Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's Get Physical...

You know that "5 Love Languages" book where it asks you to fill out a questionnaire and then it tells you what your love or relationship style is for giving and receiving love? Let's just say the one that mine is definitely NOT is physical touch.

It's not like I grew up in a totally cold home where I was never hugged or anything. In general though, my family is not very huggy kissy. When we greet each other, it's not with hugs. We may give them on departing for an extended time away, but other than that, it's not gonna happen.

I'm very touchy feely with my kids. That seems like a normal way to be with them, ever since they were born. In fact, as you know, we had a family bed for many years and I was also prone to holding my newborns for as many hours in a day as I could without needing Depends or a feeding tube. Actually, if I was offered those things at the time I may have taken them.

In my daily life though, that's just not me. I'm not the friend that's going to hug you all of the time. I'm not the type to touch your arm or shoulder as we chat. I'm just not a toucher in general. In fact, I'd say I get a little freaked out by people not respecting my personal space. Some days that space actually requires quite a wide berth, as well.

In romantic relationships I'm the same way. I'm not the type to hold hands constantly or snuggle up together on the couch. I don't want to be glued to each other's sides every chance we can muster. As I just said, I like my space. Actually, I like a lot of space.

That can be difficult or hurtful for others to understand, especially if their love language happens to BE physical touch. I'm not being distant or trying not to be close specifically to them. I'm just not made that way. My Grandmothers, my Mom, my one in my family was really raised to be outwardly, overtly physical in their love demonstrations.

I don't think it makes me less approachable, but maybe it makes me seem a little less warm than I really am. I'm not perky, let's not get carried away, nor do I ever want to be. But working on literally reaching out may not be the worst thing in the world.

At least for a few moments a day.

Now I just have to figure out how to work that physical connection around my need to be germ free.

Hazmat suit anyone?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ikea Rocks My.....Home!

I don't care what anybody says, I love me some Ikea. I'm not even getting paid to say that! I know people that think Ikea is cheap (it IS) and that it's not quality, long lasting solid wood. (it isn't! Well, mostly. Some pieces actually ARE!) However, these are the exact same reasons why I love it!

I get bored easily, firstly. I'm not someone who wants to have the same furniture for my lifetime. Secondly, I have children, and ran a home daycare for 10 years. I don't see the point in having expensive furniture that is going to get spilled on daily, get dirt (or who knows what else) on it, can't be cleaned etc. Listen, I have enough anxiety and OCD in my life without freaking out daily over every little mark that happens on my stuff.

Plus, aesthetically, I just like their product. I like it even more so because it's never me that puts it together. How many boxes for that piece? Sure! My husband can do it! That aside, I really do like the modern, funky flavour of some of the pieces. I'm not "out there" in terms of decorating (you soooo will never see animal print, anywhere, in my home. Ever) but I do like clean lines and a contemporary feel. Well, contemporary mixed with shabby chic. That's me. My dining room table is an old table painted white, as are its' chairs. That's re-purposed shabby chic style. On the other hand, I like my home to look minimal. I don't have a lot of pictures, rugs, knick knacks. I guess some might find that kind of cold and not very homey-but I believe what one person describes as a haven can be someone else's nightmare. I actually get stressed when there is too much "stuff" around, or if my cd's aren't alphabetized. I tease. Well, sadly, not really.

Then, there's the fact that a lot of Ikea's furnishings come with removable and washable covers! Yay!!! How can you NOT like that??? If I decide to switch up my colour scheme, I can just buy a new cover, instead of a whole new couch. For a girl like me, that's worth it right there.

Since there is no Ikea in my area I ordered online for delivery. The process was easy and the estimated delivery time about two weeks. Deal, and deal! My only complaint was that I wanted a few items that weren't available to order online. I was thoroughly bummed and decided to start looking elsewhere. This week, still having not found those items, I went back to search Ikea. What the?? The original items I wanted now WERE available!!!! UGh. I could do a separate order for them, but that entails paying another shipping cost. Double ugh. I haven't decided what I'll do yet. The thing is, it's next to impossible to find those items for that low of a price anywhere else!!! It almost makes paying the double shipping charges worthwhile! I'll have to decide if it is after I check a few more stores in my city for similar pieces.

So, tomorrow is the day. A big truck is going to pull up and unload several boxes and more. I can't wait for my husband to get home and for the swearing, er.... assembling, to start.

I'm just an Ikea girl.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Neighbourly

We've been supremely blessed in the neighbour department over the last several years.

When my eldest was born, we moved to a court where there were lots of other families with young children. We ended up living there happily for 7 years, certainly in part due to the neighbours. We all seemed to have children in the same sort of age ranges, and we all became friends as well. The children would play out in all weather, while we adults stood around chatting, drinking coffee. (or sometimes other beverages!) We watched each others children, hosted play dates and birthday parties, organized neighbourhood pumpkin decorating and Easter Egg Hunts. We went out as adults for dinners and dancing and movies and more. It was definitely a support network and gave one a sense of trust and security.

People started to trickle away slowly, one at a time. They moved on to bigger homes or different life events. I think we were the last to go, as we got moved for my husband's job to another city a few hours away. I was sad, but also terrified. I was fairly confident that we would never find somewhere like "the court" again.

Yet, we did. We moved to another court in our new city. Again, full of parents of kids of all ages and sizes. Some of those parents were just starting out on this parenting gig journey, and others were old hands. As the months turned into years, we found ourselves sitting out with beverages in hand, watching children play. We walked right into each others homes, spent occasions combining meals, had neighbourhood block parties and spent days in our jammies watching the Olympics together. Once again, we'd struck gold.

Now, here we are once more. We've been moved to the opposite end of the country this time. We don't live on a court, but it's a crescent. We haven't seen neighbours out chatting very much, or just sitting out. There aren't tons of kids playing everywhere you look. We were okay with that, though. We figured it was nice and quiet-which is also nothing to scoff.

We found out then that two boys are actually in my younger daughters' class. Not only that, they sit at her table. We started chatting to their parents, and the invitation was extended for us to join them at the pumpkin patch. Since then, they've had our daughter in for play dates and taken her with them to a birthday party. Other neighbours have started to say hello more, and have come over to introduce themselves. One older man, a retired principal, said he often cuts my grass when he cuts his own. He had done that for the previous resident.

Yesterday, the doorbell rang. As we don't really know many people here, yet, I figured it was someone selling something. We opened the door to an older woman, who turned out to be the wife of the older man. She had two gift bags in her hand and a card. She introduced herself, explained that the card had their number on it (as well as their two sons who live 20 mins from here, in case we needed someone in an emergency) and a welcome with some of their background. The gift bags were for the girls. After chatting a bit, she left with my promise to have her in for a tea once we were finished painting and a bit more settled. The girls opened the bags to reveal a Webkinz each! As a parent with Webkinz mania, I know they aren't cheap. We were, frankly, a little beyond shocked. While we were bringing ourselves out of our awe, I heard the lawn mower start up, and there was the man now cutting my backyard and then raking my leaves!

My girls ran up to make thank you cards, even before "adopting" and naming their pets.

They've asked for our number too, in case they may need us. I'm off to find a little something to give back to them now, to thank them for their warm extension of "Welcome." This may not be a court, and it may not be as geared toward children, but it's already starting to feel a bit more like "home."

It looks like we've been blessed once more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Contest Capers

I belong to different Internet groups/sites and inevitably, one or all of them run contests. I see a ton of different things they are giving away that I'd love to win, but do I enter? Nope.

I'm super lazy about contests, clearly. I go with interest to the offer, but then I look at the hoops I have to jump through to "maybe" win the prize, and I click away again.

I don't really feel like filling out a hundred answers or doing a survey to win something, but I should. I have a friend that entered every contest going-and she won a ton of cool swag!

So, today. Today is contest day. I'm going RIGHT NOW to enter all of the exciting contests out there that have caught my eye.

Chances of winning? Slim to none! What's the saying though? You can't win if you don't enter!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kids= Dropping Lots Of Dough

Holy crap having kids is expensive. I mean, I knew the baby years were almost the death of us with bottles and formula and diapers and all of the equipment (oh, the equipment) but who knew as they got bigger that it would also well....get bigger.

There's always the classes and activities costs. I don't mind that *so* much because I figure they are learning a lifelong skill and getting some physical activity at the same time. However, dancing is not cheap. They need the "proper" shoes, apparently. They also need bodysuits (one won't do) and then the cost of the classes themselves. Thud. We also do swimming lessons, though we haven't signed up here yet. In my mind, swimming lessons are non-negotiable. That's just a skill you NEED to have for safety reasons.

This weekend, I sat at my kitchen table writing cheques yet again for school. I needed cheques for fundraisers and various food and drink days. Yes, I know. I don't HAVE to get them milk. However, for my sanity, I do. It makes it a lot easier for me, I know they are drinking milk and not a juice box, and it's cold and always fresh, not having sat in their lunch all day. I just like getting it, darn it. Same goes for the fundraisers. I don't have to buy anything, but I like to support their school when I can. I try to get the minimum but it all adds up. As I was writing, I went through my cheque book to see all of the cheques yet to come out, all made out to their school. Umm. It was a lot. I mean a few hundred a lot. Thank goodness we only have two kids.

Lastly, the stinkin' children decided to go and grow on me!!! What nerve!!!!! They literally were sporting leggings daily for fear of high tide with their jeans. So, off to shop. We managed to get them each several pairs of pants and a few shirts. We also managed to get their Halloween costumes (what happened to being a Hobo in your Dad's old shirt?) and candy to hand out. Oh ya, and a new booster seat for my seven year old. Yes, she's finally made it to a booster from the 5-pt harness.

Then, sadly for me, we also have to eat. I had to then grab a bunch of groceries. I swear that when I took my debit card out of its little plastic sheath-it sparked a little. The thing was sizzling with use! How come it doesn't see this much action for say, a trip to Greece with my husband? Oh ya. We decided to become responsible parents. What were we thinking?

Luckily, we have nothing currently on the radar spending wise. My bank and my credit will get a much deserved rest for a bit.

Though....I do need to order that desk and those curtains and.........

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am My Mother's Daughter

My siblings and I tease my Mom (okay, pretty relentlessly) about the fact that she chats up everyone, everywhere, every time we step out of the door. Whether we are at a store or a bus stop or anywhere in between, you can find my Mom talking away like she's met up with a long lost friend.

Since our move to our new city, I've come to the stunning realization that the teasing may be heading my way with a whole new generation. We stayed in temporary accommodations and while there, the concierge staff would chat with me on my several trips up and down the elevator with my dog. While out walking, strangers would stop and chat about the dog and about the city. In the stores, somehow, I'd get to chatting about how we were new to the city and making our way around.

We've now settled into our new home, and right away, we've begun getting to know our neighbours. When you are out at a bus stop every day with other parents and Grandma's, it's my thought that you can't just stand there in silence waiting for the children to arrive. We've even been invited to pumpkin patches and apple picking. Sometimes, it seems, people are so at ease with me that they share waaay too much information. Last night, a grandfather waiting for the school bus in lieu of his son started talking to me. He started shyly and hesitantly, and by the time the bus was there, he had told me his life history and his thoughts on society's morality, marriage and relationships.

I don't know if people nowadays are just so hungry for human contact out of the technological realm that they'll reach out to whomever is nearest, or if it's some sort of vibe that I send out. I do know that I've seen it happen my entire life. Hmm. Maybe it's just hereditary or part of my genetic makeup.

I'm off to get my daughter at the bus in a bit. I can guarantee I'll come home with a story. Someone ELSE's story, that is.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quirky Quirkiness

All of us have our little weird idiosyncrasies. Let's not pretend that we don't. Usually, these are little nuances to our character that don't really make sense, sometimes not even to us. I rarely even think about my "quirks" as it were, unless they are pointed out or questioned. Somehow, answering, "just BECAUSE" is the best response you are going to get from me.

Here, in no particular order, are things that need special mention as some peculiarities of my nature.

-I hate balloons. Hate them. Please stop handing my child a balloon at an event or the dentist's or a party. I pop them as soon as we get home. I throw out the "ready to be blown up" kind. There is just something about the sound, the smell, the choking hazardness of them. I know kids like them. I know my daughters love batting them and chasing them and playing with them. I hate to be a Buzzkill, but I really, sincerely, gnash my teeth when balloons are near. Shudder.

-I don't like bath products, like shampoo or conditioner, on the actual tub ledge. The bathtub has inserts with shelves for a reason. Use them.

-Also, don't leave clothes hanging over the end of the bed or a chair. Put them away, in the laundry basket or hung back up. It takes a second.

-I won't go to bed with dishes in the sink. I like them washed or put in the dishwasher and will stay up that much later to ensure they are in their proper place.

-I never fold a book's page over to mark it. Blasphemy! Use a bookmark or something!

-I like my furniture on angles-not traditional. I'm not sure why, it just "feels better" to me aesthetically.

-I will eat all jelly beans or jujubes but black. The black just go in the trash. Blech.

-Only almond M&M's will do. Don't try to bring me some knock-off chocolate almonds. They just aren't the same.

-I rinse and dry the sink obsessively. I don't like it "wet" looking with watermarks. I have issues, clearly.

-Don't EVER lie on my pillow shams. They're decorative!!!

-I hate whistling and humming. It's like a mosquito constantly buzzing in my ear. Speaking of which......

-I will chase a buzzing mosquito around until I get him. Even if it takes a loooong, looong time.

-I don't like my fingernails painted. It's a very rare occasion that I'll let that happen. Toes? Always. Fingers-just clear please.

-I can only wear jewellery for a short while. I'll wear it out for an occasion or outing, but then I get home and take it off immediately. It feels bothersome or heavy or something. I dunno. Again. Issues.

-I hate when people have gummy smiles. That's horrible, eh? If I see someone smiling and their top gums show, not just their front teeth, I feel all squeamish inside. It's horrible, they should be able to smile how they naturally do, but inside I'm thinking a closed lip smile would be better.

-People who smack when they eat, I may as well get a white jacket as soon as the meal starts. It drives me THAT nuts.

-People that "crack". Please do not crack your knuckles, back, neck in my presence. I think it's totally gross. What's WRONG with you that you can do that, let alone NEED to do it.

I could keep listing these types of things all day. They are just all of the little quirks that make me who I am. Neurotic and OCD and all.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Never Stop Being A Mom

As we all slug through the minutia that makes up our daily existence, we seem to lose focus of the "big picture" a little, I think. Though my kids' needs change from year to year, (who am I kidding? Day to day!) there are, and always will be, needs. On top of that, whether they are 5, 10 or 15 years old, I've come to accept that they'll always be my babies and I'll always be their Mom.

When I ponder the future, it's almost unfathomable to me that at some point, they won't live with me. That at some space in time, I won't know what they are doing every second of the day. That, like me with my own Mom, I may not talk to them every day. Ugh. Just writing that made my heart do a little tightening.

Last night, I was surfing the 'net with the TV news on behind me. I wasn't really paying attention except with that "side ear" that we as Moms have developed. I heard a story come on, and excuse me for not really knowing the details. The gist I grabbed from it was that there was some sort of controversy about a Mom (living) wanting to be buried WITH her son(soldier, killed in the line of duty) when she eventually passed. Here's the controversial part-he is buried, on her decision, in a veterans cemetery with other heroes that have fallen. She felt it was right for him to be honoured in that way.

The problem is, she isn't allowed to be buried there with him. Spouses and dependent children can be, but not parents. The Mom's argument is that, at 21 years old, her son had no children and wasn't married. She raised him as a single mother and for most of his life (and consequently hers) it was "just the two of them." She stated that she "didn't want him to be alone."

Of course, there are a hundred arguments regarding this case. She could have him moved to another cemetery that allows her to be buried with him. She can fight the clause since he has no dependents. To me, that wasn't what struck me about this case and made me pause to listen further.

She said one line that struck me to the core. As the camera panned over her tear stained face, she said one line in a choked and trembling voice. She said(and I'm paraphrasing here), "To you he may be a man, a fallen hero. But to me, he'll always be my baby."

I got it. I just really, got it.

We, as parents, devote so much of our time and energy into teaching, protecting, loving, essentially pouring all of ourselves into our children. Whether they get bigger in size or not, or need us less or not; they remain, in our eyes, the infant we snuggled in our arms or the toddler whose fever we nervously kept ourselves awake over nights on end.

To some, her request may seem ridiculous. There are, like I said, points and arguments on each and every side. But at the core of it is a Mother that is missing her son and lamenting her loss. More poignantly, it's a Mother wanting to protect her son, even in death.

I got it. I just really....Got it.