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Transition

Recently I discovered that my soon-to-be four year old daughter, Josie, will be attending Junior Kindergarten this fall on a full-time every-day basis as opposed to the Monday-Wednesday-every-other-friday schedule that her two siblings had previously.

Now, being a stay at home mom of eight years, I can’t explain to you what a shock to my system this is.  There was a tiny bit of sobbing involved…

…On my knees.  Hands raised to the sky.  Face a mask of horror.  Screaming “WHY??

I had fully expected to have two, sometimes three, days a week at home with my youngest.  I figured I could cop-out at home for another year at least before figuring out what to do with the rest of my existence.

Burst my bubble, why don’t you, Upper Canada District School Board?

As far as I can tell, I have several options that range between getting myself knocked up again (now that’s desperate), finding a part-time job (*visceral shudder*), or staying at home and cowering in the closet from the outside world as a “homemaker”.  Number three sounds like the most likely option at the moment.  

There’s a healthy dose of denial going on right now.  I’m just not ready to face what’s going to happen in six months.

My eyes glossy with unshed tears, I told Josie that she would be going to school every day just like Julia and James.

She patted my back gently (as she often does), looked me in the eyes and squeaked in her tiny three year old voice,  “It’s okay Mommy, you can still drop me off at the school bus.”

Sigh.  Six more months.

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Fess-Up Friday

Wha…?  Who….?  Huh?

Huzzah!

The kids were (are) lazing around and I was playing a very important game of “Scramble with friends” on the phone, when it just occurred to me… I should post something on my blog. 

Yes, I’m posting but this doesn’t mean I’m “back”.  I just felt like saying “hello!” and erg… sorry for disappearing without saying goodbye?  

In my defense, I think I got a little oppositional-defiance-disordery with myself.  I said to myself… “you can’t MAKE me do anything I don’t WANT to do.”  And my better self said, “but you HAVE to.  People are COUNTING on you.  I’M COUNTING on you.”  And my other self said, “B.S.  No one will even notice that I’m gone so take your blog and stick it where the sun don’t shine!”

Then I declared that 2012 was the year of “NO“.  I wouldn’t do anything this year that I didn’t bloody well want to do.  I would learn how to say “NO” to people who guilted me into doing things that over-extended myself (obviously that excludes the kids), and I think I had to start with saying “NO” to myself and to the blog.

Truly, the blog was never about other people… it was always about writing for the love of writing and just to sort out feelings about life and chronicle the highlights of my kids’ childhoods.  

The minute my blog became about making OTHER people happy, it became one more stress that I couldn’t handle and I stopped caring about it.  I’m thoughtful like that.

So, I’m back to posting, but I have absolutely no idea how often that will be.  Maybe once a month, maybe once a week.  Maybe more.

The kids are fabulous, by the way.  Creating Little Monsters doesn’t really describe them anymore.  I’m sure I’m putting my foot in my mouth to say this, and I should probably start knocking my head on some wood… but they’re so much more like “Little Angels” than “Little Monsters” these days.

I’ll never get over how intense this sort of love can be.  I just wish I could make them stop growing so fast.  Brain-wave! Maybe we build some sort of stasis machine?  I bet parents would buy them in droves!  Better still- a time machine!  More thoughts on that later.

Until next time,

Erin

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Bird Stalkers

Want to know a great way to keep your kids quiet and teach them something?  Well, this activity does both and is positively Montessori-esque.

Toilet Paper bird feeders!  You just can’t go wrong here.

A) Good for the environment – recycling toilet paper rolls!

B) Easy on the wallet… we had everything we needed hanging around the house.

C) Kids get to practice their fine motor skills.

D) Kids get some protein from the inevitable peanut butter nibbles they sneak.

E) When the birds eventually realize there is a buffet out there for them, they should be fun to watch.

F) Easy enough that the two year old can do it (mostly) independently.

G) The children will stare patiently out of a window for excessive periods of the time stalking waiting for the birds to arrive.  (Giving mommy a well deserved time-out, might I add.)

I’m sure I could go through the whole alphabet, but you get the point.

Just take an empty toilet paper roll, smother it in peanut butter and roll in bird seed.  Tie a string through it, or just slide the tube onto a branch and…

Voila!  Proud kids!

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Like Stealing Candy from a Baby

Happy Halloween, folks!

So tell me honestly, how long did it take y’all to raid your kids’ candy stash?

Me?  My kids paid the Reese Peanut Butter Cup tax immediately after they walked through the doors.

Julia screamed so loudly at me while I was rifling through her bag that I’m pretty sure my ear drums are bleeding.  Did it stop me?  Not on your life.

Josie, currently my favorite child, keeps feeding me candy after candy.  She keeps giving me the good stuff too.  (In her defense, she’s only 2 and I’m pretty sure she has no idea that she’s supposed to be covetous of her treats.)

James is still out trick or treating with my mom.  I might have to sneak the candy from his bag after he’s asleep.  He holds grudges.

Lots of fun.

We dressed up our puppy, Boomer. She might end up not being such a wussie after all – about 5 minutes into our trick or treating she saw someone dressed in a Ghostface (Scream) costume and if I hadn’t been holding her close to me, I’m pretty sure she would have laid him flat.

The Hubs thinks candy is a gateway drug.  For the next two days my kids will get a free candy pass and will live off sugar, then it will all go in the garbage.  Then they will come down.  Hard.  It will be messy.  It will be scary.  It might even be a little bit funny.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s Julia as Optimus Prime, Josie as a Princess, and James as Bumblebee.

And Boomer, looking quite depressed, as the Rabbit of Caerbannog.  Or a Playboy Bunny.  Or something like that.

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Meme you, Biatch

As I’m certain you’ve noticed, I’m in a bit of a blogging slump lately.  It’s not that I don’t have a million things to write about, but I just can’t seem to find the time to do anything.

For the love of Peter, I cram in time to bathe only to scrub asphalt off my feet (and boob) because I’ve been up to my neck in a massive driveway rehab project.

My friend Kelly over at Southern Fried Children may have also noticed – she’s called myself and a few other bloggers out for a Meme.  I think I may actually get two blog posts out this week.  It’s all because of you, Kelly.

It’s pronounced “Meem”, by the way, Shannon.  I know because I googled the shit out of it.  I’m the google goddess, ask my friends.

These are the rules:

What this is about: To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.
Rules:
1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t got the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of
3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers
5) And so it goes on!
6) The site Trip Base be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on their blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Here we go!

Most beautiful post
Some of my favorite posts are the ones about each of my children.  They are all beautiful in their own ways and I could never choose between them.  If I had to pick just one of any of my other posts for this category, it would probably be How Do You Measure Love.

Most popular post
This particular post, by far the most popular, has been viewed almost a thousand times – by who, I have no idea.  At the time I’d written it, if you did a Facebook search for “Blue Skies”, the link came up as being shared by 50 or more people.  Only one of whom was my Mother.  The others sharers aren’t even on my Facebook page, I know because I checked every single one.  That’s real popularity. Shut up, I know I’m neurotic.

Most controversial post
There are a few contenders for this one, though never any serious controversy.  Or at least my readers are too polite to say so – there’s just an awkward silence in my comments area.  The post which I thought had the potential to have the most backlash because it’s a tongue-in-cheek narrative of the potentials of mental illness and motherhood is The Progress Toward Insanity

Most helpful post
One of the very first posts on my blog, Victorious!  Tales from the Potty Trenches.

A post whose success surprised you
People loved hearing about my daughter Julia and her best friend, Darius.  This is actually the second most popular post on my blog so far and only partially because Darius begged his mom to look at the pictures almost daily for a full month after my writing it.

A post you feel didn’t got the attention it deserved
I was surprised when it seemed like many people just didn’t care to read this post at all, let alone comment. It’s an uncomfortable topic, I understand, but it’s important to talk about uncomfortable topics, right? Let’s Talk about Childhood Obesity.

The post that you are most proud of
It’s a simple post, but it makes me the happiest out of all the other posts I’ve written.  The Things I’ll Miss

Tag – you’re it!  I nominate the following:

Sarah from My Little Dot

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Our Little Friends

Look what we found on our tree outside this morning…

A huge female pileated woodpecker!  I’ve never seen one around here before, so I was excited and got a few pictures off before the dog noticed and scared her away.

In other news…

Yes.  A couple evenings ago I brought home a(nother) kitten.  (Because clearly I need more responsibilities.)

No.  The Hubster wasn’t impressed.

Yes.  Julia convinced him to keep it.

Her name is Emma – there’s a small chance though, she could be a “Frank” or a “Bruce”.

Jury’s still out whether Emma loves Julia as much as Julia loves Emma.

And of course, our other furry friends, who you may already know, are doing fairly well.

Peter the Cat-Dog, whose neck is still healing from his rabbit-snare incident.

And our little baby Boomer, who isn’t so little anymore.  She’s nearly 40 lbs and just turned 5 months old.

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One Less Lonely Girl

As you may or may not have guessed by the title of this post, the kids (and consequently, I) have been listening to Justin Bieber.  Rowen, my friend’s daughter, left her CD here and the kids have been listening to it ad nauseum for the last 2 hours.

They were blasting the CD loud enough that the CD player began to skip during the particularly loud drum machine beats.

Yes.  There has been some Ibuprofin involved.  Also, a couple glasses of wine.  Justin, however talented you may be, I just don’t get it.  I apologize.

Funny story about Mr. Bieber.

James says with a goofy smirk on his face,  “Mommy! Justin Bieber’s my girlfriend.”

My eyebrows disappear into my hairline and my eyes pop out of my head, “Ooookay… um… you know Justin Bieber’s a boy, right?”

“NO!  Justin Bieber’s a girl!  I love him!”

Confused and attempting to be tactful (not one of my strengths, in case you haven’t noticed), I show him a Justin Bieber music video on Youtube proving without a doubt, that Justin Bieber is in fact, male.

James scoffs, “Pfft.  That’s not even real.  That was made by a computer.”

He trots away, skillfully leaving me FUBAR’d.  Check Mate.

WTF??

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Will Work 4 Toys

My Goddaughter, Enola, asked me one day if she could earn some money by doing some chores at my house.  There was a particular toy she’d been wanting to buy and my son James and her were concocting all sorts of scary schemes to make the necessary dough.

You know – “bake” sales, “lemonade” stands and garage sales with broken toys – scary.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any spare change that particular day.  As I was deeply pondering how I could get the kids motivated to slave clean for me, I was struck with a brilliant idea – I’d order the toy she wanted online and we’d make a deal that she had to do so many chores until she’d earned the toy.

Once the her sister and my son caught the barest whiff of our deal they, on the knife’s edge of total meltdowns, wanted a similar such deal.  I quickly agreed.

Picture a 6 year old and 5 year old doing laundry perfectly – without any sort of supervision and totally independently.  Imagine an 8 year old asking if she can scrub the floors on her hands and knees, scraping off all the stickers with a butter-knife.  Envision, if you can, a 6 year old boy matching up shoes and cleaning an embarrassingly messy foyer closet. Picture toy rooms being cleaned with gusto – on multiple occasions. Picture children doing dishes without the barest hint of whining or disgruntlement.

This all happened.  It’s all fact, my friends.  I know, I’m incredibly impressed, too.  This works so much better than money bribes or threats.

Do you think they’ll do toilets?

Rowen (5), Enola (8), James (6)

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Garlic Scapes Abound

The Garlic Scape fairy came to my house the other day and gave us this.

If you’ve never tried garlic scapes, you’ve never lived.  Their potential is endless.

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette

Sauteed Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scape Soup

And my personal favorite, Garlic Scape Pesto.

Half a big bowlful of garlic scapes, chopped up coarsely

2 cups grated parmesan

1.5 cups olive oil

Couple tbsp of lemon juice

1 cup walnuts

Using a food processor or immersion blender, grind and blend it all together until it’s a uniform chunkiness.

Then you’re done.  I know – whaaaat?  It’s really that easy.

Put it on pasta or crackers, use it in recipes (spaghetti or bruschetta anyone?), eat it by the spoonful.  Whatever.

Also, garlic scape recipes freeze unusually well.  Go to your local farmer’s market or garlic farm and get some.  Make a big batch, freeze it in portions and you’ll have yumminess all year ’round.

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9 years together; 3 years married.

Do you know what day it is today?

On 08-16-2008, my baby-daddy and I got hitched.  I was 8 weeks pregnant with our third.

There’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m too tired to find it.

Long story, short:

I met Jon on one evening of drunken buffoonery and skinny-dipping.  I’d just gotten out of 5 successive going-nowhere relationships and was going off to college and had just decided to swear off boyfriends for a while… but he had (has) a cute bum, so I thought what the hell?  Really though – when you know, you know.  And I knew.  And so did he, I think.

Next thing I knew we were in a long term relationship, traveling back and forth from Ottawa to Peterborough nearly every weekend to see each other. That got to be expensive, so I transferred schools the next year so we could live together.

Like whiplash, in the three seconds it took for the line to develop on the pregnancy test, we went from college party animals to “real” adults.  Within the first 5 years, Jon graduated and found a job.  We got knocked up.  Bought a car.  Had James.  Bought a house.  Jon changed jobs.  Got pregnant again.  Jon changed jobs.  Had Julia.  Planned the wedding of the century.  Got pregnant again.  Got married.  We sold and bought a new house.  Had Josie.  We survived and learned and matured (a bit).

We’ve had amazing times, and not so amazing times.  Sometimes we’re really boring and too exhausted to think.  Sometimes it’s like a fairy tale.

Jon is so brave and so smart.  He’s my best friend and the man of my dreams.  I know as long as we’re together, we can get through anything.  I know people say that all the time, but for us it’s true.

To celebrate, we’re going out for our ritual anniversary dinner at Dairy Queen with the kids.  ‘Cause we’re classy like that.

Love you, Hunny.  Happy Anniversary.

Now, if only your laundry could find the damned hamper.

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