Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Lost A Whole Day!

I'm a busy mom. With working at home, trying to get to the gym, trying to find time to write around the Trucker's crazy hours and three busy kids, sometimes I'm amazed I have time to shower!  Every now and then, I find that one thing that demands so much of my mind and my energy that all other things fall to the wayside. 

I'm a huge reader. I love to read. All kinds of books, just not the gushy romance novels my mother and grandmother read all the time. I read a strange assortment of books. Much like my really odd selection of music. I like a bit of everything.  Most of the time it's a struggle to get time in to read a full novel. A few minutes here and a few minutes there. Sometimes I read a little while I'm waiting for the kids at the school, or sitting in the living room until the kids are quiet enough that I actually believe they are going to sleep at night. 

Occasionally, I find a book that I just can't put down. I tend to devour Kay Hooper novels, which are kind of freaky and sometimes gory. They fascinate me and I can't stop reading until they are done. I got sucked in to the Da Vinci Code the same way. Then I got interested in the storyline for The Help. Finally caved in and bought the book, and had it finished the next night.

My sister bought the Hunger Games books last week. She's been reading a library copy and decided to order the set to keep reading. I borrowed the first one and started reading Wednesday. Thursday night I finished it. Friday she dropped off the second and third for me, since I'm reading faster than she is. Saturday morning I finished Catching Fire and Saturday night around 11 I finished the Mockingjay.  Those are the kind of books I can't put down. That is the way I wish I could write. I was hooked from the beginning and just HAD TO read the rest. The break between the second and third novels was about.... 5 minutes.  Maybe long enough to hit the bathroom and grab a drink before I settled back into it.

Seriously, I did nothing but read yesterday.  I think it drives the Trucker crazy when I go so deep into a book. Life just sort of happens around me. I'm holding the book in one hand cooking dinner with the other. Propping the book open while I do other tasks that have to get done. Carrying it everywhere I go.  Until I'm done.

Sometimes when I'm done it feels hard to get back into the real world. For the hours while I am reading, I am in a totally different world. My heart and soul are lost in the writers words and I just blend into their reality.  It's almost like the low you get after you spent a long time planning an event and then suddenly it's over.  Suddenly I'm back in the much less exciting real world and I don't know what to do with myself.

I guess I'm like this with everything. There is no half way. I'm in or I'm not. I do it all and do it right or I just don't do it.  For the writers of the world, if you don't have me hooked in the first chapter, I might read the second, but if I'm not totally engrossed by the end of the second chapter I probably won't finish the book.  Is it the perfectionist in me?  Am I a lot more OCD than I suspect?  

If I don't fold my laundry as it comes out of the dryer, it sits in a basket for a week. If I don't do the dishes right after dinner, they'll sit until .... well, whenever I get the energy to tackle them the next day.  I procrastinate like no other. But once I start something I go extreme until it's finished. Wiping the counter can turn into a two hour kitchen scrub down. Putting clothes away can turn into a huge closet purge.  Picking up papers in the office turns into a complete revamp of the entire room.

Now, my sister is laughing at me for getting so caught up in these books and I'm not allowed to talk about them until she's caught up. Darn. Hurry up will ya?  What's your problem?  hehehe oh yeah, I had your books.  And I have no life!

Does this happen to you?  What hooks your attention?  Have you gotten so lost in a book that time stopped, or at least seemed to?

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Little Princess

She's such a delight, this Angel Baby of mine.  She picks everything sparkly and pink to wear. She adores getting her nails painted, and this is one of the few times she actually stops moving for more than 2 seconds.  She loves to have her hair pinned up or pulled back, even if she hates the brushing part.

Yes, she sure looks like a princess most of the time.

Hidden under this sparkling pink facade... is nothing near a princess. She is as much a boy as her brothers. As I type this she is playing with a little blue robot the boys left out.  She likes to get right into the mud. She loves to do everything that her brothers are doing.

She is the one I will have to watch as a teenager.

She is amazing, in fact, I believe that all three of my kids are amazing. I have been one to let fear and worry rule my world. As a kid, I was afraid of getting hurt. I was worried about what others thought of me. I was always trying too hard to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I didn't take risks. I didn't even like riding my bike too fast. I still don't take a lot of risks, but I'm learning to stop guessing what others think of me and start forming opinions of my own.

My kids are so strong and confident. Art is maybe too confident, thinking he's unbreakable sometimes when he really shouldn't. They do what they want, they follow their hearts.  There are no rules or stereotypes that interfere with their choices.  There is no 'boy toy' or 'girl toy' rules here. They play together and share with each other. I love this.

I am not sure how someone like me, who is so aware of everyone around me, so obsessed with other peoples needs and opinions could have raised such self sufficient kids. How can I teach them lessons that I can't follow myself?  I guess I can model why you shouldn't worry so much...

Angel Baby spends more time with the least likely of toy choices. Every day she carries something different to the school when it's time to pick the boys up.  Imagine a pretty little pink purse, filled with dirt, cars, you name it! 
Let me tell you, every day here is an adventure with this one.
Can you see?  Just under the vanity table, the doll has been moved to the floor. The bassinet for babies is filled with more important things at the moment.
Her husband of the future may want to be careful when asking what's for dinner. Well, he might be okay, she does sometimes like to cook with me.

Now, this last one?  He's developing a bit of a history with us.  Bought as a prank to get my boys, but adopted by my little princess.  Seriously, the rubber has almost a fleshy feel to it, the inside is not solid, but some sort of squishy beany something, kind of like a bean bag but ... not quite.  We have a black partner too.  Art kept getting revenge pranks from Grandma, she kept finding the mice all over the house and thinking he was planting them. Little did she know it was the Angel Baby, not planting them but carrying them all over all the time and dropping them or setting them down in random places.

She loves these things.  Crazy kid. A few days a go, I found it on my chair in the dining room when I sat down to dinner. I've found it tucked by the leg of my desk, hiding behind chairs and under stools.  Even in a cupboard or two. But the other day was the worst yet.  Angel Baby had a rash happening, so I had been giving her the regular dose of vaseline smear.  She apparently decided that this little mouse needed some too. No, honey, the pink of his ears and tail are not from a rash!  

You haven't lived until you have tried to clean grease of a squishy, stretchy, ugly little mouse!  What can I say?  At least she didn't put it in her hair this time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Birds With One Stone? No.

Wrong.  Lately here it's two stones for one bird.  Stones being dinner and Birds being my family. What can I say... my family is comfortable with the food they eat. And ultimately, I know that they eat pretty well. There's room for improvement, but I'm not about to make drastic changes to their diet just to accommodate what I want. Interestingly enough, the less I bug them to try the things I'm eating the more they want to try it.

I guess I trained them well when I didn't want to share my chocolate stash. Now they think if I don't offer, it must be really good.  It's kind of a pain, I've been working on learning how to cook the meals we love all this time, and know that I can comfortably cook just about everything they all like, I'm changing it again.  

I've always enjoyed whole grain bread.  I don't know why I didn't choose to buy it before. It lasts longer because I'm pretty much the only one who eats it. I also don't know why I didn't really think about the fact that the cream cheese I love could possibly be sold in a low fat version. DUH.  

Spaghetti squash is not only good for you, and a good pasta replacement... but it's actually pretty fun to cook.  Like Halloween pumpkins, but without the sticky part. Just plain fun.  The kids didn't want to try eating it, but they definitely got into shredding it up.

I've also learned that there is an unexplainable trend in my food tracking.  The more I write down what I eat, the better I want to eat. Admitting to myself that I just scarfed down two donuts in the Timmies parking lot is not a big deal, but writing down (or logging on sparkpeople) means facing the food. Owning my choices. Sometimes, it is easier to just avoid the junk food or take out than it is to admit to myself that I stuffed that crap in my mouth.

I'm trying to eat better. Eating only the vegetables and not the great desserts can get a bit monotonous. I can't eat the same things over and over. Because I really didn't care much before, I didn't try to push the envelope too far. I would make a new dish and it would instantly get the pass or fail from the family. Many of the meals I LOVED were not a big hit with the kids and the trucker.  It really is easier for me to make two dinners right now.  I'm a different person. I know that forcing the kids to eat different things is really just a crap-shoot anyway.  Most of the things I hated growing up are things I cook for myself now. And it's really not about what mom did right, it's simply that my tastes have changed. Many of the things I loved growing up, I just can't tolerate anymore.  

If the family was living on fast food, I'd put my foot down. But they aren't. They just have a smaller selection of things they like. I would rather they eat their whole healthy dinner than have them pick at something they don't enjoy and not eat enough of the right foods.  Right?

What about you?  Do you think I'm crazy?  Would you make two meals? Have you ever been in this position?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have You Ever Been In Need?

I don't mean in need of a pedicure or a hair cut.  I don't mean that you sit at home weekends because you are stretching your paycheque for the next two weeks. I mean really IN NEED.  I've toyed with this post in my head for a while, but after reading Do What You Can Do, I was reminded of the reason to share this message. These are some of the words that should  be shared. Thoughts that many avoid, but we all should face.
I've lived in extreme circumstances and feel thoroughly blessed at this time in my life. Yes, I'm in debt. True, I have nothing saved for a rainy day and barely even for an emergency. I don't agree with credit cards and thus don't have the visa safety net either.  However, I have a roof over my head, a good job, assets that I could liquidate if I really had to and a warm comfy bed to sleep in every night.

I have been in rough places. I've slept on air mattresses in the basements of friends or family. I've gotten my weekly groceries from a food bank. I've had to walk or ride a bike to get anywhere because I had no vehicle and even the cost of public transportation was too much.  I've worn layers of sweaters because I broke the zipper in my winter jacket and couldn't afford to replace it. I've 'made do' with the same shoes for many years, shoes I got second hand and wore until they simply fell apart.  I've even lived in the stinky small apartment, furnished with next to nothing, in the seediest part of the city, because the rent was like a quarter of any decent place.

We had help.  We had friends or family who could give us the space in their basement. We always got by. We never had much, but we always found what we needed. I'm truly blessed.

That's why I'm humbled with the efforts of a young boy, who at 12 years old (just a bit older than my Macboy) felt the pull on his heart to reach out and help the homeless in his city.  He enlisted his mom and for 5 years filled and delivered backpacks full of basic necessities to the homeless. He developed sponsors and media friendships and grew his little dream each year.
Jesse can be a role model for my kids.  Now focusing on school work to graduate grade 12 with honors, he had to make the rough decision to let go. Not knowing if anyone would step up and carry on his private passion.

In steps Bubbleup Marketing, a local company searching for a way to give back to it's own community. It was a miracle of timing, Jesse reaching out and Jason searching for just that message in the same moments.  BubbleUP Marketing will continue to spread the hope inspired by this young man through the Bag Of Hope campaign. There are good causes out there, there are good people who just want to help for the sake of helping. Not for gratitude or financial gain, just to share a little bit of hope to others.

I pray that my children will never have to live through dire circumstances, but rest easier knowing that there are still good people and good organizations that can support them and provide the hope they may need to take just one more step.

I believe that NO ONE is ever homeless by CHOICE. Perhaps there is an illness or addiction involved. I have seen my own fair share of struggles and have handled extreme mental illness and serious addictions in my family.  I am eternally grateful to each and every person who has helped those that I love.  But who helps those who have no family?  Who reminds them that there is a reason to hope?  Who can step up and say to them, "There is a way out. It will be hard, but it can happen for you too."?

Inspiring hope, building your own community, restoring faith... that's what organizations like this are for. So much more than a toothbrush or a warm pair of gloves.  Sure there are starving children in Africa, but you know what?  There are children, families, adults in the same position everywhere.  In tough economic times (I'm reluctant to believe that recovery is happening) there are people in need in every city, possibly just down your street.  I would bet that there is an organization in your town, your city, doing something to help it's own citizens.

I urge you to step out of your comfort zone. Step up and show someone you care.  You have no idea how inconceivably small the effort can be for you, compared to the impact it can have on the recipient.  And in due course, it has an impact on your neighborhood, your city, your country.  Teach your children to be giving, by being an example.

Give when you are blessed with extra, in hopes that you never need the favor returned.

I believe it can be a simple short slip in life that could send any one of us into despair.
Never take for granted what you have today.