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.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big News! Teenagers feel Entitled!!

I'm starting to feel used-up again. Anyone who has kids knows what I'm talking about- kids need, kids want, kids get= parents used. I usually get this feeling when I haven't been able to run for a couple of days or when my "stress cup" runneth over. I'm feeling the need for some balance!!

This morning before Emma left for school (..."and mom, I have to cheerlead until about 5pm so you can pick me up then"...) she plunked a stack of paper in front of me. In her typical bout of verbal diarrhea I realize that she wants me to sign forms so she can go on a school trip to Italy in 2010.'s a chaperoned, 10 day trip to allover Italy for only $3990.00. WTF?!!? So I suggest to her that she might want to start saving and she says it. She really, really, says it:

"Mom, since this is an educational trip with the school I thought you should pay."

Well, as they say: opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one!!

Since I was stunned silent, she just kind of went away. As I sit here and ponder our exchange, I realize that I'm just being provided with another one of these "teaching opportunities" that I'm getting really F**KING sick of. But as parent, I will try to find middle- ground. Not because I really want to....but because I really have no's my RESPONSIBILITY.

God, I'm sick of that word.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Runaway Dog

Did I mention that Jewel ran (waddled) away last night? Yeah, I was in the driveway paying the animal control lady for her yearly dog tag and Kristen left the front door wide open. Jewel waddled around the house and took in a tour of the neighbourhood!

Here's the thing- I didn't even notice she was gone! Eric came home from work a half hour later and said, "Where's the dog?"... after searching the entire house Eric and Brandon went outside and found her right next door. I felt like such a mess! I couldn't even keep the dog in the house and she doesn't move fast...she's kind of like a fat, wheezing sausage with legs...

Anyhow, I got that sick-to-my-stomach feeling when we realized she was gone. And then relief washed over me when she walked into the house wheezing and drooling! Jewel My Diamond in the Rough was safe and sound!!!!!

Take Your Kid to Work Day

This morning I am forcing FORCING Brandon to go to work with my brother. You see, he would have gone to a nice, clean office with Eric but he didn't tell us about Take Your Kid to Work Day until last night at 6 o'clock. Eric has meetings with executives at banks and he can't drag an angry, grunting 14 year-old with him.

So, instead, I've arranged for him to go to work with my brother. He's an auto mechanic. Brandon is digging his heels in for all it's worth! He even told me that he'd rather go to school to catch up on work because he's flunking his classes. WHAT?!!? As soon as I heard that, I realized that this is a battle I won't lose!

So, I'll be DRAGGING him to work day. Hopefully there's a lesson in there somewhere for Brandon....something like playing the guitar and video games is called fun, because they're fun. Cleaning tires and getting dirty is called work because, well, you know......

Monday, November 3, 2008

Six in the Suburbs Begins!

So, I'm a mom. I'm a mom who is not perfect...I have 4 kids and, quite honestly, I don't know what I'm doing at least 50% of the time.

My kids are Emma (16), Brandon(14), Kristen (6) and Sam (4). You would think that after having 4 kids I might have this parenting thing down, right? WRONG! Every time I have to deal with some kid-tastophe I feel all akward like a first date or something.

Teenagers are the most frightening thing I've ever been forced to deal with. I say "forced" because being a parent to a teenager is clearly not a choice. I mean, if we KNEW what that sweet, little 9lb baby was going to be like in 14 years we may have made the choice to shove it back in, you know?

So begins my journey into blogland. As I gather my thoughts into blogs, I will take you on a journey to a suburb of Toronto into a land known as PARENTHOOD. It's scary, it's funny, it's sad and it's going to be very real.