Browsing Posts published in January, 2011

Pros                                                                                  

  • Weight Loss                                                      
  • Muscle Tone
  • Me Time

Cons

  • Starting from scratch
  • Passing out or vomiting at hot yoga
  • Being forced to take a tour of the facilities including the women’s locker room where nudists from all over the world come to dance naked and use their hair dryers as microphones. I get it, you’re coming out and I better get this party started
  • Falling asleep on the drive there, during the class or the drive home
  • Eating more to compensate for calories lost during a work-out
  • Getting bangs, then cursing myself for getting bangs because they gather sweat, stick to my forehead and really only work on a gym-free Lizzy
  • Having to wear earrings and learn to apply make-up for hip-hop class
  • Hip hop class
  • No parking
  • Baby it’s cold outside
  • People who fart in hot yoga and don’t have their memberships revoked
  • Having to shave my legs
  • Having to come up with new excuses as to why I can’t work-out
  • Passing two Starbucks on the way home can be expensive
  • Quitting the gym, not telling anyone, leaving the house in my work-out clothes and not having a shift at the mall to kill time

Hanna was stalling last night, trying to keep me in her room a little longer than usual knowing if we were reading, chances were better I’d stick around to cuddle for a few extra chapters rather than if she wanted to pull things out of drawers or worse, have me teach her how to apply make-up. At some point, I’m just going to have to learn.

Last night her tactic worked. She said, “Mommy, I have something to tell you but it’s really bad.”

My interest had been piqued.

Hanna: No, I can’t tell you. It’s too bad. You’ll get mad.

I was all ears.

Hanna (voice shaking): Something happened at school.

I thought she was making up a story to keep me in her room but I looked her in the eyes and told her she could tell me anything.

A few more, “no, no, no I can’t tell you’s”, and just when I motioned to leave the room she caved.

Hanna: A girl in my class wrote a bad word.

Me: Oh dear. What did it start with?

Hanna: Oh gosh (head now buried in her pillow). It started with an….with an……an…..s.

Shit I thought to myself. Where do they hear these things?

Me: Okay. What was the next letter?

Hanna: u

Hmmm. Suck?

Me: Then what?

Hanna cheeks bright red, squealing: the word was sunofabitch.

Me: Gee, that does sound like a bad word.

Ellie eavesdropping: Some-on-my-vest? Someonmyvest Hanna? Some? Onmyvest? That’s not a bad word. She laughed herself silly.

Earlier, we had received a call from Hanna’s music teacher informing us she was sick and would have to schedule a make-up day, yet to be determined.

When I relayed the message to the girls about Hanna’s poor music teacher falling ill and that there would be a make-up day sometime in the future, Hanna’s eyes lit up while Ellie’s bugged out of her head.

Ellie: WHY DOES HANNA GET TO PUT ON MAKE-UP?!!!!

Someonmyvest, I’m going to have to get this make-up thing figured out.

Having my teeth cleaned used to be a chore, something I dreaded. Sadly, it is now a relaxing outing and a rare solo adventure out of the house. One kid at school, two playing at the babysitter’s, I could sit here bleeding with freezing cold water being shot at my sensitive gums all day. Heaven.

I’m intrigued by one of the courses the hygienists take. The one that teaches them to speak without pause the entire time you are laying in front of them, jumping from subjects including; their son’s first sexual encounter to their husband’s failed attempts at weight loss to why their cat pees on things when they leave the house. It really is an art.

The forty something year old man behind the half wall next to me was in for a treat. He was first asked then lectured about how often he brushes his teeth.

Perky Hygienist: How often do you brush?

Dirty man: I try to brush once a day.

So many things wrong with that response.  I “try” to brush “once” a day. That has left a lot of room for “some days, I don’t brush at all.” Or, “weeks have passed and it has completely slipped my mind.”

Don’t we all grossly exaggerate when they ask us that question? I always tell them five to six times a day which means, three times. If his biggie number is not quite one, there’s really no hope for this guy. Not to mention, they ask us these questions but the reality is they know based on first glance this guy hasn’t brushed in two months and went to town this morning, pus oozing from his gums the first of many giveaways as he walked begrudgingly in the door.

Out came the teeth puppet, the giant, novelty, plush toothbrush and a demonstration on how to brush.

I’m thinking at forty, he’s probably been in the audience for this show once or twice before. He was able to dress himself and even operate a motorized vehicle to get himself to his appointment. Presuming he was also there at his scheduled time, he might also be familiar with how a clock works. So now he’s the dirty guy being judged while in a compromising position wearing plastic sunglasses and forced to watch the Andy Griffith Show video playing overhead.

I know these people think they are helping but if this guy is only “trying” to brush and only once a day, no amount of puppetry is going to change his perceived neglect.

This exercise in humiliation isn’t a whole lot different than her asking, “Do you ever take a crap?” and then pulling down her pants, spreading her cheeks and showing him the most effective way to wipe. “You want to go front to back to minimize the risk of infection.”

It’s not he isn’t capable or knowledgeable of how the procedure works it’s that he doesn’t care.

Skidmark didn’t seem to be concerned over whether he would be able to post his name on the “Healthy Teeth Equals Happy Teeth” poster. He was trying to find time in his too-busy-to-brush schedule to book a few root canals.

Hanna returned home from school today and in passing, told me an interesting story of a six year old boy on the bus who ducked when two kids were throwing something. She asked him what he was doing and bus-boy responded, “I’m protecting my sack.”

Hanna found this particularly confusing because his lunch bag was nowhere near his lap.

Last night in the middle of the night, in that deepest, soundest, most comfortable, hottest part of the mattress pad time of the night, I heard Greg ask if I was awake.

Why would I be awake? It was the middle of the night on my hot buttered rum side of the bed, his, an icy cold Corona with lime.

I felt the mattress rise on my side making it that much warmer, that much cosier that much sleepier.

Greg had gotten out of bed.

I blinked at the clock and it read 6:00am. Impossible. It was the middle of the night. I actually convinced myself Greg had gone to a lot of bother to trick me into waking up in the middle of the night and planned to laugh and laugh after I exited the shower, telling me it was really 2am. Now I’m soaking wet and ready to start my day and he would sink into a deeper slumber.

Fool me once, it was not happening.

Still curled up careful not to dip my toes on the icy side, I thought I heard Greg’s coffee starting up. He has gone to a lot of bother to get this fake morning started. I am not buying.

He tiptoed down to his office to fire up his computer, a true method actor. Man he’s committed to this one. The changing of the clocks, a wasted pot of coffee and a computer battery, all feeble attempts at early morning trickery, will he stop at nothing?

Hanna came slinking down the hall with her (MY) super soft blanket that I was willing to lend her when I got the heated mattress pad but has never been returned. Sleepwalking? What is she doing up at this hour?

He’s gone to great lengths to pull this one off, even enrolling the kids in his twisted agenda.

Is that the sun rising? Has he placed a spotlight behind the black-out curtain?

Nice try rooster. Nice try.

Shopping for anything other than fresh produce and a bag of milk doesn’t happen very often for this busy mother of three.

I have been politely nudged by a friend, informing me it is time to spend more than $30 on a pair of jeans and get out of this mom-jean funk I’m in.

This same friend, Erin, is eleven feet two inches tall (with heels), nine of those are legs so she has no issue parting with several thousand dollars on a pair of perfect custom made jeans whereas I would opt to give my children a cut and paste project and have them lovingly craft me a pair. Denim is denim as far as I’m concerned and it should be noted, I spend more than $30 on jeans. That number has been grossly exaggerated over the years and is much closer to $40 or even $50 when I occasionally, ahem, buckle.

I’ve been told I need to allow my disintegrating mom-jeans to become a patchwork quilt, to say goodbye to worn knees from countless games of “ride ‘em cowgirl” where I play the role of the stone-washed horse that can’t stop fraying.

But the options are slim….literally.

I think mom-jeans get an unfair wrap but at least they sort of fit. The skinny jean, though marketed to anyone with a credit card is simply not suitable for my mother-of-three stumps. I’m proud of how my body has changed because it’s a reminder of how lucky I am to have three amazingly wonderful and healthy daughters. Wow, I almost got through that sentence without laughing. None of whom want me to join their class on a field trip if my legs are going to burst through the seams of a skinny jean or worse if I opt for the low rise option and expose my rib hugging granny panties while bouncing along to the Wheels on the Bus. “The jeans on the bus go rip rip rip….”

I took two of the three kids (luxury) to an actual store specializing in denim as opposed to my usual clothes shopping which happens in between the frozen food and baking aisles.

I explained to the owner who had this mom and her jeans written off before I was able to push the stroller through the heavier than necessary denim front door that I was looking for a fresh look and I wanted to spend less than $100. Recognizing the absurdity of me spending more than $40 on jeans whose denim destiny is simply to act as a skin cover while working on puzzles on the family room floor, I bravely continued down a narrowing seam.

We headed straight to the $99 rack at the back of the store, clearly marked with crepe paper star, gold and red lettering making it clear only circus freaks and mothers ever lowered themselves to shop from the “special project” rack. While rolling the stroller and partially skipping with my four year old past a huge sea of blues, some on the receiving end of Ellie’s permanent high-fiving hand as she flicked the denim gold nearly right off the platinum racks. This was the big time and my cozy-mom cardigan waved to the $300 price tags proving it.

Taking exception to the fact I’m planning to spend $99 on a pair of pants that will be worn to the following events; family bike rides, school pick-ups, skipping to the mailbox, leaf collecting, counting snails, grocery shopping, still, I opted to proceed. Do they have any idea how many packages of stickers my girls could buy from the Dollar Store for $99? Ninety-nine!

I stepped into the change room but not before trying to push the stroller in ahead of me. I could push it straight ahead and if I lifted the back wheels to fancy door locking device height, just shy of toppling the baby onto the floor I could just about turn her to fit her into the room. The door however was a separate issue. This was never going to close even if the stroller was mounted on one of tear drop diamond hooks. This dressing room was small. It was designed for people trying on skinny jeans and therefore people with skinny legs and even skinnier, perhaps anorexic strollers. I was going to have to leave the stroller outside the door and trust the jean pusher working today was not going to abscond with my disrobed mom-jeans to use as a Hallowe’en costume, sell to a vintage consignment shop or send to What Not To Wear.

After trying on just two pair, remembering I had two kids in tow and like most visits outside of our house we had already overstayed our welcome, I was sold. Entering my pin number on the transaction, I was a little unnerved to be spending $99, totalling $237 with HST but I was excited about this new chapter in my now strangely fantastical wardrobe.

My new mom-jeans stretch, they’re flush with dark blue dye and several inches too long. My intentions to alter are non-existent. I’m very much a student of the school of “close enough” when it comes to clothing and know in time, I’ll shrink these puppies to a more comfortable length for tandem bike rides and double-dutch skipping on the driveway.

The first test was the school pick-up where I sported the new jeans, presumably with $99 price-tag hanging somewhere out of a rear accentuating pocket. If left on intentionally, I’ll never admit it. None of the “pick-up parents” noticed or perhaps they were blue with envy and couldn’t speak.

Returning home, I changed out of the jeans (obviously), folded them neatly on a lone shelf in the closet, hoisting them high on the pedestal they so richly deserved and quickly checked my Facebook status expecting the wall to have crumbled due to the volume of messages about Lizzy’s2.0 strides, as well as twitter tweets on the subject and there was no mention of the upgrade. There were however a disproportionate number of people either heading to Vegas or tweeting while in Vegas.

What about my jeans?

Does anyone understand how difficult it was to take the time, the children and part with the money to purchase these little gems? They don’t even need a belt! At least, I don’t think they do. That sounds like a follow up question for Stilts.

As much as I love staring at them high on that shelf, surrounded by faded, relaxed fit, wide-legged, boot cut cosies, I wonder if I’ve made a terrible mistake. Am I trying to rewind the clock rather than embrace the jeans I have earned the privilege of wearing?

With every child we give birth to, shouldn’t our jeans become slightly lighter, more worn, with a great story to tell?

For every child who refuses to eat Brussels sprouts for dinner, let that waist rise a couple of inches. We know what you are wearing underneath so be proud of where that pocket sits.

For every tantrum on the grocery store floor because you refused to purchase those coveted candies, may your jeans taper a little tighter, a merit badge to proudly sport around your ankle.

Moms, we’ve earned the right to be comfortable, out of style and frugal. Let’s accept (at least for now) as we fumble through rec centre change rooms, attempt to get a hair-cut annually, stay up late sewing costumes, cook favourite soups for school lunches, we’re on one of the best teams there are.

Can we also agree that no rationally thinking teenager would dare borrow said pair of jeans from their mother making it perhaps the one and only wardrobe accessory that is ALL OURS?

We need to stop worrying about what strangers and even best friends are saying about our jeans.

What these women are actually groaning while attempting to sit in an upright position as their skinny jeans cut off the blood flow from their thighs to their feet is a proud comment, a hint of envy and a whisper of “you go girl” in this simple message, one requiring no explanation or conversation. You’ve earned the right to wear those jeans while others wish they could. You are part of an elite club, own it.

“She’s a Mom,” they wince trying to inhale, wishing for one second they could trade pants with any one of us, “it’s in her jeans.”

The family room toy basket clean-up was well underway and I had an eager helper. We had a recycling pile, a garbage pile a giveaway pile and four baskets. One for each of the children and one reserved for Barbie, her accessories, pets and everything Barbie requires to get her convertible, disco, physiotherapy studio, botox briefcase and seventeen dogs to the beach for a picnic.

We were chugging along until Ellie decided to fight to hold onto toys the girls haven’t played with in years. I knew I should have borrowed a dumpster and cleared everything out while they slept.

Maybe it was the conversation about donating all of her birthday toys to homeless kids.

Ellie: Where would they put my birthday toys if they don’t have a house? At least we have a house.

Point taken.

Or maybe it was my suggestion that instead of birthday presents at her party, she could instead select a needy family out of the Oxfam catalogue and send a sheep their way. Happy fifth birthday Ellie! Baaaah.

She held onto a plastic set of three little pigs from a McDonald’s happy meal. This one had re-gift written all over it. When she flicked the switch to on, a heavy, German accent repeated the following; “Pooty Poo, Pooty Poo, Yah, Yah.”

From the bottom of the garbage bag, I could hear the “yah, yah” and kicking the bag did nothing to stop the death cry from the three little pigs. The Big Bad Wolf had come to life and Ellie looked at me as though I had teeth the size of Grandma’s.

Ellie sobbing: Why can’t you just let a human live!

The pigs are neither human nor alive and one day, she’ll be a great spokesperson for PETA with her new found disdain for chicken wing eaters and now her abysmal attempt at throwing herself on a soft plastic bag filled with hard plastic toys to save a trio of German pigs in sailor’s suits from an impatient mother but she has a little work to do on the general rhetoric.

I suggested it was time we added Pooty Poo to the plastic bin destined for the dump and she fought snout and tail to save him.

It wasn’t about the pigs it was the baby steps I was trying to take to sift through toy mountain and those plastic pigs represented everything that is wrong with this world; fast food and toys that keep talking with creepy voices long after you’ve left the room.

photos are a likeness………that is a lie, they are real

I will be the first to admit we rank among the worst in planning children’s birthday parties.

Our first child’s first birthday was precedent setting. A summer open house with hundreds of our closest friends and family members, I’m embarrassed to say we invited our mail carriers mother-in-law but her invitation was delivered to the wrong address.

We had jugglers, fire throwers, psychics, face painters and time travellers.

Our second child was born in the winter. We celebrated her first birthday with a slice of store bought cake, a single (gently used) candle and may or may not have had functioning batteries for the camera. We had broken a friend’s arm in the bouncy castle at her older sister’s last party, the warm summer air was replaced with bitter wintery winds and the novelty of the first birthday party had simply been enjoyed to the fullest already.

The parties in general became worse every year regardless of birth order. For Hanna’s fourth birthday, we hired someone to sing karaoke with the kids, which was a fabulous plan in theory. The problem was only two of the kids in attendance (one older cousin and one genius child prodigy) could read the words on the screen so there was a lot of guffawing of lyrics and a lot more confused, embarrassed and unhappy microphone lickers.

This year, for Ellie’s fifth, she is expecting great things. She has flip-flopped between taking everyone in her class to Disney Land, still calling it Disney Land despite visiting Disney World and only Disney World. She wants Cinderella, the real Cinderella, the one she met at Disney Land to attend. She would like mac ‘n cheese, not pizza like so many other fifth birthday parties. She would like cakes with tiers, pudding with gummy worms and Oreo crumbs the same kind we had for Hanna’s seventh birthday party, hot air balloon rides since bouncy castles have been banned after the arm breaking, karaoke where lyric migration is not only acceptable but encouraged and if possible, Cinderella’s coach to parade her down the street with the real Cinderella from Disney Land sitting next to her.

We convinced Ellie if Cinderella, the real Cinderella, the one she met at Disney World were to attend her party and all of the girls in her class arrived in costume, the boys might not be as excited about the theme. The new plan was obvious. Girls dress as Cinderella, the real Cinderella, the one she met at Disney Land, boys dress in pyjamas.

Earlier this week, I heard it was officially the most depressing day of the year. I assume this had everything to do with the number of consecutive cold, snowy, wintery, grey days we’ve had and not because it coincided with the highest number of pet deaths or slushy puddle car sprays.

I am also assuming this date of depression is uniquely Canadian. Once again giving fodder to t.v. comedy writers who jump at the chance to make fun of our customs, traditions and football leagues. Look who’s celebrating today! It’s Canada on the most depressing day of the year!

I guess I too am guilty of succumbing to the bad weather = bad mood equation, stringing together pipe cleaner crafts for days on end because my big mama tobogganing boots while ugly enough to think they must be warm, fail at being both fashionable and keeping me dry.

Maybe it’s because when I’m stuck inside I bake exponentially more muffins, cookies and fresh bread than in our warmer months. Sure the smell of fresh baked goods can perk you up at first but binging on morning glory dough too many days running can make you feel sluggish and deflated. Also those buttery aromas make me want to list our house.

I’ve been using Vitamin D drops as salad dressing hoping to gain some of the many argued benefits from the wonder vitamin including lifting one’s mood. It has only made the greens soggy.

Light therapy has been a positive strategy but try standing in a room with those fluorescent bulbs too long and it really just highlights the lint on your shirt and the strange luminous streaks of the remaining enamel on your teeth. It’s hard to look happy when the bulbous whites of your eyes can see right through your mood.

But then I notice something peculiar in the family room. Here I had been using light therapy, drugs and chocolate batter to lift my spirits and all I had to do was take a quick glimpse at my seven and four year olds who were breast feeding their dollies, one from her elbow and one from the base of her neck while discussing why we eat alive chickens.

Ellie: They aren’t alive chickens Hanna!

Hanna: Yes they are Ellie!

Ellie: Mommy! (love it when I get sucked in)

Me: Yes?

Ellie: Are chicken wings from alive chickens?

Me: Yes, aren’t they delicious?

Ellie: Is that why you eat chicken bras and not chicken wings?

Me: Not exactly. I eat chicken breasts because they are less fatty than chicken wings.

Ellie: Why do we eat things that come from alive animals! There are a lot of foods we could eat instead like broccoli and salami!

In her almost five years of life, I have not once brought salami into this house.

And just like that, depression lifted.

Let’s celebrate again next January.

Who needs technology anyway?

My husband is obsessed with the latest in gadgetry and I am still scrubbing clothes on his washboard stomach. It seems there is just no meeting in the middle.

While I can appreciate how certain technologically advanced items can make things a) easier, b) faster or c) within reach, I sometimes question their validity. Perhaps this makes me a hypocrite as I can’t go a day without my laptop but I don’t for example text while driving. I simply lean over and talk to the person I am sending the message to who I presume is almost always the passenger in the car with the texter.

I use a hair dryer and a baby monitor….oooooh, that’ll turn some heads at that Commodore 64 conference behind that curtain marked 1982.

But all of these gadgets make it impossible to buy a gift for my husband who knows how things work and is impressed by the science behind them.

I would be thrilled to buy him an ipod docking station with a built-in charger and clock radio/alarm because he already has one. This would mean I’m not totally in the dark when it comes to his interests. Electric tie rack? If it was wireless with a blue-tooth microphone and produced the tie of your choice while using voice activation from the comfort of your morning shower, selected a shirt to go with said tie and ironed it, maybe.

He recently purchased a Blue Ray player and was quick to rent a Blue Ray disc to try it out. I can’t help but giggle when he appears to be blown away by the picture quality and sound of Frost Nixon. Couldn’t we have watched this movie on my old 12 inch and had an even more authentic experience?

And yes, I’ll admit I can’t live without my heated mattress pad but I could probably live just fine without our sophisticated door chime that has replaced the Amish doorbell we used to have. Apparently the doorbell is too passé for this generation and we needed a device that is disguised as a doorbell that people could ring and it would send a message to our intricately wired phone system, with its own distinct doorbell sound so I would no longer have to go to the door to see who was ringing….. calling…buzzing?

I use a kettle with an automatic shut-off so I don’t burn the house down if I forget I’ve plugged it in. That just makes good sense. I guess I just don’t see why it’s necessary for my daughter to get off the couch in the middle of a t.v. show (on the weekend) and yell, “pause it, I have to go pee!” Apparently that’s a real function and I just found out we have it.

My night stand used to be home to my watch and maybe a glass for water. There’s really no place to put either of these two items now with my 3D goggles, kindle and ipad claiming the space. Greg’s side has only enough room for his ipod docking station and Shake Weight.

This morning, I heard the alarm go off at 6am. I turned off my side of the heated mattress, picked up the monitor and took it with me into the bathroom. When I made it into the kitchen, careful not to trip over the Roomba, the  automatic coffee pot had finished brewing Greg’s coffee, the dishwasher light was flashing “clean” and I approached the laundry room where the machines make plinking noises when you press buttons and to alert you of a completed cycle.

Have we gone too far?

One saving grace in this modern world is Rosie the robot from the Jetson’s. Not once has she been late with my tea and she’s great at strapping a baby into a car seat.

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