't leave the younger kids alone, can't stop eating, can't take "no" for an answer) and understandably so...I tried to talk to him about how it's not his fault, but he insists that he doesn't care, that he expected it to happen anyhow. And we've been down this road countless other times so I'd like to believe him, but I just know that he had hoped that this would be the time that his dad wouldn't let him down. I know that all he wants is to feel loved and wanted by this asshole who has the honour of calling himself a "father".

As far as I'm concerned Brandon's father was sitting at the dinner table with him tonight, speaking to him calmly and understanding what turmoil he has surging inside of him. Brandon's "real" father came into our lives about 8 years ago and never lets him down. Brandon's "real" father continues to be a father even while Brandon tries to push him away for the Sperm Donor's attention. It is clear to everyone who has been a real dad to Brandon.

And one day, Brandon will see who his "real" father is too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just shut your mouth and smile. Shut your mouth and smile.....

Being the mom of a teenaged girl is never easy. On any given day I experience a range of emotions from love so deep it knows no depth, to irritation (like tin foil on a filling), to complete and utter disbelief that someone so much younger than me can know everything.

Today, I feel a little bit offended and it's for a very odd reason. You see, Emma and her best friend Gillian dyed their hair last night.

They are both natural redheads like me, and I couldn't believe that they wanted to colour their hair BROWN. Brown. Brown like soil. Don't get me wrong here- I have nothing against brown hair and people who are born with it should stay brunette.... but Emma was born with the MOST BEAUTIFUL auburn hair. You can't recreate it! And she chose to cover it up. And I just don't get it. I worked hard at making that girl and birthing that beautiful red head so I'm taking this a little personally, even though she tells me not to.

I HATE that she makes her own damn choices now. But I'm just going to put a smile on my face and shut the hell up. :)

PS Check out the before and after pics.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brandon's Christmas Concert

There is some amazing musical talent at that school! I guess that's to be expected because it is a regional Arts school. The show started at 7:30 and Eric and I got settled into our seats at the Markham Theatre with Sam and Kristen. I was feeling really good because I had packed a couple of snacks, some books, some toys even a pad and pen for Krissy!! So there we were- Kristen,then Eric, then Sam then Me.

At 7:35, Eric and I were ready to hightail it outta there. Eric took the brunt of it because he was stuck in between the two of them. (I love you, honey!)

The kids KNEW about the SNACKS and they OBSESSED about them until I caved in and threw them in their faces. As we struggled to keep them quiet and still (a tremendous challenge for Kristen) the concert went on. Brandon was in the first act and the last act which really sucked because we were stuck for the duration. The band was great, don't get me wrong! But it was hard to concentrate with Sam tapping my arm incessantly saying, "Mommy can I have a snack? Mommy when can I have a snack?"

By the time the intermission came at 9pm, Sam was sound asleep and Kristen was STILL fidgeting, whining and complaining. The lady beside her was CLEARLY getting pissed off. Eric was sweating from the stress and offered to take the kids to the van to watch a movie. I said, "Why? Sam's asleep anyhow..." to which he responded with more sweat and a clenched jaw. Then, he offered to drive the kids home, put them to bed and come back to pick Brandon and I up....but we were about a half hour away from home and there was only 5 acts left, so it didn't make sense.

But the last 5 acts were booooooring for a 6 year-old. We threw the rest of the snacks and juiceboxes at her, gave her a book to read about monster trucks and then just dealt with her. By the time the show was over it was 10:15 and we were spent. I carried Sam out of the crowded theatre and Eric brought the car around 'cause we ARE an amazing team!

When we got home, Eric was tucking a very tired, very cranky Kristen into bed. In fact, she was crying from just being tired. So Eric whispered in her ear, "Krissy, you were a VERY good girl tonight" and she stopped crying and said, "Really?" and Eric whispered, "Daddy's VERY proud of you for being so good" and Kristen turned and looked at him and screamed, "WHY ARE YOU BREATHING ON ME?!!?"

At that point Eric turned on his heel and walked out of her room.

And THAT'S how Brandon's "Sounds of the Season" concert 2008 played out for us.

A dog named Cindy.

Just want to let my mom and dad know that Cindy is quite happy here at our house. It is a little busier and louder than she's used to, but she gets A LOT of attention. Kristen is imposing her own sense of fashion on the dog, but Cindy doesn't seem to mind!

Giving back is the best gift. Ever.

So, as the mom of 4 kids this time of the year can present a certain amount of stress. Buying gifts, wrapping, baking, concerts and getting ready for the Big Meal is a lot when you have a large family. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when my husband asked me if I'd like an "extra" job.

You see, his company has raised almost $2300 over the course of the year to donate to local families through the Lion's Club. Isn't that great?!!? This year, they are going to support 3 families for Christmas!! Yesterday, Eric asked me if I'd like to do a little shopping for a 40 year-old single mom.....just what I need at this time of the year, right? Well, it turns out that it was just what I needed. That and $150.......

At first, I couldn't imagine how I was going to buy for someone that I don't know. But once I got into the stores I got into a groove and had so much fun shopping for this woman. And I think I did a pretty good job, too...I'm really feeling excited that she's going to have gifts to open on Christmas. So excited, in fact, that I'd like to be there when she opens them!! LOL!

I've never been ashamed of where I've been in my life. I've been this woman. I have made decisions in my life that haven't been easy, and I'm sure she's going through the same thing. I have lived in poverty with 2 babies and the only reason I survived was because of my family. Don't get me wrong- I've worked my ass off to get where I am today, and being down in the dumps has only driven me to work harder....but my family reached into the depths of my despair and pulled me up so I could see something better. Not everyone is so lucky.

Today I Christmas shopped for a woman that I don't know. And, yet, I know her very well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Do I Know?

Turns out, not as much as I thought. Or hoped.

Last night Eric was outside doing something with the truck, when he saw Brandon 'round the corner of the house and light up a cigarette. Eric was so shocked he asked Brandon what the hell he was doing!! To which Brandon replied, "Nothing." HA! "Nothing" but break my heart!!

So, when Eric brought him into the house to tell me I tried to remain calm. (Having been smokers ourselves didn't make the situation any easier because we know that it's a lifelong battle to quit.) I asked my second-born why he was smoking and he said he just wanted to try it. Oh. OK. But, when I was trying smoking at 14 years old, I wasn't doing it by myself at the side of the house! So, in essence, I don't believe a damn word of it.

So- I immediately went to Emma. You see, if Emma knows anything she can't help but spill her guts....but, she was truly shocked. She actually said, "Ewwww!!! That's so sketchy! He's going to turn into a sketchy kid. I knew it would happen!!" And then she basked in the glow of NOT being the Bad Kid for a moment. (She missed her curfew by 2 hrs on Saturday night)

What did I think that I knew? I thought that Brandon would be the last kid to start smoking because he's been the most vocal about how disgusting it is. I thought that I had given him enough information about it that he wouldn't need to try it. I guess I thought that my kid, my kid would be better than to reduce himself to smoking-especially last night when he is suffering from a really bad chest cold.

But I guess what I now know is that my kid is only human. And no matter how much I hoped for him to be perfect, he's going to be who he'll be. It's his path to take.........but I'm not going to stop calling him "Smokey" for a looooong time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have I mentioned.....?

That Kristen is a bit of a fashionista? Well, she sure thinks so! Here is a pic I snapped of her before she bounced off to school this morning....looking like a hooker/librarian/Vegas showgirl at Halloween.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kudos to Brandon!

I'm so proud of the kid Brandon is becoming!

His music teacher took him aside the other day to ask him if he would be interested in joining the Intermediate music program and band. According to his teacher, Brandon has improved more in 2 weeks than any other student over the last 2 months! What a boost to BJ's ego!!


Maybe I need a Life Coach....

I'm feeling the pressure. I SWORE to myself that I wouldn't get worked up over Christmas, yet here I am with achey tonsils and a feeling of dread. You see, over the next 4 days I'm going to face seemingly insurmountable odds to fit everything in. If that's not bad enough, Sam is still pretty sick with his croup and not sleeping well at night. In fact, last night he visited me no less than 3 times to say, (in his raspy little voice) "Mommy, I'm having a busy time breathing". Translation: Mommy, I'm having a difficult time breathing.

So, tonight we have guitar and piano lessons, a Christmas concert (Sam and Kristen) at 7pm and Brandon's Cadet Christmas dinner until 9:30, and pick up Emma from work at 10:30. Breathe. Tomorrow, we've got Eric's office party and we were planning on staying overnight but at this point, Sam is too sick to leave with Emma so we'll probably come home. I'm still trying to plan an outfit! I usually LOVE to get dressed up, but I need some new shoes (not really) and I don't have time to get I'm feeling a little stressed about that...

Over the course of the weekend we have 2 family Christmas celebrations (for which I need to cook and buy 7 gifts), and a birthday party. Also, Brandon has to be at the Sharon Gun Club and Emma will need rides to and from work......spin, spin, spin......(that's my head spinning!)

I've never really understood the concept of "Life Coaches"... are they supposed to help you organize your life when it gets like this so you don't have to drink your way through it? Would a Life Coach make my turnip puff or do my shopping? Or maybe a Life Coach would just point out that I'm trying to do too much and I'm stressing myself out? Whatever it is that they actually do, I think I'll pass....I figure the best way to live life is just jump in, stress and all....even if that means sinking sometimes!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another day, Another adventure.....

Yeah. Another "adventure". The problem is that I am really, really tired of adventure.

I'd like to experience a nice, normal that too much to ask?

Early this morning, at approximately 2am, Sam presented at the side of our bed gasping for air. It seems he developed croup and was in that "Ican'tbreathohmygodI'mfreakingout" stage. So, I jump out of bed and carry him into the bathroom and run the shower for awhile. You see, we've been down this "croup road" before...Kristen and Sam have both had it every year since we're getting pretty good at dealing with it. At this point, Eric stayed in bed since he's the one who has to drag his ass to work in the morning.

After awhile, I got Sammy set up in front of the tv with a cup of hot chocolate and the Disney Channel and he though it was the greatest thing ever! I started to drag out the humidifier...the only problem was that it had no filter.

So my dear, awesome husband got dresssed and headed to Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart for supplies...after an hour and some searching, he came home with a new humidifier because he couldn't get a filter at 3am...

In the morning, Sam was tired and cranky and stuggling for breath but otherwise pretty happy. You know who wasn't very happy? Jewel. Poor dog was c-o-n-s-t-i-p-a-t-e-d.....spent the entire morning trying to poo and almost turned her poop-shoot inside out! I felt so sorry for her but I couldn't do anything to make it easier. (Believe me- I've BEEN THERE! If there was something I could have done, I would have!)

Now it's early evening and Sam is still pretty scary sounding and quite sick but I think he's going to be just fine. It's another one of those times that I don't regret going back to school and becoming a nurse, even though I'm still paying off my damned student loan!!

And Jewel has had a couple of successful bowel movements and a bath...I'm going to start giving her some mineral oil with her dinner from now on!

And Eric and I? We're exhausted beyond belief. We'll probably go to sleep tonight and dream about having a nice, normal day....whatever that is.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I've had a lot of people ask me about Brandon over the last few weeks. I just wanted to let y'all know that he's doing really well.

He seems to have found a good crowd of friends, he joined the Navy Cadets, shaved his head, and is pretty heavily involved in the music culture at school. I would have to say that things in our house have improved 150% over the last 4 weeks- he even brought home 2 tests last week- 100% and 65%... NOT to say that he isn't still the same annoying, attention-seeking, constant-need-for-stimulation Brandon....but when he smiles, I see the old Brandon again. The sweet, helpful, funny Brandon that I had missed so much.

I have to thank my dad for being the one to help me see what that kid needed when all I really wanted to do was give up on him. You see, Brandon and my dad are kindred spirits- VERY much alike in personalities. My dad could see what he needed when all I could see was desperation...guess that's what parents are for, right?

I'm sure that he's going to continue to test the limits as he goes on through the year- I'm expecting it! But at least when I'm disciplining him I'll remember who he is...and what he's really capable of.

Thanks Dad xoxo the dog's anus is bleeding....

First my dad, now the dog.....what is going on here?!!?

I feel a little for Jewel. She went into heat on the same day I decided to start feeding her a raw let's just say, her tummy has been a little wonky. BUT- her fur is sooooo soft!!

I went to our local butcher and they have pre-ground, pre-packaged raw food which includes chicken, livers, bones, and a few veggies. Jewel loves dinner time now! The only problem is the bleeding I noticed this morning as she strained to take a poo-poo. Now, Jewel straining to take a poo is really no big deal; she IS, afterall, a BULLDOG....they strain just to breathe. But when I saw the blood trickling out (WHAT?!!? SHE HAS NO TAIL- I COULDN'T HELP BUT NOTICE!!!), I realized she has a little issue.

Unlike my dad, though, she doesn't seem otherwise unwell....she lays around the same as she did before. And my dad is all better now, so I think I'll just wait it out and see what else comes out of Jewel's anus over the next few days...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt.

The tree has been picked, cut down, trimmed and decorated. I think it's one of our best so far...the journey to the tree was fun and, at times, annoying....

You see, it all started with 3 very tired teenagers. I know, I know! We only have 2 teenagers! Somehow, magically, we picked another one up along the way named Alex (friend of Brandon). He's such a nice, well-mannered kid and I gladly would have traded Brandon for him early yesterday morning when it was time to go...."Mom- I don't really WANT to go"...."Brandon, I don't care. You're going, and you're damn-well going to have fun. If Alex wants to go home, we can drop him off....."....."But, Alex WANTS to go...I don't".....BLAH, BLAH,BLAH.......So, after a small arguement that I was unwilling to lose Brandon, Emma and Alex were squished in the back seat of the van with hats, mitts, coats and miserable looks on their faces. Eric and I turned on the Christmas music and sang our asses off while in the middle row, Kristen and Sam fought and pounded each other and in the back row, the teenagers looked like they were making a suicide pact.

The truth is, I didn't really care who was tired or cranky or cold.... I was going to find the perfect tree. We had a great time with Caroline, Ron and Saida (as always) and by the time we took the tractor ride out into the forest everyone was getting into it! Even Brandon....

I tend to measure successes in "kid measurements" such as: it was a great day because I didn't have to carry a 60lb slippery snowsuit through the deep snow... Or: it was a great day because nobody peed their pants...Or: it was a great day because the teenaged hormones stayed away....But, what really made it a great day was my family. Blemishes and all, we're a team...and team ILAQUA got a kick-ass Christmas tree this year!

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Hero.

It's my husband.

Who else loves me enough to go out and buy me pads AND know exactly what to buy?

Who else got up this morning to wipe the poo off of Sam's foot? (We're still not sure how he managed that)(BTW- it was "Sam Poo" not dog poo)

Who else would greet the dog this morning (who, by the way, is IN HEAT and wearing Depends for a couple of weeks)and have to change HER diaper because she SHIT in it?!!? (That was the funniest thing ever!!!!!!) (Ladies- you all know how your bowels get loose during your cycle...)

Who else would fix my computer so quickly because he knows how much I love it?

Who else would listen to me patiently while I cried about the less fortunate this Christmas?

Who else encourages me to do exactly what I want to do even though it's not always convenient with a large family?

I could go on and on and on.... but I just LOVE THAT GUY. xoxo

A Christmas Miracle.

That's what it's going to take to get all 6 Ilaqua's together to cut down our damn Christmas tree! It's all planned for tomorrow morning...we're meeting Caroline and Ron at Drysdale's in the early a.m. so we can get in, get the goods and get out before the crowds arrive. The stealth coordination necessary to complete this maneuver is overwhelming...Emma needs to be picked up at 7:45am from her friend's house, Brandon has a friend sleeping over and he's going to come with us, Caroline and Ron are meeting us at 9:15....whew!! I'm not even mentioning the work involved in getting everyone dressed and finding 6 pairs of mitts that match!

A few years ago, when I found myself with 2 VERY young children I told Eric that I didn't want to go through all of this crap just to cut down a tree...he listened, but then he told me that it was our special tradition and everyone loves it so just, basically, SUCK IT UP. So, here I am several years later facing all the overwhelming details again. But the kids are so excited- even Emma and Brandon! And when I watch them get excited, I get excited at their excitement!! That's kind of when I realize that it doesn't take a Christmas Miracle to gather a family together-all it takes is a tradition.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kids are a lot like dogs.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the secret to raising a well-adjusted child is the same secret used to raise a puppy into a nice dog-

1) Give them lots of fresh air and exercise to tire them out

2)Feed them quality food so they don't get the shits

3)Bathe and brush them frequently to get the crud off

4)Never, ever, ever leave the tv remote within reach or it will be chewed!

5)Overlook strange behaviour such as genital licking or scooting on the carpet

6)Spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT WITH THEM so they don't have to walk around the house screaming, "MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY?!!?

7)Discipline as needed, even when a cute face is staring at you.

I don't know when people started thinking that their kids needed "choices". To me, that's like telling a kid that you have no idea what to do. The last thing you want is for your kids to smell weakness!! It's like bathing yourself in Alpo and hoping the dog doesn't smell it!

When dog owners raise their puppies from a place of fear the dog grows up and becomes the Alpha...same with our kids, people!!

I'm no expert on child-rearing (clearly!), but the more I think about it- the more I realize that there are times when my dog behaves better than my kids.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It was a busy weekend.

Well.....we've had busier. But it seems as though our weekends are eaten up by driving teens to work and parties and friends' houses. In between all the taxi services, we took Kristen and Sam to see Bolt on Saturday afternoon and we went to Eric's office kids' Christmas party on Sunday.

The movie was really, really good! Kristen laughed the loudest during and Sam cried the longest when it was over. You KNOW it's a really good movie when you take your kid home and he cries in his room for 20 minutes...although, he may have been crying about his sore tummy- the kid ate soooo much popcorn, pop, Nibs and M&M's. Maybe it was diabetic shock he was experiencing?

The Christmas party is always a good time for the kids. It's held in Stouffville and comes complete with sugary treats, a creepy clown/magician, Santa, presents and the biggest loot bag you've ever seen. If you look around the room during the party, you can even catch a room full of bleary-eyed parents!! Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Now that December is upon us, I know that our days and weekends are going to become even busier. It's all part of the "season" and even though we complain, we all know how much we love it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's a P.A Day today.

I have all 4 kids off of school today. One is super-tired, whiny and looking a little sick (Sam), one is super-bored (Kristen), one wants me to drive him and his friends all over and then drop them off for rock climbing for a couple of hours (Brandon) and one had to be picked up in Aurora this morning after a party and she looks a little hung-over (Emma).

I am sooooo looking forward to going back to school and getting back to work.
I swear the school board does this to parents just so we have more compassion for teachers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Don't ya just LOVE parent-teacher interviews?

Me too. It's where I can go to find out that my kid "doesn't listen well"...REALLY?!!? Because we hadn't noticed that at home!

Apparently Kristen is "in her own little world....because she's so smart". home we just call that a reason for a time-out. Or we call it amazing that she has so much in common with Brandon. According to her teacher she's also "very creative...she took all the sparkly sequins from the other kids to decorate her reindeer!" Sooooo, she's creative and selfish? You mean- just like at home???

When Kristen has "circle time" she fidgets with her clothes or plays with her fingers...she really needs to learn how to FOCUS. Her teacher is going to work on that with her this term and I say,"All the power to you! Let me know what happens!"

I'm a little sad for Kristen. You see, she's a very free spirit (emotionally and creatively) and I fear that her spirit is going to be squashed in school. BUT- maybe a free spirit can't really be squashed. Just look at Brandon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The two little ones...

I realized today that I really don't blog too much about Sam and Krissy. You see, they are still so young and cute that when they do annoying stuff it's just "a stage".

Sam is 4 and he never stops asking questions. I know, I know, it's how they learn about things...but it's annoying if you're the one home with him all day. I'm sure when I'm back to work I'll think back on Sam at this age and be so grateful that I could be the one to answer all his questions. But right now, it's a bit of a headache. But that kid is so lovey-dovey! Loves to give hugs and kisses... he's also crazy for anything with a motor and wheels....a real little boy. He isn't much of a clotheshorse like Kristen, but he does manage to generate his share of laundry. At this moment, he's wearing shorts and one of Krissy's shirts (wtf??). He absolutely refuses to accept that it's winter and he wears shorts and bathing suits all the time.

Kristen is an interesting beast. She is super-smart, an amazing reader .....she is beyond creative. She puts together outfits that would make some street girls envious and she wears everything proudly. She plays the piano and likes to sit and write songs. She hums while she does EVERYTHING. Brush her teeth? Hums. Sits on the toilet? Hums. Feed the dog? Hums. Eat dinner? Hums. It's crazy!! If she finds herself in a bit of a stressful situation the humming gets a little if she's sitting on the toilet humming and Sam walks in on her she'll hum furiously while she makes fists to punch him with. Oh, that's the other thing about the 2 little ones- they fight like cats and dogs.

Yup, Krissy and Sam are full of personality! But like all of us in this house, they sometimes get lost in the chaos. It's strange because they are usually right in the middle of the chaos at the same time........

Condoms in the bathroom.

Eric and I don't use them. After Sam was born, I had my tubes tied because a) I don't want anymore kids and b) I had to have a cesarean anyhow.

But in an effort to be a responsible, open-minded parent I had a conversation with my kids about sex and protection. This is a very difficult conversation to have with your offspring because there's always the chance that they may ask about your own sexual experiences and I don't wanna go there. I can't figure out why it's easier to talk to them about the drugs I've done or the fact that I found myself poorer than poor with 2 toddlers and no husband, renting a house from the mice....nope, can't figure that out.

Anyhow, I had the conversation about how important it is to protect yourself. I also told them that I would put a package of condoms in their bathroom and if they felt that they (or a friend) might need one then they would be there. I also told them that they are too young for sex and yadda, yadda, yadda....emotions, feelings, blah, blah, blah...........and I also made it clear (more for my own piece of mind) that this was not permission on my part to go out and have sex.

This all happened about 3 weeks ago.

Yesterday, I was in their bathroom and noticed that one of the condoms is missing. Now I'm kicking myself for implementing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy!!! It's kind of like driving past a really bad car don't wanna look, but you really kinda want to look.....I don't want to know who took the condom, but I really want to know!! At this point, I'm going to make myself feel better and say that one of Emma's slutty friends took it. LOL!

I guess I have only myself to blame for leaving condoms in the bathroom.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Running gets me high.

When I'm running I experience the greatest high. It's almost meditative, except for the loud music screaming through my noise-cancelling headphones. You see, now that there's snow on the ground, I am reduced to running in the basement on my treadmill. And when you have 4 kids upstairs, the noise-cancelling headphones are a necessary for a peaceful run.

Tonight Emma was at work, Brandon was at Sea Cadets and it was just Eric and I with the little ones. It felt weird to not have all that teen tension in the house for a couple of hours. Weird and Nice!! The whole family dynamic changes as soon as the older kids come home....they are bickering, bitching, eating, eating, eating.....

But I had a run tonight, so I took it all in stride.

So, Eric's office party is in December and we're considering taking a hotel room so we don't have to drive home. Only thing is, the person who will have to stay with the kids is Emma. She's responsible and everything, but she IS a teenager. She is all for it- wants to assert herself as being self-sufficient and reliable. But asking me in jest if she can have 20 friends over to "help" her babysit didn't help her cause. Maybe I'll have to take a run to figure it out.

I love running.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Friend in Need......

Is a friend indeed.

I know that Karen and Mike are having a really tough time with all this house selling/buying/renting/packing shit. I really, really feel for Karen. Not because they sold their house. Not because they haven't bought a house yet. Not because they are under soooo much pressure right before Christmas.

I feel for Karen because she wants her dad's guidance and he's not here to give it to her.

I can't imagine going through something like that without listening to my dad's advice whether I want to hear it or not! It's kinda funny though, because I probably know what my dad will tell me in any given situation yet I STILL ask for his opinions.

I guess Karen knows that if she wants Merv's guidance, all she really has to do is remember her dad as the wise man he was. Because deep-down she knows exactly what he would tell her to do. All she has to do is remember.

And after that- if she's still not sure what to do- she can always call Jim.

Judge Not.

So, I'm having a really hard time digesting the news that one of Brandon's best friends' parents have placed him in foster care. This is a family that we've known since they started kindergarten together. Now don't get me wrong- it's not like we're friends with this family or anything- but if I ran into his mother at the grocery store we would have a quick chat. And Emma has known his older brother since kindergarten as well.

I've often found it strange that after 12 years of seeing these folks at school functions, I've never met a father. In all the times that I've dropped off and picked up at their house and in all the times Ryan has been to our house, I've never met his father.

But I know that he HAS a father, because just last weekend he was supposed to pick up the boys in Newmarket at 10:30pm after a party but at the last minute he decided not to. So, of course, we got the phonecall from the boys. And, of course, I went and picked them up and let Ryan stay overnight.

I'm really, really trying not to judge.

I am having a hard time, though, because I have seen some pretty tough, shitty times with Brandon. And there were definately times when I didn't think I could carry on with him but it was Eric who made me see the light. That's kinda what parents do, right? One picks up the slack while the other one freaks out and vice versa.....that's why there's 2 parents, right? Maybe that's the problem with Ryan's family. Because from what I can see he's a well-behaved, nice kid who maybe is testing some boundaries. Basically, NORMAL.

I learn something from every one of my kids. From Brandon, I have learned acceptance. I have learned to love that kid even if I don't understand him. And tonight I really see how lucky Brandon is to have us as parents. And you know what? I think Brandon realized that tonight too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm staying in my jammies all day today.

I am bound and determined to spend a day in my pajamas. It's so cold and so snowy out and I just feel like hibernating today, ok? AND- if I have to go out and drive somebody somewhere or pick them up, they can expect to see me in my damn jammies.

Last night Emma broke her curfew and arrived home almost an hour late. I hate it when she does shit like that 'cause now I have to ground her. And I HATE being the bad guy all the time, especially when it comes to breaking a curfew! Oh boy, do I remember being the one who had to leave the party earlier than everyone else because of my curfew. God! I hated that! But 12:30 am for a 16 year-old is not unreasonable, is it? She's been going to all these parties that the grade 12's are having (because she's a cheerleader) so it may seem like she has to leave too early, but some of those kids are 18 and probably don't even have curfews at all! Anyhow, that's just a little piece of business that I'll have to take care of today while I'm wearing my jammies.

My friend Karen probably isn't staying in her jammies all day today. She has to buy a house and move in 2 months. I guess moving in 2 months isn't really that big of a problem...but she actually has to look for, offer, and unconditionally buy a house, like, within the next 2 weeks because her house is officially sold (YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!) I keep telling her to look at the glass as half-full, but she just sees a glass full of a homeless family in the dead of winter. I guess that would really suck. Anyhow, I can't be there physically to help her out due to the distance, weather, family stuff...but I CAN remind her to not just buy the first house that comes along out of desperation. I can also point out that maybe, just maybe- this is a sign from "above" that she should be moving a couple hours south to live closer to me? Then we could sit in our jammies all day on a Sunday together!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow changes everything.

Ever since it snowed on Saturday night, things have just felt a little more difficult around here. The van always has to be brushed off before I can go anywhere, the dog seems to take longer to do her business, my mom came and decorated our house for Christmas, the washing machine is screwed up again....yup, seems like everything has become a little more difficult these days. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that my big, adorable, hot-stuff husband is away.

So much has happened since Saturday and I haven't had any time to reflect! There's been police, haircuts, job hunting, a LOT of taxiing, sickness, time-outs, Sea Cadets, cheerleading, grandma, shopping, a little wine consumption (very little- too much driving!!) and snow. In fact, it's snowing right now and the kids are playing outside, getting rosy red's falling so softly with no wind, like a gentle blanket coming down.....

My visit with my mom was ok. It seems like whenever she comes over all she does is work. I would love to just sit around and shoot the shit, but between the kids and the overwhelming amount of housework it's really not possible to sit around and craft together or just chat. I'm sad about that, but very grateful that she came to help out. She's heading home tomorrow if the snow doesn't make that impossible for see, when you get older the snow changes everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I miss my husband sooooooo much :(

You learn something new every day.

Today I learned something new about my son, Brandon. For the last 14 years I have never really seen this kid affected by anything- not divorce, not failure at school, not playing his guitar for his entire assembled school last year....but today I saw something! And it gives me hope and it gives me a reason to grasp on and keep going with this kid. Today, I saw my kid physically sick to his stomach because of the stolen bike and the police visits/phone calls.

He was trying to hide it and be the tough guy, but I walked in on him and he was a little embarassed. We had just finished dinner and Kerry the Police Officer called and Brandon had to talk to him. Ten minutes later he was kissing the porcelain Gods. He admits that he has headaches and tummy-aches because of his anxiety....and it doesn't help that one of the accused kids is putting messages on Brandon's Facebook wall and calling him names.

But- my kid made a shitty decision the night he decided to take that bike. Now, he's going to face the social wrath of that decision and I think that scares him.

Me? I'm just happy to see some light in that deep, dark hole of a teenager.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today I lose my husband.

Argh! I'm really starting to hate Ireland! Today Eric's going for another week of work in "Bad Luck Ireland". I call it bad luck because for me it is.....the last time he worked over there for a week, he came back and disappeared for a month! I mean, even though he was at home Ireland and all it's demands STOLE my husband!

I'm trying to find that single-mother headspace before he leaves...the one where I accept how little sleep I'll get because Sam will wake me up all night to tell me about his dreams. The one where I'll have to find a way to make sure the teens get home safely while I've got little ones asleep in bed. The one where I'll have to deal with Jewel and her potty schedule all by myself.


It's not all bad!

While we're on our own we eat alphagetti's for supper and I may not even get out of my jammies if I can avoid it. We'll turn up the music loud and the kids will bang on the piano and guitar (Eric can't tolerate excessive noise). Also, my mom's coming for a day or two to decorate the house for Christmas!

So......while I'll miss my husband dreadfully, I also look forward to a week of just me and my offspring......but I'll be the first one in line to kiss him and hug him when he gets back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm worried about my dad.....

He is a very strong, healthy 65 year-old man. He's a farmer so he's always on the go and I can't even keep up with him when we go out biking!

But he's having some tummy troubles.

My mom took him to emergency on Monday morning because his stomach really hurt. It must have been pretty bad because he doesn't go to the hospital for nothing. I've actually seen him GLUE his finger back on after some farm accident practically ripped it right off. I kid you not. So, it must be really bad if he goes to get a doctor's opinion. (Did I mention that my parents just got a family doctor this summer after their regular doc moved away 10 years ago?)

So, he goes to the emergency room and they hook him up to leads because he complains of chest pains. (Now, I've always told him that if he doesn't want to wait around in emerg.; he has to talk chest pain....guess he listened!) His heart is fine, his pulse is quick, and the doctor prescribes Gravol and Prevacid for a Hyatus Hernia.

Turns out this doctor is a bit of a quack who is solely responsible for Karen's dad's stroke.

So here we are 3 days later, my dad is still laid up on the couch not feeling much better and experiencing bleeding with his stools ("It's not a little blood,'s profusely bleeding") I told him about Karen's experience with this particular doctor and also tell him that he may need to go back to emergency if he doesn't improve tomorrow. I strongly suggested going to Owen Sound hospital because they actually staff an internist.

I hope he starts to feel better by then....but today I realized that my big, strong, healthy, wise dad is only human. He is just as vulnerable to sickness and disease as the rest of us. It's a frightening thought.

I'm thinking about Karen losing Merv. And as I put myself in her shoes, I realize how badly I want to take them off......

Monday, November 10, 2008

My kid stole a bike......

and I'm really not proud of him. But he is trying to fix the situation by paying back a portion of the bike to the parents' of the kid they stole it from. There was actually six kids who stole the bike.......and it doesn't look like they will all cough up money to refund the poor kid they stole it from.

I've realized tonight that kids are a product of their environment. It is very obvious to me after gathering a couple of kids and making the rounds to talk to parents about the situation regarding the stolen bike. It seems as though some parents would rather discuss "proof" (even though their kid is standing there admitting his guilt and providing evidence) than consequence. I am really interested in shoving a serious consequence down Brandon's throat and have him learn a lesson. Hence, the decision to have him sell something so dear, so coveted that it hurts- his XBox....(thanks Karen and Mike) I have also forced him to face the other 5 kids involved and their parents....this is like social suicide! It's great, and I highly recommend it!!!!!

Anyhow, I'm far from perfect and I don't even know if I'm doing the right thing.... I just know that it hurts my kid to do it, so it must be the right thing to do.........

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas starts early

At least it does for our family. Due to a very large, aging, spread out family we are forced to have our party early and in a hall. I think the count last night was around 125 aunts, uncles, cousins and a bunch of people I didn't recognize. So, the kids were super excited to see Santa and get presents....

This year Emma sold tickets for our annual draw. Everyone brings something to put in the draw as a way to raise money for next year's party. We had a banner year for ticket sales thanks to Emma and her cute face! We also had a silent auction and auctioned off 4 larger dollar items. I won a half day at a horse farm (For Krissy and I to spend a special day together) and a handmade Christmas quilt wall-hanging thingy.

All in all it was a really nice day and I don't even have any really funny stories to tell about it. I just felt so proud of my little family last night! Everyone was on their best behavior and it meant the world to Eric and I.