A mish mash of our summer so far

This summer, like every summer before it, is flying by far too quickly for my liking. On the upside, we’ve been so busy enjoying it that I haven’t had time to breathe, let alone blog. But, this morning, I have carved out a bit of quiet time (thank you, Scooby-Doo DVD and card games!) so I’m hopping on here to share a quick peak into the first half of our summer through pictures with just a pinch of words on the side.

We hung around at home, jumping, swimming, going to the park
HomeJuly2016
We headed up to the cottage

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual 'F' words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual ‘F’ words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

The smalls went to Latvian Cultural Camp for a week
Tervete2016

Mr. K.B. and I checked out Vermont and Mont Tremblant (recommend both!)

The world's tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

The world’s tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

We hit the drive-in and a couple other movies
DriveInJuly2016

We said good-bye to toddler beds and hello to ‘big kid’ beds (don’t recommend)

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

We checked out Fenelon Falls car show and flea market
Fenelon2016We helped a fella win a bet with his girlfriend

We don't know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win. But I'd say we were the real winners, wouldn't you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

We don’t know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win by taking the set of four home with him. We don’t know what the fella won, but I’d say we were the real winners, wouldn’t you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

So, that covers July. I’m ready for the second half of our summer (and a nap!!) now, I just wish we could have a third and fourth half too. ????

February life lessons from my kitchen table

Late again. I know. But I needed to make sure that February was well and truly over. And when I figured out that it probably was, we were blessed with a legitimate, can’t-get-the-cars-of-the-driveway-busses-are-cancelled snow day. After a brief attempt by one small to attend school, everyone was home and time slipped away from me again.

IMG_2210

???? this day – everyone safe and sound at home.

???? this day. Miss M. wanted to go to school to show off her new smile (lost tooth) so we walked over, only to find out she would be THE ONLY student there. Managed to convince her to come home again. ????

???? this day. Miss M. wanted to go to school to show off her new smile (first lost tooth) so we walked over, only to find out she would be THE ONLY student there. Managed to convince her to come home again. ????

So here we are, March 4th, finally wrapping up February and putting words around what I learned this past month.

1. As good as my intentions may be, I make more mistakes than I do meals a day. And often times I make the same mistakes over and over and over again. Until one could honestly wonder if I am doing it intentionally or spitefully or without regard or care. The answer is no. I’m not. I walk through my days honestly trying my very best not to upset, insult, offend or maim anybody. I came to terms with the fact that I fail more often than I succeed and the result is shitty. I do not have a dull mind. I’m not stupid, oblivious or otherwise simple. Yet somehow, I manage to say the wrong thing, the wrong way at the wrong time almost daily. It’s exhausting. I’m sure for everyone, but definitely for me.

2. Parenting hurts my head. When I think about it too much, my head and my heart ache. From both sadness and happiness. Being a mum, my children are not perfect but they are perfectly mine they each create a prism of joy in my life that is uniquely their own. I find that I often must stop myself from wishing they will never grow up, that they will stay small and close to me forever (too late for that now though, ages 5 thru 22, so no real babies here anymore). All the while still wishing for and working on helping them to grow and achieve and follow their own life paths. I’m a mess of contradictions. As much as we all say “enjoy this time, it flies by far too quickly” and no matter how many children I have had, I never feel like I have fully appreciated and cherished each age and stage enough. I always have a list of things that I wish I would have done differently or better or more, and I worry that my children may feel cheated that I did not do those things with them. I just hope that they know that 1) they are my favourite and 2) I always have their backs no matter what.

3. My super power is losing and gaining the same 10 pounds indefinitely. Not 8 pounds, not 12 pounds. No. It’s 10. That’s my pound number. I feel like if I broke out and lost 15 pounds, the spell would be broken and my excess weight would vanish over night. Then I could choose a new super power. I’m thinking along the lines of a healing superpower (like John Coffey in The Green Mile ????) or telekinesis (like Matilda). I think those would be way better super powers to have instead of being the master of the same 10 asshole pounds.

4. I need to learn how to let things go, even if someone else is holding on. Or maybe I have to learn how to separate my feelings from those of others. I’ve only learned that I need to learn how to do this, not that I already have. My moods, feelings, motivation, happiness are, to my dismay and horror, very intertwined with that of those around me. If someone I love is in a terrible mood, unhappy, angry or down, I fall down that hole with them rather than staying ‘up’ and being okay, able to help them out of it. This does not apply to young children. I tend to  be able to lend them the support they need to feel better. Although that may be because their needs are less complicated? But with adults, like my eldest son or husband, this can quickly become a vicious circle with no end because he may need something from me to help him to feel better but now, I’m in no position to help him because I’m upset and lost inside my own head and feelings. That is not the person I want to be, but in all honesty, it’s who I am right now. Any ideas how I can disengage myself and let someone else have feelings without adopting their moods or feelings as my own? Maybe how to stop taking everything personally and be an objective listener rather than defensive listener?

5. I liked being an only child. And by liked, I mean, I loved it. But I am so glad that my children have each other. I loved being a family of three when I was growing up. It sounds terrible, but I loved not having to share my toys, my clothes, my parents love. I know that I was taken to more places, given more experiences and attention, went on more vacations all because my parents could afford it – because there was only me to provide for. But now that I’m older and they are getting older (as much as I HATE acknowledging that), I realize more and more how nice it would be to have had a sibling to remember a shared childhood with, to get our kids together with, and who would be like having another part of my parents around longer.

Well. February certainly appears to have brought about my inner maudlin. So, good-bye and good riddance February and hello March, you fierce and sexy minx. Let’s make good shit happen, shall we?

I've also come to realize that I talk about killing people an awful lot. But don't worry. I'm highly unlikely to follow through. It's just my twisted mind at work.

I’ve also come to realize that I talk about killing people an awful lot. But don’t worry. I’m highly unlikely to follow through. It’s just my twisted mind at work. That, an I find all the wrong and inappropriate things hilariously funny, so I share. Because I’m a giver.

January – wrapped up late. As happens

In keeping with my modus operandi the first monthly wrap up is a week late. Yay, me! Points for being absolutely and completely consistent and predictable. ????

But, on the unshitty side of that, I did actually learn a few things in January that I can now make note of so that I may be able to avoid having to learn them again. This month, I learned (remembered/was told/came to understand) that:

No matter how old we get, we need our parents to be parents and no matter how old our children get, we still need to parent them. The parent-child relationship is not an eighteen year commitment. It is a LIFETIME commitment. The relationship changes over time, the requirements on both side ebb and flow, as do the needs to be met, but the obligation, the instinct, the need to parent and have parents is eternal. My 21 year-old needs me just as much as my 11, 9, 7 or 5-year-old do, the only difference is that we now have to negotiate an adult-child-parent relationship. My baby he may always be, but a baby he is not. And when the shit hits the fan or I’m feeling completely lost and alone, I turn to my parents to help me, because who has cared for me and loved me for as long as they have? I have a husband who loves me, I have children who love me, and I am grateful  and blessed to have both. But I still need my parents (I think that this realization means that I will be required to officially turn in my ‘spoiled adolescent card’).

Neither the length or colour of my hair, the shape of my body, the fit of my clothes nor the wrinkles on my face are allowed to determine how good I look, how good I am, or how good I feel. And I am SO done with holding myself back because I need to wait until something fits, looks better, is smaller, smoother or brighter. In January, I wore, wait for it, Jean Jeggings for the first time in my life. They were a Christmas gift from Mr. K.B. I’m not sure if he really believed that I would ever wear them, but yes, with my fluffy body and my thick, too short legs, I ditched my beloved, tried and true track pants and walked around wearing Jeggings. And I didn’t wear a hoodie or knee-length sweater to cover it all up. I wore a regular length shirt. And you know what? The world did not implode. In fact, my husband LOVED it. And I felt good to try something new, to step outside my comfort zone, to be aware of the fact that this is the body that I have and I need to appreciate it for what it is NOW, not hate it for what it is not or resent it for what it should/could be. It’s healthy, it’s functional, it provides comfort and cuddles, hell, it has created and sustained LIFE. More than once. So, no more hating on it. Every scar, every pound, every line, wrinkle and stretch mark have been hard-won and I’m done hating on them, for they represent much of what my life has been about – my family.

It takes not one kilowatt of energy less* to be growly, frowny and grumpy than it does to be smiling, positive and encouraging. It really doesn’t. In the schools right now, the buzz word is ‘self-regulation’ and they are really pushing just how important it is that children learn how to self-regulate at as early an age as possible. I discounted this as something that I learned how to do long ago, so didn’t give it much thought for myself. But, as it turns out, not so much. I still have a lot of work to do to achieve true self-regulation of my emotions. And food. And emotions. And chocolate. Shit. You get the picture. But that’s okay, because I am aware of it now. And I am working on improving. So I don’t have to flagellate myself relentlessly when I screw something up or handle something like a three-year-old two hours past nap time. I can do it better next time. See? No more self-inflicted emotional bruises. Because, learning.

Well, this pretty much exhausts January 2016 for me. I learned a lot. I cried a lot. I thought a lot and I made lots and lots of lists. Because lists are my happy place. Even when I don’t cross everything off, I still love me a good list. Now, onward and upward into February. We have a whole extra day this month. I’m still trying to decide how I want to use it. Probably doing laundry. Because I’m fancy like that. ????????

~A

*Edited to change out the word ‘less’ for ‘more’ in the third lesson learned because who the hell wants to expend MORE energy being a growly grump than a positive ray of sunshine?

My November all wrapped up and ready to toss. Now bring on December.

Last month, I decided to stop re-learning everything all the time and decided to do monthly wrap up posts so that I could find all of my life lessons in one spot. Kind of like wisdom one-stop shopping for the chronically disorganized yet eternally optimistic (me).

Today, being the first day of December it would seem like a good time to say goodbye to November. See me go, all not procrastinating and stuff.

So, this past month, I learned a few lessons, some more painful than others (because painfully is how I roll. Apparently).

Lessons learned in November 2015

1. Smiling on the inside is meaningless if you forget to smile on the outside.  And sometimes just smiling is enough to turn things around when the blahs are beating down the door. (But this does NOT mean that it’s okay to go around telling people to smile. Don’t do that. Someone will (rightfully) punch you in the throat – you don’t know anyone else’s story, you only know yours and no two life stories are the same).

See, Lucy Liu knows which end is up, she just needs to start showing it on the outside. Right now, in this moment, sleeping in this toy box, she is smiling HUGE on the inside.

See, Lucy Liu knows which end is up, she just needs to start showing it on the outside. Right now, in this moment, sleeping in this toy box, she is smiling HUGE on the inside.

2. Guilty pleasures are only guilty if you feel shame. Without shame, they are just pleasures. But shame is something I am an expert at (unlike chess. I can’t play that to save my life). But I know all about shame because everything I like or fancy makes me feel ashamed for one reason or another. For example, if I want to watch a program on television (rare), I feel ashamed because it’s a waste of time, mindless, superficial or immature (think Sister Wives or Teen Mom), so I’ll rarely, if ever, say I’d like to watch something or if the opportunity arises nor will I actually watch. And I think that it is because I feel as though it reduces my worth as a person in the eyes of others. And for some unknown reason, I’m still insecure enough to care what others think of me. Or, if I want to eat something delicious and dirty (think chocolate, Dad’s chocolate chip cookies, desserts, pizza or Pizzaville baked panzo), I feel ashamed for being such a slug, for not practicing myself what I do for my children, and for adding more girth to this already girthy body. You get the picture. I’m a sack of shame.

Exactly. I knew that I was not truly alone.

Exactly. I knew that I was not truly alone.

3. Weight only matters if none of your clothing fits you properly anymore and you’re on the verge of having to spend money to procure yet another wardrobe in yet another size. I have too much clothing. I wear 5% (maybe) of those clothes. But I like everything in my closet except that over-worn 5%. So why do I own that 5% never mind wear it? Because it fits. And it’s here. And it’s not costing a thing to wear it (other than self-esteem). When I figure out that it’s not my weight that matters but my health, I may be in a better position to deal with my clothing. I can be “overweight” and still be healthy and feel well, but I need to figure out where that threshold lies because too much extra icing* and I feel immovable and too little icing and I feel despondent and sad. *Yes, I have decided to start calling all of the extra ‘me’ icing. Because icing is lovely and yummy and delicious and fat is not. I’m calling it a self-love strategy.

4. That changing your mind when something just isn’t working is not the same as giving up or failing. Feeling like a failure is a Very Big Deal. I don’t know about how it goes for anyone else, but for me, when I feel like I failed at something, I internalize that failure and make it my whole being. I become that failure so instead of being a person who tried something that did not work, I become a worthless, stupid asshole who tried something and fucked it up to such astronomical limits that all is lost and nothing good can ever happen again. Sounds dramatic, I know. But that’s how it feels. In my pit of my stomach, to the core of my being, that’s what failure feels like to me. So, now I’m trying to re-train myself to realize that starting something and then deciding that it’s not working the way you envisioned or planned means that it is okay to change your mind, change directions or start over. Letting go of failure and shame are big lessons for me. And ones that are a work in progress, but make the list this month.

I feel like I am always beginning again. I think that what's been missing is the 'wisely' part.

I feel like I am always beginning again. I think that what’s been missing is the ‘wisely’ part.

5. I don’t have to eat meat or dairy to feel full, satisfied or nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my burgers, pizza, chicken, egg and tuna salads, and tonnes of cheese. I’m being honest, I’m not completely full of shit. But, I can honestly say that I dislike the idea of eating animal products. Not because I want to hug a cow or adopt a flock of chickens but more because I no longer feel like my consumption is a benefit to my health or well-being. I am less and less okay with the way big corporations produce meat and animal products (and yes, I say produce, not farm or grow because on the big corporate scale, it’s all about the production quotas and financial bottom lines). The more I read and learn, the less and less I want anything to do with animal and soy products and am now trying hard to keep soy out of my children’s diets as well. My other response to all of this ‘new’ awareness? I just stopped doing it. In the second half of this past month, I quit eating ‘big business’ food. I started eating a mostly raw, all real, food diet. And you know what? I feel pretty good. I’m less bloated, I’ve lost a few pounds (nice side effect if it helps me get back into some of the clothes that I own and want to wear!), I feel lighter inside and kind of, well, cleaner. Which sounds a bit stupid, I know. I have had french fries a couple of times and they were divine, not going to lie, but I don’t feel like they were worth the bloat they brought back.

Breakfast of champions. Well, no, not really. It's my breakfast on most days now and it's completely filling and satisfying. Not going to lie, it would be better joined with a chocolate fountain, but that is contrary to my new 'adult' approach to eating. So, I'm holding off on that, For now.

Breakfast of champions. Well, no, not really. It’s just my breakfast on most days now and it’s completely filling and satisfying. Not going to lie, it would be better co-mingled with a chocolate fountain, but that awesomeness is contrary to my new ‘adult’ approach to eating. So, I’m holding off on that, for now.

 

What I learned in October – Life lessons monthly wrap up

I learn a lot life lessons, it seems, all of the time. The problem is, I too quickly forget what I’ve learned and then re-learn it again later and then forget again and then re-learn again. And so on. To combat this useless cycle of learning, unlearning and re-learning, I’ve decided to try to do monthly wrap up posts. That way, I can just do a quick scan and remember what I’ve learned before I go and think I need to learn it all over again. This makes no sense. I know. I think I’m coming down with a cold. Or I’m having a stroke. Either way, this is today’s post.

Lessons from October 2015.

1. You’re never going to look and feel like a million bucks if you only spend $15.00 on a haircut. You’re going to look like maybe ten bucks and feel like a buck twenty-five. Please don’t ask how I learned this particular lesson. The pain is still real. Just trust me on this one, ‘k?

2. I don’t mean to brag, but I really am richer than I think. Just check out this out:

These dots connect themselves, but just in case my fever has taken liberties with my senses, I'll explain: Library book = free (as long as I don't fuck it up and forget to return it on time, in which case all bets are off because I'll be poorer again); Topic of said book = Spending less money which means that I will have more money (getting richer now, right?); Randomly selected bookmark = cold hard cash. Yup, that's right. I'm so flush that I use money as a bookmark. My dream has been realized. I'm a high roller now, baby.

These dots connect themselves, but just in case my fever has taken liberties with my senses, I’ll explain:
Library book = free (as long as I don’t fuck it up and forget to return it on time, in which case all bets are off because I’ll be poorer again);
Topic of said book = Spending less money which means that I will have more money (getting richer now?);
Randomly selected bookmark = cold hard cash. Yup, that’s right. I’m so flush that I use money as a bookmark. My dream has been realized. I’m a high roller now, baby.

3. I am not one of those people who get better looking with age. I’m not a complete saggy, baggy troll yet, but this month I’ve learned that my best looking years are now behind me and at this point it is my job is to attempt to slow down the process of morphing into a troll from a sprint to a leisurely, friendly jog.

4. That I can grow peanuts. From other peanuts. But I can’t grow a lot of them and it takes a really long time, so if you’re planning on coming by to score some, don’t show up hungry, you’ll be disappointed. Or, if you do show up hungry, don’t expect to eat my nuts. I waited for months for these to happen and I need to just sit and stare at them a while longer. And there really aren’t enough for everyone so someone is going to get stuck noshing on an apple or king-sized Toblerone bar. Actually, come to think of it, I’ll trade my nuts for a king-size Toblerone bar. I guess I’m not as attached to them as I thought I was. Huh. Go figure.

I want to say that I have nuts for days, but really, I have fourteen and most of them are tiny. So I maybe have nuts for moments.

I want to say that I have nuts for days, but really, I have fourteen and most of them are kind of tiny. So maybe it’s only fair to say that I have nuts for moments.

5. That some kids are assholes (or AK for short). But also you can be fairly certain that wherever you find an AK, there is more likely than not an adult-sized version of him/her at home. Be aware though that their assholism is probably more polished so not as easily detected to outsiders and non-assholes. So, be kind to the kid, don’t expect anything good, helpful or supportive from the resident adult and try to model the behaviour you want to see instead of reacting to the assholish-behaviour you’re getting from the AK. Ugh- this is probably not making much sense. I think I’ve lost feeling in the left side of my brain. What are the odds that some Tylenol will fix this shit?

Perhaps I have a few too many days feeling like this. Something to work on, I suppose. I'll get to it. Later. #ProcrastinatorsUnite

Perhaps I have a few too many days feeling like this. Something to work on, I suppose.
I’ll get to it. Later. #ProcrastinatorsUnite

6. That when we take the time and make the effort to tune into those around us, the glimpses into what is on their minds and in their hearts can change your day in less time than it takes to stick a straw in a wine bottle. For instance, just when I was positive that I was completely failing at this parenting thing and about to either put myself up for adoption or hide under my bed because they’d all be better off without me, finding this message from Miranda, made my heart so happy. This was her gift to me this month, without realizing she was giving me anything at all.

It doesn't even bother me much that I got bottom of the order. The fact that I was mentioned at all means I win. ;)

It doesn’t even bother me (much) that I’m at the bottom of the order. The fact that I was mentioned at all means I win. 😉