Friday, June 19, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True

We can see when we look around us, at individuals in our lives or just in passing, that self-esteem is a very important component in who we become as adults. It plays a significant role in our development, and can be the motivator for many of our actions and the cause of much of our baggage.

It's funny how some people, who frankly really shouldn't have such high self-esteem, can think they are "all that" while someone else who SHOULD think so, just doesn't see it. I would argue that really neither of those individuals believes in themselves. The first is overcompensating, and the second doesn't feel they are worthy.

But where do those feelings come from?

Truly, I believe most of our personality development is formed at a very young age. It's one of the reasons I studied Early Childhood Education. People think it's "babysitting" but research has shown that the years between birth and five are paramount to setting the stage for what that individual is to learn and become forward. Those years are very important, and receiving proper care and guidance is a great way to help on that path into the school years and in character development in general.

If you trace back to most individuals childhoods, you'll find that a lot of their baggage today comes from their upbringing with their parents. I know that seems like the easy out; blame your folks, but I find it mostly to be true. Certainly along the way obstacles are thrown in our paths that can change how we think about ourselves, but in general, most baggage is from how we feel we were loved or treated as children.

I had girlfriends growing up that searched for boyfriends and the feeling of being "loved" constantly. They could not be alone or out of a relationship. Their feelings of validation were wrapped up in a boy and if they were worthy enough to have his attentions. I've seen grown men and women that didn't feel they got enough love or time or praise from their parents, that seek it out in unhealthy ways. Their ego craves the messages they didn't hear as kids-that they are smart, handsome or beautiful, engaging, and mostly worthy. More precisely, worth IT. They can't intrinsically feel good about themselves without the extrinsic recognition and reinforcement from others' opinions.

I would even go as far as to say that if you asked most people they would say that they are the way they are because of "this" in their upbringing. On a positive, they may feel that their parents did an exceptional job and that is why they are a success, personally and professionally. On a negative, they may blame their parents lack of commitment to them as the reason they have failed in some area.

That's a lot of pressure now that I'm a parent myself! I know a huge portion of who my girls become lies with my guidance and encouragement of their individual skills and talents. I know my acceptance and praise of them will be paramount to the relationships they form later, and to the way they manage themselves in the world at large. What the hell was I thinking getting into this parenting racket? Like I don't have enough guilt and pressure to deal with in life!

Obviously, part of that personality development is just how they were born. My youngest is feisty and demanding. She has been that way since day 1. My eldest is sensitive and a dreamer. Again, since day 1. My job as a Mom is not to squash those traits, but to make them work for each of them in their lives. Feisty can be draining on Mom. But out there in the big, wide, world, if used positively, could be the key to success and overcoming challenges. Dreamy and sensitive can also be flighty and petulant. But if harnessed, could be the traits exactly needed to wow in the art world.

For some reason, which I chalk up to both personality and parenting, I've always had a pretty strong sense of self. I lack in confidence in terms of daring to try something new, but that's more my self-criticism and my need to be perfect. In terms of knowing who I am and liking that person, I've always been strong. I've never been the type to need outside flagellation about my abilities. I've always been okay with me and "talked myself up" internally. I've never been the wallflower type that prefers that no one knows or sees me. I've always stood up for what I believe in and I try to always be my own best cheerleader. That's not always easy, but I recognize that I'm worth it.

And now, it's my job to pass that feeling on to my girls. That no matter what anyone tells them, good or bad, that they need to listen to their own hearts. They need to believe in themselves. They need to keep on going in their pursuits, whether pushed down or held up. Their worth doesn't come from grand achievements or romantic relationships. They need to believe in everything I've ever told them about themselves. That they are smart, funny, kind, strong and beautiful. That they can do anything they put their minds to and are willing to work hard towards accomplishing. That love is great, but it does not define you, and you can never lose yourself in another person's praise or criticism. That obstacles and struggles happen to all of us, and it's not the obstacle that defines you, but how you handle it. How you overcome, either by falling apart or holding yourself together.

To Thine Own Self Be True. That basically sums it up nicely in one small, but important, phrase.
Do you believe? Are you true?

You ARE worth it. Now start living it. And believe.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Missing In Action

I missed writing yesterday, and "almost" didn't get to it today. I'm literally missing in action. I say that tongue in cheek because the action around here is almost a little too much, and I'm struggling to keep my head above water!

My husband was gone the last two days on a business trip so I was manning the fort. Of course, it has to be the days with soccer games and school trips and such and such and such. Last night, he arrived home and today we shoved him out the door at 8am with a list of instructions! Welcome home!

My youngest has a full day picnic and games and rides thing today. She kindly (groan) volunteered me to make sandwiches (specifically ham and cheese, her favourite) and provide veggies and dip for said picnic. Lucky me. My husband was the one to go and spend the time with her for a bit in the blazing hot sun. Lucky him.

Tonight, there is an Open House at the school. It happens to coincide with my Spanish lesson, so I'll be missing that for the second week in a row. Sigh. You know I put my girls first when I miss Spanish. Twice. I missed last week so that my husband could be gone on yet another trip, and this week for class performances for the end of the year. The mysterious thing about that is, when I ask either of my girls what they are performing, neither of them know and both say they haven't practiced anything. So, I'm going to this thing for what again?

Tomorrow is swimming lessons, and Saturday is soccer practice. Somewhere in there I have to change all of the beds, clean my house from top to bottom, do laundry and get ready for my Mom to come and spend a few weeks with us here.

So, if I don't blog as much, please forgive me. The next two weeks are a little jam packed with activities and events and birthdays and Father's days and dental appointments and Canada day and getting stuff together for camp. I'm sure you can guess who is left to do all of the shopping and planning and organizing for these occasions and events as well. Uh huh.

I remember this "working" thing now. Not fun. Not fun at all. I'll see you off and on in the next little while, likely when I need to vent or need a sanity break.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maternal Influence

My girls and I were watching a new Strawberry Shortcake movie this evening, and it suddenly dawned on me that the characters my daughters like are influenced by my own childhood. Why it's taken me so long to have this startling light bulb moment, I don't know.

I'm one of those parents that refuses to buy my kids character branding. You won't see my girls in a Disney Princess or Hannah Montana shirt. They do have accessories or notebooks or pens but definitely not clothing. They don't have character themed bedrooms or sheets or anything like that. I just don't like it. Strangely enough, they've never asked for it either.

So, it becomes obvious that often what our children buy into, in terms of branding, is largely due to what we as parents like as well. You know the Mom that loves Dora. She watches it with her child. The kid has a backpack, has Dora clothes, bedding, books, movies. Why? You could argue that the child also likes Dora, of course. But I bet it's Mom who puts it on more times than not. That's understandable, right? I mean, you KNOW that whatever show your child develops a keening for, you are going to be forced to watch over and over and over again. It might as well be something that you like! Mom's choice!

As for my family, my girls have always been interested in characters that are not the hype at the moment. In fact, they have always had movies and toys that some of the other kids didn't even recognize. Madeline, anyone?

My daughters have always loved Strawberry Shortcake. While Strawberry certainly has a following, she doesn't seem as popular as some of the other toys for girls out there. I don't see most of my friends with the Strawberry house and furnishings, the dolls, and more dvd's than I care to count.

They've also always been into Madeline. We have movies, books, dolls, clothes, felt boards, and the doll house furnishings. We even have a barking Genevieve. We have many, many of the cartoon movies. Really, I have to be honest and admit here-Madeline is one of my favs. Correlation? Of course not.

Lastly, and this makes me kind of sigh with bliss, is Hello Kitty. We have alarm clocks, clock radios, fork and spoon and chopstick sets, cups, plates....well, I'm actually embarrassed to even go on with the Hello Kitty stuff. Other than in Asian markets, I think my family keeps Hello Kitty stocks up. Have you seen Hello Kitty and Friends movies? The TV show? Jewellery? Paper umbrellas? Books? And again, WHY the fascination in my household of all things Hello Kitty? That's right, folks. Mama has a thing for the cat. C'mon. Admit it. Hello Kitty is one cute, little character!

Take a look around your home at your child's interests. I guarantee you that somewhere in what "they" like is something "you" like, or liked as a child. There's nothing wrong with that. I know my maternal influence on them is going to wane and eventually disappear at some point. For now, I'm lording it over them. And they WILL like it. Dora and Disney Princesses be damned!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drug of Choice

I am an avid reader. Some people would say I'm a little fervent in my reading. If I like a book, I will forgo food, sleep, shower-whatever I have to-to keep reading and not have to put the book away for a moment.

I'm also a pretty quick reader, so I devour them in a day or so. The good news about that is, I read A LOT. The bad news is, I go through a lot of books which can be expensive if bought, or annoying if I run out of good reading material. My friends enjoy lending me books, even if they haven't read them yet, because they know they'll get them back the next day.

I'm like a junkie with my reading though. I can't wait to get my next "fix." And by that, I mean my next good, quality read. I can go through a bunch of romance novels, but they are like the cheap drugs that are mixed with other fillers. They don't really satisfy the urge for very long and they leave me wanting the real deal. I mean the premium stash is what I crave. Something that makes me think, that makes me question, that makes me see things in a new light or reconfigures my view of the world around me. Something transformative and awe inducing. It doesn't have to be heavily intellectual, per say, it just has to have a quality about it that makes me want to go back and re-read a passage or the whole kit and caboodle.

At times, it can be disappointing though. A new book comes out and everyone and their dog is raving and creating buzz. Naturally then, I want to go out and read this fascinating and spellbinding book. More times than not, I'm disheartened. Maybe my tastes are different than the average reader. Maybe some people don't care about the actual quality of the writing, as long as the storyline is good. Maybe I'm a book snob. I don't know, but what's "hot" is usually my "not."

For a few weeks now, I've been hearing that ever whining buzz in my ear again. I've gone on to read reviews just to get a more varied viewpoint. Everything I read says "great, excellent, magnificent." Some even dare to use the term "masterpiece." I don't throw THAT one around lightly. One reviewer compared it's character to Anna Karenina and Hagar Shipley. (and if you don't know who they are or haven't read their tales, for shame! Go, read!) That is a big shoe to fill.

So, tonight. Tonight I start the book that is calling me hypnotically with the melodic temptation of a snake charmer's flute. I hope that all of the reviews and hype and buzz are more than accurate this time. I hope they don't even begin to describe the greatness of this novel on which I'm about to embark. I'm getting the shakes just thinking about creaking open the stiff new pages. My cold sweats are starting waiting for my kids to go to sleep so I can be alone with my opiate of choice. Please, please, please let this hit be the sweet salvation that's been a long time coming. I haven't felt the sweet delirium of being lost in my vice for an eternity.

Tonight is the night. "The Book Of Negroes" is going to capture my delight and transport me to another world. I want no intervention from it's grasp.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Inner Circle

Friendships are important to most human beings out there on the planet, even the most reclusive ones usually have a friend or two.(furry or not!) Some people have hundreds of so called "friends" while others stick to a single digit number.

For me, I would say I have lots of friends and lots of people I see socially. These are people I can hang out with, laugh with, go to dinner with or parties. They are people I generally like as individuals, but they aren't what I call my Inner Circle.

When it comes to that group of folks, I'm very selective. As in an elite club where you need to meet the requirements for membership or no entry is permitted. That's my Inner Circle.

I'm a pretty outgoing person. I doubt anybody would say I was shy. I'm not really afraid to be brash or bold or speak my mind. If I like you, you know it! If I don't, well, you know that too. In many ways, I'm pretty open with what I think and feel. In others, I'm closed, locked and the key is thrown away.

That's where the Inner Circle comes into play. I'm very discriminating with whom I share anything I'm truly struggling with or am feeling emotional about. As I've said, I don't like talking about problems or issues because I feel weak when I do. I'm all about the stiff upper lip and being stoic. I try to stand strong in the face of any storm, even though I waver with the constant pummeling. And while most times I'd rather die than boohoo to anyone, sometimes a girls' gotta vent to someone. There are days where you need advice or an opinion, heck just a clear objective eye, into whatever you are trying to deal with currently. For me, that's a hard thing to seek and it's why it's so important to me to have a core few with whom I can do so.

My Inner Circle is pretty small. It took a long time for me to form the tight group, like I said, because of requirements. They are all people I've known for a long, long time. They are people that know me, the ugly and the pretty. They are loyal, smart, funny, trustworthy people. They are people that don't shirk any obstacle, but help me to rise above it. And they made it to the Inner Circle by showing me that they have and will always be there for ME. They aren't there to fluff my ego or always take my side. They are there to help me on my path, with all it's twists and turns and hills and valleys, even if it means hitting me with the odd metaphorical 2x4 across the oblivious head. And that's another reason why I love them. They tell it like it is, and they know that someone like me appreciates that more than just saying what I want to hear. They've shown their loyalty and their strength and that they are ever present when I need them. I may have tons of friends, but my Inner Circle is a select special few.

Some people don't have an Inner Circle. They don't have many friends at all actually. And they claim they don't need them. I feel sorry for those individuals. They don't know what the power that having a group of people giving you their strength, when you are fighting demons, feels like. They don't know the raw realness that comes from truly knowing someone has your back. They don't know what unconditional love from a true friendship feels like. That's heartbreaking to me.

I'm so appreciative of the people whom I trust in my life. I don't trust easily, and to know that I CAN with them, that I can lower the wall, is paramount to my sanity! I'm blessed to be able to count on them in all of my struggles. And I try to be there as much for them. My Inner Circle is tight, strong and healing.

Thanks for yesterday, today and forward guys. You know who you are.

Fido And OCD

My kids want a dog, badly. They are pretty nervous in general of dogs, but not so much with the smaller variety. We've researched several types of dogs, done online quizzes at PetFinder to see which dog would suit our family and its' needs most, and we've settled on the breed of dog we'd want. If the day ever comes, that is, when we decide to get a dog.

I grew up with cats my entire life. I know all about how to care for them and really, a cat is fairly low maintenance on the pet scale. My girls have had fish, with the promise that they and their dad would do all of the work. Uh huh. You can surmise how that went. My sister is like St. Whoever that is in charge of animals. She has had just about every kind of animal as a pet that you can imagine. She recently swore off any more pets, and now has a dog, a cat and a bird. She just can't help herself.

As for me, other than the fish, we have been pet free since my kids were born. Part of that reason was just we didn't have any extra time for a pet. The other reason is the one I'm trying to reconcile with the fact that my children want a dog and the reasoning that a pet, I think, is very valuable for kids.

I'm a little OCD. And I don't know how that would work with a dog. I have control issues. I like my house to look "just so." I don't want pet fur all over everything. I hate "doggy smell" and I don't really want a big crate taking up already missing space in my home. I have no problem with obedience training classes, or walks or feeding or brushing or any of the care aspects of having a dog. I know that would fall to me anyways. And being the way that I am, I can fairly guarantee that I'd be meticulous in cleaning up poop right after the dog has gone. Nope, what worries me is the neatness factor.

I don't like a big crate out in my house. If you take a dog out for a walk on a rainy day, they come in and track mud everywhere. They also roll around in the grass and bring "who knows what" in with THAT mess. They do things cats don't do-like eat their poop or eat things out of your garbage can. That's just ewwww. Hopefully those are training issues though? Do I have a cloth at my front door to wipe paws immediately upon entry? Do I do baths on a regular schedule like I do with my kids?

I watch the show, "At the End of My Leash" and I love that guy. I totally concur. I wouldn't have my dog up on the furniture or on my beds. I wouldn't be feeding her or him our food. I'm the Alpha Dog! Check! But again, neatness factor???

The dog we are thinking of is a mini Golden Doodle. They are low shedding and good for people who have allergies. They are small, reaching about 35 lbs, and won't scare my girls. (fingers crossed) They are cute as heck. And I hope having a dog will be a great experience. It can teach responsibility, unconditional love, and how to think of someone else before yourself. Dogs are great in so many ways. I grew up with a dog, Brandy, so I know how awesome having a dog can be.

So, dog owners. How do you do it? How do you keep your sanity with a clean house and kids and a dog? There is a little due at the end of September with my name on it. But we've gone back and forth and wavered so many times, that I don't know if we'll ever pull the trigger on this addition to our family.

Give me your best advice, tips, thoughts!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm thinking that my way to handle stress is to surf the Internet for nothing and everything for hours on end. It can't be good for me, but it's what I do to tune out. And it's something I've done for a long, long time. I balanced it with working out and hanging with friends, of course. I'm not a hermit or Internet geek by any stretch, but I CAN spend literally hours on the computer doing nothing really.

I have websites I check daily like Perez Hilton and People and my "mother's boards" as I call them. I've been a member at those for 9 years now! I started when my eldest was just a baby and I consider some of the women I met there some of my best friends! I check in with Facebook several times a day to see what mundane activity my friends and acquaintances have added to their status. I look up topics that spring to mind that day. For example, today I looked up naturopaths and Tae Kwan Do. I also looked up Dr. Oz and his recommendations for supplements. Yep, just totally random websites and information.

I know it's my way of tuning out. And I know it's not the healthiest way to handle things, but it's not the worst either, right? I used to drink wine several times a week and when I'd go out with friends, I'd be known to drink quite a bit. I don't really drink anymore so that's got to be a good thing. I mean, I'll still have a drink or two and I still enjoy a glass a wine here and there, but by no means on a regular basis anymore. I also worked out pretty hard for about six months straight. I've since lessened up on the punishing routine, but I know that working out for me is paramount to sanity, so I have to get back to that.

I don't want to trade one addiction for another, and this Internet business has been going on a long, long time. It's not that I run away from problems or issues, either. I actually tend to be someone who does the opposite. I'll run into the brick wall head first, over and over and over again, to learn a lesson or drive home a point. I'm the type that doesn't let something rest until I'm good and satisfied that I've examined and analyzed it from every angle. So, the fact that I seek refuge in the technological world is an opposite reaction than most would expect from me.

I also blame it, however, on my never ending quest for useless information. I'll read anything lying around just to have something to read and learn. I'll pick up odd facts that nobody cares about except me. I "research" things (as I call it) that I suddenly think of or might think of doing or seeing. It's a problem!

My name is Tracey and I am an Internet addict. Is there a 12 Step Program?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rain On My Window, But Not In My Heart

Today, the ever falling rain and dreary cold didn't make me feel melancholy and grey the way I have been lately. I awoke to one of my favourite sounds in the world; rain falling on the realm outside. Even though it was dark and a chill hung in the air, my spirits warmed to the weather.

I felt like today was a perfect one for a quiet day of playing, colouring, and snuggling. I had the afternoon planned out in my mind. While my daycare charge napped, I would sip tea and curl up under a blanket and read. I wouldn't blog, I wouldn't stress, I wouldn't clean. I wouldn't do any number of the five thousand things that need "doing" on my ever growing and changing list. I'd just sit and enjoy the day for what it was.

That's been my mantra lately actually. "It is what it is." I've used it in a myriad of ways. It can be said tongue in cheek or with venomous sarcasm. It can be sighed with resignation. It can be shrugged with acceptance. Try using it. It's one of the most valuable expressions I've picked up of late.

My husband drove our daughters to school today and came home with some groceries I had asked him to pick up as well. He decided to make us lunch today before he had to leave for a late night of work. Another perfect addition to the day. He barbecued steaks and made thick potato cut spicy fries in the oven. He paired it all with a Greek salad. He also surprised me with a monstrous bag of my favourite chocolate covered almonds. That's both a good surprise and a bad one, depending on if you are talking to me or to my thighs. It was totally delicious and I appreciated the gesture, as well as not having to cook for one part of my day.

When he left and the little one here was tucked snugly in bed, I made my tea and opened my book as the sounds of the torrent outside poured down and cleansed the world anew.

This is what bliss feels like, and I'll take it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yo Soy Estudiante de Espagnol

Ah Spanish class. It's truly the highlight of my week right now.

Our weeks here are busy. I'd even go as far as to say slightly crazy, and definitely chaotic. The week starts with a soccer practice and game, and then another and then swimming and then more soccer. Add in there that this month at school is totally jam packed with field trips and end of year concerts and celebrations and track meets and you get a more clear picture.

I also have a "To Do" List that is about a mile long. I have to get "teacher gifts" and a little something for the bus driver as well. I have my eldest daughters birthday party to plan. (TEN!!!! YIKES! How does someone as young as ME have a ten year old?) My niece also has a birthday. It's Father's Day. My husband has two business trips. My Mom is coming to visit and spending a few weeks with us, which my girls are thrilled about. We have a dental appointment in our old city, so we have to travel there for that. (which I love doing! It gets me a chance to go "home") And then, I also have to make sure my daughter has everything she needs for camp.

Ya. My life is a little scheduled for this month.

The breath of fresh air in my week remains my Spanish class. I try to talk myself out of going every week. I'm tired. It's been a long day. I'll just stay home and relax. What's one class? But then I go, and I love every minute of it. I leave there with my adrenaline pumping and with a happiness I can't even describe. I truly love it.

I have always loved learning. To me, soaking up information is a high. And that's why I could also spend hours and hours on the internet. I look up everything and anything. My head is full of information I don't really need, but want. Something about practicing a new language though, just seems infinitely fascinating to me.

The class ends the week before my summer holidays in mid July. In September, I plan on taking the Intermediate level class. I also plan on adding in a martial arts class-another thing I've always wanted to learn. This week, I start the "30 Day Shred" (revised to fit my schedule, so it may be more than 30 days!) and "Learn to Run" program on my treadmill.

It's all part of my quest to be a martial art expert, trilingual, ripped ninja!!!! I can't tell you what else I'm learning or taking up on that quest. That's Top Secret! But stay tuned!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiny Violin Playing

Do you ever have those times in your life, whether it's a day or a week or a month, where you just feel yourself teetering on the edge of a total breakdown? Please say yes. I'm having one of those times.

Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's the fact that my Dad, a pretty healthy man that entered the hospital to have an aneurysm removed, is now on death's door. Add to that fact, I can't get there right now and if and when I do, it'll likely be too late. Maybe it's that my eldest daughter hates where we moved and has really been struggling with it for over a year now, and breaks my heart every day when she comes home from school upset, again. Maybe it's all of the craziness of my life and the fact that this month is nuts. Maybe it's the stress of the last year piling up on me just now, as I've tried to quash it down on a regular basis.

I don't know what it is, but I find myself unable to socialize with other human beings. I'm breaking out in tears throughout the day with seemingly no real cause. I'm tired beyond belief and doing my normal daily routine is difficult enough as it is to get through. I feel like no one is getting the best from me, and I'm not getting the best from myself. And then I feel worse still.

You know how celebrities take time out and go and have a little "rest" away from the action and lights and cameras? They go to some resort and get massages and sleep and write in their journals and detox and whatever else they do there. Oprah does yoga ones with health foods and hikes and solitude times. Ya, those. Well, they are sounding pretty darn good to me right now.

I hate being a downer. I hate even writing this today because to me it's like admitting defeat or weakness. It's just not me. So you know it's THAT bad if I'm putting it out there for all of you. And worse still, I'm becoming the kind of person that usually makes me uncomfortable in normal life. You know the one that has a sob story every day of the week and plays the martyr or pitiful me routine. I hate that. And I do my best to not even let people know how I'm feeling most of the time. But the mask is slipping a little and I'm having trouble holding it up right now.

I think I need to grab a white coat and join Susan Boyle for some "rest" at The Priory. Then instead of pathetic, I can be trendy! Ah. If only..............................

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Dad

Just a brief blog today as I'm not feeling so "bloggish" today.

I had some bad (well, MORE bad I should say) news last night from my Dad's wife. My Dad is still not doing well. He is full of toxins because his kidneys and pancreas aren't working as well as they should. Today, they are starting dialysis for him. I hope, beyond hope, that this helps him out and gets rid of the fluid oozing and just brings him some comfort!!! The man has been through so much!!

My sister is travelling down to see him at the end of June. I am hoping to get our passports in order so that my family can travel down at the end of July. I don't know, however, if we'll get them back in time for our vacation weeks. There is a mad rush here of people applying for passports, what with the new regulations that you can't cross the border without one!

Please keep my Dad in your thoughts and prayers today and onward.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Field Trip Fear

So, we've established that I'm a super worrier and suffer from chronic paranoia, along with an unhealthy addiction to being with my kids 24/7, even though doing so causes me meltdown moments. Check.

Which brings us to the ever popular field trip.

I hate them. There, I said it. I've been on pretty much all of the "sides" of the field trip excursion and I'm wondering if maybe that has something to do with it. As a teacher, I've led field trips. As a Mom, I've helped on field trips. Obviously as a kid, I've been on field trips!

Whenever a field trip comes up, I cringe a little inside. I know first hand how things can go from good to wacky once you are out there in the "big, wide world". This is why, whenever a particularly concerning field trip comes up, I try to ensure that either my husband or I attend as a parent volunteer.

Well, there's a doozy coming up and I'm stressing about it big time!!!! The trip is for grade 4's and grade 5's and it's an hour bus ride away to another town. It's an all day "outdoor adventure day." They have swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wall climbing, games, trail walks. They will spend the whole day there, even eat supper there, and get back to the school at 730pm. There are two teachers, and two volunteers only, going. The children equal about 40 kids.

All of those activities scream MAYDAY, MAYDAY to me and my mind races with all of the horrible, tragic things that I've read about or heard about that can happen on field trips that involve water activity. Or even travelling by bus!

I wish I was one of those parents that doesn't even bat an eye about these things. They just send their children off and go about their day without even thinking about it. HOW do they do that??? I say I'd like to be one of them, but that's not really true. In all honesty, I think those parents are a bit freakish. I get concerned about their level of attachment to their children. It's why I did attachment parenting for the most part! I'm a nervous wreck most of the time with my children out of my ever vigilant sight!

So, my quandary in this situation is, with only two possible chaperone's picked to go, it's unlikely that my husband or I will be there. I'm tempted, on the one hand, to just keep my eldest home that day. I have the home daycare, her Granny will be in town visiting......It would be so much more peaceful and stress inducing. But I also don't want her to miss out on life experiences because of my crazy. I guess we're back to that holding close/letting go battle. And some days I'm not sure which will win out.

In another month, I'm going to have to let go and try not to need a white coat by the end of the week. My eldest is attending a Bible camp for a week with a friend's daughter. It's several hours away from home and she's never been away for more than a night. She'll be doing all of the outdoor stuff I mentioned there as well. And bonus activities? Archery and riflery! Just put me out of my misery now.

She wants to go. Her friend is ecstatic she's coming. She says she might be homesick but she'll work through it because, "it's only a week, Mom." Only. A. Week.

I try not to let her see my fear. I tell her it will be a great time and she'll love it and not to worry about home because she'll see us soon enough and the rest of the summer. But my heart holds it's beat for a moment or two every time I think about it.

And the field trip.

I'll likely let her go with stern warnings to stay close to her teacher, listen carefully, not wander off, wear a life jacket yada yada yads. And she'll likely have a blast and not listen to one word I've said.

But I'll spend my day talking to myself in my head. Calming myself down. Hoping the phone doesn't ring. Jumping when it does.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that has these thoughts and fears? Maybe it's my innate distrust of other people? Like I said, I've been on field trips as a parent. Frankly, it scares the poop out of me to watch other parents trying to keep an eye on their group. Who ARE these people? And WHY did they volunteer? Their group is running around haphazardly, they don't know where half their kids are at any time, they look frazzled and unsure. Just what I need to see to instill confidence for later trips. Uh huh.

Deep breaths Mommy. Deep breaths. It'll all be okay.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend Weirdness and Wonder

We had another crazy but fabulous weekend, which is par for the course around here. Well, maybe not so much the "fabulous" part but the craziness anyways.

Saturday my eldest had soccer and I had the little sisters in again. They decided to play with Moon Sand at the table and use every single piece of Tupperware I own, along with every measuring cup and spoon. Needless to say, I think the Moon Sand will be taking a little breaky-poo for awhile. Have you tried washing that stuff out of every nook and cranny? It's SAND, folks. Not to mention my floor and table. Oh well, they had fun and that's what counts, right? That's what I kept telling myself as I washed and vacuumed afterwards.

Then we spent the rest of the day outside. It was a nice day, warm but not too hot. I planted the rest of my seeds in the garden, finished weeding my flower beds and tidied up my lawn. We decided to BBQ some nice steaks and enjoy the evening. Well, our neighbour asked us to come in and hang out while the kids played, so even better! Some adult time while the kids had fun with their friends. We went to bed a bit later than normal (well, the hubby and the kids. "I" don't fall asleep at 930pm!) and rested peacefully.

I awoke in the morning to, "Where did SUMMER go???" as my five year old whipped open the curtains in my room. You will never believe this. It has SNOWED. On the last day of May. Ah, the joys of living in the North. So much for all of that planting and weeding I did! I hope some of my seeds survive and grow. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

My husband took the kids out for breakfast so I could have some alone time. I got ready for their imminent arrival back home and my trip to the grocery store(s). I go to about four stores based on the flyer's and deals for that week. I only shop every two weeks, so it's not so bad, really. My neighbour invited the kids over again, so my husband and I got to shop MUCH more quickly and without grabby little hands trying to throw junk into the cart with all of the stealth of an elephant.

We then headed to one of my husband's employee's homes. His twins were turning three and he invited our family. Whooo what a spread. He had done chef training previously and the food was beyond delicious. One of the appetizers was baguette toasted with goat cheese, prosciutto and honey drizzled over top. Delicious! We ended up getting home quite late, so we let the girls sleep in this morning a bit and my husband drove them to school.

I was also supposed to start my next daycare child today, but she got the stomach flu in the night! So, it's a quieter day than I expected. And rainy and cold. It's supposed to be summer right? I guess not "officially" yet though!

My husband has been running around today. We've been going back and forth about getting rid of our van and getting into a smaller vehicle and one that requires less gas. We're looking at some crossovers, but we'd have to pay a penalty to get out our current van. So, it's a matter of it "being worth it" and all of the little details that go into all of that. Our van only has two years left on the warranty, and it's starting to have little problems creep up quite regularly. Right now, the belt needs to be changed and we need an oil change-standard things, not problems really. But there's some other belt issue that would cost about six hundred dollars and eventually we'd need to re-do the windshield (it cracked and we put in a cheaper one that drives my husband nuts) and so on and so forth. We also aren't ready to get into a car just yet. We like the option of seven seats, without really needing them all of the time. My sister has a mitsubishi crossover and it's pretty nice. We're thinking about something like that size wise and convenience wise. So, hubby's wheeling and dealing. I'll keep you posted!

It's supposed to be soccer for my youngest tonight, but they called it off because of the rain. FINALLY, a quiet night to do nothing. What will we do with ourselves???? We probably don't even remember how to just "be." I'm sure we'll figure it out, though!!!!