Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Woman's Touch - With A Dash Of Saturday Morning Cartoons

I mentioned before that I am very blessed with the friendships I have and looking at it from an outside perspective it might seem that I got lucky.
Not true. Well, not entirely.

I believe the men in our lives play a very important part of forming who we are, as fathers, brothers, friends, boyfriends and husbands. Their words and actions make a mark on us and who we become, good or bad.
But I believe that women can have an impact that reaches a different part of who we are. And I think that the confidence we develop from the relationships with the mothers, sisters, friends, and children in our lives runs deeper. On the flip side, the scars that unhealthy relationships could cause are often more painful because it also hurts a deeper part of who God made us to be.
Yet in our day and age women are hurting each other INTENTIONALLY. We taint the canvas before anything had been drawn on it. Little girls are seeing the pressure to know/show their sexuality before it should even exist. They are learning to carry the weight of both home life and work life long ahead of when their life would have stress. And they are hearing the gossip and verbal attacks that women are so loud about tossing around. We expose them to television that says our worth comes from what men think of us and give them THINGS to fill the void when they are upset.

I was lucky being born into a family where the women are strong and stable and confident. Check one. I made some friends through the school years who were loyal. Check two. And I was also tormented by females.
Teasing, bullying, name calling, sabotage. You name it I have been slapped, been buried in snow, been nailed by spit balls and worse. Much worse. This all happened through high school. It was rotten.
But it didn't define my future. I knew there was plenty of life beyond high school. I knew who I was as a child of God even if I had no idea how I fit in the world. I decided that friendships were going to be important and I was not going to let fear stand in the way. I talked to people, I made coffee dates, I was honest and open about who I was and I decided then that I was going to trust women. Sounds simple enough right? Yeah... no. I would have two conversations at all times. The one happening with the chick I was hanging with and the one in my head. The topic of conversation had no effect on the reel of internal questions like why did I wear this stupid outfit, or is my hair frizzing out, does she think I'm stupid and loudest of all, am I talking too much?

Years later I can say that these "girls" have now become cherished, impacting friends. It took effort. They were patient and saw me through my bumps and pains. I was patient and saw them through their bumps and pains. And most importantly there is a transparency that has taught me that WHO I am is bigger than if my hair frizzes out or if my outfit isn't quite right. Now the only second conversation I have when meeting new people is the repeat, am I talking too much? (Which is actually a very reasonable question because if I am excited I talk a lot, if I'm nervous I talk a lot, and if I'm upset I talk a lot. It's more of a barometer than an insecurity. The Hubby says I really, really need this barometer...)

It's definitely not simple luck. I make the choice/effort to go out. Some women find this hard. I don't. I NEED to get out! So last night I went out to a cafe night at our church. It was mentioned to me by some mothers I chat with and I figured that it would be worth putting myself out there. (And at times it truly is putting yourself out there. I did change my outfit three times and ask The Hubby if it looked okay, but I am still female...) Anyway, so I walked in and saw no one I knew. And no one my age. Thankfully age has never been an issue for me with friendships... I know that though I know what I know, I probably don't know much and I look forward to looking back on this time and realizing how little I knew... I finally saw a couple of ladies I knew and sat and chatted. Slowly more arrived that were familiar. And by the time it ended I had had some much needed laughter and was having a lovely time.

So four of us went out. And over drinks, wings and desserts I learned how amazing these women are. Each has their own story. Be it kids, or not having kids... husbands, work or just their own internal dialogue, I listened. Oh, I talked, don't get me wrong. I needed my own checks to make sure I didn't over talk (which I probably did) but I wanted to soak up the strength and insight that they had. It was refreshing. Not only did we finally leave the restaurant at 1:40am feeling light from laughing and gabbing, I left a little wiser. Because these women were not content to sit and mope. They weren't interested in gossip, and any self depreciating that was going on was in good humour and had more to do with the hilarity of what we do as females, than looking for an ego boost (for example, what on earth drove to me to wear jeans that fit months ago -and should be put away until after Lent- due to the extreme and urgent need to pee that happens the second I sit down in them? Really? They make my bladder the size of a pea.)
Beyond all that I left feeling encouraged and supported. After discussing some of my frustrations of late they decided that this Wednesday morning we were going to get together and "make a plan". MAKE A PLAN?!!! Seriously... why isn't that said more often? It was like hearing that no matter how bad my day might of been, they had the WORLD'S LARGEST BAND AID and I was the ONE DESERVING OF IT.
Why don't we do this more? Why doesn't every woman have the chance to meet other women who also carry over sized heart bandages and give them out willingly? Why do we destroy what is most precious in one another? Why can't we see that our quirky insanities are the stuff that makes friendship great? Why can't we be trusting/trustworthy?... My mother-in-law says "no man can put you our of the will of God." I agree. So what do we really have to lose by sharing with others? I mean, if no one can out you out of the will of God then it doesn't matter if THEY mess up with it. We ARE all human. The benefit of the relationship that blossoms from those transparent moments is worth the risk.

And the only reason I can write any of this is because of Saturday morning cartoons. Oh yes, I believe that television can be my friend. Thank you Sponge Bob Square Pants creators...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Things.

I sincerely hope that I am not the only mother who has crazy mornings. There are days where getting the kiddos up and out the door is like trying to get nursing home residents to perform Cirque Du Soleil.
The Princess decides to boycott diaper changes (and each time this happens I swear I am going to potty train. Yeah, still not happening.), The Prince thinks that it is more important to run laps around the house yelling, than get his underwear on and I cannot drag my butt out of bed fast enough to have breakfast, snacks and bags packed without the "WE HAVE TO BE OUT THE DOOR IN ONE MINUTE" cram.

I am still working on becoming a morning person. Prior to marriage and children I worked at Starbucks and was an opening shift leader. This meant that I woke up in my apartment at 5:15am, brushed my teeth, put on my black outfit, crossed the street and opened the shop where I worked until early afternoon. I would then come home and get ready for the day, or take a nap, or go shopping (my favourite of the options) but any which way, I really only woke up around 3pm. And being under twenty I would then go out (usually to The Hubby's gigs) until the wee hours of the morning just to wake up a short time later and begin it all again. I liked this.

There are things though that make me a better morning person...
Forget just morning, these things just make me a happier person anytime of day!...

Coffee (now black) while reading my daily blogs (oh how I love what these women write. See the ones I follow) and magazines. I am not a hoarder of these glossy, colour-filled pages but I indulge from time to time in their satiny whimsy. When finished window-shopping in the comfort of my home I pass them along, or trade it out with my just as addicted girlfriends.

I like Princesses who appear right in my very kitchen! Though there are days where I would like to put the "princess" attitude out with the garbage, I find the outfits to be fabulous.

Oh Ribbon. Ribbon Roses. Colourful Ribbon Roses on Headbands.
(This should be obvious since I started a business to feed this love of flowery accessories!)But honestly... How stinkin cute is that?!

Toys in their baskets make me giddy with joy!
I know that there are some mothers who patiently enjoy the chaos and mess that comes with children playing. And while I do have moments where it is incredibly satisfying to see them "creatively" decorating the house with their primary coloured blocks and dolls, I LOVE LOVE LOVE a tidy home. Period. It makes me SUPREMELY happy.
(Even if it is short lived.)

This smile.

I do believe I have mentioned, on occasion, that I like shopping?
Well, because I am somewhat responsible and thrifty there are rules to my shopping pleasure.
A) Only shop the sale racks. Strictly.
B) When there is nothing good on the sale racks and you fall in love with a reasonably priced, floral scarf from H&M... buy it!

PIGTAILS! It needs to be yelled! Say it with me now... PIGTAILS!!!!

I have never heard of any woman who does not get glee from an empty kitchen sink. I am fine with dishes in the drying rack... But a clean sink? On days where I keep my sink cleared I feel successful. The rest of the place can be disastrous, but I will know I have beat the BATTLE OF THE DISH.

To The Hubby's dismay I have a passion for all things woolly. Actually it's kind of getting out of control. I hone in to woolly items everywhere. I am more likely to notice if that person walking past had a totally awesome, wicked, woolly sweater than if they had an orange and green mullet. If my craze keeps up, the kids will soon be sleeping under my sweaters instead of their blankets. (And I'm okay with that.)

Since this morning The Princess had no interest in cereal and yogurt, or in cookies or a lollipop, I gave up on the attempt at trying to have a few minutes of peace and instead joined her in "dancing" to the sound of the world's most irritating musical toy. (I don't know why I didn't chuck it a long time ago.)
Sometimes it's more peaceful to give up.

I am beginning week two of this sacrificial experiment. I am getting used to going without bread and dairy until I see cupcakes. Yep. That seems to be my big weak spot. Cupcakes in all their sugary, creamy, floury glory.
Tonight I am celebrating my dear friend Amanda's Birthday so I will be eating some vegan cake, and though I know there will be some flour involved I figure I am almost entirely sticking to it. And Amanda would never stand for me going without! Happy early Birthday Babe!

Now I must change a poop er. (I am promising myself right now that I am going to potty train this week. HA!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


On a food side-note I am into my sixth day of no bread or dairy.
Looking back I think I have gone a total of 4 days in my whole life without bread before this.
I am daughter of an Irish mother. I hold my genes responsible.
But I am fine. I am actually, willingly, and coherently reaching for things like bananas and apples and peppers, rather than miniwheats or fresh rye loaf (both of which are haunting my counter top).
I am surprised that I am feeling lighter. (I said "feeling" not "looking") and I have slept slightly better the last few nights.
Tonight though, I will be binge eating blue corn chips and salsa to fill the void that exists simply because The Hubby is tormenting me by leaving a fraction of his Dairy Queen Ice Cream Birthday Cake in the freezer. TORMENTING ME!
Let's hope I make it till tomorrow!

Some Days Require A Little Crazy... 6,5,4,3,2,1 Switch!

I am a very unhappy person for the entire month of March.
At least I have been every year past.
I am hoping that being aware of it is going to make this one different.
It's to the point that my sweet friend Emma once told me that I had to "get a grip because I was looking like a crazy b!%*$."
(If it was not those words exactly it was something close.)

March is miserable (in years past) because I am done. Done with winter, snow, cold, darkness, brittle nails and salty/muddy boots.
And while I know that we have in fact been quite spoiled this winter with a great LACK of snow, all other irritations continue with the dry ground too.

As I am completely aware of this malady coming for me like a train wreck, I have decided to get off the tracks and run for the nearest Tim Horton's.
I am making THIS March ROCK. I am going to get out of the house (even if it means unnecessary driving to get The Hubby to and from work to have the car), I am going to do my hair and get out of my hideous grey sweatpants daily. I am going to have coffee with girlfriends and on days that are harder than others I am going to have dinner and a nice LARGE glass of wine.

No one else in our family seems to be affected by March quite like I am. Which is a good thing. The ins and outs of the waking hours between 6:30am and 1:00am are loopy enough without ALL of us on the brink of placing thousands of dollars on credit to pack up everyone and escape to a milder, sunnier climate for, oh, say, a MONTH!

Realistically though (unless some fairy godmother lands on my bank card) we are trapped in our charming little home surrounded by caring family and friends and COLD air for all of March.
And though previously I have been a little GRINCHY during that dreaded, horrid, repulsive, disgusting, exhaustive, never ending month, I have survived it. I'm sure I will again, only this year I would like to be smiling on March 31st.

... I can't believe I am going to say this...
everyone needs a little crazy in their lives.
Even in March.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Adorable Husband... Happy Birthday.

The Hubby celebrated another birthday last Friday.
I have adored him since I was 12.
I remember sitting on his bunk bed beside him at his 14th birthday party while all his friends thumbed through the pages of his awesome new Michael Jordan Biography.
I definitely adore him more now than I did then.
We've been through a lot... together.
He loves life. Really Really. First his Faith, second our family and third... music.
I'm a lucky girl.
He is talented. Stupidly talented. He is kind. (To a fault). He lets me be me. I am free to create and have friendships and be off Mommy-duty without complaint. (I was explaining to a friend that if I told him I wanted to be a stockbroker and get a PhD in astrophysics he would want to know how we needed to make it happen. THAT supportive.) He dotes on our kiddos. And they think he is the greatest man alive. He cares about his friends and wants the best for family.
Like I said... I am a lucky girl.
Happy Birthday Angel.

And on a similar note my sister celebrated her birthday on Saturday.
She is pretty darn spectacular too!!! Really Really.
Happy Birthday Steph(ie).

(Finally, I am almost through day 5 of no bread or dairy. Tired. Blah) Ick.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

40 DAYS... Beginning (again) today.

If within the next 40 days I post anything remotely happy/cheerful/positive/NON-angry call it a miracle.
I have mentioned that I am participating in Lent this year.
And since I went and ruined DAY ONE, today is now officially my DAY ONE.
It hurts even to type that.
I am a carb-a-holic and now I am well and determined to behave.
(This was also going to be extended to coffee due to my previous hate of black coffee and thus the need for cream and sugar. I am thrilled to announce that the coffee at Tim Hortons this morning was so fresh that I will now be drinking BLACK COFFEE!)
Along with normal daily craze... I will be updating YOU people (though I may very well be writing to solely my father who checks up on this when he leaves my house) on my battle with the ever elusive CARB AND DAIRY ADDICTION and overcoming it.
Now excuse me while I go and make MORE COFFEE!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is It Wednesday Again?

The Hubby works on Saturdays.
Yes, I think that sucks too.
In our home Wednesdays are the new Saturday.
So much cooler.
Stores are less busy.
Banks are open.
There is good afternoon TV.
Best of all, I HAVE A CAR!!!
(Being a one-car family is slightly limiting.)
Robin called this morning and asked if I would like to do something.
Coffee led to grocery shopping, which led to picking The Prince up from school and going on a random shopping trip to IIIIKEEEEA all for the sake of finding centre pieces for Robin and Paul's wedding in August.

(Yes I am aware that it is a long time away. And yes I am also aware that we were using it as a great excuse to go to one of my favourite places.)

(Okay Okay. You twisted my arm. I DID use it as a reason why I had to eat bread and dairy on the day Lent begins and I have decided to give up those two loves for 40 days. But come on... It's IIIkEEEA!)

So my theory is that I will only eat bread and dairy when in the confines of the most inspiring big box store that ever existed.
(And if you cannot reach me it could be that I am hiding down Aisle 14 in Bin 527 for the next 40 days.)

How can I say NO to ice cream when it makes the CHILDREN so happy?
I just wanted to share in their happiness...

Then I came home and changed my new nose ring.
The sparkle had fallen out of the first one and went from looking super hot to totally lame.
Oh, and I blame my parents for my desire for piercing and tattoos.
Not sure why, but I figure someone has to be to blame for why I tortured my poor nose with this itty bitty ring of agony.
(Ah well. I think it is back to looking super hot!)

Have a stupendous Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What We Do To Small Children Who Won't Eat Their Vegetables.

I have picky eaters.
But they love smoothies.
We load up the smoothies with EVERYTHING.
Package it in a bright cup.
are none the wiser!
Sneaky Sneaky...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Be My Valentine Family Day?...

Just before this picture was taken, December 1999, Josh and I had our first silly sloppy teenage kiss in the stairwell of a church on a Monday night worship meeting...
Just after this picture was taken I informed the friends I was with that I was going to marry Josh...
I was sixteen. He was seventeen.
I was right.

Now a decade later I am still glad that I decided that night he was my future husband/permanent valentine... and the kisses have gone from sloppy and silly to passionate and tingly...

But with young kids dates can become random if they are to happen at all, so instead of a romantic dinner we ate at the breakfast place across the street from our house and went to see the movie Valentines Day (highly recommend)... So to top off the random romance we watched Disney cartoons with the kiddos and took them out for some good stuffing pasta!

I'm pretty sure all the couples around us were really appreciative of the screaming and hoopla that was going on two feet away from them. Nothing says "I like you" like a bowlful of caesar salad being launched at your date!

I loved it all the same...
It's kind of fun to see where we were then... and enjoy where we are now...
Soon enough The Prince and The Princess will be with their own dates beside some bratty kids at a restaurant, annoyed, trying to have their dinner in peace, so I'll take pleasure in their miniature company for this stage in life...

And hope that the next time the food stays at our table.

Happy Belated Valentines Day!

But the celebration is only now coming to an end because their was still more love to be spread since Family Day followed today...

So I shared love with my shoes. Sorry. Shoebooties.
Yes I definitely LOVE you.
I missed wearing you and the pain you cause my feet so much that I broke my precious rule to never wear anything other than ridiculously comfortable footwear to my in-laws... And I loved having your button sides and almond toes snug around my tootsies for the entire 29.5 minute drive there and the 31.4 minute drive home.
I will not neglect you again.

Oh and Happy Birthday's ALL AROUND!
We celebrated Rich's twenty first birthday and The Hubby's twenty seventh with the last cake Grandma Mac ever made...
(a) We pack in the birthdays in February. I lost track after nine.
(b) My mother in law saved the chocolate cake from the freezer after The Hubby's grandma passed away a couple of years ago and kept it just for this occasion... It was lovely... Truly...

It's always worth it to make the time to spend with our families. We are blessed... We actually like spending time with them!
Completing the cheerful nature of our busy long weekend of love and family we CHEERED on Canada as we chomped on pizza and slurped down chili.
Hope yours was just as fulfilling.

Happy Family Day Everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympics... Proud to be Canadian.

I stayed up late to watch the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver....
And despite the massive amount of yawning....
And the eyes drifting in and out of focus....
I think it was worth the sleep sacrifice!

Wow.... This Country ROCKS!!!