Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Blogerversary to Me!

So a year ago I put my first post up.  It was an experiment in getting my creative writing juices flowing again, and to be honest I wasn't sure if this whole blogging thing would stick.  Turns out I truly enjoy it!  It's fun putting my stories, feelings and ideas down in a place that others can comment on...thank you to everyone who took the time this year to comment on my posts.  I love hearing your stories, and how I'm not alone in my rants!

I did learn a few things:

1.  It's not as easy as it sounds to find a few minutes to write a post.  I wish I had documented more, but I'm happy with what the year has produced in terms of posts.

2.  Editing is important.  I originally thought that I would just "free-flow" write and post what came out - that way everyone would know what truly goes on in my head.  That didn't work so well...I much prefer to write it all then edit it so it makes sense.

3.  Editing is even more important when I'm pissed about something.  I always feel better when I write stuff down and get it off my chest when I'm mad...but these posts are better left un-posted until I can tone them down a little bit :-)

4.  Posting about my kids has me walking a fine line.  I would find it hard not to include exploits with my family in my posts, but I do want to be respectful of what I post about them.  I try to keep it light, and they now can read what I'm planning to post before it goes up - I am, however, very conscious that what gets posted is out there for good.  I'm thinking as long as I can remember that I should be good.

All in all, I think this creative outlet will stick.  I'm hoping to blog more this year, and welcome any and all comments.  Now I have to think about what creative thing I'll try this year...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Size of my Heart continues to Grow

So I don't know about other moms, but most days I feel like I muddle through parenting thing.  I look back on my day and can pick out everything I did wrong - and stay convinced that I'm messing up my kids.  Then there is a moment when my daughters do something and I think maybe I'm not doing so bad.  Happy to say I had one of those recently.

My caregiver told us a story of a family she met that was new to Canada who didn't have much.  She was hoping to put together a few things for their children to open at Christmas, and I gladly said that I would go through my place for any gently used toys that we could share.  I love knowing that toys and trinkets that my girls enjoyed can be passed on to other children who will enjoy them - and when the story is one that I hear first hand it makes it even more special.

About a week later, I was driving in the car with my oldest daughter.  We were actually discussing the "Angel Tree" they have at their school that asks kids to bring in wrapped toys for children who are less fortunate in our community.  During this conversation, I told her about the story that our caregiver had shared - how there was a family who she knew who could use a little help making their Christmas special.  Marianna got pretty quiet for the rest of the ride home, and I could tell her little hamster was processing what we talked about.

When we got home, she went up to her room - where I found her about 15 minutes later sitting on her floor surrounded by some of her toys.  Not just any toys, but there were dinosaur toys in there - some of her favourites.  When I asked her what she was doing, she looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said "Mom, it's not fair that I have a great room with all these nice things to play with and some kids don't have anything.  I think I should give some of my toys to the family you were telling me about".  I just about lost it.  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to give away some of her favourites, and her response put me over the edge.

"I love these toys so much, but it makes me happy to think about how much the other children will love them too".  I gave her a big hug, and told her I was proud of her - and in that moment I'm sure my heart swelled to dangerous levels.  I am happy to say that my youngest also followed suit and, on her own, went through all her clothes to pick the ones she was willing to part with (a big deal since she is my little fashionista!!).

That evening as I thought about what had unfolded, I sat back and thought maybe the lessons we are trying to teach my girls are sinking in - and that maybe, just maybe I should give myself some credit.  And I will...until the next time I lose my cool with them and go back to being sure I'm messing them up! LOL

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby It's Cold...Inside!

It's been an interesting few days at our house...interesting and cold!  What started out with trying fix our humidifier and figure out what a "little" noise was ended up being an adventure - and a lesson.

Last week, we had someone come to see if they could figure out why our furnace sounded like a freight train in my living room when it came on.  Was more annoying than anything, but was getting tired of jumping every time it came on.  The guy came, and told us it was an exhaust fan (this is where I tuned out in the recap from my husband so that's all I got).  He told us it would cost a bit to fix, but it wasn't over the moon so we were ok with it.

We decided to get another opinion...and to say I'm happy we did it a major understatement.  The next guy delivered some news that really scared me.  Apparently it wasn't just a fan, but things had become disconnected and carbon monoxide was leaking from my gas furnace into my house.  I freaked out...the thought that we had been breathing in low levels of this stuff for Lord knows how long made me cringe.  And when I looked up the symptoms of low level exposure...oof.  Headaches that got better when you left the house, low level nausea - all things we have been experiencing with no explanation for the last little while.

Needless to say they turned the furnace off - just as Ottawa was set to have a major snowstorm.  We had our fireplace (thank God) and bundled up in housecoats and wool socks to keep warm.  As an aside, big thanks to all the friends and family who offered us a place to stay - warmed my heart for sure!  We were fortunate that we could get a replacement very fast (in fact they are installing it this morning), and that we had the means to cover the cost.

Did get me thinking - I can't imagine all those families out there who do not have the means to pay for heat, or who truly cannot afford to replace a furnace if it fails.  It saddened me to have the kids wake up for 2 mornings saying how cold they were...I cannot imagine how much my heart would break if I had to hear that every day.  It's amazing how things happen that we think suck, but it makes us realize how lucky we truly are.

I'm thrilled that we will be warm again after this afternoon, and as my children are snuggled all warm in their beds, I will be a little more thankful this year as we celebrate Christmas.  I will hope that in the new year, things turn around for families who are less fortunate than we are - even just a little bit.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Griswald moment for the Season!

My husband and I always had a real Christmas tree.  We would go pick it out, drag it into our living room and set it up in front of our big window.  And then I would spend weeks sweeping up pine needles and wondering why the heck we insisted on a real tree.

When we had kids, we decided to go the artificial route.  I decided it just wasn't worth the constant "don't put the pine needles in your mouth" chant.  We ended up finding what I thought was the best invention ever - a tree that had an "electronic lift" built into it.  Let's see if I can describe basically pulled it out of a box, stepped on a peddle and the tree went from 2 feet tall to over 5 feet and fell open into a pretty decent looking tree.  And it came with lights already on it!  Easiest tree assembly ever!!  No mess, no fuss - and as the kids got older they got to take turns "raising the tree" by stepping on the peddle.

Last year, we got the "we should go back to a real tree" bug.  Our daughters were old enough not to put the pine needles in their mouths and, in all honesty, nothing really beats the smell of a real tree.  Last year, putting up the tree went off without a hitch.  This year, another story.

Off hubby went to get a tree.  Saturday was the day we dragged out all the decorations (my favourite part of putting the tree up is going through all the old decorations!!).  Tree went up without a hitch (including lots of water to keep it looking beautiful), on went the lights and the decorations, and up went the angel.

As we stood back to admire our handi-work and grab the camera, it happened.  Our gorgeous tree (with a base full of water) fell sideways.  And it didn't just lean - it fell completely on its side.  Wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't meant litres of water everywhere.

Let's just say there were alot of frantic yells for towels and some very colourful language thrown around.  Was not our proudest parenting moment thats for sure!!

After we mopped up the water, back up went the tree (now secured in its base) minus our angel topper - that we have to replace.  It's been 2 days and it is still standing so we're thinking we're golden.

Now we can giggle about it - and it sure made for a moment that will go into the scrapbook with a journal entry.  I'm hoping that's our only Griswald moment this year.

What about you?  Any moments from seasons past (or present) that you laugh at now but were not so funny at the time?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holy time crunch!

Let me start by saying I love Christmas.  I love everything about the holiday...spending lots of time with family, watching the kids excitement as they tear into their gifts, good food, sparkly lights - what's not to like.  But I dislike December.

Every year I swear I will be more organized.  I will start shopping early; I will bake and put stuff in the freezer; I will start my Christmas cards in September.  Then December 1st comes around and the panic sets in.  Where in the heck am I going to find time to do all the stuff on my to-do list while trying to enjoy the season?

Admittedly I do some of it to myself.  I insist on making my own cards to send out (I do between 50 and 60 every year), I've become known for showing up at events with my baked goods and I do try to find the "perfect" gifts for everyone on my list.  Means alot of pressure on myself to get it all done - oh and this year I am trying to make time to get to the gym too.  Yeah I'm thinking this year something will have to give cause I just won't be able to make it all happen.  Maybe I'll bake less and do less elaborate cards - I can give up my perfectionist tendencies just for December, right?

Or maybe I'll just do like everyone else and give up sleep for the month of December and crash in January.  As much as I say every year there is too much to do, somehow it all gets done LOL

K enough bah humbug.  If you run into me, remind me to take a breath and enjoy the season.  And don't take it personally if your Christmas cards arrive after Christmas!  And if I'm unreachable in January, I'm probably catching up on my sleep - either that or I've convinced hubby to take me on a vacation.  In either case, I'll be chilling out after the craziness that is December.