Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Night at the Movies.

Well, it's another Saturday night in paradise. Eric's off to Ireland, Brandon's at BandCamp and Emma's sleeping over at her BFF's house....that just leaves me, 2 kids and 2 dogs. I rented a movie AND I figured out how to use the tv/stereo/xbox/dvd player!! It's going to be a great night for me all by myself watching the Sex and the City movie (I had to get something that Eric would never watch with me!)

We've had a busy day of skating and a birthday party. The kids were too tired to even fight about whose movie would be watched first...gotta love that! Right now they are curled up with the dogs watching the movie about animated houseflies (WTF?!?), and I am watching the snow whip sideways against the door during yet another winter storm that Environment Canada didn't know about. It's only -18 degrees Celcius with the wind chill, though, so it's all's warming up!!

Tomorrow's a new day, with a different birthday party, maybe some skating, but hopefully no more snowstorms!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Duped by a 4 yr-old.

I'm sure it's not easy to be the youngest of 4 kids. It probably seems as though the older kids are always allowed to do more stuff, go more places. Sam has an "I CAN'T DO it" attitude and I'm pretty sure that it's because the older have always done everything for him. Well, let me tell you- I am getting tired of "Sam I CAN'T".

This kid is going to be 5 in 5 months and he whines about EVERYTHING. I know that some of it has to do with the FANTASTIC 4'S but a lot of it has been prevalent throughout the TERRIFIC 2'S and the THRILLING 3'S as well... so I have to face it: my kid is a whiner. And to make matters worse, he's not embracing the thought of being all. In fact, it's a good thing that Kristen is so FIERCELY independent because she helps herself AND Sam. Here's a couple of examples of "Sam I can't"-

"Sam, can you please carry this loaf of bread for me?"........"I can't!" (with an exaggerated motion that his arm is about to fall off) Or, "Sam, you need to push your foot into your skate"...."I can't!" (with his foot limp as I'm trying to jam it in)

The worst part is how he winds himself up with frustration and anger. And then everyone tries to help him because nobody wants a full-blown freak out. Ya know, the more I think about it the more I realize that Sam has us all on a short leash (lightbulb moment!!). By playing the helpless role he is actually in control! Boy are we fools!! All this time we thought we just need to introduce him to "Sam I CAN"......looks like he already knows him.

That kid is not a whiner........he's brilliant!!

Oh Yeah!! Oh Yeah!!!

I am 13lbs lighter today!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Same Old Song and Dance.

Today has been a tough day. I've got all 4 kids home (Sam has no school today, Kristen is sick, Emma and Brandon have no exams) and we're having a snowstorm. So.....let's just say it's been cozy here at home today......

I've noticed that Brandon is spending an awful lot of time with Alex lately. He's a nice kid and he has a nice family, but it concerns me that Brandon wants to spend every waking moment with him AND he neglects his responsibilities at home. So yesterday I told him that he's not allowed to hang out with Alex at his house or ours until he has found a part-time job. It was quite obvious that he thought I was kidding because this morning I heard him tell Emma that he would be hanging out with Alex this afternoon.

"No you're not," I said. He asked me WHY. I asked him, "Do you have a job yet?" Noooooo..... So I reiterated the rule about NOT hanging with Alex 'til he has a job. Do you know what he said to me? Do you want to know what that snot-nosed a**hole said to me?

"Then you have to drive me to look for a job."

S'cuse me?!!? I don't let anybody tell me what to do and I wasn't gonna start with him! So, I gave him $3 and told him to get on the bus and go to a certain Tim Horton's (Emma's friend works there and was expecting him) and to Harvey's and McDonald's. About an hour later he calls me from Alex's HOUSE. I asked him, "Did you find a job in an hour??" and he says, "No. But I just came to pick up Alex to go with me." Sooooo. Now I'm STEAMING. I can literally feel the heat radiating from my ears I'm so FREAKIN' MAD. And I also felt so angry at myself for expecting anything but this from Brandon. So, I hopped in the van and drove to Alex's to pick him up. And now he hates me even more than he did this morning.

So what now? He has failed Geography (he says he doesn't care), he refuses to get a job (I even made his resume), he doesn't want to be at home (he says he's tired of fighting), he smokes (he swears he doesn't anymore, but, well, he lies) and today I told him if he doesn't like the rules here, I can't stop him from leaving....but then I told him if he leaves I'll call the police and they will take him away and put him in a Foster Home (he says that he would like that better) (THEN HE SAID HE WAS CALLING HIS DAD- HA! Go ahead......)

Hate to sound like a broken record here, but I really am lost. Help.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Emma Justine.

I've had the opportunity to hang around with Emma a bit more lately because she doesn't have any exams this week. She and I have gone skating (twice) and to Starbucks....and we've also just spent time talking about so much stuff- her friends, my friends, Brandon, her dad and even some politics. The more time I spend with that girl, the more I realize that she's one of the coolest people I know! She's gorgeous, she's smart, she's warm and sincere, and she's really funny.

She's also turning 17 in a couple of weeks.

It just astounds me when I think about how long she's been around and how we have grown up together. I was 19 when I became pregnant with her and at the time I didn't realize how just having her would change my life. How she became the reason for EVERYTHING I did.....the decision to leave her dad was so much easier after she came along; I couldn't let her grow up thinking that men treat women like he treated me. I went back to work as a single mom to show her that moms can work, no matter what the situation. I went to college when she was 8 years old to show her that she can fulfill any dream, it's never too late. And I married the best man EVER because he loved her as much as he loved me.

I'm proud of myself for a lot of things. But I'm most proud of raising Emma.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Glass is Half-Full Today!

Yes it is! I am determined to remain positive these days... I'm afraid that if I allowed myself the opportunity to dwell on how tired, run-down and sick to HELL I am of the cold weather that I may fall so deep into a depression that I couldn't climb out. Instead, I have decided to focus on the positive side of things.....

For instance, some days I may see Brandon as lazy, a bit rude and not interested in finding a job...but today I am noticing that maybe he's not so lazy but merely tired from staying at his friend's house for 3 nights in a row and staying up late and GAMING. And maybe he's a bit rude because his pants hang down so low that his cold ass is making him a bit grouchy. And maybe his disinterest in finding a job is due to his BUSY social life not mere laziness.....hmmmm....this positive outlook just might work.....

I'm also staying positive about the 4 hours of sleep I got last night because Kristen was up puking. I might say to myself, for instance, "Thank God it was KRISTEN who got sick and not SAM because he's a real suck when it comes to illness!" You see?? Positivity is a Possibility!!

Sam's mouth is almost completely back to normal....too bad his attitude isn't- He's just in his FANTASTIC 4'S!!! Not the easiest age, in my opinion.

But THANK GOD it's not the F**KING 14's.

My glass is sooooo half-full today. I think I'll go fill it to the top with more red wine.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Bizarre.....

Here's Sam's mouth today......not blistering, not red, but it definitely has a raised, greyish "rash" of some sort. His cheeks are no longer red, the fever is gone as is the runny nose, and his lips are no longer swollen and almost back to their normal colour. He is much happier today and has eaten with no problems. His hands and his feet are clear and normal.....this does NOT look like Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease.

Looks like it may be back to the doctor tomorrow because his tongue has become heavily populated with that strange rash.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Man, I would KILL for a dull moment......

Because in my world, dull moments just don't exist. They are kinda like a full night of uninterupted sleep....just not happening.

My latest non-dull moment happened around 8am this morning as I was just waking up at Karen and Mike's house. It started with the familiar ring of my phone alerting me that I had just received a text message. So, I got myself out of bed and looked for my phone and when I found it here is some of what it said,

" I guess you probably have the Health Cards, right? Sam's complaining of a sore tongue.........."

Now I love and trust my husband with every ounce of my soul and I know that he can handle any "Kid Situation" that comes up. But my Mometer went off and I knew that I was going to be needed at home. I just knew it. I arrived at home just in time to see Sam attempt to eat some lunch. It didn't go well......he screamed out, he cried and he cringed....I looked at his face and his lips were red and swollen, his cheeks were turning pink, his nose was running a bit....but his tongue looked perfectly normal. The only problem was that HE didn't feel normal at all! So I dragged my ass (and his) out in the -25 degree temperatures to head to the local walk-in clinic. When we got there we were informed that it would be at least and hour and a half before the doctor would see us. So, we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. FINALLY- an hour and a half after we walked through the door, we were seen. Dr. Blakfjlajdflaskjdfldkfja looked in Sam's mouth and said it was normal. He looked at his lips and said, "They are a bit red but otherwise normal." So I told him that this was not actually "normal" for Sam. So he gave me a cream. He said, "Zis iz a cream for coodsowes" I said, "Oh? Coldsores? What is it called? He doesn't have any coldsores?" So he shows me the 'script and it says CORTISONE. And then he says, "I'll poot him alzo dis andibiodics in case he 'as an infedctijon"

OK. So we go home and my Nurse's Brain is telling me that this doesn't sound right but I try a little of the cream. And, of course, Sam licks it within seconds and gets the cream on his already sore, sore, sore tongue. All hell broke loose. Now he's SCREAMING and CRYING and DROOLING and BESIDE HIMSELF. His cheeks were a scarlett red and he couldn't get a grip! So, Eric and I packed him into the van and drove him to emergency at the hospital. There, the triage nurses looked at him and decided to really fast-track him (a swollen mouth is the golden ticket into the ER apparently!) He was triaged, registered and seen by a doctor within 40 minutes! It turns out he may have the early stages of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, a viral infection. He has no sores anywhere yet, but the doc said it would likely happen in the near future. In the meantime, he said, "Absolutely stop administering the cream." and he gave us a prescription for some Xylicaine which freezes his little mouth.

And now, he is happily playing with Kristen and not in pain....but still a pain in the ass.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Full Circle.

Tomorrow, I'm going to help my dear friends Karen and Mike move to Rocklyn. It's a village outside of Meaford that probably has a population of 100. I know Rocklyn well myself as I lived there many years ago. In fact, it seems as though a lifetime has passed since I lived in and operated the Rocklyn General Store. At that time, Karen also lived in Rocklyn 2 houses away from me and Mike lived just down the street. I didn't know Mike very well then because he was still quite young but Karen and I lived as 2 single mothers who supported each other emotionally several times a day. I wasn't TECHNICALLY a single mother, (I was married) but I may as well have you get my drift?

It really feels like Karen and Mike have gone full-circle now that they are moving back out there. Obviously they feel a pull toward Rocklyn and I'm sure part of it is sentimental....there certainly isn't any other reason to move there unless you value super-sized snowstorms, dial-up and absolutely NO ammenities. But I'm kinda envious of the fact that they are moving to that small village with very few neighbours, no stoplights, and zero crime. I'm a little jealous that when they step into their backyard this summer they will not hear the drone of traffic or smell an excess of pollution.

But then I think about the crickets and the cow shit.

This summer when the sound of the crickets at night drive them crazy and the smell of cow manure being spread in the surrounding fields drive them into their house, they may wish for a little traffic. It is then that I realize that nobody is ever happy 100% of the time. So I consider myself lucky to have an open invitation to their country home and they will always be welcome at our place. Friends do help to balance things out for us, even without trying.

Weight Loss Update...........

I am now down 9lbs in about 3 weeks!!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Resurface of Old Joanne.......

Ugh. Today I totally lost my cool. You know, I used to be a really tough cookie before I met my rock-solid husband. When I was on my own with 2 little kids I was nobody's fool because I didn't have anyone to back me up. But I have softened considerably since I met The One.

Well, today I found that "Old Joanne" and it only took a group of about 8 teenage boys to bring her around.

I was at the school to pick up Emma and Brandon after their exams. They weren't at the regular meeting spot, so I decided to take a cruise over to the convenience store to see if I could find Brandon. And he was there. With a bunch of boys. Smoking. I pulled up beside them and opened my window and said, "BRANDON! Get in the car now." So he put out his smoke and got into the front seat while I yelled at his buddies, "Hey! I heard that smoking kills you!" They kinda just stared at me so I took the opportunity to "cuff" Brandon. As I was turning around to leave the parking lot, one of those little f**kers looked right at me and made a smoking gesture and laughed at me.


I slammed on the brakes right beside him and put my window down. I was LIVID. I said, "Do you have something to say to me???" and the kid just stood there looking stunned because I'm sure he knew as well as I did that I was ready to get out of the car to "cuff" him too. His friend punched him in the side of the face and said, "No. He has nothing to say." So I drove away.

When we were driving home I had Emma, Sam, Brandon and Brandon's friend Alex in the car. I had previously agreed to take Alex home from the exam. I turned to Brandon and said, "You are not going to Alex's house today. You are going home." To which HE said, "No I'm not. I'm going to Alex's and if you force me to go home I'll just leave."

Well. Well.

So I slammed on the brakes and pulled over to the side of the road. I said, "You have a choice. You can come home with me or get out of this car right NOW and find your own way in this world." So, of course, he came home with me. When we pulled into the driveway I looked at him and said, "Don't ever call me out in front of your friends again. I refuse to lose which means you will never win in those situations." Let's just say that he's spending a lot of time in his room this afternoon.

I am not proud of the fact that I let those boys make me so angry. In my mind I could see myself throwing them down in that dirty parking lot like cigarette butts. But at the same time, I was glad to see some of my past strength resurface! I guess it's not gone....just put away until I really need it. Now- hopefully that strength will quietly carry me through these very trying years as the mother of a troubled teen.

A Miracle.

I never thought I'd see the day that these two would lay in unity............

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exam Week

It's that time of the year! It's EXAM WEEK....the end of the first semester is nearing and the report cards will out in a couple of weeks....

It's the time of the year when I hear "rumblings". That's right, rumblings. Casual comments in passing conversation like, "School was ok today. Becca and Steph and I went out for lunch at the pizza place and, yeah, I think I'm going to pass math but it won't be by very much." And just this morning- " I only have 2 exams and a tech project, but my tech project isn't going very well because I accidently deleted the template and my teacher hates me so he won't help me. No! Ask Conner! The teacher hates me! He wants me to fail."

So, because both of the kids are in high school now, I am not monitoring their study habits or concerning myself too much with whether they pass or fail. I am simply going to watch their actions and then watch the consequences of their actions unfold. It's kinda killing me to do it, but I am FORCING myself to not get involved. I have already been to high school. I have had my high school experience and now it's time for theirs.

We recently had dinner with friends from England and they told us that high school ends at age 14. At that point kids either go on to post-secondary education or get out in the workforce. Can you imagine? Here, we are practically scared to let our kids wipe their own asses before they're 16!

Man, exam week is so enlightening.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A little Sunday Torture....

It was a snowy, snowy Sunday today. Environment Canada was bang-off on the weather again and instead of 2-5cm of snow, we got about 25cm of the white manure. Now that it's nearing the end of January, I'm becoming a bit of a "winter bitch".....just a little tired of the frigid temperatures and falling snow.

So, today Eric and I took Sam and Kristen ice skating.

Ya know, it was interesting.....Sam called it "skiing" even when we were on the ice skating around the perimeter of the rink. Kristen was having a fun time until she fell for the 50th time on the same spot on her rear end. She became soooo angry and pissed off! She was flailing, waving her arms and cutting people off while she cried out of frustration, struggling to get to the bench to rip her skates off. Eric and I haven't skated since that one time we went last year so we sucked too. In fact, Eric was skating with an achilles tendon injury from hitting the gym so much. Me? I just struggled to keep my skates from falling inward. My legs were shaking and I was trying to hold up the kids AND myself....and we did this for an entire hour. When we got our skates off it felt like days had passed since we hit the rink! We gathered up our stuff and got to the car while Kristen bitched about being hot and having a headache and Sam cried about his toes hurting. When we got back home and the kids were drinking a cup of hot chocolate Kristen said to me,

"I did a great job skating! I even did it all by myself!! Can we go again tomorrow?"

Oh. My. God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Sam and Krissy got haircuts today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm LOSING it.....

That's right! I'm LOSING far, 6 lbs. And Eric's down 3 lbs this week. Yaaay for us!! Nine pounds between the two of us- that's a newborn baby Emma!

I am continuing to treat eating as an addiction...this means no little tastes, no cheats, no exceptions. And you know what? I don't miss that crap at all anymore. I'm not quite ready to sit in a room filled with birthday cakes, but I'm doing ok....

Eric is hitting the gym with a vengeance and continuing to count his points. I am finding yoga and meditation has helped me with any thoughts or cravings. I also find that getting on the Wii Fit keeps me on track because it weighs me and measures my body fat. Ugh. But it also helps me set reasonable weight loss goals!

I can't believe how much STRESS plays a factor in eating and weight gain! Whenever I start to feel the urge to stress-eat I deep breathe or chew a piece of gum and the urges pass.....I feel very peaceful about this new way of eating and living and I know I can keep it up. I have the support of my wonderful family and my amazing husband. What more could a girl ask for?

The worst thing a teenager could admit to his peers is that he has parents. Did you ever notice that at a certain age teens start to pull away from their parents like they have leprosy? Well, Brandon has become one of those teens. So when I found out that he's been skipping classes again it was a natural decision for me to walk him to class and embarrass him. He was MAD when I told him I'd be driving him to school this morning. He was adamant that he would not be going to classes if I came into the school. He felt sick to his stomach on the way to school. But I didn't care. I told him,

"You've lost your way and I'm going to help you find your way back. Sometimes when you come from a place of love, it means doing tough things. I love you so much that I'm willing to do them."

I think he partially accepted that, but he didn't like it! So, we got to his class just after the bell and the teacher was already conducting a lesson. He looked at me standing in the door and I said, "I'm helping Brandon get to his class this morning." The teacher got a big smile on his face and I looked at the sea of faces in the classroom and they all had their mouths hanging open (like most teens do, but they actually looked a little shocked). Then I told the teacher that I was aware that Brandon skipped his class yesterday, but it was not parent-approved and to give him whatever punishment is necessary. I left that school today feeling as though I had dealt with a problem, not just floated through the problem. Believe me- I'm no fool. I know that problems are creeping up just as fast as I deal with them but the point is that I didn't feel helpless today. I felt as though I did something that may help Brandon think twice about skipping in the future. But it doesn't stop there!! I've also told Brandon that I'm going to talk to his music teacher about kicking him out of his beloved band if he skips any more classes. Anyone who knows Brandon, knows that MUSIC IS HIS CURRENCY.

Eric and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that Brandon is unlike anyone we've ever known. He's an individual in a world of teenaged clones and that makes life tough for him. But we will always love this kid and his idiosyncrisies even when he makes loving him so TOUGH. Deep down inside he knows that he's loved so much and that is going to help him find his way. I just know it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speaking of Challenging Times......

It was -27 degrees Celcius here this morning.

I watched Cindy take her poo-poo on 2 feet this morning 'cause her paws were frozen and Jewel just plain couldn't walk any further and I had to carry her 20 feet to get in the house.

Challenging Times (and I'm not talking about the economy, folks)

In most families there is challenge...when a number of people live together and interact EVERY SINGLE DAY, there's bound to be challenging times. Ours is, and has always been, Brandon. I'm sure some people might think, "God! Leave that kid alone and let him live his life...nobody is THAT much work!" But the truth is that having a relationship with Brandon is THAT much work. He is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He is beligerent, lazy, self-absorbed and a bit (a lot, actually) of a liar. He is also sensitive, caring and a good friend. Oh, that's right!! I DO see the good stuff too....but lately I'm having a hard time seeing the good stuff because of all the other crap.

Every time I interact with Brandon it feels like I'm swimming in a river with a really fast current and I'm soooo close to drowning but I never do! Instead I just keep swimming and swimming and all I feel is exhaustion.

Nobody has ever been able to "figure" this kid teacher, no Child Youth Worker, no therapist, nobody. I think that Eric and I know the most about Brandon and we're absolutely lost. LOST. And the worst part is that I think Brandon is on to us. You know when we were kids and we got into trouble, it just seemed like our parents knew what to say and do? That's not Eric and I with Brandon. Lately, Eric has been so patient and all I feel is rage. I'm so SICK of this person forcing me to deal with his problems....I am sick of him giving nothing and expecting so much in return. I am sick of feeling unsure about what to do, how to handle the daily issues. I am..............drowning.............

I've never seen a kid so determined to sabotage his family, his safe place. I've never had such a hard time coming from a place of love. I've never had a more difficult time figuring out what positive experience I am supposed to take away from raising this kid.

My friend Kristy told me to try taking the emotion out of the experiences that I have with Brandon and it may be easier to deal with him. I've really tried to do that and it does work, but at some point those emotions have to be released- and I think that's what has just happened.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hate to say, "I TOLD you so!"......but I'll say it anyway.

Yup. Not long at all until a little drama came back into our lives via Brandon. Yes, Brandon never fails to deliver the drama in our little lives. And he doesn't even realize that he's doing it! Because tonight Brandon is at his friend Alex's house and I am stewing mad over the fact that Emma told me that a girl at school told her that she saw Brandon smoking outside Coffee Time near the school today with "like, dirty 19 year-olds". Whew! I am BESIDE myself....on one hand; I can't tell Brandon what to do with his body (he's almost 15) On the other hand; I am sooooo wanting to punish that little sucker for doing harm to his body. Not to mention the fact that he swore to me/promised me that he didn't smoke anymore.

I have showed him the pictures in my medical dictionary of lung cancer, mouth cancer (really gross) and even penile cancer (THAT should have hit home!) I have talked to him about why/when/with whom he smokes and how he can avoid it in the future. But apparently, he's swayed very heavily by peer pressure and who knows? Maybe he's addicted to nicotine now....that would really, really suck.

Some parents might say, RELAX!! IT'S ONLY ANOTHER TEENAGED BOY CAUGHT SMOKING! Others might say, AT LEAST HE'S NOT ADDICTED TO CRYSTAL METH! And then there's the parents out there who have lost their kids who would kill to have the chance to intervene on such a situation.... In the back of my mind, I know that I'm over-reacting emotionally. So I try to think about what my dad would do about this situation.....

And after careful consideration, I have decided to go to the school at 9:10am and 12pm every day until I catch that little f**ker red-handed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No news is good news!

Things here have been humming along quite nicely without too many's hard to blog when there's no drama, so I'm going to just give a few updates:

1) Eric is going to Ireland (again.) the week I start classes and I'm nervous about getting to and from school within the daycare hours.

2) Brandon has adopted his father's attitude due to spending a week with him over the Christmas holidays and yesterday I told him that I divorced his dad in large part due to that very attitude so he'd better lose it or lose his happy home.

3) Emma has changed her eating habits and is enjoying a 2 lb weight loss. She works every week, but we're pretty sure she is NOT saving any money for her trip in March.

4) Kristen has developed an addiction to her Nintendo DS. If we don't take it away, she will sit and play it aaaalllll day! On one hand, it's great because she's doing a lot of reading, on the other hand, she's already a great reader so she doesn't need the practice. I was thinking about finding a math game.....

5) Sam is having a hard time going all night without peeing the bed. In fact, he's only done it once... so, he is still wearing Goodnights. Today he is going to his little buddy's birthday party at Tumbletots. He's VERY excited and we're doing the last- minute gift-dash today.

6) I am continuing to focus on losing weight and exercising. I'm pretty sure I've almost rid my body of the sugar cravings, but if I even touched something sweet right now I wouldn't be able to stop myself from bingeing. I almost liken this addiction to the one I have with cigarettes; even to this day, if I decided to smoke just one I would be a full-blown smoker in no time!

7) Jewel is not fighting her addiction to the couch.

8) Cindy hangs around here like she's lived here all her life.

And finally, I will attach a couple of pictures of Eric and Sam putting together the new bookshelf from Ikea yesterday and picture of Eric enjoying his Sunday morning coffee today.

Sorry for the boring post, but I'm sure it won't be long before there's more drama to talk about.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Too good to be true?

I was just starting to feel pretty good about going back to school- my courses are paid for, I've talked to the college to make sure everything is ok and I have the kids signed up for daycare starting on February 2nd... then this morning I heard on the news that there's a pretty good chance that the elementary school teachers may go on strike after the March Break. It's really going to suck if that happens....I'm not sure what my plan will look like if that happens. It's not like my mom is here to help out with the kids (like, out of love, for FREE) and daycare is bloody expensive! I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and toes that the teachers get what they want and I won't have to deal with that.

Speaking of the March Break- I have been busy making plans for Emma and Brandon so I can fulfill my New Year's Resolution to get them out of the house more often, for longer periods of time.....Emma's going on a cruise and it looks like Brandon will be going to Miami!! You know what that means? At least 7 evenings alone for Eric and I. Seven evenings of no phone ringing, no computer keyboard tapping, no driving anyone, no Cadets, no saxophone/piano/guitar playing and NO FIGHTING! It's the best March Break I could ask for!!

On a positive note, I have lost 3 lbs so far. Yaaaaayyy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Maybe it's in the DNA??

Well, it's no secret that have struggled with Brandon's inability to pay attention in school. It started in grade 1 when he had to participate in the reading recovery program because he was not capable of sitting and learning to read. In grade 3, a teacher put a desk with 3 sides (like blinders) in the back corner of her classroom and Brandon was forced to sit at it. Parent/teacher conferences, interventions, meetings, oh my! By the time he reached grade 8, Eric and I were pulling our hair out!!!!

Bad news for us- looks like Kristen has a similar problem.

Her teacher has mentioned that she's often "in her own little world, because she's so smart!" (anchoring the negative with a positive) and that she does have a hard time sitting in circle-time without fidgeting. We weren't surprised....after all, we have suffered through movies, concerts, long drives with her... but last night something different happened- In her agenda was a note from her teacher,

"Kristen is having a hard time with subtraction. Please practice at home."

WTF?!!? KRISTEN? KRISTEN is having a hard time at school?????!!!!!???? Kristen is our free-spirited, confident, outspoken, over-achieving could she be having a hard time at anything?

So, after my initial shock at the note, we sat down and did some subtraction. An entire page, actually. Sometimes she needed her fingers, sometimes she tried to visualize it...but she got every question right. So, I asked her...."Kristen, are you having a hard time with subtraction?" to which she replied, "Well.....sometimes I have a hard time seeing the numbers in my head because of the noise. Even when I wear the headphones I can still hear the noise." Now I'm confused. So I asked her...."What headphones?"and she said, "The headphones that Mrs. Lee gave me to cut out the noise." Hmmmm.....I suddenly had a wicked case of deja's grade 1 and it's a different kid, but the similarities are frightening!

"Well," I said to her, "sometimes it's easier to see the numbers if you close your eyes." So she closed her eyes tight and said, "Yeah! That IS easier!"

Crisis averted- for now. I hate to sound dramatic but I really don't want to go down this road again! I guess the good news for Kristen is that Brandon has FORCED us to explore new techniques and find patience when there didn't seem to be any available. Hopefully that will help us guide her down this path with love and understanding.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A pity party and I'm the guest of honour...

I realize that lately I've been feeling a little sorry for myself. I feel as though I have no time for myself and that I'm always at the mercy of others and, more importantly, others' moods... and it's actually all true.... I have very little time to myself and I am responsible for the happiness of 4 kids, a husband and 2 dogs (we have my parents' dog for the winter). Absolutely nothing has changed in my life to bring about these feelings as I've been doing this routine for, oh, almost 17 years.......but the more I think about it, the more I believe that I am trying to "convince" myself that I deserve to go back to school. It's crazy, isn't it?!!? I mean, OF COURSE I deserve to go to school.....everyone deserves to learn and choose a career path! Right????

Now, it's no secret that my career path has taken a few detours and faced some roadblocks. I will forever be amazed by my husband's ability to work at the same company for 15 years....I came to the realization, LONG AGO, that I need a lot of variety in all aspects of my life to feel vibrant and alive. I'm sure that's why I ended up with 4 kids! (well, that and a stud-ly husband!) I really believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are creators of our own destiny by the choices we make...this is particularily good thing for my brother, who fired me in August....and I believe that I was forced to make some tough decisions when he let me go. Decisions about my career, my family, myself.

Decisions that I had been avoiding.

So, for me, 2009 signals the end of my pity party. A party at which I was the guest of honour for the last 4 months; where I drank and ate and complained.

This is the beginning of Joanne.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Willpower? What willpower?

Last night Eric and I went out to dinner with our friends Jay and Mona. We're trying not to socialize around food much anymore, but we have had a couple of dinner dates planned for awhile and this was one of them. And we went to a local Italian restaurant, Al Casale. Which is Italian for OH MY GOD THIS FOOD IS F**KING AMAZING!!!!!!. And of course, there was wine....there's ALWAYS wine.......

So, while I was attempting to apply some of the tips from Dr. Phil's book on weight loss (self-talk, visualization) I found myself drinking red wine and eating lots of cheese and bread. Damn! The food was so good and I lost a bit of control...when dinner was over, everyone started ordering dessert and there was no amount of deep frickin' breathing that could keep me away from the owner's own was a religious experience for me. I'm not gonna lie.

So, today I have a bit of "buyer's remorse" and a lot of calories to work off. I have learned a little lesson about myself too....

I cannot be trusted around food.

So, as I clean out our cupboards and attempt to create a "No Fail Environment" I will have time to think about "what my payoff is" for repeating the same eating mistakes again and again. It turns out that willpower doesn't really have anything to do with it. Thank God, 'cause I don't have any willpower!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The end of a WONDERFUL holiday....

Today is the last official day of Eric's time off of work. On Monday, he's back at it and not happy about it. Can you blame him? The kids are finally old enough to entertain themselves when they wake up at 6am (Sam). Actually, Sam is getting pretty good at playing quietly in the mornings. The only time he wakes us up is to wipe his ass after his morning bowel movement. That kid is like clockwork but he hasn't yet mastered the art of wiping without smearing his hand in it!

We have had a great week of relaxing balanced with regular daily outings and everyone seems very happy.

Let me tell you, though, I have a month left before I go back to school and I intend to use it wisely. I can't wait for everyone to bugger-off back to work and school so I can a) clean the house properly and b) read. I NEED some quiet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the meantime, I will drive Brandon to his friend's house and I'll try to con one of the kids into babysitting tomorrow night so we can catch up with our friends Jay and this frickin' holiday over yet?!!?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Ahhhh! New Year's day again already..... some people think ringing in the new year is a big deal. I'm not really one of them. However, we did share a fabulous evening of dinner and Wii with our friends in Aurora, Rob and Trish.

Emma and Brandon are both still away skiing on separate vacations. It has been heavenly to have our evenings to ourselves and to experience some peace and quiet! I know a lot of parents wouldn't admit this, but I really enjoy whenever the kids are away and I wish they would go away more....which brings me to my New Year's is.......drumroll please!.......

To find more places for my older kids to go more often so we can be alone more!!!!

I know, I know! I'm sure people are thinking that I should make a resolution to lose weight or get more sleep so I'm not such a bitch all the time....but I have found something that makes me truly happy and that is all that matters.

Speaking of losing weight, I am on my way! I've been reading the Dr.Phil books and trying to "get real" about my weight. Let me tell you that the best way to get real about your weight is to step on the damned Wii Fit and have it measure your BODY FAT and take your weight. After it spits out this horrifying information your little avatar blows up into a fat little avatar with a sad face. God!! What an inspiration for weight loss!

Now I will go to the kitchen and eat a healthy snack while dreaming about cookies.