Monday, November 30, 2009

Family Plus One

We have a new family member. But it's of the four legged kind and technically she's not ours, per se. It's kind of like having grandchildren, we get to play with her and love on her but we have zero responsibility for her poop. It's win win if you ask me.

Meet my parents' new puppy, Mika (meekA).


She's approximately two months old and already weighs in at 26 lbs. She will not be a small dog. She was pretty shy when we first arrived having only been with my Mom and Dad for a day. But by the end of the weekend she was getting pretty comfy.


She is sweet as pudding and we look forward to loving on her for years to come (minus the poop clean up, did I mention that?).

And because we rarely corral all 10 of us in one spot, we finally took a family photo! There was a telephone pole strategically placed that has since been removed and the lighting and me were not getting along but, we are all in one photo together and all smiling (sort of) so I say HUZZAH.

My family

If any of you who have photography skills out there have any advice on how to edit this photo so the sky is not so glaring white, please I would really appreciate any advice.

P.S. Thank you to each of you who took the time to comment on my last post. I am always scared when I lay out my deepest thoughts on here, not that it stops me, mind you. For the most part, the comments were food for thought, so thank you so very much.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oil and Vinegar

"This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples;
no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart
is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness."
-The Dalai Lama

This spoke to me. Deeply. Mostly because lately I have been feeling like I am oil and organized religion is vinegar. I am stuck, dense and viscious at the bottom of the jar very much liking the separation.

Sometimes I think we make everything harder for ourselves. We feel the need to dig deeper, get more philisophical, find more fault in ourselves. I wonder if this is the way it's supposed to be. I am always one to question what others are doing. I don't know why because I am not a leader. Nor am I a follower. For the most part, I try very hard to avoid that which everyone else is obsessed with. Take Twilight for example. The whole female population of North America, save a few, is voraciously devouring every word of this series and then running out and seeing the movies as soon as they come out. Me? Not so much. And don't get me wrong, religion and faith are in no way comparable to this example other than my reaction to it.

My own observations have led me to the conclusion that organized religion creates more stress and complication and in the end I question whether it gets any closer to being the kind of people God wants us to be. Sometimes, it appears to me that all the rules and regulations imposed by these "faiths" creates more judgment than anything else. I don't think that is the intention but as humans, we are flawed and judgement is one of those inherent flaws. Why add fuel to that fire?

Someone once said to me, "Kindness is my religion." The irony is how that friendship ended but that's the thing, you may not remain friends but you learn something from each and every person you have a relationship with.

So right now my focus is on improving me. Being a kinder person to my family and friends. Stregthening the relationships. Forging new ones. Reaching out no matter that I may get hurt.

Because each person I encounter, is an encounter with God. And I honestly believe that God doesn't care what religion, faith or denomination you are, He only cares about the kind of person you are.

These are my beliefs. Please respect them as I respect yours.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Nothing much to write about these days it seems. There is tons swirling around in my head but nothing concrete that I can ever formulate into more than a couple random sentences. Instead, let's go random with the photos I took today as I was practicing indoors, without the flash.

The keyboard

I have been breaking my strict no Christmas before December 1st rule.

(If we started anything Christmas before then I would want absolutely nothing to do with it by about December 15. Call me mean but I think it's actually less mean than me throwing the Christmas tree to the curb mid December.)

Jack is taking keyboard lessons and I vowed (somewhere, I can't find it now) to re-learn how to play as he did. And I have been but it's mostly by playing Christmas carols that have been arranged so that you only need about 10 notes to play them. I also like to sing along. My kids run away covering their ears and screaming. I think they are trying to tell me something but I just haven't quite figured out what yet.

More bling

Today, I was on a mission. I wanted a nice simple sweater dress for a few upcoming events. I found one for a steal of a deal, $30 to be specific. Of course, it needed a nice bright festive necklace to go with it.

Hanging directly below that necklace was this one. You know how sometimes you see something and it draws you in, such that you just can't look away. Yes, I am that shallow. This necklace did that. They were two for one, how I could pass it up? Jay is muttering something under his breath about Shopaholics Anonymous. I think work must be stressing him out or something, poor guy.

Couldn't resist

And because the boys both had really good report cards, I picked up a Christmas blanket for each of them just because. They immediately set up Teddy Bear picnic central in the living room. This is the stuff that just makes being a parent so worthwhile. It's the stuff of fabulous memories.

Cute X Two

It's Thankgiving for my neighbors to the South this week, so from my family to yours, may you have a blessed, joyful and delicious (because it's 75% about the food, isn't it?) Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Parenting. It's Harder than I Thought

There is a part of parenting that is rarely spoken about. I certainly refrain from writing about it here for the most part. But as time goes by, I realize that I must speak about it. It's just the honest truth and it shouldn't be anything to be ashamed about. It just is. So here I go.

I have two sons.

Me boys

They are, for the most part, polar opposites and have been since birth. Dare I say even before birth.

One was breech. The other was not.
One is easy going. One is not.
One is ready to try new things. The other is not.
One challenges my parenting skills daily. The other does not.
One is set in his ways, much like a crotchety old man (Hell hath no fury like this son when his routine is upset). The other is not.

Does this make one easier to love than the other?
Absolutely not. I can't help but love each of them for their good qualities. The good qualities that I have spoken about here ad nauseum. But it is all easy peasy lemon squeezy (as these boys of mine like to say)?

That would be HELL to the no.

You see, one of my sons is more like me than I care to admit. The mere suggestion of anything from me brings full on revolt. Anarchy even. We joke to each other that homeschooling would result in me having no hair and him leaving home by age nine.

I think we clash because we are too alike.

(Here's the part where my parents nod their heads vigorously and laugh with vengeance that I now know what they once dealt with. I, personally, think they are crazy.)

It's not just the we clash or disagree. It's that it brings out the worst in both of us. There is back talking and down right debauchery on his part which brings out my temper and how dare you talk to me like that, I got cut open to give you life on mine.

I am not proud to admit it, but I may have uttered the phrase, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out."

On more than one occasion.

This is not abnormal. I know it's not. It just can't be. No, not all kids are like this, obviously because my other son is not. He watches and has figured out it's not really the ideal. He tries a different, equally frustrating approach. We like to call it the whine approach.

Either way, this parenting gig, 'tis hard. And we haven't even, God help us all, hit the teen years. I am already planning how we will survive and I am pretty sure it's going to take copious amounts of vodka.

It's so easy to watch others parent before you have kids and think, I will never be like that. I will be patient and understanding with my kids. HA. The problem is that once you have your own kids, you can see the attitude coming from a mile away and you don't want to wait until it gets here,you want to squash it like a bug before it even sees you coming. This is where patience flies out the proverbial window and ushers in anger and frustration.

Does this work? Hell no. Does it stop me from doing it? That would also be a hell no.

(Side note: the number of times I have used hell so far: 5)

I don't think it's a coincidence that my first grey hair peeked it's way out shortly after birthing (or in my case laying on a table while the doctor cut him out) my first son.

Would I change it for the world?


Hell (#6) no.

But maybe we could do with a little less attitude and back talking? You know, if I was wishing on a star or something.

Oh and one more for good measure: Hell (#7).

PS if you cannot in any way shape or form relate to this, I am going to guess one of two things, 1) you are not yet a parent, or 2) you are extremely lucky and should get on your knees right now and thank the Good Lord up in Heaven above or fate, whatever your beliefs might be.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Naturopathic Dropout

Remember my elimination diet? Remember how I was all about better eating for better health?

Yeah. So.

That went well. Did you detect the sarcasm?

Turns out, as a wise elementary schoolmate pointed out, a Saskatchewan girl giving up wheat is like an Albertan giving up driving an SUV and a British Colombian giving up pot. And yes, this very comment on FB made me laugh. Out loud. The acrid aroma will get you every time you stroll the streets of downtown Vancouver. It's so punny 'cause it's true.

Anyway, back to me. Everyone together now, 1, 2, 3 all about me. Me and wheat. Together we are better. Wheat completes me. You had me at flour.

Okay, okay enough with the bad movie lines. The point is, when I last wrote about this I was craving some bread fierce. That craving got stronger and I got weaker, more tired and even more grumpy.

I contacted the naturopath. The one I like to call Shirley. Her name is as opposite to Shirley as you can get but you know, calling her Shirley makes me giggle (see above 1,2, 3 it's all about me). She told me that restricting my diet to that extent could cause my adrenals or my thyroid, I forget which, to under perform.


Genius. I went to prevent such an occurrence and here we are doing things to ENCOURAGE it?

Also, funny how the issues I told her about are the ones that came out of the "assessment and diagnosis"?

Hmmm. A bit like going to the psychic sporting your wedding rings and she tells you that you are married.

So here's the thing. I went in with an open mind and the velcro hooked up to the blinking lights pretty much shot that out of the water.

What did I learn?

I am lactose intolerant and minimizing my sugar intake is a good thing.
I spent $250 to gain information I already knew.

(insert profanity here)

The good news? Because there is always silver lining. I think. Most of the time. Is that now that I am not restricting my diet, I feel great. Flip flapping fantastic.

It's all relative. And, apparently, expensive for idiots. Live and learn.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Traditions, The Stuff of Memories

Today, I am over at Canada Moms Blog talking about holiday traditions. And in a way, thanking my Mom for all the hard work she has always put into the holidays. It only took me thirty five and half years, better late than never, right Mom?

And yes, I am already dreaming of Nanaimo Bar, in fact I am counting the days until that first delectible bit. It's all about the chocolate for me.

What is the one favourite holiday tradition you and your family have?


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Why I "Gave Up" My Career

Some of you likely know that by trade, I am a Chartered Accountant or CA for short. I was recently asked by another CA why I worked so hard to obtain my CA designation (16 hour exam over four days!) if I knew I was going to "give it all up" to have kids. This CA is a mother, but also a partner at a large accounting firm. She and I are not only not on the same page, we are not even in the same book. To clarify, both are legitimate books, neither one better or more valid than the other, simply different.

I stumbled over my response. It's complicated. It's not as simple as "giving up my career". For one, I haven't given up my profession. I still work as a CA, just not in the same capacity as she does. I was not offended by this question, though you might expect I would be. Because, when it comes down to it, in a sense, I have given up, temporarily and maybe permanently, a "career" as a CA.

I know of this career. I had begun this career before we had children. Barely, granted, since I got pregnant with Jack the week after the above mentioned 16 hour exam. We don't waste time. Such a career requires hard work and long hours. It requires climbing the corporate ladder. It requires assuming more and more responsibility. Not like any other career, I imagine.

In essence, it requires everything that I am not. I am not, by nature, a corporate ladder climber. That whole genre does not fulfill me even a little bit. I admire people who are fulfilled by this but I am not one of them. I think, and I am only speculating, that some are driven by the lure of making more and more money to buy more and more stuff. Maybe this is because I can't understand the alternative. That someone would be excited and energized to move up the corporate ladder. I don't know. What I do know is that neither of these things drive or motivate me.

When Jack was 18 months old, I went back to work. I had quit my job before he was a year old because I just couldn't fathom leaving him for 40 plus hours a week with someone else. Again, this is how I felt. I don't judge others who do leave their kids to work. It's a personal choice and ofter not a choice at all, but a necessity. For Jay and I, it didn't feel right. I also know that I am extremely lucky that Jay and I share these same beliefs and values and that we have this option.

However, after spending the next six months with little or no social contact (I had not yet discovered the internet, obviously), I needed to go back. It had nothing to do with wanting to further my career. It was simply a survival decision.

Jack loathed daycare. I loathed leaving him there. I didn't enjoy my work. I enjoyed the social aspect yes, but that was about it. I only worked three days a week. Frankly, in hindsight, it was three days too many. This arrangement lasted 18 months until my maternity leave began for Kamden. I never went back.

While on leave, the work I do now was mentioned as a possibility by another mom. I am indebted to her for the idea and for pushing me to try it. I have never looked back. I now teach online courses (among other things) to students who are working towards becoming CAs. I am still in the profession. In a way, I am giving back to the profession far more than I ever would have working in industry or public practice. But the biggest perk, the one that motivated me to try this in the first place, is that I am the one with our boys. I wake up with them every morning, feed them breakfast and send them off to school. Minus the "hurry up, Mommy is going to be late for work" rants. I am here when they come home for lunch. I am here when they come home from school. I was the one who dropped them off and picked them up from preschool.

I was here. I am still here.

And for that reason, I don't feel like I have given anything up at all.

Me boys

Rather, that I have accumulated a lifetime's supply of riches.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pride for my boy

Jack recently had an assignment at school the required him to list his likes and dislikes. I found my heart swelling with pride and also laughing out loud a little. Random Halloween photos are mixed in, just for fun, but in case you were looking for relevance to the post, go no further. There isn't any.


Here's a sample:

Eight things he really likes are:

- playing with my brother (yes, that got an out loud awwwwww)
- having my friend over
- going over to my friend's house
- Bon Jovi music (he's got good taste, no?)
- movie night (Friday nights are movie night at our house)

First of all, I want to just give a shout out that none of his favourite "things" are objects or toys or other possessions. Instead they are doing things with people he cares about. And playing with his brother is #1? Well if my heart didn't about break with pride upon reading that.


Now for the dislikes, don't worry it's short:

- Jazz music (seriously, he's 8, does he even know what Jazz music is? *insert laugh out loud here*)
- winter (hmm, I think I get where the Jazz music dislike is coming from...perhaps maybe, just maybe he's heard me disclose my dislike for it but winter, never. I love winter. *insert evil laugh here*)


Or evil Dr. Jay performing Jack-O-Lantern's lobotamy.

He's quite the kid, our Jack (not to be confused with Jack-O-Lantern, he is definitely not our kid), and we wouldn't have it any other way.