Normal is a dirty word.

I was walking across the road to pick up a few of my kids from school last week when it dawned on me that I just may be a complete basket case. Or even worse, I could be completely, disappointingly, and soul-crushingly normal. My mind quickly compiled some of the evidence against the upsetting idea of normalcy and I was almost instantly comforted by the fact that upon examination of the facts, the only reasonable, logical and possible conclusions that one could draw is that I am either a complete dolt or a basket case. The idea of being a dolt does not please me any more than being normal does, and I do like baskets, so I’m going with the latter.

The Evidence:

  1. I live in, and have always lived in, a place where the air hurts my skin 10 out of 12 months. For six months, the air freezes my face and dehydrates my skin so that sandpaper looks soft and supple next to my legs. The other four months, it’s so hot and humid that the walls sweat and my face is in a state of perma-shine, made oh-so-much sexier by my albino-esque need to apply SPF50 with alarming regularity or else suffer the blistering consequences. Anyway you slice this, I spend almost 85% of my life battling various skin-related ailments. And why? Because Canada. That’s why.
  2. I have an unnatural obsession with and laser focus on salt and vinegar potato chips. I can wake up in the morning just fixated on them. No matter how long I resist and hold off, I know that I am going to give in and feed my addiction at some point before the day is done, so I cave and buy a bag. I then proceed to eat the entire bag. Followed by the next week spent dealing with the stupidly sexy sloughing skin inside my mouth and vowing to never touch another potato chip again. But that just means that I wait a month, rinse and repeat. The picture of instability? I’m right here, people.
  3. I derive an inordinate about of pleasure from seeing just how amazingly well my lettuce is doing in the garden and how many flowers are on my zucchini, cucumber and tomato plants. I mean, really? Who the hell brainwashed me and turned me into a freakin’ gardener? I’m the one who doesn’t like dirt. I’m the one who could happily stay inside her house 99% of the time. I’m the one who doesn’t even EAT tomatoes, never mind grow them. Is this a real-life FACE/OFF situation? I mean, when whoever owns this brain comes back, I’ll keep the kids, husband, house, and housework – I accept that those are all mine. But this gardening business, well, that is just not me. Except I really do effing love seeing all the seeds I plant turn into food and seeing said food gobbled up by all of the children that I water and grow daily. Ugh. I’m beginning to think that I may not be a teenager anymore. Feck. This is very disappointing news.
  4. I love makeup. And pretty clothes. And cute shoes. And leather purses. And I have quite a bit of all of it. So, having this information, you wouldn’t be crazy to think that I am probably one of those well put-together types. You wouldn’t be crazy to think that, but you would be wrong. Do you know what look I pull together most days? Eos lip balm, bleach-stained track pants paired with an oversized tee-shirt under a raggedy hoodie, $3 Walmart flip flops (from last year) and a pleather purse. Yup, that’s me. Homeless chic on the outside but really quite fancy-schmancy in my head. I wonder though, for when exactly am I saving that Dior eyeshadow and at which event will I actually attend wearing high heels (please God, don’t let it either be my bail hearing or my funeral), and what needs to happen to get me to stop saving my good leather purses and start using them again?
  5. I will do the same thing, over and over and over again and fully expect that I will achieve a different outcome merely because I want there to be a  different outcome and I think that I should get a different outcome. And then when I get the same undesirable outcome, I’m surprised and disappointed. Every. Single. Time (please refer to point number 3. and the potato chip debacle). And you know what? I will continue to beat my head against that wall because my belief that I should achieve my desired or intended result is just that strong. Now, this bit of information, some would say, tips the scales in favour for a finding of me being a dolt, but this is my blog and I have already said that the idea of being a dolt does not please me, so it shall be  treated as evidence supporting a basket case diagnosis.

Probably the biggest and best evidence I have available to prove my basket case-ediness is that I have actually just spent a not insignificant amount of time out of my life in order to write this post, sharing/trying to prove to you that I am, in fact, mostly unhinged. And I’m okay with that.

And with that final thought, I rest my case.

#OwnIt #EmbraceWhoAndWhatYouAre #NoShame

#OwnIt #EmbraceWhoAndWhatYouAre #NoShame #WordsCanHurt or #WordsCanHelp

Working on keeping things in perspective

And rather than write a novel about it (because I know that sometimes I’m a wordy one) I decided to create one, single, succinct image that sums up my present frame of mind quite nicely.

Things-that-dont-matter

 

Life is throwing me curve balls, fast balls, slow balls, hard balls, soft balls, and hairy balls on a daily basis right now. Sanity is hanging around, but merely by a thread. So I needed to come up with something to remind me to not be excessively stupid right now. And this is it.

Onward to Tuesday now. Any bets on what ball will be thrown at me tomorrow?

How to ask for a refund for your recalled Children’s Advil Products

Having a few kids in the house, I tend to make sure that I have fever medication on hand in case one (or more) of my mighty minions comes down with either a high fever or an unshakeable fever. One of the products that I have in my house right now is Children’s Advil, Dye Free. When I heard about the recall, I went online and found the Lot numbers affected and soon figured out that I had two unused bottles of the recalled product.

advil_recall

Without much thought, I took them to Wal-Mart with me the next time I needed to pick up a prescription. I handed them to the pharmacy assistant and she took them, said thank you, and turned away. I asked if I should just take two others off the shelf and she looked perplexed and said no, that they don’t do that. So, I quickly figured out that I was handing over $12 or more to Wal-Mart without receiving any benefit of a product or service, and I asked for them back. I decided to call the manufacturer (Pfizer) directly.

Bada-boom Bada-bing. My refund cheque should be in the mail in 4-6 weeks.

Find the list of effected Lot Numbers here: Healthy Canadians – Government of Canada

Lot numbers are printed on the bottom of the box and also on the side of the bottles. If you have one that matches up, send an email to: pchinfo@healthconnect.ca and make sure to include:

  • The product name;
  • The product size;
  • The lot number;
  • Your complete mailing address, including unit or apartment number;
  • Your telephone number.

If you’d rather leave a voicemail with all of that information included, call 1-888-275-9938, choose 1 for English (if you want), the choose 1 for the recall line. Dollars to donuts they will be experiencing ‘a higher than usual volume of calls’ so if you’re like me and hate donating life hours to being on hold, go the email route. 😉

Once you hit ‘send’ you’ll receive an auto-reply that says:

Thank you for contacting Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Your email inquiry/request has been received and we will respond at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sincerely,

Pfizer Customer Service

Your refund cheque should arrive within 4-6 weeks.

Easy-peasy. For once.

He has a suspicious mind, that one.

It is no secret that my Paxton loves him some apples. Like, he LOVES apples. All four of my smalls do, but Pax, in particular, is the most emotionally invested in them. Our household will easily go though 20 or more pounds of apples in a single week. Raw.

But right now, it is also the second-coming of teething season here at headquarters, as all four of them are now in one stage or another of losing baby teeth and growing ‘grown up’ teeth to replace and displace them. So, biting into an apple, at times, becomes an issue. Particularly if the apple is lovely and crunchy the way I prefer and the way they used to prefer our apples.

So, being the mindful and caring momma that I am (stop snickering!), I starting to set a bowl of apples out on the counter for those of them who either were in the ‘sensitive to cold’ or the ‘it’s wiggly and hurts to bite down’ stages of his or her teething journey. And Paxton, seeing the apples so readily available on the counter, just started to default to the bowl instead of the refrigerator every time he wanted an apple (often 6-8 times a day – no lie).

IMG_2551

But one day last week, he by-passed the bowl and opened the fridge. He found himself eye-to-drawer with an entire produce drawer full (15 lbs, give or take) of freshly washed and ready-to-eat apples. He dug around for the largest one, closed the fridge and took a bite. Then he turned to walk out of the kitchen, shooting me the side-eye and saying suspiciously, “Oh, I see you’ve been hiding apples from me. Huh.” He took another bite and sauntered out of the room, clearly a changed boy whose trust had been compromised on the deepest of levels.

He still tells me he loves me everyday but I wonder, if, in the back of his mind, the idea now lurks that I’m just not quite meant to be fully trusted.

He’s keeping a close eye on me now. I can feel just it.

EDITED TO ADD: I don’t know WHY the picture is sideways. It appears to be right-side up on my screen, in WordPress, in my previews and in my media library. But here? On Facebook? It’s freakin’ sideways. The universe is messing with me again. Like I really need outside forces playing with my fragile grip on sanity. 😒

A conversation with Miss Moon.

“Mumma! It’s beautiful out here! You should have the front door wide open!”

“Yes, baby, it is beautiful. I have the window on the door wide open, but I keep the door closed so that the bugs don’t come inside.”

“Ah. Well, you better close the window at night though. It might storm.”

“Oh, I will. And it’s safer that way too.”

“Yes. From bad guys. And robbers. [pauses to think] Mumma, you should have your purse in your room. And hold on to it!”

“I should, should I? Well, I can put it in my room, but I’m not going to sleep holding onto my purse.”

“Well, okay, but you’d better zip it up and put it under your bed then.” [whispering like we are co-conspirators] ” ’cause, you know. Robbers.”

Then off she skips into the backyard, her head full of blonde curls bouncing joyfully with each step she takes, clearly without a care in the world. And I’m left standing in our foyer, broom in hand, now worrying about home invasions and losing my purse while trying to figure out how my five-year-old is so security conscious and why, when I was five, my main concern was with how to avoid eating the peas at lunchtime without being caught by the daycare Gestapo.

Sometimes my life makes my head hurt.

They love me because I feed them. Meh. I’ll take it.

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. I was spoiled with breakfast in bed (adventures in the kitchen for Mr. K.B. and the smalls – so yeah, it turns out, waffle irons don’t live forever 😳), countless precious and priceless home and school made gifts and cards, and even a much-needed and appreciated visit from my own mother. (Quick aside: Happy Mother’s Day, Mum! I’m sorry I was such a 💩head when I was a teenager. It was definitely not you. It was me.)

And as the day came to a close, and I put my four youngest babes to bed, I decided to revisit some of my gifts and proclamations of love from the day. To my surprise, there was a common theme throughout, which, put simply was: “I love you because you feed me.”

My Golden Ticket from Deacon 😍😂

My Golden Ticket from Deacon 😍😂

So very, very Deacon 💚

So very, very Deacon 💚

I guess I have set the bar pretty low if, by merely feeding them, I have achieved “best mommy in the hole galixey” status.

One of the few times when I could care less about spelling 😍

One of the few times when spelling does not count 😍

Were they grasping for something nice to say or does the sum total of my mothering skills amount to short-order cook? Hmmmm. Could be worse, I say.

Mason design me my own Pokemon card. You'll notice that I'm still serving up the grub. Even fictional me feeds the children.

Mason designed me my own Pokemon card. You’ll notice that I’m still serving up the grub. Even fictional me feeds the children.🍽😂

And just in case anyone forgot about the importance of food...

And just in case anyone forgot about the importance of food…

I tend to (over) credit myself with wearing many, many different hats during the course of any given day in order to meet the needs of my family. As it turns out, I can shelve the various hats or just trade them for a hair net.

IMG_2512

Paxton appreciates that I feed him healthy food. 👦🏼 Poor kid. Have him brainwashed entirely, I suppose. 😍

Paxton appreciates that I feed him ‘helthy food’. 👦🏼 My poor Pax. Have him brainwashed entirely, I suppose. 😍

And last but not least, from Declan, who for the first time in my recollection, did not mention food. Not even once. 💜 I hope he's not coming down with something. 😏

And last but not least, from Declan, who for the first time in my recollection, did not mention food. Not even once. 💜
Geez. I hope he’s not coming down with something. 😏

So. This is my life. It may not be glamorous. It may not be jet-setting. It may not be the envy of those around me. But goddamn it, there is food and plenty of it (everyday even. Just ask my kids).

It’s time to change my relationship with food. Ugh.

Coming out of a three-day long headache, I was met with the realization that I have some changes to make and for once, they are not to my personality. No. It’s time to come up with a fitness/diet/don’t-be-such-a-slug plan so that I never again have to endure the embarrassment and pain of hearing one of my kids tell me that I look like I ‘have a baby in there’ while patting my un-pregnant stomach (which, for the record, is big but does not protrude or hang down, is NOWHERE near my lady garden or knees and is still not bigger than my boobs. TMI? I don’t care. It needed to be cleared up in order to proceed).

Aside from sparing myself from the mortifying truth of looking pregnant while not actually being pregnant, I do actually want to live for a very, very long time (I’m a glutton for punishment, go figure). And it would seem that I have children who, like it or not, need me and will continue to need me well into adulthood. Not because I’m planning to raise them to be incompetent nincompoops but rather that despite what my teenage-self thought, we always need our parents around. Even when they drive us crazy. Even when we want to throttle them. Even when we move away and don’t see them every day. We need them and we need to know that they are okay. So, it’s my job to live as healthy a life as possible so that my kids know that I’m okay and will be there for them — whether to drive them crazy or help them out of a jam.

It was this line of thinking that lead me to figure out that what I need to do is break up with  my shitty eating habits and find a new way to relate to food that will not end up killing me as soon. And that lead me to think that my best bet may be to start eating the way I feed my smalls. Which lead to thinking that the very best idea would probably be to just eat exactly what I feed one of them in a day. Since none of them drink pop (and I’ve been known to hurt a Diet Pepsi or two during the course of a day), they all eat breakfast every morning, the majority of their snacks are fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and popcorn, I would,  by my estimation, lose weight (way fewer calories) and I would be healthier (by default even as they eat very little to no sugar, sweets or over-processed food on a normal day).

But can I do that? Could this be a real thing that I could do? I mean, has the answer to feeling better, looking better, having more energy and managing my weight been right here the whole time and I’ve been too blinded by fads, popular advice and other people’s opinions to see it? 🤔

I feed my smalls a very healthy diet (my eldest son is making his own food choices and those are outside of my control – ugh)😩. As a family, we do sometimes order pizza. We do sometimes eat fast food. But the majority of the time, my kids eat real food, prepared by me using ingredients that I carefully choose. Their school lunches are not packaged in a factory or found in the frozen food aisle and almost never contain ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Their dinners almost always are 80% vegetables, and yes, they eat meat, but not in obnoxious, artery clogging amounts.

So, then question becomes, why has it not occurred to me to feed myself this well?

I suppose that I hide behind being an adult (and yes, I am using that term very loosely. The chronological definition really). I hide behind the excuse that my body is already “contaminated” from years of sugar, sweeteners, fat and chemicals. I hide behind the science that shows that detox diets just do not work. I hide away from the truth that I use food to self-sooth and manage my emotions. I use food to mask my feelings, to help me to feel happy when I can, confirm for myself that I’m no good when I need to and  entertain me when I’m bored. 😞

I use food for everything except what it’s meant for, which is to keep me alive and my brain and body functioning and strong. Like my kids are and I hope continue to be. So, I’m going to take the next few days to wrap my head around this, iron out the kinks, figure out the rules and get myself mentally prepared to eat like a seven-year-old with a  killer metabolism and a strong attachment to raw fruit and vegetables.

Who knows? May could end up being the month I finally shed my 🐌slug exterior and interior and graduate into something closer to an ant 🐜. Those things are stupid strong and able to do all kinds of smart shit. And if being an ant is out of reach, I’ll settle for finalizing my

But just in case I fail to metamorphosize, I’m keeping Pizzaville on speed dial. 🍕📞

#SlugNoMore #WhatIfWeAllAteWhatWeFeedOurKids #WouldWeEatBetterOrWorse? #RaisingHealthyHumans #EatLocal #EatReal

Things that make me cry and some things that do not

Because winter will never end and Spring will never arrive and we’ll be back into Autumn before really ever having the chance to enjoy Summer, gloom is muscling in on my thoughts, and where better to share that with than here? On that warm and welcoming note, onward with things that make me cry. Oh, where to start this list? It has the potential to go on forever. But that would be sad and depressing, and why would you stay? So to counteract the boo-hoos, I’ll include a the list of things that make me smile happily. And things that make me sleepy. And then, just for kicks, things that make me giddy and ridiculously, stupidly happy. Ugh. On second thought, perhaps I’ll just make a table rather than a list. Because tables are fancier than lists and today, I’m feeling fancy.

Things that make me cryThings that make me smileThings that make me sleepyThings that make me giddy
ParentingParentingParentingParenting
Not eating pizzaEating pizzaEating too much pizzaPizza🍕
Arguing with Mr. K.B. or having him upset with meBeing ridiculous with Mr. K.B. Watching Mr. K.B. watch televisionDate nights with Mr. K.B. ('cause then he's my boyfriend again 😉)
Being too fat Pants that fit and fasten shut while still allowing me to breathe without gaspingThinking about being less-fat and rifling through my closet to find clothes that fit and that are not pyjamas Pizza 😍🍕
Those goddamned military personnel homecoming videos people insist on posting everywhere onlineThose lovely, thoughtful military personnel homecoming videos people keep sharing onlineWatching too many military homecoming videos that eventually morph into how to potty train a giraffe videos (thanks, YouTube!)Standup comedy videos with far too many f-bombs and strong parental advisories.
Reading with my babies and realizing they need me to read to them less and less as they get more and more proficient at reading themselvesReading to myself and getting lost in a really juicy novel or bookReading textbooks that grow my brain and expand my knowledge baseFinding out that there’s a sequel already available
The Bridges of Madison County (the movie, not the book, the book was a complete pile of shite)Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Gone with The Wind, The Wizard of Oz and GreaseThree-hour long Pirates of the Caribbean movies and movies with non-ending endings (No Country For Old Men, anyone?).Mobster movies, old black and white movies, the complete Rocky collection
Spicy food, failed recipes, cakes with jam in the middleWatermelon, sweet, crisp green grapes, Old Dutch Ketchup chipsToo much sugar and dessertPizza
The state of Ontario's education systemWatching my babies learn new things, despite Ontario's education systemWorrying about the state of Ontario's education systemThe promise and anticipation of summer vacation
MarriageMarriageMarriageMarriage
Realizing that time is flying by and I’m on the wrong side of itThinking of all the things I have yet to try, see, do, and experienceThinking of all the things that I still have to do just to keep day-to-day life moving forwardThinking about how much promise lies ahead for my children and the adventures they will have
Coming to terms with moving on to the second stage of family and parenting - the ‘no more babies’ stageWatching my babies grow into funny, witty, sensitive, strange, bizarrely clever independent thinkers and citizensParenting - all of the stages - from pregnancy to having adult children and everything in-betweenSay it with me: Pizza.
🍕🍕💕

So, there you have it. The Oh-My-God-This-Winter-Will-Never-End-And-I’ll-Never-See-My-Flip-Flops-Again depths of despair, stream-of-consciousness emptying of my head.

~A.

Is his depth equal than or greater than my ditz?

A brief, recent, and real exchange with Paxton, age 7 1/2 years.

Pax, while eating his lunch: “In life, you just gotta have a lotta patience.”

Me, half listening: “Hmmmm? Yes, yes, you certainly do.”

Pax, finished his lunch and while leaving the table: “Yup. A lotta patience. You sure do gotta to have it.”

Time skips a beat and I look up from the sink where I had been washing dishes while he ate and watch his little frame retreat from the kitchen and head toward the living room (otherwise known as the Lego Promise Land). Um. Huh? Wait a minute. I realize that I’m really not sure what he was talking about. Was he talking about ME and my life (with kids, house, work, husband, kids, you know, the usual) and in his uniquely Paxton way, gently reminding me to have more patience because he had noticed that lately I was running short on it or was he talking about life and people, in general? Um, what exactly just happened here?

To put it into perspective for you, I will share that when I was seven years old, my biggest revelation was that the Polkaroo was really whichever fella (in a ridiculous costume) who was partnered up with the girl host in that any given episode and not some separate entity and that was why, time and time again, said otherwise happy dude would bemoan “What? Polkaroo was here? And I missed him again?”

Well, frig then. Either Pax is wise and deep beyond his years or I was just a total dud at being a seven-year-old. I’m really hoping that it’s the former rather than the latter. Because having to admit that your decline began before your eighth birthday is just sad but bragging that your kid is a philosophy prodigy is just bitchin’.

So, there you have it. Another Paxism and another life lesson on this second day of Spring 2016.

#ThisLittleDudeTho 😍

😍 #ThisLittleDudeTho #MySmallsTho 😍

In life, you just gotta have a lot of patience.

Paxton, 7 years 6  months.

Our March so far, in as few words as possible

We’re halfway through March already. Wait, what? If 2016 could slow down a bit, I’d be much obliged. This month has been jammed with sick kids, snow, rain, fire, playing and as always, re-evaluating what works, what doesn’t and what I should be changing. But, enough about that. And enough words. Let’s slip into picture mode and let the images do the talking.

What started with a snow day (yay!)

What started with a snow day (yay!)

Lead to a family of snow people (note the belly button and chest hair because that's real life, ya'll) and a virus that felled the youngest of our warriors. But she has seen bounced back and ready to take on whatever the weather throws her way.

Lead to a family of snow people (or ‘squatters’ as I like to think of them) taking up residence in our front yard, (note the belly button and chest hair because that’s real life, ya’ll) and a virus that felled the youngest of my minion warriors. But, fear not as she has since bounced back and is once again ready to take on whatever the weather (or a brother) throws her way.

And of course, the month could only escalate into this:

DeclanTakenText

In other news, Mr. K.B. and I watched the Liam Neeson ‘Taken’ trilogy and it may have made me slightly paranoid (and perhaps just a tad delusional, but I’m not completely on board with that diagnosis yet). Also, anything I can do that gets my 22 year-old to a) talk to me and b) laugh, I’ll take. Any day.

And this brings us right up to March Break, and a few very lovely days with many of my favourite people, hanging out, seeing a movie (Zootopia – CUTE!), exploring the lovely Fenelon Falls and eating far too much un-homemade food. But that’s what March Break is all about, yes?

5/6 of my tribe in Fenelon Falls. Always a good time.

5/6 of my tribe in Fenelon Falls. Always a good time.

Oh, and that would be no friend of mine, just so you know. but just because it sums me up so nicely this month, the requisite unicorn mention. You're welcome.

Oh, and that would be no friend of mine, just so you know. but just because this sums me up so nicely this month, I give you the requisite unicorn mention. You’re welcome. 🦄

One half of March down, one half still coming our way. I just hope I manage to stay out of jail. Because it’s important to have goals. That’s what is called ‘being an adult.’

March on!