taking a timeout

We are sitting in my sister’s Salt Spring cabin. The fire is lit, we’ve had a cup of tea, the view is amazing and the kids are (so far) playing together quite contentedly. We’ve bought our groceries and the only things we have left to do are relax, eat dinner, put the kids to bed and relax a little more. Very nice. 

We came over this morning, took the dog for a walk at Duck Creek Park, and then the kids and I played in the Ganges playground while Greg shopped for supplies. We had to deal with a fair amount of whining from Amy, but the morning was still nice. 

I’m really enjoying going for walks with the kids these days. Elliot rarely complains and Amy has had a few walks now where she hasn’t once asked to be picked up. Today’s walk was preceded by a lot of “I don’t like Duck Creek” from Amy but as soon as we started her mood improved greatly (how could it not, on this gorgeous day?) and we all had a great time. In the car afterward she announced that she loved Duck Creek. Thankfully Greg and I often see the humour in her mood swings. 

So, back to my relaxing…

e-reading

I own an iPad and I use it on average about 30 minutes a month, if that. It’s Greg’s old one and we debated selling it but decided to keep it at least for the kids, and maybe some day I’d find some use for it. I brought it to Saudi with me and didn’t open it until my flight home, to watch a movie. So much for finding it useful. I’ve also used it for a couple of recipes, but again, not very often. No real regrets on keeping it because the kids love it and it was already paid for.

Now, the other side of this story is that I haven’t tried reading a book on an electronic device, ever. Mostly because, well I think I’ve already explained it. I don’t use my iPad, and reading a book on my phone is a headache waiting to happen. Plus I love books. Real, paper books.

So, to tie these two threads together…tonight we were packing for a quick getaway to Salt Spring and Greg mentioned he’d bring his computer over so we could watch a movie. I decided I’d rather read while we’re over there. There’s a wood stove, and the idea of curling up with a good book in front of a fire really appeals to me at this time of year. Greg was fine with this, but I had a problem. No book. I looked at the iPad sitting there and thought, why not?

After the two Computer Scientists in the house struggled for about ten minutes trying to figure out how the f*** to download a book from amazon.ca to my iPad, we stumbled across amazon.com/kindlestore (WHY there is no link to this URL from their .ca site is a mystery to me). In 30 seconds flat I had downloaded a copy of Catching Fire. Woah. That was way too easy. We’ll see how the reading experience goes, but I may have to start exercising my ownership rights on my iPad. That and put myself on a Kindle book budget.

dental work

A few months ago I was at the dentist for a routine cleaning and the hygienist commented about my crooked bottom teeth. This has come up periodically over the past few years (I’ve been seeing the same dentist since 1990), but always framed as an aesthetic problem. I once again said that it didn’t bother me, and that was the end of the conversation.

When it came time for the dentist to check me, the hygienist mentioned she’d brought the issue up and that I was happy with how things were. The next thing I know, the dentist lists all the things that will go wrong with my teeth if I don’t get them fixed. I was totally taken aback and was somewhat speechless. He gave me three options: to invest in Invisalign braces ($5000-$7000 range); to invest in another kind of braces ($2000-$3000 range), or two get two retainers ($100). Options one and two would fix the issue, option three would just keep things at the status quo and make sure things didn’t get any worse.

I left saying I’d think about, and was feeling a bit shocked that this had come up so suddenly. I then looked into my employer’s extended health plan and found out I have zero orthodontic coverage. That immediately took options one and two off the table for me. There are many things I’d rather spend a few thousand dollars on.

Time went by, and I thought about it off and on, and I realized that the dentist had been right about one thing — my teeth have got more crooked over the years. I now have one tooth that is completely out of alignment. Not sure if I believe the rest of the things he said (my bite would start to suffer, my top teeth would start to get affected…), but I did come to the realization that at some point, my crooked teeth would bother me from an aesthetic perspective.

So I decided to go with the retainer option. I picked them up on Wednesday. I have two, and I alternate wearing them each night. So if you do the math there, I’ve worn the bottom one once and the top one once. And I’m now feeling this is all a ploy to get me to eventually go with the Invisalign option. Because wearing them kind of sucks! The top one feels pretty tight, and it’s hard not to notice it’s there. The bottom one doesn’t feel as tight, but it makes me feel like I’m going to gag because there’s foreign matter in the back of my throat.

I know it’s early on and I will give it a fighting chance, but the whole thing has come up rather unexpectedly and I’m not sure where it’s going to end. I may just start saving!

And for those of you who are paying attention, just pretend I posted this on November 8th.

too late to return her

Two years ago I wrote a post about bringing Heart home. It was an emotional weekend because she reminded me so much of Yoshi.

Now here we are, two years later, and she’s very much a part of our lives. I still think of Yoshi often. I’ve had a couple of friends lose dogs over the past year and it’s reminded me of how painful it was and how much I do still miss him. But Heart has definitely helped fill the void.

She’s also come with her own set of issues, as Yoshi did. And I’m the first to admit that I put absolutely no effort into training my dog, so I can’t complain too much. But she’s a chewer like he was, and the list of things she has destroyed is lengthy, despite our best efforts to dog proof. She can open bins herself and she’s able to pull out a wicker basket that is pushed fully under a table with little clearance.

She also likes to look out windows, and we have a cedar chest right under our dining room window that she loves to jump on to get a good view of the back yard. The poor chest is now covered in scratches, despite having a protective blanket on top.

She also goes absolutely ape shit if she’s left inside while we are outside in the yard. To the point that we just give in and bring her outside. Like I said…little effort spent on training dogs in this household.

So all this, plus a couple of other issues, have made me decide to try to crate train her. It’s been a long process. We agreed we’d do it, so we got our big crate back from my Mum. Then it sat in the carport for months getting dirty. We cleaned it, and it sat longer in the carport. I brought it inside and it remained in our dining room, in two pieces, for weeks. (Greg and I have perfected procrastination.) I finally put it together about six weeks ago and we’ve been slowly getting her used to it. We started by feeding her in it, and then we’d leave her in it for a few minutes while we were still in the room. The training was already going well, and then Greg got a nice cushy bed for it. Now the crate is one of her favourite places to be. She’s been in it, locked up, for up to an hour without any fuss, with the rest of us on various locations in the house. She has slept in it, unlocked, overnight. She often just goes and lays in it (like now). We haven’t yet left her in it while we’re not in the house, but I’m hoping to start that soon (and my bubble might just burst when we do that, but I’m hopeful it won’t).

If this does work, it’s going to be a whole lot easier on all of us. There have been vet bills as a result of her ingesting things, we’ve had to replace things she’s destroyed (like three pairs of my sunglasses), and dog proofing the house is frankly a pain in the ass. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

But even if the crate training doesn’t work, even with all her issues, I’m still thankful that we got her. I cannot imagine life without a dog.

tonight’s post is brought to you by my children

Tonight, after reading to the kids for 45 minutes (longer than usual, and they should know that and be thankful and BEHAVE), I said we were done and it was bedtime. Both kids asked to be carried to bed (we read books on Greg’s and my bed because there’s lots of room = less fighting). That’s fine, I often indulge this, as I know one day I’ll miss the days they wanted to be carried.

Anyway…to backtrack a bit, Amy had come to bed with three cars. Both of my children know whose cars they are, but I have no idea. At some point during story time all three of them ended up parked on me. Some time later during story time all three were gone. When I finished up and said it was bedtime, all hell broke loose. Amy now had two cars, Elliot had one, and Amy demanded that Elliot give the car back. Elliot walked away, car in hand. I had no patience (probably due to the fact that I hadn’t had dinner and it was now 8:30) and so I dealt with it by walking away. As you can imagine, that went over well. Actually, Elliot probably didn’t notice and Amy got quite upset. Now she was upset with me and Elliot.

I told them to work it out and I’d come tuck them in when they were done. Smart move, leaving your two tired kids to work it out on their own. I came downstairs, saw Elliot go back into the bedroom where Amy was, and then I heard a loud smack. Amy had whacked Elliot. Truthfully I felt he kind of deserved it because he was being a weenie, so I didn’t have a whole lot of sympathy. But I stomped back upstairs and demanded all three cars. Amy being Amy gave hers up right away and Elliot said (repeatedly) that he didn’t have the other one. I said (repeatedly) that I didn’t care where it was, but he needed to go and get it.

I don’t remember what happened then. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I can sail through these times without losing my cool, and sometimes I get so angry I can’t think straight. The end result was two kids climbing into bed crying, each of them asking for something, and I was so mad I told them both I didn’t feel like doing anything for them right then.

After a few minutes I went into Elliot’s room to talk to him, and when I told him he should have given the car back to Amy, his response was “well she didn’t say please”. This kid has an attitude already. And my gut reaction is to argue with him. Which is pointless. But when I disengage (which really is the more adult thing to do) it doesn’t seem to do anything.

There’s no real point to this post…I think I decided to write it because I knew I’d be able to get it out quickly, and I want to go to bed and end this day. There’s so much I could say about parenting and the struggles I’m having with Elliot, his temper, his meltdowns, my immature need to argue back to him because I know I’m right…but perhaps not the ideal way to end my day.

Instead I’ll go and look at them both sleeping peacefully and know that tomorrow is a new day.

this and that

Two days straight without alcohol. Quite the feat. Greg was kind enough to hide a nice bottle of red wine we have, so I wouldn’t be tempted. However he hid it right behind our leftover Halloween candy (which I haven’t sworn off for the month of November), so it’s still reminding me of what I’m missing. Perhaps I’ll move it.

Today is my “work all day” day, so I’m pretty beat. A few weeks ago Greg and I started a system where Monday my only real childcare duties are doing drop off in the morning and joining my family for dinner (the latter of which is optional). The rest of the day is mine to work. Then Greg does a similar gig on Tuesday. Neither of us work a full 40 hours a week, but we still find it hard to get in our hours, so this was a way to get in at least one longer day without having to stay up until the wee hours. So far it’s working fairly well. Yes, I’m tired, but it’s only 10:00 and I’ve put in a 10 hour day.

Sometimes I marvel at how much free time I must have had before I had children. It never felt that way, though, and I know several child-free couples who are plenty busy, so I guess you always fill up the time you have. I think I’m used to the pace that we go at, and it’s not out of control, but sometimes I wish I had more time to do some of the things I used to do, like scrapbooking and doing more than one sport. And I wish I had larger blocks of time to get things done. Like a whole weekend (or even a day!!) with nothing else to do so that Greg and I could renovate our bathroom…or put together our closet organizer…or stain Amy’s nightstand…or go through the miscellaneous piles of “stuff” we have laying around our house…

Oh well, at least I’m not bored!

siblings

[This is my second post for today, as I missed yesterday. Yup, day 3 and I already screwed up.]

Before I had children, my only long term experience with sibling relationships was what I had lived through myself, as the youngest of four. In my household growing up, there was plenty of fun and plenty of tormenting, which I think is fairly normal. But being part of the sibling relationship versus being the parent of the siblings is very, very different. Sure, I got pissed off at my siblings, but I never worried about it, never projected into the future and thought “OMG, we’re going to be fighting for the rest of our lives”.

I’ve heard of siblings who get along really well and never fight. Amy and Elliot are NOT those siblings. There have been many days over the past three years that I’ve wanted to take each one of my children, throw them in their respective rooms and lock the doors. They know exactly what buttons to push on each other, and they push them often. I struggle with how much to interfere and how much to stand back and let them work it out (and how much to meet somewhere in the middle and coach them in working it out). Unfortunately they both can get very physical, so I do tend to interfere, and often the sound of their fighting is so freaking annoying that I interfere just so it’ll stop.

But…what keeps me sane is there is also the other side. Elliot has always been a wonderful teacher to Amy, and he has been known to show an amazing amount of compassion for someone so young, especially toward his sister. And Amy looks up to her big brother and often wants nothing more than to just play with him, and he does indulge her, almost every day. As they both get older their play seems to mesh a bit more, and they rarely argue over what they should play.

And there are times of extreme bliss. Like tonight, while Greg and I were making dinner together, and for an hour the kids were together upstairs, playing very quietly. I wasn’t sure exactly what they were doing, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them playing so quietly together. They both came downstairs a couple of times with very secretive grins on their faces, and Elliot asked me not to go into his room. Greg and I were curious as to what they were up to, but they’ve never given us any cause to not trust them, and they were obviously having fun, so we left it. Not to mention that it was nice not to have to referee.

Finally, when I gave them a heads up that dinner was almost ready, Elliot asked me (very excitedly) to come upstairs and see something. He had me close my eyes while he went into his room to get positioned. I had no idea what I was going to be presented with (although I suspected a huge mess). I opened my eyes to the coolest fort, made out of all of their blankets, using the loft bed as a supporting structure. They both had their pillows, stuffies, books and flashlights set up in the fort and they were snuggled in together, grinning from ear to ear.

It was awesome, and I felt a huge wave of contentment as I was invited into the fort to check it out. Definitely the high of my day.

disruptive night

Last night we were out late (for us) with friends, after which I drove our babysitter home. I rolled into bed just before 1:00, ready for a good night’s sleep. At about 2:30 am, I awoke with a start as Elliot pushed open our door and let out a cry. I don’t know if this is typical, but when I get woken up in middle of the night by my kids, my heart rate goes from 60 to 180, and it’s a very jarring wake up. This happens to me even when Amy calls out that she needs to pee, so when the wake up comes with a cry, it makes it worse.

I assumed he’d had a bad dream, and I immediately told him we were right there, and it was okay. I couldn’t see him, though, and as I was saying this, Greg got out of bed quite quickly and guided Elliot to the bathroom. I was a bit confused, as Elliot is very good about peeing on his own in the middle of the night, and then it dawned on me that he was sick. I pulled myself out of bed and joined the boys in the bathroom. Sure enough, there was puke all over the floor, about as close to the toilet as you could get without getting any of it in the toilet. Greg got Elliot cleaned up while I got on my hands and knees and started cleaning up. It was everywhere — in two dimensions, thanks to the surrounded walls, toilet and cupboards.

After I finished, Greg started guiding Elliot back into bed, but I vetoed that idea. Elliot sleeps in a loft bed and the thought of cleaning him and the bed up in the middle of the night was not appealing. So Elliot climbed into bed with me (with a bowl and a towel), and Greg went downstairs. This all took about 15 minutes, and I was wide awake by then. Elliot feel asleep fairly quickly, but it was a very fitful sleep, which is very unlike him. And every time he moved I thought he was going to puke. And every time he moved he got closer and closer to me, and I was sure I was going to be his next target. So…not exactly a relaxing sleep.

Then, about an hour later, just as I was finally nodding off, I heard Greg bolt out of the basement bedroom. My first thought was that he was puking, but then I heard him go get the dog cookie jar. Which, at 3:30 in the morning, only means one thing. The dog was outside and was not coming when called. So I got up to investigate. Greg informed me that Heart had puked, he’d managed to get her out the basement door in time, but then she refused to come when Greg called her. Greg sent me back to bed, but he was up for a while longer as Heart tried to rid herself of evil from the opposite end. FUN STUFF.

Thankfully there was no more puking after that, human or canine, and the silver lining was that both kids had a huge sleep-in. I don’t think I got out of bed until 8:30, new time. So my sleep was sub par, but at least it was long.

Ahhh, the joy of dependants.

just under the wire

I have four minutes to write this or I’ll turn into a pumpkin. I went out with some girlfriends tonight and I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I knew I wouldn’t be home late (i.e. I knew I’d have plenty of time to write this when I got home). Well, I got home late and here I am…writing about absolutely nothing.

I got some good news today that I’ll write more about in an upcoming post. I had a night out with some good friends that was quite enjoyable. I didn’t have to put the kids to bed. So all in all, a good day.

That’s it, that’s all.

remember me?

Because I don’t have enough on my plate, I’ve decided to once again do NaBloPoMo. As per usual I have no plan. I do try to think of some theme I could do to help me with content, but I can never think of anything (other than complaining about my husband’s Movember facial hair). But even though ever year I think I’m pathetic, when I look back at the NaBloPoMo posts I’ve done over the past four years, I enjoy reading almost every one of them. So I’m going to do if for no other reason than it’ll get me posting again, at least for 30 days.

I’m also taking on another challenge. I’m going off alcohol for the month of November*. I drink way more than I used to. I think I’m still within the normal range, but I’ve noticed an increase in my personal consumption, and I definitely use it to make me feel better when I’m feeling stressed, which I’m not happy about. So I’m going to do this just to prove to myself that I can.

So stay tuned for a month of rambling, theme-less posts and complaints about my alcohol withdrawal.

*I’ve given myself permission to drink on social occasions. And my definition of a social occasion is when I’m with someone who is not my husband (although he can be there too) and who is also having a drink. Which means I’ll be drinking on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. A good start to a month of no drinking!