Saturday, February 21, 2015

.... I was hoping you would change....

Those 6 words made an argument that Arnold and I were having even worse!

Remember those sayings "Can't teach an old dog new tricks?"  or "You can never change a man who is set in his ways"

Well... Arnold said this to me during an argument we were having about me needing things planned out.  He thought I would change from before we got married.

It got me thinking.

Would I change?  Would I ever be able to not have things planned out?  Would I ever be one of those people who could just jump in a car and go?


Sorry guys!  I need to plan things out.

I lose sleep over things.  Just ask the people I work with!  I started stressing over something with our kitchen and I literally was up from 2am on thinking my lights wouldn't work.  My co-worker, who is helping with the house, had to draw it out on the white board at work and tell me it would be fine. 

Yes, I'm a freak.

I know!

I need to have things organized, and put in it's place.  It may not be a place you know about but it's a place I know about.  I can tell you where almost any paperwork is in my house.  It may not be in the proper bins and the proper labels but I know where it is.

Do you really hope people will change? 

Sometimes we pretend. 

Sometimes we pretend it's just something we would like to encourage the person to "grow" in that direction.  We may want our children to "grow" and become more responsible.  If it happens YEAH!  if it doesn't... well yeah.

Sometimes we pretend that character flaw is what we love about them.  While I may need to have everything planned out and ordered and ready to go, it comes in handy sometimes!  I am great when it comes to packing for big trips, or getting money organized and budgeting.  I'm wonderful at that.  But making sure child care is figured out before we go on a date (and I mean like 2 days before) makes me mad that it's not done. 

I remember shortly after we lost Otis, we went on a date.  Arnold and I weren't more than 1 km from the house and I flipped out "Why do I have to plan everything!"

And see that?

Right there...

That was when I wanted him to change.

Will he?  No

Will he learn from that?  maybe!

Will I still love him even if he never changes?  ABSOLUTLY!

And that is the most important thing.  I may not change.  We have been married for almost 11 years now and I will not change.  And thank the Lord, Arnold won't change either.  I love him for all he is.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Perfect Valentines Day!

I remember trying to preplan what my future spouse would do for Valentines day.  It was always something huge.

When I was in high school it was something along the lines of: dinner and shopping in London, and some sort of show.

When I was in university it was something along the lines of: dinner and a limo ride to an opera/theater (I liked to pretend that I was super cultured, hehe)

When I was first married it was something along the lines of: dinner, drinking, night "on the town"

When I first had kids it was something along the lines of: find a sitter, have a nice quiet dinner and go home to a house where the babies were sleeping.

When my kids got older it was something along the lines of:  find someone to take my kids for the day, do a breakfast/lunch out and get some shopping done (the kind that is easier without children) and then bring home supper and enjoy at home.  Kids come home before bed.

Now, it's different

Now I love it when the whole family spends time together, however I don't want to cook!  I hate cooking on days I can have off.

I love spending time with the boys.  Having a games day or just hanging out in the same home.  It's great to have nice quiet days at home.

This year hubby didn't do much.  Last year I had flowers and treats from all the boys.  This year we were in Sarnia and it was a bit harder to get things going.  Arnold did buy me beautiful roses this year.
Arnold also bought the kids a special treat.  It's nice to see the example of the man giving things (not that it should always be that way).  The girls each got a chocolate rose and the boys got smarties hearts that they shared with the girls.   Trust me they all had chocolate on their faces!
We really had a great day, and even a fondue!
Next week Friday Arnold and I are thinking about doing our own Valentine's Day.  We have some gift cards for The Keg and we are trying to get a babysitter.  I'm excited to get the chance to get dressed up and go out.  It should be good.  It's nice to have time to go out.
But for now there is no perfect valentine's day.  Every year just seems to be perfect for that day.
Did you have the perfect valentine's day?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The "Other Mother"

When I was a little girl I remember getting the most devastating news of my life (at the time), my eyes weren't shaped right and I couldn't get contacts.


4 eyes forever.

What a disappointment. 

What heartbreak

I totally remember sitting on the front porch of our house on Glady's Street.  It was a wonderful picket fence, nice and white and beautiful.  There was this little gate for you to come into and sit down.  My parents had put chairs in the front with a little table. 

I had finished school for the day.  It was a rough day, but on the bonus side I wasn't bullied that day on the way home.  Things seemed to be looking up.  It was exciting for me.  I was going to hear when my appointment was for my contacts so I could look just the same as everyone else.

I skipped across the front yard and opened the gate and sat down with my mom.  I must have looked so excited because she immediately said "Hunny, I have some bad news"..

And then things went downhill.

I cried.  And cried... and cried.

Just as I was sure my life was completely over, a blue Volvo pulled into our driveway after being waved down by my mom.  Mom's best friend, Joanie, came over to see what was wrong.  My mom said to her "Mandy needs her other mother right now.  She was just told she can't have contacts".

Joanie did her "awe baby!  we can get you some awesome glasses!"  and pulled me into a huge hug and let me cry.

That's not the only time I've had my other mother come and help me. 

When Otis died I called her and she walked away from her company and cried with me on the phone.  I was having one of those "I can do anything" moments.  You know... after a loss, you never have those moments without breaking down.  And Joanie was the one person who I knew I could call and she would understand.

Sometimes I feel that the "Other Mother" is something every child should have.

My kids do!

My kids met their "Other Mother" when we moved to this area.  Q was 2 and K was 4.  Arnold would take the boys to the park and come back talking about the adults there... and some chick named Lori "who had boys around our kids ages".  Little did I realize how she would become a big part of our lives!

When the boys were 4 and 6 we were moving into the school system with both boys.  I could see them at school and slowly got to visit with the moms out there after school and I got to know Lori more.  Ever since then she has become a regular part of our lives and family.

Lori and Gabe have 2 boys, Jack and Sam, and they are my children's basic best friends, if not "brothers from another mother".  They hang out, fight, play, and enjoy their time together a lot now. Every day after school Lori makes sure the boys get home while I get my home ready for the evening.

Earlier this week was my prime example of the "Other Mother".

Kyler and his friends built a huge fort.  The kids were given a warning, over the announcements, to leave each others forts alone.   After school, Lori was picking up my boys and her son found Kyler in a corner crying.  From what I understand some of the bigger kids felt it was their job to "make sure the fort was 100% secure" and they kicked it down and threw a lot of the snow chunks into the puddles so they melted.  Kyler's job was to protect the fort afterschool and he blew it.  He was devastated.

Lori ended up taking him into the office, along with some other kids who had seen what happen, and they left a list of names of who had destroyed someone else's fort.

On the way home from school Lori told my boys they were more than welcome to come over to their house for a bit and make a new snow fort in the backyard.  My boys jumped at the chance.  Kyler even told me through his tears that "Lori knew how to make it all better".

I have to admit I did cry a little when they went to her house.  She knew how to make it better right away.

My boys came back after a little while and were so happy.  They got to play with snow dye and had a great time.

As my son says when you ask him "Who loves you?"  "Lori does!"

And I'm perfectly ok with Lori being my children's "Other Mother"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Perfect View

Have you ever looked out on your back yard or down your street right after a beautiful snowfall?  Everything looks just perfect!

I will always remember driving to band practice one early morning when I was in High School.  The snow had just fallen on Lakeshore road and it was beautiful.  I even stopped the car and got out and looked.  I had always wished I had a camera with me that day.  Just to see the perfect white covered roads.

Sometimes I even get that look in our own backyard.  The snow is just beautiful.  It covers the dead grass, the over grown bushes, the kids slide and swings, the fence and makes the whole world look so wonderful.

And then....

And then something happens.

Nothing big, nothing so horrible, but just enough to mess with my perfect view.

And yet, somehow it makes it even more beautiful!

My kids play in the backyard.  They run around leaving tracks all over the place.  Then run around until they fall down laughing.  Then jump off the picnic table and giggle the whole time.  The boys throw snowballs at each other, at the back fence, at anything they can.  The run all over and make a huge mess!

At first my heart fell.  My perfect view out the back yard.  The view that I admired every morning and night was totally destroyed.  There was no beautiful landscape.  No freshly fallen snow. 

Now it was just trampled all over.

And yet, somehow it makes it look even more beautiful.

It reminds me of my babies when I look out there now. 

How much fun they have even in those few minutes after school.  How their backyard is even still an adventure. And how much I love them for being so much like me.

While My Perfect View may not be the crisp clean backyard in the snow, it is totally my family!

**If you visit my house please apply this to my home.... cleaning up when you have children is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm!**

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fun times!

We got a nice dump of snow this weekend.  Nothing crazy but it was a good snow storm. 
I will fully admit I miss the crazy times I had when I was little.  I remember shoveling the snow and it being hip height.  It took hours and many many rotations of my mom, dad, sister and I.  It was so fun to make caves and tunnels.
Now you can't.
There are so many real fears now.  A tunnel could cave in.  A cave could be driven over or someone could jump on you while you are under the snow.
Thankfully there are a few safe places for my children.  Arnold and I love having the boys explore our yard.  It is fantastic.  We now have tunnels and caves and oh so much more in our yard.
I try to make things fun for my boys... Even if I'm not playing outside with my boys.  This week we did snowy ice cream!!  It was such a hit!
It was 1/3 cup of whipping cream.  A cap of vanilla. Two big scoops of sugar.
Then wisk!!
Pour it over about 6 cups of snow and mix. 
I had so much fun so I did make it for the kids at school.  They loved it!
Anyway... That's how I have snowy fun!

Friday, February 6, 2015

What I've Learned in the past 100 days of school

1 - I love each and every one of my 30 something kids!
2 - There are so many boys in my class
3 - I have finally (and I do mean like this week) realized that I have 8 A names and 7 S names (makes doing paper work easier)
4 - Most of my kids know their ABC's now
5 - Sometimes they can add
6 - I love reading to them
7 - I can finally get down some "cool" voices when reading
8 - I miss the afternoon routines
9 - Some of my kids have learned so much in the past 100 days and they are ready for grade 1
10 - Kindy chairs are very small, no matter how long it has been since I sat in one.

11 - K loves being in school, most of the time
12 - K can not be organized at all.
13 - We have organized his desk at least 4 times this year
14 - K loves gym
15 - K is the "supply teacher" for coding on Wednesdays
16 - He is doing swimming lessons with his class
17 - He is finally wearing his snowpants outside (might have to do with the fact that they can't play on the snow hill without them!)
18 - K may not like studying but is doing well at it.
19 - K has done great on most of his tests, but forgets to bring them home a lot!
20 - K is doing well with coming home on his own from school

21 - I love winter but I'm not sure about all this snow
22 - I'm always surprised how much fun the kids have in the snow
23 - I'm slightly grossed out about the kids eating snow... even though I did it when I was younger
24 - The kids love to play with the snow on the wall and "draw" pictures
25 - I love the reaction that kids give when they finally get something... like snow angles
26 - Every time it snows I hear in my head "If all the snow flakes were candy bars and milk shakes oh what a snow that would be...."
27 - Some children need to learn to dress faster!
28 - I think it's great how fast the kids get into a routine (ABC's or 123's at the gate)
29 - Sometimes I'm happy it's too cold out and we get to play longer
30 - I love the staff I work with outside!  They are amazing!

31 - My kids are great at learning songs to sing for the Holiday Concert
32 - They are good at colouring their monthly pictures
33 - Some of them have finally learned what their names look like
34 - I love how the children grow each and every day
35 - the kids had cute costumes for the concert
36 - We practice a lot of our poems or songs outside at lunch
37 - I like learning the songs along with the kids
38 - The kids love learning about new things, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.
39 - I'm surprised how many kids had never seen a Christmas Tree
40 - The kids love Dance Parties!

41 - November is the best "down month" we have had so far
42 - We had I've never read so many "winter" themed books
43 - The sand box can easily be changed to a "wood pelt" box.
44 - Children can have fun with just boxes
45 - I love that things become "new" when the boxes go away ever few weeks and come back
46 - This year, the children can't seem to keep toys in the right boxes
47 - Straws are the coolest thing to Kindy's
48 - There are more books for American Thanksgiving than Canadian Thanksgiving
49 - Halloween is so much fun with the kids
50 - Almost everyone wears costumes, or bring extra costumes

51 - Some of our parents are amazing!
52 - Kids love the snow table
53 - I'm never surprised and how much the kids forget after a long weekend
54 - First report cards for the SK's are such an exciting time
55 - It's always interesting seeing how the kids are doing in their review
56 - Some kids are great with "homework"
57 - Library is one of my favourite times, even if I don't go
58 - Every once and a while the kids have it all together!
59 - Every once and a while the parents have it all together :)
60 - Once a month I need to empty the mailers from some of the kids.

61 - Q thinks his class is the best ever!
62 - He loves all his classes all the time
63 - I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop with him
64 - Q is reading more and more books every day, and he keeps going
65 - Q is very excited about what he will be learning in the next few grades.
66 - He is doing really well in swimming lessons
67 - Q loves his after school Cooking Club and Basketball
68 - Q has a great teacher
69 - He loves his Chess club he joined at school with Mr. V
70 - Q is in that "perfect age" that he can still give me kisses and hugs at school

71 - The people I work with are generally AWESOME!
72 - It's always surprising how many of them are overworked
73 - There are a lot of stupid things happening in schools and most people don't know it
74 - Some people lead the school and others drag their feet
75 - It's been over a year since I fell and I still cling to the banisters while going down the stairs
76 - There are a lot of stairs in the school!!
77 - The photocopier is one of those things that can like you or dislike you... most of the time it dislikes me
78 - After seeing classroom budgets and learning how much paper costs I'm always careful on how much wasted paper I have
79 - I love talking with the other staff
80 - My favourite time in school has to be the couple days before school starts (I realized the don't count for 100 days but still!)

81 - The first day of school is always a scary one
82 - At least the crying stops :)
83 - Kids grow!  More shoes are needed!
84 - Days 1-5 drive me crazy!  I never remember what days we are on!
85 - The new layout of the classroom still confuse me but it looks amazing!
86 - Reading with the SK's is one of those amazing things
87 - I can officially stuff the "I can read" and "Alphabet book" in less than 20 minutes
88 - Blocks are the favourite thing in our classroom right now
89 - We are very lucky to have a great art ECE and the kids are really enjoying it
90 - I love doing bulletin boards.. shh don't tell anyone :)

91 - Our school has growing pains but it is one amazing place to be
92 - The kids that eat healthy lunches are my favourite!
93 - I've dealt with lots of accidents this year (for the first 15 days of school we had more accidents than school days)
94 - Puke is where I cross the lines and remind myself I'm a volunteer
95 - I still don't want to go back and get my ECE... I want to be a volunteer for as long as I can
96 - I'm very blessed to be working at the school for lunches.
97 - Some days I love being at school more than being at home
98 - I love themed reading books (currently working with 100's day books and V-day books)
99 - Sometimes you find something that works in the classroom and sometimes you don't
100 - This school/class is the best place ever :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Dearest Otis, 2 years later

My Dearest Otis,

Today marks 2 years since we lay you to rest.  While I think about you often the days are getting further between.  Some mornings I wake up and don't remember what you look like.  And that scares me.

My Dearest Otis,

Your brothers miss you more than I ever thought.  Your brothers think about you a lot and think about you often.  Every once and a while I get this little "What do you think we would be doing with Otis now?"  or "How old would he be?  Would he be in school yet?  Could he walk?"  and sometimes "I wish I could snuggle him".

My Dearest Otis,

Life has changed so much over these past 2 years that all my plans I had for you in our lives seem to never have been able to fit.  Your time with us was so short and so precious and had such an effect on us.

My Dearest Otis,

You were buried with a little angel bear and a white lily in honour of your sibling, Baby Casey.  I trust that you two are having the most amazing time in Heaven.  I envy the time you get to spend together.

My Dearest Otis,

I still cry when I hear your name.  Sometimes it's not so bad, other times its a full break down. Sometimes it's a few tears and other times it's a headache of memories.

My Dearest Otis,

The past few months I've gotten rid of a lot of the baby items I had for you.  For some reason I had held onto every thing I had just incase.  Just incase why?  I have no idea, but I do know they were meant for you.

My Dearest Otis,

I dreamt of you.  I dreamt you were 2 almost 3.  You were walking and talking and playing with toy cars.  You were such a snuggle bug and I spent most of my time watching you and holding you.  You smiled so much and I woke up in tears.  Oh my dearest Otis.  I miss you.

My Dearest Otis,

I miss you more than words and I can't wait to see you in heaven.