Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eleven Years Today

Eleven years ago today, right at this moment, I was lying in a bathtub hooked up to a baby monitor with contractions coming every minute and lasting a minute. I had been in labour since the previous afternoon and no relief was in sight. After a totally uneventful pregnancy, where I felt better than ever, it had all come down to these moments.

In the end, after 30 hours, no dilation at all and my baby's heart rate dropping drastically, I was rushed to an emergency c-section. There was a bit of a struggle to get her out since she was wedged in so tightly, but soon I'd be met with her strong cries.

After one look into her little familiar face, I was smitten. Oh, not just a little. I had never felt what I felt in that moment. The surety that I would lay down my life at any given moment if it meant saving hers. The need to protect and nurture so overwhelming it would clutch at my heart and throat with an insistence that still persists to this day.

Her grey eyes projected a wisdom that I had never seen in a baby, belying an older soul within. I knew that despite how tiny and fragile, she had an inner fortitude I would never match. In the days and weeks to come, I would learn how her strength and resilience had served her well in the birthing process. She had succumbed to some bruising and battering, but also a fractured skull.

Those first few months found me obsessively plotting times of feedings and diapers, amounts of bottles and moods. I would sit up in a dimly lit room and stare into her beautiful face, lost in the grace and overwhelming love embodied in this one little individual. I felt a sense of guilt for having failed her in the birthing process, and battled myself to remain composed. I swore to her that I'd do better, be better, keep her safe from herein.

As the days grew into months and years, my heart grew to proportions I didn't know could exist. To say she was my everything, is to minimize what she was to me. Rather, is to me. I kept her as close as possible to me, sharing a family bed and entrusting her care on the odd occasion to only a select few. When I had to part with her at those times, her caregivers were met with pages long manifestos regarding the do's and don'ts of her daily routine. However scared and hovering I may have been, there was no real need. She, in nature, wasn't the risk taking kind of child. At play dates, she would amuse herself quietly and gently. She never threw or banged or crashed. She never ran around someone's home screaming and shouting. If battles of will broke out within her playmates, she would quietly move away from the melee. She listened well, rarely needed discipline and thrived on learning. To state that she was an "easy" child is a gross understatement. Yes, I am blessed.

To this day, she remains a gentle girl, yet with a strong will when it comes to the rights and justices of others. If required, she will fight tooth and nail for what she feels is "right" or "fair." She is the type of girl that will spend hours engrossed in a book, or working away at a charcoal or pastel drawing in her room. She is very sociable and friendly, still choosing to walk away from confrontation and strife. She doesn't have a competitive bone in her body, which makes her an easy playmate for those who need to be the "best." She doesn't like taking the ball when playing soccer, but she'll outrun you to get it and down the field. On the stage, watching her dance, is to see her in her true element. She doesn't just perform the steps, she BECOMES the piece. Everything about her movements and facial expressions reflects the mood and setting. She's graceful without trying, elegant without pause. She feels strongly and when the odd occasion arises where she loses her cool, she's also quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Of course, with her track record, I'm quick to forgive.

Here we are, eleven years later, standing on the precipice of the teenage years and the difficult life lessons to come. When I look into those knowing grey eyes, I can revert easily back to that small room, rocking in a chair, sniffing her hair,hugging her to my chest and whispering promises. She's grown and shared and it's been a true pleasure to watch that evolution. I can't help but feel that though I'm the Mom and she learns from me, the opposite is exponentially true. I have learned more from my time as her Mother than anything I gleaned before our relationship bloomed.

Her birth into my life brought colour and light, laughter and tears. Mostly though, it brought a hope for the future and a love that outshines anything else I have ever known or ever will. The next year may bring surprises and changes and difficulties, but my promise to her remains steadfast. I have a feeling that she has much more to show me along the way.

To my grey eyed Angel Face on this day of your birth..................I wish you many more, and I want you to know how enriched and blessed I am by your presence in my life, daily.

Happy Birthday, my love. XO

Monday, June 28, 2010

Busy Summer Days...

I can't believe that school has ended and summer has crept up on me so stealthily. It seems to me it was May just a blink of an eye ago. Most years, I'm the nerd who is more than ready for that last day of school. I have gifts bought in advance, camps registered and paid for, and my calendar filled with plans and vacation weeks.

This year, I've dropped the proverbial beach ball.

Last week, I realized it was the last week of school and I hadn't bought teacher or bus driver gifts yet. So, out I went on Tuesday night with the last day of school here being Thursday. Oops. I managed to snag some great stuff, so all was right in my world, but somehow it left me feeling a little jittery and not my self.

Hello, that's because my daughter's 11th birthday party hadn't been planned either!!!! For someone who is slightly Type A and an organizational freak-this didn't bode well. Luckily for me, she wanted a simple sleepover. Unluckily for her, I'm an organizational nerd and you can't "just" have a sleepover! We got some great ideas from friends and the net, and we developed a theme of "Welcome to Italy!" We made gift bags in biscotti tins with Italian candies, jewellery, a candle holder with battery operated tea light and each girl decorated a clay pot and planted a basil plant. We had lasagna and garlic bread with Caesar salad for dinner, served on a red tablecloth with plastic wine glasses. The girls drank sparkling apple juice to pretend. My daughter had printed up "Italian" names for each girl as place cards. Everything went well, and she had a great time. Again, however, I wondered what was going on with me and the not being on top of things deal.

This week, I'm back to my normal daycare kids. The little guy I was watching was finished on Friday, since both of his parents are teachers he's home for the summer. Tomorrow, we're doing our family birthday celebration on my daughter's actual day and we'll give her gifts from us then. Guess what? I have to go out tonight and buy them!!!! What the?

I'm hoping that I'll get into the swing of things once this week is over and I'm settled back into a normal schedule and routine.

My family better hope so, because their Dad as "planner" is a disaster in the making!!! I hope this is just a little "summer mind" thing I have going on and I'm back to my anal, list making self soon!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stubborn For No Real Reason

I have this personality trait, I don't know that it's a good thing or a bad thing, really. It just is. It spills out into other areas of my life as well, but today we'll just discuss the comical ways it manifests.

I'm stubborn about liking things that other people like. Nuts, right?

Let's start with Crocs. When they first came out, everybody and their dog went and bought a pair. Me? I'll never own them. It's not that I don't see the reason why people like them, or don't feel slightly drawn to some of the funky colours. Nope. It's pure stubbornness. I refuse to own a pair because "everyone else has them."

I'm not like that with everything, though. I own lots of things that are the "latest" fad. Despite the media and fashion outlets saying that Uggs are hideous and no one should wear them, I will. I like them and the way they look. So, there.

I just get it into my head about an article or movie or singer, or whatever it may be, and that's that. I will never cave on it.

If someone tells me that "everyone" loves a certain movie, (ie Alice In Wonderland) I'll see it, but with disdain already in my heart. The same goes with music. Alternately, I heard "everyone" hated Sex And The City. So, of course, I had to like it.

I don't know what this says about me, on a psychological level, and like I said, it's not about everything. I seem to select when this stubborn will comes in to play randomly.

It's also not like I'm some big anarchist or a "rage against the man" type. I've never been "out there" fashion wise and doing my own thing. I'm pretty casual and "whatever" about most things.

Yet, here I am sitting in judgement about not wanting to conform or join the group for other things. Weird.

Just to make your life complete, here are some of the random things I've taken a stand against.

-Kameleon Jewellery
-Willow Tree Figurines
-Sex And The City movies
-The Office
-Living in a certain neighbourhood where everyone I know lives. Though-I'll probably give in on this one if it makes sense
-Alice in Wonderland
-Many, many books
-Twilight series. I've seen the movies (total garbage) and read the books (juvenile, at best)
-True Blood (ANOTHER vampire series? Geeze. When will this craze be done?)
-Jersey Shore
-Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult-I don't like writers to write the same "format" every time and expect me to be manipulated into crying. Not gonna happen, here. I fell for them for awhile but then decided I was done. DONE I SAY!
-Gladiator sandals. The things are hideous, I don't care how "in" they were. They are clunky and manly looking. No thanks.

I could go on and on but I'd just be confirming your opinion of my crazy. Well, that, and the fact that I've now decided that blogging about this is on my list too. So you can't make me. I told ya-I don't cave!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mind Control

Are you like me, and think that if you concentrate on something enough, you'll will it to happen?
Or am I just crazy? Wait, don't answer that.

It's this little game I play with myself. If I'm waiting for something to happen, or someone to call, I'll think about the person or situation with serious, deep, intense concentration. I may even repeat, "happen today, happen today, happen today" as I do so.

I'm waiting on news that will change much about my future plans, and I need an answer soon so that the many OTHER people waiting or needing clarification, can get their answer too. It's not in my control at all, but still, I need to know. Stat.

So, today. I'm putting all of my mind power and super duper deep thoughts directed right where I need them to be. My mind is actually crazy persuasive, and part of the reason I do this little trick is because it's worked in the past.

Hmm. Maybe I AM just crazy. Oh well. It's still worth a shot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Outdoor Play Time

When we moved to our new small town home, there were many things I had to grow accustomed to, and many new ways of doing things. While in some ways it felt like going back in time, I've now grown to appreciate that time warp.

My kids have always played outside, of course, but always for a metered amount of time. That time was often based on how long "I" wanted to stand out there with them. Here, it's a whole new ballgame.

I realized over the weekend that my kids are outside playing with friends for most of the entire day. They get up, eat breakfast, throw on clothes and are gone. Yesterday, being Father's Day, we took a stroll with the pup along the waterfront. We stopped to play on a jungle gym for awhile too. Once home, we ate a quick lunch, and back out they went. They had already been out in the morning with their friends, as well.

They biked, skipped, did skip-it. They played in a plastic pool full of water with their Barbie's. My eldest practiced on her new skateboard.(okay, I admit, so did I!) They were literally outside from 10am to 5pm, with stops inside to use the bathroom, grab a toy, or a snack.

After dinner and baths and books, they both zonked out immediately. Is it any wonder???

Here, they have much more freedom than they did back home. I don't know if that's their ages now, being older, or that small town life has adopted us to it's ways. Kids here remind me of when I was growing up. You told your parents where you were going, and then you were gone.

I love that my girls are enjoying being outside, using their imaginations to create new fun, and getting lots of exercise and fresh air. I'm probably getting more than I did back when, as well. Though, I do have to admit that our old neighbourhood, at one time, was pretty darn fantastic for this in it's heyday. I never thought I'd be able to replicate that, but here, we have. Parents are out on lawn chairs chatting for hours, while kids play all around.

I hope wherever we find ourselves next, we are just as lucky in neighbourhood choice and outdoor freedoms. I know we'd all hate to give that up when we've come to enjoy it so.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dads Day

Today is Father's Day, and while we wait for our sleeping daddy to arise, I thought I'd put some words to umm, screen, and tell you a little about the kind of father he is, and how important that is to me.

Growing up, I didn't see my Dad very much. My parents divorced when I was 4, and even though my Dad lived downtown, (a mere 20 minutes or so from where I lived in the 'burbs) he didn't really play an active role in my life. I would say we saw him "maybe" three times a year or so. He didn't call very often either. I know my Dad loves me and my siblings in his own way, but it's taken me pretty much from then til a few years back to realize that and come to terms with it. I would invite him to stuff I did at school, awards I received, or even my graduation. He always had a reason he couldn't attend, and as a kid, that stung.

You can probably surmise, then, that it was very important to me that I marry a guy who was going to be a super hands-on Dad. I judged a lot of my boyfriends based on how they interacted with my then young niece. When I introduced my "new" boyfriend to her, he was immediately smitten with her. As we got more serious, he got more serious about being a positive male role model in her life-as her father was in and out of the picture. We ended up moving in with my sister at that time, and my husband would get up early to let my sister sleep in, dress my niece up and throw her in a ball cap, and take her to the park for hours. We took her camping with us, and anywhere else that taking a kid was acceptable. We went to shows, museums, heck even the doctor for an ear infection! My sister worked shift work, so we got to spend a lot of time with my niece watching her grow. I knew this guy was a keeper. He loved my niece as much as I did and it wasn't just an act to score points. We were in our early 20's then, and hanging out with a two year old wasn't every one's idea of a good time. We never felt like it cramped our style. Granted, we could always just hand her back to her Mom at the end of the day! Sweet deal!

Many years later, and with wedding bands on our fingers and stars in our eyes, we decided to start our own family. We were blessed with two beautiful daughters. From day 1, my husband has been right there beside me for every step of this parenting journey. While my friends' husbands had never done the bath, or cut a nail, nor had even got up in the night with a crying baby, there he was. Since I didn't breastfeed, we split the nighttime bottles from the get-go. I would go to bed a bit earlier, and he'd do the bottle around 11pm. I'd do the middle of the night, and he'd do the early morning before getting ready for work. He cut nails, got them dressed, took on "bath night," gave first foods and lulled to sleep. He changed the first diapers too-I have never even seen that messy, sticky first poop. I had c-sections for both girls so he took over right away.

Here we now are with a 10 year old and a 6 year old. My husband has been the Dad going on field trips and never missing special events in their classes. He talks openly about whatever topic the girls come to him with-even the taboo "puberty" questions from my oldest. I'm thrilled she is even comfortable talking to her Dad about that stuff. He's the one they go to for their manicures and pedicures, because he uses a toothpick to draw flowers and hearts and rainbows. He's endured them putting crowns, pony tails and barrettes in his hair. I'm pretty sure he's even been their model for makeup testing too. He dances with them, brushes their hair and makes sure they get dressed in the morning. He is the one that makes their breakfast, while I struggle to peel my eyes open and start the day. He chauffeurs them to classes and parties and sleepovers, most days just taking it all in stride.

My husband has been the Dad to my girls that I've always wanted for myself. I'm so pleased to watch them interact and to see the love and total confidence in those exchanges. I try to impart to the girls how blessed they are to have the father they do, and I hope as they age that they realize just how lucky they've been.

We don't all get to have the parents we hope for or need, but my husband has been the epitome of what a Dad stands for since the beginning, and in so doing has let me live vicariously through my daughters.

Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

May I Have This Dance?

Today, my grade 5 girl is attending her first school dance. They are having it during school hours, but it's still a big deal. To her. To me. She even has a little boyfriend, who emails her things like, "School is boring to me without you here" when she's sick.

We went out last night on the search for a new dress. She wanted to hit Aeropostale first to see what they had. For all those women who fit an XS, well, that's just nuts. My daughter is a tiny girl. She's 60 lbs and petite for her age. The XS is just "that" much too big for her. I could have sewed up the straps a bit, but I figured we'd keep looking.

We continued on our search, and 15 dresses later, found "the one." It's a silvery sheath with sparkly flowers on the bottom. We also got her some matching silver sandals. She has jewellery and we curled her hair this morning. Sigh. She looked beautiful.

As I was dragging my butt from store to store, after an already too long day on little sleep, I realized that all too soon I'd be doing this for two girls. My husband and I clearly did not plan their age spacing very well. I thought I was so prepared, I researched psychological data that stated the "perfect" age range between siblings. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Anyone who truly knows me, knows what an anal, detailed person I am. However, it struck me last night that as my youngest is going to her Grade 8 grad, my eldest will be graduating from high school. I may as well take out a second mortgage right now.

We took a few photos of her hair and makeup this morning, but they have to stay in their street clothes until the dance time. When she gets home tonight, I'll take a few more of the whole get up. I hope the pictures turn out okay, because I know I won't be able to see through the lens very clearly due to the film of tears that will be clouding my eyes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Parental Influence?

Do you find that you have inadvertently (or maybe blatantly?) passed on your "likes" to your children? I remember growing up that I loved certain characters or stories, and even now I'm more drawn to certain children's programs or books than others. I seem to have made my daughters "new fans" of whatever it is that I like/liked. Oops? Or just good planning to narrow down the annoyance factor?

Here's an example. A few weeks ago, we purged through my daughter's clothing and made piles to give away and donate. We came upon their pink "Hello Cowie" t-shirts from the PEI "Cows" ice cream store. The shirts have a cute picture of a cow with an uncanny resemblance to Hello Kitty. My eldest says her shirt doesn't fit anymore and that it's too babyish to wear anyways. Do you think I put it in either of the above mentioned piles? No, I did not. I put it back in her drawer.

I have an unexplainable love for all things Hello Kitty. Now, mind you, I don't PERSONALLY own anything with that trademark. I'm not one of those women you'll see toting around a Hello Kitty purse or cellphone case, or wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt. Wait a minute.....as I'm typing this I'm remembering that I do, in fact, own a green Hello Kitty ring. My bad. Let's ignore that and get back to my kids. THEY have quite a selection of Hello Kitty paraphanelia. They have fork/spoon/chopstick sets. They have mugs. They have plates. My youngest has a Hello Kitty toothbrush. They have had running shoes. I'm pretty sure they have some jewellery. I know they have some stuffed toys and even some stationary and storybooks. (Scholastic rocks the Hello Kitty series!)

I don't know what it is about that cute little cat, but I can't seem to get enough. I've passed along my enthusiasm and now my girls are diehard Kitty fans!

I think maybe it hearkens back to a time when I would trade fuzzy or puffy stickers from my collection with others and their photo albums full of sticker madness. I always coveted Hello Kitty and those little Twin Stars ones. So, maybe it's a whole nostalgia thing?

My influence also extends to all things Madeline and Beatrix Potter. I'm talking movies, dolls, furniture, full series of books, felt boards, heck even cookbooks and stuffed toys. I've also encouraged Strawberry Shortcake.(yeah for redheads!) They all have good messages, nice styling and are stinkin' cute. C'mon you know it's true!

Lately, I forced my girls to watch Dr. Snuggles and Shera:Princess of Power on youtube. If only I could get some Bo Duke love goin' on.....then I'd feel complete in my complete brainwashing.

No, no,no. It's not really cult like following. I prefer to think of it as genetic good taste. Long live Hello Kitty!!!

Comfort Food

My Mom left to go back home after her week long visit, but traces of her presence still remain. I think we can all relate to foods that are synonymous with our growing up years, or with our parents and home. My Mom may have left the building, but foods that are only here when she's around still find themselves in my fridge and cupboards.

I sometimes neglect buying food that "I" really like, because I'm the only one who eats it. That changes when my Mom is around and we both indulge in glorious, yummy eats from my childhood.

When I think of my Mom, and our table during special occasions growing up, there was always "pickled" everythings. Apparently, that's not the norm. Huh? We always had a platter full of pickles, olives, beets and even pickled eggs on the table, whether for Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. I don't know why our family is pickly food fond, but we love them.

I opened up the fridge today to make lunch, and there on the shelves were Kalamata olives, green olives, baby pickled beets and baby dills. Yep, my Mom had clearly been here. In the deli drawer, more evidence. There, I found Swiss cheese and smoked meat. Let's not even get started on the breads! Pumpernickle, dark rye, buns and potato/scallion. My mom loves a good deli sandwich with a side of pickled everything. She's picky about "what" smoked meat and will reference, "I didn't buy any because they only had the wet kind. This was as close to Montreal as I could get."

It made me smile and chuckle a little, as I prepared my sandwich and sat down to eat. Soon, all traces will be gone, for now. Today, however, a little bit of my Mom and some of the food memories she creates, will linger.

All that was missing was some Werther's and some mints. That would make it feel exactly like "home."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Little Sex, A Little City, A Lot Of Laughs

I headed back "home" yesterday, with the sole purpose of seeing the new(ish) "Sex and the City" movie with my besties. We brought my Mom back as well after her visit here, and literally dropped me at my friends two minutes after arriving in the city. I was thrilled to see my girls, and mostly to get out of our car, where doggy barfing and child whining had occurred for several hours.

As we exited the theatre, I asked, "So, what did you think?" Two of my friends didn't like it at all. One even said it was a 4 out of 10. Despite it's horrendous reviews, (ie "Sucks and the City") I liked it. My other friend backed me up, too.

One of the reasons that came up for the dislike was that the film was a bit cheesy. Actually, a "bit" might not be a strong enough word to use. It reeked heavily of fromage.

You know what, though? Doesn't real life also carry that stench?

Carrie and Big have this romantic moment, where engraved on a watch is "Just us two, me and you." Yes, corny. But peer into any of our homes as a fly on the wall of life, and I bet we all have some pretty darn saccharine moments with our spouses and children. We have pet names and silly routines and might even say sentimentally driven things like "There's only you for me." Well, not me of course. I ain't that type of gal. You see what I'm saying though. We all do SOMETHING that would make our friends want to vomit in their mouths, just a little bit.

The cheese factor for me is what kind of makes it real on some level. It's believable, though also easily scoffed. I also liked the exploration of how a marriage is between two people "making their own rules as they go along." I believe that wholeheartedly.

You can never know what goes on behind another individuals closed door. I bet each and every one of us has rules or expectations that another couple wouldn't even dream of creating or doing. That's just fine. At the end of the day, it's that personalization that makes a marriage a commitment that works for the two individuals who took the vows.

Okay, sure, there were moments that were above and beyond ridiculous. I mean, Muslim women disrobing to reveal the Spring Line? Please. That was just silly. That whole scene to me with Samantha and the market seemed like it was unnecessary and could have been cut.

All in all though, I liked the different "real women" issues that were explored. The typical harried Mom with two little ones who needs to cry in a closet, the business Mom that feels guilty for loving her job, the married woman that questions her heart and her path-we all know these women and at some point, we've all been these women.

We made our way to dinner after the flick, and spent hours drinking and eating and talking and laughing. Mostly laughing. As I looked around the dim table at the faces of my friends of almost 23 years, I felt a little cheesy myself. We may have even joked that we, too, were "soul mates" before anything else in our lives. You know what though? Corny as it may be, for me, it's true. As jobs and babies grow into careers and teens, as singles grow into couples, as marriages battle hurdles and wane and then strengthen once more, these women are a constant to me, and to each other.

I'll take that cheese, with a side of wine, and nibble and sip appreciatively for what it is and what it will continue to be for a lifetime.

And with that, I sign off with a special and personal note to those women.

Goodnight, Pete. XOX

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I'm going back to this topic, yet again. I think I've circled the bowl on it several times, but it just irks me to no end, so I can't seem to let it go.

What is wrong with some people? Seriously. I don't know how some people lie to themselves over and over again in life.

They look in a mirror and truly and honestly believe that they've been hard done by, when the reality is, their struggles are of their own making!!! They complain about losing friends, or people not standing by them, when they've been the one pushing people away with their actions!

Then, there's the people that are just in complete denial about everything in their lives, from their diet to their lifestyle choices to their personality traits. I don't even know how you do that or live like that!!!

I'm a realist. I'm also one of THE most critical people I know. That being said, I turn that same critical eye back on to myself. I think that allows me to always be "real" with myself, though. If you want to know my faults, just ask me. If you wonder what my biggest mistakes have been, I'll tell you. I know both of those topics very well, because they are well worn in my mind from constant contemplation.

Are some people really THAT simple that they don't realize that their actions and subsequent fallout from said actions, are not because of their sad life or their bad friends-it's because of that smug mug they look at every day in the mirror?? I don't know how to "pretend" like that, and trust me I have a great imagination.

The reflection I see is often cracked and a little jaded, but it's real. I face myself head on, day in and day out, and I blame no one but myself when I screw up big. I don't know any other way to be, yet apparently there is a whole world of folks with stock in "Rose Coloured Martyr Glasses 'R Us." I hope their investments plummet soon. For the first time, maybe, they'll have to take a ride on the Reality Train, with no stops at Denial Junction.

Chugga, Chugga! Choo! Choo!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Break Time

We had a thoroughly crazy busy weekend and have somehow zoomed shotgun style into the week.

The girls dress rehearsal for their dance recital had us held captive (between pictures and run throughs) from 10:30am to 330pm. We didn't get to leave the theatre until 1pm to even grab lunch. Can you say GRUMPS???

We headed back Sunday for the show, and oh what a show! My girls both did great in their numbers (hip hop for my eldest and jazz and tap for my youngest) and I, of course, cheered my Mommy heart out.

I've since been back to the daycare and while I'm thinking that "end of year" means winding down, suddenly it seems even more is gearing up! On Monday, we got notice of two field trips for THIS week (whaaat?) and my husband left for Montreal for business, after just returning last week from another trip. I'd curse loudly here, but that's not very lady like. Cough.

I've also been reading Facebook status after Facebook status from folks with their summer plans all laid out. This is the first year that we haven't made ANY plans. I mean, nothin'. We do have my inlaws 50th Wedding Anniversary and Reunion one weekend in August, but that's it. My whole clan also have summer birthdays and my husband and I have an anniversary....but I'm talking about our usual "Family Vacation."

The reason we haven't planned anything is because of this looming "move" we keep hearing about but haven't received any confirmation regarding. I feel like we're living in this perpetual state of limbo, and it's driving me mad. We have been leery of making any plans because we may be in the midst of throwing our lives into further turmoil (it's how we roll) by packing up and heading out all within a two month period. Maybe.

We didn't sign the girls up for any of their normal "summer" activities (like soccer and camp) and we didn't make any trip or family plans. In case. If we do hear shortly, we'd need all of the time possible to get ready and get going.

We're calling it a "break," but frankly if it doesn't happen, you will have some mad, frustrated, boring summer played out peeps.

Let's hope this "break" doesn't "break" us!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hair, Hair, Everywhere Hair

Yesterday's post was pretty heavy stuff, so today I'm going with fluff.

By fluff I mean the 'fro that I'm currently sporting.

During the fall, winter and spring, my straightening iron and I are fast friends. However, come summer and we part ways. There's just no point in spending the ridiculous 45 minutes it takes, just to step outside and by noon have a huge, fuzzy mop on my head. Remember that "Friends" episode where they travelled to Jamaica (I believe?) and Monica's hair got bigger and bigger as humidity set in? That's my hair.

I covet those women and girls that get up in the morning and either their hair is already perfectly relaxed and flat and still, or they spend minimal time getting it that way. In the summer, I just don't do anything to my hair. I get up and give myself a "WOWZA" face in the mirror and go about my day. My hair is extremely thick and wavy. When I say "extremely," I mean like my hair dresser has a notation on my file to allot herself extra time to cut and style my hair.

So, I had a shower last night before going to bed. I woke up this morning to hair that was literally at least half a foot wide on either side and with waves all going different directions. Now THAT'S a look! I wet down what I could and brushed out the hair that had weaved itself into some sort of circular nest, and headed on my way.

I'm starting to look like the crazy lady on the block.

I know I'm supposed to enjoy the freedom of not straightening and just "go" with this umm, "beach hair' look, but it's a hard pill to swallow when your hair is a disaster daily.

Hmmm, hats! My new best friend for summer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aha Moments...

Sometimes, life's "Aha" moments come from the most unlikeliest places. I've done a lot of soul searching in my lifetime, largely due to experiences I've had to endure that I wished I hadn't, and the fallout from those times. Last night though, I caught Jillian Micheal's new show and decided to see what it was all about.

The premise of the show is that Jillian visits families that are overweight, for the span of one week. Unlike "Biggest Loser" where she has months to understand and transform them, this show is crammed into a shorter time frame and she needs to push to the heart of the "weight" matters quickly.

The daughter in the family had undergone gastric bypass surgery and was now a much smaller person. However, that hadn't changed her head space and she struggled with accepting that she was attractive and deserved happiness and love. As Jillian pushed her to confront herself, a choked answer came to her lips, with prompting. She realized that she never dreamed or hoped for things for herself (like love or true happiness) because when those things are given, they get taken away. It's the idea that you insulate your heart from the inevitability of loss that you've experienced so many times before.

Aha! I mean, I already knew this about myself. I have walls so high I can't imagine who would be able to claw their way in to my fortress. I've often sabotaged myself in life because I felt happiness would elude me anyways, which of course became a self fulfilled prophecy. It's not that I feel like I don't deserve happiness, in my case it's that it's been taken from my grasp so many times that I don't dare even hope for it anymore.

That of course also led me to Aha moment #2 which dealt with weight, and my personality in general.

As a kid, I was a pretty uber confident, cocky and challenging kid. I liked being the best, doing well and trying new things. I was the kid in my family that was always getting into some sort of mischief. It wasn't out of malice, in my case, it was more out of curiosity and feeling secure in who I was and my place in the world. In fact, when I tell friends now some of the scrapes I got myself into and the risks I took, they can't even believe it and often say, incredulously, "You???"

That all changed when I was nine. I'm surprised actually that people who knew me from birth to nine didn't see a huge shift in my general "being," but if they did, nobody said anything. That year, I was molested. I don't want to get into a whole big revelation or anything. I'm seriously way past it, but it coloured the rest of my life, and still does really. At least, it's coloured who I am or who I've become. I felt like it should be a secret and that it was too shameful to talk about with family, friends or even myself. I've realized as an adult that it's not ME that should be embarrassed or shamed by what happened, though my basic personality is to keep things private.

But back to the Aha. Since that day, I changed. I became someone who was cautious, who's confidence was shattered, who was always nervous and worried. I became afraid to take chances and leaps. Most of all, I stopped hoping and dreaming for that fairy tale for myself. My innocence was taken that day, and life as I knew it severely changed. I've been cynical as long as I can remember, and some days I wonder if that's when I developed that personality trait. I scoff at romances and love stories and I don't dream big dreams of happiness and wonderful things. I don't reach out for the brass ring, likely because I don't believe it exists. It's been my experience that most things that appear good really turn out not to be at all. It's like Jillian said-I stopped hoping for good things for myself, because I was unable to deal with the fact, again, that they'd be taken from me.

That also goes hand in hand with weight. I was a kid that didn't worry about weight. I loved playing ball and running and being physical. If it was a nice day (or not) you could catch me outside for hours. The year following that time though, I started to insulate myself from puberty and sexuality. I put on a little weight, subconsciously blaming myself for the molestation. I continued this pattern in high school, at the time so uncomfortable with the fact that I had a large chest and it seemed to be a focal interest for boys and men alike. Again, I went through a year or two where I gained weight and tried to be as invisible as possible. It's conflicting because I acted precociously other times, but if you know anything about sexual abuse, that kind of goes hand in hand. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and I both coveted and ran from male interest. Eventually, I lost the weight and started university and felt, or at least acted, like I was all good inside, and out. I read self help books and went to counselling. I tried to figure myself out, basically. I've come to know as much about "me" as anyone would want to without being self indulging or self absorbed.

My point in revealing this isn't to garner sympathy or to illicit a pity party. As I said, it's really a long time ago for me and I've really made peace with it all plenty of years back. My AHA moment was that, while I've dealt intellectually with all of the fallout, I haven't taken strides to change emotionally in terms of taking leaps of faith. I've started trying to push myself again, just in silly ways. I'm also a perfectionist who likes to do things "perfectly" the first time and feel like I look like a fool if I don't master something from Moment 1. That, coupled with my fears of risk, have stopped me from truly reaching limits I'd have once never even doubted reaching. It's time to get that little girl back, and her crazy, risky, "why not" attitude.

It's baby steps, for now. There are some things I'd like to do and accomplish that I've been too afraid to even attempt so I've procrastinated on them. There are things I'd like to try but looking like an idiot has stopped me from getting out there and doing. There are walls and layers and bubble wrap around my heart and soul that need to be pried free, one at a time. I'm not looking for an overhaul or to become a "new" person. I'm just looking at becoming the real me again. The "me" that one stupid, selfish act stole from me. I can't keep living in fear or worry or thinking contentment is the impossible dream, or only available to others. If happiness can be taken from you, than instead of feeling like I shouldn't bother, I should feel like I should take it while I can, right? That's what I'm going to attempt, anyways.

There's a whole world out there waiting. It's been put off long enough, too long. It's time to reclaim my space within it and take power away from those who tried to steal it from my grasp.

One moment, one layer, one action...........at a time.