Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Much ado about nothing.

I'm sick. And so tired of being sick. I'm not talking of serious sickness. I have a cough.

And I'm being a big baby about it.

But I am sooo tired. This cough is the energizer bunny cough, only competing with the cough I had once when I had broncitis in university. At night it rears it's ferocious head, just in time to keep me up coughing until 4, and then when it seems I can cough no more, I fall asleep until Claire wakes up at 5 to eat. And then her and I sleep until 7:30, when the house must wake up. This is how I spent the first two weeks of this cough. Did I mention Claire was sick through this also? And that she was getting up several times a night herself?

It's making me crazy.

Luckily the last few days Troy has been home, not doing night shifts while I alternate between coughing and Claire-care, and I've been getting some sleep-in's come morning. And when I was beating myself up over my messy house and my failed attempts at meal-planning today, he reminded me I'm on week three of being sick and shouldn't be analyzing my quality of stay-at-home-mom-ness. Although I still can't help but notice that finding a spot to place Claire on the floor has been difficult lately, and that poor little Thane had quite a lot of trouble locating enough clean clothes for an outfit this morning. I'm trying to get on that. Maybe tonight I won't cough?

Let me think of a few things I appreciated today to leave this on a more interesting, less self-pitying note...

- I think we've found a good deal on a van. 4 years old (aka affordable!), pretty red, room for the babes with no picking at each other, and the best part? 30,000 kilometres on it. I'm pretty happy about the thought of these new wheels. No more squeezing the three into the car backseat, or worrying about whether our poor old van will make it to the destination.

- My husband, who doesn't mind that I'm blogging in the middle of our living room that looks as though a bomb went off in the middle of it. I'm actually snacking on the wonderful banana muffins he made with Seth today, and he is making us nachos to snack on while we veg.

- Rhubarb. I want to grow some. It would be a nod to my Besma, and the raw rhubarb she would cut for us off her plant and let us dip in sugar. Everything was dipped in sugar at Besma's house, I believe that's the Dane in her. And to my other Grammie, who cooked rhubarb to spread on homemade bread. The world needs more rhubarb.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A catch up...

I've been a little absent (from here) lately. I've been busy Getting Organized. Such a momentous task I feel it needs capitalized. I seem to do this about half way through each babies first year, coming up through what I now kindly refer to as 'the sleepy fog' and deciding I need to have personal expectations for my stay-at-home mom-ness again. I gave up long ago expecting anything in particular from myself while laden with a newborn, let alone having high expectations. I've been getting the itch to attempt supermom again lately; organizing and purging through our stuff, taking a hard look at what I've been attempting to pass off as dinner (sorry Troy!), picking up some projects again. At the library the other day I picked up The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman, as a kickstart to my efforts. It was a random pick but a good book!

I like how she writes on organization but keeps in the forefront that every great to-do list we draw up must often concede to the to-do's our littles have in mind. I will not even pretend to be the church-goer this author is, but I really appreciated how she writes of being organized meshing with and aiding her strong family values. How taking care of the must-do's allows time for the want-to's. I like this quote,

"When we just take the day as it comes, without being proactive in planning how we'd like it to stack up, we are left with piles of undone projects and confusion on the part of our kids and dear hubbies."

On that note, I've given myself about 10 more minutes before getting to a couple evening to-do's, but really wanted to post on a couple things.

Thing #1. Having a new little reader in the house is so cute.

Tonight about half an hour after bedtime, a word that sometimes seems to have little meaning in our house, I heard two certain little boys tittering away in Thane's room. I went up the stairs with my growly voice ready. (I digress, but check out Betsy Shaw's recent post on growliness. I loved it, and her, as usual.) So I had the growliness ready. I opened the door... to see Seth cuddled up, thumb in, listening to Thane reading Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!. It was one of those moments where I failed miserably to be a disciplinarian (surprise surprise, I have a lot of those), and instead just shooed Seth into his own room while trying not to laugh at his description of how Thane had changed the character's names. Thane piped up, describing that the hen who kicked a bucket had become Victoria-hen, the bucket hit "Farmer Thane", Troy came speeding to help, and the boat Mary-Seth had sunk.

Later (even later after bedtime, probably only egged on by my prior lack of discipline), Thane came out with The Jungle Book in one hand, Tarzan in the other, and a book-club conversation in mind. "Mom, have you ever noticed how these two stories are alike? They both have people who die in them, and growing up in the jungle in them, and meeting human girls in them, and Tarzan was raised by apes and this boy was raised by... (thinking for a minute) a big cat." I love that kid. While of course I think he's the most creative and pondering soul ever, these moments always bring on the same two conflicting thoughts. Visions of him growing up to pursue art, and the concerned hope that he doesn't go through a 'creatively inspired' teenage emo phase.

Thing #2. Seth is a little ball of happiness.

Seth was recently fit with his new braces (aka AFO's, ankle-braces). The need for these, to say the least, has brought on much motherly anguish. Long story short, while still being the most active boy ever who prides himself on being the fastest runner ever (complete with arms stretched backwards, for aerodynamics I suppose) Seth has mild mild cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia to be specific, and needs the braces mostly to make him put his heels to the ground so his calf muscles don't develop shortened. Since the recommendation for the braces (since the diagnosis?) I have worried about his self-esteem, childhood depression, his ability to get around, to participate, to be included, you name it, while trying to be nonchalant about it with Seth of course.

So on the way to the fitting, we were mentioning that the appointment was for Seth to get his braces. He had had an earlier apointment where he was shown the braces and casted to get a mould of his legs, etc. Thane, I think feeling a bit left out of the activities and probably trying to visualize the braces, said "I think I might need braces on my teeth someday" to which Seth giggled, "They won't fit in your mouth Thane!".

That night we had him testing them out for a half an hour. New braces on, Seth wandered around, mostly not seeming to notice them, sometimes admiring them a bit. Did I mention they have an aliens in the night sky design? Troy had some music on and Seth started to wiggle. Then in his four-year old way, "These good dancin' shoes Mom! These good jumpin' shoes too." And proceeds to demonstrate his jumping ability for 15 minutes. The last couple of days have included him ecstatically showing them off when Uncle Drew popped by and going to preschool with them on without batting an eyelash. I love that kid too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have recently read The Creative Life: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, by Amanda Blake Soule (aka SouleMama to the blogging community).

I cannot begin to describe just how INSPIRED this book and this woman have made me. For any of you who would have once described yourself as an artist, and then have found yourself with children and 'no time' for your art, you need to read this book. It's a light read, it took me about a day and a half of picking away at it. It includes cute and fun little project how-to's (I instantly made my Claire some pants from one of Troy's old shirts), but it was the words surrounding the projects that hooked me.

Amanda seems to hold many of the same convictions and values as I; an appreciation for the earth and the gifts it offers us, a sense that gratitude, kind thoughts and positive thinking will take us far, a desire to live in the moment, to let her children 'get messy', be creative, and catch these values from us. I love how she describes that the items she creates carry her 'intentions and thoughts of love' for the person to receive the item. I've read a lot of her blog posts out loud to my husband, laughing that she also has a chronic falling down the stairs problem (I thought only I managed to do this so frequently) and an affinity for rearranging furniture. I particularily loved/identified with a line in this post, when she writes "It was just a little rearranging - not one of my "let's put the living room in the dining room and the dining room in the kitchen! Today!" rearranging moments." Ahh, Troy loved it too, I could tell.

But what struck so near and dear, and inspired me SO MUCH? She describes how the act of creating sustains her inner calm, centers her, fulfills her, and in helping her to be this better person, helps her to be a better mother.

The 7 years since the arrival of our first baby boy I have lamented that motherhood has taken away my time to be the artist that I am. My sketchbooks, once drawn in daily, dwindled and finally stopped. When I do create, it's usually in some house form (sewing, gardening, decorating) or for work (I'm a graphic designer). Not that the form art takes is what's important, but more importantly it's the feeling that I've applied to doing any of it. Since having the kids I've designated art/creating as a guilty pleasure, a frivilous activity that when I do, I am neglecting my family. My creativity has been placed well below all of our other family priorities.

I have caught a creative fever since reading this book and beginning to follow SouleMama's blog. It's like I've finally given myself permission to do what I love.

I've starting sewing some clothing for the kids that I've been wanting to try, I went to the library and picked up a How to Upholster book to tackle that chair I've been meaning to, I made myself some knitting needles, picked up some pretty yarn, and have found that knitting away on a little hat for Claire. I've discovered knitting is a great way to sit and be with the boys as they play. I have found the materials to make our own montessori sandpaper letter cards. The kids and I have been infusing more creativity into our days every day. We've searched out and planted more in our gardens, we've made a little veggie garden, and yesterday, Thane asked me to teach him to knit. My mom is currently packaging up some of her unused embroidery materials, because I think the clothes I'm making could use some nicely stitched animals on them. And the best part, I haven't spent evenings exhausted and collapsed on the couch to veg and watch shows in weeks. I am doing more but feel more energetic. It's amazing and I am so greatful for this inspiration I've stumbled on.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crazy boys.

The boys were 'entertaining' Claire today.

Poor Claire.

I must remember to quiz my sister-in-law on her survival tactics for growing up with two older brothers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's Mother's Day, and although it's 1 in the morning and I should go to bed (had an extremely productive evening on a website I owe my photographer though), I feel the need to post about my Mother's Day.

I woke up to Claire as usual, for her early morning snack. I nursed her in bed as usual, we both half sleep during this feeding. Today, she must have drifted off earlier than her belly would like though, and then I think she woke up and realized this, and was really upset all of a sudden. I picked her up and hugged her and told her it was okay, and helped her to start nursing again. This was just a normal moment for us but where today was Mother's Day it seemed so poignant to me. Claire is going through a little stretch where I am her person, and she would be perfectly content to see only me. It's the best part about being a mom. Just me, as is, I'm enough! To her I'm great, I can fix all that's wrong in her little world.

I had two sweet little boys who were particularily sweet today come into my room just busting to give me their presents. I got to 'sleep in' until all of 8:30. They had made me presents at school and were so pleased with themselves. Thane then said, "Breakfast is ready. You can come up if you want to or we can bring it down if you want us to. But it's whatever you want to do." How cute is that?

At the thought of sausage in my bed with these sweet (but messy) boys, I decided to go upstairs, where my husband was cooking away (french toast and sausage!) while feeding Ms. Claire her brekkie. Where my birthday is days away and the plan is a new camera (yay!), he had gotten me chocolates and a knitting magazine. It was such a nice little gift, a thoughtful little token that he notices what I'm up to, that I would think a knitting magazine would be pretty neat right now. That man. I love him. I feel very lucky today.

I remember when each of these babes were born, and how, and the little moments along the way that make them them, and the little quirks and cuteness that we love about them. And all of this sweetness and my heart just busting for my three favorite little people made me think about my own mom, and think for the upteenth time since I've had babies that as a kid I didn't (couldn't really) realize how much she has loved me also.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where to put the herbs?

In the midst of all this outdoor gardening glee, we've been inspired to plant a little indoors as well. This is our new herb garden.

My husband also has his own plant projects on the go. The plants on the right? Pineapples. You can't even see the avocado seeding going on by my kitchen sink, and the prayer plant that is constantly a work in progress. The kitchen window seems to be our only great plant growing window in the house, partially because of it's light, but partially because we remember to water them there! These plants are pretty and we love them, but they're sucking up my precious counter space around the sink/window.

What I want is a shelf for them in front of this window. Like this one from Ikea . Or this. I want it to go between my two upper cabinets that flank this window. About a foot down from the top of the window, high enough to miss dishwashing heads, giving me my counter space back, while still letting the plants have their perfect plant light that this particular window offers. I have it all visualized in my head, but do you think I can find such a shelf?! Unfortunately, these Ikea ones aren't long enough and after scouring Halifax I am convinced no such shelf exists here. I think this project is doomed to the 'carpentry' to-do list. This is the list that, in our house, has approximately a one to two year wait period. Being put on this particular to-do list is reminiscent to being referred to a specialist with a non-urgent health issue. Loonnnggg wait. We have plenty of excuses (babies, carpentry inexperience, wood expense) but really, I'm not sure what is the main issue with this type of to-do's. Whatever it is, it makes me sad that I can't just find this shelf. Sometime, when I am feeling quite upbeat and patient, I will fill you in on the carpentry to-do's I have planned for my poor abused kitchen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blooming garden!

Look at the difference one week of warm sun can make in beautiful Nova Scotia! Seriously, the bleeding hearts are practically growing as we watch, the tulips are blooming, the burning bush is starting to live up to it's name, and I'm starting to remember what else I planted last fall.. hmmm. A call to my gardening guru (aka Mom) is required.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In the Garden

I know I'm biased, but how cute is a baby enjoying her first spring day in the sun? And the toes! Oh the toes.

Claire accompanied me in planting my side garden, one that has been woefully neglected over the past few years. I've been dreaming of filling it with lupins and calling it my wildflower garden, and this spring I have actually moved on from working and reworking my front garden. I planted lupins and 'Alaskian Snow daisies' (which my mom gasped at, so I guess they're pretty), and phlox and one 'Bachelor's buttons' that was stuck to the side of my lupins so he threw it in for free. I'm very excited! I found this guy on Kijiji who sells plants, and he dug them out of his huge garden for me, it was weird but informative, he was full of gardening wisdom, and cheap.

Troy's pretty sure I was sold weeds. Here's crossing my fingers for the lupins.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My new little corner

I think I may have a new favorite corner of my house. I rearrange furniture, umm, a lot. I've explained to Troy (my patient husband) that it's because we keep growing and changing as a family and our needs keep changing, so the house must follow suite. I'm sure though that he realizes it also has a lot to do with my need to make things pretty. Poor Troy gets the pleasure of being the muscle of the operation. Some things should just be part of a dating 'interview' when you meet. "How's your parents health? How are you with money? What's your family plan? Will you make me move the piano three times?"

My most recent endeavor was to move the main computer out of the dining room and into the more spacious living room. I had put the computer into the dining room just over a year ago, mostly in an effort to have it in a central place for supervising the boys, who were getting much more independant on the computer. I've been getting really annoyed lately though with squeezing between the desk and dining chairs to sit at the dining table. So one day last week I was analyzing my long, skinny living room and attempting (once again) to resolve the layout issues that shape creates when I had an aha! moment. The desk must be moved.

Now I must explain, that our dining room 'desk' was created last summer when I came home with a three legged table. It was either a yardsaling morning or a garbage day find. Did I mention how much Troy loves when I come home dragging a bopping open trunk busting with an unloved furniture piece? Highlight of his day, I'm sure. So I finagled him into helping me cut it into half with the table saw, and with the back edge screwed into the wall it became the desk it is today.

A few holes in the wall later, I now have the coziest little computer corner that was previously wasted space AND a more spacious dining room again. You can walk around the whole table without bumping into anything!
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